Friday, December 28, 2012

Homemade cocoa powder brownies with praline topping

Yummy!! One word to describe these brownies! My dad is quite the picky eater and rated these a 10 on his scale.

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup white sugar
1t vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4t baking powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F 
Grease a 9x9 inch baking pan. 
In a medium bowl, mix together the oil, sugar, and vanilla. Beat in eggs. Stop mixer and add in flour, turn mixer onto slow and then add in baking powder in bits to ensure that it is combined throughout. Add in cocoa, gradually stir into the egg mixture until well blended.  Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan. 
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the brownie begins to pull away from edges of pan. 

Praline Topping: by the way super quick and super easy. I topped the brownies after they cooled for about 10 minutes which made the topping easy to spread. You can make the topping ahead of time and spread when ready, it is quite pliable. 
5 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup brown sugar packed
1T vanilla
2T water
2 cups confectioners sugar

In a medium sauce pan melt butter over medium low heat, add in brown sugar and stir until bubbly. Turn off heat and add in vanilla and water, the mixture will thicken quite a bit, add in 1 cup of sugar and stir with wisk until blended, add in 2nd cup and blend again. 
Easy Peasy!!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Red Pepper Risotto for One

I cannot tell you how much I love Risotto however most recipes make enough for a family of 6. My husband is not quite a fan of the dish however so I have worked to par it down and make a portion for 1 or 2 servings depending on how much self control you have. As you can tell from the title of the recipe, I have no self control when it comes to Risotto.
People tend to be intimidated by the process of Risotto or shall I say, "the fecking Risotto!" as per chef Ramsey, however it is not hard it just requires time, patience and a watchful eye.

2T olive oil
1/4 cup onion minced
1/2 cup red bell pepper minced
1/2 cup Risotto
1/2 White wine- I use a moscato or Riesling  (or more if you crave the tart taste)
2 cups chicken broth
1/4- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (more or less to taste)

In a sauce pan heat oil on low medium heat, add onions until translucent, add red pepper for about 8 minutes until they start to appear translucent.
Add in the dry risotto and stir, coating with oil until all of the risotto appears coated. Add in the wine and stir until the wine begins to be absorbed by the risotto however do not let the risotto get dry or even close to dry, this is a creamy dish so the key to cooking it is to keep it creamy but not dry.
Now here is the trick for a good risotto, STIRRING! Just listen to your inner Julia Childs and keep stirring while the dish is cooking.
Add in the chicken broth 1 cup at a time until it appears that the risotto has absorbed a majority of it, keeping in mind the creamy consistency of the dish. This process should take about 20-30 minutes in total when it comes to the absorption rate, you want to keep the heat at a medium to low medium where if you stop stirring the mix begins to bubble but isn't boiling.
Once you are starting to question if the dish is done, add in the parm cheese and stir to blend.
Take pan off of the heat and serve!!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Serum poppy seed thumb prints

One of my co-workers brought these into work and I knew I had to make them at home! Her recipe is a little different with the amount of flour and poppy seeds but the cookies are still just as good! Her mother lives in Wisconsin and was gracious enough to let me see her family recipe! Thanks Momma Serum!

1c softened butter
1 c sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 c flour
2 Tbls poppy seeds
2 Tbls powdered sugar

Raspberry jelly
Heat oven to 350*
With a mixer blend the butter and sugar  on medium speed until fluffy, add in egg and vanilla. Lower speed and add in baking powder, poppy seeds and flour 1c at a time until well blended.

Once the dough has formed into a large mass you're ready!
Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and place on a greased cookie sheet press your thumb 3/4 way into the cookie. If you don't press down far/ hard enough when the dough rises slightly during baking your thumb print will disappear.  Bake for 10-11 minutes until the bottoms are just golden brown.
Once they are out of of the oven sprinkle with powdered sugar. When cookies are cool before serving place jelly into a quart sized Ziploc bag, clip one corner and squeeze a small amount into each thumb print! ENJOY!!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Pan Seared Garlic Honey Chicken

This recipe I threw together one night after searching Pinterest and not having anything pop out at me. It's the BEST!!

4 chicken breasts thawed and pounded to 1/8 inch
2 large eggs beaten
2 cups flour
1 T paprika
1 T parsley
1t black pepper

On the stove heat 2T oil in a skillet on medium high heat. Place 2 large eggs in a bowl and beat lightly. On a plate combine flour, paprika, parsley and black pepper. Take chicken pieces and dip into flour and then egg wash, place on skillet. I use a splatter screen to protect my hands. Cook chicken on both sides about 4-5 minutes until golden seared and cooked throughout.
While chicken is cooking it's time to make the sauce!!

1T oil
1 minced clove of garlic
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1C honey

In a small sauce pan heat 1T oil on medium low heat, add minced garlic until lightly sauteed. Add in soy sauce, honey and stir until bubbling lightly. Once it begins to bubble remove mixture from heat and pour over chicken.


Cranberry and Cream Cheese spread

This is totally one of my winter favorites. I usually bring this to holidays where an appetizer is required and people rave over it! The recipe makes enough for 2 appetizers so if you have a big group it's great or if it's a small group save it for the next gathering!

1 bag Oceanspray Cranberries
1 cup apple cider
1 cup sugar
1t ground cloves
1t cinnamon

1 block of cream cheese

In a medium sauce pan combine Cranberries, cider, sugar, cloves and cinnamon. Bring to a boil on medium heat for about 10 minutes until cranberries begin to pop. Once you hear them pop using a potato masher, smoosh the berries into a nice jelly like consistency.
I usually cool to room temperature and pour 1/2 of the mixture over a block of cream cheese.
If you have a large group go ahead and use 2 blocks of cream cheese and pour mixture over both.
Enjoy!! Serve with crackers

Monday, November 19, 2012

Banana Nutmeg Muffins

Whip these up on a Sunday night and they will be ready for the week's breakfasts on the go! These are super easy and quick to make but I'll warn you, they are hard to resist so you may need to make 2 batches. 

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar packed
2 teaspoons nutmeg
3 bananas, mashed
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup chocolate chip morsels

Heat oven to 375*, line muffin pan with non stick spray or paper muffin liners.
Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, white and brown sugars and nutmeg in mixer for 1 min on low (as to not spray flower in your face), add in bananas, egg and butter, mix for 1 min on medium or until thoroughly blended.
Pour ¼ cup of mix into muffin tin and bake for 18-23 minutes or until toothpick is inserted and comes out clean.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

3 cheese macaroni

I needed a quick meal to make during Frakenstorm before we lost power so here is what I whipped up!!
Prep time: 5 min to dice Gouda cheese
Cook time: 40 minutes

1lb macaroni
1/3 cup butter
3T flour
2 cups of milk
1lb Gouda Cheese cut into small pieces
13 slices of American Cheese
1 cup of shredded Cheddar Cheese
Bread crumbs
1 pint cherry tomatoes

Preheat oven to 365*. Spray a glass baking dish with Pam. Bring water to a boil on the stove for macaroni, while water is waiting to boil begin to create cheese sauce.

In a separate pot on the stove melt butter on medium low heat and add flour, stir until blended and then add milk to create a nice rue. Once milk and butter mixture have blended add in Gouda cheese pieces and turn heat to medium. Maintain stirring the cheese and milk mixture. Once Gouda has melted add in both American cheese and Cheddar cheese to cheese sauce. Add cherry tomatoes if desired to cheese mixture.
Add macaroni to water once boiling and cook as directed on box.

Once both the cheese mixture and macaroni are cooked pour the cheese sauce into the pot with macaroni. Stir until blended and then transfer into oven safe pan. Top with bread crumbs and cover with tin foil. Bake in over for 20 minutes or until bubbling.

I added a side of fresh broccoli steamed in the microwave which I cooked once the macaroni was done baking and cooling on the stove to eat.


Front door welcoming bench

When you come in my house through the front door there was an empty space so I decided to make it functional!

I refurbished an old coffee table from my parents,
bought a foam pad from JoAnn's for cushioning, fabric that was on clearance
 2 plastic bins and 3 coordinating pillows from the Christmas Tree Shop ... here we go!

I didn't make the fabric permanently attached to the foam pad for the reason that I may want to change the pattern for future decor and I want to be able to wash the fabric if it gets dirty.
I also purchased the two plastic bins so that if they get splashed with muddy shoes I can easily wipe them down.
So simple:
Place the foam on top of the coffee table and cover with fabric as you would a flat sheet, you could probably also use a fitted sheet for a more taught look. Place the pillows on the bench and bins underneath to hold mittens, hats, scarves!!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Creamy veggie chicken skillet with biscuits

Yummy! I made this recipe one night on a whim and it takes about 30 minutes to prepare... super easy and creamy!

2 cooked and cubed chicken breasts
1 bag frozen veggies
4oz chive cream ceese
4oz garden veggie cream cheese
1 pkg flaky dinner biscuits

Place biscuits in the oven as directed and cook
In a skillet turn burner to low and put cream cheese and chicken in the skillet, stirring until chicken is coated
While chicken is warming put frozen veggies in a microwave safe bowl for 5 minutes to heat
Once veggies have cooked drain water and stir into chicken and cream cheese mixture

 Serve and it and enjoy!!

Friday, November 9, 2012

New kitchen decor!

I saw this idea on Pinterest so here is our take...

I used

1 pack of sharpie markers mini from Joanns which were $12
2 plates from the dollar store and 2 mugs that are microwave safe
1 2 year old
2 1 year olds

Wash the plates and mugs, remove stickers on the bottom
Let them color but not eat the markers
Bake at 350* for 30 minutes

Baby room

When we moved into our forever home I decided to paint my daughter's room with a giraffe theme, I searched the net and didn't find many ideas that were geared towards soft baby themes so here is what I threw together...

I painted her entire room a soft lavender and then I used one wall as the accent wall where I then used the Gobi Dessert paint color from Home Depot to add in the spots. I found it was best to start with a piece of paper and practice drawing the spots until I was comfortable, and believe it or not it was worth it. Notice that the spots have soft edges and are somewhat more square than circular in shape. I then drew the spots on the wall in groups at a time and went back and filled them in once I thought they looked nice.
 On the opposite wall I used a wall decal from etsy Janey Mac that was a mother and baby giraffe in the sage green color and then once I received the decal in the mail I took that to Home Depot and used that to match accent paint colors for her dresser, book case and bought sheets to match.

MMMM I made these last easter and they were a hit at daycare and at our family holiday celebration!

  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour, not self-rising
  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt; mix on low speed until combined. Add butter, mixing until just coated with flour.
    2. In a large glass measuring cup, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla. With mixer on medium speed, add wet ingredients in 3 parts, scraping down sides of bowl before each addition; beat until ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat.
    3. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling about 2/3 full. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 17 to 20 minutes.
    4. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat process with remaining batter. Once cupcakes have cooled, use a small offset spatula to frost tops of each cupcake. Decorate with sprinkles, if desired. Serve at room temperature.
     This recipe is from Martha Stewart's website!
Home made vanilla butter cream frosting, directions are on the back of the confectioner sugar bag. 

2 cups of shredded coconut 
1 Large Ziploc bag
4 drops green food coloring

Once cupcakes are frosted dip into the bag to top cupcakes with coconut then garnish with candy, I used cadbury mini eggs.


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Easy Cheesy Stuffed Peppers

MMM This is obviously an all time favorite of many people so this recipe isn't a variation but just how I throw the meal together quickly...

1 lb Ground turkey
1T Worcestershire sauce
 1/2 t italian seasoning
1/2t garlic powder
1 jar sauce
4 large red bell peppers tops and seeds removed
2 slices of American cheese


Pre-heat oven to 375*, use large skillet on medium heat and add ground turkey, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder and italian seasoning, mix until turkey is cooked throughout.
Spray a glass oven safe pan with cooking spray and add 1/2c of sauce to cover bottom of pan.  Place 4 peppers in the pan standing up and using a large spoon fill 1/2 way with ground turkey mixture. Rip cheese slices into quarters and put 1 square in each pepper on top of turkey mixture, layer more turkey on top of cheese until pepper is full, with second square of American cheese rip into quarters again and place on top of turkey mixture, pressing down a bit to seal top of pepper. Bake for 45 minutes...
Around 25 minutes left for the peppers to bake I am putting rice on the stove as a side.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Crockpot Cheesy Chicken Tacos

I found this recipe on for crockpot chicken so I made it, however as usual when I go to make tacos we have no taco seasoning so here is my take and it's awesome!!

1 jar of mild salsa (or temperature to your likeing)
2 thawed and trimmed chicken breasts
1 jar of black beans
1T paprika
1T cumin
1t garlic powder
1t black pepper
1cup of mozzarella cheese

Pam crockpot (make it easier for cleaning later)
Mix salsa, chicken, spices and black beans in crockpot and stir with a spoon. Cook for 6-8 hours on low or 4-6 hours on high.

5 minutes before serving mix in 1cup of mozzarella cheese

I also cooked a side of yellow rice.
Top with your faves

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Dijon Chicken with Roasted Potatoes and Green Beans

My grandmother made this recipe a month or two ago and I can't seem to find the recipe posted online. She said she got it out of Good Housekeeping magazine from 2003.

4 Chicken breasts trimmed
1 Bag of small red potatoes
1lb of fresh green beans
2T Dijon mustard
2T Olive oil
1t Black pepper
1/4cup Dijon mustard

Heat oven to 375*
In a large mixing bowl mix the 2T dijon mustard, olive oil and black pepper. Clean the potatoes and green beans, trimming ends as needed. Toss the potatoes and beans into the mixture of mustard, oil and pepper.
Place the mixture in a large casserole dish. In the mixing bowl add the 4 chicken breasts and 1/4cup of dijon mustard. Toss until chicken has been slathered.
Place chicken breasts on top of the veggies in the casserole dish
Cook for 35-40minutes until the chicken juices run clear.

Cookies and Cream Frappe

So I am a very observant person and took it upon myself to learn the recipe for the cookie and cream frappe at Wegmans. Here is what I have gathered thus far and then created... if you also have been an eager beaver and tried to re-create their recipe let me know!!

16oz cup
Ice cubes (about 1 to 1 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup milk
4 sandwich cookies of your choice
2 T vanilla pudding
Whipped Cream

Fill cup with ice cubes, add milk to the cup, the milk should be about 1/2 way up the cup with ice in the cup. Pour mixture into a blender. Add 4 cookies of your choice (I used the Wegmans Vanilla Sandwich Cookies as well as the Wegmans Chocolate Sandwich Cookies) Add 2T of vanilla pudding.

Put your blender on pulse or blend to break the ice into small chips that won't get stuck in a straw
Top it with whipped cream!