Friday, December 12, 2008

Cookies, Cookies Everywhere!!

It's that time of year again...the holiday season brings about...

Cookie Baking Time!!

This is probably one of my favorite times the the year right now because I can experiment with various cookie recipes! And I am going to share with you the ones that I have done so far!

Cookie #1: Almond Shortbread Cookies with Caramel Frosting
These have both ground almonds and almond extract in the cookie batter.

Cookie #2 Walnut Thumprints with Almond Frosting

Both creations on a platter ready to be served.

Having fun with the camera and the Kitchen-Aid mixer!!

Ok, so its not a cooke, but I did bake some Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins.
I added 5 bananas (they were small) and it came out tasting more like a spice muffin + chocolate time I will cut back a little on the cinnamon. These are also much better eaten warm.

Cookie # 3 Florentines
These crisp wafer-like cookies are from Italy. They consist mainly of crushed blanched almonds sugar and corn syrup.

Cookie #4 Gingerbread Snowflakes
One of my personal favs...very yummy although they did get a little crispy for my liking...but good dunked in milk or coffee!! Yum Yumm...

Cookie # 5 Chocolate Crinkles
These are really yummy and fudgie, but messy due to the powdered sugar that they are coated in!!

The final decorated gingerbread cookies...they were made for a Senior Art Preview Show that I was a part of!!

Cookie #6 Spritz Cookies. I did two different batches. One was the classic with almond flavoring. The other was vanilla and cinnamon. Both were very good, but I think I like the traditional much better.

Cookie #7 Maple Drops. These are a very cake-like cookie, light with amazing maple flavor. They are frosted with a browned butter maple frosting that is exquisite as well.

Cookie #8 Turtles. So simple. Just 3 pecan halves, melted caramel and melted chocolate. Not my favorite, but my mother loves them!

Cookie #9 Ting-a-lings or Haystacks. My mother grew up calling them Ting-a-lings, I know them as Haystacks. Whatever you call them, they are good and simple to make. Just chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and chow mein noodles. Yummy!

All on a platter, ready to eat!

**Recipes Coming Soon!!**

Gobble Gobble


~The Feast~

The wonderful turkey that we ate!

Mashed Potatoes

Stuffing! One of my favorites!!

Minnesota Grown wild rice with mushrooms and onions.
My mother is famous for these...i tried her recipe and it was amazing!!
Recipe here.

~The Desserts~

Cherry Pie

Homemade Apple Pie
(My second was good, but can be better!)

My attempt at my mothers chocolate pie. Made with an oil-based crust and rich chocolate filling. Very very yummy, but next time I would like less crumbly crust.

~Mom's Chocolate Pie~**
15 lg. marshmallows
1/2 c. milk
6 pk. reg. Hershey bars, plain
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 pt. whipping cream

Melt in microwave in a large microwave safe bowl the marshmallows, 5 chocolate bars, and milk. Stir every few min. to combine and to prevent burning; continue until complete combined and melted together. Cool. Whip the cream, add the vanilla and fold into the cooled chocolate mixture. Pour entire mixture into cooked and cooled pie shell. Grate remaining chocolate bar on top of filling. Chill in refrigerator until firm. Cut, serve, and enjoy!

The sunset that we ended our Thanksgiving day with...

What a georgous view...

Makes you appreciate life.

**Updated with recipes!!**

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I am busy...Call me bee...


There has been some time since my last post! I do apologize, but I have a ligetimate excuse! I am in school and it is the end of the year...and that can only equate to one answer...FINALS!! Oh yeah, guess what one of my finals is? Guess? Yeah, a gallery show! Not a solo show, it is with me and 9 other amazing artists...but its stressful to get work done! Especially if you are in another state for half of that time!

I was in North Carolina visiting the Hubby other the Thanksgiving holiday! It was wonderful! I got to cook, bake, stuff my belly, relax with hubby, and play with twin boys under 2 years old! Can life get more perfect!?!?! I think not!

With being out in NC, Hubby likes for me to cook for him....and boy did I ever! I cooked many scrumptious goodies for Turkey Day, but that will come in another post...In this one I will share with you the best that I made. (or what I took photos of!)

First off, lets start with some chicken wings...BBQ ones to be exact. Hubbs and I had just gotten done working out, and he had a craving for some finger licking goodness! (not the colonel) So, I experimented with a recipe right out of my head! It turned out wonderful and moist, just like good chicken should!

~Baked BBQ Chicken Wings~

1 pkg. whole chicken wings (about 8 pieces), thawed

1 1/2 c. flour

2 tsp. seasoning salt
2 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 bottle BBQ sauce

Preheat the oven to 375. Spray a large glass baking dish with cooking spray. Place the flour into a medium mixing bowl and add the seasoning salt, chili powder, and garlic powder. Set aside. Take the chicken wings and separate the wing from the drummy by cutting at the joint. Also cut off the wing tip and discard. Coat the pieces in the flour mixture and lay into a single row in the baking dish. Cook in oven for about 15 min. then flip the wings. Bake for another 10 min. and cover with BBQ sauce. Bake for about another 30-40 min. or until the wings are tender and the juices run clear. Remove from oven, let cool for a min. and transfer to a plate and cover with remaining BBQ sauce from the baking dish. enjoy!

These turned out very yummy indeed and they were demolished. Next time I would used more spice and crisp them up a little more. (The top heating element in our oven does not work) The spice measurements are just a guideline, use whichever ones that you like and add as much or as little as you please!

Our Last meal...

~Steamed Asparagus~
1 bunch asparagus
2 thin slabs of butter
2-3 tbsp. water
Pinch of salt and pepper

Place the asparagus in a shallow bowl and pour the water into the bottom. Season with salt and pepper and place the butter on top of the asparagus. Steam for about 2-3 min. and then stir. If needed, steam for another few min. They should be green and crisp, but cooked. Season again before serving if desired.

~Greek Salad~
1 lg. tomato
1 lg. cucumber
1 pt. pitted kalamata olives
8 oz. feta cheese
1 16 oz. jar pepperoncini peppers
1 8.5 oz. jar Tuscan flavored olive oil
1 med. red onion*
1 lg. red or green pepper*

Chop up the tomato, cucumber, and green or red peppers into bite sized pieces. Place into a large bowl. Slice the red onion into thin rings and cut off the top of the pepperoncini peppers. Add them to the bowl. Add the olives and crumble the feta cheese over the top. Pour the bottle of olive oil over the entire salad. Toss to coat. Let cool in the refrigerator for a few min. to let the flavors mingle. Serve and enjoy!

*We did not use these ingredients in our salad, but they are other classic greek additions to salads. Next time I will add them!

~Seasoned Crescent Rolls~
1 pkg. reduced fat crescent rolls
garlic powder
garlic salt
italian seasoning

Preheat the oven to temp on crescent roll package. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or tin foil and spray with cooking spray. Undo half of the crescent rolls and lay out flat on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with garlic salt and powder, and italian seasoning. Roll up and sprinkle with a little more of each seasoning. Repeat for the remaining rolls. Bake for 10-12 min. or until golden brown. Enjoy!

Again...these spices are just what I used because I was in a garlicky mood. Use whatever you like and enjoy! Duh!!

~Herbed Grilled Chicken~
1 pkg. boneless skinless chicken breasts, thawed
1/2 c. olive oil
garlic salt
garlic powder
onion powder
dried oregano
dried basil

Slice the chicken lengthwise through the middle to get 6 thin breast pieces. In a deep tuperware container pour the olive oil and the seasionings and herbs. Use as much or as little as you like! Stir to coat the chicken and store in the fridge for at least 30 min. Take chicken out and cook over med. heat, covered, for about 3-4 min. per side. Test for doneness, if inside is not pink and juices run clear they are done. Enjoy!

~Cinnamon Biscuits~
1 2/2 c. AP flour
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. vegetable oil
2 tbsp. milk
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
Combine the first 5 ingredients in a large bowl and mix untl combined. Add more milk if needed. Turn out onto a floured surface and roll into a rectangle about 1/4 in. thick. Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Make sure this mixture is a more cinnamon-y than your standard cinnamon-sugar mixture. Roll the long way into a log and slice into 1 in. pieces. Place in a muffin tin and bake at 375 for about 10-15 min. or until tender and sightly browned. The frosting I made was just powdered surgar, milk and some vanilla extract.

On a side note...

Apparantly I make really good cheesy eggs! Hubby had some every day that I was visiting him in NC. I make them like this:

Whip some eggs together in a bowl with a fork. Add a little bit of milk (more if you have more eggs) and whip again. Pour into a heated pan sprayed with nonstick spray. Scramble the eggs. Add the cheese on top of the almost done eggs and cover with a lid for a few seconds. Uncover and mix until all the cheese is melted. Serve and enjoy!

Cheesy Eggs!