April 7, 2013

Quitting

I enjoyed writing this blog, but stopped a while back because I realized no one was reading it. Not even the family members that I sent a link to every time I wrote a new post.

If I get enough responses on this post, I may start up again. However, I will have to fit it in with work. (That's right, I got a job and you would know all about that if enough people had read my blog for me to have been posting the past few months.


"America, it is in your hands."
- Ryan Seacrest (American Idol)

December 12, 2012

It'll be a little while...

So, unless I bake something new before Christmas, there will most likely not be any posts until after Christmas. This is because the crafts I will be working on between now and then are things that are going to be given as Christmas gifts and I don't want to risk the recipients finding out about them.
I will most likely write the posts as I make them, but will set them to not be published until the day after Christmas or in the week following.
Sorry for the lack of posts until then.

December 8, 2012

Shame on Me...

     I realize that I have not posted in quite a while, but life gets hectic around the holidays. Because of this, I haven't been baking very many new recipes.
     For Thanksgiving, I made a Turkey Cheese Ball found on the Taste of Home website. I made the same thing last year, but this year I decided to be lazy and didn't decorate it as a turkey like the picture shows.

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Turkey Cheese Ball as seen on Taste of Home website - Photo Credit to Taste of Home
      I find it easiest to put the cream cheese, turkey, cheddar cheese, and onion in my Cuisinart Mini-Prep Plus Chopper (one at a time, dumping into a medium bowl to mix all ingredients together). By doing this, you are making sure the pieces are all the same size so there aren't chunks in the cheese ball.
    When it comes to actually forming the cheese ball, it is easiest to take a bowl that is rounded and line it with plastic wrap. I have found that it really only takes two pieces of plastic wrap that have been criss-crossed. After you have done this, spoon your cheese ball into the bowl, pull the edges of the plastic wrap around the ball, and then place in the fridge.
     Earlier tonight, I made The Busty Baker's Orange Spritz Cookies. They are quite good. Unlike the picture below, mine are in the shape of Christmas Trees because they are for a Christmas get-together.

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Orange Spritz Cookies - Photo Credit to The Busty Baker

     In her recipe, The Busty Baker said that if the dough is too sticky, you should stick it in the fridge for about 10 minutes. I highly suggest doing this as it makes a huge difference. Make sure to do it in between batches or the dough will soften up in the time that the cookies are baking.
     I sprinkled mine with some sugar to give them a little extra something. Also, rather than using 1/4 tsp orange extract, I used about 1 1/2 teaspoons of juice from the orange that I zested. (Don't worry, I didn't waste the rest of the juice; I poured it into the pitcher of orange juice that was in the fridge.) The directions also say to use an electric mixer, but sadly I don't have one so I just used a hand mixer.
     For the Christmas get-together, I also made snow men candy bars as seen on the blog "Rock Paper Cricut" using Hershey bars. On the blog, they stamped the faces on, but I just used Sharpies and drew them on. For the cheeks, rather than chalking them on, I used a Q-Tip and blush.

http://www.rockpapercricut.com/2011/12/snow-cute.html
Snowmen as seen on Rock Paper Cricut - Photo Credit to Rock Paper Cricut
     I have a few Christmas gifts that I am making and will hopefully write a post about them. I'm not entirely sure when that will be though because I am waiting for some of the supplies I ordered to get here. They're supposed to be here sometime next week. Utnil then, happy baking (and crafting)!

"SANTA! OH MY GOD! SANTA'S COMING! I KNOW HIM! I KNOW HIM!"
-Buddy the Elf from Elf                 

November 19, 2012

Andes Mint Doodles



      You know those super delicious Thin Mint cookies that the Girl Scouts sell? They're great, but they only sell them once a year. Even if you buy a few boxes planning to eat one and put the others in the cupboard for later, they're not going to last more than a month or two (that's if you manage to not eat the entire first box the day you buy them).
     Well, Andes Mint Doodles to the rescue! These taste almost exactly like them. These are a softer cookie whereas Thin Mints are a crispy cookie, so these are great for dipping in a glass of cold milk (the best way to eat most cookies). they also aren't coated in chocolate so you don't risk having them melt on your hands making them all sticky.

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          2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour, sifted
          3/4 c. cocoa, sifted
          1/2  tsp. baking soda
          1/2  tsp. salt
          1/2 c. shortening
          1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
          3/4 c. sugar
          3/4 c. dark brown sugar, firmly packed
          2 large eggs, beaten
          2 tsp. vanilla
          10 oz. bag Andes Crème de Menthe Baking Chips
          1 c. powdered sugar


     1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

     2. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt together into a bowl and set aside.

     3. With a hand held or standing mixer, beat together the shortening and butter until creamy. Add the sugars and continue beating until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until thoroughly incorporated. Add the flour mixture and blend until smooth. Fold in Andes Crème de Menthe Baking Chips.

     4. Roll the dough, by hand, into a 1 1/2 inch balls*. Roll the balls in the powdered sugar to fully cover ball**. Flatten the balls gently into 1/2” thick disks and place about 2” apart, spacing them evenly on un-greased baking sheets. Bake cookies at 350 degrees for 10-12*** minutes. Remove from oven and let cookies set 1 minute on baking sheet. Remove from sheet and move to wire rack to cool completely.

     * I used an ice cream scoop so I only had to roll the dough a little bit.
     ** I just used a 2 cup measuring cup filled with 1 c powdered sugar to do this.
     ***Mine took about 11 minutes.

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     The only thing I don't like about these cookies is that with them being chocolate, you can't go with the "until golden brown" rule since they're already dark brown. Another thing that kind of freaked me out was that the chocolate mint almost smelled like the cookies were burnt (they weren't).
     Letting them set for 1 minute before transferring to a rack is essential. If you don't, they will fall apart as you try to transfer them.
     I don't think you can screw these cookies up; apart from forgetting to turn the oven on or forgetting to set the timer.
     These things are delicious. I think about 1/4 of them have been eaten and I only finished making them a little over an hour ago.
     Now, it's time for pictures! (Sorry for the poor quality of the pictures; they were taken with my iPod.)


Flattened and ready to go in the oven.


Out of the oven and cooling off. (Of course a few were eaten before they were finished cooling.)

"'C' is for cookie that's good enough for me,
Oh! cookie, cookie, cookie starts with 'C'!"
-Cookie Monster                                              

November 13, 2012

Lasagna Cupcakes

     I know, I know, it's been a while since I've actually posted something to eat. However, I have a good excuse. I've been going through all my issues of the cooking magazines that I get (Food Network, Rachael Ray, and Taste of Home) ripping out the recipes that look good so I could recycle the actual magazines and have more room in my bedroom. I ended up with a stack about four inches tall and have started to type the recipes up so I can put them in my recipe binder. I have a feeling that I am going to have to buy another binder (this will be my third).
     These lasagna cupcakes are adapted from a Betty Crocker recipe that can be found here. They can be eaten by themselves, but are also great with a side salad and/or garlic bread. To make them:

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 Lasagna Cupcakes

          6 lasagna noodles, cooked and drained, cut in half
          1 1/2 c Tomato pasta sauce (I use homemade spaghetti sauce.)
          1 container (15 oz) ricotta cheese
          1 tsp oregano
          1/2 tsp garlic powder
          1/4 tsp salt
          1 egg
          1/2 c shredded mozzarella cheese
          2 T grated Parmesan cheese

     1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray jumbo muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray.
     2. In a medium bowl, mix ricotta cheese, oregano, garlic powder, salt, and egg.
     3. Line each muffin cup with 2 lasagna noodle halves, crossing the noodles to make an "x." The noodles will come up the side of the cup. Spoon about 1 T pasta sauce over the noodles.
     4. Spoon about a half cup of the ricotta mixture over the sauce and then put about 3 T pasta sauce on top of that. Top with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Cover with foil.
     5. Bake for 35 minutes, turning at least once during baking. Take off the foil and let it bake for about five more minutes or until the cheese is melted. Let stand for 10 minutes. Remove and serve.
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     The original recipe has you mix cooked spinach into the ricotta cheese mixture, but I can't stand cooked spinach (raw only, please) so I don't use it.
     These can be a meal in themselves, but you'll most likely want to have a dessert on hand because there is a possibility that you will get hungry later.
     This last time that I made them, there were 8 lasagna noodles in the box so rather than putting the box back in the cupboard with two noodles, I made a mini lasagna in a mini loaf pan.
     They reheat quite well, so Dad and Rachel usually take the leftovers for lunch the next day.
     I didn't think to take a picture of them (we were too hungry), so the picture below is the one from the Betty Crocker website and looks quite a bit different because it has the spinach in it.

Photo credit: Betty Crocker website