Thursday, April 30, 2009

Chocolate Topped Peanut Bites

I found this recipe at a website called Del Sisters Kitchen that apparently belongs to two cute little teenage sisters who like to spend their Saturday mornings puttering around the kitchen coming up with new recipes to share with their family. (That was quite the run-on sentence wasn't it?)   I think they've got some pretty mean photographical skills as well.  Me, not so much.  And I'm OK with that.
I made these in a hurry this morning while I was waiting for some company to arrive, so instead of neatly spreading the chocolate on top, I just dunked them upside down in the melted chocolate.  To be honest, I haven't even tried one yet.  I don't see how they could be bad...chocolate, peanut butter.  What could go wrong?  If it ends up sucking I'll come back and let you know.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Bake Sale Saturday

A friend mentioned she was having a fund-raising bake sale, and my ears perked up when I heard about it. "Bake? I like to bake", my brain thought. And this way I wouldn't be stuck with all the fruits of my labor to have to just eat all by myself.
First I made Ina Garten's cranberry scone recipe, except with chopped dried apricots. I've made these a couple of times before and they always turned out tender and perfect.
Then I spotted this quick bread mix I had in my cabinet for a while and thought of mini-loaves.
I also made some mini chocolate chip loaves based on a recipe I found at Hillbilly Housewife that I can't find now. Hers had cranberries in it instead of chocolate chips.
Lastly, I whipped up a batch of Black-bottomed cupcakes I had seen a recipe for a while back at JoyofBaking. Mine didn't turn out quite as lovely as hers, but the hubby thought they were super yummy.
Don't forget, one more day for the Country Bob's giveaway :)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Country Bob's Hawaiian Burger and a Giveaway

I was recently contacted by a representative of Country Bob's to see if I would like to try their All Purpose sauce and review it, and of course, I was happy to do it!

I decided to make a Hawaiian burger like I used to get at Backyard Burgers when I lived within driving distance of one. I really miss Backyard Burgers. But I digress.....

I'd like to say how much of the sauce I put in here, but that would be impossible since there was no actual measuring involved. I'd say I put a fair amount, if that helps at all. The sweet tangy taste of the Country Bob's really added something to the Hawaiian-ness I thought, and made it much like those burgers I've been missing.

Now for the giveaway....

The folks at Country Bob say they will send 2 bottles of their product to 2 of you. All you have to do is leave me a comment telling me your deepest darkest secret your favorite way to fancy up a burger. This contest will run through Sunday (april 26) at midnight and I'll announce the winner sometime Monday. Probably. Once the winners get back to me with their mailing info I'll pack up my things and move in with them. I mean, I'll get the info to Country Bob's and they will ship your sauce!

P.S. I really DON'T want to know your deepest darkest secrets, just to be clear.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Buitoni Wild Mushroon Agnolotti

I know, I've seen this already. I'm a little slow on the draw so just bear with me.
Being a part of the Foodbuzz community offers some perks here and there, aside from ogling over other people's delicious food. This is my first opportunity to sample a new product and give my opinion of said product. This time around I was offered the Buitoni Wild Mushroom Agnolotti. (yeah, I had to google that last word)
The pasta is a part of their new Reserva line, and contains a mushroom mixture along with fresh-roasted garlic, parmesan cheese, and imported grana padano. (uh huh, googled that one's cheese in case you wondered)
I served it with a sauce made of chicken broth, butter, white wine, garlic, and green onions, along with some italian sausage.
I really enjoyed the flavors going on inside the little agnolottis, agnolottii, or whatever; and would be tickled pink to serve them again someday.
P.S. Oh check it out, I got interviewed along with 4 other bloggers by Tiffany at Eat at Home. I'm truly fascinating, if not succinct.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Easter Ribs

I posted these quite some time ago, but I don't think anyone was paying attention so here they are again for you. Because I really think it's that important.
Last time they were called "Labor Day Ribs". They're very versatile.
The hubby is always the one in charge of the ribs, and this is his marinade recipe. He uses baby backs, btw.
1 1/2 cup veg oil
3/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup vinegar
1/4 cup worcestershire
1/3 cup orange juice
2 tbsp. dry mustard
1 tbsp. coarsely ground black pepper
2 tsp. salt
He leaves the ribs in this concoction overnight, or at least all day, then throws them on the grill. I was only able to get the one pic because that's what huge pigs we are.
I also made some yummy carrots for Easter. Usually those two words: "yummy" and "carrots" don't really go together for me. (unless they're in cake form, of course) But I found this recipe at For the Love of Cooking (she has a lot of yummy looking recipes) and thought it sounded interesting.
Here's her recipe:
4-5 large carrots, cleaned and peeled, cut into small sticks
2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp + 1 tsp of olive oil (divided)
1/2 tsp of Dijon mustard
1 small clove of garlic, minced
Sea salt to taste
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Peel and cut carrots into sticks. Toss the carrot sticks in 1 teaspoon of olive oil then season with sea salt to taste. Place on a glass dish coated with olive oil cooking spray. Roast in the oven until golden brown, 20-25 minutes.While the carrots are cooking, combine the balsamic vinegar, remainder of the olive oil, Dijon and garlic in a small bowl. Mix thoroughly with a whisk. Once you remove the carrots from the oven, pour the vinaigrette directly in the roasting pan and stir, making sure to coat all carrots evenly.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Carrot Cake

This is Ina Garten's carrot cake recipe. I decided to use hers because of the fresh pineapple in it. I only did a couple of things different. I made it sheet cake style because I didn't feel like dealing with a layer cake. I didn't put walnuts in the cake, but put some toasted slivered almonds on top.
I was a little concerned with the massive amount of carrots in the batter. I was afraid there might be a legitimate healthfulness factor that could throw my body into shock. But the 2 cups of sugar in the recipe seemed to help me get over the influx of beta carotene. Just look at the's chock full of stuff!
Here's Ina's recipe for ya....
For the cake:
2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 pound carrots, grated
1/2 cup diced fresh pineapple
For the frosting:
3/4 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted
For the decoration:
1/2 cup diced fresh pineapple
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 2 (8-inch) round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.
For the cake:
Beat the sugar, oil, and eggs together in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light yellow. Add the vanilla.
In another bowl, sift together 2 1/2 cups flour, the cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.
Toss the raisins and walnuts with 1 tablespoon flour. Fold in the carrots and pineapple. Add to the batter and mix well.
Divide the batter equally between the 2 pans. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. (I baked mine only about 25 minutes)
Allow the cakes to cool completely in the pans set over a wire rack.
For the frosting:
Mix the cream cheese, butter and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until just combined. Add the sugar and mix until smooth.
Place 1 layer, flat-side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting.
Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake. Decorate with diced pineapple.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Spring Cookie Pizza

I found this recipe at the Pillsbury website. I wanted to make this for dessert for Easter dinner for the kids. I didn't think they would enjoy the carrot cake I was making because it was all full of, um....carrots.
As it turns out, I'm the only one who's eaten any of it so far. And I ate some carrot cake too. This could be a problem.
INGREDIENTS 1roll (16.5 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated sugar cookies 2cups miniature marshmallows 1cup spring-colored candy-coated chocolate candies 1/2cup spring-colored miniature jelly beans Spring-colored decors or candy sprinkles
DIRECTIONS 1.Heat oven to 350°F. Line 12-inch pizza pan with foil; grease foil with shortening. (I just used a disposable pizza pan) Cut cookie dough into 1/4-inch slices; arrange evenly in pan. With floured fingers, press slices to form crust.
2.Bake 16 to 20 minutes or until deep golden brown. Immediately sprinkle marshmallows evenly over warm base. Bake 1 to 2 minutes longer or until marshmallows just begin to puff. Cool 5 minutes.
3.Use foil to lift crust from pan. Carefully remove foil from crust; place crust on serving platter or tray. Sprinkle with remaining ingredients. Cut into wedges or squares.
I *strongly*recommend if you make this to put the pizza pan on a cookie sheet as the cookie dough tends to puff way up and bubble over. Most of you would have had sense enough to do this anyway, but not everyone would. Like me, for example.
And since I keep mentioning carrot cake, up next will be, um...carrot cake.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Pizza and an Interview

I had noticed recently that Fresh & Easy market had little packages of pizza dough already made up and ready to go. They have regular, whole wheat, and an herbed one for focaccia. I purchased everything I needed to make a pizza (dough, sauce, pepperoni, and cheese) for less than $8. Pretty cool, huh? It would cost more if we ate anything besides pepperoni on our pizza, but we don't. Just pepperoni.
Here is a before shot:
Looks pretty professional, eh? I'm just fortunate enough to have a former pizza dude living at my house. Although I'm thinking where he used to work they must have used their heads to work the dough.
The finished product.

The pizza dude's happy pizza tips:

* Press down like a mofo (down, under, and out) around the rim leaving a 1"-ish edge -- this will leave a well-formed crust. But only knead lightly in the center before stretching, just enough to pop the bubbles. Schwarzenegger-like center-kneading will yield a flimsy-ass center or a cracker crust.

* Sauce it right up to the rim you have created and make sure to get good cheese and ingredients coverage right up to the rim. During the bake, the cheese and ingredients will gravitate toward the center of the pie. So not getting proper edge coverage will leave your last few bites of each piece tasting like sauce-soaked bread.

* You need to work the dough on a flour-covered surface, and you need the flour to prevent sticking. However, allowing flour to clump up on the dough will leave the crust tasting bitter and unpleasant. Shake off any excess when stretching to shape, or, preferably, gather up any excess and apply liberally to your face and hair. Brushing on melted butter or olive oil around the crust is a nice touch.

* Assuming you don't have a baking stone or industrial-strength deck oven, you're going to have a hard time getting an even bake. The top will be black while the bottom is still semi-raw dough. Cook on the bottom rack and remove the pie from the screen or sheet as soon as it's firm enough not to decorate the bottom of your oven with itself.

* Raw tomato sauce is kind of bland. Spice it to taste with basil, oregano, garlic, salt, sugar, or whatever it takes to trip your culinary trigger.

* Time and temperature gets the yeastie-beasties a workin'. Under or over-activated yeast will ruin the pie. You want to work with it when it is pliant but not squishy.

* Good pizza ingredients: pepperoni, onions, olives, sausage, ground beef, pineapples, ham. Canadian bacon, jalapenos, bell peppers, sliced chicken breast, tomato slices, banana peppers.

* Bad pizza ingredients: tuna fish, cottage cheese, Captain Crunch, liverwurst, chocolate, grapes, beans, yogurt, creamed corn, pureed beets, prunes, anything Andrew Zimmern would approve of. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I have been seeing this thing going around where you ask your kid/s 20 questions about yourself and see what kind of answers they come up with. I thought it sounded like fun so I cornered had a relaxing chat with my children and this is what transpired. The endeavor was made a bit more challenging due to the fact that the boy child has autism, and one of his quirks is that having a bunch of questions fired at him displeases him a great deal.

1. What is something mom always says to you? Mara: no answer/ Simon: clean your room

2. What makes Mom happy? m: when I clean my room (not that that can be proven)/ s: let me think about that

3. What makes Mom sad? m: when we say bad things to her / s: Let me think about that

4. How does your mom make you laugh? m: tickling/ s: i'll think about that

5. What was your mom like as a child? m: she liked to climb trees but her mom didn't let her/ s: *just looks at me*

6. How old is your mom? m: 41 (darned honest kids)/ s: no answer

7. How tall is your mom? M: 2 garden yards (WTF??) / S: *shakes little plastic car more violently*

8. What is her favorite thing to do? M: watching the cooking channel / s: no more questions!

9. What does your mom do when you're not around? M: sleep (ALL THE TIME)/ S: *makes huffing noise*

10. What is your Mom very good at? M: cooking / S: more huffing

11. If Mom became famous what would it be for? M: being in a tv show (the most boring TV show ever!) / S: He's gone now

12. What is your mom not very good at? M: jumping rope

13. What does your mom do for her job? M: she's a nurse

14. What is your mom's favorite food? M: chili

15. What makes you proud of your mom? M: How good she can twirl the baton (I AM awesome)

16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be? M: Sandy from spongebob (It's the teeth, I think. Or maybe the drawl)

17. What do you and your mom do together? M: go to Starbucks

18. How are you and your mom the same? M: we have the same hair (I wish!)

19. How are you and your mom different? M: she has blue eyes and I have brown eyes

20. How do you know your mom loves you? M: She tells me (Aww)

April is autism awareness month. To learn more about autism you can visit Autism Society of America or SARRC.

This may have been my longest post ever. Bless your heart if you made it to the end!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Hashbrown Casserole

Well hello there. It's been a little while, hasn't it? Did anybody miss me? No? Okay, I'll just sit in the corner and chew on wet cigarette butts.
This week has kicked my butt, not much time or energy for cooking, or taking pictures of whatever was cooked.
First my poor old doggie was feeling bad. He couldn't even walk on Sunday.
But his girl has been taking good care of him, and we've been pumping him full of steroids, muscle relaxers, and quasi-narcotics so he's pepped up quite a bit. Now he's a bit spoiled and thinks he needs to be hand fed baked chicken 3 times a day.

Then we had this little singing shin dig to attend at the girl child's school on Thursday night. It was cute and all, but it sure sucked down a huge chunk of time, especially when that was my only day off last week.

I personally was feeling like the guy in this pic for four days straight. I'm not sure what my problem was but I'm much better now.

Which leads me to....Hashbrown Casserole. I found a new bloggy friend who posted this recipe that is supposed to be like hashbrown casserole served at the Cracker Barrel.

I love that you bake it in an iron skillet. I was a little perplexed when I read the recipe, because any hashbrown casserole I've ever had contained sour cream and cream of chicken soup. But this just had some milk, and beef broth, along with the cheese. I thought there would be no way it would be as creamy and delicious as the other kind, but I was wrong! It's yummy! I was thinking one could even substitute low fat milk and cheese, and call it a low fat dish. Lower fat than the other kind anyway.

UPDATE:  Well apparently the link for that recipe seem to be broken.  I don't want you to go away empty handed if you came here for a yummy recipe, so here's another one.