Monthly Archives: December 2011

Favorite Recipes of 2011

Well it’s almost 2012 and time to reflect on the last year. I started blogging in the Spring and never really found my momentum. After a few posts I put it aside, got busy with other things, and almost forgot about it.

In the Fall I started to read food blogs and the more I read the more fascinated and inspired I became. The photos were stunning and the food….let’s just say I have been trying WAY too many AMAZING recipes (if you measure by the fit of my pants). Finally at the end of November I decided to resurrect my blog and begin posting regularly. I LOVE IT!!!!!!  There is just something about it that I enjoy, maybe it’s because I love to talk about food and this way I can talk and I don’t notice if no one is listening (because I can’t see eye’s begin to glaze and hear MOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMM like I do at home).  I can imagine that someone has stopped by for coffee, muffins, and  to share recipes. 

 Whatever it is I am going to continue in 2012.

Since my blog is so new there are only a few recipes on it but these are 3 of my (and my family’s) favorites:

One of my favorite muffins.  Chocolate and peanut butter, what’s not to like.

Cinnamon ‘Snickerdoodle’ Bar Cookies 

The pan of these disappeared in a minute and the family is begging for more.

Chocolate Chip Dainties

A family favorite from the cookie tray.  I am always surprised by how yummy this cookie is when I make it at Christmas.  Don’t know why I only make it at Christmas

Enjoy a wonderful New Year!!!!  May it be filled with Sweet Mornings!!!

Leftover Turkey Enchiladas

I have leftover turkey that must be used tonight.  My family is tired of sandwiches and the other turkey meals I have been serving so it’s time to pull out the big guns, enchiladas.  We love enchiladas!!!!  They are an oft requested meal but unless I have leftover chicken it doesn’t appear on the table.  The leftover turkey is the perfect excuse for enchiladas.  Best of all I shredded all of the turkey and doubled the recipe.  The extras will be frozen and pulled out when they are requesting enchiladas and I don’t feel like making them.
The enchiladas are easy to make and adaptable.  Adjust the amount of cheese and salsa to suit your family.  I always have salsa on the table so those of us that like extra heat can add it.  Add some rice and a salad and you have a complete meal.  Oh, they are great warmed up as lunch too!! 

Leftover Turkey Enchiladas
adapted from Pace

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1 onion, minced
1 tbsp butter
2 cups cooked shredded turkey
3 oz cream cheese
1-2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2-4 cups salsa
6 flour tortillas

Preheat oven to 350.
Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray

In a saute pan over low heat saute onions with butter until the onions are softened, about 10 minutes.
Add shredded turkey, cream cheese, 1 cup of mozzarella cheese, and about 2 cups of salsa.
Stir to combine.
Cook until mixture is warm and cream cheese is melted.

Spoon mixture into tortillas.
Roll and place in prepared pan.
Cover with additional salsa and mozzarella cheese.
Cover pan with foil.

Bake 25-30 minutes (remove foil with 5 minutes remaining to melt cheese)

Adjust salsa to your preference, adding or subtracting.
These can be frozen and cooked directly from freezer increasing cook time by 15-20 minutes.

Family Food Traditions: Waffles

Happy Holiday week!!!!!  We have been busy celebrating the holidays & visiting family so I haven’t been doing much cooking.  We have been talking about favorite family recipes and meals.  The things that are our go to recipes or the ones that make us feel comforted.  One of the favorite breakfasts in our house is waffles.  The girls love them!!!!  But they are choosey and ONLY like them made one way; the waffles must be made with New Hope Mills Buttermilk PancakeMix. 
New Hope, NY is a tiny town near where my husband grew up.  I was first introduced to this mix when we were dating and actually, for the first time ever LIKED waffles!!!!  This is the mix that has ALWAYS been used since.  The girls don’t like waffles made with anything else.  We used to occasionally visit the mill when we were visiting his family.  Set in a teeny, tiny town it was a picturesque site with the old mill wheel in the water.  Interestingly we live in a neighborhood (in a far off state) named Ole Mill Stream.   There is even a river at the back of my yard so maybe someday…….

The waffles are light and fluffy and taste delicious!!!!!  Quick and easy to mix up the only ingredients you need to add are water, eggs, and vegetable oil.  Of course I add chocolate chips to mineJ  These waffles definitely make a sweet morning.

Are there any family breakfasts that make your mornings sweet?

Cut Out Cookies

Happy Holidays!!!!!  It is the last Christmas cookie of the year.  From the time my girls were little we have decorated cutout cookies on Christmas Eve.  My Gram would make a batch of the cookies and make sure we had them.  During the afternoon of Christmas Eve when the girls could barely contain their excitement we would pull out the cookies, mix up some icing and put them (and my brother) to work. 
It was magic, they focused on the cookies and the afternoon flew by.  The girls are mostly grown now but cutouts are still the last cookie we made and they still decorate them.  My husband has to ‘sample’ the cookies from each of us as we are decorating.  We still end up with more icing on our hands and the table and the cookies are not perfect but it is a Christmas tradition that we cherish.  Hope you make a tradition of your own.

The cookie tray is full!!!!

Cut Out Cookies
Slightly adapted from Betty Crocker Cookbook

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3/4 cup butter, softend
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Mix butter and sugar until fluffy.
Add eggs and vanilla extract.
Mix in flour, baking powder, and salltPreheat oven to 400.

Roll out dough on a floured surface to desired thickness.
Cut shapes with cookie cutters.
Place carefully onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.

 Bake for 6-8 minutes

When cookies are cool decorate.

Easy Cookie Icing
From Betty Crocker Cookbook

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1 cup powdered sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
1-3 tbsp water
Food coloring

Mix ingredients adding water slowly until icing is desired consistency. If it is too thin add more powdered sugar.

If desired separate into small batches and add color of choice.

Sugar Cookies

Another cookie recipe from my Gram, she had the best recipes.  This is the sugar cookie recipe I make when I have to make cookies for some event.  It makes A LOT of cookies!!! I halved the original recipe and it makes 5-6 dozen cookies.  Everyone LOVES these cookies (well everyone except me, there is no chocolate in sight so…but if you eat one with a handful of chocolate chips J ) and if you ignore the rolling and flattening they are easy to make. 
Children are definitely helpful, they can roll and flatten the cookies.  I put both of mine (plus one’s boyfriend) to work today and it was fun for all of us. 

The colored sugar really adds a festive touch to the cookie plate.

Only a little room left on the cookie plate!!!

Sugar Cookies

Printer Friendly Recipe½ cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar plus ¼- ½ cup extra
1 egg
½ cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
2 ½ cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 350.
Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Combine butter and sugar.
Add egg, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract.
Mix in salt, flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar.

Scoop teaspoon size and roll in sugar.
Place rolled dough on cookie sheet.
Dip base of flat glass in sugar and flatten dough balls.

Bake 10-12 minutes

Makes 5-6 dozen cookies

Note: Roll in colored sugar for Christmas

Double Chocolate Crinkles

Got a little behind with the cookies yesterday, ran errands and rearranged furniture with my daughters and the day just got away from us.  So this morning before the day got crazy I mixed up dough for the cookies. 
These are chocolatey and yummy and a great addition to the cookie tray.  I adapted a recipe from Runs With Spatulas, adding melted baking chocolate instead of an additional type of cocoa and of course I added chocolate chipsJ  The chocolate chips add just the perfect extra chocolate to the cookies.  Oh, make sure you chill these or else the dough is a horrible sticky mess.
Running out of room on the cookie tray!

Double Chocolate Crinkles

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½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup cocoa
2 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup powdered sugar

Mix oil, cocoa, melted chocolate, and sugar.
Blend in eggs, 1 at a time.
Add vanilla extract.
Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt.
Stir in chocolate chips.

Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Roll dough into teaspoon sized balls.
Roll each ball in powdered sugar.

Bake for 10-12 minutes

Makes 5-6 dozen cookies

Peanut Butter Blossoms

These cookies show up on lots and lots of cookie trays because they combine peanut butter and chocolate kisses and they look so cute.  Some years my Mom substituted chocolate stars for the kisses and they were even better because I didn’t have to unwrap all the kisses. 

The chocolate seemed to be more evenly distributed and the cookies looked Christmasy with the star in the center.  I had forgotten all about the stars until I discovered them in the baking section this year. 

I grabbed them and used them in the blossoms this year.  My daughters agree, these cookies are even better with the stars because there is no unwrapping!!!!!

Hope you enjoy them on your cookie tray this year!!!

Cookie tray is almost full!!!!

Peanut Butter Blossoms

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½ cup shortening
½ cup granulated sugar plus ¼ cup for rolling
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup peanut butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp milk
1 ¾ cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
48 candy kisses(unwrapped) or chocolate stars

Preheat oven to 375. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Mix shortening, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and peanut butter until fluffy.
Add egg, vanilla extract, and milk.
Mix in flour, baking soda, and salt.

Roll teaspoons of dough in granulated sugar and place on cookie sheets.
Bake 10-12 minutes.

Immediately after removing from oven place a kiss or chocolate star in center of each cookie.

Makes 48 cookies

Chocolate Candy Cane Kiss Cookies

When I saw the post for these cookies on How Sweet It Is I knew these cookies were going to be on my cookie tray this year.  Chocolate and candy cane, yum!!!  My daughter loves all the random Hershey Kisses flavors, but we usually wait until they are on clearance to try the new flavors.  One year we bought 4 bags of Cherry Cordial Kisses for less than the price of one, the first 2 bags were yummy but then they lost their appeal.  I discovered an unopened bag at the end of summer.  These cookies are just the right mix of chocolate and candy cane.  We put the Kisses on after the total baking time so they didn’t melt and add a festive look to the cookie. 
These are a perfect cookie to make when the kids are home because they can unwrap the Kisses.  Then place them in the cookie.

Cookie tray is almost full!!!!

Check out the recipe for Chocolate Candy Cane Kiss Cookies on How Sweet It Is (she calls them Peppermint Double Chocolate Cookies).  No matter what you call them they are delicious!!!!!!!

Chocolate Chip Dainties

I must confess, I have a cookie addiction.  I cannot get enough cookies.  Every time I make a batch I want more!  I am constantly searching out new recipes and new types.  That is why I LOVE December because I can feed my addiction and pass it off as making cookies for the holidays and no one notices how many I eat J

I really do not know why these cookies are called Chocolate Chip Dainties but that is what we always called them.  My Mom added these to our cookie tray when I was in junior high but then they went on a hiatus for a lot of years, I think it had something to do with no one wanting to dip the chocolate.  A few years ago I was going through our recipes and decided to bring them back (my daughters were right age to dip the ends).  The cookies are light and buttery with chocolate chips.  The cookies are rolled into log shapes and after baking the ends are dipped in melted chocolate chips.  The chocolate chips and chocolate dip add the perfect amount of chocolate.  The shape adds a nice contrast to the cookie tray too.

Look the cookie tray is really full!!

Chocolate Chip Dainties

¾ cup butter plus ¼ cup butter
¾ cup sugar
1 egg
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
1 pkg (12 oz) chocolate chips
2 ¼ cups flour
½ tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350.

Cream 3/4 cup butter and sugar until fluffy.
Add egg and vanilla extract.
Mix in flour and salt.
Stir in half package of chocolate chips.

Roll dough into sticks.
Place on parchment paper lined baking sheets.

Bake 10-12 minutes.

When cookies have cooled melt remaining chocolate chips with ¼ cup butter.
Dip ends of cookies in chocolate.

Makes 6 dozen

Peanut Butter Whirligigs

I was so excited…I started to do a little dance of joy…I had successfully, for the first time EVER made my favorite Christmas cookie!!!!!!!  The one my Gram and only my Gram ever made because none of us has the patience to try it.  The one I have been craving.  The one I try every few years and have an epic fail and the meltdown of frustration and disappointment and sadness that accompanies the fail.  But this year, I had done it!!!!!!  Then I tried to slice the 2nd log oh no I had celebrated too soon!!!  The chocolate inside had set too much and was starting to crack!!!!!  I tried to remain calm (and not slice off my finger) as I eased the knife through the hardened chocolate, pressing and holding the peanut butter sides in place.  It worked, mostly, the cookies did not completely crumble as they had in years past but bear a resemblance to the swirled cookies they are supposed to be.  I have one tray of perfect Peanut Butter Whirligigs and one tray of passable but yummy Peanut Butter Whirligigs so I guess I succeeded (I didn’t slice off my finger so that’s a win). 

The cookies are Peanut Butter Whirligigs, a yummy combination of peanut butter cookie spread with melted chocolate chips that are rolled and sliced.  They are wonderful!!!!  The trick is not to chill the rolls too long, even the few extra minutes the 2nd roll was in the fridge was almost disastrous.  30 minutes was the magic number today.  The other trick is when spreading the chocolate and rolling the cookies work in 2 batches and work quickly so the chocolate doesn’t set.  Next year I will master these cookies!!!  Try them, they are worth every second of work and frustration.

So after writing this and taking pictures and eating a few I decided that I like the not so perfect ones best.  The shape is intriguing and not all the same and the chocolate dispersal is more pleasing to my palate. 

So I guess the whole batch was a success after all.

Cookie tray is really filling up!!!

Peanut Butter Whirligigs

Printer Friendly Recipe

½ cup shortening
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup peanut butter
1 egg
1 ¼ cup flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
6-8 oz chocolate chips, melted

Combine shortening, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and peanut butter until fluffy.
Add egg.
Mix in flour, baking soda, and salt.

Dump dough onto wax paper. Cover with another sheet of wax paper.
Roll into a rectangle ¼ inch thick.
Melt chocolate and spread on dough.
Roll dough jelly roll style.
Wrap and chill.

Preheat oven to 375.
Slice roll into ¼ slices.
Place slices on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake 10-12 minutes.

Makes 3-4 dozen

NOTE: My Gram always rolled between 2 sheets of wax paper, it is a quick, clean, nonstick rolling surface and it helps when rolling into a jelly roll.

It is helpful to cut dough into 2 rectangles. Melt half the chocolate, spread on 1 roll, roll up & chill. If the chocolate hardens before rolling it is a disaster.