Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Peppermint White Chocolate Haystacks

So, if you know me, you probably know that I love peppermint hot cocoa, peppermint white mochas, and peppermint just about anything.  So, when I was whipping up some more goodies to give as gifts, I thought I could do more peppermint bark but then I thought....hm...let's do haystacks!  My maternal grandfather would always make quite an assortment of candies and goodies each year before Christmas and give everyone a tray.  (Well, I don't know for a fact he gave any out to people other  than my family actually...but I'm pretty confident he did. :)  So these are kind of a tribute to him.  Although truly he always made his haystacks out of white chocolate, milk chocolate or butterscotch...

Peppermint White Chocolate Haystacks

What you'll need:
2 bags Chow Mein
1 bag CandyQuik or Almond Bark in Vanilla
Crushed Peppermint Candy Canes
Chocolate for drizzle, optional

In a very large bowl pour the bags of chow mein noodles in and spread them out.  Melt the vanilla flavored candyquik and stir until smooth.  (I use the instructions on the package.)  Then pour the candyquik over the noodles and gently stir to coat.  Once they are evenly coated, use two spoons to make them into haystack or nest shapes on parchment or wax paper.  Then sprinkle crushed candy canes on the tops and drizzle with chocolate to finish!  Let set for a few hours at room temp or 30 minutes in the fridge.  Then package and/or enjoy!  Easy, peasy and yummy!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Peppermint Chocolate Chip Cookies

Do you love Chocolate and Peppermint together as much as I do?  I feel like it's one of those things that just tastes like Christmas...  Anyway these are a pretty standard Chocolate Chip Cookie with a little less sugar since we have more sugary add-ins than normal.  And they are just enough pepperminty to be Christmasy but not over the top at all! :)  (So, I guess what I'm saying is that you could get away with them year round! :)

Peppermint Chocolate Chip Cookies:
1 c. Shortening
1-1/3 c. Sugar (I used all white but I suppose you could still do half white and half brown here)
1/2 t. Salt
1 t. Vanilla
1 t. Baking Soda
2 Eggs
3 c. Flour (all-purpose)
1 c. Chocolate Chips (I prefer semi-sweet in my cookies, but you could use your preference!)
1/2 c. Peppermint Candy Canes, crushed (or peppermint candies)

Cream shortening and sugar until well blended.  Mix in salt, vanilla, baking soda and eggs until combined.  Add flour 1 cup at a time until just combined.  Then stir in chocolate chips and crushed peppermint candy canes.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Then using a cookie scoop (or whatever you like to use) place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet about 3" apart.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until golden.

Makes 4+ dozen cookies.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Peppermint Bark

I've made a lot of peppermint bark over the last few years.  I sometimes layer dark and white chocolate, or just do one or the other.  I've decided this is probably the easiest and best way to do it though, so I made a little video.  Let me know what you think of it!

What you'll need:

White Chocolate or CandyQuik
Dark Chocolate or Semi-sweet chocolate chips
Candy Canes
Parchment Paper

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Macadamia Cookies

I don't know about you but two of my very favorite things year round are macadamia nuts and chocolate.  They can be together or separate.  They are just pretty amazing, so when I thought of trying out some more cookies with browned butter....I said, why not add two of my favorite things in it?!  And well, you can see how they turned out!  These are another perfect fall cookie too!  They are slightly salty, slightly chewy, slightly crunchy and a whole lot of delicious!

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Macadamia Cookies
1-3/4 sticks of unsalted butter
1 T. vanilla
2 large eggs
2-1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup white sugar (or pure cane sugar)
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. salt
1 cup coarsely chopped (salted) macadamia nuts
1-1/2 (or 2) cups chocolate chips (I highly recommend semi-sweet chips but I suppose you could use milk or white chocolate....)

Important Note:  These instructions are a little out of order for a regular cookie but this is what I found works best with the browned butter types.  So I highly recommend doing it in this order AND having the dough chill in the fridge for at least an hour before baking.

1.  Place the butter (just two tablespoons less than two whole sticks) in a stainless steel saucepan.  It's best not to use a nonstick or dark pan because you need to be able to see when it changes color.  Melt the butter on high for about 2 minutes.  Turn it down to medium high (7-8) and while stirring or swirling watch it change to a dark caramel color.  It takes about 3-5 additional minutes after it has melted.  Once it is browned, pour it into a large heat safe glass or other mixing bowl.  Set aside.
2.  In a separate large mixing bowl combine flour, sugars, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt.
3.  Stir the butter and mix in vanilla and eggs until well combined.
4.  Add the butter mixture into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  Then add the macadamias and chocolate chips and again just stir until combined.  It will be a dry or tough dough.  It will bake up fine, so don't add anything more! :)
5.  Now I found it really easy to just go ahead and make into the balls for baking at this point and then chill it and be able to just plop on the baking sheets easily.  You could chill it and then form the balls too.  Because the dough is tougher/drier it is likely MUCH easier to do it before it is chilled though and you'll have to get your hands dirty.  Just a warning.  But it's totally worth it.
So I called them dough balls but I made more like discs...They are about 1.5" x .5"
and that worked well for my oven.  So you can do whatever may work for yours. 
6.  Chill, from 1-24 hours.
7.  Preheat oven to 350degrees.
8.  Once the oven is preheated, place chilled cookie balls on a cookie sheet (preferably not an insulated one) and bake for 9 minutes.  Take the cookie sheet out of the oven and let cookies cool on pan for 5 minutes before removing to cooling rack.  This extra time on the sheet will ensure they finish cooking and make them to die for. ;)  (If you bake them like this, they should be slightly chewy and very delicious with a slight crunch.  Every oven is different so you may need to adjust accordingly!)
This is about what color they will be once you remove them from the cookie sheet.
9. Repeat step 8 until the dough is gone, or you could freeze remaining dough balls until you want to bake more.

Makes about 3.5 dozen (or 40) cookies.

These are the perfect mix of savory and sweet just in time for November!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Homemade Soft Pretzels

If you follow my personal instagram or facebook then you know I made some of these last week.   Well, I just did again today.  I love homemade pretzels, or really most soft pretzels.  And this recipe from bhg is awesome!  I am still needing to buy actual pretzel salt but my trusty Kosher Salt has been working well in the meantime.

These are fairly easy to make, really the hardest part is making them look like actual pretzels, and if you don't what they look like then you could do twists or even kind of bun like things.  Oh and the boiling part is kind of challenging because of the whole boiling water part..for those of us who are clutzy at least.  Just be careful and enjoy!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Slow Cooker Tortilla Soup

I have several tex-mex soups on this blog (here, here, ..etc) but this one may just be a new fave.  I have a little secret fall ingredient in there that gives it a little more substance, flavor and almost creaminess without a lot of calories! :)  Wanna guess what it is??  Pumpkin!  And did I mention this soup is easy?!?!?!

What you'll need:

1 small white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28oz) can of diced tomatoes
2 (4oz) cans of diced green chiles (I used one mild and one medium)
1 (15oz) can of Navy Beans (or pinto/black/great northern)
2 (32 oz) tetra packs (or 8 cups) chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups cooked chicken, diced
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 t. Paprika
1 T. Taco Seasoning (of your choice)
salt and pepper to taste

Place everything in the slow cooker and stir together.  Set on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours.

I highly recommend some corn salsa, sour cream (or plain yogurt) and flour tortillas in strips or wedges for toppings.  Serve and enjoy!  Also goes very well with cheese (or chicken) quesadillas!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Bibimbap Dolsot

 My husband visited South Korea a couple of years ago for a conference.  When he came back going on about how great the food, especially Bibimbap Dolsot, we searched Central North Carolina to find something local.  We tried a few places but our favorite was definitely Mixed in Chapel Hill.  Their food is great, and it's setup kind of like Chipotle/Moe's/Qdoba so it's a familiar set up where you can choose what rice, veggies and protein goes in your dish.  Anyway, it made me also fall in love with Korean food--especially Bibimbap Dolsot.

We have only found one place where we are in CO that even serves Bibimbap and it's pretty good but there aren't any choices (just comes with what is in season or whatev) and it's pretty pricey.  So, that leads me to trying my hand at it at home.  I hadn't tried before because I didn't have stone bowls, but then I remembered I have these great stoneware bowls from ByBee (Sp?) pottery in Berea, KY.

Bibimbap means mixed rice.  And dolsot means hot stone.  So this dish is fairly easy to make with rice, veggies, optional meat and optional egg with optional sauces to top it off.  Then if you desire it to be really hot, you warm it in the oven in the stone bowl and when it's done you mix it together (carefully) and viola!  Mixed (delicious) rice! :)

What you'll need:

  • Cooked Rice (I used 1 cup Jasmine and 1 cup Quinoa)
  • Cooked Chicken optional (Can either be seasoned or not, sliced thinly)
  • Veggies of your choice (I used bean sprouts, broccoli, onions, carrots, sweet potatoes, mushrooms)
  • Sauce optional (Black Sesame Sauce Recipe below)
  • Fried/Poached Eggs optional

Black Sesame Sauce:  
  • Grind 1/2 c. black sesame seeds
  • Mix with 2 T. Soy Sauce, 1 T. Sugar and 1/3 c. chicken (or veg.) broth.  
  • You could mix in blender for smoother consistency!  
  • You could also add more broth to make it thinner too, and sugar to taste.

Instructions for Bibimbap Dolsot:

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2.  Cut up veggies into almost bit sized pieces and saute each separately. (This is the most time consuming part, so if you want to do it earlier in the day you can.  Just refrigerate until you assemble the bibimbaps at dinner time.)

3.  Make an assembly line for either yourself to put together the bowls or let your family/guests do it themselves.

4.  In thick stoneware bowls (or something similar and ovenproof) place rice (about 1/2-3/4 cup) in the bottom.

5.  Then place chicken (or other meat or no meat) in the middle and veggies around the sides like shown below and you can top with the optional egg.

6.  Place in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until as hot as you'd like.  We have been pretty happy with 15 but 20 gets it to stay hot the entire meal, which is nice and hot!  

7.  Carefully remove from oven and place on hot pad with each person being warned of how hot they are.  I heated our son's up in the oven for half the time and then spread it out on a plate to let it cool before giving to him.  Be careful!

Our "mixed rice" before it was mixed.  We added salt, pepper and sesame seeds to the top before the oven and then I added Black Sesame Sauce right before we mixed them.  So yummy and so customizable!  Enjoy!!  Let me know if you have questions or if I missed anything!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

My Favorite Rice Krispie Treats

When I was a Freshman in College I went to a singing competition in another city.  My friend and I carpooled together and grabbed a snack during one of the breaks in the afternoon.  There was a Starbucks within walking distance and we enjoyed something to drink (don't remember what, but it was unlikely coffee since we were singing...) and a snack.  I got a Rice Crispy treat and it was the first time I had one with mini marshmallows that weren't completely melted yet.  They have since changed the treats they offer at their stores...like most places....they have changed a bit in 13 or so years. :/

I'm not sure that totally makes sense the way I said it...but I will explain better below. :)

Rice Krispie Treats:
4 T. Butter
One bag Mini Marshmallows 
6 cups Rice Krispies

Melt the butter and 3/4 of the bag of mini marshmallows, stirring almost constantly.  Once they are melted and combined, stir in the Rice Krispies and the rest of the marshmallows.  (Like two pics below)
 Once combined place in desired greased dish.  (9x13, 7x11 or whatever size you choose)  Once cooled (or very carefully when warm if you are impatient like me!) cut and serve. :)
Extra marshmallowy goodness in each bite. So.  Yummy.  I hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Fall Food Round up

Fall is great time of year, right?  Crisp mornings, leaves turning, family huddled around watching soccer games on Saturday mornings, and pumpkin spiced everything!

Here are some of my favorite fall recipes from the years on ADM in no particular order:

And hello again, by the way.  Long time, no see. ;)  I'm back....
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