Saturday, July 31, 2010

Riley (the pup) Inspired Cupcakes

So, I was looking at Riley's collar the other day and decided that the cupcakes (click photo to enlarge) were so cute that I needed to bring them to life!
I think these look pretty close, don't you? I made vanilla cupcakes, whipped up real whipping cream(with vanilla and sugar added, of course:))and topped them with a cherry candy ball.
Who knew that a dog collar could inspire such cupcake cuteness!?! They were delicious too!
For more inspiration I went straight to the pup. Look at that mug. Riley really is happy believe it or not! She's happiest just hanging out with her peeps:) Once in awhile she actually does "smile". I'll have to try harder to lure one out of her next time!
This is what she looks like when she smiles.
Milk bones make her happy too!
We love our black Lab!

I adapted* these puppies from the Chocolate Lab cupcakes in "Hello Cupcake!" by Karen Tuck and Alan Richardson. The vanilla cupcakes are also from this book.

*I used fondant (colored with gel), instead of candy, for the ears, nose and tongue. I also added black gel coloring to the chocolate icing(from "Hello Cupcake") to match Riley:)

I had so much fun making these "pupcakes", and they're tasty too! Riley would love them, if she could have them!

Have a great week!

P.S. Just want to say "Hi!" to Laurie, my sister's friend...THANKS for being a fan! :)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

White Chicken Chili

The other day my husband walked in the front door feeling tired, beat and starving! Fortunately, I had the perfect antidote for his ails...White Chicken Chili! My younger daughter sent me this recipe a couple of months ago and I finally got around to making it, and I'm so glad I did! Besides being easy to throw together, it was DELICIOUS! Without any prodding, my husband actually said "This is the best thing I've eaten in two years!" WOW...That just goes to show you how tired, beat and starving he really was! This will definitely be put on our "favorites" list:)

White Chicken Chili
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 Tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 Tablespoon oregano
1 small can green chiles
2 cans great white northern beans, drained
1 1/4 cup chicken broth
1 cube chicken bouillon
2 cups diced chicken breast(I cheated and used a store bought roasted chicken)
1 can corn(oops, I forgot to buy this, so it was left out)
16 ounce sour cream
Grated jack cheese

In large pot add oil and onion and saute over medium high heat until onion is transparent. Add the rest of the ingredients except sour cream. Cook for 30 minutes. Add sour cream(the magic ingredient:))and cook on low for 5 minutes just until incorporated. Serve topped with grated cheese.

Note: After sauteing chicken and onion you can cook in crockpot for 6 hours on low, but add sour cream at end.

ENJOY!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Daring Bakers' Challenge: Swiss Swirl Ice Cream Cake

Okay, all you fellow Daring Bakers and blogger friends, take a good look at the photo above because this is as good as it gets! Before I forget...The July 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Sunita of Sunita’s world – life and food. Sunita challenged everyone to make an ice-cream filled Swiss roll that’s then used to make a bombe with hot fudge. Her recipe is based on an ice cream cake recipe from Taste of Home.- In my case this turned out more like a BOMB than a bombe!
It all started out so nicely(the cake and cream) and on track(see above photo:))...until I decided to use my own recipe for the ice cream. I have been making it for a dozen years (cookies and cream)! It is always a favorite with everyone, but this time I decided to make half of the recipe as strawberry ice cream, and instead of adding fresh strawberries(which probably would have worked)I used my homemade strawberry jam. I'm no chemist, but it must have been too thin and prevented the ice cream from firming up nicely:( It sure tasted heavenly though!

To construct this dessert I first put the strawberry ice cream in the bottom of the bowl, then the fudge sauce(I used THIS recipe from Bonnie of City Home/Country Home, and it was delicious! Check out her wonderful blog!), and finished up with the homemade cookies and cream ice cream. Unfortunately when I went to release the whole thing from the bowl, the strawberry "ice cream" though thickened before, had now turned to the consistency of a shake. So my bombe was hollowed out at the top of the dome, which basically made the whole thing cave in! :(

Anyway, when my husband gets home there's a big yummy bowl of disaster in the freezer and he's welcome to dig in! :)

Find the Swiss Swirl Ice Cream Cake recipe HERE. Thanks for the challenge, Sunita!

Cookies and Cream Ice Cream recipe (No ice cream maker needed.) I got this recipe from my mom(decades ago) and I don't know where she got it from.

4 egg yolks
1 can sweetened condensed milk
3 cups crushed oreo cookies
1 Tablespoon real vanilla
1 pint whipping cream

1. Beat egg yolks until thick. Add sweetened condensed milk and vanilla. Stir well.
2. Crush cookies and add to milk and egg mixture.
3. Whip cream until very stiff. (Be careful or you'll end up with butter!)
4. Gently stir in shipped cream into the milk mixture.
5. Freeze 6 hours or until firm.

Yields almost a half gallon.

Simple and Super!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Summer Cookies-Just for FUN!

It's been a while since I made some iced sugar cookies and I was really in the mood! This is a sample of the summer cookies I made yesterday:) My new faves are the board shorts and the octopus!
"Catch a wave and you're sittin' on top of the world!" The Beach Boys
I've never thought of an octopus as being cute, but this one has changed my mind:)

I think I am going to package each of these in a cellophane bag tied with a bright ribbon, gather them in a basket and take them over to the local boutique...I'll give the owner a sample and keep my fingers crossed!

Join me in linking up to "Im Lovin' it, Fridays" at Tidymom!

Have a great summer day!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Mom's Macaroni and Cheese

My mom has been gone for 24 years now, and since today is her birthday I'd like to pay tribute to her by sharing my favorite dish of hers...macaroni and cheese:)

As far back as I can remember this is the dinner I requested every year for my birthday, or any special event for that matter. I clearly remember that this meal was waiting for me when I returned from 6th grade camp:) I was so happy to be home!

This mac n' cheese isn't fancy, complicated or full of exotic ingredients, but it is classic comfort food with a capital "C"! I was such a picky eater as a child; it's no wonder that this was my favorite! Now, my own family loves it!

This recipe has a creamy, cheesy sauce, and is covered in gooey melted cheese:) It's delicious, but still does not turn out quite the way my mom's did. This is her recipe, but still, something's missing.

Maybe it can never be quite the same without the most essential ingredient...Mom.

Macaroni and Cheese
8 ounces large elbow macaroni noodles
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cups whole milk
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated (2 cups)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Cook macaroni as package directs. Drain. Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Stir in flour, salt and pepper until smooth. Gradually stir in milk over medium heat, and bring to a boil, stirring. Reduce heat and simmer mixture 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in 1 1/2 cups of the cheese. Place the macaroni mixture into a casserole dish and sprinkle with the remaining cheese on top. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Makes 4-6 servings.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

MacTweets Meltdown

For months I have kept an eye on the theme-inspired macarons that have been featured on the blog, MacTweets. They have been fun and fabulous, and I have just loved admiring them! I finally decided to join in! I missed the round-up(the 15th of each month), because I am a PROCRASTINATOR, and didn't plan accordingly(leaving time to let my egg whites "age") so finished my macs the night of the 16th, but decided to at least post my sorry attempt on my own blog.

The theme for the month was music. Each participant was to make a macaron inspired by a song. Initially "Rainbow Connection"(Kenny Loggins version) popped into my mind, but then I realized I would have to make a lot of different colors, and since I am a newbie at macarons(making an unimpressive first attempt for the Daring Bakers last fall) I decided to stick with a single color. I chose the song "Brown Eyed Girl" by Van Morrison because I have brown eyes(of course), and in my family only my younger daughter and I have brown eyes:) Honestly though I have loved this song since its inception (due to the title and the happy melody) and it has even lured me to the dance floor(not an easy task)at wedding receptions! (I was a bit disappointed when I looked at the MacTweets round-up and noticed that someone else picked the same song. What are the odds?)

Anyhow, as you can see my macarons are not the classically beautiful, puffy, rounded macarons:( If you want to see some, you will need to check out the MacTweets blog! I actually did refer to Tartlette's(The Queen of macarons) blog which includes an article/recipe/tips/tutorial on macarons(I used her recipe for French macarons, and added cocoa).
These little gems are so temperamental and finicky! I need to practice, practice, practice!!!

At least I did produce some teeny, tiny "feet" on my twin macarons!

My TWO macarons above are the only slightly passable cookies that I could muster from the entire batch! They were baked on parchment and the others I baked on silicone, which were wiped out when I attempted to get them off with a spatula. Those all ended up in the sink(many still stuck to the silicone) out of frustration.

I did have success with the filling though:) One of my sons-in-law uses this filling for crepes, and I just added cocoa.

CREAM FILLING:
( Adapted from "Teens Cook"(p.18) by Megan and Jill Carle)

4 oz. cream cheese (at room temperature)
1 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1/4 cup powdered sugar

4 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa

Beat cream cheese until creamy, and then add cream and whip until peaks form. Add powdered sugar until incorporated, and then the cocoa. Mmmmm:)

Of course, I had a lot left over so formed them into dollops and put them into the freezer for later use...adding to hot chocolate, etc...I never thought of freezing leftover whipped cream, until Tiffiny suggested it on her blog: The Bake-Off Flunkie.

BTW, The two recipients(my son and husband) of the surviving macarons thought they were fabulous! :)

Thanks Deeba and Jamie! See you all next month!

Update: Deeba added me to the Round-up despite my tardiness! Thanks, Deeba! :)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

3 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

Have you ever had a craving for peanut butter cookies, only to go to the cupboard and discover that you're out of flour?
No problem!
No butter in the fridge? Who needs it?!?
No brown sugar? No sweat!
No baking soda? No biggie.

You can still have delicious chewy(but crisp around the edges)peanut butter cookies in no time!

Really! You would never know that these are made with only 3 ingredients! Amazing!

Here's the "recipe"(Via Kristen from Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker )

3 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup peanut butter

That's it! :)

Mix. Roll into balls (I did criss-cross with a tad of sugar on a fork). Bake at 350 for 11 min. (It took about 15 in my oven). Eat, and enjoy! Delicious! This made about 18 cookies, but they never saw the light of the next day!

Thanks, Kristen!

I'm linking this up to Tidymon's "I'm Loving' it Fridays"! Check it out and add your link!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Tea for Two

For the last couple of weeks we had our daughter and her family visiting:) We had such a good time! It sure was hard to let them go:( Weeks before they arrived I promised two of the little munchkins(granddaughters) that we would have a tea party. They were very excited, so even though my foot surgery was 3 days before they arrived (due to rescheduling) the tea party went forward as planned. It was a sort of "semi-homemade" affair.
We had homemade banana mini muffins(recipe below), mini heart-shaped and flower shaped cream cheese and (homemade) strawberry jam sandwiches, strawberries with strawberry yogurt for dipping, and donut holes(from the local donut shop). Pink lemonade was also served. Everything was yummy!
As you can see this Princess was very happy to be in attendance at the tea party! She had so much fun dressing up for the occasion! Such a little lady and a little beauty:)
This little Princess had fun too, especially nibbling on the donut holes:) She's such a big girl now and so adorable! My two daughters attended also, but I forgot to take photos of them..oops!
Thanks for coming to the tea party and making it special, big girls and little girls! XOXO
The morning of the tea party(to get in the mood) I made the munchkins (including little brother:)) these special Cinderella waffles.(Hopefully you can see that these waffles feature a princess and prince riding in a carriage.) I found this waffle maker at a discount store(either Ross or TJ Maxx, I can't recall) and knew immediately that I had to buy it! Not only are the waffles big, round and thick, but on the other side, it's just a regular waffle grid(non-stick), so it's versatile. I love it! It sure made them happy:)
Banana muffins:
Adapted for mini muffins from the Banana Bread recipe in "The King Arthur Flour Baking Companion"

2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup mashed banana
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 2/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup yogurt, buttermilk, or yogurt ( I used sour cream)
1 cup chopped walnuts (I didn't use)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, beat together the eggs, sugar, and oil. Blend in the mashed banana and vanilla. Whisk together and then sift(it's important that these be thoroughly combined) the baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and flour. Add all at once to the banana mixture. Mix quickly but thoroughly, then stir in the yogurt, mixing until just combined.

Line a mini muffin pan with mini cupcake liners. Use a small scoop(or a spoon) and fill each muffin liner half- full with batter. Bake for about 15 minutes(may take longer), until a toothpick comes out clean. Keep an eye on them. Makes at least two dozen hefty mini muffins.

These are delicious!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Thumbprint Cookies for Tami's Cookie Carnival

I was finally able to stand on my feet(post surgery) long enough to participate (though a little late) in Tami's Cookie Carnival! We had two recipes to choose from(or we could make both) and I chose the Raspberry Thumbprint Cookie from Cooking Light. (Instead of raspberry I used the strawberry jam that my daughters and I canned). I knew right away that I wanted to bake this cookie because I love almond and this cookie has almond paste in it! So good!
I finished these last night and gave my husband one to sample...He was at the computer listening to his itunes with the headphones on, but after one bite gave me a thumbs up! I agree! These cookies are very flavorful:) Now I can cross thumbprint cookies off of my "To bake" list, but I will definitely be making more versions! These cookies are so bright and cheery:) It may sound crazy, but just looking at them lifts my spirits!

THANKS Tami for a great recipe! See you all next month!

Friday, July 2, 2010

I'm Lovin' It -Patriotic Style- at Tidymom

For "I'm Lovin' It Fridays" today Tidymom, is featuring patriotic idea links for the 4th of July just in the nick of time for this weekend! Check it out! I've added my own Flag Cookies post to the list:)
Add yours!

Happy 4th of July! XOXOXO