Friday, December 18, 2009

Mint M&M Bark

This recipe is a product of one of my biggest pet peeves. Peppermint ice cream is one of my all time favorite foods, but I can't understand why everyone insists on ruining it by putting candy cane pieces in it! I am not one to chew hard candy, I think it might be my neurotic obsession with my teeth. I mean when I am enjoying a nice smooth bowl of ice cream I don't want to have chomp on candy cane or worse swallow a bunch of ragged pieces.
Anyways how this is all relevant to the recipe to this recipe is that this is originally for peppermint bark, but I've replaced the candy cane pieces with a less offensive candy to chew, mint M&M's :)

So for Tracy, here's the recipe:

2 cups (12 oz) White Chocolate Chips
appox. 1 cup Mint M&M's
Dash of Vanilla Extract (optional)

A word on M&M's: Make sure you get the classic mint M&M's that are only available for the holidays. They should come in a bigger bag. They also make a gourmet type mint M&M in small bags, but they don't have shells and will thus just melt into the chocolate. (Which will still taste pretty good but won't look the same)

1. Melt chocolate in Microwave

2. Place M&M's in plastic bag and crush using a rolling pin.

3. Holding Strainer over melted chocolate pour crushed candy into strainer. Shake. Leave the larger pieces in the strainer.

4. Pour chocolate onto wax paper. Sprinkle with reserved larger pieces.

5. Allow to cool then break into pieces.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

White Chocolate Fudge

This is going to have to be a short post because guess how much I've packed for our trip tomorrow... yup nadda nothing none.

2 pkg. Baker's White Chocolate
3/4 cup Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 cup Almonds
1/2 cup dried cranberries
splash of vanilla extract

1. Line 8-inch pan with foil
2. Microwave chocolate and milk until melted (stiring frequently)
3. Add almonds, cranberries, and vanilla and stir well
4. Spread into prepared pan and refrigerate until firm.
5. Remove from pan and cut into pieces

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Pumpkin Rolls

I was introduced to this amazing treat when I married my husband.
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp. lemon juice
3/4 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

1 cup powdered sugar
1 pkg. cream cheese
1/2 tsp. vanilla
4 Tbsp butter

Beat eggs on high for 5 min.
Gradually add sugar.
Stir in pumpkin and lemon juice.
Stir together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and nutmeg
Fold in pumpkin mixture
Spread onto greased parchment papered pan. (Top with nuts if using)
Bake at 375 for 15 minutes.
Turn onto or place parchment onto dish towel and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Start at the narrow end and roll towel and cake together.
Allow to cool.
Beat all filling ingredients together until smooth. Unroll and spread filling over cake. Roll cake back up and freeze.
Once cold cut into pieces. (hint: it won't cut very well unless it's cold)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


This is another easy peasy recipe that you can throw together in a sec. The fudge is tasty, not award winning but tasty and foolproof. (you'll see why this is important later)

3 cups Chocolate Chips (I used semi-sweet)
1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

1. Combine Chocolate and Sweetened Condensed Molk
2. Microwave until chocolate is melted (stirring frequently, ever 10-30 sec)
3. Stir in Vanilla
4. Pour into wax-paper lined 9-inch pan
5. Let cool & harden cut into pieces

Ok so that was the pretty fudge I took to the neighbors now for complete honesty... I am absolutely HORRIBLE at making fudge! Last year my fudge was harder than a rock we broke it into pieces and gave it out as chocolate. This year I was committed to making good fudge so I started with Danny's family cookbook. (it's never led me astray yet) Things started out well I put the sugar and evaporated milk on the stove and let it boil for the 6 minutes. The whole time I stood right there so that nothing would happen to it. Somewhere along minute 3 or 4 my computer beeped letting me know I had an email...

I came back 10 seconds later to find this. So all that is in the pot is sugar and milk can someone explain the floating black pieces that appeared out of no where!?! At last my slight distraction had let to me burning the fudge. I knew that there was no rescue from this so I threw it out and searched for easy, foolproof recipes thus why my neighbors actually received fudge this year.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Chocolate Truffles

These are my favorite holiday treat! My brother-in-law told me last year that they were better than the fancy smancy truffles he bought from a chocolate shop. Oh and did I mention they are super easy to make?

1 pkg. (8 sqaures) Semi-Sweet Chocolate
1 pkg. (8 oz) Cream Cheese

1 pkg. Semi-Sweet Chocolate
Powder Sugar
Cocoa Powder

1. Melt 8 chocolate squares. I melt my chocolate in the microwave in 10-30 seconds spurts just make sure you stir frequently and don't overheat.
2. Beat cream cheese into chocolate until creamy. It should look something like this. Now place in the refrigerator until firm. This takes about an hour or two, but you can leave overnight.

(Sorry this is where my camera battery died)

3. Using a cookie scoop or measuring spoon shape filling into tsp-Tbsp size balls. I scoop out a bit then roll them in my hands to make them round and smooth. Warning this gets messy as things warm up. (if things get too soft return to the fridge to harden again)

4. Melt 8 more squares of chocolate and using a fork dip truffles, then return to wax paper-covered tray. Refrigerate until firm.

Other options include rolling the truffles in cocoa powder or powdered sugar. (this is a faster, easier option)

So Much Baking!!!

I finally went to and survived the dentist so what to I do on the way home? Stop by the store and load up on all this sugar! I had to load up on baking supplies to prepare for this year's Christmas baking. Can I just say I love holiday baking! Every year I block out a whole day and turn my kitchen into a pastry shop. So if you haven't been bitten by the baking bug yet this year my next posts are for you. I'll post one treat a day until we take off for London so enjoy!

Here's some tips to help making your baking day faster and more enjoyable. First, a couple days in advance plan what you'll be making and stock up on supplies. Then, on the day of set them all out within easy reach. Something I learned a while back is to always have a glass of cold water close by when your baking sweets. All that sugary smell can really make you sick after a while and the water will also help keep you from "sampling" your goods all day long. I know those chocolate chips are calling to you, but if you eat them all day you'll regret it by the time everything is done.

Next, fill up a sink with very hot soapy water. If you start with really hot water you won't need to change it as often. I found that having this wash station set up is really helpful if your like me and only have one set of measuring cups and mixing bowls.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Tater Tot Taco Salads

This dish has quickly become a favorite at our house for quick weeknight dinners.

Tater Tots
Taco Meat
Other Taco Toppings such as: sour cream, salsa, hot sauce, avocado use your imagination

Bake Tater Tots in oven according to package
Fry hamburger in pan and season as taco meat
Place 1 serving of tater tots on plate, then spoon on meat, finish with taco toppings

This is really quick and easy but fun and unique. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Mmmm.... The Fall Baking Bug Has Bitten

After me and my husband ate all of the pumpkin chocolate chip scones yesterday I was once again craving some baking and nothing was in the house. This led me to my first self-invented recipe

Apple-Pear Muffins

1 c. rolled oats
1 c. buttermilk (or I used 1 tbsp vinegar the rest skim milk)
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
3/4 c. white cake flour
1 t. baking power
1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/2 t. allspice
1/4 t. ground ginger
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. applesauce
1 apple diced
1 pear diced

1. Combine oats and buttermilk in a small bowl

2. Combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and brown sugar.
3. Add oats mixture, applesauce, and fruit mix sparingly (gluten is not our friend here)

4. Pour into muffin tin. (Mine turned out best when filled level with the cup)

Optional sprinkle with oatmeal & brown sugar mix

5. Bake at 350 for 30 min.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sourdough Bread

Here's our second try at sourdough bread. The loaves aren't very big but they look delicious.

Pumpkin Chocolate-Chip Scones

Being pregnant I haven't had any of what I would call strange cravings (not including that applesauce with peanut butter thing... gross!) but I will think of something that sounds good and that's it I have to make it. So this morning I was struck with the scone bug that lead to me trying to decide between cranberry orange, chocolate chip, or pumpkin. I decided everything is better with chocolate and I had some pumpkin I need to use up so here we are pumpkin chocolate-chip scones.

I searched Pinch My Salt for a recipe (this blog has single-handedly changed my cooking forever!) and found to my delight she had already done a lot of the work for me and already had a pumpkin scone recipe I threw in some chocolate chips and got ready for breakfast. They turned out amazing!!

Taken from:

  • Pumpkin Spice Scones
  • 1 C. all purpose flour
  • 1 C. cake flour
  • 1 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 t. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 t. ground allspice
  • 1/4 t. ground ginger
  • 6 T. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 C. chocolate chips (optional)
  • 1/3 C. pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 C. heavy cream
  • 6 T. brown sugar
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Get out a baking sheet and line with parchment paper (not required but makes cleanup easy!). Cut the butter into small pieces, put it in a small bowl and put it back in the refridgerator. In a medium bowl, combine both flours, baking powder, salt, and all spices. Whisk together well. Place bowl in freezer (refrigerator is fine if you have no room in freezer).
  • 2. In a separate bowl, combine pumpkin, heavy cream, brown sugar, and vanilla. Whisk together well. Put this bowl in freezer (or refrigerator) and take the other bowl back out. Get the butter pieces out of the fridge and dump them into the bowl with the flour mixture. Cut the butter into the flour using a pastry blender or rub it in with your fingertips until it resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the chocolate chipes if you are using them.
  • 3. Get the liquid mixture out of the freezer and pour into the flour mixture all at once. Stir with a wooden spoon until everything is just moistened. The dough will be very crumbly, this is the way it should be. Turn the mixture out onto the counter and push the pile together with your hands. It should stick together fairly well. Knead it just a couple of times until everything is together. Don’t knead it too much or the dough will get too sticky.
  • 4. Pat the dough out into a rough circle, 3/4 to 1 inch thick. Cut it like a pie into 8 pieces. Place pieces on the baking sheet so that they are not touching. Bake scones for about 15 minutes at 425 degrees. They should be light brown on the bottom, the tops will darken as they cool.

Wow! It's been awhile!

I could not believe I had not blogged anything since July!!! Where have I been? Oh yeah that's right moving across country and "brewin' a human" (phrase courtesy of some random guy at Walmart) Ok well here's what I've been up to this week.

Date Night:
Me and my husband try to have a date night once a week, but we are also trying to stick to a fairly minimal budget so Friday night was movie night at home.

The Food:
From Left to Right.
Cheddar Bacon Potato Skins, Beef Taquitos, Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza Bits

Cheddar Bacon Potato Skins
Several Small Potatos
Kosher Salt
Black Pepper
Canola Oil
Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Bacon (cooked and crumbled)
Sour Cream
Chives (dried or fresh)

1. Wash Potato skins really well.
2. Rub potato skins with canola oil then roll in kosher salt and black pepper.
3. Bake in oven at 350 for an hour
4. Allow potatoes to cool until you can handle them easily
5. Slice potatoes in half and scoop out the inside using a spoon. Leave about a 1/4 in. of potato remaining on the skin.
6. Brush potatoes with butter and bake at 400 for 10 min.
7. Fill potatoes with cheese and bacon
8. Bake at 400 for 10 more min. or until the cheese is melted
9. Mix chives into sour cream and top potatoes with mixture.
10. Enjoy :)

Beef Taquitos
Taken from

Baked Chipotle Beef Taquitos
Recipe by

3 C cooked, shredded beef roast*
4oz green chilies, undrained
1/4-1/2 t minced chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (I use 1/4 t for mild heat. See note below)
3 t adobo sauce from the canned chipotle peppers
1 t garlic powder
1 t coriander
1/2 t cumin
1 t chili powder
zest from one lime
1 T fresh lime juice
1 package Queso Fresco (about 12 oz)
white corn tortillas ---- inch...
olive oil or cooking spray
kosher salt

Note: If you don't want to work with the chipotle peppers, or can't find them, try adding some Chipotle Chili Powder. You can find it by the other spices in the grocery store. It will still give you a smoky spice, so start with a little and increase to taste.

*I created this recipe to use up left over roast from things like pot roast and french dip sandwiches. If you're cooking a roast strictly for use in these taquitos, then just mildly season it with things like salt, pepper, onion, and garlic before cooking.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Slice any larger pieces of roast across the grain so the beef is shredded into 1/2-1 inch pieces.
Combine chilies, chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, garlic, coriander, cumin, chili powder and lime zest and juice in a bowl. After stirring to combine, gently toss together with shredded beef.

Wrap a pile of about 10 tortillas in damp paper towels and microwave for 1 minute to soften. (after those are used, do the next 10)

Working with one tortilla at a time, crumble about 1T queso fresco in a line across the center of the tortilla. Top with 1-2 T shredded beef mixture. Tightly roll and place seam-side down on a lightly sprayed baking sheet. Continue to roll until all of the tortillas are filled.

Use cooking spray, olive oil spray, or lightly brush olive oil on the top of each taquito. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Place in the pre-heated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown on the edges.

Serve warm with sour cream and guacamole. Makes about 20 taquitos.

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza Bits
Taken from

1 roll refrigerated pizza dough* (or make your own)
1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing mix
2 T grated Parmesan cheese
1 T olive oil or melted butter
sharp cheddar cheese (I used 75% sharp cheddar and 25% mozzarella)
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
about 1 C shredded, cooked chicken.
3/4 C mayo
3/4 C milk

First take 1 teaspoon of your ranch dressing mix and combine it with 1 1/2 T parmesan cheese. Set aside. Combine the remaining ranch mix with 3/4 C mayo and 3/4 C milk and place in the fridge to chill.

Preheat oven to heat specified on pizza dough package. Usually it's 400-425 degrees.

Unroll your pizza dough onto a lightly floured surface. Pat or roll the dough so it's about 12" by 8". You're going to want to cut it into 24 squares, so just eyeball it if you need to. Use a pizza cutter to slice the dough into 24 squares.

Place cheese and desired toppings on each square.

When all of your dough squares have cheese and toppings on them, carefully lift up each square and wrap the dough around the toppings.

I grab the four corners first and then squeeze the seams shut. Then place them seam side down in a lightly sprayed pie pan (or similar sized dish). Brush with melted butter or olive oil and sprinkle with the parmesan-ranch mixture.

Place your rolls in the oven. I've noticed baking time really depends on the type of dough I'm using. Whether it's different brands from the store, or homemade dough, they all take different amounts of time. Set your timer for 10 minutes and check on them after that. They may take up to 15 or 20 to be done. Take them out when they're lightly golden on top.

Serve them warm with a side of freshly made ranch dressing for dipping.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Happy Birthday to Us!

My husband and my birthday fall within 3 days of each other so why make two cakes when you can make one gigantic one?

We almost had enough candles for both of us, two short.

Here's the slice the cake is 2 french vanilla cake mixes with the addition of lots of eggs, butter, and milk. The layers and blackberries and the new Philadelphia instant cheesecake stuff. It all worked out very well and the cake was delicious! Don't believe me we still have a TON in the freeze you can come try.

BBA: English Muffins

These made an amazing breakfast for dinner evening, and they were a lot of fun to make as well.

Here is the dough all ready to fry.

After being cooked in the griddle on both sides and baked for a couple of minutes.

Fork split. Not quite the big hole you see from the grocery store, but they tasted a million times better.

Sausage, cheese, and egg english muffins and hash browns for dinner! Unfortunately, none of the english muffins lived to see the next morning.

BBA: Corn Bread

The week we were supposed to make corn bread my and my husband were headed up to north Idaho with some friends to stay in their cabin. So, I pack all the ingredients and we made it up there. My husband loved this bread will all of it's flavor and texture. I however, felt that it was a little overloaded. I am more of a fan of fluffy cake like cornbread.
After one meal this was all that was left to come home with us!

BBA: Cinnamon Raisin Walnut Bread

Now this is one of my favorite recipes so far in this book! This bread was simply amazing! My favorite thing to do with it is to toast it and make peanut butter and banana sandwiches. Amazing!

We almost didn't get any pictures of this one because we ate it so fast, but my darling husband took some before he finished it off.
The only thing I wish I could figure out is how to keep the bread moist and sealed up without the moisture making the cinnamon sugar mixture on top turn to goo.

BBA: Cinnamon Buns and Sticky Buns

The introduction to this recipe in the book states that this was the recipe he would give his students when the wanted to make cinnamon buns as good as the ones in the mall from Cinnabon. Well, that is a fantastic idea! Make homemade cinnamon rolls as goopy and delicious as those in the mall! Well, here's what I learned. If you want to make goopy cinnamon rolls you need to add more than a sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar and maybe even butter! I think these turned out more like those cinnamon swirl donuts you get when their out of all the other good kinds. Danny thinks I'm crazy and that they were great and that I have just been brain washed by years of my parents making overly stuffed cinnamon rolls. I'm not sure but, when I want a cinnamon roll I am not looking to taste the wonderful bread, I'm in it for the goop!

Oh a word on the sticky buns. In the book it says that it takes practice to know just when to pull these from the oven when the glaze as been caramelized and the dough is cooked through. Well on the first try we were pretty close they tasted great but the caramel became a little too hard. However, this was solved by leaving them in the car all day at our family reunion then they tasted great soft and warm :)
Sorry, we made these on our way out of town so I forgot to take some better pictures.