Rosemary Focaccia

I love the smell of fresh baked bread.  Heck, I love the smell of the yeasty-ness from the time it is all mixed up until it comes out of the oven.

In fact, I love the smell almost as much as I love eating bread.

Zack and my favorite grocery store has shelf after shelf full of focaccia bread.  I really wanted to try some, but of course, I had to try making it myself.  It turned out beautifully.  I was so pleased.  It was really easy to make, too.  Plus, it has one of my all-time favorite ingredients in it – rosemary!

I wonder if it bothers people that I don’t take the time to take really artsy pictures of my food.  My mindset is, I just spent all the time making it, I don’t want to waste time setting up a photo session just for one picture…and allow the food to get cold.

I love to eat way too much for that!

Zack and I are leaving tomorrow for Pennsylvania Amish Country to celebrate our three year anniversary.  I am so excited for this trip!  I can’t believe we’ve been together three years.  Ah, I am so in love.

PS – remember that wreath I mentioned in my previous post, totally finished it and I love it!

Rosemary Focaccia

– 2 medium onions, chopped

– 1/4 c olive oil + 3 T, divided

– 1 1/2 t active dry yeast

– 1 1/2 c warm water, divided

– 1/2 t sugar

– 1/2 t salt

– 3-4 c AP flour

– 2 T fresh rosemary or 2 t dried, divided

– cornmeal

– coarse salt

In a large skillet, saute onions in 1/4 c oil until tender; cool.  In a large mixing bowl; dissolve in 1/4 cup warm water.  Add sugar and let stand for 5 minutes.

Add 2 T oil, salt and remaining water.  Add 2 c flour.  Beat until smooth.  Stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough.

Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes.  Add onions and half of the rosemary.  Knead 1 minute longer.  Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 40 minutes.

Punch dough down.  Turn onto a lightly floured surface, divide in half.  Pat each piece flat.  Let rest for 5 minutes.  Grease 2 baking sheets and sprinkle with cornmeal.  Stretch each portion of dough into a 10-in circle on prepared pans. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 40 minutes.  Brush with remaining oil.  Sprinkle with coarse salt and remaining rosemary.  Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from pans to wire racks to cool.

Yield: 2 loaves.

Beer Bread Mix

This Christmas I wanted to give out as many homemade gifts as possible.  I like the idea of giving mixes as gifts, because it’s still homemade, but the recipient can bake it at their leisure, because everyone is typically in a food coma throughout the holidays.

Homemade gifts tend to be less expensive than store bought gifts, but mean so much more (to me anyways).

I made this and gave it to one of Zack’s coworkers.  She is a really sweet person, so I wanted to give her a little something.

I was really pleased with the way the packaging turned out.  I think it was a cute little gift.

Beer Bread Mix

– 2 1/2 c self-rising flour

– 1/2 c all purpose flour

– 1/4 c brown sugar

– 1 t baking powder

– 1/2 t salt

– 1/2 t onion powder

– 3/4 t Italian seasoning

Layer all ingredients into a quart jar.

Attach this tag to the jar:  You will need: 1 12-fl oz can beer and 1/4 c butter or margarine, melted.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Lightly grease a 9×5 loaf pan.  In a bowl, mix dry ingredients.  Pour in beer and mix just until moistened.  Transfer to prepared baking pan.  Top with melted butter.  Bake 45-55 minutes in the preheated oven, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack.

Honey Whole Wheat Bread (Breadmaker)

Zack’s parents got me a breadmaker for Christmas!  It’s the really nice kind that makes square loaves of bread.

I “loave” it!  Har har.

I have had a couple of recipes for bread in a bread machine laying around and I was pretty excited to actually be able to try one out now.

I chose this one because it’s healthy and gets its sweetness from a natural source, honey, instead of sugar.

I really can’t believe how easy it was to make bread with a breadmaker.  Just throw all the ingredients in there and three hours later you have a beautiful, delicious little loaf of bread!  I think my days of buying bread at the grocery store are over.

The texture of the bread and of the crust were perfect.  I absolutely love my bread machine!

Honey Whole Wheat Bread for Breadmaker

– 1 1/8 c warm water (110 degrees)

– 3 T honey

– 1/3 t salt

– 1 1/2 c whole wheat flour

– 1 1/2 c bread flour

– 2 T vegetable oil

– 1 1/2 t active dry yeast

Add ingredients according to the manufacturer’s directions to your bread machine.  Use the wheat bread cycle and light color setting.

Mini Bread Loaves

Every year on the Sunday before Christmas, my mom has Christmas dinner at her house.  Her two brothers, their families, her parents, and her fiancee’s mom all come.  It is a great event full of joy and holiday festivities.

The older adults decided not to exchange gifts this year and decided to just buy for us younger folks.  I still wanted to do something nice for my grandparents and aunts and uncles, so I decided to make some mini breads for them.

My mom bought me a set of mini loaf pans a while back and I had been looking for an excuse to use them.

The first set of breads that I decided to make was Cream Cheese Pound Cakes.  Well, I had no idea how long to bake them (or how full to fill the pans) so they did not turn out very well.  I burned the edges and the pans overflowed.  Luckily, I set the mini pans on a baking sheet, so that they didn’t overflow into the oven.

Since they turned out so ugly (and the edges were definitely unedible), I decided just to keep these and will be using the middles of them for something, I just haven’t figured out what yet.

I’m not throwing away the recipe, because the middle of the loaves was really good, I just needed to work on baking times and the actual filling of the pans.

 

Cream Cheese Pound Cakes

Prep: 20 minutes.  Bake ~ 50 minutes.

– 1 1/2 c butter, room temperature

– 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature

– 3 c sugar

– 6 large eggs

– 1 t vanilla extract

– 3 c AP flour

– 2 t salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  With an electric mixer, beat butter and cream cheese until smooth.  Add sugar; beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well until each addition.  Mix in vanilla.  With mixer on low, add flour and salt in two additions, beating until just combined.

Generously coat 5 mini loaf pans with cooking spray; immediately pour in batter (pans will seem full).  Tap pans on work surface to eliminate any large air bubbles.

Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out almost clean, ~ 50 minutes, check after 30 minutes.  If the tops begin to brown too quickly, tent with aluminum foil.

Cool 10 minutes in the pan.  Turn out the cakes, cool completely with top sides up, on a wire rack.

 

These turned out much nicer.  These actually looked like cute little mini loaves.

I wish I had taken a picture of how I gifted them to them.  Mom and I wrapped the baby loaves in saran wrap and put ribbon around them (and labels saying what they are) and put them in a little snowman gift bag.  They were adorable.

Plus, there is something so special about homemade gifts.

 

Chocolate Chip Pound Cake

– 1 box yellow cake mix with pudding

– 1 (3.4 oz) pkg instant chocolate pudding

– 1/2 c sugar

– 3/4 c vegetable oil

– 3/4 c water

– 4 large eggs

– 8 oz sour cream

– 1 c semi-sweet chocolate chips

Combine cake mix, pudding and sugar with a wire whisk to remove large lumps.  Add oil, water and eggs, stirring until smooth.  Stir in sour cream and chocolate chips.  Pour into greased and floured mini loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until done.  Cool in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes.  Remove from pans and cool completely.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.

These turned out the best looking.  Both the banana bread minis and the chocolate chip pound cake was very moist and fresh looking.

Everyone who got their little bread bags seemed to really appreciate them.  Seeing others happy because of stuff that I have made makes me so happy.

I love my family so much and am so thankful for them.

Banana Bread Minis

Prep: 10 minutes.  Total 50 minutes.

– 1 package yellow cake mix

– 1 package (3.4 0z) banana cream flavor instant pudding

– 4 eggs

– 1 c water

– 1/4 c oil

– 1 c mashed, fully ripe bananas (about 3)

– 1/2 c chopped walnuts

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray 5 foil mini loaf pans with cooking spray.

Beat first 5 ingredients in large bowl with mixer 2 minutes or until well blended.  Add bananas and nuts; mix until just blended.  Pour into prepared pans.

Bake 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean.  Cool completely.

Applesauce Spice Bread

Sorry for my sporadic posting recently.  This was finals week and I was BEYOND busy.  I feel like I have spent zero time at home, but it is all finally over.  Hello Christmas break!  Time for baking, spending time with family, and relaxing!

I actually made this bread a while back, but haven’t had a chance to post about it.  As part of my fall baking, I made some homemade slow cooker applesauce.  We ate some of it, but the recipe made a lot, so I decided to use it for baking.

I shared this bread with my dad and other coworkers and they seemed to like it.  The spices make it such a great fall bread (but that doesn’t mean you have to wait until next fall to try it out!).

I LOOOVVE bread! 🙂

Applesauce Spice Bread

– 1 stick butter

– 1/2 c white sugar

– 3/4 c light brown sugar, packed

– 2 eggs at room temperature

– a mix of 1 cup applesauce with 1 1/2 t baking soda

– 2 c cake flour or all purpose flour

– 1/2 t salt

– 2 t ground cardamom or cinnamon

– 1/2 t grated nutmeg

– 1/2 t ground ginger

– 1/4 t ground cloves

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Lightly butter a bread pan.  Line it with wax paper or parchment paper, then butter and flour it.

Cream the butter with the 2 sugars in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides in between additions, then stir in the applesauce mix.  Stir the dry ingredients together in a bowl, then add them to the butter mix and stir just enough to combine well.

Turn into the pan and bake in the top third of the oven until firm and a cake tester comes out clean, about 50 minutes.  Let cool in the pan 5 minutes, then carefully turn out onto a rack to finish cooling.

Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits

I’m not a big fan of Red Lobster.  I think it is way overpriced and the food is really not that amazing.  However they do have one thing going for them – their cheddar biscuits.  Zack and I both love them!  (Who wouldn’t?  Cheesy, buttery, garlicky goodness!)

My mom actually came across this recipe and shared it with me.  I’m so glad she did.  They are so easy to make (especially since you use biscuit mix!) and taste exactly like Red Lobster’s.

Now Zack and I can save our money and eat the same exact thing at home!  I love learning to make restaurant dishes!

Cheddar Bay Biscuits

– 2 1/2 cups bisquick baking mix

– 1 cup cheddar cheese, finely grated

– 3/4 cup whole milk

– 2 T butter, melted

– 1/8 t garlic powder

– 1/4 c butter, melted

– 1/2 t garlic powder

– 1/2 t dried parsley flakes

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine bisquick with cheddar cheese, milk, 2 T melted butter, and 1/8 t garlic powder in a medium bowl.  Mix until well-combined.

Drop approximately 1/4-cup portions of the dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet.

Combine 1/4 c melted butter with 1/2 t garlic powder, and parsley flakes.  Brush this mixture over the tops of each unbaked biscuit.

Bake for 14-16 minutes or until tops of biscuits begin to turn light brown.  Serve warm.

Hearty Sweet Potato Braids

I love sweet potatoes and I love bread, so I knew this recipe was going to be a big hit.

I was right 🙂

This bread was sweet, but not overly so and had such a flaky, wonderful texture.  I usually try to limit my bread consumption for nutritional reasons, but I ate a huge hunk of this one.  It was so yummy and moist, too!

I gave my dad this loaf, because he really likes sweet potatoes, too.  Zack does not like them!  Isn’t that crazy?  They are so, so good.

Hearty Sweet Potato Braids

Yield: 2 loaves

– 1 package (1/4 oz) active dry yeast

– 1/4 c warm water (110-115 degrees)

– 1 1/2 cups mashed sweet potatoes, room temperature

– 1 cup warm milk (110-115 degrees)

-1/4 cup canola oil

– 3 tablespoons honey

– 1 cup all purpose flour

– 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal

– 2 tsp salt

– 1 tsp dried thyme

– 2 3/4 – 3 1/4 cups whole wheat flour

– 1 tsp cold milk

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water.  Add the sweet potatoes, milk, oil, honey, AP flour, cornmeal, salt, thyme, and 2 cups whole wheat flour.  Beat until smooth.  Stir in enough remaining whole wheat flour to form a firm dough.

Turn onto a lightly floured surface.  Knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes.  Place in a bowl coated with cooking spray, turn once to coat top.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down; divide into 6 equal portions.  Shape each into a 20-inch rope.  Place 3 ropes on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray and braid.  Pinch ends to seal and tuck under.  Repeat with remaining ropes.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 35 minutes.

Brush loaves with cold milk.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove to wire racks.

Our First Thanksgiving Dinner Party

AAHHH… That’s my sigh of relief and happiness.  Our dinner party couldn’t have gone any better.  I am so pleased.  My dad, mom, stepdad, Zack’s parents, two brothers and his brother, Caleb’s, girlfriend all came!

We have tons of leftovers, though.  I sent two whole trays of food home with my dad.  Next year, I won’t double the recipes like I did this time.

Everyone said everything was really good.  I’m so thankful for both of our families and for the fact that everyone gets along so that we can have dinners like this.

I spent all of today and yesterday cooking.  I am exhausted.  It feels so good to be sitting on my couch with my Zack doing nothing right now.

I’m just going to share all of the recipes from today in this post.  I hope you enjoy.

Be thankful for your families and for the time you get to spend with them.  I know I am.

Appetizer Course:

Here’s our appetizer table:


No Bones Chicken Wing Dip

Prep: 15 minutes

– 1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened

– 2 c (16 oz) sour cream

– 1 c ranch dressing

– 1/2 c buffalo wing sauce

– 2 1/2 c shredded cooked chicken

– 1 block (8 oz) Monterey jack cheese, shredded

– baby carrots, celery ribs, and crackers

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sour cream, salad dressing, and buffalo wing sauce until blended.  Stir in chicken and Monterey jack cheese.

Transfer mixture to a greased 2-qt baking dish.  Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.  Serve dip warm with baby carrots, celery, and crackers.

Yield 6 1/2 cups.

Main Course:

Our main table.  We used the oreo turkeys and little name cards as place cards.  I think it turned out adorable.


Roast Turkey

– 1 large turkey, neck and giblets removed

– 1/2 c butter, melted

– 2 large onions, peeled and chopped

– 4 carrots, peeled and chopped

– 4 stalks celery, chopped

– 2 sprigs fresh thyme

– 1 bay leaf

– 1 c dry white wine

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Thoroughly rinse turkey.

Brush turkey with melted butter.  Place breast side up on a roasting rack in a shallow roasting pan.  I cooked mine in an oven bag in a roasting pan.  Stuff the turkey cavity with 1 onion, 1/2 the carrots, 1/2 the celery, 1 sprig of thyme, and the bay leaf.  Scatter the remaining vegetables and thyme around the bottom of the roasting pan (in the bag for me) and cover with white wine.

Roast uncovered 3 1/2 – 4 hours in preheated oven until internal temperature of thigh reaches 180 degree.  Allow the bird to stand about 30 minutes before carving.

 Side Dishes:


Butterflake Rolls

1 t yeast

– 3/4 c very warm water

– 1/4 c sugar

– 1 egg

– 2 egg yolks

– 3/4 t salt

– 1/2 c buttermilk

– 2 1/2 – 3 c AP flour

– 1 stick butter, softened

Prepare a muffin tin for baking by spraying it with nonstick cooking spray, or tossing a small pat of butter into bottom of each cup.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix yeast in 1/4 c warm water until dissolved.  Add the sugar.  Whisk in the salt and eggs.  Beat in milk and remaining water until well mixed.

Use a wooden spoon to stir in about 2 1/2 cups of flour, adding more (up to 3 cups) as necessary to make a soft dough.  You want to be able to knead the dough and not have it stick to your fingers, but still have the dough be soft and pillowy.  Less is definitely more here.

Knead dough a few times.  Roll out dough to 1/2″ thickness and spread with a thin layer of butter (it should be about 2 tablespoons).  Fold dough in half, then spread with butter.  Repeat this 4 more times.

Once you’ve finished buttering, roll into 1/2″ thickness and cut dough into 1×1 inch squares.  Place 3-4 squares in each non-stick sprayed muffin tin.  Let rise about 45-60 minutes or until well-risen.

Bake in middle rack at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.


Stuffed Ham & Provolone Rolls

– 2 c herb flavored stuffing cubes

– 1/2 c boiling water

– 2 T + 2 t butter, divided

– 8 slices deli ham

– 8 slices provolone cheese

– 1 egg, beaten

– 1 T water

– 1/2 c dry bread crumbs

Combine stuffing, boiling water and 2 T butter.  Cover and let stand 5 minutes.  Top each ham slice with a cheese slice.  Spoon 1/4 c stuffing mixture over center of cheese; roll up and secure with a toothpick.  Whisk eggs and water together.  Roll ham rolls in egg mixture, then roll in bread crumbs.  In a large skillet over medium heat, saute ham rolls in remaining butter for 4-5 minutes, or until golden, turning only once.  Discard toothpicks before serving.

Yield: 8 rolls

Turkey Gravy

Prep: 10 min.  Cook: 7 min.

– 3 cans (14 oz each) chicken broth

– 1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of chicken soup

– 1 t poultry seasoning

– 1/2 t black pepper

– 1/4 t garlic powder

– 1 c milk

– 1/3 + 2 T AP flour

– 2 T corn starch

Bring chicken broth to a boil in a large saucepan.  Stir in soup and season with poultry seasoning, pepper, and garlic powder.  Reduce heat to low and let simmer.

Warm the milk in the microwave and whisk in the flour and cornstarch with a fork until there are no lumps.  Return the gravy to a boil, and gradually stir in the milk mixture.  Continue to cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute or until thickened.  Be careful not to let the bottom scorch.


Stuffing

– 4 T butter

– 1 medium onion, chopped

– 3 celery stalks, diced

– 1/2 t salt

– 1 t ground sage

– 1 t dry thyme

– 10 c dried unseasoned bread cubes

– 1 1/2 c chicken broth

– 1 egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Melt butter in a large pan.  Saute onions, celery, salt, sage, and thyme for 5 minutes on medium heat.  Turn off heat.  Add bread cubes and gently stir them into the onion mixture.  Slowly pour chicken broth over the bread cubes folding everything so the bread cubes do not break apart too much.  In a small bowl, gently whisk the egg and add it to the stuffing mix.  Continue to fold everything until the egg is incorporated.  Scoop uncooked stuffing into a medium casserole dish and bake uncovered for 40 minutes or until nice and toasty on top.

 

Creamy Cheesy Mashed Potatoes

– 6 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

– 3/4 c evaporated milk

– 1/4 c butter

– 1 c (4 oz) shredded cheddar cheese

Place potatoes in a large saucepan.  Cover with water; bring to a boil.  Cook over medium high heat for 15-20 minutes or until tender; drain.

Return potatoes to saucepan; add evaporated milk and butter.  Beat with hand-held mixer until smooth.  Stir in cheese.  Season with salt and pepper.



Sweet Potato Souffle

– 6 c mashed sweet potatoes

– 2 c sugar

– 1 t salt

– 4 eggs

– 2/3 c stick butter, softened

– 2/3 c milk

2 t vanilla

Combine with mixer and pour into greased casserole dish.

– 2 c brown sugar

– 1 c flour

– 2 c chopped pecans

– 1 stick melted butter

Mix well and distribute over potatoes.  Bake 30 minutes at 325 degrees.

 Deviled Eggs

See Deviled Eggs for recipe.

Green Beans

Just take some green beans, I used about 3 lbs here and then add a bouillon cube (1 per lb).  Bring to a boil then simmer.  The longer you let it simmer, the better they are.

Desserts:


Pecan Pie

Prep: 20 minutes.  Bake 50 minutes.

– Pastry for 1 crust pie

– 2/3 c sugar

– 1/3 c butter

– 1 c corn syrup

– 1/2 t salt

– 3 large eggs

– 1 c pecan halves broken halves

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Beat sugar, butter, corn syrup, salt and eggs in medium bowl with wire whisk or hand beater until well blended.  Stir in pecans.  Pour into pastry lined pie plate.  Bake 40-50 minutes or until center is set.

 


Colossal Caramel Apple Trifle (COLOSSAL = key word)

Prep: 40 minutes

– 1 package yellow cake mix

– 6 c cold milk

– 3 package (3.4 oz each) instant vanilla pudding mix

– 1 t apple pie spice

– 1 jar ( 12 1/4 oz) caramel ice cream topping

– 1 1/2 c chopped pecans, toasted

– 2 cans (21 oz each) apple pie filling

– 2 cartons (16 oz each) frozen whipped topping, thawed

Prepare and bake cake according to package directions using 2 greased 9-inch round baking pans.  Cool for 10 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

In a large bowl, whisk milk, pudding mixes and apple pie spice for 2 minutes.  Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft set.

Cut one cake layer if necessary to fit evenly in an 8-quart punch bowl.  Poke holes in cake with a long wooden skewer.  Gradually pour a third of the caramel topping over the cake.  Sprinkle with 1/2 c pecans and spread with half of the pudding mixture.

Spoon one can of pie filling over pudding; spread with 1 carton of whipped topping.  Top with remaining cake and repeat layers.  Drizzle with remaining caramel topping and sprinkle with remaining pecans.  Refrigerate until serving.


Pumpkin Pie

Prep: 20 minutes.  Bake 1 hr 10 minutes.  Cool 2 hours.

– pastry for 1 crust pie

– 2 large eggs

– 1/2 c sugar

– 1 t ground cinnamon

– 1/2 t salt

– 1/2 t ground ginger

– 1/8 t ground cloves

– 1 can (16 oz) pumpkin

– 1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk

– whipped cream, if desired

Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Make pastry for unbaked one pie crust; before adding filling, partially bake pastry (carefully line pastry with double thickness of aluminum foil, gently pressing to bottom and sides of pastry. Let foil extend over edge to prevent excess browning.  Bake 10 minutes; carefully remove foil and bake 2-4 minutes longer or just until pastry begins to brown and has become set.  If crust bubbles, gently push bubbles down with back of spoon..

Beat eggs slightly in medium bowl with wire whisk or hand beater.  Beat in remaining ingredients except whipped cream.

Cover edge of pie crust with 2-3 inch of aluminum foil to prevent excess browning; remove foil during last 15 minutes of baking.  To prevent spilling filling, place pie plate on oven rack.  Pour filling into hot pie crust.

Bake 15 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.  Bake about 45 minutes longer or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool on wire rack 2 hours.  Serve with whipped cream.  After cooling, pie can remain at room temperature up to an additional 4 hours, then should be recovered and refrigerated.


Oreo Turkeys

– Double Stuff Oreo Cookies

– Candy Corn

– Whoppers

– Peanut Butter Cups

– Chocolate Frosting

– Writing icing (any color) for eyes

Grab a cookie and put some chocolate icing in the edge.  Stick some candy corn in.  The icing makes it stick better.  It’s easier if you do all the cookies through this step.

Next, secure the opposite end of those cookies to a bottom cookie with a gob of icing.  If they are not sturdy, you can set them against the wall until the icing hardens a little.

While they are drying, unwrap the peanut butter cups.  Take a sharp knife and cut a sliver off of one end.  It helps to gently cut in a sawing motion so you don’t break the peanut butter cup.  Cut from the bottom.

Place a gob of icing on the peanut butter cup and place it on the bottom cookie.

Glue a whopper on top of the peanut butter cup with icing.  I put frosting on the side of the whopper touching the peanut butter cup and the cookie.

Use another gob of icing and glue on the white tip of a candy corn for a beak.  Put two dots of your writing icing for eyes.


Hot Mulled Cider

Float a few apple slices and some cinnamon sticks in the drink as it warms.

– 2 qt apple cider

– 1 orange, quartered

– 1/4 c brown sugar, packed
– 1/4 t pumpkin pie spice

– 2 (4-in) cinnamon sticks

– 6 whole cloves

Combine all ingredients in a 3-quart slow cooker; cover and cook on low 2-4 hours.  Remove orange sections and spices before serving.

 

No-Knead Whole Wheat Rolls

These rolls completely have my heart.  They are sweet, cute, buttery, and best of all, EASY.  You just mix everything up, let it rise, slap it into a muffin pan, let it rise again, slap some butter on top, bake and eat!  This may seem like a bunch of steps, but believe me, for bread, this is easy peasy.

I made these for a dinner party (I use the word party loosely here – it was just Zack, his brother and his girlfriend, a couple of random relatives, and me having dinner).  Calling it a party makes it sound so much more festive, though 🙂

These would be a great accompaniment to any chicken, beef, or maybe even pork dish.  With whole wheat rolls, though, how can you go wrong?

In the picture below, the rolls look two-toned.  This is because I used substantially less butter to put on top of them then required.  It made their tops look not-so-pretty, but it did not affect their taste.  Plus, my arteries thanked me.

Aren’t they just totally adorable?

No-Knead Whole Wheat Rolls

Yield: 1 dozen

– 1 package (1/4 oz) active dry yeast

– 1 1/4 cups warm water (110-115 degrees)

– 2 cups all purpose flour

– 1 cup whole wheat flour

– 1 tablespoon butter, softened

– 1 tablespoon honey

– 1 tablespoon molasses

– 1 teaspoon salt

– 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water.  Add the remaining ingredients.  Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes (dough will be sticky).  Do not knead.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes.

Stir dough down, set aside 1/4 cup butter.  Fill muffin cups coated with nonstick spray, half full.  Top each with 1 teaspoon butter (I used a lot less).  Cover and let rise until doubled, about 8-12 minutes.

Bake at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until golden-brown.  Cool for 1 minute before removing from pan to wire rack.

Easy Parmesan Knots

I am a big fan of making things from scratch.  I love the satisfaction of spending time making something and then getting to enjoy it (especially when others are enjoying it with me).

However, sometimes there just isn’t time to make everything homemade.

These Parmesan Knots are the answer to that.

They are just canned biscuits with seasonings and butter.  Simple sounding, but delicious tasting.

I made these with Fettuccine Alfredo the other night.  Zack LOVED them!

Up close view of the buttery, cheesy, yummy-ness.

Pasta dishes like Fettuccine Alfredo are relatively quick dinners, so the easiness of these fit well with those type of dinners.

Easy Parmesan Knots

– 1 tube (12 oz) refrigerated buttermilk biscuits

– 1/4 cup olive oil

– 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (from the green can)

– 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

– 1 teaspoon dried oregano

– 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes

Roll each biscuit into a 12-inch rope and tie into a knot; tuck ends under.  Place 2-inches apart on a greased baking sheet.  Bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.

In a medium bowl, combine the remaining ingredients; brush the warm knots with the mixture.