Thursday, December 20, 2012

Grinch cookies!

Grinch cookies!

I got 28 or so out of this recipe.

1/3 cup margarine or butter
1/3 cup shortening
2 cups all purpose flour
1 egg
3/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp milk
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp peppermint extract
1/2 or 3/4 of the bag of  Ghirardelli (because it was on sale!) 60% Cacao bittersweet chocolate) 
(or more chocolate if you want!)

Set oven to 375 F

Using my stand mixer  :) 
Beat margarine and shortening. Once mixed together, add about half of the flour, the egg, sugar, milk, baking powder, vanilla, peppermint. Beat in remaining flour. Once all mixed, add chocolate chips.

However you want, put them on the cookie sheet (I used a cookie dough scooper and put them on, but then pressed them flat with a fork.)

Bake at 375 F for 7 minutes.

Home made Peppermint Patties

Made these for my best friend. They turned out really good!

Home made Peppermint Patties
Made about 15

2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening
8 ounces chocolate 
(I used Ghirardelli (because it was on sale!) 60% Cacao bittersweet chocolate)
1/4 cup peppermint candies, crushed (optional)

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat 2 1/4 cups of confectioners sugar together with corn syrup, water, peppermint extract and vegetable shortening until just combined. The mixture will be very crumbly. Dust a work surface with remaining 1/4 cup of confectioners sugar. Empty contents of bowl onto work surface and knead until smooth (this will take a few minutes). 
Shape dough into a log, about 2 inches by 8 inches long. Wrap tightly in parchment paper and freeze until very firm, about 20 minutes. Remove dough and slice into rounds using a sharp knife. Place rounds onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and freeze again until firm, for at least 15 minutes.
The highlighted above was what the recipe told me to do but alas, I am still new at all this and could not get it shaped into a was horrible..haha so what I did was just pinched off equal sized pieces, rolled them into a ball and pressed them flat. I then froze them for oh I don't know 30-60 minutes. I was busy that morning. 
When you are ready to coat in chocolate, melt chocolate in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second intervals. Cool slightly. Chocolate should be warm but not so hot that you cannot put your finger into it.
Cover another baking sheet with wax paper. Remove patties from freezer one at a time and submerge into melted chocolate. I took them all out at once, but might have been even better to do as the directions said but it still worked for me. I just coated quickly. I dropped the pattie into the melted chocolate and used forks to flip it and then take it out. This process caused a nice thick layer of chocolate on the top :) And lots of drizzled chocolate over my counter :) . Coat quickly and allow excess chocolate to drip off. Place on wax paper lined pan. Repeat, covering all patties with chocolate.
The original patty recipe said to sprinkle crushed peppermint candies on the pattie with wet chocolate. But I did not do that.
Let patties stand until chocolate is set, about 1 hour. Store in fridge, between wax paper in an airtight container. Bring to room temperature before serving.

This is what I did with 12 of the patties. I made my own label for her box. She loved them!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Lembas Bread

Well, when I first saw the recipe for Lembas bread on Pinterest I was super excited. Though, can't say I was  super impressed with the results, but it was a nice little treat. Though I'm pretty sure this wasn't what they ate in the movie.. mine looks WAY different.. haha
Still a nice treat..
so here ya go!

Lembas Bread
One small bite is enough to fill the stomach of a grown man.

 This was mine ;)
2 1/2 cups of flour
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
8 tablespoons of cold butter (1 stick)
1/3 cup of brown sugar
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon maple syrup/honey
2/3 cup of milk/heavy cream (or more, if necessary)
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla


1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees F
2) Mix the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl.
3) Add the butter and mix with a fork or a
 pastry cutter until the mixture resembles fine granules.
4) Add the sugar and cinnamon, and mix them thoroughly into the mixture.
5) Add the milk/cream and vanilla and stir them in with a fork until a nice, thick dough forms.
6) Roll the dough out about 1/2 in thickness.
7) Cut out 3-inch squares and transfer the dough to a cookie sheet.

8) Criss-cross (DO NOT cut all the way) each square from corner-to-corner with a knife.
9) Bake for about 12 minutes or more (depending on the thickness of the bread) until it is set and lightly golden.

(the recipe makes about 10-12 pieces of lembas)

nutrition information is using honey,
 milk, and 10 pieces of lembas

Number of Servings: 10

 As you can see, I made a mess on myself...Not a good day to wear a black piece of clothing.. ugh

Here is a little treat for you :)

Banoffee Pie

Banoffee Pie

Although I hardly ever like anything I made, this was pretty good. But everyone else was like raving about it. So had to share with you all!

You will need:
  • 3 bananas
  • 1 tin of sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cups of whipping cream ( or two cups of cool whip, or as much as you want of either)
  • 1 package of graham crackers (or a ready made crust)
  • 1 stick of butter (not needed if using a ready made crust)
  • 1tsp vanilla
  • 1 small bar of chocolate (or kind sized if you like chocolate like me :)  )

First step can be done way ahead of time (at least hours but can be as much as months before.) remove the label on the condensed milk and submerge the unopened can in a pot of water. Cover and boil for 2.5 hours. Warning!!! Be sure to keep the pan covered by water at all times!!!
After requisite time has passed, take pot off the stove and allow the can to cool. In case you are wondering, you just made magic, er, toffee!
So you are ready with your toffee, it is time to do the rest
I used a  readymade crust) which is easier!

To make whipped cream (or buy cool whip)
Whip cold cream and vanilla on high until whipped
Set it aside

Now it is time to bring it all together. Cut up bananas into slices and lay into your crust. It doesn’t matter how you arrange them really, just go wild.

Open toffee can, mix with knife until smooth, pour on bananas.

Spread the whipped cream over the whole mess
Grate the chocolate on top, optional

I topped it off with the last two blocks of chocolate from the bar :)

  Put it in the fridge for at least 2 hours to set.

And there you go! BANOFFEE PIE!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Home made pumpkin pie!

Well, I made my very first home made pumpkin pie! No, I did not use the puree from a can. I bought pie pumpkins and did it all myself! And it was very easy at that! So here you are! I hope you enjoy!

        a pie pumpkin (see step 1; you can use different types of pumpkin or even a butternut squash)
        1 cup sugar
        1.5 teaspoon ground cinnamon
        1 teaspoon ground cloves
        1 teaspoon ground allspice
        1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
        Optional: 1/2 teaspoon mace (which you'll find in the very old pumpkin pie recipes)
        1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
        1/2 teaspoon salt (optional, I don't use any)
        4 large eggs -
        3 cups pumpkin glop
        1.5 cans (12oz each) of evaporated milk

Step 2 - Prepare the pumpkin for cooking

Wash the exterior of the pumpkin in cool or warm water, no soap.
Cut the pumpkin in half.  A serrated knife and a sawing motion works best - a smooth knife is more likely to slip and hurt you! A visitor suggests using a hand saw.

Step 3 - Scoop out the seeds...

And scrape the insides.  You want to get out that stringy, dangly stuff that coats the inside surface.  I find a heavy ice cream scoop works great for this.

Step 4 - Cooking the pumpkin

There are several ways to cook the pumpkin;  just choose use your preferred method.  Most people have microwaves and a stove, so I'll describe both of those methods here. But others make good arguments in favor of using a pressure cooker or baking in the oven. At the end of this document, I’ve included alternative instructions to replace step 4, if you’d rather use a different method.

Method 1 - Bake in the oven

You can also bake the prepared pumpkin in the oven, just like a butternut squash.  This method takes the longest. Basically, you cut and scoop out the pumpkin as for the other methods, place it cut side down into a covered oven container. Cover the ovenproof container (with a lid or aluminum foil), and pop it in an 350 F (165 C) oven. It normally takes about 45 minutes to 90 minutes (it can vary a lot!); just test it periodically by sticking it with a fork to see if it is soft!

Step 5 - Scoop out the cooked pumpkin

Watery pumpkin?

If your pumpkin puree has standing, free water, you may want to let it sit for 30 minutes and then pour off any free water.  That will help prevent you pie from being too watery! Beyond, that, I have not found that the water makes a difference - I wouldn't be TOO concerned about it! The recipe accounts for the liquid!
Again, don't go to great lengths to remove water; the recipe accounts for the fact that fresh pumpkin is more watery than canned!

Step 6 - Puree the pumpkin

In the blender  or in a mixer. Whatever is available.

Step 7 - Done with the pumpkin!

The pumpkin is now cooked and ready for the pie recipe. 
Note: You may freeze the puree or pie filling to use it later! Just use a freezer bag or other container to exclude as much air as possible.  It should last a year or more in a deep freezer On the other hand, you may

Step 8 - Make the pie crust

Yes, I know there are ready-made pie crusts in the frozen section at the store, but they really are bland and doughy.  A flaky crust is easy to make! Again, note that unless you use large, deep dish pie plates, you may have enough for 2 pies.
It is also time to start preheating the oven.  Turn it on and set it to 425 F (210 C, for those in Europe)

Step 9 - Mix the pie contents

All the hard work is behind you! Here's where it gets really easy. If you start with a fresh 8" pie pumpkin, you will get about 3 cups of cooked, mashed pumpkin. The right amount of ingredients for this is as follows:
Mix well using a hand blender or mixer.
Note: You may substitute 4 teaspoons of "pumpkin pie spice" instead of the cinnamon, cloves, allspice and ginger.  But I think you get better results with the separate spices.

Step 10 - Pour into the pie crust

Don't be surprised if the mixture is very runny!  It may start as a soupy liquid, but it will firm up nicely in the oven! Note: the pie crust is brown because I used whole wheat flour! Tastes the same, but is healthier.
TIP: You may want to cover the exposed edges of the crust with strips of aluminum foil to prevent them from burning! Some people make their own crust cover by cutting the rim off of a disposable aluminum pie pan!
I had lots of leftover pie filling even after using it for two pies. So I took my Aunt's advice and poured the rest into another oven safe dish and baked it. So it is like a crust-less pie! 

Step 11 - Bake the pie

Bake at 425 F (210 C ) for the first 15 minutes, then turn the temperature down to 350 F  ( 175 C ) and bake another 45 to 60 minutes, until a clean knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
Here is the finished pie, right out of the oven:
I use a blunt table knife to test the pie.  The one at left has already been stuck in the pie, and you see it comes out pretty clean, when the pie is done.

Step 12 - Cool the pie

And enjoy! Warm or chilled, with whipped cream, ice cream or nothing at all - it's great!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Hawaiian Thai Chicken in a crock pot

These were really good. They don't have a name so I kinda made it up haha...

Check it out!

Awesome crock pot chicken recipe :)

Hawaiian Thai chicken

1 cup pineapple juice (add some the pineapples from the can)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup light soy sauce
And chicken. I used 2 chicken breasts. If making more chicken, I definitely suggest upping the 3 ingredients so that all the chicken can be covered.

Cook on low heat for 6-8 hours and they should just fall apart.

Homemade Artisan Bread

These turned out really good. We cut them up and used them as sandwhich bread :)

Homemade Artisan Bread
Makes 3-4 loaves ( depending on the size you want)

  • 3 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 1/2 tbsp granulated yeast
  • 1 1/2 tbsp kosher or other course salt (I used regular table salt and the bread was really really salty. I recommend if using table salt that you lower the amount.)
  • 6 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • cornmeal    for pizza peel (opt.)
1. In a very large bowl, add the flour, yeast and salt.
2. Pour in your water an stir until combined, just a few minutes.
3. Cover the bowl with foil or greased plastic wrap for 2 to 5 hours. 
4. Then, divide the dough into 3-4 loaves with a knife. cover each loaf with flour and form it into a ball.
5. Lay onto a baking sheet with a silicon baking mat or onto a pizza stone sprinkled with cornmeal. let this dough rest for about 30 or so minutes.
6. With a sharp knife, slash the top of each loaf into 3 lines or a criss cross pattern. this helps let out some steam in the dough. If you don't slash your bread, the bread will most likely make its own tear somewhere during cooking.
7. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees and add a small pan filled with 1 cup of water on a lower rack for a water bath. Bake for 30-35 minutes.
8. Place your baked bread on a baking rack to cool.


Baked Garlic Brown Sugar Pork Chops

Found the recipe on Pinterest <3 but used Pork Chops instead of chicken and upped the ingredients a little bit.
Here ya go!

 Baked Garlic Brown Sugar Pork Chops

5 Garlic cloves
5 tablespoons of brown sugar
Olive oil (or any kind of oil) ( I probably used about 2-3 tablespoons of of oil)

1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
2. In a small pan, saute garlic and oil until tender.
3.  Remove from heat and stir in brown sugar. Should be a crumbly mixture.
4. Place chicken breasts in a prepared baking dish and cover with the garlic and brown sugar mixture.
5. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes. 

(If using chicken, bake at same degree but for 15-30 minutes.)

This was a very yummy recipe :)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Nepali Milk Tea

Well, first of all, this picture is not of any milk tea that I have made but it is the original tea that I drank in Nepal. I have yet to find a recipe that 'transports' me back to Nepal so to speak. Although the recipes are good, it just isn't the same as authentic milk tea.

Anywho, for our church's mission banquet, I made some spring rolls and milk tea. So here is the recipe for the milk tea.

I'll try and have the spring rolls up soon.

Nepali Spiced Tea OR as I and other Nepalese like to call it ~ Milk Tea.

3 tablespoons black tea leaves (or 3 tea bags)     (I used Masala tea leaves that I bought in Nepal. I might have used a little more than 3 (well I did make a double batch so maybe I used 7 tbsp in total)
5 cups boiling water
1 1/4 cups milk, heated
1/3-2/3 cup sugar
4 whole cloves
2 -3 cardamom pods, cracked open (or 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom)
1 cinnamon stick  (or 1tsp of ground cinnamon)


Steep tea in boiling water.
Add milk, sugar, cloves, cardamom and cinnamon stick.
Simmer 10 minutes to blend flavors.
Strain and serve hot.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Mini banana pudding pies

James and a baby of my moms friend had a play date yesterday. So for us grown ups, I made some little mini banana pudding pies.

First I made the crust out of keebler pre crumbed graham cracker crumbs. I melted a few tablespoons of butter, added a tbsp of sugar and then enough crumbs for a good consistency  I made like 2 or 3 little batches of this for the crusts. I used a muffin pan (12 muffins) and paper cups. Once the crust was ready, I placed a slice of banana in each cup. Then I added the banana cream pudding mix that had been whisking in my mixer. Then I left it in the fridge for over an hour.

This was so deliciously yummy!!!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fried chicken!

I believe tonight was the first time I have tried fried chicken. I found the recipe really fast so I didn't realize I didn't follow the directions all the way but it turned out fine.. I don't know why this person made it so hard? haha So I'll give you all MY recipe! Slightly different than theirs...

-  Chicken breasts, cut into strips or nugget sizes.
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup of buttermilk (they called for a whole cup and I wasted all of it.. ugh.)
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese (I added this, this was not in the original recipe and it gave it a good flavor but it is optional.)
and oil to fry them in.

Directions :

1. While skillet is warming up to 375 degrees F, beat egg and buttermilk together in a bowl.
2. In a re-seal able bag, mix together : garlic powder, flour, salt, baking powder and Parmesan cheese. Dip chicken pieces into egg/buttermilk mixture then coat them in the flour mixture. Do this to all the chicken pieces (place each aside until they are all finished).
3. Now add the oil and begin placing each of the chicken pieces into the oil.
4. I cooked mine for 10-15 minutes and they came out great! It said to fry until golden brown and juices run clear.
5. Drain chicken on paper towels.

And there you go! Served great with honey mustard! hmm!!! Well, that is what I had with my chicken!

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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Crosstiching and wrapping

 For my parents anniversary I wrapped my dad's present to my mom and my mom's present to my dad. Funny. Anyways, we only had Christmas wrapping paper left so I had a pretty great idea if I do say so myself to flip the paper (depending on how the back looked). So instead of snowflakes, it was plain brown which could then be decorated in any way desired. They looked nice and simple which I like.
So since I'm home so much, I thought that I would use this time to do something constructive and enjoyable. So I'm going to TRY to cross stitch lots of little movie book marks. They will have a movie character or two with a quote underneath such as in the picture here.
I did not come up with the complete design to this, I will admit. But I did change the face and the colors to make it my own.

Anniversary Dinner

 Well, yesterday was my parents 20th wedding anniversary!! So since like the beginning of August I began to plan out a special anniversary dinner for them. All day yesterday I cooked their dinner and clean most of the house.
But for dinner I cooked Salmon (I don't eat fish so it is funny that I cooked it for them), pasta with Alfredo sauce, broccoli and cheese soup and for dessert we had sparkling grape juice and cherry cheese cake :) We had a great family night. We ended it by watching the Lorax. I have already seen in quite a few times so I cross stitched while they watched it.

For the Salmon, I found the idea on Pinterest but changed it up a bit. I Laid down 6 lemon slices on the bottom, put the 2 salmon fillets on top, then sprinkled Oregano, Basil and Parsley over the fillets, then topped them with 6 more lemon slices (I used about 6 lemons).I also took some seeds out as I went. I wrapped it in tin foil and baked it in the oven at 300 degrees for 25 minutes but this is where my cooking gets complicated. I was busy with other things so left it in the oven for maybe another 5 minutes. When I took it out and unwrapped a part of it, it didn't seem cooked (but how would I know?? I never cooked any type of fish before besides tuna fish!) So I did a quick Google search and decided to cook it longer. I turned up the heat to 350 degrees for another 10 minutes. But after 5 or 7 minutes I turned it up to 400 degrees and set the timer back for 10 minutes. After all of that it was done! It was so tender that it was falling apart when I was taking it off the lemons and onto the plate! I must say that it did look really good and unfortunately I did not take a bite (not that it lasted long anyway haha my parents gobbled it up).

I'm sorry but I forgot to take a picture of the Salmon before my parents devoured it! But here was what was left. My dad said this was probably the best fish he had ever eaten including what he has had at restaurants! That made me very happy!

Like I said, I made cheese cake for dessert. This was my first time making cheese cake ever so I was nervous but it turned out pretty yummy. The texture was off but that is something I can work on to make better. I made this on Tuesday ( a day early). The cheese cake was so warm and yummy and just calling out to me to take a bite. So I took advantage of the very large cracks in the middle and ate a crater out of it :) It was so good!

Then on Wednesday after an incident where this almost fell on the floor (thankfully it slid off the plate (the spring form plate slid off the cake stand) rather than flipping off or something.) It was easily recovered. Though I did have a mini heart attack when it fell!

We have so much broccoli and cheese soup left over! I know what all three of us will be eating for lunches for the next couple days haha ;)

Harvest time!

 One of only two cucumbers I found when I went through the plants. So sad :(
 Some beans didn't make it either but most did and were tastily enjoyed!
 Dead cucumber plant. It was like rubber or something. It swayed too much and was very much dead.

 The second cucumber I found. It grew more than the first but still died. Something got inside of it and pushed cucumber flesh out. Very sad.
 Empty garden where my cucumbers were...

 All of my dead cucumber plants.
My healthy first harvest of green beans! They were very yummy! That night, my dinner consisted of green beans and cake. haha. I was very happy with my green beans!  Can't wait to do them again!
My peas will be harvested within the next couple days. My tomato plant is still giving me tomatoes and the garlic is growing well :)

Beans and systems

 Found some beans on my bean plants on August 11!!
 Finally put a system up in August for my peas and cucumbers.

Such a nice looking plant ;)
Strings for my cucumbers...

Monday, August 6, 2012

Hot Cross Buns

So last night I went and made a list of all the things I want to try making home made. So I decided that Hot Cross Buns would be the first thing. And after one forgetful batch (forgot to add the eggs.. duh) I finally got it right and very much a success :) Yummy!!!

Hot Cross Buns
·         1 ½ cups all purpose flour 
·         1 package active dry yeast
·         1 tsp ground cinnamon

Heat and stir:
·         ¾ cup milk
·         ½ cup cooking oil
·         1/3 cup sugar
·         ½ tsp salt
Till warm. Add this to flour mixture along with 3 eggs. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for30 seconds, scraping bowl. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Using a spoon, stir in 2 to 2 ¾ cups of all purpose flour as you can. Turn out onto a floured surface. 

Knead in enough remaining flour to make a moderately soft dough (3 to 5 minutes total). 

Shape into a ball in a greased bowl. Turn once. Cover. Let rise till double size (1 ½ hours)
Punch down. Turn out onto floured surface. Cover. Let rest 10 minutes. Divide into 20 portions. Shape into smooth balls. Place 1 ½ inches apart on a greased baking sheet. Cover. Let rise til nearly double (30 to 40 minutes). Make a criss cross slash across each. Brush with 1 slightly beaten egg white. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly. Drizzle buns with powdered sugar icing. Serve warm. Makes 20.

Powdered sugar icing.
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
¼ tsp vanilla
1 tbsp milk
Mix sugar, vanilla and milk. Stir in 1 tsp of milk at a time until of drizzling consistency.

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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Microwave mug brownie

 Made a brownie in a mug in the microwave :)

1/4 cup of Flour
1/4 cup of Sugar
2 Tbsp of Cocoa

pinch of salt
2 Tbsp of Olive oil
3 Tbsp of water

Mix the dry ingredients...

Now add all the liquids.. Mix until it is well combined.

Microwave for 1minute and 30 seconds.

Caution.. this will be hot for a while so don't eat it immediatly. Let it cool :)

And now you have a one serving brownie :)

Enjoy! I did :)