2.16.2009

TWD: Made but not posted...

I made this week's recipe a few weeks ago for my mother-in-law's birthday party and she loved, loved, loved it. So, why am I not posting a photo. Well, my computer's hard drive is corrupt and it has been sent back to HP. They said I won't have it back for at least a week. Right now, I am working off of a loner and am not able to download photos. So, give me a few days and it will be up. I also made a great coconut cake that I plan to post soon.

2.02.2009

TWD: World Peace Cookies

I have been a follower of Jess at Cookbook Habit for quite some time. It's a great site, she has a toddler and I can always count on her for a good recipe. So, I knew that her recipe for Tuesdays with Dorie would be an awesome choice. And it was. It was so incredibly easy, but I must admit that I took out eggs in anticipation that I would need to crack one. Nope.

I cut the recipe in half and gave the majority of them to my MIL who loves everything chocolate. I kept a few for my little boy to surprise him with a treat in his lunch box. Only one left, much to my chagrin.


I will definately make these again -- super easy and super delicious.

1.21.2009

BB: Banana Sour Cream Pancakes

These pancakes were delicious and I can't wait to make them again this weekend. I love introducing my son to so many new taste and guessing whether or not he will even put the fork to his mouth. He loved these and asked for more -- yep, that made me smile like you wouldn't believe.

Since I have some extra sour cream, can anyone guess what I am going to make for breakfast on Sunday. Anyone, anyone?

Banana Sour Cream Pancakes

1 1/2 cups flour
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 cup plus
1 tablespoon milk
2 extra-large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Unsalted butter
2 ripe bananas, diced, plus extra for serving
Pure maple syrup

Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream, milk, eggs, vanilla, and lemon zest. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones, mixing only until combined.

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat until it bubbles. Ladle the pancake batter into the pan to make 3 or 4 pancakes. Distribute a rounded tablespoon of bananas on each pancake. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until bubbles appear on top and the underside is nicely browned. Flip the pancakes and then cook for another minute until browned. Wipe out the pan with a paper towel, add more butter to the pan, and continue cooking pancakes until all the batter is used. Serve with sliced bananas, butter and maple syrup.

BB: Easy Sticky Buns

I love how all of Ina's recipes live up to there names, especially this one. It was so very easy. I made it the night before (at 9:30 p.m.) and it took me less than 10 minutes. Gotta love it. I woke up the next morning, popped them in the oven and immediately devoured them after 30 minutes of baking.

Everyone loved them and I even took some to my parents (my continued effort to enjoy all of this delicious food without packing on the pounds). My mom is amazed with my increasingly good culinary skills -- I don't have the guts to out myself and let her in on my secret that Ina is my no-fail gal.

Easy Sticky Buns
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup pecans, chopped in very large pieces
1 package (17.3 ounces/2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, defrosted

For the filling
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup raisins

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place a 12-cup standard muffin tin on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the 12 tablespoons butter and 1/3 cup brown sugar. Place 1 rounded tablespoon of the mixture in each of the 12 muffin cups. Distribute the pecans evenly among the 12 muffin cups on top of the butter and sugar mixture.

Lightly flour a wooden board or stone surface. Unfold one sheet of puff pastry with the folds going left to right. Brush the whole sheet with half of the melted butter. Leaving a 1-inch border on the puff pastry, sprinkle each sheet with 1/3 cup of the brown sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the cinnamon, and 1/2 cup of the raisins. Starting with the end nearest you, roll the pastry up snugly like a jelly roll around the filling, finishing the roll with the seam side down.

Trim the ends of the roll about 1/2 inch and discard. Slice the roll in 6 equal pieces, each about 1 1/2 inches wide. Place each piece, spiral side up, in 6 of the muffin cups. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry to make 12 sticky buns.

Bake for 30 minutes, until the sticky buns are golden to dark brown on top and firm to the touch. Allow to cool for 5 minutes only, invert the buns onto the parchment paper (ease the filling and pecans out onto the buns with a spoon), and cool completely.

1.19.2009

Tweet! Tweet! & Menu Planning Through Google

Tonight I am all a twitter. Yep, you guessed it. I am on Twitter. I heard about it a year ago at a work conference and didn't quite understand it. I am still not sure that I understand it, but I thought I would give it a whirl.

So, if you are on Twitter, say hi (look for the link in my sidebar). I have three followers already. Woo hoo. I am a popular gal, don't ya know.

Menu Planning Through Google Calendar
I have been busy experimenting with iGoogle this weekend. I have decided to try meal planning through Google Calendar and I gotta admit, it's kinda cool. I have my calendar set so that it sends me the link to the night's recipe that I want to use. I can't take credit for being this tech-savvy...I just ran across a web site, thanks to Mommy Snacks that gave me the idea. I think it may just be one of my all time new favorites for inspiring me to be organized. If you like to be organized, you will love Simple Mom. She is awesome and I am already a fan of her daily docket -- although a weekly docket meets my needs much better. If y'all check her out and love her as much as I do....leave me a comment -- I love sharing great web sites and that I find.

See ya'll soon.

1.11.2009

Chicken and Dumplings

I am a little ashamed to say that tonight's recipe was courtesy of Jessica Simpson. Yes, the same Jessica Simpson that didn't know that Chicken of the Sea was tuna.

While on vacation, I was able to catch up on some old reruns of Rachel Ray and watched them make chicken and dumplings. My husband chuckled when I mentioned it was Jessica's recipe but he devoured it and then made a container for his lunch tomorrow. My only recommendation is to add a lot more chicken to it, I ended up heating up some of the leftover chicken that was in the fridge. I am not sure that this is the best recipe out there, but it's all I know. So, if you have a good recipe that will beat this one, let me know. I wanna try it.

Jessica Simpson's Chicken and Dumplings
3 rolls of reduced-fat croissant rolls, divided (recommended brand Pillsbury)
1 small rotisserie chicken, skin discarded and meat removed from bones
1 can of low-sodium, reduced-fat cream of chicken soup
1 can of low-sodium, reduced-fat cream of mushroom soup
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
Salt and ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400ºF.

Roll out the cans of croissant sheets and separate into diamond shaped sections. Place a small handful of rotisserie chicken on each diamond, fold dough over and press ends together to create dumplings. Cut up any excess dough into strips.

Line a 9x13" baking dish with one layer of dumplings. Pour the can of cream of chicken soup over the layer of dumplings, followed by the can of cream of mushroom soup, and chicken broth.

Place strips in a crisscross pattern on the top of the dumplings and soup mixture, season dish with salt and ground black pepper and bake until the dumplings are tender and cooked through and the top is bubbly and brown, about 30 minutes.

TWD: French Pear Tart

My post for Tuesdays with Dorie is almost a week late because I didn't have a tart pan. I know, I know, I didn't have to have one, but I wanted to half the recipe because I have gained about five pounds since starting this blog. As a result, I have started back running. Anyway, I digress...

I bought small tarts plans and I am so glad that I did. They are were so cute, so small, so everything. These tarts were so good. I devoured one as soon as they came out of the oven. I think this is my favorite dessert I have made from Dorie's book. No wonder she picked it. Go check out Dorie's own creation and the original recipe at her blog.

1.05.2009

TWD: It's gonna be a tad late...

I was very excited about this week's Tuesdays with Dorie challenge -- French Pear Tart. After all, Dorie choose this week's recipe, so it must be a personal favorite. However, on Sunday when I sat down to "think" about the recipe I realized I don't have a tart pan. I have some free time after lunch tomorrow and am going to buy one. So..it's gonna be late. Sorry, everyone. You would think that the word "tart" would have been a tip off that I would need a tart pan. Ummmm....not so much. Look for it this weekend.

1.04.2009

Organized in '09

2009 is off to a decent start -- I have resolutions but haven't gotten gung ho about them yet. I am so not ready to diet but if I continue Tuesdays with Dorie I have no choice. I am also in hard core organization mode.

Let's go back to my diet. I have gained five pounds since starting this blog. For Christmas I scored mini baking tins so that I can quarter the recipe, meet the criteria, and pass on the calories. I am also going back to the gym and am disheartened to admit that the only way I will lose weight is to run. I hate running! I tore my ACL snow skiing and my knees have never been the same. Enough wallering in my weight... oh yeah, I am going to drink more water. Ick.

I have been an organizing fool for the last week. I hired someone to come in and deep clean my house and it was an amazing experience. I highly recommend it! It didn't cost a fortune and keeping my house clean doesn't feel so daunting.

Anyway... in my quest to get organized, I found this awesome Web site that focuses on getting ready for the holidays. Too bad I found it on January 1. As I was surfing, I found charts for getting your pantry and freezer organized. I printed it and must admit that I love it. I now know what items I am stocked up on and as a result I don't buy more. I have way more brown sugar than the average person needs.

They have a lot of other templates, including one for chores (yep, I am developing a weekly chore list too). Now, if I can just remember to go back to the Web site in October, I will really be organized.

Red Velvet Cake Balls

So... I am a little late on posting about one my holiday hits. I decided to enjoy my vacation and took a break from everything. I gotta admit it was great. As were the cake balls that I made and shared with my office, my family, my dog...anyone who wanted to try one. The verdict: everyone would say how delicious they were while the dessert was still in their mouth. I take that as a good sign, no matter how disgusting it might sound.

I started making these at around 7 p.m one night and started melting the chocolate at around 9 p.m. I ran out of the lighter cholocate and went to the semi-sweet -- not as tasty. Needless to say, these weren't the prettiest things, although with a little more patience I know they would have been. Honestly, I just wanted to clean the kitchen and go to bed.

I think these delicious cake balls might become a holiday tradition. I have big plans to try the Oreo truffles in 2009 (I bought a package but we ate them before I could make them.)
Thanks, Bakerella, for making me look like a super-star.

Red Velvet Cake Balls
1 box red velvet cake mix (cook as directed on box for 13 X 9 cake)
1 can cream cheese frosting (16 oz.)
1 package chocolate bark (regular or white chocolate)
wax paper

After cake is cooked and cooled completely, crumble into large bowl. Mix thoroughly with 1 can cream cheese frosting. (It may be easier to use fingers to mix together, but be warned it will get messy.) Roll mixture into quarter size balls and lay on cookie sheet. (Should make 45-50. You can get even more if you use a mini ice cream scooper, but I like to hand roll them.) Chill for several hours. (You can speed this up by putting in the freezer.)

Melt chocolate in microwave per directions on package. Roll balls in chocolate and lay on wax paper until firm. (Use a spoon to dip and roll in chocolate and then tap off extra.)