Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Homemade Caramel for dipping apples

I LOVE caramel and apples!!  The only thing that would have made this better is if I had a bowl of chopped pecans nearby to dip my apples in...after they were dipped in the caramel!

This caramel is delicious!!  It is easy, but does take a lot of time and patience.  It is SO worth it!!  I put some in half-pint bottles and sent them to school with the kids for their teachers with one red and one green apple to go with it. 

This would also be delicious on ice cream!  I slightly adapted the recipe from this one.

Homemade Caramel for dipping apples

  • 2 cup evaporated milk (NOT sweetened condensed) (you will be needing one regular can and one small can)
  • 2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Directions:  Place all ingredients(except vanilla) together in a 2-quart or larger pan, preferably a heavy-bottomed one, and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Continue stirring and cooking over medium-low and later low heat until the mixture reaches soft-ball stage (that is, until it forms a soft ball when dripped into cold water). Do not give up on stirring or the caramel will curdle.  Remove from heat and add vanilla.  Pour into bowls, cool and serve with apple wedges for dipping. The caramel will thicken as it cools.  Store unused caramel in the refrigerator.

Makes 1 quart.
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Friday, December 21, 2012

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Fudge

 So...basically this is just the recipe for simple 3-ingredient fudge made with a layer of milk chocolate fudge and then a layer of peanut butter fudge with miniature Reece's Peanut Butter cups pressed into the fudge.

Simple, rich, and delicious.
Reece's Peanut Butter Cup Fudge

1 12 oz bag milk chocolate chips
1 10 oz bag peanut butter chips
2 cans sweetened condensed milk
6 Tablespoons butter(divided)
Reece's Peanut Butter Cups(I think I used 20-30...can't remember now)

1st layer:  Combine milk chocolate chips, 1 can sweetened condensed milk and 4 T butter in a double boiler or metal bowl over simmering water, stir until melted and smooth. Line a greased 8 x 11.5 inch baking dish with plastic wrap.  Pour fudge into baking dish.  Cool until room temp, place in the refrigerator while you make make the peanut butter fudge. 

2nd layer:  Combine peanut butter chips, 1 can sweetened condensed milk and 2 T butter in a double boiler or metal bowl over simmering water, stir until melted and smooth.  Pour onto the milk chocolate fudge layer and press Reece's Peanut Butter Cups into the fudge.  I left a small space between them for a 'cutting line'.  Let cool until room temperature.  Refrigerate overnight or until set.  Remove from refrigerator and cut into squares(1 peanut butter cup per square) and serve.  Keep refrigerated or they will get too soft.  The milk chocolate doesn't set up as solid as semi-sweet chocolate.

**to remove from baking dish, lift the plastic wrap from the sides and it should come right out.
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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Cinnaburst Bread

 Have you ever had Great Harvest's Cinnaburst Bread?

It is seriously one of my FAVORITE things!!  When I saw this recipe for a copycat version, I knew I had to try it!!  This recipe is simple and seriously SO good!!  I don't have a Great Harvest Bread Co. close by, so I will be satisfying my craving with this recipe from now on :)  I was able to get cinnamon chips from my local grocery store, but I haven't seen them there before...might be a seasonal thing.  I know that my sister has bought them from Target before, not during the Christmas season.

Great Harvest Cinnaburst Copycat Bread

1 cup warm water
1 cup warm milk 
1/3 cup sugar
2 1/4 teaspoon yeast (1 packet)
1/3 cup oil (I used canola oil)
1/2 T salt
1 egg
4 1/2 to 5 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup cinnamon chips
Directions:  In mixer combine yeast, sugar, and warm water and milk; let bubble for about 5 minutes.  Add in oil and egg.  Slowly add 2 cups flour, mix and then add salt.  Add 1/2 cup flour at a time until it comes away from the side of the bowl.  Add the cinnamon chips when it gets close to the right consistency.  The dough will be very sticky, but the softer the dough the lighter the bread.  So use the least amount of flour you can handle.  Let rise in mixing bowl for about 30 minutes.  Divide dough in half and form into loaves.  Put loaves into greased bread pans.  Let rise an additional 30 minutes.  I spray one side plastic wrap with cooking spray and set that over the dough while it rises.  Because it is sprayed it won't stick when you pull it off to bake it.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
Makes 2 loaves.

If you can find cinnamon chips at your local grocery store, you can go here to buy Gourmet Cinnamon Chips - 11oz 
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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Simple 3-ingredient fudge

Mmmm...I LOVE fudge!! 

My sister told me about this simple fudge last year.  I can't believe I never posted about it.  It is SO simple and only 3 ingredients.

Simple 3-ingredient Fudge

1 package chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet, but any would work)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
4 Tablespoons butter

Directions:  Combine all ingredients in a double boiler or metal bowl over simmering water, stir until melted and smooth.  Depending on how thick you want your fudge will depend on the size of pan you use....I used a 9x9 inch baking dish and put some in a small dish I got from a craft store a few years ago for a dollar.  Spray cooking spray in your baking dish(will help keep the plastic wrap from slipping when you pour the fudge in), line baking dish bottom and sides with plastic wrap.  Pour the chocolate mixture into the baking dish.  Let sit for 2-3 hours to cool.  I let mine cool to room temperature and then put it in the refrigerator for an hour to set up.  When cool and set, lift from dish with the plastic wrap and cut.  
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Friday, December 7, 2012

Green Smoothie

We LOVE to have smoothies with breakfast and I really should make them more often!  It was SO nice this fall to have a nice healthy crop of spinach in the garden to use for green smoothies!  In fact, it has been so mild here, I still have spinach growing. 

My husband bought me a Vitamix a couple of years ago and I LOVE it!  It makes whipping up smoothies quick and easy!  When I make these, I just quarter the apples and throw in the cores, seeds and all....of course you can cut out the core if you would rather.
Green Smoothie

1 banana
1 apple, quartered
1/2 can sliced pineapples, with 1/2 of the juice....5 or 6 rings
1-2 large handfuls of spinach
 extra juice (orange, apple or pineapple)

Directions:  Add ingredients to blender.  I add in order listed above.  Start blending...you can add more ice to your desired texture, or add extra juice if you need to...to get it to blend more easily.

If I have extra smoothie, I like to freeze it ice cube trays and save them for another day.  Pop them out into a glass and within 15-30 minutes they should be nice an slushy.
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Saturday, December 1, 2012

Krispie Caramel Marshmallows

I remember my Mom making these when I was younger and decided to try them.  They are SO yummy!!  I found the recipe here.  It took awhile to get the caramels to melt, but it is worth the wait.  I used an old fork the I have bent the middle prong up to make it easier to dip and release things :)  There are yummy and really quite simple.

Krispie Caramel Marshmallows

1 package (10 ounces) Rice Krispie Cereal
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup butter, cubed
1 package (14 ounces) caramels
1 package (16 ounces) large marshmallows

Directions:  Place cereal in a large bowl; set aside.  In a double boiler or metal bowl over simmering water, combine the milk, butter and caramels, stirring until smooth.  Remove from the heat.  With a fork, quickly dip marshmallows into hot mixture; allow excess to drip off.  Roll in cereal.  Place on a foil-lined pan; chill for 30 minutes.  Remove from the pan and refrigerate in an airtight container.  Yield:  5-6 dozen.
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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Chicken-Chipotle Burrito Bowls

This is going to be quick...I found the recipe here.  Sorry this picture isn't really focused...my camera battery is almost dead(like flashing battery light) and I can not find my charger anywhere!

I made this for dinner last night and it was SO good and SO easy!!  Next time I would add a little salt to the tomato mixture.  This is great in a bowl or wrapped up in a tortilla for lunch the next day.  The recipe said that it would feed 4, but if you make extra rice....I would say it will easily serve 6.

Chicken-Chipotle Burrito Bowls

1 lbBoneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cubed
1 (15-oz.) Can Black Beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup Frozen Corn
2 cups Canned, crushed tomatoes
1– 2 tsp Finely Chopped Canned Chipotle Chile Peppers In Adobo Sauce
½ tsp Ground Cumin
1 Tbsp Chopped Fresh Cilantro
1 clove Garlic, minced
4 Corn Tortillas, cut or torn into bite-sized pieces
2 cups Hot Cooked White Rice

Reduced-fat Dairy Sour Cream, optional

Reduced-fat Shredded Cheddar or Monterrey Jack Cheese (optional)

Fresh Cilantro, optional

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13-inch glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Arrange chicken in an even layer in baking dish. In a bowl combine beans, corn, tomatoes, chipotle chili peppers, cumin, cilantro, and garlic; pour mixture evenly over chicken. Sprinkle with tortilla pieces.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until chicken is tender and no longer pink.

To serve, divide rice evenly among four serving bowls. Top with chicken mixture. Garnish with sour cream, shredded cheese, and cilantro, if desired.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

a few Thanksgiving Foods

 Like I said in my last post.....I have very few Thanksgiving type recipes.  Here are a few recipes that I LOVE...that would be welcome on my Thanksgiving table or on my table anytime:)


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Dinner Rolls

So...I don't have a lot of Thanksgiving type recipes on my blog, but today I was thinking I'd do a post linking to a couple of recipes that I have that would go great with your Thanksgiving meal.  As I was looking through the recipes, I realized that the pictures that go with my favorite rolls were REALLY bad!!  So, I made some rolls this afternoon so that I could take some more pictures.  I am going to re-post the recipe with these much improved (but still not great) pictures!

 This recipe was adapted from a recipe my friend Molly gave me, that is why they are aka as Molly's rolls.  I adapted the recipe to make a smaller batch that I could mix in my Kitchen aide.   These rolls really are quick, easy and so light and fluffy :)

Dinner Rolls aka Molly's rolls

1 cup warm water
1 cup warm milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 package yeast(2 1/4 teaspoon)
1/3 cup oil
1/2 T salt
1 egg

Directions: In mixer combine yeast, sugar, and warm water; let grow until bubbly(about 5 minutes). Add milk and mix. Mix in oil and egg. Slowly add 2 cups flour, mix and then add salt. Add 1/2 cup flour at a time until it comes away from side of bowl. Let rise in mixing bowl for about 30 minutes. Form rolls as desired and place on a greased cookie sheet. Let rise and additional 30 minutes. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes. (Rotate pans after 7 minutes.) Brush hot rolls with melted butter.
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Mexican Pinto Bean Dip

This bean dip is easy and delicious!!  It calls for cooked pinto beans...I cooked a big batch in my crock pot to use for this recipe and some others, but you could also use canned pinto beans(rinsed and drained). 

Mexican Pinto Bean Dip

3 cups pinto beans, Cooked
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup Monterrey jack cheese, Shredded
1/2 cup chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salsa verde, Hot Green Salsa

Directions:  Puree the beans to a coarse paste in a blender or food processor or mash by hand.  Place the bean paste in a sauce pan with the water and heat.  Mix in all the other ingredients, blending well, and simmer until the cheese is melted, about 5 minutes.
Put in dish and serve hot.
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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Panko-Crusted Fish Sticks and Homemade Tarter Sauce

The last time my mother-in-law came to visit, she left a couple of her Cooking Light magazines for me.  There are so many GREAT recipes that I can't wait to try!!  When I saw this recipe, I knew it would be the first.  While we were in Utah this past summer my sister and bro-in-law gave us some Halibut that they caught while in Alaska...(I know...she is spoiled :)).  I had cooked most of what they gave us, but just enough left for this.  If you don't have Halibut hanging out in your freezer, a good(and cheaper) alternative is tilapia.

Panko-Crusted Fish Sticks...and Homemade Tarter Sauce

1 Tablespoon milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 pound halibut fillets, cut into 20 (1-inch) strips
1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
3/8 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
3/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1/4 cup light sour cream
3 Tablespoons canola mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons finely chopped bread-and-butter pickles
2 teaspoons minced capers

Directions:  Combine milk and eggs in a large bowl; stir with a whisk.  Add fish and toss gently to coat.  Place panko, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large zip-top bag.  Add fish to panko mixture; seal bag.  Shake bag to coat fish.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add 1 Tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat.  Add half of fish; cook 4 minutes or until done, turning occasionally to brown all sides.  Repeat procedure with remaining 1 Tablespoon oil and remaining fish.

Combine sour cream, mayonnaise, pickles, capers, remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl.  Serve sauce with fish.
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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Crusty, Fresh-baked Bread

So...I was searching for a rustic round bread recipe, most of the recipes I found said to let the dough sit in the refrigerator overnight (actually you can let this sit overnight too).  I didn't have time for that...because I needed wanted to make it for dinner THAT night.  I found this recipe over at In the Crossroads.  It was exactly what I was looking for.  Quick(well...not really quick, but not overnight), easy and delicious!!

Rustic Round Bread

3 cups of water 
1 1/2 Tablespoons of Coarse Salt 
1 /1/2 Tablespoons of Yeast (2 packets) 
1-2 Tbs. honey 
6 1/2 cups of all purpose flour 
cornmeal to dust baking dish
Flour to dust dough ball

Directions:  Add yeast and honey to warm water and let sit until foamy...just a minute or two.  Add the flour and salt and mix.  You can mix by spoon in a bowl...or I use my Kitchen-aid with the dough hook or my Bosch.

Shake some extra flour out on the counter. To knead the dough, dump it out onto a clean, floured counter top.  Knead for around 5 minutes, pushing with the heel of your hand, then gathering the dough back into a lump.  Add a little flour at a time as needed if the dough is too sticky. Knead until the dough becomes one big mass; You will know when the dough is ready by poking it: if the dough bounces back, you’re all set.  OR...knead in your mixer for 5 or 6 minutes.

Place your dough into a clean oiled bowl, cover with a damp towel, and let sit in a warm place for about 2 hours. You can also let it rise overnight by putting it in the refrigerator, where it will rise more slowly.  You can even let the dough sit in the fridge for a couple of days, at which point it will begin to take on a slight sourdough taste.

Once your dough has at least doubled in size you are ready to form it into loaves.  Divide the dough into thirds. This is the only time you really handle the dough. You need to pull it down to form a ball, tucking all the ends in at the bottom. The ball should be semi smooth.

Now, sprinkle a dash of cornmeal on a baking sheet and place the dough on top. The corn meal keeps the bread from sticking. Allow to rise for about 40 minutes.  Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
Before putting the bread in the oven, dust the top with a bit of  flour and make some light slices into the dough for that artisan look. You can make the loaves any shape you like, although a larger loaf will take longer to bake

One final trick to a nice loaf of rustic bread is to make the crust crusty.  To achieve this, fill a second baking dish or a broiler pan with water and place it under the rack where your bread will go.  The steam from the water adds a nice crunch to the loaf.  Place your risen loaves in the oven, close the door, and bake for around 30 minutes to start.  The crust should have a dark brown color, and the loaves should sound hollow when you tap them.

Serve the bread sliced, plain, with seasoned olive oil, honey, or your favorite butter.
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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween - Candy Corn

 Hope you all have a Happy Halloween.  A friend of mine told me to try this combination last year at Halloween....seriously....candy corn and peanuts...SO yummy!!  Tastes a lot like a Payday.  Delish!!

 I didn't make these cupcakes.  Someone dropped them off at our door, but I thought they were SO cute!!  I love the 'candy corn' frosting.
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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Chinese Spicy Chicken

I found this recipe over at Mandy's Recipe Box.  We REALLY enjoyed this recipe!  So good....we really LOVE spicy over here :).

Chinese Spicy Chicken


3-4 boneless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
1 cup cornstarch
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup canola oil

Spicy Sauce
1/4 cup sugar
4 tbsp ketchup
1/2 cup vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp garlic salt
Sriracha Hot Sauce to taste
Red Pepper flakes
Directions:  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Rinse your chicken breasts in water and then cut into cubes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Dip chicken into the cornstarch to coat then dip into the eggs. Heat 1/4 cup oil in a large skillet and cook your chicken until browned but not cooked through. Place the chicken in a 9x13 greased baking dish. Mix all of your Spicy Sauce ingredients in a bowl with a whisk and then pour evenly over the chicken.
Caution: The Sriracha sauce really is hot! So start with a little bit and stir it around and taste it before adding more. 
Bake for one hour and during the baking process you will need to turn the chicken every 15 minutes. Sprinkle with Red Pepper flakes before serving.
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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Halloween - Pumpkin Shaped Cookie

So...I didn't really know what to name this post.  I didn't want to say 'pumpkin sugar cookie' and make you think I had some wonderful sugar cookie recipe that included pumpkin in the ingredients.

SO..anyway....just wanted to share a quick easy pumpkin shaped sugar cookie....I used my FAVORITE sugar cookie recipe....with butter cream frosting, then just added a Kit Kat for the stem.

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Friday, October 19, 2012

Applesauce Banana Bread

This banana bread uses applesauce in place of the oil or shortening.  I used some applesauce that I bottled with very little sugar a couple of years ago.  You might need to adjust your sugar if you use sugar free applesauce..

Applesauce Banana Bread

1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk (1 T vinegar, fill to 1/2 cup with milk)
3 lg. mashed bananas
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips(optional)

Directions:  Beat together applesauce, sugar and eggs.  Add buttermilk and mashed bananas.  Add flour, baking soda, and salt.  Beat with a spoon, add vanilla and chocolate chips.  Bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour in greased loaf pan.  Or...if you use 4 mini loaf pans, I cook mine for 25 minutes.

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Chewy M&M Cookies

I asked my son what he wanted to take as a treat for his class to celebrate his birthday.....he requested M&M cookies.  I used found this recipe over at the Six Sisters' Stuff Blog.  They were really good.  I added mini chocolate chips for a little extra chocolate :)

Chewy M&M Cookies

1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup butter(2 sticks), softened to room temperature
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups M&M's
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips(optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, mix sugar, eggs, butter, and vanilla thoroughly.  Add flour, salt, and baking soda to creamed mixture.  Blend well.  Add 3/4 cup of M&M candies and mini chocolate chips.  Drop dough by teaspoonful onto ungreased cookie sheet.  Slightly push a few candies on top of each dough ball with remaining candies.   Bake at 350 degrees for 9 to 11 minutes, or until slightly golden.
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Friday, October 12, 2012

Skeleton Halloween Veggie Tray

I made this veggie tray for my son's birthday party(Halloween baby:)) several years ago.  I know I have posted this picture before, but thought I'd share it again.

Skeleton Veggie Tray

Made with cucumbers, celery, carrots, sugar snap peas, bell peppers, broccoli, sliced mushrooms and cherry tomatoes.
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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Strawberry Syrup

I LOVE fruit syrup!!  Sunday morning I made Buttermilk Waffles and decided to make some strawberry syrup to go with them.  I found this recipe at Taste of Home.  We all really loved this syrup!  My oldest boy said that from now on he will have Peach Vanilla Syrup with pancakes, Buttermilk Syrup with French toast, and this syrup with waffles.  I can't wait to try this with crepes too.

Strawberry Syrup

1 pint fresh strawberries, halved 
3/4 cup sugar 
2 tablespoons corn syrup 
1-1/2 teaspoons lemon juice 
1/2 teaspoon butter 
Waffles or pancakes

Directions:  Place strawberries in a blender(or food processor); cover and process until pureed. Transfer to a small saucepan; add the sugar, corn syrup, lemon juice and butter. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1 minute. Skim off foam. Strain seeds if desired. Serve warm with waffles or pancakes. Refrigerate leftovers; warm before serving. Yield: about 1-1/2 cups.
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Family Pictures

 I always think it is fun to see the people whose blogs I read....here a few quick pics of my family :)

The last time we had family pictures taken....was when our oldest boy was 1...can you believe that?  He is 12 now!  I am such a slacker when it comes getting pictures!  One reason I don't like getting family pictures taken(probably the main reason) is because I hate trying to find clothes for my boys that coordinate :)  My boys like jeans and t-shirts...with all kinds of crazy sayings and pictures.  SO...I don't want to spend a bunch of money on shirts that they won't wear again.    I have had family members asking for picture...so I scheduled an appointment with my friend to get them taken.  Of course...the day of pictures I hadn't picked out any outfits.  I decided the boys could all just wear jeans and their white church shirts.  

Some of the shirts were a little small or big and they were all different shades of white...oops.

My friend was very patient taking pictures of these boys:)  We got a lot of the action above...and the 4 year old gave us lots of fun pics showing his personality...below.

I told the boys to wear a white t-shirt under their shirts.  When my oldest came downstairs, you could see Taz and a bunch of other characters showing through his white dress shirt...he said he didn't have any plain white t-shirts....so my husband told him to just put it on backwards...when my friend told us she was going to get a shot from behind...BELOW...I told her she might have to photoshop out some characters.

All-in-all...not SO difficult after all....  Definitely worth getting some good pictures of my favorite people all together.  Better make this an annual tradition!

How often do you get family pictures taken?

When was the last time you had family pictures taken?
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Monday, October 8, 2012

Samoa Popcorn

This recipe comes from the blog Cookies and Cups.  I originally saw it on my cousin Tracey's Blog.  I LOVE caramel popcorn....add in some toasted coconut, chocolate and Girl Scout Samoa cookies and it is even better!!  I had to substitute Keebler's Coconut Dream cookies for the Samoa's....since they are not available right now.  I think the Coconut Dream cookies are very similar to the Girl Scout Samoa cookies.

I packaged mine up in some Chinese take-out boxes and tied up with some thick rickrack to share with some friends. 

 Samoa Popcorn

2 bags of Light microwave popcorn popped with the unpopped kernels removed.
2 c. light brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
12 tablespoon butter, cubed
4 Tablespoons water
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups sweetened coconut flakes
4 oz semi-sweet chocolate
1 package Samoa Cookies or Keebler Coconut Dreams (optional)

Directions:  After your popcorn is popped according to the package instructions set it aside in a large bowl.  
Put coconut in cold skillet and heat to medium low.  It will take 10-15 minutes or so for it to toast up, but watch it carefully because once it starts to brown it will go fast.  Once it is a light golden color remove from heat and set aside. 

While the coconut is toasting, chop your cookies(if using) into small bite-sized pieces.  Set aside....make sure that you stay close to your coconut...so you can keep an eye on it and stir it occasionally.

On your counter or a nearby table line a few sheets of wax paper so you can spread you popcorn onto it when mixing the caramel.  You don’t have to do this, but it makes it easier.

Preheat your oven to 200°
To make the caramel combine the butter, brown sugar, water and corn syrup in a medium saucepan.  Whisk ingredients to together and bring to a boil.  Boil without stirring for approx 5 minutes until candy thermometer reads 250°.  If you don’t have a candy thermometer, 5 minutes is just about the right amount of time, don’t worry too much.  Remove from heat and immediately whisk in your baking soda and vanilla.  When you add the baking soda, the caramel will foam up a bit.  

Pour your caramel over your popcorn and stir until it’s all coated.
Now pour you popcorn on you waxed paper and sprinkle your toasted coconut on top of popcorn evenly.  Leave your wax paper out, you will need it again! 

In a large roasting pan or baking sheet bake your popcorn in oven for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
Now spread you popcorn back onto the wax paper and sprinkle your chopped cookies evenly on top.  Melt your semi-sweet chocolate in microwave on 50% power in 30 second intervals until melted, stirring each time. 

Drizzle your melted chocolate on top of cookies and popcorn.  Let the chocolate set and break apart.  Store in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Crock Pot Cream Cheese Chicken Chili

Seriously, I have the hardest time getting a decent picture of chili, soup, enchiladas...etc....so this picture does not do this recipe justice!!  I found this recipe here from Plain Chicken.  If you want to see some great pictures of this dish that will make you drool....go HERE to see them.  This recipe is easy and really delicious!!

Crock Pot Cream Cheese Chicken Chili

1 can black beans
1 can corn, undrained
1 can Rotel, undrained
1 package ranch dressing mix
1 tsp cumin
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 8 oz package light cream cheese
2 chicken breasts

Directions:  Drain and rinse black beans. Place chicken at bottom of pot, then pour out whole can of corn (undrained), rotel, and black beans. Top with seasonings and ranch mix. Stir together. Place cream cheese on top. Cover with lid and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Stir cream cheese into chili. Use 2 forks to shred chicken. Stir together and serve.
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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Chocolate Chocolate (or Peanut Butter) Chip Cookies

A good friend of mine gave me this recipe quite awhile ago.  I have made them quite a few times and was surprised to find that I had never posted the recipe.  The recipe calls for semi-sweet choc. chips.  While I was at the store the other day, they had Reece's Peanut Butter chips on sale....so I got them to try with this recipe. 

I bought extra cake mixes when I made Homemade Oreo's a few weeks back, so I was sure I had Devil's Food cake mixes.  haha...when I went to the get the cake mix, I realized that I had accidentally bought German Chocolate cake mixes....oops...I didn't want to go to the grocery store, so I just used the German Chocolate and it was still Delicious!!

These cookies are super YUMMY and EASY!!  You could make these with any type of 'chips', but I would definitely recommend trying peanut butter :)

Chocolate Chocolate (or Peanut Butter) Chip Cookies

1 pkg. Devils Food cake
1/3 cup water
4 Tablespoons melted butter
1 egg
1 1/4 cup semi-sweet choc. chips (or peanut butter, or whatever you like)

Directions:  Mix all ingredients together.  Bake for 8-10 minutes @ 350 degrees.
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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

The other day...I was making some SUPER yummy Baked Rigatoni for dinner.  We have A LOT of cherry tomatoes in the garden right now and I thought they would be SO good, roasted and served with the rigatoni....and I was right :)  SO GOOD!!  Of course they would be super yummy served alone or with many other dishes.

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Cherry Tomatoes
Olive Oil
Course Kosher Salt
Fresh Ground Pepper

Directions:  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, toss tomatoes with the olive oil on the baking sheet.  Spread the tomatoes so that they are in a single layer.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes until the tomatoes are soft. 
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Friday, September 28, 2012

Lime Chicken Fajitas

I LOVE fajitas!!  A good friend of mine recently gave me a bunch of bell peppers from her garden to slice and freezer for future fajita goodness :)

I found this recipe over at Dana's blog, Made.  This recipe is easy and there is no need to buy a package of fajita seasoning to make it.  Dana said that she adds cucumbers to her toppings...I've never tried that before, but I LOVED it!!  They add a nice, fresh crispness.  I also served with limes on the side(didn't make the picture) for an extra shot of lime.  We all really loved this recipe!!

Lime Chicken Fajitas


Marinade:Juice of 2 Limes
2 Tbl Rice Vinegar (substitute Apple cider vinegar if you’re out)
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Black Pepper
2 tsp Cumin
1-2 Tbl finely chopped jalapeno pepper
1-2 Tbl finely chopped cilantro

Serves approx 4 people
Approx 8 boneless chicken tenders or 4 chicken breasts, thawed and cut into bite-size pieces.
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 green bell pepper, cut into strips
1 onion (or less if preferred), cut into rings/strips

Cheese, sour cream, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce or cabbage, salsa, cilantro

Directions:   Prepare your vegetables, chicken, and marinade. Cut up one onion and two bell peppers into strips.  You need approximately 8 chicken tenders or 4 breasts, cut into small strip-like pieces.

Place the peppers and onions in one bag together and the chicken in another bag. Leave those aside and prepare the simple marinade.  Squeeze the juice from two limes.  Mix the lime juice, vinegar, salt, pepper, and cumin.  For added flavor and heat, add 1-2 Tbl of finely chopped fresh jalapeno and 1-2 Tbl of finely chopped cilantro(if desired).  Mix everything together and pour half the marinade over the pepper/onion mix, and the other half over the chicken.  Fill each bag with air and shake it all around to make sure everything is coated. Do this over your kitchen sink in case anything leaks or pops.  And place both bags in in a bowl to marinate for 30 minutes or longer. If you’re going to cook them soon, they can be left on the counter top otherwise place them in the refrigerator.

Using a large frying pan, heat a small amount of cooking oil. Pour in the contents of the pepper bag (it’s okay if the liquid goes in too) and let everything cook for about 5 minutes. If there are too many peppers, do it in two batches. You can let the liquid help steam the veggies for a few minutes and then drain the liquid off in the sink so the veggies will brown in the pan. The key is to cook them enough that they’re not raw, but not too much so they still have bite. Similar to al dente. Put the cooked peppers and onions aside on a plate. And clean your pan slightly with water in the sink to remove any black residue from cooking the peppers.  Just as you cooked the peppers, heat a bit of oil in the pan and then add the chicken. Try not to let the marinade liquid get into the pan because the chicken tends to release it’s own liquids. But no big deal if some slips in.  Let it all cook for a few minutes.  Then drain off any liquids in the sink and add a bit more oil (if needed) so the chicken can brown in the pan.

Finally, add the peppers and onions back into the mix and warm for a minute.  Serve with warm tortillas and toppings of your choice.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Stuffed Poblanos

The other day our neighbors gave us some poblano chiles from from their garden...so I went to google to look for a stuffed pepper recipe.  I wish I would have taken a picture of the peppers before I stuffed and cooked them.  They were SO perfect looking...and smelled SO good!!

Anyway, I found this recipe at fine cooking and very lightly adapted it.  The original recipe called for sharp cheddar cheese and no cayenne.  My husband likes things hot, so I added the cayenne.  I also had some Monterrey Jack/Provolone cheese mixture left from making pizza, so that is what I used and I'm telling you.....SO GOOD!!  We LOVED this recipe!!  Next year we will definitely be adding poblano chilies to our garden!! 

Stuffed Poblanos

4 large poblano chilies
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/2 medium white onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, chopped
1 tsp. dried oregano, crumbled
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. ground cayenne (optional...depending on how hot you like it)
Generous pinch ground cinnamon
Kosher salt
1 Tbs. olive oil
2 cups shredded cooked chicken, preferably dark meat
1-1/2 cups cooked brown or white rice
2 cups grated Monterrey Jack/Provolone cheese mix (about 7 oz.)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (including some tender stems)
1 Tbs. lime juice 

Directions: Position an oven rack about 4 inches from the broiler and heat the broiler on high. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil.

Slit the chiles from stem to tip and set on the baking sheet. Broil, turning every few minutes, until blackened all over, 5 to 8 minutes. Let cool slightly, peel off the skins, and cut out the seed cores, leaving the stems on. Turn the chiles inside out, flick out any remaining seeds, and turn right side out. Return the poblanos to the baking sheet.

Purée the tomatoes, onion, garlic, oregano, cumin, cinnamon, and 1/2 tsp. salt in a food processor. Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the purée and cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid has evaporated and the mixture looks thick and pulpy, 8 to 11 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the chicken and rice, and then 1 cup of the cheese, the cilantro, and the lime juice. Season to taste with salt. Divide the filling among the peppers, wrapping the sides of the peppers up and around the filling, some of which will still be exposed.

Broil the peppers until the cheese is melting and the top is beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. Top with the remaining 1 cup cheese and broil until the cheese is completely melted, about 2 minutes.
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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

S'mores Bars

It has been SO long since I have posted anything.  3 1/2 weeks ago, I was getting ready to post this recipe....but, my computer crashed!!  It is being worked on STILL.  Hopefully I will get it back soon.  Luckily, I still had these pictures on my camera.  I tried using our OLD(11 years) laptop, but it didn't take too friendly to blogger....SO I am borrowing my husbands computer.
ANYWAYS...I think that this is my new favorite dessert!!  These are good warm... and I think they are even better the next day.  I probably ate half of these...I just kept a fork in the pan after the first day, that way I could grab a quick bite everytime I walked by. 
I found this recipe here at The Hungry Runner Girl(my favorite running blog). 

S'mores Bars
Ingredients:1 1/2 cups Graham Crackers (1 sleeve), crushed
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 cup mini marshmallows (according to Janae...the more marshmallow...the better!)
3/4 bag chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet because the hershey bars are milk chocolate)
3 Hershey Bars

Directions:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix together the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and 1/4 sugar.  Press into hte bottom of a 9x13 in baking dish.  Bake for 7 minutes.  Allow to cool slightly.

Cream butter, shortening, sugar and brown sugar together.  Blend in eggs and vanill.  Stir in flour, salt and baking soda.  By hand mix in the chocolate chips and marshmallows.

Spread over the graham cracker crust.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Top with broken pieces of Hershey Bars.  Return to oven and bake for 15 more minutes.  Remove and allow to cool before cutting.  Enjoy!!
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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Lemon Brownies

I LOVE lemons and all things lemon.....

My sister made these for us while we were in Utah.  They are SO yummy!!  Her and her kids came to visit us last week and I told her that we needed to make them again....so she did.  She found the recipe here at Rita's Recipes.

Lemon Brownies


3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, soft
2 eggs
juice from 1/2 lemon (~1T)
zest from 1/2 lemon (~1t)

Directions:  Preheat oven to 350.  Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl.  Mix in the softened butter.  In another bowl whisk the eggs with the lemon juice and zest.  Add to the larger bowl and mix well.    Pour into prepared 8X8 brownie pan.  Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.  You can double the recipe and bake in a 9X13 pan for 30 minutes.  Remove and let cool, then glaze.

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
additional lemon zest

stir together.
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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

National Slurpee Day

Did you know that today is National Slurpee Day?  Actually I'm not sure if it is really National Slurpee Day...but that is what I have heard :)  Today7-11 is celebrating their anniversary and giving away FREE Slurpee's.....mmmm...

Since we don't have a 7-11 anywhere near where I live, we decided to make our own slushes today.  I have seen other recipes that use club soda or sprite, we don't drink a lot of soda around here and rarely have it on hand...so we just use water.  I will have to try the other recipes sometime and see how much more yummy they are :)...but for now this works for us and we love it.  And of course...everything is better topped with a little...or a lot...of whipped cream :)

Homemade Slush

3 1/2 cups water
1 kool-aid packet
2/3 to 1 cup sugar, depending on taste

Directions:  Add water, sugar, and kool-aid to a large blender(needs to be a least a 2 quart blender).  Blend until sugar is dissolved.  Add ice to the 2 quart mark on the blender and blend until smooth.  I always have a cup of water on hand and a cup of ice....just in case I need to add a little more of one or the other to get the consistency that I want.

I also like to add a shot of cream of coconut to strawberry slush...mmm....

Top with a shot of whipped cream, if desired.
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Summer fun...AF Canyon half marathon and 5k

I can't believe that it has been over a month since I have blogged!!  and....there is less than a month until school starts.  That makes me sad, I am so not ready for summer to end...better make the best of this last month!! 
We have had a lot of fun past month.
The four boys and I went to Utah for a couple of weeks to visit my family.  We had a blast and I didn't take enough pictures!!  I am horrible about taking pictures while on vacation.  I will have to have my sisters send me some of the pictures that they took.

While we were in Utah, I ran the American Fork Half Marathon and my bro-in-law was nice enough to run the 5k with my niece(12), nephew(his 6 year old) and my son(11).

I had to wake up at 2:30am to get ready to leave my parent's house in Layton to get to American Fork by 4 or 4:30 to load the buses to ride up the canyon.  SO...it was nice to have my bro-in-law run and bring the boys down later since their race didn't start until 7 and they didn't have to catch buses.

The run down the canyon was beautiful.  It was my first half marathon....and I survived :)  I was hoping to finish it in under 2 hours and barely made it...with 38 seconds to spare.

I LOVED this run and hope to run it again next year.  My 11, oops, now 12(as of Sunday) year old says he wants to run it with me next year.  It sure would be fun to have someone to hang out with at the starting line...especially him!
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