Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Another Starbucks copycat

Several weeks ago, was one of those weeks where I felt like I baked something everyday. On this particular week, it was my Bible Study's turn to provide snacks for all the other Tuesday morning Bible Studies. I was on a search to make something crumb-like. . . it just sounded yummy. I found this recipe here and as soon as I read the reviews, I knew I was going to make it!
Doesn't it just look good? I have to admit, that I took it to Bible Study and took a picture once getting there. Some of the ladies thought it was funny that I took a picture of food, but I just had to. This was a recipe I would definitely be blogging about this one. . . it's been the best way for me to keep track of favorite recipes lately.
So, a little about this recipe:
:: it uses graham crackers. I wasn't sure about that ingredient, but the crumbles made it so very tasty when mixed with all the cinnamon and sugar! I might even use this crumble recipe in other things, too!
:: I made it in a tube pan - this baked nicely, giving it a great swirl inside (above picture). I did crack a bit in the taking out process because it falls out upside down and then has to be flipped again. I don't think anybody noticed though!

Here's the recipe:

Streusel:
1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cardamon (I didn't have this, so I just added nutmeg instead)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

Cake:
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Butter and flour a tube pan, springform pan, or 8 inch square pan.
Combine ingredients for streusel and set aside.
Make cake: By sift dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add butter, eggs, vanilla, and milk. Beat vigorously until mixed and quite thick. . . about 1 minute.
Spread half the batter into your prepared pan. Top with half the streusel mixture. Repeat.
Bake about 50 minutes.
Cool about 20 minutes and remove cake from pan.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Lemon Raspberry Mousse Squares

I think in the past few issues of Food Network Magazine and Rachael Ray there has been a Kraft foods ad with this recipe on it. Jon and I had noticed it several times and decided it sounded quite tasty (and it was!). So, when we had his parents over for dinner, he requested this for dessert.
It was so easy to make. . . and kind of cheap, too. I like cheap. . . I have a food budget and many of the desserts I want to make end up costing an arm and a leg, so this was good.
First thing. . . make this in the morning before you plan on serving it in the evening. It needs to sit for at least 4 to 5 hours.
Second thing. . . this is perfect for spring. . . all the fresh fruit on top makes it even better! And right now, the strawberries are PERFECT and Costco has super, delicious blackberries and blueberries right now!

48 Nila Wafers, divided
3/4 cup boiling water
1 pkg. (3 oz) Lemon Jell-o (I could only find the large boxes, so I just used half of it)
1 cup ice cubes
1 pkg. cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp lemon zest
1 (8 oz) tub cool whip, divided
1/3 cup raspberry preserves
1 1/2 cups fresh fruit

1. Wrap an 8 inch square pan in plastic wrap. (You are making this dessert upside down)
2. Stand Nila Wafers around the edge of your pan.
3. Make Jello mixture by adding boiling water to Jell-o. Stir for 2 minutes until completely dissolved. Add ice. Stir until melted.
4. Beat cream cheese, sugar, and lemon juice in a large bowl until blended. Slowly beat in Jell-o mixture. Whisk in 2 cups Cool Whip.
5. Pour half of the mixture into your pan and top with Nila Wafers
6. Heat raspberry preserves in microwave for 30 seconds. Spread over wafers.
7. Top with remaining Jell-O mixture and top with Nila wafers.
8. Refrigerate for 4-5 hours until firm.
9. When firm, flip out onto serving dish. Cut into squares and top with cool whip and fruit.

Enjoy!!!

Happy Baking. . . and eating!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Botanical Blooms

Last week, I made a huge mess in the office and stamped like a mad woman! It was so refreshing just to get in there and be creative for an hour a day. I borrowed my mom's new stamp set, Botanical Blooms by Stampin' Up. It is a really neat 2-step stamping set with soft, subtle petals. Sometimes it was hard to match up the top view flower with it's outline, but I gave up perfection with that set. I had a lot of fun playing. . . so many possibities. . . here are a few of the cards I made.
I used the circle cutter with this one.
Cardstock: brown, buckaroo blue (SU), white, and printed (SU)
Ribbon: brown grossgrain
Ink: Buckaroo Blue, Almost Cocoa (both SU)

Ribbon: pink grossgrain (SU)
Punch: Martha Stewart loops
Paper: White cardstock, Lavender Lace (SU), printed paper (SU)
Words: Heard from the Heart (SU)
Ink: Lavender Lace, Pretty in Pink, Garden Green, Basic Black (All SU)

Cardstock: white, mauve mist (SU), ballet blue (SU), printed Amy Butler
Ribbon: white grossgrain
Ink: ballet blue (SU)
Words: Whimsical Words (SU)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Rain + yumminess = nice day

Today is day #2 of this week's rain cycle. It has been just beautiful, because it is not horribly cold, but cool enough that I can hang out in pj bottoms and a hoodie (my kind of day!). This morning I got up and made this new recipe for a yeasted coffee coffee cake. . . well actually I started it last night, so it could do it's second rising in the refrigerator, while I slept. It was remarkably delicious. I will probably make this again, despite the time it took!). It reminded my of one of those store bought coffee cakes you buy at the store. Oh, the bread is so buttery and the cream cheese mixture is light and fluffy; and then the strussel and glaze over the top. . made my stomach smile with delight! I found this recipe at Brown Eyed Baker and she found it here. I adapted it a bit, so here's my version.

Rich Coffee Cake with Sweet Cheese Filling
(just a note. . . time consuming. . . but WELL worth it!)

Coffee Cake Dough
1 envelope Active Dry Yeast
2 tbsp warm water (about 110 degrees)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/8 cups bread flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces and softened but still cool

NOTE #1: The original recipe makes 2 cakes and I only wanted one. . .so this is the half version.
NOTE #2: The original recipe uses a stand mixer to make the bread. . . I am lazy (have I mentioned this before?) and used my bread maker.

Insert ingredients into bread maker, according to directions. I poured my water, eggs, milk, vanilla, flour, sugar, and salt in (in that order). Then, I make a little hole in the dry ingredients and pour my yeast in the hole. You don't want your yeast and water to combine to early, or it will mean dissastor for your bread. I then turned it on the dough cycle so it could start mixing it up (as the machine is so good at it!) and slowly added my butter pieces into it while the dough was being worked together. I then came back to it an hour and a half later, and it looked beautiful. I sprayed a bowl with PAM (so the dough doesn't stick to it) and put the dough in the bowl and covered it with cling wrap. From there it went into the fridge until the next morning (it should double in size over night!).

Later. . . (In my case, the next morning), knead your dough into a 8 inch long log. Then slowly roll it with your hands into a 40 inch long snake (about 1 inch in diameter). Then, flatten it out with your fingers, so it is about 4 inches wide. Then twist the dough rope with your hands (it should look like a ringlet of dough. . . if you have questions check here. Wind the rope on your silpat like a snail and allow to rise for another hour (or so). Brush egg wash over the top.

Cream Cheese Filling
4 ounces of cream cheese, softened
1/8 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
pinch of salt
1 tsp lemon zest
1/2 egg (I broke my egg in a separate bowl, beated it a bit, and then poured about half of it in my cream cheese mixture)
splash of vanilla

Beat these ingredients together and spread over the top of your bread dough round (or snail). Leave about an inch around the edge of bread that doesn't have cream cheese mixture.

Strussel
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp. sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
3 tbsp cold butter

Combine ingredients in a bowl and cut the butter into it with a fork (or use a food processor to make it go quicker) until it nice and crumbly. Pour over the top of cream cheese mixture, but all the way to the edges.

Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

When it is cool, make a powdered sugar glaze (powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla) and drizzle over the top.



Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Changes

I just wanted to let you know that I am starting to work on an index. I just discovered that I can add pages to my blog, so right now if you click on "cookies" on my side bar, it will bring you to another page that has a list of cookie recipes. I am working on it very slowly, but I think it will be handy in the future (at least for me!). What are your thoughts, before I continue? Let me know (please???)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Yet another chocolate chip cookie recipe

I have decided that there is no possible way to get bored with baking. Really, especially with cookies. I mean, come on, how many possible ways are there to bake chocolate chip cookies? The funny thing is, most recipes seem to have the same common ingredients. Some, may have more butter than others, cold butter or room temperature, brown sugar, white sugar, or both, 1 egg or 2. . . but they all come out different. Weird, huh? I do admit that my favorite recipes seem to be the brown butter or Neiman Marcus and my husband's the basic Nestle Toll House recipe. But, it seems to me they all taste delicious!
This recipe is by some sort of UNIX programmer that made really good cookies with chocolate (Ummm, just to let you know, I THINK that UNIX is some sort of computer thing. . . not sure, though). I can't seem to find anything on him, but apparently he was good at it. These cookies were really good, but had some unusual steps that I had never seen before when baking. I usually just use one bowl, but with this recipe I used 2. I also am really impatient and usually bake cookies when Ethan wakes up from his afternoon nap. I only have so much time before Mr. 19 months starts to get antsy. So, while the butter and sugar mixture was mixing for its alloted time, I pulled out my hand mixer and started to beat my egg mixture for its alloted time. That made it go much quicker. I think it was well worth it, but the chances of me me making them again are slim, since I will most likely find another recipe to try (since there seem to be about a zillion different recipes out there! - possibly a slight exaggeration, but you get the idea!)

Here's the recipe:

The Ultimate Stand Mixer Chocolate Chip Cookie

2 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour (11.25 oz)
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. plus a pinch of salt
8 oz unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces
1 cup very firmly packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups toasted pecans or walnuts, chopped
3 cups chocolate chips (18 oz)

Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set side.

Beat cold butter in bowl until creamy in bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add both sugars and continue beating at medium speed for 4-5 minutes.

Meanwhile, beat mix the eggs and vanilla together in a separate (small) bowl or measuring cup and slowly, one tablespoon at a time, add the egg mixture to the cream mixture while the mixer is in motion. This should take another 4-5 minutes.
With mixer on lowest speed or by hand, add dry ingredients. When incorporated, add chocolate chips and nuts and stir to mix.

Shape dough into golf ball size balls and arrange on a cookie sheet right next to each other. At this point, you are chilling them not baking them so you don’t have to worry about spacing. Cover dough balls overnight or for 6 hours. Remove and let warm to room temperature (30 minutes). Arrange cookie balls on ungreased cookie sheets spacing about 3 inches apart. Flatten a little to resemble a hockey puck, about ¾-inch high. Make edges go straight up and down. Make a slight depression in center with finger.

Bake at 400 degrees, 8-10 minutes (mine took a little longer). Edges should be golden brown but center 1-inch pale. Let sit at room temperature 5 minutes before taking off baking pan.

Makes about 32 cookies

Monday, April 12, 2010

A little late. . .

This post is a little late, but I still wanted to share with you. Over at eighteen25, they made this super cute printable available to their fans. I found it via Skip to My Lou, but it's super easy. You can find it here and bookmark it so you can use it later. . . or you can go to Target and buy some on clearance (ours had some blue peeps on sale for 50 percent off today!) and make belated Easter treats.
It prints 2 to a page and all you have to do is print it out, use your paper cutter to trip to your desired size, and make your bag topper. It worked great to use Ziplock snack sized bags and one row of Peeps. I only had to trim my topper a tad.
Ethan handed these out to his cousins and his girlfriend (Abi) over the Easter weekend!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Easter Breakfast

After a week of scrubbing my kitchen walls, laundry, card making (soon to be posted, I promise), and chasing after Ethan, I am taking the opportunity to catch up on some blogging. This afternoon has been a most quiet day - the first in awhile. We got up, went to church and came home to REST. Oh, rest is nice. I relaxed by going to Joann's with my friend Steph. So nice and fun. . . shopping with out any kids! I think I am ready for this next week. . . whatever it holds.

We painted our kitchen Friday night. . . yeah, my grey color ended up being a beautiful shade of purple. I wish I knew what to do with this shade, I have a half gallon left (suggestions, please?). Needless to say, we will be repainting our kitchen this week. I am hoping the rest of the painting goes much smoother.

So, here is a delicious recipe that I found just prior to Easter. It made a delicious (as EASY) breakfast for us on Saturday (Easter Eve), when we celebrated our small family Easter (just the three of us and our traditions). Plus, there were plenty of left overs for breakfast on Easter - which was awesome because we had a busy morning at church and then back to back family gatherings out of town. Easy is good!

This probably isn't a recipe if you are going low carb or low sugar, but it is definitely good. I found it at skiptomylou.org but it's an allrecipes.com recipe that got about 5 stars. Who can go wrong with that, right?

Happy Baking!
Overnight Coffee Cake

  • Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sour cream

Topping

  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Glaze

  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
Directions:

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine the flour, baking soda, nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and salt, add to the creamed mixture alternately with sour cream. Pour into a greased 13" x 9" x 2" baking dish.

In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, pecans and cinnamon; sprinkle over coffee cake. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes. Combine powdered sugar, vanilla and milk. Drizzle over warm coffee cake.


Friday, April 09, 2010

Hard Boiled Eggs?

Okay, so I know that everybody probably has some some (or had some) hard boiled eggs that are dyed ever so brightly sitting in your fridge waiting to be gobbled up (and by now, probably forgotten about until you read my post!). Ethan and I have been having fun eating our hard boiled eggs and trying to get Jon to join in the fun (he detests eggs more than anything, I think!). But, this recipe could not be passed up because it looked like fun and all the comments were fabulous. So, as soon as my brown sugar supply was restocked on Thursday, I baked up a batch. Now, I will note that this recipe was for 2 LARGE cookies. And I am seriously thinking that whoever said it made 2 large cookies, was talking about 2 cookies the size of a small country. I don't do large. . . seriously. . . . I like mine about 2-3 inches in diameter. I was able to bake 19 cookies. A great recipe for a quick cookie fix, with out making a ton of cookies. So, I got my food processor (A.K.A. the magic tool) and got to work.
Here's my crumbly dough and chocolate chips being mixed in.After you pulse all of your ingredients, you pour it in a owl and stir in the chocolate chips. You just mix it with your fingers and then form them into pretty balls of any size. Super easy! I also didn't notice any egg whites showing. . . I think my food processor got them pretty small.
The cookies are baking. . . . they plump up nicely. I don't like it when the spread and get thin. . . there's too much risk in the cookies touching.
Ta Da! The final product! I will say, they are surprisingly delicious! I hope that you all try them out and let me know what you think!

Go here to find the recipe. Cookie Madness has several other hard boiled egg recipes also, but they said this one was their favorite. Have fun!

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Easter ponderings

Wow! Easter has came and went so quickly; and, yet I remember complaining that they were setting up the stuff at Target before Valentine's Day was even here. So, in the midst of hanging out with Ethan, taking down wallpaper, baking, and card making I have been pondering the resurrection. I will confess that this year seemed to overwhelm me more than any other year, and I think that having a child who is old enough to hunt and enjoy his basket made me feel tugged in all directions. Sunday came and brought me such peace as I sat there in church (drinking my latte). They showed this very simple video of the cross that flashed various words describing the cross. Words like torture, inhumane, painful, humiliating, painful, betrayal flashed across the screen. But, among those words, one stood out. . . Beautiful. Beautiful doesn't seem to fit words like painful, humility, betrayal, torture and inhumane, right? Yet, nothing describes what Christ did for us better than that. He went through being loved and adored the week before to being rejected, mocked, and murdered. He, being God, could have stopped it at any given time, yet, he chose not to. He went through all that for me. Yes, for me. He had me in mind. I am a sinner. Without Him, I should die the same death. His sacrifice is a beautiful thing. It also so wonderful that it takes place during the Passover in the Spring - where all things are new. Because of HIS sacrifice, I am a new creation - just like the beauty of the spring. Yes, in all ways, Christ's death on the cross is beautiful. It is beautiful because he died and then rose again. He is alive and living in me - making me new on a daily basis.

We did start some traditions and as Ethan gets a little older, I will add more. But the focus will be on Christ. I am looking forward to adding the resurrection eggs and resurrection buns to our celebration next year.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

My husband is 30!!!!

to my incredible husband!

Two weeks ago, we celebrated Jon's 30th birthday with a fantastic week of fun adventures! He took the week off and we headed to the snow, San Francisco, the zoo, and had a wonderful in-town treat at our favorite local french bakery! To end the celebration, we invited some of Jon's closest friends and family over for some "manly" Hors d'Ĺ“uvres, cake and ice cream, and fun fellowship.

I made the above banner out of card stock and just printed out the letters with a font and colors that matched the paper plates I bought at Target. I whole punched them in the top corners and strung them through a white string. There just happened to be 2 nails already nailed in the perfect spots for this. Now, it is April 1st, I am planning on taking them down, de-stringing them, and filing them in my birthday file. Super easy way to store birthday party stuff.

This was Jon's cake. He requests (as he does every year) funfetti cake with funfetti frosting. So, I made a two layer cake with frosting in the middle of the layers and frosted it, placing the confetti on top. This is the EASIEST cake ever. . . and since I am no cake decorator. . . I am totally okay with this! I found these candles at Target and bought them because I could never find a 3 and a 0 in one spot. Who knew that 30 would be so hard to make! My parents came over early and made homemade ice cream, and I served with a sundae bar . . . complete with all the fixin's!
I wanted to do something special that showed just how awesome and amazing my husband it, so I gathered a bunch of pictures from the past 30 years and strung them in the entry way and clipped them with tiny clothes pins (really cheap at Michaels). We had so much fun!
Above the table, I hung colored circles from the ceiling fan. It looked so cool! It was also super easy! Even better, was that all of Jon's decorations didn't cost me more than 5 dollars, because I had everything already. That made Jon an even happier birthday boy!

Lastly, I had everyone (although I am missing them. . . hint to all you reading this), fill out a paper that had a picture of a random 3o on it, and write him a note either reminiscing a past event or writing words of encouragement to him. These were fun to read afterwards.

Because Jon doesn't like white colored, egg based foods, most appetizers he doesn't like. So, I made him a table full of manly foods. I made BBQ'ed meatballs, cressent wrapped lil' weiners, veggie tray, spinach dip (that was for me), mozzarella sticks, and chips and salsa. It was quite the feast!

I have so much fun doing birthday parties. I am already starting to get some ideas for Ethan's second. But, I have some time. So, until then, I am working on my house. Yeah, for painting!

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