Friday, December 28, 2012

Cinnamon Belgian Waffles

I got a new Belgian Waffle maker for Christmas this year. It's a nice one like you see in motels for the continental breakfasts that you can flip the waffle maker over while they're cooking! I had ran across this recipe at Allrecipes.com a while ago and had wanted to give it a try, but my waffle maker was old and hiding in the back of my cupboard so I hadn't gotten around to it. The day after Christmas we decided to have 'Breakfast" for dinner with Ham and leftover Sour cream potatoes.. . so it was a perfect opportunity to try out this recipe! These were delicious! Light and fluffy! Awesome with butter and maple syrup! Enjoy!


Cinnamon Belgian Waffles
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 tablespoon white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 egg whites
1 pinch ground cinnamon (or two dashes like I did)

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat your waffle iron.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla, buttermilk and butter until well blended. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt and cinnamon; stir into the buttermilk mixture. In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites with an electric mixer until stiff. Fold into the batter.
Spoon batter onto the hot waffle iron, close, and cook until golden brown. Waffles are usually done when the steam subsides.
Top with butter and maple syrup and enjoy!!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Gingerbread Oreo Truffles

I made up this recipe after running across Gingerbread Oreos at the grocery store! YUM! I LOVE Oreo Truffles  and the Key Lime Truffles I have posted, so I thought why not try Gingerbread truffles! They turned out great. If you are unable to find these since they are a special holiday edition of Oreos, you could use the Golden Oreos and I would probably double the spices that I have in the recipe below, or adjust to your taste. YUMMO!
Gingerbread Oreo Truffles
1 package Gingerbread Oreo Cookies
1-8 oz. package Cream Cheese, softened
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
 ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
White dipping Chocolate

Crush the Oreos in a food processor, set aside. Mix cream cheese, extract and seasonings together until there are no lumps in the cream cheese, add crushed Oreos to cream cheese and mix until combined.
Roll by teaspoonfuls into balls and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet, chill in the refrigerator for ½ an hour and dip in melted white chocolate. Decorate as desired.
Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Home made "Cracker Jack" Popcorn

I LOVE caramel corn, buttered popcorn, my recipe for pumpkin spice popcorn, I just love popcorn. I found this recipe here and thought I would give it a shot. Wow!! It's way easy! I have another recipe for Fiddle Faddle popcorn but that one you have to use a candy thermometer and if you don't watch it close, the toffee coating can be too sticky or too hard, But this recipe doesn't have you do that! It's super easy and after you coat the popcorn and nuts you bake it in the oven. I tweaked it a bit and lowered the oven temp because I thought mine tasted a bit too done, but it's great. You know what I thought of doing for my neighbors this year for Christmas? Remember getting Cracker Jack caramel corn in the box? That's what this recipe reminds me of, but remember they had prizes in the box? I was thinking of getting cute little gift boxes for treats, putting in my Home Made Cracker Jack popcorn, and then going to those gumball / candy machines that are usually in the lobbies of stores, and getting silly little prizes and sticking in the box along with the popcorn, wouldn't that be fun for families with little kids???

Home made "Cracker Jack" Popcorn

*Note: you want about 18 cups of popped corn. I've found that about 1/4 cup of unpopped kernels yields about 5 1/2 to 6 cups popped corn. While the recipe calls for 3/4 cup unpopped kernels, be sure to only add it a bit at a time in shifts according to your popcorn popper so the kernels don't burn.
*Makes about 18 cups of toffee popcorn (that seems like a lot, but trust me, it goes fast!)

Ingredients:
3/4 cup unpopped popcorn kernels, white or yellow
2 sticks butter
2 1/4 cups light brown sugar
3/4 cup dark corn syrup (I didn't have dark Corn Syrup, so I used 1/4 cup molasses and 1/2 cup light corn syrup)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups dry roasted, salted peanuts
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Grease two large rimmed baking sheets and set aside.
Pop the popcorn kernels, in shifts if needed to ensure your popcorn popper doesn't burn the popcorn, and place the popcorn in a large bowl, sifting through to remove the unpopped kernels.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. When melted add the brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Bring to a boil while stirring. Once the mixture starts boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring often, for 3 minutes. The mixture will be slightly thickened. Take the pot off the heat and stir in the vanilla and baking soda. The mixture will bubble so be careful-it foams and rises a bit so use a deep saucepan!!!

Pour the caramel over the popcorn and mix slightly. Add the peanuts and mix well but gently (so you don't break apart the popcorn) until the popcorn is evenly coated and the peanuts are distributed through the mixture.

Turn the popcorn out onto the baking sheets, spreading into an even layer. Bake the popcorn for one hour, stirring and tossing every 20 minutes. Move the bottom tray to the upper rack and vice versa each time you stir. The popcorn will deepen in color and harden a bit as the caramel bakes and sets. Cool the popcorn to room temperature. Store in an airtight container. I've found the popcorn will keep, stored tightly, for 1-2 weeks.

I am going to warn you... this is highly addicting, you can't eat just a little bit!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Green Bean Casserole with Homemade Mushroom Gravy

I made this Green Bean Casserole for Thanksgiving dinner, after all you can't have Thanksgiving without green bean casserole. I hadn't made the regular Green bean casserole very often just because it was lacking something, so when I saw this on Guy Fieri's Food Network show, I had to give it a try. I did tweak it a bit, I added bacon.... bacon is good in anything isn't it? Andrew had had green beans with bacon at one place that he worked, he still talks about those, so that's what gave me the inspiration to try it here. I also just used regular button mushrooms, YUM! Even my Mother-in-law said that the Green Bean casserole was excellent. (I love my Mother-in-law, she isn't like the typical mother-in-law that you hear bad things about, she's easy to get along with and talk to, I just threw that in there because it seems most people aren't as lucky as me! ) I'm posting this recipe  because I thought some of you might want to give it a try for Christmas. Enjoy!

Green Bean Casserole with Homemade Mushroom Gravy
Ingredients:
6 slices thick, smoked peppered bacon
1- 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed (I used fresh from the produce department, they have them bagged and trimmed already to go by the bagged salads!)
Salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1 pound mushrooms, cleaned and sliced,
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup cream
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

1 small container french fried onions
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Slice the bacon into bite size pieces. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, when hot, add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally until cooked and crispy. While your bacon is cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the green beans and cook until they just turn bright green, 2 to 3 minutes. (You don't want to cook the green beans through as they will cook in the oven also.) Strain and plunge the green beans immediately in a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. When cool, drain and set out to dry on paper towels.
When your bacon is done, remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate, set aside. If there is a lot of bacon grease in the skillet drain, leaving about a 1 Tablespoon in the skillet and add the butter; once the butter is melted add the mushrooms. Cook undisturbed so the mushrooms sear nicely, about 1 minute. Add the thyme and garlic and continue cooking the mushrooms to achieve some nice color. Season with the salt, pepper, cayenne and nutmeg. Cook 2 to 3 more minutes longer, dusting the mushrooms with some of the flour as they release moisture. Stir with a whisk to incorporate the flour (just like making a roux) and gradually add in the chicken stock. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat and add the sour cream and cream. Stir gently and cook over low heat until gravy thickens, 5 to 6 minutes. (Be careful not to boil to hard or the cream mixture will separate and curdle)  Add the blanched green beans and bacon to the pan and fold together so everything is mixed well.
Pour into a 13x9 baking dish, spread out evenly in the dish. Sprinkle the green beans with the grated Parmesan bake until the casserole is bubbly and the top is melted and golden, 15 minutes. Top with french fried onions and continue to cook for about 5 to 10 more minutes. Enjoy!

Italian Sausage Soup

I am reposting this recipe in case you missed it. It was one of my very first posts when I started my recipe blog. I LOVE this soup and it just seems like a good Christmas soup for Christmas Eve or something. Enjoy!
This is the recipe I got from Courtney. It's delicious!!!

Italian Sausage Soup
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 pound Italian Sausage, casings removed (I used hot)
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 1/2 cups chopped carrots
2 stalks celery with leaves, chopped (I took the leaves off)
1 Tablespoon chopped garlic (I use the minced in a jar! Easier!)
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried sage
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
5 cups chicken broth
1 (16 ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (9 ounce pkge) Three Cheese Tortellini
Salt and Pepper to taste (I started with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper) add more to your taste
Parmesan cheese for Garnishing if desired

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Cook the sausage until evenly browned, and break into pieces. Stir in the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, basil, rosemary, red pepper, and sage. Continue cooking 10 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Mix in tomatoes, and cook until heated through. Stir in the broth and beans. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 20 minutes.
Stir in tortellini's and continue cooking 10 more minutes, or until tortellini's are tender.
Garnish with Parmesan on the top if desired.

This can be made as spicy as you like, using hot italian sausage and increasing the crushed red pepper.
I served with garlic cheese bread bread, and salad. Mmmmmmm... Thanks Courtney!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Pumpkin Spice Krispie Treats


I am re-posting this recipe because I made it for a Young Men activity last week and put Christmas Sprinkles in it instead of the Candy corn since it was a Christmas Activity. Turned out cute! AND way yummy, if you haven't tried this recipe make some today to share with your kids! It's awesome!
There are a lot of different recipes for Rice Krispie treats out there. I thought a pumpkin spice Rice Krispie treat sounded awesome since I LOVE my Pumpkin Spice Popcorn. I found one recipe that had canned pumpkin in the recipe and gave it a try, but ended up throwing it out. It had a different flavor and the rice krispies got soggy even though I drained my pumpkin to get the moisture out of it. There were also a lot of variations of this recipe but this is what I came up with. Here's a warning though, you just might eat the whole pan! They are amazing and the perfect treat for this time of year! Enjoy!

Pumpkin Spice Krispie Treats

4 Tablespoons butter
1-16 oz. package Marshmallows (large or small it doesn't matter)
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 cups Crispy Rice cereal
1 cup candy corn  (I used the Caramel flavored candy corn) OR for Christmas, use 1/4  cup Christmas Sprinkles

Spray a 13x9 inch baking dish with a non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
In a large bowl, measure your rice crispy cereal and the candy corns (OR Christmas sprinkles). Set aside.
In a large saucepan, melt butter over low heat and add the marshmallows. Continue to stir over medium low heat until the marshmallows are completely melted.
Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract and pumpkin pie spice.
Next, pour in the Rice Crispie ceral and candy corns (OR Christmas sprinkles) . Stir until completely coated. Don't worry if the sprinkles tend to melt a bit, makes them look festive I think!
Pour mixture into your prepared dish, using a buttered spatula evenly press the cereal down so it fills the pan and is smooth on top. The picture below is what mine looked like with the candy corns for Autumn time. The above picture had the Christmas sprinkles for my Christmas activity.
 Let cool and cut into squares! Enjoy! (As you can see I didn't let mine cool before I had to taste them! :)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Cinnamon-spice Nut Mix

Don't you love the Holidays and going to the mall? I especially love it when the malls have vendors set up in the middle of the mall that make Cinnamon spice nuts.... LOVE the way they make the mall smell! I ran across this recipe on the internet and it was sooo easy and yummy, and made my house smelll SO good as they were baking,  I thought I would share. I took these to my "Treat the office" Day and they were a hit. I think I'm going to make some tonight, it seems I"m all out of snacks.... Enjoy!
Cinnamon-spice Nut Mix
 4 cups assorted whole nuts (Use a mixture of your favorite like walnuts, pecans, almonds, and macadamias)
2 egg whites
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Heat oven to 225. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or foil that has been sprayed with a non-stick cooking spray.
In a large bowl combine sugar, cinnamon, salt , ginger, allspice, cloves and nutmeg. Stir to combine. Set aside.
In another large bowl, whisk the egg whites until foamy and frothy. Add nuts, tossing to coat well.
Pour the sugar mixture over the nuts, tossing until all the nuts are evenly coated with the sugar mixture.

Spread nuts in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet, separating with a fork as necessary. Bake until coating is dry and crunchy, about 2 hours. Let cool. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
Enjoy!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Cheddar Straws

I saw a similar recipe of Cheese straws on Trisha Yearwood's Food Network show a while back and had wanted to give it a try for a long time. The night I was making my treats for my 'Treat the Office' day I happened to run across this recipe on the internet. It looked easy enough to me so I thought I'd give it a try. I LOVE it! These cheese straws remind me of Goldfish crackers (which my daughter LOVES) only they have a little kick to them with the Cayenne pepper. They were a good savory snack to go with my fruit dips and cinnamon nuts. These would also be good with a soup or a dinner salad for some crunch. Enjoy!

Cheddar Straws
3 cups flour
1/4  heaping teaspoon Cayenne pepper
1 heaping teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

4 cups cheddar cheese, grated, let sit till room temperature
2 sticks butter, softened

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Whisk to combine the flour, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper in a medium bowl. Set aside.
Combine the cheese and butter in a food processor/ or mixer until smooth.
Add flour mixture and mix until well combined.
Make straws by using a cookie press or you can roll a heaping teaspoon between your hands into about a 1/4 inch thick by 4 or 5 inch 'straw'. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Continue until your baking sheet is full. Bake for about 12 to 15 minutes until lightly browned. (I turned mine over after about 8 or nine minutes) they might take a little longer baking, you want them golden brown on the bottom and oven temperatures vary.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Coconut Cream Fruit Dip

This is another fruit dip I took for my "Treat the office" day. I LOVE coconut and toasted coconut! This recipe was delicious if I do say so myself. I had apples, grapes and vanilla wafers for dipping.. would be great with strawberries and cut up pineapple too! Enjoy!

Coconut Cream Fruit Dip
1 (8-oz) package cream cheese, softened
1 (15-oz) can Cream of Coconut (NOT Coconut Milk!!! you find cream of Coconut in the aisle with the margarita mix and other mixes)
1/4 teaspoon coconut extract (or a little more for stronger flavor)
1 (8-oz) tub Cool Whip
1/2 cup toasted coconut (I got mine at the Prepared Pantry, it's the toasted coconut that Bakers use to top donuts with, if you can't find it, you can toast your own coconut by following the directions on the back of regular coconut.)

In a large mixing bowl, whip the cream cheese with the cream of coconut and the coconut extract until all the lumps are gone.
Add the whipped cream and toasted coconut, gently fold until everything is incorporated. Spoon into a serving dish and serve with sliced fruit, vanilla wafers, graham crackers or whatever you choose for dipping. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Key Lime Fruit Dip

I LOVE Key lime anything..... it was my day to "treat the office" today. I was planning on making home made Twinkies to take in since "Hostess" went out of business, but the recipe I had didn't turn out. So I had to come up with something quick to take instead. In the middle of the night, I woke up with this idea... don't all good ideas seem to hit you at 4 am?? Anyway, I had this basic dip recipe but added the lime juice, flavorings and whipped cream and it turned out great! I had sliced apples, grapes and vanilla wafers for dipping, but it would also be good with graham crackers and any other kind of fruit. Enjoy!

Key Lime Fruit Dip
1 (8-oz.) package Cream Cheese, softened
1 (7-oz.) jar Marshmallow Creme
2 teaspoons lime extract (I found mine at the prepared pantry, if you can't find it, should be okay with just juice)
2 Tablespoons lime juice
2 drops green food coloring
1/4 teaspoon citric acid (you can get this at the pharmacy, it's great for lemonade)
1 (8-oz) tub Cool Whip
Lime Zest for garnishing

 Add the citric acid to the lime juice and stir to dissolve. In a large mixing bowl, beat the softened cream cheese, marshmallow cream, lime extract, lime juice/citric acid mixture and food coloring together until smooth and there are no lumps. Add the cool whip to the bowl and gently fold into the cream cheese mixture.
Spoon into a serving bowl, and add some lime zest to the top for garnish. Serve with cut up fruit, vanilla wafer, graham crackers or whatever else you like for dipping. Enjoy!