Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Cookies for April Fools

As you already know Spring is not only here, but April is quickly approaching!  Which means a few things are coming up...Easter!! and Tax Day and April Fools Day.  So here's a joke inspired treat for ya!  I think these are awfully cute and clever...but of course I came up with them...so I would.  ;)  Check em out!  My "how would you like your eggs?" cookies.
I just used the sugar cookie recipe out of the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook for teh cookies and baked them as directed.  Then I whipped up some frosting (you could even use canned).  Separate a little bit of the frosting out to color yellow for the yolks of the eggs.  Then once the cookies are baked and cooled frost them with the white and then a dollop of the yellow.
  They don't have to be uniform at all either....in fact the more realistic the better!  :)  Hehehe  I am still getting a kick out of them!  
Perfect for April Fools Day or really, any day for a joker in your life!  :)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Stuffed Cabbage

When I was a child I was a very, very picky eater.  In fact, I am finding out as I get older, that I missed out on a lot of great meals because I was too picky to even try them.  Well, stuffed cabbage actually isn't one of those though....I would always eat it whenever my Mom made it.  Because it's great and fun and miniature...and cute.  :)  And yummy, of course.  I don't have my mom's recipe, but I have tried to replicate it here.  They turned out pretty well, but when we have more of them tomorrow we'll definitely be smothering them in the tomato sauce.  :)  Enjoy.....

Stuffed Cabbage:
1 lb. Ground Beef
1/4 c. Diced Onion
1 can Tomato Soup
1 Egg
3 c. Cooked Rice
1 Cabbage, Large
Optional:  Tomato Sauce

1.  In a large bowl combine the onion, tomato soup and egg.
2.  Mix in ground beef and cooked rice.
3.  Rinse cabbage and separate leaves.
4.  Take a leaf....
Place some of the meat mixture inside....
Roll closed and place in baking pan.
5.  Continue until the meat mixture is gone.
6.  Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 30-40 minutes or until the meat is done inside.  You may drizzle the tops of the cabbage with EVOO if you'd like to.
7.  Take out and serve immediately, and optionally smother stuffed cabbages with tomato sauce.  :)
Enjoy!!

"Dream walkin'..."  Toby Keith  (It's on Pandora right now...:)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sandwich Bread

This is similar to my Whole Wheat Bread recipe, but also new and improved!  In fact, I just baked a loaf and it turned out amazingly!  :)  So, here it is for ya!

Sandwich Bread
1 T. Dry Active Yeast
1 c. plus 2 T. Milk, lukewarm
1/2 c. Water, lukewarm
1 T. Honey
1 t. Oil (olive or other)
1 t. Salt (1 t. kosher, or 1/2 t. regular)
3.5 c. Flour (I used 1/2 Whole Wheat and 1/2 All Purpose)

1.  In a large bowl mix together the yeast, milk, water and honey.
2.  Let sit until nice and frothy and about 30 minutes have passed.
3.  Stir in salt, oil and one cup of flour until really well combined.
4.  Add in the rest of the flour one cup or so at a time.  You'll have to knead in the last 1/2-1 c.  :)  Don't fret, that's the only kneading you have to do with this bread!  Hooray! :)
5.  Spray/grease a bread pan.
6.  Shape dough into a "loaf" and place into prepared pan.
7.  Place pan in a warm area of your house until the bread rises to your desired height or ~30 minutes.
8.  Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 375 degrees (or 350 for high altitude).
9.  Bake bread for 25-30 minutes or until golden on top!  (You could do an egg wash if you'd like a shiny darker golden top.)
10.  Remove from pan immediately and place on cooling rack.
11.  Cut a slice and enjoy!  I think there's just about nothing better than fresh out of the oven bread! :)
I could have let it rise longer, but I like my bread to be able to fit in my toaster!  Don't you?  :)
Perfection.  :)
Have y'all ever had the "Honey Roasted Peanut Butter" from Whole Foods?  It's amazing.  It's made me love peanut butter again.  Especially on homemade bread....Yum.  In fact.  I'm gonna go eat another!  :)

Have you ever had a Papaya?

I don't think I'd ever consumed (or really seen) a Papaya before last night.  Well, I guess we didn't eat it last night, but we saw it in Whole Foods, and purchased it with the intent to consume it today.  So we did.  And it was great.  The taste reminded me of cantaloupe or honeydew but it really has a distinct look and innards.  I will show you what I mean below.  :)  So, I recommend if you haven't yet tried a papaya to do so!  They're yummy!
See what I mean about the innards looking kind of odd?  It kind of looks like black pomegranate seeds...but I'm not too sure these seeds are edible.  So just discard them.
While you are scooping out the weird seeds get the stringy orange part too.  That's where it reminded me of a squash...btw.
Pile to discard.  My hubby saved some of the seeds and planted them.  We'll let you know if anything crops up! :)
Slice it up.
And serve!  Yum! :)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Tamales

Do you love tamales?  I sure do!  I've had them from lots of places too...like a little village south of Tijuana, various restaurants and out of someone's trunk.  (Sounds random, but they are delish!.... at least in CO, don't know about other places!)  :)  Anyway, when I was in Junior High, my Mom and I made a bunch of tamales at home.  They were wonderful.  In fact, maybe even better than ones you buy anywhere--because they were made with love and they were super, duper, duper fresh!  :)  

We've made them since, and I still love to do them at home, although I usually don't.  I've had a hankering for tamales lately though, and since I haven't had the courage to try any in NC I made my own!  :)  They are easy to do, just takes a little bit of time!  (Totally pays off though!)  Here's how you can make them too!  (You can use any meat for filling--just be sure it's already cooked when you fill them.  For this batch I did ground beef, even though that's strange for me.  But they still are just delish!)

What you'll need: (For about 36 tamales, depending on size)
5 c.Masa Harina
5 c. Water
Corn Husks (36 or so)
~ 1lb. Cooked Meat for Filling (Shredded beef, shredded chicken, ground beef, etc.)
Seasonings (Like paprika, chile flakes, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion flakes)
Steamer (Various options on the market, I used a pot with a steaming basket top to it, but there are also just steamer baskets you can buy to use in any pot.)

1.  Start out by soaking about 36 corn husks in warm water.  
This is what the Masa will come like. :)  You can find it at grocery stores or specialty stores.  But not at Trader Joes, just FYI.
2.  Put the 5 c. Masa in a large bowl.
3.  Incorporate the 5 c. water and add about 1 t. salt.
4.  Be sure your meat is cooked.  Here's pics of my meat cooking.  Add spices while you cook it.  You can feel free to season as you like it.  I seasoned mine with 1 T. of red pepper flakes, 1/2 t. Garlic Powder, Pinch Salt, 1/2 t. Pepper, and 2 T. Onion Flakes (with 1/4 water added).See that utensil I'm using?  It's called a meat twirler and it's by Pampered Chef.  It's amazing.  And I got it as a wedding gift.  From my bff, who may or may not be reading this right now too.  :)  Love it R!  Thanks!  :)
5.  Assemble the said tamales.  Take a softened corn husk, smear some masa on it, then add some meat.  Finally fold it up and place in the steamer basket to wait for it's counterparts to be made!  Repeat until basket is full! :)
6.  Once your steamer basket is full place it over about 1.5" of boiling water and steam the tamales for about 10 minutes.  (Or until the masa is cooked and pulls away from husk easily.)  :)
You may be tempted to eat one or two or three right now.  And that would be fine.  :)  hehe
You may  have some that come out of the basket like this.  And that's ok too.  :)  You just may have to eat the evidence of the not-so-perfect tamales. ;)
Enjoy!  I got 36 tamales out of this recipe and they are already going fast!  :)  Which is sad yet definitely a great sign right?!  

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Easy Homemade Granola

Well, I love granola as much as the next person, but I'm not sure a huge fan of the general fat/calorie content of it.  So, I've decided to start making my own.  Now I can always have a healthy snack/breakfast/mix-in on hand! I'm also thinking this will come in handy for my lunches containing yogurt. :)  It's not rocket science, just oats, nuts and honey basically!  And boy is it yummy!  :)  

"Baby you're a firework, come and show us what you're worth..." ~Katy Perry  Don't ask why....because I don't know...but this above song has been in my head for a month straight.  Again, don't really know why...but I like it.  And it helps get me through the day, because it's happy.  :)

Easy Granola:
3 c. Quick Oats
1/2 c. Nuts, rough chopped (Almonds, Walnuts, Pecans, etc.)
1/4 c. Craisins/Raisins
1/2 c. Honey
1 t. Vanilla
2 T. Water

1.  Preheat oven to 250degrees. Mix together dry ingredients.
2.  In separate bowl mix together honey, vanilla and water.
3.  Combine the wet and dry ingredients.
4.  Spread over a greased/lined baking sheet.  
5.  Place in preheated oven for 1 hour.  Stir every 20 minutes. :)
6.  Let cool completely before storing in an airtight container. 
Little pieces, bigger pieces.  It's just got everything I ever would want in granola! :)  (And none of the stuff I don't!)  Don't mind my alien red hand in the pic, btw.  Yummy, tasty, and healthy!  (I used almonds and craisins by the way....)  :)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Mardi Gras Food

Tomorrow is "fat Tuesday" or "Mardi Gras" as you may already know.  So, I've gathered some of my recipes that would be great for your celebration.  Here's a little of history on Mardi Gras, if you're interested.  :)

Banana Fritters
Bananas and fried goodness. :)

Funnel Cakes:
Who says you can only have these at the carnival?

Sopapillas
Easy peasy.

Crepes
Breakfast?  Brunch?  Dessert?  All work!

Poppyseed Rolls (Poppyseed Bread)
Don't dismiss this till you try it!

Wreath (Cinnamon Roll Wreath)
Perfect for any celebration!  You could even hide a small token inside like a "Kings Cake". :)

Cream Filled Cupcakes (Hostess Style)
Chocolate cake. Cream filling. Ganache as frosting. :)

Hope these recipes give you (and yours) some ideas for Mardi Gras this year!  Happy Fat Tuesday to ya!  Be safe!  :)
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