Monday, February 20, 2012

Oatmeal Apple Muffins

So ,I promised a few things here and there,that would be on the lighter side.Here is one of them.This is an easy muffin recipe,can be doubled if you like,and adds just the right amount of sweetness to your morning.Feel free to add some chopped walnuts,or apple for extra taste & texture if you like.

1/2c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
3 tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 c. milk
pinch of salt
2-3 tbsp. applesauce
1-1/2 tsp. canola oil
1 egg
   In a large bowl,mix together all of the dry ingredients.In another bowl,mix together the milk,egg,oil and applesauce.Gently miz into the dry ingredients.
  Line a cupcake pan with 5 cupcake liners.Fill the liners halfway with the batter.Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes,until golden.Enjoy!

Pinwheel Cookies

If you live in my neck of the woods,your kids are home from school this week.Looking for things to keep them busy?Here is a fun little idea that you can make with any rolled sugar cookie recipe you may have.If you need one,check out my Puppy Pops,or lemon Sugar Cookie recipes.

You'll Need:
Sugar Cookie dough
m & m's
popsicle sticks

    Roll out your cookie dough.Cut into approximately 4 inch squares. Carefully,using a pizza cutter or a knife,slice the cookie ALMOST to the middle,coming from all four corners as shown.

   Gently,fold in every other corner into the middle.Place an m&m in the center,and push down slightly.Insert a popsicle stick into each one.
   Bake at 350 degrees until the edges brown slightly.Let cool for about 15 minutes,then let the kids enjoy!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Martha Stewart's New Home Office Line

I am in organization mode lately,so when I saw these items today,I had to smile!To say I am in love with Martha's new line of  office items is an understatement.Love the new labels she has designed for the kitchen...some with removeable adhesive,so you can label your good storage containers and freeze them,then remove the labels easily when you need to.I also love the variety of colors & designs.

   Another great item,as you will see below,is the vertical file folder...why couldn't I think of something like that?Your paper work fits right in the top slot,and doesnt fall out!Of course,it all fits into the magazine holders that are part of the line as well.I have included some pictures of the line,but there are so many more options than what I have here...check out your local Staples,or visit them online at .Have fun getting organized!

  Here are a few of the new labels available....she even has chalkboard labels!How great would they be for entertaining?You can label all of the dishes you are serving,and the drinks as well(if served in large pitchers or containers)!,love ........

Monday, February 13, 2012

Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Chocolate + Sugar = Valentine's Day!Here is an easy,delicious cookie recipe for you and the sweeties in your life!For a double dose of chocolate,add a hershey kiss on top as soon as they come out of the oven!

2 sticks butter,softened
1-1/2 c. sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa
2 c. flour
sugar for rolling,and dusting
   In the bowl of your mixer,blend together the butter and the sugar.Add the egg,and vanilla.Add the baking powder,baking soda and salt.Slowly add in the cocoa,then flour and mix only until well blended.
   Roll the batter into balls(about 1 tbsp.) then roll into sugar.Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet,and bake at 350 degrees for about 8-10 minutes.Remove and let cool.

***These cookies can be decorated with m&m candies, chocolate ganache,or just eaten plain...just add the m&m's after you remove them from the oven and they are still warm.If adding ganache or frosting,wait until they are cooled,the decorate as desired!Enjoy!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Triple Chocolate Delights

This recipe is for all of the serious chocoholics out there.A delicious,flaky chocolate crust,a brownie-like filling,and a rich,chocolate topping.A big glass of cold milk is a must with these treats.What more needs to be said?

3 oz. cream cheese,softened
1 stick of unsalted butter
3/4 c. flour
1/4 c. cocoa
  Blend all of the ingredients together.Form into a ball,wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.Remove from the refrigerator,and roll into 24 balls.Line each well of a mini muffin pan with  a ball of dough.Gently push the dough up the sides of the pan until it is well covered.Place the pan in the refrigerator while you make the filling.

2 tbsp. butter
1/2 c. semi sweet chocolate  finely chopped
1/3 c. sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp.vanilla
1/4 c. chopped walnuts or almonds,if desired
  In a small sauce pan,combine the chocolate and butter over low heat.Stir until melted,then immediately remove from the heat.Whisk in the sugar,vanilla and egg. If desired,stir in some chopped walnuts or almonds.

2 Tbsp. cocoa
2 tbsp. butter,softened
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1-1/2 c. confectioners' sugar
1 Tbsp. milk,more if needed
   In the bowl of your mixer,blend together the cocoa and butter.Add 1 Tbsp. of milk,and the vanilla.Gradually add the confectioners' sugar.If the frosting is too thick,add milk in small amounts until it reaches spreading consistency.

   Fill the chocolate pastry cups almost to the top with the chocolate filling.Bake at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes.Remove from the oven.Let cool for approximately 20 minutes.Frost with the icing,or use a piping bag as I have done to make it extra special!Enjoy!

**These can be made ahead and frozen(minus the frosting).

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Veggie Pot Pie

This is an Ina Garten recipe,which I have changed up a bit.Her original recipe is for Chicken Pot Pie,but,I am not a chicken lover ,so veggies it is.Feel free to add some cooked chicken if you like.I also have omitted the saffron & Pernod,simply because I did not have any!Other vegetables such as sweet potato and asparagus can be used as well.It is a really delicious dish,and makes a perfect  winter dinner.

1-1/2 sticks of butter
1 bulb of fennel,chopped
1 large onion,chopped
2 medium carrots,peeled and chopped
1 small butternut squash,peeled and chopped
1 c. frozen peas
1 large potato,peeled and chopped
1/4 c. flour
2-1/2 c. chicken stock(I use homemade)
salt & pepper
chopped parsley
1 sheet of puff pastry(I use Pepperidge Farm)
Fill a large saucepan with water,and bring to a boil.Lower to a simmer,and add the carrots,squash & potato.Cook for approximately 5-7 minutes,just to soften the vegetables.Strain and set aside.
   In a dutch oven(large pot ),melt the butter.Add the fennel and onions,and cook about 10-15 minutes until translucent.Add the flour and cook,stirring,for 3 minutes.Slowly,add the chicken stock.Season with salt and pepper.Bring to a boil,then lower the heat and simmer for five minutes.
  Add the vegetables,peas,and some chopped parsley to the chicken stock mixture.Mix well.Pour the mixture into a deep pie plate,baking dish,or individual mini ramekins.Roll out the pastry slightly,and cut out pieces slightly larger than your baking dish.Place on top of the vegetable mixture.Make slits with a knife in the pastry in order for steam to escape(I used a valentine cookie cutter instead,for some added holiday flair)!Brush with egg wash ,and sprinkle with salt & pepper.
   Place in the oven on top of a baking sheet(to prevent spills),and bake at 375 for 30 minutes.The pastry should be golden brown and the mixture should be bubbling.Remove and enjoy!!!

Egg Wash:
1 egg,beaten
1 Tbsp. water
   Mix together and brush the top of the pastry.
***This freezes beautifully.I often make individual mini portions,and place them in the oven straight from the freezer for an extra side dish at dinnertime.Just wrap tightly with foil and freeze.
   For those of you not familiar with fennel,this is what it looks like.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Ladybug Cookies

If the only cookie cutter you own is heart-shaped,you can still be creative!Think outside the box.I love to turn cookie cutters upside down,and sideways to see what else I can possibly turn them into.A heart can be turned into a ladybug(perfect for Valentine's Day) easily.Use your favorite sugar cookie,or shortbread recipe and follow my ideas for decorating!Again,this is a fun project,and is open to interpretation.Have fun with it!!!If you need a recipe,look up my Puppy Pops recipe in the search box(I would link it for you,but I am still trying to figure out how to do that correctly)!You will also need chocolate candy melts,available at your local candy/craft store,or at .
     After rolling,cutting ,baking and cooling your cookies, dip the pointed part of the heart into melted chocolate.Let that set for about 10 minutes.Then mix together the powdered sugar icing(see below),and tint with desired food coloring(I use Americolor food coloring,available at ). Carefully spread your icing around the back end of the heart cookie.Let set again for about 15 minutes.Use both your melted chocolate and colored icings to add details such as the spots,eyes and nose.
Helpful Hints:
  - You may also use decorative sprinkles,nonpareils,etc. instead of all of the icing work.
  - You can use ready made frosting if it is easier for you.
  - You may also use red candy melts for the rounded end of the hearts,just dip the cookie into the red   melted chocolate and let set on parchment or wax paper.

Powdered Sugar Icing:
1- 1lb. box of confectioners' sugar
food coloring
   Place the sugar in a large bowl.Add the water,less than 1/4 c.,slowly and stir until it reaches a spreadable may need a bit more water,if so add it in small amounts,so that your icing isn't too runny.If you find you have added too much water,no worries,just add more sugar until you reach the right consistency.I then split the icing into different smaller bowls and add the desired food colorings.
   I honestly do not measure when I make this icing,I just go by the thickness of the icing.This is like mixing paints,your kids will love it!