Friday, December 7, 2012

Stained Glass Cookies

I came across this recipe last year.  I've been looking forward to making it for about as long.  It's a little more complicated and time consuming than I like, but there's a cookie swap coming up next week and I want to bring something impressive...


1/2 c Crisco
1/2 c sugar
1/4 c brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
2 c flour
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
20 hard candies (I used Jolly Ranchers. Lifesavers will work fine, too.)

Remove any wrappers from your candies and separate them by color.


Put the candies in a Ziploc bag.  Using a hammer or meat mallet or whatever, crush the candies. I'm supporting Breast Cancer research while baking today.  What can I say?  I'm a multi-tasker. 

Set candies aside.

Heat the oven to 375°F (190°C).  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  In a large bowl, cream together Crisco and sugars until fluffy.  An electric mixer makes this process much easier. Mix in vanilla extract.  Add egg and mix until light and smooth. 

Sift flour, salt, and baking powder over mixture.  Using a rubber spatula, fold dry ingredients into mixture.  Divide your dough in half.  Wrap one half in waxed paper and refrigerate while you work with the other half.  (Dough will keep for up to two days in the refrigerator.)

Place the dough between two sheets of waxed paper and roll out with a rolling pin until the dough has a 1/4 inch thickness.  Cut out your shapes.  I did stars and Christmas ornaments.  Transfer cookies to the cookie sheet.  Use a smaller cookie cutter or a knife to cut out the middle of your cookie.  Remove the inner shape. 

Using a spoon, sprinkle the crushed candy into the hollowed out centers of your cookies, filling in the edges. 

Bake cookies for 7-8 minutes.  Watch your cookies closely. They burn quickly. The candy should be melted and bubbling and the cookies will be just barely beginning to brown.  Remove baking sheets from oven and place on wire racks to cool.  After the cookies have cooled for about 10 minutes you can remove them safely from the cookie sheets.  If you try to remove the cookies from the cookie sheet too early, the candy will separate from the cookie.  Store in air tight container.

This recipe makes about 3 dozen cookies. I decorated them with some Sparkle Gel left over from the unicorn poop cookies because I was feeling pretty fancy!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Garlic Roasted Asparagus

I first used this recipe to make Penne with Roasted Asparagus.  The kids liked it so much (and asparagus is pretty cheap right now) that I've made it a few times as a side dish. Yummy!

4 bundle of Asparagus
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
olive oil
sea salt
black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).

Wash the asparagus. I usually buy four bundles of Asparagus for my family of four, but the bundles over here are small.  You can adjust accordingly.  Hold each stalk near the end and break off the "woody" part. It should snap off naturally. Spread the asparagus on a cookie sheet. I covered my cookie sheet in foil for easy clean up. Drizzle olive oil over the asparagus. Move the asparagus around a bit so it coats evenly.  Add the minced garlic and (again) move the asparagus around so it's evenly covered in garlic. Sprinkle with plenty of sea salt and pepper. Bake for about 7 minutes.  Serve immediately and watch that asparagus disappear!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Penne with Roasted Asparagus

I found this recipe by The Newfangled Housewife a few months ago.  I've been waiting until I wasn't so overwhelmed with the move to try it out.  We made it tonight and it's pretty yummy.


1 bundle of Asparagus
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
olive oil
sea salt
black pepper
1 box penne
1/4c butter
1/3c Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1/2c plus 2Tsp balsamic vinaigrette

Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Boil the pasta following the directions on the box, drain, and return it to the original pot. 

While the water is boiling, Wash the asparagus.  Hold each stalk near the end and break off the "woody" part.  It should snap off naturally. Cut the asparagus into roughly 1 inch bite sizes and spread them out on a cookie sheet.  I covered mine in foil for easy clean up.  Drizzle olive oil over the asparagus. Move the asparagus around a bit so it coats evenly.  I used this lovely olive oil because it was inexpensive at the local grocery store and I was feeling adventurous.

Add the minced garlic and (again) move the asparagus around so it's evenly covered in garlic.  Sprinkle with plenty of sea salt and pepper.  Bake for about 7 minutes.
In a small pot, bring the balsamic vinaigrette to a boil and let it reduce to about three or four tablespoons. Remove from heat and add the brown sugar.  Add the asparagus, and vinaigrette to the pasta.  Toss together with butter, sauce and cheese.  Sprinkle with more Parmesan if desired.  Serve immediately.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

4th of July Jello Cups

1 package (3 oz) of berry blue gelatin
1 package (3 oz) of strawberry gelatin
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1 c fresh blueberries
1 c fresh strawberries
6 Tsp sugar
1 c heavy whipping cream
2 c (16 oz) sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract

In a bowl, dissolve the berry blue gelatin in 1 cup boiling water.  Stir in 1 cup cold water.  Divide into clear plastic cups.  (I used 4 oz Tupperware cups)  Carefully add blueberries.  Refrigerate for about 1 hour until firm.

After the blue gelatin is firm start this step.  In a saucepan, sprinkle the unflavored gelatin over 1/2 cup of cold water.  Let it stand for 1 minute.  Mix in the cream and sugar.  Cook and stir over a low heat until the gelatin and sugar are completely dissolved.  Allow to cool to room temperature.  Whisk in sour cream and vanilla.  Spoon over the blue layer.  Refrigerate until firm (about one hour).

After the white layer in firm, start this step.  Slice up the strawberries and place them on the white layer.  In a bowl, dissolve the strawberry gelatin in 1 cup of boiling water.  Stir in one cup cold water.  Pour OVER A SPOON over the cream layer.  Pouring the gelatin over a spoon prevents it from making a hole in the white layer.  Refrigerate until firm (about one hour). 

Garnish with whipped cream and additional berries if desired.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Unicorn Poop Cookies

My sister sent me a link to this recipe. Gross? Not really, we used to make cow patty cookies (better known as no bake cookies) when we were kids. Unicorn poop...why not? They're only kids once.


1/2c butter, softened
1/4c shortening
1c sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2c flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
Food coloring
disco dust  (It turns out that disco dust is just for decoration and not meant to be eaten.  I substituted Wiltons Cake Sparkles)
sparkle gel
star sprinkles
Wiltons sugar pearls (The original recipe calls for rainbow, but my girls picked pink)

The unlabeled bottle is Wiltons Cake Sparkles. I was substituting this for the Disco Dust. I bought all these (except the food coloring) at Micheals.

In a mixing bowl, cream butter, shortening and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla. Slowly add flour, baking powder and salt. Divide the dough into smaller bowls and add food coloring. We used neon colors in blue, green, purple, red and yellow. Well, because unicorns poop rainbows, right? Chill for an hour.

On a floured counter, roll out the dough into "snakes". When you've got five snakes, combine them and roll into one "snake". This is probably the most labor intensive portion of the project. Form your poop and put them on a greased cookie sheet.

Bake the cookies in a preheated oven at 400°F for 8 minutes. When you take them out of the oven, immediately press in the sugar pearls. You want to push them halfway down into the cookie or else they will just roll off the cookie. Allow the cookies to cool. Then squirt a little sparkle gel on the cookies and "paint" them on with an unused paintbrush. Add star sprinkles and disco dust. (I substituted Cake Sparkles for disco dust.)

Look at those kids, working hard.

Voila! Unicorn poop cookies!

Note: The sparkle gel will always remain a bit tacky. Do not stack these cookies.


Saturday, April 7, 2012

Bubba's Beer Biscuits

This is a recipe that I got from a southern lady sitting in the waiting room of a gymnastics studio when M was a two years old. When she said "Bubba's Beer Biscuits" it sounded like an invitation to tea. Believe me, they sound way cooler with her light southern draw than with my harsh northern cackle.

4c Bisquik
1/4-1/2c sugar
12 oz beer (Honey, could you go buy some more beer? Please and thank you.)
2 Tbsp butter

Preheat oven at 400°F. Mix the ingredients well. Spray a muffin tin with PAM. Spoon batter into muffin tin. Serve with honey butter.

I make honey butter by adding honey to soft butter. I don't really measure it, but it's about a 1:2 ratio of honey to butter. Feel free to add more (or less) honey depending on your taste.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Three Leaf Clover Dinner Rolls

Three Leaf Clover Dinner Rolls is not their official name. I actually have no idea what they are really called. My mother made these rolls every Thanksgiving when I was growing up and my sisters and I LOVED eating the "Three Leaf Clovers". We actually fought over the rolls with four "Leaves".

Pillsbury Hot Roll Mix
2 Tbsp Butter, melted
1 egg, beat

Dissolve the yeast packet in 1 cup of hot water. Do not use boiling water. The water should be about 130°F. If it is boiling, it will kill the yeast and your rolls will not rise. In a large bowl, add the roll mix, 2 Tbsp melted butter, and one egg (beaten). Mix the ingredients and knead the dough until it is elastic. Spray the inside of your bowl with PAM (or grease with Crisco) and put the dough back in the bowl.

Cover with a towel. Allow dough to double in size.

Punch down dough and knead for a few minutes. Then halve the dough with your fingers until you have about 42 little bits of dough.

On a clean counter, smear a little Crisco on a circle. This will be the circle that you use to work your dough.

With the tips of your two pointer fingers, fold the dough over on itself a few times.

Then place the little ball of dough in a greased muffin pan.

Repeat about 42 more times, placing three balls in each muffin cup. If your dough balls are larger, you may only be able to fit two per cup. Sometimes I make the ball smaller, so that I can fit four balls in each know, you give my kids something to fight about.

Fork each ball with a kitchen fork. This allows the air to escape so you don't have pockets of air in your dinner rolls. (At this point, you can put your rolls in the refrigerator until later in the afternoon. They will not rise while in there.) Otherwise, allow the dinner rolls to rise a second time. They should be about a 1/2 inch above the muffin pan. The roll on the left is about right. The roll on the right rose a little too high.

Bake in a preheated oven, at 375°F for 15-20 minutes.

If they begin to brown too quickly on the top, you can place a sheet of aluminum foil (shiny side up) across the top of your rolls. You only need to worry about this last step if your oven runs "hot".

Friday, March 16, 2012

Pinkalicious Popcorn

I was going to make the girls green popcorn tonight just because it's so close to St. Patrick's Day, but Kaitlyn requested PINK!! This is a fun recipe for movie popcorn, or for the can use any combination of food coloring depending on the occasion.

2/3 cup popcorn kernels, popped
2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup half and half
1 Tbsp light corn syrup
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
6 drops red food coloring (or any other color you'd like)
wax paper

Pour popped popcorn into two very large mixing bowls, set aside. In a large saucepan whisk together sugar, half and half, corn syrup and salt. Cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly until sugar has dissolved. Heat mixture to 232 degrees, stirring occasionally. Immediately remove from heat and pour in vanilla and food coloring. Drizzle mixture over popped popcorn. Gently stir popcorn until mixture is evenly coated and coating begins to dry (you'll notice the popcorn kernels separating). Pour mixture onto wax paper and allow to dry about 20 minutes. Store in an airtight container.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Rosemary Garlic Bread

3c whole wheat flour
2c white flour
2 pkg dry yeast
2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground pepper
2c hot water
1/4c olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4c finely chopped fresh parsley
3 Tsp minced fresh rosemary (or 1 Tsp dried rosemary)
course salt and rosemary to top loaves

Mix 1c of whole wheat flour, 1 c white flour, yeast, salt and pepper until well blended. Add hot water and olive oil. Use hot water, NOT boiling water. Boiling water will kill the yeast. Beat with a wooden spoon until smooth. Stir in garlic, rosemary, and parsley. Mix in the remaining 2 cups of wheat flour, 1/4c at a time. Then mix in the remainder of the white flour (1/4c at a time) until the baytter becomes dough. Knead by hand for 8 minutes, occasionally slamming the dough on the counter. Put the dough in a greased bowl and cover with a clean kitchen towel (or plastic wrap). Allow the dough to rise until it has doubled in size. (This is about 30-60 minutes depending on room temperature.)

Punch down the dough and shape into two balls. Let the dough rest for five minutes. Press each ball into an oval and place in the bread pan, seam side down. Cover with kitchen towel until the dough doubles in size. (about 1 hour) The dough will reach the height of the bread pan. Brush the dough with olive oil and sprinkle with rosemary and course sea salt.

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 400°F for 35-40 minutes. Place the bread on the middle shelf for even baking. The bread is done when the loaf sounds hallow when tapped on the bottom. The crust will be hard.

**This bread can be eatten with stews or as a snack with butter. It's also really yummy toasted for breakfast with a cup of tea.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Blueberry Banana Smoothie

1c milk
1 banana, peeled
2/3c frozen blueberries
1c blueberry yogurt

Combine all ingredients in a blender. Cover and blend on high until smooth. Serve immediately. (In a military family, there is always a wine glass from past Battalion formals. They are a nice touch for serving this yummy treat.)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Cherry Strudel

My grandmother sent us 5 or 6 jars of food that she canned over the summer. She sent us homemade pickles (which I'm rationing so the kids don't devour them in one sitting). She sent some plums and cherries, too. She told me they were ready to eat out of the jar. I didn't think my kids would eat them out of the jar. They are funny about cherries. I decided to make a strudel. (I didn't think I had enough to make a pie.) Yummy! Well, I think I outsmarted myself because while I was pitting these cherries, Kaitlyn was sneaking into the kitchen and stealing them as fast as I could pit them!

Two things about this recipe. First, the cherries I used were yellow, but that's just because those are the ones Grandma canned. This recipe works fine with red cherries, too. Second, I had to pit my cherries because they were home-canned. I used a knife to slice the cherry in half and popped the pit out with my finger. It might be more difficult with fresh cherries, but because the cherries were canned it was really easy. I've read that you can pit cherries using a fountain drink straw or even forceps, but it didn't really come to that.


1 can (14 1/2 oz) pitted tart cherries
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup dried cranberries or raisins
3 Tbsp cornstarch
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
1 package frozen pie crust, thawed
1 egg, lightly beaten

Drain cherries, reserving 1/3 cup of the juice. In a large saucepan, combine the cherries, sugar, cranberries, and butter. Cook and stir over medium heat until heated through. Add cornstarch and reserved juice to the pan. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir about 2 minutes or until the mixture has thickened. Remove from heat and stir in walnuts.

Unfold the pie crust. Put half of the cherry mixture on the lower half of your pie crust. Be sure to keep the cherry filling away from the outer 1 inch of the pie crust. Fold the top half of your pie crust down and pinch the edges. Place the strudel on a greased baking sheet. Repeat this step with the other pie crust. With a sharp knife, cut diagonal slits into the top of the strudels. Brush with egg and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 400°F for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

**Stay tuned! I haven't decided what to make with the plums.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Chilaquiles* Casserole

This recipe was recommended to me a few months ago. I wasn't sure that the kids would even touch it. So, of course, I told them they couldn't have any and that I'd fix them quesadillas instead. It worked like a charm. They pitched a fit and when I "gave in" and served the chilaquiles casserole, THEY LOVED IT!

1 medium onion, diced
1 medium zucchini, grated
1-19oz can black beans, rinsed
1-14oz diced tomatoes, drained
1 1/2c frozen corn, thawed
1-4oz can green chilies, diced
1tsp ground cumin
1/2tsp salt
12 corn tortillas, quartered
1-19oz mild red or green enchilada sauce
1 1/4c cheddar cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 400°F. Over med-high heat, sauté onion in a skillet for about 5 minutes. Stir in zucchini, beans, tomatoes, corn, cumin, and salt. Cook until the vegetables are heated through.
Spray a baking dish with PAM. Scatter half the tortilla pieces in the baking dish. Top with half the vegetable mixture, half the enchilada sauce, and half the cheese. Then layer the second half of tortilla, vegetable mixture, enchilada sauce, and cheese. Cover with foil. Bake for fifteen minutes covered. Then remove the foil. Continue baking the casserole another ten minutes.

*pronounced: Chi-la-key-les