Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ok... so there have been quite a few people who have asked for this recipe... so here it is enjoy!

Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 stick butter flavored shortening
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
3 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons Mexican Vanilla
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside.
Place shortening in the mixer's work bowl. Add the sugar and brown sugar. Cream the shortening and sugars on medium speed. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and mix until well combined. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Chill the dough, then scoop onto parchment-lined baking sheets,  Bake for 14 minutes or until golden brown, checking the cookies after 5 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet for even browning. Cool completely and store in an airtight container.

News Years Resolution Meals


Many people throughout the world are making a resolution to slim down, eat better and exercise. Well I get asked all the time, how we can make meals tasty, easy to prepare and are healthy. Too many people still have the concept that eating healthy is flavorless and difficult. It is not. But it does take some planning, which I admit is hard at times. Plus you need to get all family members on board with some changes, believe me I know... my husband is very stubborn when it comes to eating fruits and veggies. So starting on January 1st, we will have some healthy tips and recipes to add to your family life. Some recipes to look forward to...


Lemon Poached Chicken
Dark Chocolate Mint Cake
Miso Soup
Whole Wheat Quick Breads
Hearty Vegetable Soup
How to Slice your own Meats
How To Sub In Healthy alternatives

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Holiday Treats day 25: Merry Christmas



Recipe for a wonderful Christmas and a wonderful Life


Fold two hands together
And express a dash of sorrow
Marinate it overnight
And work on it tomorrow.
Chop one grudge in tiny pieces
Add several cups of love
Dredge with a large sized smile
Mix with the ingredients above.

Dissolve the hate within you,
By doing a good deed,
Cut in and help your friend
If he should be in need.

Stir in laughter, love and kindness
From the heart it has to come,
Toss with genuine forgiveness
And give your neighbor some.

The amount of people served
Will depend on you,
It can serve the whole wide world,
If you really want it to.

Holiday Treats Day 24: Creamy Dreamy Hot Cocoa




Twas the Night before Christmas.... and all through the house... we were all snuggled on the coach... watching "It's A Wonderful Life"... drinking some wonderful coco! Merry Christmas!

½ Cup Dark Chocolate Chips
½ Cup heavy Cream

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup white sugar
1 pinch salt
1/3 cup boiling water
3 1/2 cups milk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup half-and-half cream
 Dash of Cinnamon and Nutmeg

Whipped Cream



Heat Heavy Cream in microwave safe bowl on medium heat for 20-30 seconds. DO NOT BURN. Pour over Dark Chocolate Chips. Let sit for a few min.

While Cream and Chocolate are resting, Combine the cocoa, sugar and pinch of salt in a saucepan. Blend in the boiling water. Bring this mixture to an easy boil while you stir. Simmer and stir for about 2 minutes. Watch that it doesn't scorch. Stir in 3 1/2 cups of milk and heat until very hot, but do not boil! Remove from heat and add vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Pour cream and chocolate carefully into pan with other chocolate mixture. Add the half and half cream to the cocoa to cool it to drinking temperature. Top with whipped cream. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Holiday Treats Day 23: Baked Rice Pudding

Since today is my anniversary with my wonderful husband, I thought today I would make his favorite!



Baked Rice Pudding

¾ oz unsalted butter melted
3 TBS short grain rice
3 eggs
¼ cup fine sugar
1 ¾ cups Whole milk
½ cup Heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp ground nutmeg

Preheat over to 315 and brush 52 oz casserole dish with melted butter.

Cook the rice in a large saucepan with boiling water for 12 min, or until tender. Drain well.

Place the eggs in a bowl and beat lightly. Add sugar, milk, cream and vanilla. Whisk until well combined. Stir in the cooked, pour into prepared dish. Sprinkle with nutmeg.

Place the dish in a deep roasting pan. Place pan in oven, on oven rack pulled out of oven. Pour boiling water into roasting pan, enough to fill pan to cover ½ way up the casserole dish. (This protects the pudding and keeps it moist) Bake for 45 min, or until the custard is lightly set and a knife inserted comes out clean. Remove the pudding dish from roasting pan, cool for 5 min on wire rack before service.

 Can also be served chilled, with golden raisins or warm fruit.

Holiday Treats Day 22: Rhubarb and Berry Crumble



Rhubarb and Berry Crumble

1 lb 14 oz Rhubarb, cut into small cubes
1 ¼ cup Blueberries or Black Berries or Strawberries
1 teaspoon Orange Zest, grated
1 cup Granulated Sugar
1 cup Flour
1 cup Almonds, ground
1 tsp Ground Ginger
5 ½ oz of chilled butter


Preheat over to 350. Lightly grease a deep 6 cup casserole dish.

In a large saucepan, bring 6 cups of water to boil. Add cut rhubarb, and cook for 2 min, or until just tender. (Don’t overcook; no one likes really mushy rhubarb!) Drain well and combine with berries, zest and 1 /3 cup of the sugar. Place fruit in prepared dish.

For topping, combine the flour, almonds, ginger and remaining sugar. Rub the butter into the flour mixture with your fingertips until it resembles course breadcrumbs. Sprinkle the crumbs over the fruit, pressing lightly. Don’t press down too firmly; you want it to look course.

Place dish on baking tray (because it will bubble over). Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the topping s golden and the fruit is bubbling. Let set for 5 minutes before service. Serve with Vanilla bean Cream or ice cream.

tip: I have also used diced apples.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Holiday Treats Day 21: Cream Puffs


Profiteroles au Chocolate
(cream puff)

Ingredients:

Profiteroles
¾ cup flour
¼ tsp salt
pinch of nutmeg
¾ cup water
6 TBS of unsalted butter cut into 6 pieces
3 eggs

2 Cups softened ice cream

chocolate sauce
½ cup chocolate nibs ( semi sweet chocolate chips 60% dark)
½ cup heavy cream warm

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and lightly butter a large backing sheet

Sift together flour, salt and nutmeg. In medium sauce pan, bring water and butter to boil. Remove from heat and add the dry ingredients all at once. Beat with a wooded spoon fro about one minute until mixture starts to pull away from the sides of the pan. Return to low heat and mix fro about 2 minutes.

Place mixture in large mixing bowl. On medium heat add one egg at a time, allowing eggs to incorporate evenly. Place dough in piping bag and pipe small balls onto greased pan. Bake for 20-30 minutes until pastry is well risen and browned.  Cool on wire rack.

Fill puffs with Softened ice cream.

To make sauce, place nibs in bowl. Add warm cream. Let sit for 2 minutes. Stir and serve on profiteroles.

Tip: any flavor of ice cream will work, I love butter rum flavor, mint and classic vanilla bean. Also make sure you use heavy cream no whipping cream, different fat content that will make a difference. this recipe can be doubled as well.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Holiday Treats Day 20: Lemon Snowflakes


This one is almost too easy! Yet they are super tasty and add a citrus space to any cookie plate!

1 package of lemon cake ( 18 1/4 oz)
2 1/4 cups of whipped topping
1 egg

powdered sugar

In a mixer, combine cake mix and mix for 2 min to break up clumps and make the mix finer. Then add whipped topping and egg. Mix until well blended. Batter will be very sticky! Put 1 cup of powdered sugar in a pie pan.

To transfer dough to  pie pan of powdered sugar, use a portion scoop that has been sprayed with Pam or another cooking spray. Roll balls in powdered sugar. Transfer dough balls onto either parchment or silpat lined cookie sheets. Bake at 350 for 8-10 min, or until lightly golden and tops are cracked. Transfer to a cooling rack or tinfoil.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Holiday Treats Day 19: No Bake Cookies


2 Cups of Sugar
4 Tb cocoa
1 stick butter
1/2 cup milk
1 cup peanut butter
1 Tb vanilla
3 cups oatmeal

In a heavy saucepan bring to a boil sugar, cocoa, butter and milk. Let boil for one minute and add peanut butter, vanilla and oatmeal. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto waxed paper or aluminum foil until cooled and hardened.

This is a childhood favorite and quick and easy to make. No one can resist the oatmeal and peanut buttery taste!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Holiday Treats Day 18:White Chocolate & Cranberry Scones



White Chocolate & Cranberry Scones

3/4 Cup of granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 oz unsalted, cold butter
1 egg Yolk
5 1/2 oz Half and Half
1/2 cup craisens
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Procedures:

Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Rub in the cold butter until the mixture resembles mealy flour. (aka, small course dough chucks).

Combine egg yolk and half and half, mix together. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Mix until barely combined. Turn out onto well-floured surface and slightly knead. Hand press until 3/4 inch thick cut into desired shapes.

Bake at 400 until golden brown, about 10-
12 min. brush with melted butter or frosting glaze while hot. 

Holiday Treats Day 17: S'more Bars



S’more Bars

½ cup butter, softened
¾ cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 cup flour
¾ cup graham cracker crumbs
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 1/3 cup chocolate chips
3 cups mini marshmallows

Preheat over to 350, line a 8 X 8 pan with parchment ( if doubling this recipe, use a 8  13 jelly roll pan, also lined)

Beat butter and sugar in mixer with paddle attachment. Mix until well blended. Add eggs and vanilla. In a second bowl, combine flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt. Then add dry mixture to butter mixture. Divide dough in half and press half of dough into pan. Bake for 15 min.

Sprinkle chocolate chips and marshmallows over baking layer. Scatter bits of remaining dough over chocolate and marshmallows, forming the top layer. Bake for 10-15 more min, or until lightly brown. Cool completely, then cut into squares.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Holiday Treats Day 16: Peanut Butter Fudge

One of my favorite memories as a kid was going over to my Grandma Swensen's house. and as all great grandmas do, she would make some wonderful treats for us. This is a variation on her famous Peanut butter fudge. boy do I love and miss her!




Peanut Butter Fudge

1 cup butter
1 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pound powdered sugar
½ cup Chopped Chocolate


Directions
In medium Sauce Pan, melt butter and peanut butter, until melted. Remove from heat. Add vanilla and powdered sugar to peanut butter mixture and stir to combine with a wooden spoon. Pour into a 8 by 8-inch pan lined with waxed paper.  Press into pan, top with chocolate. Place a second piece of waxed paper on the surface of the fudge and refrigerate until cool. Cut into 1-inch pieces and store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Holiday Treats Day 15: White Chocolate Peanut Butter Clusters


1 lb. white chocolate
1/2 c. peanut butter
2 c. Rice Krispies
½ cup Roasted Peanuts
1 1/2 c. miniature marshmallows

Slowly melt the white chocolate. Remove from heat and stir in the peanut butter. Add the Rice Krispies, Peanuts and marshmallows.

Drop 2 TBS of clusters onto wax paper. Let cool completely to set up. Store in Zip loc bags.


Variations:

Change the 2 cups of Rice Krispies to 1 ½ and add ½ cup of mini pretzels.

Tip: Use a double broiler to melt the white chocolate, Microwave can work too, but remember to constantly stir it!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Holiday Treats Day 14: Creamy Dreamy Fudge


3 cups (18 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 (14 oz.) can Sweetened Condensed Milk (I use eagle brand)
Dash salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¾ cup Nuts
2 Cups Marshmallows

LINE 8- or 9-inch pan with wax paper.

MELT chocolate chips, marshmallows with sweetened condensed milk and salt in heavy saucepan. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Spread evenly in prepared pan. (I use a double broiler method for this, reason being that chocolate can easily be burned or tempered improperly. Its also easier for cleanup.)

CHILL 2 hours or until firm. Remove from pan by lifting edges of wax paper; peel off paper. Cut into squares.

Variations

MILK CHOCOLATE FUDGE: OMIT 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips. Add 1 cup milk chocolate chips. Proceed as above.

Mint Laced Fudge: Follow above recipe using ¾ cup Andie’s Mint chips or chopped mint.

CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER CHIP GLAZED FUDGE: FOLLOW above recipe using 3/4 cup peanut butter chips instead of nuts. For glaze, melt 1/2 cup peanut butter chips with 1/2 cup heavy cream. Stir until thick and smooth. Spread over chilled fudge.

Peppermint Fudge: Follow above recipe using ¾ cup crushed peppermint candy

Monday, December 13, 2010

Holiday Treats Day 13: Yuletide Punch


4 bags of Cranberry Tea (or 4 TBS of loose tea)
1 litter of Ginger ale
12 Stars of Anise
2 Oranges, sliced (blood oranges work better)
4 Cups Boiling water
1 Cinnamon Stick

Add tea to boiling water. Make sure to use an infuser if using loose tea. Let sit over night in fridge. Remove tea bags. take 1/2 litter of ginger ale, place in a sauce pot and add stars and cinnamon. Stir on a low heat for 20 min. Remove from stove and let cool. Combine remaining ingredients just before service.

Tip: Now this recipe might seem anoying to some people with all the starting and stops, but it is designed to make a filler recipe. something that you can do while making or baking other things. I love Blood oranges the best for this, but they are really hard to come by in Alaska.

Holiday Treats Day 12: Puppy Chow


So this was Sundays post... that was supposed to auto post.. I wanted to try that feature... But it didn't work right... my husband said it was an operator error.. oh well!


3 cups Crispix cereal
1 cup Kix Cereal (not Honey flavor)
1 cup Mini Pretzels
1 cup Corn Chex cereal
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup butter
12 ounce chocolate chips
2 cups powdered sugar


Melt peanut butter, butter and chocolate chips together in the microwave or on the stove. Stir into cereal. Put powdered sugar in a paper sack (shake a few times). Put cereal mixture in and shake until well coated. 

Tip: you can use zip lock bag as well.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Holiday Treats Day 11: Vanilla Bean Cream

So here is a filler recipe... making cream puffs? Want to dollop on pumpkin, pecan, or apple pie? making a Yule Log? Here is a wonderful recipe to make you smile!



2 Cups of Heavy whipping cream, 35% or better.
1 softened vanilla Bean, split
3 TBS of Sugar
1 tsp vanilla

In a large stainless, not aluminum bowl (it will change the flavor) combine sugar and cream. Scrape vanilla seeds into cream. Place Bean in cream. Let sit overnight in fridge, covered!

Let cream come to room temperature. Remove bean and add vanilla. With an electric mixer, blend on medium high speed until peaks are formed and cream is stiff. Don't over mix... you don't want butter!

Serve it! Love it! Lick it!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Holiday Treats Day 10: Soft and Spicy Ginger Cookies



Soft and Spiced Ginger Cookies

2 cups Flour
1 ½ tsp ground ginger
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup canola oil
¼ cup molasses
½ cup sour cream
1 egg white

1 cup granulated sugar


Preheat oven to 350

Combine flour, ginger, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cloves in large bowl. Beat brown sugar, oil and molasses in a mixer at medium speed for 1 minute until smooth. Add sour cream and egg white, beat until blended. Gradually add flour, mixing at a low speed until well blended.

Place granulated sugar into a shallow bowl. Drop spoonful of cookie dough into sugar and gently roll/ place on cookie sheet lines with parchment or a silpat.

Bake for 10 min, or until tops are puffed up and not shinny. Cool two min on cookie sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Makes 2 ½ dozen cookies.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Holiday Treats Day 9: Eggnog Pound Cake



Eggnog Pound Cake

1 Package of Yellow cake mix
1 cup egg nog
3 eggs
½ cup butter
½ tsp ground nutmeg




In a mixer add cake mix, eggnog, eggs, butter and nutmeg. Mix on low speed for 30 seconds. Scrap bowl. Beat on medium speed for 2 min. pour into a greased and floured bunt pan.

Bake at 350 for 40-45 min or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing it from the pan. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely. Serve with whipped cream.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Holiday Treats Day 8: Chocolate Peanut Butter Bark


Chocolate Peanut Butter Bark

8 oz Dark Chocolate bars, broken into pieces (use 60-75% dark chocolate)
1 ¾ cups of Peanut Butter chips
1 TBS Shortening
½ cup Roasted Peanuts

Cover Tray with wax paper, or use a silicone mat.

Place chocolate in a medium microwave safe bowl. Microwave at medium for 1 min stir. Continue at 30-second intervals until chocolate is melted and smooth when stirred.
Place peanut butter chips in medium microwave safe bowl. Microwave at medium for 1 min stir. Continue at 30-second intervals until chocolate is melted and smooth when stirred. Stir in peanuts.

Alternate spooning mixtures onto wax paper. Swirl with a knife to create a marble effect. Cover and refrigerate until firm. Break into pieces.

Makes about 1 pound of candy.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Holiday Treats Series: Day 7 Soft Sugar Cookies

1 cup shortning
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cup sour cream
5 1/2 cups flour (until desired consistency for rolling)

In a large mixer, Cream together butter and sugar, until creamy and pale. Beat in eggs, vanilla and sour cream. In a separate bowl mix together all the dry ingredients.

Dough will be soft, but should not be shinny or sticky. When you are getting close to a finished dough and are unsure, wait 5 min for flour to absorb all the way before adding anymore flour.

Place in Gallon size Ziploc bag. Flatten to a rectangle. (this will make it easier to roll out for tomorrow) refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 425:F.

Roll out dough to a 1/4 to 3/8 inch thickness You may use flour, powered sugar, but a silicone rolling mat really helps the best. Make sure you flour your rolling pin.

Cut out shapes, use a offset spatula to transfer cookies to cooking sheet. bake on an ungreased cookie sheet (Baking silicone mats or parchment are a great tool here) for 8 minutes. (do not over cook. They should have a dull finish, not doughy or shinny looking) Cool on wire rack.

Frost and decorate as desired.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Holiday Treats Day 6: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies


Yes I am still crushing on Thanksgiving! I love pumpkin anything.... So when I buy my pumpkin puree from Costco in bulk, I just have to make cookies! They are sweet with some great spice! soft and cake like! A great addition to any holiday function!

1 c. sugar

1/2 c. Crisco
¼ cup Butter softened

2 egg, beaten

1 c. pureed pumpkin

1 tsp. milk

1 tsp. vanilla

2 1/2 c. flour

1/2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 c. chocolate chips
 
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
2. In a large mixing bowl, mix Crisco, sugar and butter, then blend in egg, pumpkin, milk, and vanilla.
3. In a separate bowl, mix flour with rest of dry ingredients, then blend into wet mixture. Stir in chocolate chips.
4. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet. Bake for approximately 10 minutes.

Copy Cat: Olive Garden Minestrone Soup


Olive Garden Minestrone Soup

So I got his from a friend… who will remain nameless, and I think it tastes pretty close to the original… I would love to do a throw down, but there are no Olive Gardens in Alaska! LAME! Something I noticed that made all the difference, use fresh veggies and herbs.

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup minced white onion (about 1 small onion)
1/2 cup chopped zucchini
1/2 cup frozen cut Italian green beans
1/4 cup minced celery (about 1/2 stalk)
4 teaspoons minced garlic (about 4 cloves)
4 cups vegetable broth (Swanson is good)
2 15-ounces cans red kidney beans, drained
2 15-ounce cans small white beans
        or great northern beans, drained
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup julienned or shredded carrot
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons salt 
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
3 cups hot water
4 cups fresh baby spinach
1/2 cup small seashell pasta

1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large saucepan or stockpot. Saute onion, zucchini, green beans, celery and garlic in the oil for 5 minutes or until onion begins to turn translucent. 

2. Add broth to pot, plus drained beans, tomatoes, carrot, spices, bay leaves, and hot water. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

3. Add spinach leaves and pasta and cook for an additional 20 minutes or until desired soupy thickness.

Makes about eight 1 1/2-cup servings.






Sunday, December 5, 2010

Holiday Treats Day 5: Blueberry Cheesecake Bars

Blueberry Cheesecake Bars

2 cups Flour
1 ½ cups Old Fashioned oats
¼ cup Light Packed Brown Sugar
1 cup Butter, Softened
2 Cups White chocolate morsels
8 oz Cream Cheese, softened
1 can (14oz) Sweetened Condensed Milk
½ cup lemon juice
1 tsp Vanilla
2 cups of fresh or frozen blueberries, semi mashed
½ cup Raspberry Jam
2 TSP of corn starch

Preheat oven to 350, grease a 13 X 9 baking pan.

Combine flour, oats and brown sugar in large bowl. Add butter and mix until crumbly. Stir in morsels. Reserve 2 ½ cups of morsel mixture for topping. With floured fingers, press remaining mixture into pan.

Beat cream cheese in mixer until creamy. Add sweetened milk, lemon and vanilla. Pour over crust. In medium sauce pan, heat up jam, add corn starch and blueberries. Boil for 30 seconds. Let cool down completely. (very important) Spoon over cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle remaining topping over blueberry mixture.
Bake for 35-40 min, or until center is set. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cover and refrigerate until serving. Cut into bars.

Tip: Make blueberry topping the day before… and eat it on ice cream or brownies! Down’t like blueberries? Change to cranberries or a chocolate sauce.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Holiday Treats Day 4: Savory Sausage Rolls


So are you hosting a party? Needing to bring a appetizer to a company function? Well here is the perfect and yummy solution! I love this easy, yet elegant choice!

Savory Sausage Rolls

3 sheets of frozen puffed pasty, thawed
2 eggs, beaten
1 ½ pounds of ground sausage
1 yellow onion small diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
3 TBS chopped thyme
½ tsp ground sage
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp ground cloves

Preheat Oven to 400, line two baking trays with parchment or a silpat.

Cut pasty sheets in half and brush edges with beaten eggs. Mix half of the remaining egg with the remaining ingredients. Pipe or spoon the filling down the center of the each pasty in a 1 ½ inch wide line. Roll pasty cover the filling and tucking the edges underneath, secure with beaten egg. Cut into 6 even pieces, brush the tops with egg and cut two small slashes on the tops.

Bake on trays for 15 min, then reduce heat to 350 and continue baking for 15 more min, or until puffed and golden.

Tip: Filling can be make 1-2 days before needed. Want to spice it up? go as hot as you want with changing the temperature of the sausage that you use. Also, it only takes about 20-30 min to let the puffed pasty thaw... DONT OVER THAW, it will make the pasty harder to work with! No puffed pasty in your store? Head over to the refrigerated biscuit area and pick up some crescent dinner rolls. 

Friday, December 3, 2010

Holiday Treats Day 3: Cinnamon Pecan Biscotti


IMAGE WILL BE POSTED SOON! TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES!



Cinnamon Pecan Biscotti

2 eggs, at room temperature
1 cup Fine Granulated Sugar
2 ¼ cup Flour
½ tsp Baking Powder
2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1 ¼ cup Pecans


Preheat Oven to 325, Line baking tray with either silpat or parchment paper.

Beat eggs and sugar in mixer for 2 min, until pale and thick.  In another bowl, sift flour, baking powder and cinnamon. Add pecans to dry ingredients. Carefully fold dry to wet ingredients. Turn dough onto floured silicone mat and knead until dough comes together.

Divide mixture into two equal parts and shape into a 10 inch long, and 3 ½ inch wide log. Bake for 35-40 min, or until lightly colored, cool completely.

Using a serrated knife, but the logs into ½ inch thick slices and place in a single layer, cut side down onto tray. Bake again for 15-20 min, or until crisp and lightly golden, turning slices halfway for even cooking. Allow to cool completely before storage.

Store in a tight container for about a week. These make great gifts for people. Place in a clear plastic bag with a festive ribbon, and you will be a hit!

Tip: Its very important to baby sit these while they are baking. Even cooking is a must! That is what makes these so tasty, crispy and soft at the same time.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Holiday Treats Day 2: Jam Drops


Here is another british in spired treat! I love making these because I love making jam and want to show off my jam skills... well there is never enough jam jars for me to give a jar to everyone, so I can fill these tasty buttery soft cookies with my Alaskan Jam and they are so tasty! Also they can be modified with adding Peanut Butter and then they become PB & J drops. Enjoy!!!



Jam Drops

9 oz unsalted butter softened
5 oz powered sugar
1 egg yolk. Lightly beaten
3 ¼ oz cream cheese, softened and cut into cubes
1 ½ tsp vanilla
1 tsp Lemon zest
¼ tsp Baking powder
½ tsp Baking Soda
2 ¾ cups of Flour sifted
½ cup various jams
¼ tsp Salt


Preheat oven to 350

Cream butter, sugar, and egg in mixer. Beat until mixture is pale and fluffy. Add cream cheese, vanilla and lemon zest. Combine flour, Soda, powder and salt. Then add flour mixture to creamed mixture. Mix together until soft dough forms. Let dough rest 5 min, until it firms up a bit.

Using a ½ ounce portion scoop, separate dough into pieces. Roll dough into balls. Transfer dough onto baking tray. Using your thumb, make a small indent in the center slightly pressing the dough. Spoon ¼ tsp of jam into each hole.

Bake for 10-12 min, or until lightly golden. Cool for a few min on try then transfer to wire rack.

Tip: Best eaten the day they are made, but will keep in air tight container for 2-3 days. If needing to store them longer, line container with wax paper and cover with wax paper before you close the lid.

For peanut butter and jam drops: omit half the amount of cream cheese and sub with creamy peanut butter, if wanting the nuttiness of the peanut, sprinkle with chopped nuts!

Holiday Treats Day 1: Classic ShortBread

So I know its a little late... but its still the first in Alaska... crazy day.

Anyways, my Husband lived in England for a while, and he loves shortbread! He begs me to make it. Well how I learned to make it was from a blind lady in a humble house in Montana. When I asked her to teach me how to make it... she said she had never measured anything before... and did it all by touch. I was grateful that day that I asked her because I was able to record the recipe, and for the first time in 30 years, her family had a copy of this classic treat. Now I am sharing it with you!


Classic Short Bread



8  oz of Unsalted Butter
4 ½ oz of granulated sugar
1 ¾ cups AP Flour
2/3 cup Rice Flour

Preheat Oven to 375. Cream Butter and Sugar until pale and fluffy. Sift Flours together. Using a wooden spoon (Very Important) stir flour into creamed mixture until it resembles breadcrumbs. Transfer unto a Silpat, lightly floured. Gently knead till it forms a soft dough. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 min.

Roll out dough ½ inch think and cut into shapes. Use a fork to prick the tops so it cooks evenly. If using a shortbread pan, press into pan evenly. Dust shortbread with sugar. Bake for 18-20 min, or until golden brown. Cool on baking tray for 5 min, this will crisp up the edges so they are easy to handle with your hands. Transfer them to a cooling rack.

Store in an airtight container for up to one week. I love to use my Christmas cookie cutters and then dipping the shortbread in melted chocolate!

Tip: Use a small metal spatula or a cake offset spatula to transfer cookies to baking sheets. Also when you are cookie making, use parchment paper or a baking silpat for even baking.

Monday, November 29, 2010

December Goodies, Sweets and Treats... 25 days of Holiday Recipes

Every year I make oodles of treats and give them to people. Some times they are classic and simple... and each year I try some new and interesting ones as well. So starting on Wednesday, every day for 25 days I will post a recipe that we are going to use for our Holiday Treat Packs. This way you will be able to be inspired, and enjoy in some wonderful holiday treats!



Here are some samples of what we will feature.....


Peanut Butter Sand-dollars
Cinnamon Swirl Wreaths
S'more Bars
Sweet N' Salty Chocolate dips
Homemade Fudges

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Refrigerator Dinner Rolls

Well... this is a little late for thanksgiving... unless you are up right now when I post this, but mostly for all the nice dinner parties for the rest of the holiday season, and for every day life as well!





1 cup shortening
2/3 cup sugar
2 tsp salt
1 cup boiling water
2 tsp yeast
4 eggs
7 ½ cup flour
1 cup cold water

In large mixing bowl cream sugar and shorting together. Add boiling water, mix until shortening is creamy and sugar is dissolved. Dissolve yeast in ½ cup warm water; add ½ tsp of sugar to activate yeast. (This is a vital step because you can tell early on the cooking process if you yeast will rise. Also make sure that you water is not too hot. I use the same testing method as if I was testing a baby’s bottle on my wrist). In a separate bowl beat eggs for 30 seconds. Add eggs to mixer, and then add activated yeast. Alternate adding cold water and flour (add salt to flour),  until dough pulls away from the mixer. Turn out on silpat or floured surface need until dough is not sticky. It will be soft dough.  Turn dough into a ball. Spray a large bowl with Pam, place dough ball in bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator for at least 8 hours to rise. You may keep dough for at least 2 weeks before you need to use it.

Take dough out of fridge, cut into desired roll dough balls, let dough rest 10 min. Shape into rolls, place on baking pans and let rise for 2 hours at room temperature. This may vary according to where you live… I keep my house about 70 degrees, but its Alaska, so not too humid and no hot air. You may need to shorten the time.

Bake at 375 for 18-25 min, 12-18 for convection ovens. About half way through process baste with butter on the tops. Cook until golden brown. ENJOY!!!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Cheese Puffs


Cheese Puffs!


¾ Cup Flour
¼ tsp Salt
¾ Cup Water
6 TBS Unsalted Butter Cut into 6 pieces
3 eggs
1 cup sharp cheddar


 Preheat Oven to 450. In medium saucepan melt butter, add water. In a separate bowl, mix flour and salt. When butter and water start bowling, add flour mixture all at once.  Cook dough until it smells nutty.  Remove from heat and place in mixer. Turn on medium speed; add one egg at a time. Add cheese. Use spoon to  drop dough on cookie sheet lines with buttered parchment or use a silpat. Bake for 12-18 min until puffed up and golden brown.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

favorites of my Favorites

So I am attempting to put together a cook book of favorite recipes (to be in print in December) of my favorite people. I need some suggestions and some ideas. So feel free to post a favorite recipe here in the comment space!

Guest Chef: Hungarian Soup by Blake Swensen

Gulyas Leves (Hungarian) 

olive oil, 3 tablespoons
onion, 1 chopped
Hungarian sweet paprika, 2 tblsp
TVP, 8 ounces (for meat eaters, browned and drained lean ground burger)
green pepper, 1 chopped
broth, 5 cups
potatoes, 4 large diced
carrots, 2 large diced
tomato, 1 chopped
salt, 1/2 tsp
pepper, 1/2 tsp
fresh parsley, 2 tblsp chopped
egg, 1
all-purpose flour, 1 cup
salt, 1/2 tsp
water, 2 tblsp as needed

In a heavy pot, heat oil over medium heat, sauté onions in oil until tender, rinse with red wine until liquid has evaporated. Add paprika, reconstituted TVP and green pepper; sauté until green pepper starts to soften -- just to break open flavor. Add broth, potatoes, carrots, tomato, black pepper, and parsley. Some brands of broth can be high in sodium, so add salt to taste.  Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until carrots and potatoes are tender. Add more water if needed. 

Noodles: Put flour in a small bowl; make depression in the flour and drop in egg; fill the half egg shell with water and add to depression in the flour; add 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir together dough, adding enough water or flour, until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Drop onto floured breadboard and knead in flour until it stops sticking to your fingers and can be rolled. Roll dough flat with rolling pin to about 1/8 inch thick, then cut in to 1/2 inch squares.  Add to soup in such a way that noodles do not land in the same spot every time.  Continue until all mixture has been added to pot.  Simmer until done.

I serve with fresh bread from the bread machine, but a nice crusty, dark bread is good too. In any case, serve with something for the dippin'.

For the carnivores: TVP is a meat substitute made from soy protein. It has a granular feel to the mouth very near that of hamburger. In fact TVP is a common filler in fast food burgers. It is light brown in color and looks a little like pale Grape Nuts cereal when you purchase it in a natural food store or in any self-respecting bulk section of your local market. It can be used in place of hamburger in many, many recipes, but contains no fat. So if you replace TVP with burger, be sure to add more fat. If you use a heart-friendly fat like olive oil, then you will win high praise from your veggie guests and your doctor.