Archive | August, 2011

Breakfast Cookies

30 Aug

I’m not typically a breakfast kinda person.

Normally when I roll outta bed you shouldn’t approach me or talk to me for at least 30 minutes…possibly an hour if you want to be safe.

See I’m not really awake when I stumble outta bed.  I’m just pretending to be a functioning adult trying to get her child off to school so she can come home, sit on the couch for a few minutes,  drink a giant cup of iced coffee, and begin to feel like a human person again.

I’m fortunate that my son also shares my morning zombie affliction so we usually get along just fine most mornings.

We usually don’t do breakfast either.

Seriously….Who can eat when they are still half asleep??

but when I stumbled upon this recipe for cookies using cereal….

Portable breakfast!!!  Genius!!

These cookies use flax seed.  I’d never used it in baking before and let me tell you.

I am in LOVE.

It gives them a nutty quality and even though they spread more than I really wanted them to (I don’t think I crushed my cereal flakes enough) it kept the cookies chewy in the center which is a cookie must for me.

I must warn you though.  These cookies will call to you from the cookie container every time you walk by.

**Update ~ I made these cookies again crushing my cornflakes until they resembled the size and consistency of the oats.  They didn’t have as much spreading and held together nicely.**

Breakfast Cookies   ~ (Adapted From Family Circle)

1 C. + 2 T. all-purpose flour
1/2 C. flax seed meal
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
2 sticks butter, soft
1 C. white sugar
1 C. packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 C. corn flakes (crushed with your hand. They should resemble your oats)
2 C. quick cooking oats
optional ingredients
1  C. chopped toasted walnuts, pecans, or other nuts
1  C. raisins, dried cranberries, cherries, blueberries, or other fruit
1 C. coconut
1 C. chocolate chips

Pre-heat oven to 325. Combine the flour, flax seed, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon in a bowl and set aside.

With the paddle attachment of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars on medium/high until well combined and mixture is pale and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Next add the vanilla and eggs to combine. Mix in the flour. Stir in the corn flakes, oats, and any optional ingredients by hand.

I used a slightly overfilled 1 tablespoon cookie scoop to scoop out my  dough onto the cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Let the cookies bake for about 12-15 minutes.  They should be set and have a slightly golden tint.  Cool cookies for a couple of minutes on the cookie sheet and then move to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Store in an air tight container.  I also like to put a piece of loaf bread in the container after the first day to help the cookies keep their chewiness.  Just change out the bread as it dries out.

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Blueberry Freeze

24 Aug

It’s hot here.

Not just hot.  Miserable.  Baking in the sun.  Steaming in the humidity.       H.O.T

Comfort food is not what I’m craving right now.

Cooling and refreshing is what I want.

Baking in this heat has me longing for cool fall days.  Sweaters and blue jeans.

Roasted marshmallows by a fire.  Pumpkins and Jack-O lanterns.

Thanksgiving pies and Christmas cookies.

I’m ready to turn my oven back on people.

Until then I made us something cooling and refreshing.

It only requires a small bit of oven time and even more freezer time.

Which makes for frozen deliciousness.

**This recipe uses a boxed cake mix for the crust.  I typically don’t use those, but I was feeling lazy so I went ahead with it and doctored it a bit.  Fill free to replace the cake crust portion with your favorite vanilla cake**

Blueberry Freeze   ~   (Adapted from Ladies’ Home Journal)

1 box white cake mix (I used yellow because that’s all I had)
1 C. Sour Cream
1/2 C. Vegetable Oil
3 1/2 C. Blueberries, more for serving if desired
2/3 C. + 1/8 C. Sugar
2 T. lemon juice
8 oz. Cream Cheese
1 Jar Marshmallow fluff
3/4 C. + 1 1/2 C. Heavy Cream

Pre-Heat the oven to 350.   Prepare a 9-in springform pan by spraying it with baking spray that contains flour. In a mixing bowl, mix the cake mix, sour cream and vegetable oil.   Pour about 2 1/2 cups of batter into the prepared pan.  (Fill free to use the rest for cupcakes)  Bake for about 25 minutes or until golden and a pick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in the pan for about 10 minutes then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cake is cooling clean your springform pan.  Once cool return the cake to the pan placing it in top side down.  Use a long strip of wax paper or parchment to line the inside edges of the pan.  You’ll want this to extend past the top of the pan about 2 inches.  Make sure it fits tightly around the cake.  I actually placed my cake onto the bottom portion on my spring form pan, wrapped my parchment tightly around the edges of the cake; securing it with scotch tape, and then placed the side of my springform pan back into place.  Once your cake is wrapped in it’s wax paper/parchment sleeve place it in the freezer while you prepare the next step.

Process blueberries, lemon juice, and 2/3 cup of sugar in a food processor or blender until smooth.  In a mixing bowl beat cream cheese until smooth.  Add marshmallow fluff.  Mix well.  In an seperate bowl whip 3/4 cup of heavy cream until stiff peaks form.  Stir the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.  Stir in blueberry puree, gently.

Remove cake from the freeze and spread blueberry mixture over the top.  Return to the freezer until set, about 8 hrs or overnight.

Before serving,  whip 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream with 1/8 C. of sugar until slightly stiff peaks form.  Dollop or spread over the top of the blueberry cake.  Re-freeze.  Remove cake from freezer and allow to come to room temperature for about 15 – 30 minutes before serving.

Garnish with additional blueberries and confectioners sugar if desired.

Cinnamon Rolls

17 Aug


We need to talk…..

K.  See this next recipe is one of those MANY I told you about last week that I’ve been saving, OK hording, for awhile now.

Now this recipe uses yeast.

Calm down.

Their is absolutely no reason to let this intimidate you or keep you from trying it.  Trust me.  When these bad boys come out of the oven you’ll be glad you did.

Now these do take some time if you consider the amount of time you need to let your dough rise, but it’s pretty simple and you can asseemble the buns the night before and let them hang out in the fridge and bake them the next morning if that strikes your fancy.

I personally couldn’t wait to try them.  So I baked them at 8 o’clock at night….

And had one for supper.  Don’t judge.

Cinnamon Rolls ~ Adapted from Family Circle

1 (1/4 oz.) Envelope active dry yeast
1/4 C. Warm Water
3 T. Sugar
1 C. Milk
2 Lg. Eggs
1/2 stick butter, melted
4 C. All Purpose Flour + about an additional cup for kneading and rolling out
1/2 tsp. Salt

Filling

1 Stick butter, Soft
1/2 C Sugar
1 1/4 C. Brown Sugar
1 T + 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1 C. Chopped Pecans

Glaze
2 1/2 C. Powdered Sugar
1-4 T. Milk

Pour your milk into a saucepan and heat on medium heat until the milk just starts to boil. Remove from heat and sit aside to cool to room temperature.

While your milk is cooling sprinkle the yeast over the warm water. (Do this in a large mixing bowl, or I did it directly in the measuring cup and transferred to the bowl of my stand mixer later so I would be able to use my dough hook) Add 1 T. of sugar and let it hang out for about 5 minutes until it’s foamy. (Now here is where I transferred it to my stand mixer.) Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar, butter, eggs and the cooled milk. Beat all of this together. (If you are using your stand mixer use the whisk attachment.)

Now you’ll gradually add the 4 cups of flour and salt. (If you are using your stand mixer change to your dough hook before adding the flour/salt.)
Scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue to mix until a soft dough comes together. Lightly four your work surface and turn dough out to kneed. Continue to kneed in up to 1 cup of additional flour if dough is sticky. You’ll want to kneed this for about 10 minutes until you have a soft smooth dough.

Grease a large bowl. Let your dough rest inside. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it hang out in a warm spot until it has doubled in size. That should take about 1 1/2 hours. (I let mine go a little longer.)

While the dough is rising prepare your filling and pans. For the pans you’ll need two 9-inch round baking pans or cast iron skillets. Spray them with cooking spray. I used a spray that also contained flour. You can also line the bottoms of the pan with waxed paper and spray that with cooking spray to further prevent sticking. I baked mine in 9-inch aluminum cake pans and didn’t have any issues not using the waxed paper.

For the filling mix the butter, sugars and cinnamon together in a bowl and set aside.

Once your dough has risen you’ll punch it down and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface to roll it out. Your going for approximately an 18 x 12 inch rectangle of dough here. Spread your filling mixture over the dough with the back of a spoon or rubber spatula. Sprinkle with pecans or other nuts if you’re using those.  Raisins might be good here too.  Starting on one of the long sides roll up the dough and pinch the seam to close when you’re finished.

Cut the roll in half directly through the middle of the roll. This will give you 2 short rolls.  Cut each short roll into 6 equal pieces. Place cut-side down 6 pieces to each prepared pan. If you plan to cook these now cover the pans with plastic wrap and allow the pieces to sit for about 35-50 minutes or until hey have doubled in size. If you are preparing the night before for the next morning wrap your pans in plastic wrap and refrigerate.

To bake heat your oven to 350. Remove the plastic wrap and bake until golden brown and bubbly. This should take about 30-45 minutes. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes before adding the glaze.

For the glaze add enough milk one tablespoon full at a time until you have a thick, smooth, slow pouring glaze. Pour over the tops of buns and serve.

Confessions

12 Aug

Shhhh….

Can you keep a secret?

See I have this addiction.  It’s an obsession really.

I love recipes…

My house is literally over flowing with them.

They live on top of my microwave…

And clipped to the side of my refrigerator…

I bookmark them on my computer.  I run my printer out of  ink printing them.  I have folders and binders stuffed full of them.  I scribble them on random scraps of paper and into spiral bound notebooks.

I have shelves filled with them….

I dog ear the pages in magazines of things I want to make….

Then I just get tired of having all the magazines sitting there taunting me with all of the things I haven’t made yet.

So I rip out the pages I want to keep and stuff them in a file folder….

Clearly I have issues…

A sane person would find a better way to organize all this chaos.   But see, here is my issue.  These scraps of paper are disposable.  For me to commit ANY of these scraps of paper to my more permanent collection.  I have to have cooked it.  And loved it.  With these scraps of paper If I don’t love it I can just toss it out.  I don’t have to revisit it.  The problem is I never seem to get around to cooking anything on these scraps of  paper.  Sure maybe every so often one is made.

So here is what I think we should do.  I’m going to start cooking my way through this collection of papers and sharing them with you.

Deal….

Good.

Now go have yourself a huge glass of this…

You can find the directions to make it here.

She does a much better job of explaining the process than I ever could.

P.S.  I drink mine with fat free milk, a packet of Splenda, and a tiny shot of Hersey’s chocolate syrup.  If you like coffee you need this in your life.  Trust me.  You’ll thank me for it.

Growing

4 Aug

I’m having one of those times as a parent…

You know the ones where you’re happy and sad and scared and nervous and anxious all rolled up into one, but mostly you feel like your heart might just be breaking a tiny bit….

Yeah one of THOSE moments….

The ones where part of you wants to hold on tightly with all you might.  Part of you wants time to stand still or even move in reverse and almost all of you wants to deny you have to let go “just a little bit.”  Your baby isn’t really a baby anymore…and what’s even more terrifying is you KNOW this is only the first of MANY of those times.

“THE LETTER” came in the mail about a week ago.  Up until then I was doing pretty good living in denial and enjoying summer vacation with my little man.  (Well obviously not so little if we just got a middle school letter)  I put all things Middle School out of my mind and if it did start to creep in just a little I shoved it on back.

Tomorrow is the first day.  Tonight is orientation. Today I’m on the verge of tears.

I blame it on this: 
My friends little boy is here today.  He’s 4 and totally addicted to The Land Before Time.  So we dug out the old VHS tapes my little guy watched and had a movie marathon.  The song almost did me in this afternoon.  Crazy Right??

It’s makes me nostalgic for my own quiet little 4 year old who played with dinosaurs and loved Thomas the Train.  The little boy who would could spot a lizard from a mile away. The one who loved to bake brownies so he could crack the eggs and lick the bowl when we were finished. The one that stayed right by me, safe and protected.

Tomorrow morning I’ll put my brave face on as I drop him off for the first day.  I know he’ll do great.  He’s ready for this.

For my part I’m going to savor every moment.  He may not be into dinosaurs and Thomas the Train anymore but he’s an amazing kid who’s growing into an even more amazing young man.  I know this next chapter is going to be great.

Now where’s my Kleenex??

Squash Casserole

2 Aug

So awhile back I told you we would talk about Squash. See, I didn’t forget!  It’s just taken me a while.  Last week was a wedding cake weekend so I pretty mush lived and breathed wedding all last week.

I think things turned out pretty well

Hopefully the bride did too!

Anyway, working on this kept me distracted from almost everything else including the blog.

Let’s talk about squash.  Did you plant a garden this year?  Is it blessing you with tons of delicious things?  I wish I’d planted a garden, but fortunately I have people who love me and are willing to share.

Growing up I pretty much thought squash was one of the most disgusting things on the planet.  Every family reunion or Sunday family dinner someone would always bring squash casserole, YUCK!  It was always the same…mushy squash with cheese!  I just couldn’t force myself to like it.  Once I started cooking for myself I realized I didn’t have to cook squash the same old way I’d always had it.  I could change things up and create something I would like.

I pretty much sat down in front of the computer one day and looked at about 100 different squash casserole recipes. OK, maybe not that many, but it felt like it.  I decided what parts I liked in about 1/2 a dozen of them and this is what I came up with.

It has a crust…What?  You’re surprised I tried to turn it into pie?  Butter and Ritz crackers make a lovely crust.  You’ll save some of this for the top too.

Everything else gets mixed together and added to the bowl.  Sprinkle the top with more of the Ritz cracker mixture and cheese.  Cheese makes everything lovely…Bake it all up!

Enjoy!!

Squash Casserole

1 1/2 sleeves Ritz crackers, crushed
1 stick of butter, melted
1 1/2 – 2 lb. yellow squash, cooked, drained, and mashed
1 grated carrot
1 can cram of chicken soup
1 C. sour cream
1 C. sharp cheddar, shredded
1 sm. onion chopped, fine

In a small bowl microwave butter in 30 second increments until melted.   Mix the Ritz crackers with the butter.  Press part of this mixture into the bottom of a casserole dish, reserving the rest for the top.

In a separate bowl mix together the squash, onion, carrot, sour cream, and chicken soup.  Add in 3/4 of the cheese, reserving some for the top.  Pour squash mixture into casserole dish.  Top with remaining cheese and Ritz crackers.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until warm and brown.