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.

Hershey’s Kisses Birthday Cake

Once upon a time there were two high school girls.  They had known each other for years, but had never been very close.  Both worked at a local nonprofit organization and got stuck organizing a social gathering for the organization.

The social gathering was a lot of work to plan and it was a blast to attend.  The two girls bonded throughout the process and they became completely inseparable.  They found out that they had very complementary personalities and almost identical senses of humor.  For the remainder of high school, they spent as much time as possible together.  They were the definition of best friends.

However, high school ended and they had decided on schools that were on opposite sides of the state.  It was really hard on both of them.  Although they no longer got to spent a lot of time together, they still maintained a relationship and hung out over breaks.

Three years into college, they still consider each other a best friend.

I thought that little story was important background info before I discuss this cake.  I made this cake for that girl’s birthday.  Her birthday was actually at the end of November, but we didn’t have a chance to get together until this week.  Hey, who would complain, she got multiple birthday celebrations! 😉

Mackenzie, the girl from the story, is a wonderful friend and I really enjoyed making this cake for her.  She seemed to like it and it was really great to spend some time with her.

Hershey’s Kisses Birthday Cake

– 2 c sugar

– 1 3/4 c AP flour

– 3/4 c cocoa

– 1 1/2 t baking powder

– 1 1/2 t baking soda

– 1 t salt

– 2 eggs

– 1 c milk

– 1/2 c vegetable oil

– 2 t vanilla extract

– 1 c boiling water

– vanilla buttercream frosting

– hershey’s kisses

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour two 9″ round baking pans or one 13x9x2″ pan.

Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in large bowl.  Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat w/ electric mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes.  Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin).  Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake 30-35 minutes for round pans, 35-40 minutes for rectangular pans or until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes, turn onto wire racks.  Cool completely.  Prepare vanilla buttercream frosting.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

– 1/3 c butter or margarine, softened

– 4 c powdered sugar, divided

– 3-4 T milk

– 1 1/2 t vanilla extract

Beat butter with electric mixer on medium speed in large bowl with creamy.  With mixer running, gradually add 2 cups powdered sugar, beating until well blended.  Slowly beat in milk and vanilla.  Gradually add remaining powdered sugar, beating until smooth.  Add additional milk, if necessary, until frosting is desired consistency.

Frost cake.  Remove wrappers from chocolates, garnish top and sides of cake with chocolates.

Cinnamon Chip Scones

For some reason, I really like making breakfast foods.  I just don’t like eating them.  I am a cereal gal all the way.  I’ve had this recipe for a while, but for some reason I had not been able to find cinnamon chips at the grocery store anymore.  Luckily, my mom had an extra bag in her pantry that she gave to me.

This was my second time making scones (see Blueberry Scones).  These were so much easier to make, and turned out so much cuter, thanks to this awesome cast-iron scone pan that I bought.  I really liked the uniformity of them and how nice and nice and thick they were.

Zack took them to work and they were all eaten.  I hope they enjoyed them, because I don’t know when I will be able to find cinnamon chips again!

Cinnamon Chip Scones

– 2 c flour

– 2 T sugar

– 2 t baking powder powder

– 1/2 t salt

– 1/4 t soda

– 1/3 c cold butter

– 1 c cinnamon chips

– 1/2 c milk

– 1 egg

– 1 T milk

Glaze: optional

– 1/2 c powdered sugar

– 1 T milk

Combine dry ingredients, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Combine milk and egg and add along with chips to flour mixture.  Stir until soft dough forms.  On floured surface, knead 6-8 times. Pat dough into an 8-inch circle.  Cut into 10 wedges.  Separate wedges and place on an ungreased baking sheet.  Brush with milk; sprinkle with sugar.  Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned.

Christmas Cookies :)

I feel like I have really let my blog go lately and I feel pretty guilty.  I do have a couple of excuses, though.  First of all, Christmas was nothing short of a madhouse.  Zack and I had to do 5 Christmases.  We had my step-grandma’s Christmas dinner at a ritzy hotel in Roanoke, Christmas with my mom and stepdad, Zack and my Christmas, Christmas with my dad, and Christmas with Zack’s parents and brothers.  It was crazy and although I love spending time with our families, I am really glad it is over.

Plus, I have been really sick all week.  I used to get sick all of the time, but for the past couple of years I haven’t been really sick at all (except for the occasional cold).  I think those years of not being sick caught up to me, though, because I haven’t left the couch in 3 days.  I went to the doctor and he said it seems to be the flu.  Thanks flu shot for failing me!  I’m finally starting to feel better and might actually leave my house tomorrow!  You realize what a big deal that is once you are home bound for a couple of days.

I should have posted these about a week ago, but hey, better late than never!

PS – these preacher cookies were so good that one of Zack’s coworkers actually paid me to make her another batch.  Yeah!

Preacher Cookies

– 2 c white sugar

– 1/2 c butter

– 1/2 c milk

– 4 T cocoa

– 1/2 c peanut butter

– 2 c quick oatmeal

– 1 t vanilla

– 1/4 t salt

Combine sugar, butter, milk, salt, and cocoa in saucepan.  Boil 1 minute.  Remove from heat and add vanilla, peanut butter, and oatmeal.  Drop by spoonfuls onto waxed paper or buttered cookie sheet.

M&M Cookies

– 1/2 c shortening

– 1/2 c brown sugar

– 1/4 c granulated sugar

– 1/4 t vanilla

– 1/4 t water

– 1 egg

– 1 c + 2 T flour

– 1/2 t soda

– 1/2 t salt

– 3/4 c M&Ms

Cream together shortening, brown sugar, and granulated sugar.  Add vanilla, water, and egg.  Mix flour, soda and salt then add to creamed mixture.  Stir in M&Ms.  Drop onto greased cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes.

Christmas Goodie Bags

Zack likes to do something special for his employees each holiday.

He asked me to make some goodie bags for them and he cooked them a big breakfast.

I spent all day (up until 1:30 am) working on their goodie bags, because I wanted them to be perfect.

I was so happy with the way everything turned out and I REALLY hope they like them.

I also hope Zack’s breakfast part of it turned out good.  He was making them bacon, sausage, eggs, biscuits and gravy.  I hope they all appreciate all the extra things that Zack goes out of his way to do for them.

Also, today is Christmas Eve!  I have been looking forward to the holidays for months.  This is my favorite time of the year.  I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas.

South of the Border Mix

– 6 T butter

– 1 pkg (1.25 oz) taco seasoning mix, dry

– 1 T Worcestershire sauce

– 1 t hot pepper sauce

– 8 c Toasted Rice or Corn Cereal, or combination

– 1 c peanuts

– 1 c pretzels

– 1 c bite-size cheese crackers

– 2 T American cheese food powder, optional

In preheated 250 degree oven, melt margarine in open roasting pan.  Stir in taco seasoning, Worcestershire sauce and pepper sauce.  Gradually add cereals, peanuts, pretzels and cheese crackers; stir to coat evenly.  Bake 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.  Spread on absorbent paper to cool.  If desired, sprinkle American cheese food powder over warm mix.  Store in airtight container.  Makes 11 cups.

Sugar Cookies

Prep: 25 minutes.  Chill 2 hours.  Bake 7-8 minutes.

– 1 1/2 c powdered sugar

– 1 c butter

– 1 t vanilla

– 1/2 t almond extract

– 1 large egg

– 2 1/2 c AP flour

– 1 t baking soda

– 1 t cream of tartar

– granulated sugar

Beat powdered sugar, butter, vanilla, almond extract and egg in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed.  Stir in remaining ingredients except granulated sugar.  Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Lightly grease cookie sheet with shortening on spray with cooking spray.

Divide dough in half.  Roll each half 1/4″ thick on lightly floured surface.  Cut into desired shapes with 2 1/2″ cookie cutters.  Sprinkle with granulated sugar.  Place about 2 inches apart on cookie sheet.

Bake 7-8 minutes or until edges are light brown.  Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.

Candy Cane Cookies

– 1 c butter, softened

– 1 c confectioners’ sugar

– 1 egg

– 1 t almond flavoring

– 1 t vanilla

– 1/4 t peppermint flavoring

– 2 1/2 c AP flour

– 1 t baking powder

– 1 t salt

– 1/2 t red liquid food coloring

Beat first 6 ingredients in large bowl until light and creamy.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in medium bowl.  Add to butter mixture.  Stir until sift dough forms.  Divide dough into 2 equal portions.

Knead food coloring into 1 portion of dough until evenly tinted.  Roll about 1 t of each color dough into 5 1/2″ rope.  Lay side by side.  Pinch ends together.  Twist and form into candy cane shape.  Repeat with remaining dough.  Arrange, about 2 inches apart, on greased cookie sheets.  Bake in 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes until just golden.  Let stand on cookie sheets for 5 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool.  Makes about 4 1/2 dozen cookies.

Melted Snowman Nutter Butter Cookie Balls

Prep: 30 minutes, plus refrigerating.  48 balls

– 1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened

– 24 nutter butter cookies, finely crushed (~ 3 cups)

– 2 pkg (6 squares each) white chocolate, melted

Mix cream cheese and cookie crumbs until well blended.  Shape into 48 (1-inch) balls; place on waxed paper-covered baking sheet.  Freeze 10 minutes.  Melt chocolate.

Dip balls in chocolate mixture, allowing excess chocolate to pool at bottoms of balls.  Return to baking sheet.  Before chocolate coating firms up, decorate balls with decorating icings for a face.  Let stand until chocolate is firm.  Keep refrigerated.

White Chocolate Cookies ‘n’ Cream Fudge

– 1 c sugar

– 3/4 c butter

– 5 oz can evaporated milk

– 2 12-oz pkgs white chocolate chips

– 7 oz jar marshmallow creme

– 25 chocolate sandwich cookies, coarsely crushed and divided

– 1/8 t salt

Line a greased 9×9 baking pan with aluminum foil, allowing 2-3 inches to extend over sides; set aside.

Combine first 3 ingredients in a medium saucepan.  Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil; cook 3 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat; add white chocolate chips, marshmallow creme, 2 c crushed cookies and salt.  Stir until chips melt.

Pour fudge into prepared pan.  Sprinkle remaining one cup cookies over fudge, gently pressing cookies into fudge.  Cover and chill until firm (about 1-2 hours)

Lift uncut fudge in aluminum foil from pan; remove foil and cut fudge into squares.  Makes 4 pounds.

Candy Cane Marshmallows

– 2 c sugar

– 1 T light corn syrup

– 4 packages (1/4 oz each) unflavored gelatin

– 3/4 t peppermint extract

– 2 large egg whites

– 2 t red food coloring

Coat an 8-inch square pan with cooking spray; line bottom with parchment paper. Coat the parchment with cooking spray, and set pan aside.  Put sugar, corn syrup, and 3/4 c water in a small saucepan.  Cover over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved.  Stop stirring; let mixture come to a boil.  Raise heat to medium-high; cook until mixture reaches 260 degrees on a candy thermometer.

Meanwhile, sprinkle gelatin over 3/4 c water in a heatproof bowl, let stand 5 minutes to soften.  Set the bowl with the gelatin mixture over a pan of simmering water; whisk constantly until gelatin is dissolved.  Remove from heat, and stir in extract, set aside.

Beat egg white in bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until stiff (but not dry) peaks form.  Whisk gelatin mixture into sugar mixture; with mixer running, gradually add to egg whites.  Mix on high speed until very thick, 12-15 minutes.

Pour mixture into lined pan.  Working quickly, drop dots of red food coloring across surface of marshmallow.  Using a toothpick, swirl food coloring into marshmallow to create a marbleized effect.  Let marshmallow stand, uncovered, at room temperature until firm, at least 3 hours or overnight.  Cut into squares.

Peanut Butter Fudge Balls

– 1/4 c butter

– 1/2 c creamy peanut butter

– 1/4 c milk

– 3 2/3 c powdered sugar

– i t vanilla extract

– 1 1/2 c special dark chocolate chips or semi sweet

– 1 1/2 t shortening

– 3 c finely chopped peanuts

Line an 8 or 9-inch square pan with foil; butter foil.

Cook butter, peanut butter and milk in large saucepan over very low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is melted.  With wooden spoon, gradually beat in powdered sugar and vanilla.  Remove from heat; pour into prepared pan.  Cool completely.  Mixture will appear dry, but softens when rolled into balls.

Line 2 trays with wax paper.  Spread chopped peanuts on one tray; set aside.  Roll peanut butter mixture into 3/4″ balls and place on second tray.  If necessary, refrigerate peanut butter balls until firm enough to handle for coating.

Melt chocolate chips and shortening.  Cool slightly.

Dip peanut butter balls completely into chocolate mixture, one at a time, with fork.  Gently tap fork on side of bowl to remove excess chocolate.  Immediately roll in chopped peanuts; gently reshape if necessary.  Place candy balls into small paper candy cups or return to wax paper lined tray.  Refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes.  Store in cool, dry place.

Cinnamon-Sugared Nuts

Prep: 10 minutes.  Bake: 30 minutes.  Yield: 2 cups.

– 1 T slightly beaten large egg white

– 2 c pecan halves, unblanched whole almonds or walnut halves

– 1/4 c sugar

– 2 t ground cinnamon

– 1/4 t ground nutmeg

– 1/4 t ground cloves

Heat oven to 300 degrees.

Mix egg white and pecan halves in medium bowl until pecans are coated and sticky.

Mix remaining ingredients and spinkle over pecans.  Stir until pecans are completely coated.  Spread pecans in a single layer in ungreased jelly roll pan.

Bake uncovered about 30 minutes or until toasted.  Cool completely, or serv warm. Store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 weeks.

Peanut Butter and Banana Dog Biscuits

I am not a dog person.  I don’t know if I missed out on the dog-loving gene or what.  I don’t like little ones because they are yappy and annoying.  I don’t like big ones because they are scary and intimidating.  There’s no middle ground here for me! Haha!

Zack loves dogs.  His parents have a chocolate lab and my aunt and uncle have a cocker spaniel.  I’m the type of crazy person that gives pets Christmas gifts.

I found a recipe for some dog biscuits and thought that would be perfect for a little gift.

My aunt and uncle’s dog is named Gordy and Zack’s parents dog is named River, so I made some R and G shaped cookies!

Gordy got his cookies last weekend and I was told that he loves them!  River gets his on Christmas.  I hope he likes his too.

Pets need Christmas love, too!

Peanut Butter and Banana Dog Biscuits

– 1 egg

– 1/3 c peanut butter

– 1/2 c mashed banana

– 1 T honey

– 1 c whole wheat flour

– 1/4 c wheat germ

– 1/4 c old fashioned oats

– 1 egg white, lightly beaten, for brushing

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Lightly grease a baking sheet.

In a medium bowl, stir together the egg, peanut butter, banana, and honey.  STir in the flour, wheat germ and oats.

Turn dough onto a floured surface and roll to 1/4″ thickness.  Using a cookie cutter, cut into desired shapes and place on prepared baking sheet.  Brush with egg white.

Bake until dried and golden brown, about 25-30 minutes, depending on size.  Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

Christmas Candy

One of the best thing about the holidays is how much baking and cooking I get to do.  I made a bunch of goodies to take to various places and all of it got eaten except for a couple of marshmallows.

I had never made any of this stuff before and all of it turned out perfectly, except for the potato candy.  I don’t think I added enough sugar to make the candy stiff, because it was really runny.  It tasted good, but it looked awful.

Someone told me that homemade marshmallows are DELICIOUS and I was curious if this was true.  To me, a marshmallow is a marshmallow.  Well, my mind has been blown.  These things were just as delicious as I told they would be.  Plus, they were so easy to make!  They would be great in hot cocoa (or just plain like I ate them).

Making all of this stuff was so enjoyable. I’m going to make more goodies for Zack to take to work with him on Christmas eve.

People seem to really appreciate when I bring them goodies and it makes me feel so good.  I love making people happy!

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

– 12 oz dark chocolate

– 1/3 c creamy peanut butter

– 1/4 c confectioners’ sugar

– 1/4 c crushed graham crackers

In a bowl, mix together the peanut butter, confectioners’ sugar and graham crackers.  Set aside.

Melt the chocolate (using microwave, double boiler, or chocolate melter).

Using a pastry brush, clean paintbrush, or even the back of a spoon, brush the melted chocolate on the bottom and sides of 12 mini cupcake liners.  It’s helpful to stack some liners together to give more support.  When in doubt, add more chocolate, since this will be the base for your candy.  Place the cupcake liners on a plate or in a cupcake tin and place in the freezer for 10 minutes.

Remove the liners from the freezer and place about 1 teaspoon of the peanut butter mixture in each cup.  Press down a bit with a spoon to spread.  Spoon more melted chocolate on top of each cup.

Place the peanut butter cups back in the freezer for another 15 minutes to set.  Eat cold or let warm to room temperature before serving.

Potato Candy

– 1 medium potato

– 1 large bag confectioners sugar

– peanut butter

Boil the potato until soft.  Mash with a fork.  Stir in confectioners sugar gradually until mixture forms a dough.  Roll dough out on sugared surface in a rectangular form.  Spread peanut butter thinly over entire rectangle.  Roll the length.  Slice into pieces.  Store at room temperature.

Haystacks

– 24 oz butterscotch chips

– 1 large bag chow mein noodles

– 2 c peanuts (unsalted or lightly salted)

Melt chips and pour over noodles and peanuts.  Make haystacks on wax paper.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

– 3/4 c butter

– 3 c sugar

– 1 (5 oz) can evaporated milk

– 1 (12 oz) pkg semi-sweet chocolate chips

– 1 (7 oz) jar marshmallow cream

– 3/4 c creamy peanut butter

– 1 t vanilla

Microwave butter in 4-qt bowl on high 1 minute or until melted.  Add sugar and milk; mix well.  Microwave on high for 5 minutes until mixture begins to boil, stirring after 3 minutes.  Mix well.  Scrape bowl.  Microwave 5 1/2 minutes, stirring after 3 minutes.

Stir in chocolate pieces until smooth and melted.  Add remaining ingredients; mix well.

Pour into a buttered 9×13 pan.  Makes 3 lbs.

Peanut Butter Balls

– 1 lb powdered sugar

– 1 stick butter

– 8 oz peanut butter

– 1 t vanilla

– 12 oz chocolate chips

– 1/4 block paraffin wax

Mix sugar, melted butter, peanut butter, and vanilla.  Roll into balls and place in refrigerator.  Melt wax and chocolate chips.  Dip balls in chocolate and place on wax paper to cool.

Marshmallows

– 3 pkgs unflavored gelatin

– 1 c ice cold water, divided

– 12 oz granulated sugar (~ 1 1/2 c)

– 1 c light corn syrup

– 1/4 t salt

– 1 t vanilla extract

– 1/4 c confectioners’ sugar

– 1/4 c cornstarch

– nonstick spray

Place the gelatin into the bowl of a stand mixer along with 1/2 c of the water.  Have the whisk attachment standing by.

In a small saucepan, combine the remaining 1/2 c water, granulated sugar, corn syrup and salt.  Place over medium-high heat, cover and allow to cook for 3-4 minutes.  Uncover, clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees (about 7-8 minutes).  Once a mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from heat.

Turn the mixture on low speed, and while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture.  Once you have added all of the syrup, increase the speed to high.  Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12-15 minutes.  Add the vanilla during the last minute of whipping.  When the mixture is whipping, prepare the pans as follows.

Combine the confectioners sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl.  Lightly spray a 9×13 pan with nonstick cooking spray.  Add the sugar and cornstarch mixture and move around to completely coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Return the remaining mixture to the bowl for later use.

When ready, pour the mixture into the prepared pan, using a lightly oiled spatula for spreading evenly into the pan.  Dust the top with enough of the remaining sugar and cornstarch mixture to lightly cover.  Reserve the rest for later use.  Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

Turn the marshmallows out onto a cutting board and cut into 1-inch squares using a pizza wheel dusted with the confectioners’ sugar mixture.  Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining mixture, using additional if necessary.  Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

Christmas Dinner # 2 Desserts

As I mentioned in Mini Bread Loaves, my mom had her annual Christmas dinner on Sunday.  I was enlisted to make some desserts.

I’d been wanting to try out these recipes for a while, but hadn’t had an opportunity, especially for the banana one, because, gasp, Zack isn’t a big fan of bananas.

I’m glad that I got to sample both of them, but I think they were both one time things.  Neither really knocked my socks off.

The Wassail tea was really good, though.  I will definitely make that again.  In fact, I saved some of it to give to my dad.  He loves wassail.

I’m also taking the leftover desserts to work with me and hopefully they will get gobbled up!

Also, I cannot believe Christmas is in 5 days! Oh my gosh!  I am so excited!

Banana Split Pie

– 1 1/2 c graham cracker crumbs

– 6 T butter, melted

– 3 medium bananas

– 4 oz cream cheese, softened

– 8 oz cool whip

– 1/2 stick butter, softened

– 1 c confectioners sugar

– small can pineapple

– various toppings of choice: ex) chocolate syrup, sprinkles, cherries, nuts, etc

Mix melted butter and graham cracker crumbs and press into an ungreased 8×8 baking dish.

Mix confectioners sugar, cream cheese and 1/2 stick butter together until fluffy.  Slice bananas into crust.  Add fluffy mixture on top, then add fluffy mixture.  Sprinkle pineapple on top and cover with cool whip.

Top with various toppings before serving.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Dessert

Prep: 20 minutes + chilling

– 20 chocolate cream filled sandwich cookies, divided

– 2 T butter, melted

– 1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened

– 1/2 c peanut butter

– 1 1/2 c confectioners’ sugar, divided

– 1 carton, 16 oz, frozen whipped topping, thawed, divided

– 15 miniature peanut butter cups, chopped

– 1 pkg (3.4 oz) instant chocolate fudge pudding mix

– 1 1/2 c milk

Crush 16 cookies, toss with the butter.  Press into an ungreased dish.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, peanut butter and 1 cup confectioners’ sugar until smooth.  Fold in half of the whipped topping.  Spread over crust.  Sprinkle with peanut butter cups.

In another large bowl, beat the milk, pudding mix and remaining confectioners’ sugar on low speed for 2 minutes.  Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft-set.  Fold in remaining whipped topping.  Spread the pudding mixture over the peanut butter cups.  Crush the remaining cookies, sprinkle over the top.  Cover and chill dessert for at least 3 hours.

Wassail

– 1 c sugar

– 4 c water

– 4 cinnamon sticks

– 1 t allspice

– 1 t cloves

– 1 qt orange juice

– 2 c pineapple juice

– 2 qt apple cider or juice

Simmer for several (at least 2) hours.  Serve hot.

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.

Breakfast Wraps

I have a new addiction.  I go through addictions with food and the only way to get rid of them, is to give in to the cravings…a lot.  Then, eventually they will go away.  Previous addictions include: peanut butter and bananas (yeah, a raw banana and a spoon of peanut butter straight from the jar), dark chocolate covered almonds and yogurt almonds.  I’m still working on the almond addiction.

However, most of my energy is focused on these things.  They are so simple – they take like 5 minutes to make and they are delicious!  I’ve actually been eating them for dinner like once a week.  Yeah, I’m out of control.

Plus, I really like that you can customize them.  You can essentially put any of your favorite breakfast flavors in there: bacon, cheese, ham, egg, taco sauce, etc.

Then you wrap it up in a delicious tortilla and it’s finger food!  Seriously though, give these a try.  You won’t be disappointed.

Breakfast Wraps

– 6 eggs

– 2 T milk

– 1/4 pepper

– 1 c shredded cheddar cheese (or fav cheese)

– 3/4 c diced fully cooked ham (or lunch meat style ham)

– salsa, if desired

– 4 flour tortillas, warmed

In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, milk and pepper.  Grease a large skillet and add egg mixture; cook and stir over medium heat until eggs are completely set.  Stir in cheese and ham.

Spoon egg mixture down the center of each tortilla; roll up.  Serve immediately with taco sauce or wrap in plastic wrap and freeze in a resealable plastic bag.