Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Paul's Favorite Cookie

I often talk about my girls--this is a cooking blog and my girls cook. But I do have 3 sons. Paul is my middle, middle child. Paul is easy to get along with and a creature of habit. He eats to live--I live to eat. He would be happy with pizza every night. When my kids come to visit I like to make their favorite foods. Paul visited us last week--we enjoyed lunch at Taco Amigo, fresh seafood, homemade pizza and Paul's Favorite Cookie. This cookie is easy to make and yummy. Try it!

Paul's Favorite Cookie
Combine and stir together:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/3 cup flour
1 cup oatmeal
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1 1/2 cup M&M's (may use part chocolate chips)
In another bowl mix together 1 cube butter, very soft (slightly melted), 1 egg, 1 tablespoon vanilla. Combine both mixtures and stir well--you may have to use your hands. Using a medium scoop put cookies on a parchment lined pan. Bake at 350 for about 10-12 minutes.

Paul is an awesome son and a wonderful father. We love Paul and his sweet wife Kaytie. Dean and Baylee complete their family.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Happy Birthday Mom!

A fabulous day is coming to a close. 

October 26th is Cindy/Nana/Mom's birthday!

She is an amazing wife, mother, grandmother, and friend.  The world is a better place because of Cindy!  I am one of the lucky ones that are priveleged to call her "Mom".  She is a mentor, teacher, cheerleader and dear friend to me.  I couldn't imagine a better example.  We love you Mom!

How about you leave her a little comment with some birthday love?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

White Chocolate studded Pumpkin Scones--Frosted of course.

Oh I love pumpkin! I think pumpkin is a vegetable so one should eat it often--especially in scones for breakfast. It is no secret, I love scones. They are my favorite food group. This recipe is a combination of several recipes with my twist. Please enjoy. I made a double batch of scones, unbaked they freeze perfectly. After I cut them I flash freeze them then put them in a Zip Lock Freezer Bag. Make sure you label them. They keep in the freezer for a month. I had an early appointment today--no time to bake. But I remembered the scones in the freezer. They bake from the frozen state, the results were beautiful. I had a delicious treat to gift to my 11:00 appointment. Yes, that is early for this tired body!

White Chocolate Studded Pumpkin Scones--with a Spice Glaze/Frosting
2 cups flour
1/2 cup brown sugar (3.5 ounces)
1 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup very cold butter (I put mine in the freezer for 15 minutes)
1/3 cup heaping buttermilk
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
In a large bowl mix together flour, brown sugar, spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With a grater, grate butter into bowl with flour. Mix gently with your hands--you want to see the butter!
Mix together the buttermilk, pumpkin and vanilla. Pour over flour/butter mixture and mix gently. Add white chocolate chips. Mixture will be dry and shaggy. If you must add more buttermilk please only add a drop or two. Pour mixture on a floured piece of parchment. Knead the mass gently 3 or 4 times, it should come together nicely, it will still be quite dry. That's fine. There is plenty of moisture in the pumpkin.
Pat in a circle about 1-1 1/2 inches thick. Cut into 8 triangles. At this point you can bake off a few and freezer the rest. Whatever works for you. I do love having homemade hidden treasures in my freezer. It's like finding gold in a gold mine!
Put the scones on a parchment covered baking stone. Bake at 350 degrees for about 18 minutes. They should feel done to the touch--a toothpick should come out almost clean. Do not over bake, no one likes a dry scone!
Cool scones on a rack. When cool drizzle with this amazing frosting--I like my drizzle to make a statement!

Spice Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 tablespoons butter, very soft
Heavy Whipping Cream
Mix all ingredients, add cream until the desired consistency. Drizzle away!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Almond Joy Meets a Peanut Butter Cup

This delicious confection is exactly what the title says. Two favorite candy bars wrapped into one awesome dessert. And it's easy. Amber needed a quick treat for a baby shower. She had everything in the house to make these, it was a done deal--done delicious I might add. The top layer is chocolate and peanut butter heaven. The base is full on coconut and almonds. It's perfect.

 Almond Joy Meets a Peanut Butter Cup

1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 (7-ounce) package flaked coconut
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup slivered almonds
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put butter in a 9x13 baking pan, melt in oven. Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs evenly over melted butter.
Top with coconut, almonds & drizzle sweetened condensed milk evenly over
all. Bake 25 minutes or until light brown.
In small saucepan over low heat melt
chocolate chips and peanut butter.
Spread evenly over hot bars.
Cool 30 minutes then chill thoroughly.
Photography by Amber Linderman Photography. Check out her Blog Sassy Chronicles for some great photos! 

Two years ago-----Black Forest Brownies (my favorite food) I make it every year for my birthday! It's perfect.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Pumpkin Chocolate Cheesecake Bars

It's October and my youngest son's birthday. He requested a roast beef dinner which is not surprising--all our kids like roast beef. I think it must be comfort food, and it's good! I didn't ask Max what he wanted for dessert, what if he said vanilla ice cream? I know he likes cheesecake, chocolate and pumpkin. I checked my Pinterest boards and found the perfect dessert. It is from Better Homes and Gardens. It was a hit, a perfect combination of favorite flavors

1 1/4   cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4      cup sugar
1/3      cup butter
2         8 ounces packages cream cheese, softened 
1 3/4   cups sugar
3         eggs
1         cup canned pumpkin
1/2      teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2      teaspoon vanilla
1/4      teaspoon salt
6         ounces semisweet chocolate, cut up or 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2         tablespoons butter
Combine graham cracker crumbs, 1/4 cup sugar and 1/3 cup melted butter. Press mixture evenly in a greased 9 by 13 inch baking pan.
In a large bowl combine cream cheese and 1 3/4 cups sugar. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating on low speed until just combined. Beat in pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla and salt. Remove 1 1/4 cups of the mixture.
Heat the chocolate and butter on low heat until melted. Whisk chocolate mixture into the 1 1/4 cups pumpkin mixture. Pour over crust, spread evenly and bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes.
Pour the remaining pumpkin mixture over the  baked chocolate layer, spread evenly. Bake for 40-45 minutes more or until filling is puffed and center is set.
Cool for 3 hours. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

One year ago---Pumpkin Cheesecake and the Birthday Boy
Two years ago--Caramel Pumpkin Pie
Three years ago-Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pecan Chewies in a Jar

I needed a quick birthday gift--by quick I mean something that I could make at home! I'm also testing some Christmas gift ideas. So out came my Cookies in a Jar Cookbook by Jackie Gannaway. It is dated 1997. Mason Jars are trendy now--check Pinterest--I guess this book was before it's time, it is 15 years old. But age matters not, I layered a Jar and it was beautiful; then I baked a jar. I was not about to give away a cookie mix that wasn't delicious! I'm happy to say this recipe was a winner. I think it would be a good idea to always have a jar or two made. They could be used for unexpected birthday or hostess gifts. The lady I'm giving it to has Grandchildren that visit often--this would be a perfect activity. Kids would love making these cookies.
There are 26 recipes in the book. I made Pecan Chewies--you can too!

Pecan Chewies in a Jar
In a clean wide mouth quart size canning jar layer the following ingredients in the order given. Using a Tart Tamper compress each layer, this is a must. If you don't follow this step all the ingredients will not fit in the jar. Let's layer:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar (3.5 ounces), yes I do weigh my brown sugar. I found I was using a heavy hand at the 'firmly packing' step. Cooking by weight has improved my baked goods
1 1/4 cup old fashioned oats
3/4 cup finely chopped pecans
1 cup crisp rice cereal (this also got packed down a little)
3/4 cup flour mixed with 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
Cover with a clean lid--top with a fun tag and instructions.
To make cookies, in a large bowl mix together 1 square very soft butter, 1 beaten egg, 1 tablespoon vanilla. Add contents of the jar and mix. You will need to finish mixing with your hands!
Using a medium Pampered Chef Cookie scoop put dough ball on parchment lined cookie sheets. Bake at 350 for 12 minutes or until edges are lightly brown. The recipe makes about 2 1/2-3 dozen cookies.
 I couldn't help myself--I did drizzle some of the cookies with white chocolate. They were both delicious. These will be part of my Christmas gifts this year. I will make them a week or so before Christmas. They are best used within about a month. They can be stored longer--the brown sugar may harden a little. Enjoy. These are a fun treat!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Pumpkin Pie Spice

I know Pumpkin Pie Spice is not life changing. Today I needed 1/4 of a teaspoon of the spice. I decided just to mix a batch and be prepared for the coming holiday baking.
I don't buy pumpkin pie spice--why should I, I have all the spices in my spice rack. A Google search turned up several recipes for the common autumnal spice. After much review I made a mix that should suit my needs. I plan to have a cute jar with a fun label to put the spice in but the holiday baking season could be over by the time I get that done. So please make a batch of Pumpkin Pie Spice and be prepared for the coming baking season!
 Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/4 cup cinnamon
2 Tablespoons ginger
1 Tablespoon nutmeg--fresh grated
1 Tablespoon cloves
Mix together and use this season--make a fresh batch next year!

What did I need my 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice for?? Stay tuned for a yummy dessert featuring pumpkin cheesecake and chocolate--two flavors that are delicious together.
Linking to the HOST

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Chicken Satay

When we eat at Thai Restaurants we often order Chicken Satay as an appetizer. When we eat good food we want to figure out how to make it at home. Thanks to the cooking skills of my daughters we can now enjoy this delicious dish at home. This is Amber's recipe, Candise made it for us last time she was here. It is easy and so yummy, we served it with Jasmine Rice and Stir Fried Veggies. It was one delicious meal.
We now have mastered Coconut Curry Soup and Coconut Shrimp Curry but I still need to visit my favorite Thai Restaurant for their Mango Sticky Rice with Coconut Ice Cream! That dish is amazing, such a treat.

Amber's Chicken Satay

Approx. 1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken tenders
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup peanut or vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2-1 tsp. red pepper flakes or a small squeeze of Sriracha--maybe 1/4 teaspoon
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp. lime juice
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2 tsp. finely copped fresh ginger root
1 Tbsp. sugar

1. Cut the chicken tenders in half lengthwise.
2. Mix marinade ingredients and whisk or stir until smooth. (I just buzzed everything in the food processor) Add a few Tbsp. of water if too thick. Reserve 1/2 cup for dipping, if desired. Marinate chicken 20 minutes or longer.
4. Using metal or bamboo skewers, skewer chicken pieces.
5. Grill 8-10 minutes or broil for 5 minutes on each side.

Zucchini or red pepper pieces are also good in this marinade and grilled. 


Monday, October 8, 2012

Great Pumpkin Bread

Last week I made a raised pumpkin bread, it was delicious but when I think of pumpkin bread I think of quick pumpkin bread. Made with lots of sugar, oil, spices and chocolate of course. So I did some research and found a recipe on the King Arthur Flour blog. It was just what I wanted and had many great reviews. I read thru the recipe, made a few changes to suit my tastes and came up with one Great Pumpkin Bread. It is moist, delicious and is dotted with chocolate and nuts. It's delicious. I found myself wanting to spread a layer of butter on it but it really doesn't need it. This bread stands on it's own. It's better the second day--so hide it!

Great Pumpkin Bread
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup applesauce
2 2/3 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 cups pumpkin
2/3 cup water
2 cups flour
1 1/3 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts
1 cup mini chocolate chips
In the bowl of your mixer beat together oil, applesauce, sugar, eggs, pumpkin, vanilla and water. Mix well. Add flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. Stir in nuts and chocolate chips.
This recipe made two 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 pans and one mini loaf. Bake in pans that have been sprayed with Pam for Baking. Bake at 350 degrees. Check the small pan at about 30 minutes the large pans will take at least 60 minutes. Bread is done when a tooth pick comes out clean. Let rest in pans for 10 minutes and remove bread to cool on cooling rack. I had no trouble removing my bread from the pans. I had just purchased new pans from KAF--they are wonderful. If you are worried about bread sticking grease and flour pans or line pan with parchment paper and grease. I also think using mini chocolate chips prevents sticking. Sometimes regular chocolate chips sink and cause problems when removing bread, experience is a great teacher. I only use mini chips in quick breads.

 One year ago--Basic Biscuits
Two years ago--Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies
Three years ago--Basil Pesto

Friday, October 5, 2012

Almost Like Pioneer Woman's Lasagna

It's custom in the Harris House to let the birthday person choose the menu. Jess wanted Lasagna and Flip Over Plum Cake. Now I will be the first to admit that although I have made lasagna I have never found 'the' recipe. Well the hunt is over for the perfect Meaty Lasagna. Pioneer Woman pulled through again. I used her basic recipe and just changed it where it made sense for me to change. Check her blog for a very complete detailed recipe. The basics are covered here.

Almost like Pioneer Woman's Lasagna
1 pound ground beef
3/4 pound Jimmy Dean Hot Sausage
3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 can 28 ounces whole tomatoes
2 cans 6 ounce tomato paste
2 Tablespoons Dried Parsley or 6 tablespoons fresh parsley finely chopped
2 Tablespoons Dried Basil or 6 tablespoons fresh basil finely chopped
3 cups cottage cheese
2 eggs
1/2 cup Parmigiana Regino cheese, finely grated or Kraft Green cheese
2 Tablespoons Dried Parsley or 6 Tablespoons fresh  Parsley finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup Parmigiana Reggino cheese--finely shredded or Kraft Green
9 ounce package of  'needs no cooking' lasagna noodles--I used Barilla
Combine ground beef, sausage and garlic. Cook until browned, drain fat. Add tomatoes, tomato paste 6 tablespoons fresh parsley, fresh basil and salt. Simmer the sauce for 45 minutes stirring occasionally.
In a bowl mix cottage cheese, beaten eggs, grated Parmigiana Reggino cheese and 6 more tablespoons of fresh parsley, add 1 teaspoon salt. Stir together,
As per the instructions on the no cook lasagna box, add 1 cup of water to your sauce. I made a 9x13 pan and a 8x4 inch pan to put in the freezer. Spread a little bit of sauce on the bottom of each pan. Layer lasagna noodles, don't overlap. Spoon half of the cottage cheese mixture over the noodles. Cover cottage cheese with a layer of mozzarella cheese. Spoon a little less than half the meat sauce over top. Repeat, ending with meat sauce mixture. Sprinkle the top generously with Parmesan cheese. Either freeze or refrigerate up to 2 days. To bake immediately cover with foil and bake at 350 for about an hour or until heated thru and lasagna noodles are cooked. This dish was delicious! Leftovers heated up nicely and tasted delicious. Everyone was happy. I like using the no cook noodles, just make sure and add extra liquid to your sauce as the noodles will absorb it while cooking. Also for the noodles to cook you must cover the pan with foil and cook for about an hour--it takes that long to cook the noodles.
I did not use the entire box of noodles--this is a meaty, saucy lasagna recipe. Just how my family  likes it. Perfect served with a slice of crusty garlic bread.
I used fresh herbs because I had them growing outside my front door. Dried would also be fine. Good luck and enjoy this yummy make ahead meal. Put it on the schedule for your holiday baking.
Printable Recipe

1 year ago--One Good Hot Roll
2 years ago--Double Apple Bundt Cake
3 years ago--Banana Pecan Cup Cakes

Monday, October 1, 2012

Cranberry-Walnut Pumpkin Loaves--TWD/BWJ

This is one full body loaf and  it is delicious. I usually wait till the last minute to bake my recipes for TWD. I am a procrastinator by nature but I like to read the P&Q section on the TWD site. I always get great tips from bakers that aren't procrastinators! This recipe I'm sorry to say had more than a few negative reviews. I almost didn't make it, but really how can anything with cranberries, pumpkin and walnuts not be delicious.
So I baked.

This is not a quick bread which surprised most of us. It is a yeast bread that requires mixing 15 minutes in the trusty Kitchen Aid, a rise of 2 hours then an overnight rest in the refrigerator. Day 2 requires a four hour rest and a two hour rise. This sounds like forever but really there isn't much hands on time. The dough responded just like the recipe said it would (I love when that happens)! We were rewarded with the delicious smell of holiday baking and a yummy loaf of 'fall' bread.
I used pecans in place of walnuts and I replaced half of the golden raisins with King Arthur's Fruit Cake Blend Dried Fruit. The bread is light but stands up to the weight of all the added goodies. This recipe welcomes fall and I think you should make it!
Check Rebecca's blog The Bountiful Harvest  for the complete recipe.