October 31, 2012

Basic Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

It's that time of year for all things pumpkin! Now is the time to break out all those recipes you've been wanting to try with pumpkin as the star ingredient.  Carving pumpkins has been on everyone's list this week whether you have kids or not.  What's more fun then showing off your artistic abilities and then illuminating them with fire!  You just can't get away with that any other time of year.  It's a shame isn't it? Well don't throw those pumpkin seeds away, they make a mighty tasty snack.

Basic Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

  • Pumpkin seeds, washed and dried
  • salt (or whatever seasonings you like)
  • 2 tsp butter
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees
  2. Melt the butter and pour over the seeds.  Coat them completely. 
  3. Spread the seeds out in and even layer (no overlapping) on a cookie sheet covered in tin foil. 
  4. Sprinkle with salt. 
  5. Bake until the seeds are golden brown.  Let cool slightly before eating. 

October 30, 2012

Witch's Hat's

Are you looking for a quick and easy snack for the kids or for a work treat? Here's one!  Found on Pinterest of course.  So simple and the kids loved them.  

These are great for kids to help you with.  Just apply the frosting to the bottom of a Hershey's Kiss and then let them place it in the center of the cookie!

Witch's Hat's

  • 1 package fudge striped shortbread cookies
  • 1 package hershey's kisses
  • 1 tube orange frosting
Cooking Directions
  1. Turn all of the cookies upside down so the stripe side is on the bottom.
  2. line the bottom of a Hershey's Kiss with a ring of orange frosting and place frosting side down in the middle of the cookie. Press down slightly so the frosting pokes out from under the kiss.
  3. Let dry before stacking.

October 29, 2012

Spicy Sausage, Chicken and Bean Pot

This little stew has by dad's name written all over it.  Three meats and lots of spice.  I'm sort of a spice wuss but I decided to give this a try anyway.  I really liked how flavorful it was and it hardly took any time to make.  It was definitely spicy and when I make it again I'll probably tone that down a bit by using a sweet Italian sausage instead but other than that it was exactly what I was looking for. 

I used chicken breasts because that's what I had on hand but next time I'd like to try the thighs as originally called for. The broth in this has such a great flavor and I loved the beans.  I might even add more beans next time.

Perfect cold weather meal here, give it a try!

Spicy Sausage, Chicken and Bean Pot
Modified slightly from Everyday with Rachael Ray September 2007

  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 pound bulk hot Italian sausage
  • 3/4 pound andouille sausage, cut on an angle into 1-inch lengths
  • 1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs cut into thirds
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 to 4 ribs celery, thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 - 15.5 ounce cans cannellini beans
  • 1 - 15.5 ounce can chicken broth
  • 5 to 6 sprigs sage, leaves cut into thin strips and stems discarded
Cooking Directions
  1. Use a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat.
  2. Crumble the Italian sausage and brown lightly, about 3 minutes. Add the andouille and cook until crisp on the edges, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Drain on a paper towel lined plate.
  4. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add to the pot. Cook until browned on both sides. About 2 minutes per side.
  5. Add the onion, celery, carrots and bay leaf, season with salt and pepper and cook until softened, about 7-8 minutes.
  6. Add the wine and simmer until nearly dry, about 5 minutes.
  7. Return the sausages to the pot and add the cannellini beans, chicken broth and sage then cook until heated.

**The original recipe had a bread crumb topping, here is the recipe for that**
  • 1/2 baguette
  • 3 Tbsp butter, melted
  • Flat leaf parsley, chopped (a generous handful)
  • 3 to 4 sprigs thyme, leaves chopped and stems discarded
  1. Preheat the broiler. 
  2. Use a food processor to coarsely chop the baguette.  Toss the bread with the melted butter, parsley and thyme. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Scatter the bread mixture over the sausage and chicken and broil until browned. 2 to 3 minutes. 

October 26, 2012

Gramma's Hobo Dinners

I'm always hesitant to post one of my gramma's recipes.  I don't know if I'm weird that way or if you can relate to that, but I wouldn't want to publish some "top secret" recipe and get busted by my relatives so I try to keep the family recipes down to a minimum if possible.  This recipe seemed pretty safe since it was already published in the cookbook you see below.

The cookbook is from the Brisbin Women's Club and the cover of this awesome cookbook was painted by a local artist Cheryl DePuy Murray.  Isn't it beautiful?  My gramma gave me this cookbook in 1998 and I've cooked so many recipes out of it that many pages are stained and that's one thing I love about it.  This is one of those treasures from my gramma and my hometown that I will cherish and then hand down to my daughter.

As you can see from the picture above, I already veered off the recipe and didn't cook the hamburger first.  Gramma's instructions clearly indicate you should form a patty, season and then brown.  I didn't.  Sorry gramma. 

Top each burger with onion rings.

Add some carrot

Next comes the potato (you can do this in whatever order you like, it makes no difference).

Top each patty with some butter, salt and pepper

Now wrap each packet up tightly in the tin foil so no juice can escape.

Bake and enjoy.

This little packet of goodness makes your house smell so good.  It's basically a really quick way to give everyone their very own pot roasts.  You can mix up the ingredients as much as you want and create your own favorites!

Gramma's Hobo Dinner
Marge Frelich

  • 1 pound hamburger
  • 1 large onion, sliced into thick slices
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and quartered
  • 1 can mushrooms, drained (or fresh)
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
Cooking Directions
  1. Cut four tin foil pieces into 1 foot squares.
  2. Patty the hamburger into 4 equal sized pieces. Season with salt and pepper. My gramma's recipe says to brown the burger on each side before adding it to the tin foil square but I forgot to do that.
  3. Add equal onion slices to each patty, add 2 potato pieces, 2 carrot pieces, mushrooms and salt and pepper to each tin foil square on top of the hamburger.
  4. Top each square with a piece of butter and fold the tin foil into a tight packet so no juices can escape.
  5. Bake at 375 degrees for one hour or until the potato is done. One hour was perfect when I cooked mine.

October 24, 2012

Betty Crocker's Apple Pie

Apple pie is one of those dishes that I think pretty much everyone can get behind.  I've been eating apples like crazy lately because, well it's the season for them and there are ton's of local apples available.  I made this pie out of some Winesap apples that I had never tried before but were excellent. I made some pumpkin apple bread from them too, which I already posted about here. My neighbor brought me some apples he picked in the mountains near us call Pink Lady and they were also delicious.  Granny Smith are traditional apple pie apples but since there are so many out there and it is the season for them, why not try something new? 

Make (or buy) enough crust for two pies. 

Cut the apples thinly and mix them with the flour/sugar mixture.

Pile up into the prepared crust and begin working on the second crust.

As you can see, my dough was too soft and therefore my lattice top looks pretty pathetic but you get the idea.

Even with my messed up lattice crust this pie cooked up amazing.  Lots of flavor from the cinnamon and nutmeg but not overpowering the apple flavor.  The sticky sauce that was created from the flour and sugar mixture also held this pie together nicely when cutting.  I cut this pie when it was still warm and you can see that it stayed in one nice piece.

Now's the time to make a nice fresh apple pie, don't you think? 

Betty Crocker's Apple Pie
"Betty Crocker's New Cookbook" 1996 edition

  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • dash salt
  • 8 cups thinly sliced, peeled tart apples
  • 2 Tbsp stick butter or margarine
Cooking Directions
  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees
  2. Mix sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Thinly slice 8 cups of a tart apple such as granny smith; I used Winesap. This would be about 8 medium sized apples.
  4. Pour the sugar mixture over the top of the sliced apples and coat evenly.
  5. Place one of your prepared costs on the bottom of a pie dish, leaving a little overlap around the edges. Pour the apples on top of the bottom crust. Dot the butter over the apples. Cover the apples with the other pie crust and cut slits on the top to let steam escape.
  6. Flute the edges of the pie crust and then cover the edges with some tin foil so they do not get over brown while baking.
  7. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until the crust is nicely browned. Remove the tin foil edging about 15 minutes prior to the finished baking time.

October 22, 2012

Dinner Club - Theme: Fall Foods

Big thank you to TiNeill for hosting our October Dinner Club.  I missed attending our September Dinner Club because I was sick so I'll thank Lisa for hosting that one as well.  I have no post for September however.  October dinner club was just a small group of us compared to some of the previous get-togethers because October is always super busy for everyone.  I loved the theme "Fall Foods".  We were instructed to either bring foods that had the Fall theme such as pumpkin, cranberry, apple and so on, or Halloween scary stuff.   Since TiNeill was this months host she made a delicious White Chicken Chili that you see above.  She also made a yummy Pumpkin Praline dessert that you see below.

Arriving at TiNeill's house was as it always is, which means her house is spotless and festive.  I really don't know how she manages to keep her house looking so good with a husband, two kids and a dog.  I aspire to be like that one day. Today is not that day though.

Crockpot Chicken Chili

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp minced garlic (about 3 cloves)
  • 2 cans white beans
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 can (4 oz) chopped green chilies
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 pkg ranch dressing mix, powder
  • 1 cup sour cream (I used light)
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
Cooking Directions
  1. Drain and rinse beans thoroughly and toss them in the crockpot. Add everything else except the sour cream and whipping cream. Stir a little bit and cook on low for 7-10 hours.
  2. Shred the chicken a little bit with two forks (this should be super easy - the chicken will be falling apart by this point). Stir in the sour cream and then the cream. Let sit for another 15 minutes or so to warm through. Serve.

Pecan Pumpkin Dessert

  • 2 cans (15 oz) each solid pack pumpkin
  • 1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 pkg (18 1/4 oz) yellow cake mix
  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
  • 1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 carton (12 oz) frozen whipped topping, thawed
Cooking Directions
  1. Line a 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking pan with waxed paper and coat the paper with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin, milk and sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle with cake mix and drizzle with butter. Sprinkle with pecans.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until golden brown. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Invert onto a large serving platter; carefully remove waxed paper. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, confectioners' sugar and vanilla until smooth. Fold in whipped topping. Frost dessert. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 16 servings.

Melissa Y brought some delicious Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars.  Seriously a must try if you're a cheesecake lover.  This one was found off of Pinterest. 

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
Cheesecake Filling
  • 3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cups + 2 Tbsp sugar, divided
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 Granny Smith Apples, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
Streusel Topping
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup caramel topping
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter with a pastry blender (or 2 forks) until mixture is crumbly. Press evenly into a 9x13 baking pan lined with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Bake 15 minutes or until lightly browned.
  3. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with 3/4 cup sugar in an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth. Then add eggs, 1 at a time, and vanilla. Stir to combine. Pour over warm crust.
  4. In a small bowl, stir together chopped apples, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Spoon evenly over cream cheese mixture.
  5. For the streusel topping:
  6. In a small bowl, combine all ingredients. I like to really combine it by using my clean hands to thoroughly combine the butter into the mixture.
  7. Sprinkle Streusel topping over apples. Bake 40-45 minutes, or until filling is set. Drizzle with caramel topping and let cool. Serve cold and enjoy! Makes 16 servings.
Lisa F was in attendance as well and she brought Macaroni and Cheese and Apple Cider.  I didn't photograph the Macaroni and Cheese because the recipe is top secret and I couldn't post it anyway.  She could have told me but then she would have had to kill me (name that movie). I just wanted to tell Lisa that it was cooked perfectly. ;)

I bought this cranberry salad and thought it was very good.  It reminded me of a salad that both TiNeill and I used to have growing up that was green and had crushed pineapple and mini marshmallows too.  Can't remember what it was called but man it was good.  I really liked this salad and in many of the reviews that I read for it people were using this to replace the regular cranberry sauce they usually served with Thanksgiving dinner.  Not a bad idea!  

Fresh Cranberry Salad
modified slightly from Allrecipes

  • 1 pound bag cranberries
  • 2 cups sugar (I used slightly less)
  • 8 ounces miniature marshmallows
  • 1 can (20 ounces) crushed pineapple with juice
  • 1 1/2 cups red grapes, halved
  • 1 cup whipped cream, unsweetened
Cooking Directions
  1. The day before the dish is needed - place the fresh cranberries in a food processor or a blender and coarsely chop. pour in the granulated sugar and put in an airtight container overnight.
  2. In a large bowl about 30 minutes before you plan to serve it place the chopped cranberry and sugar mixture and mix in the pineapple, marshmallows and red grape halves.
  3. Right before you are ready to serve, fold in the unsweetened whipped cream.

October 19, 2012

Frontier Burger

It's grill season again in the South.  Isn't it funny how everywhere else in America it's grill season in the summer but it's too hot here, so I break out the grill in the Fall.  I pretty much just hide in the house or at the pool for the summer months around here.  Growing up in Montana made me less able to stay cool when it's hot....or maybe it had nothing to do with growing up on Montana.  I like to tell people that story, they always agree with me. Heeheehee

Either way, October is my month!  Regardless of where I'm at I always feel like I am at my most ambitious in October.  It doesn't hurt that it's followed by all the most awesome holiday's.  I like to break out paint and do projects.  It also explains why my daughter's middle name is Autumn. :)

I've been making this burger with all different types of ground meat and sometimes even mixing the meats for years.  It's basically like a meatloaf in burger form.  This is really more of a method then a recipe so feel free to change it up. 

I feel like the A1 sauce is essential in these burgers.  It just adds a tanginess that can't be duplicated.

I recently made a pretty spectacular dipping sauce that would be heaven on one of these burgers.  I promise to post about that very soon.

Frontier Burger

  • 1 pound ground beef or turkey (or any ground meat or a mixture of several)
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1 Tbsp A1 sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs *only if using a lean meat*
  • 1/3 cup grated cheese of your choice, I use sharp cheddar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • Optional red pepper flakes, Tabasco sauce
Cooking Directions
  1. In a medium bowl add all of the ingredients.
  2. Use your hands or a sturdy wood spoon to mix all of the ingredients together.
  3. Divide the meat mixture into 4 even amounts and patty.
  4. Cook over medium heat in a skillet or griddle for about 5 minutes on each side.
  5. Top with cheese during the last 3 minutes of cooking on the second side.

October 17, 2012

Chunky Apple Pumpkin Bread

We've been super busy around here trying to get ready for a big neighborhood wide garage sale coming up this weekend and you know what it's made me realize? I hold on to WAY too much stuff.  We have our garage almost filled with stuff for the sale and it doesn't really even look like it made much of a dent in my house.  I was expecting entire rooms to be empty but nope, that's not what happened. Oh well, hopefully some other families find all my old baby stuff useful.  Did I mention how sad I am to be getting rid of some of my baby stuff?

Sniff, sniff.

OK I won't cry.  I'll just drown my sorrow's in apple pumpkin bread.  That's what any good mother would do.

I'm really pleased with this bread.  The tart apples give your mouth a nice little party every time you bite into one. The bread is super moist and perfectly seasoned.  My husband likes to grill it so there are some nice golden brown pieces on each side.  Oh and as a bonus it makes your house smell awesome while it's baking!

Chunky Apple Pumpkin Bread
Recipe from Taste of Home

  • 1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 /2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup canola oil (I used vegetable oil)
  • 1 cup chopped peeled tart apples
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
Cooking Directions
  1. In a large bowl combine all of the dry ingredients, the first 8 ingredients above.
  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer add the remaining wet ingredients excluding the apples and walnuts.
  3. Mix the wet ingredients until incorporated thoroughly and then add the dry ingredients just until moist.
  4. Fold in the apples and walnuts.
  5. Pour the mixture into a 9x5 inch loaf pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
  6. Bake in a 325 degree oven for 1 1/2 hours or 1 3/4 hours or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. Cool for 10 minutes before removing the bread to a wire rack.

October 15, 2012

Cayman Lemonade

I know that some of you are already mourning the end of summer.  I am not one of those people but I do sympathize with the rest of you.  It is on your behalf that I present you with this little cocktail.  It will transport you to the summer time again, it's amazing.  I was hesitant when I read about it and there were claims it didn't taste like alcohol at all, which is important to me.  Surprisingly true!  Tastes like a pink lemonade.  Delish!

If you're not quite ready to bust out this drink in October, I understand.  Just bust it out in July instead.  :)

I found this recipe on Pinterest but when I tried to go to the original link it gave me an error, so I promise that I'd like to give props to whomever came up with this drink but I don't know who that is.  Feel free to share if you know.

Cayman Lemonade

  • 1 oz. Vodka
  • 1 oz. Peach Schnapps
  • 1 oz. Triple Sec
  • Splash of Cranberry Juice
  • Splash of Club Soda
  • Squeeze of Lime
Cooking Directions
  1. Pour the Vodka, Peach Schnapps and Triple Sec into a shaker with some ice and mix well. Pour into a glass with more ice and add the the cranberry juice and club soda to taste. Top with a squeeze of lime and enjoy.

October 12, 2012

Choco-Bliss Snack Cakes

OK, finally item number three that I made for our visitors two weeks ago.  I know you've just been dying to know right? No? hum. 

Well I've been wanting to make this one for awhile now.  I first saw it in an email I got from King Arthur Flour.  It looked totally delicious and then another one of my favorite web sites posted the recipe so I knew I just needed the right occasion to break it out.  I mean, this isn't the type of dessert I just casually throw together on a week night.  Know what I mean? 

Although they did come into town on a Tuesday night so I guess I did make it on a week night.  Whatever, you know what I mean. 

The cake portion is pretty straight forward.  I sprayed a 9x13 inch pan with non-stick spray and then put parchment paper on it and sprayed and floured the parchment paper. This is no place for a cake that sticks.

This is the chocolaty brew...I say that because it's getting close to Halloween and I don't get to say "brew" enough.

The concoction above is the filling portion of this recipe.  Looks magical right? It is.

After baking the cake you let it cool completely.  Once cool you turn it out of the pan using the parchment paper and then cut it in half.

Once cut in half you can cut each half in half through the middle using a large serrated knife.

Slather the wonderful filling over the middle of the two cut pieces.

Top with the cake toppers.

Make the icing and frost the tops.  This icing recipe isn't too runny and stays in place nicely.  Once everything is cool, cut the cake into snack sized pieces and enjoy.

I refrigerated mine and I thought it was much better cold because the center didn't squeeze out as much.  Best with a big glass of milk.  This cake certainly isn't lacking in chocolate flavor! The cake is totally moist and flavorful, the filling is so sweet and there is a lot of it!  The icing is not as sweet as the filling and makes a nice compliment to the rest of the cake, plus I love how shiny it is.  I loved it, my guests loved it and since I had leftovers I took it to my old job and they loved it too.  Winner!

Choco-Bliss Snack Cakes
Brown Eyed Baker


  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp espresso powder
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 inch pan with non-stick spray, then line with parchment paper and then spray again and coat with flour.
  2. In a small bowl melt the butter, add the cocoa powder and hot water until the cocoa is dissolved. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl whisk the flour, espresso powder, sugar, baking soda and salt. Stir the cocoa liquid over the flour mixture and stir to incorporate completely. Add the buttermilk, eggs and vanilla and mix well.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared dish and bake for 30 minutes. when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean the cake is done. Let cool completely on a wire rack.


  • 1/3 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening, at room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
Cooking Directions
  1. In a medium heat proof bowl bowl place the cocoa powder, chocolate chips, salt and heavy cream.
  2. Microwave for about 1 minute or until the cream is hot and has begun to melt the chocolate chips. Stir until smooth, microwaving briefly if needed. Stir in the vanilla and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat the shortening, butter and half the powdered sugar together on medium speed until fluffy. About 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add the chocolate mixture and continue beating until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.
  5. Add the remaining 2 cups of powdered sugar and incorporate until smooth and fluffy.
  6. Assemble The Cakes: Remove the cooled cake from the pan and lay out on the counter on a piece of parchment paper. Cut the cake in half so you have 2 - 9x6.5 inch pieces. Cut each of those pieces in half through the middle using a long serrated knife. Now you should have a top and a bottom for each cake. So two tops and two bottoms.
  7. Coat the top bottom cut side up with the filling. Do this for each bottom piece until all of the filling has been used (or until you've used all you want to use).
  8. Place the top of each cake on top of the filling. You should now have two 9x6.5 inch cakes that have been filled.  Set aside. 


  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 Tbsp light corn syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
Cooking Directions
  1. In a medium heat proof bowl add the chocolate chips, corn syrup, vanilla and heavy cream.
  2. Microwave the mixture for about 1 minute or until the heavy cream is very hot and the chocolate chips have begun to melt. Stir until smooth, microwaving again briefly if needed.
  3. Add the powdered sugar and beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy.
  4. Spread the icing evenly over the tops of the two cakes, working right up to the edge of each cake. Cut each cake into nine 2x3 inch cakes for a total of 18 snack cakes.

October 10, 2012

Mint Chocolate Delights

My family and I packed ourselves into the car yesterday and headed out to pick some apples.  That's what you do in October right? I was so excited, my daughter was excited, my husband was....well he agreed to come with us so that's something.  Just kidding, he seemed excited.  We drove an hour and got there to find out that they had already picked all of the apples two weeks ago because of an early harvest.  Oh well, we bought some apples anyway.  I smell apple pie in our future today.

Apples really have nothing to do with today's recipe.  I'm not sure why I even brought it up.  Forgive me.

Mint makes me think of the holidays.  Does it do that for you to?

Mint actually does have some significance in today's recipe.  When winter arrives I always stock up on some of Nestle Toll House dark chocolate and mint morsels.  I just snack on them mostly but a couple of days ago I decided to go ahead and bake with them too.  What a novel idea huh?

The cookie itself is a chocolate cookie and the only mint added is the morsels so you're not getting overwhelmed here.  These are sort of a chewy/cakey type cookie.  They are chewy initially and then get sort of cakey after the first day.  Either way, they are delicious.  These would make a great addition to any upcoming holiday parties you might be attending....or in your own personal cookie jar.  Just sayin'.

Mint Chocolate Delights
From Nestle Toll House

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup baking cocoa
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 2/3 cup (10 oz. pkg) Nestle Toll House Chocolate & Mint Morsels
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.
  3. In the bowl of your stand mixer beat butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract until creamy. Add the eggs one at a time beating after each addition.
  4. Gradually add the flour mixture until combined and then mix in the morsels.
  5. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto an un-greased cookie sheet.
  6. Bake for 11 to 13 minutes. Cookies will looked puffed and the centers should be set.
  7. Cool on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes and then remove to a wire cooling rack.
Makes about 4 dozen.

October 8, 2012

NY Times Macaroni and Cheese

I mentioned last week how we had some visitors here and I made some new dishes.....remember that? The first one I posted was the cinnamon rolls we had for breakfast the morning that they left.  Now let me show you one of our dinner items.  It was a hit, even if I do say so myself. Not that I had much to do with the recipe, but I did have to make it so that should count for something.

As you are aware (if you've been following my blog) I have a slight addiction to macaroni and cheese.  I have for as long as I can remember.  I grew up on the Kraft blue box kind and moved onto Stouffer's and now I make my own.

Imagine my shock when I realized that my little girl (who also loves macaroni and cheese) doesn't like my homemade versions.  I shouldn't say she doesn't like all of them.  She's tried every single one but usually doesn't gobble them down like I'm hoping she will.  The simpler the better for her. Anyway, I was happy (and surprised) that she actually ate this one.  Surprised because it has Gruyere cheese in it which I thought for sure would seal the deal.  Happily she ate it and she's had leftovers too.

Here is what I love about this recipe.  The flavors are so well combined that you don't really taste any one thing that stands out and you can identify distinctly.  The Gruyere gives it a nice nuttiness, the cheddar has the wonderful sharpness, the nutmeg and cayenne don't stand out but you know if they weren't in there it would make the sauce completely different.  Best yet is that the sauce is abundant enough that when you pull it out of the oven it's not one solid clump of pasta that holds it's shape.  It oozes nicely.

I should also mention that this link below goes on to describe how they got this recipe from Martha Stewart.....so there you have it.  Enjoy!

NY Times Macaroni and Cheese
Recipe from N.Y. Times

  • 6 slices white bread, crusts removed, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 8 Tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for the dish
  • 5 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 4 1/2 cups (18 ounces) sharp cheddar, grated
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) Gruyere cheese, grated
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Butter a 3 quart casserole pan, I used a 9x13 inch pan.
  3. In a small bowl, place the cut up bread. In a saucepan or in a microwave, melt 2 Tbsp butter and then pour it over the bread and stir it around until all the pieces are coated. Set aside.
  4. In a medium saucepan heat the milk over medium low heat. Do not boil.
  5. In a large high sided skillet or a large pot, melt the remaining 6 Tbsp butter over medium heat. When the butter has melted and is bubbly add the flour. Whisk together for a minute. Add the warm milk and whisk to get a smooth consistency. Continue whisking until the mixture is thick and smooth.
  6. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper and nutmeg. Add 3 cups of cheddar and 1 1/2 cups Gruyere and stir until smooth. Set aside.
  7. In a large pot heat some water to a boil and add the macaroni. Under cook the pasta by about 3 or 4 minutes so that the outside is soft but the inside still has some bite to it. Rise the macaroni under cold water in a colander. Add the macaroni to the cheese sauce and stir well.
  8. Pour the macaroni and cheese mixture into the prepared dish. Use the remaining 1 1/2 cups cheddar and 1/2 cup Gruyere and sprinkle over the top of the macaroni and cheese sauce. Scatter the bread crumbs over the top of the shredded cheeses and bake for about 30 minutes or until the bread crumbs are golden brown.
  9. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.

October 5, 2012

90-Minute Cinnamon Rolls

My husbands Aunt and Cousin stopped in for a quick visit on their way down to the Charleston, SC and Savannah, GA area.  We're always thrilled for company.  Not only does it give me some motivation to clean this house, it also inspires me to make new things and use our guests as guinea pigs for testing.  Our visitors weren't really here for very long, a day really but I did manage to squeeze in three new recipes and they were all a hit!

Breakfast the morning they left were these cinnamon rolls.  I'm thrilled with how they turned out.  I have made a overnight cinnamon roll recipe that is posted on here as well but I actually enjoyed the texture of these even more.  Don't get me wrong, they are both excellent but these just seemed to be a little softer.  Plus, they only take 90 minutes which is totally doable!

The original recipe didn't have a glaze at all so I just made a go-to glaze and it turned out perfectly.  I just can't say enough about these rolls.  Even if you're nervous about using yeast in recipes you should give this one a try.  It's such a quick rising recipe that it's more of an instant gratification that everyone loves and appreciates.

90-Minute Cinnamon Rolls
Recipe from Allrecipes.com

  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup margarine, softened
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 (.25 package) instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup margarine, softened
  • 1/2 cup raisins (optional)
Cooking Directions
  1. Heat milk in a small saucepan until bubbles form around the edge, then remove from the heat and add 1/4 cup margarine. Stir until melted and let cool to lukewarm.
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine 2 1/4 flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Mix well. Add the water, egg and milk mixture and mix well. Add the remaining flour 1/2 a cup at a time and mix well after each addition. When the dough just comes together turn out onto a floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes or until smooth.
  3. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let rest for 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile in a small bowl mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon and softened margarine.
  5. Roll the dough into a 12x9 inch rectangle and spread the brown sugar mixture evenly over the top. Sprinkle with raisins if using.
  6. Roll the dough into a tight cylinder starting from the long side. Pinch the seams together. Cut the dough into 12 equal sized pieces.
  7. Use either a 9x13 inch dish or a muffin pan - spray liberally with cooking spray and then place the cut dough side down in your desired pan.
  8. Let rise for about 30 minutes in a warm area until doubled in size.
  9. Place in a preheated 375 degree oven and bake for 30 minutes. Serve hot.

  • Approximately 2-3 cups of confectioners sugar
  • 3-4 Tbsp milk
  1. Stir together until smooth, apply to the hot cinnamon rolls. 
  2. I like mine fully covered in frosting, if you don't then scale the measurements above back a bit. 

October 3, 2012

Chicken and Dumplings

It's time to start revving up your winter recipes.  You can add this one to your list of things to try if you've never tried it.  I'm actually surprised at how many people have never tried or even heard of a dumpling. 

Another interesting fact about dumplings, they differ from the North and the South.  I've had both and I think it depends on my mood for which I will prefer.  I grew up with the rather large softball sized dumplings that are cooked on top of a stew or what have you.  However since I've lived in the South I have also tried and enjoy the southern flat versions.  

The recipe I'm going to share with you is the more Southern variety. 

This is a very simple dough to put together, very easy to work with.

Make sure there is a lot of flour between the layers of dough, this extra flour will help thicken the broth.

Drop one at a time into the broth.

Cook for about 30 minutes or so.

Shred or chop your cooked chicken.

The broth should have thickened after 30 minutes.

Add the chicken...


I loved this recipe.  It's easy to put together even on a weeknight.  Full of flavor and texture.  I think you're going to love this recipe.

Chicken and Dumplings
Found at Tasty Kitchen

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 cup milk (I didn't use a full cup)
  • 2 quarts chicken broth
  • 3 cups cooked chicken, cut or shredded
Cooking Directions
  1. In a bowl add the flour, baking powder and salt. Use cold butter and cut into pieces, then add to the flour. Use a pastry blender or fork to cut the butter into the flour mixture.
  2. Slowly add the milk to the flour and work with your hands until a dough forms. You shouldn't need a full cup of milk.
  3. Drop the dough onto a well floured surface and roll out with a rolling pin to about 1/4 inch thick. Keep the dough well floured. Cut the dough into 2x2 inch squares. You do not need to be exact. Place the pieces of dough onto a place and flour in between the layers liberally. All this extra flour will help to thicken the sauce.
  4. Add the dumplings to the boiling chicken broth one at a time until they have all been added. Let cook for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. After the dumplings are done (they don't taste doughy) add the chicken and serve.