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Archive for December, 2010

Happy New Year!

Today is New Year’s Eve and many people around the world have already celebrated the change to 2011.  Do you have any big party plans to ring in the new year?  We don’t and I am just fine with that.  

The Christmas decorations came down yesterday and that means today is all about house-cleaning and reorganizing.  Except, that there is a little basketball game going on in the Bluegrass today that I am going to watch.  It’s the University of Kentucky Wildcats versus the University of Louisville Cardinals!  Woo hoo!  Go Big Blue!!!!  Go Cats!!!  I guess you can tell who I root for, huh?

Anyway, C & I want to wish everyone a very happy new year and we hope 2011 is the greatest yet!

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White Christmas

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Merry Christmas

C & I want to wish everyone a very merry Christmas and a happy new year!  May you be blessed beyond measure in the coming year!

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Spotlight

Yesterday was ingredient spotlight day at Eat At Home Cooks.  This week the focus is on nuts, which is great because sometimes I feel like a really big nut!!  Wink, wink!! 

Anyway, enjoy all of the delicious looking recipes over there.

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Peanut Butter Fudge

This is the second post of my Christmas fudge recipes and it focuses on peanut butter fudge.  Yum!  I am usually a chocoholic, but sometimes I prefer peanut butter fudge to the chocolate.  This is a really simple recipe and has a wonderful buttery flavor.  I found this on www.foodnetwork.com and it is an Alton Brown recipe.  If you are a regular reader of this blog, you will know that he is my favorite Food Network chef to watch.  His show, Good Eats, breaks down the recipes and he teaches the viewer about the scientific properties of the ingredients and how they react with each other.  It is very interesting! 

I digress, though.  Back to the fudge!  The only change I would make to this is to use a little less powdered sugar.  The taste was awesome, but the texture was crumbly instead of creamy. 

1 cup butter

1 cup creamy peanut butter

1 tsp vanilla

1 lb powdered sugar

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Line a 8 or 9 inch baking pan with foil.  Spray with non-stick spray.  Put the butter and peanut butter into a large microwave safe bowl.  Microwave this combo for 2 minutes on high.  Stir to combine and microwave for another 2 minutes on high.  Add the vanilla and powdered sugar to the peanut butter mixture with a wooden spoon.

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Pour into the prepared pan and smooth.  Place a piece of waxed paper on the surface of the fudge and refrigerate until cool.  Cut into 48 pieces and store in an airtight container for up to one week, if it lasts that long.

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Menu Plan Monday

It’s Christmas week, folks, and that means I will be spending lots and lots of time in the kitchen.  Shew!  I am tired already…but it will all be worth it when we sit down with family and enjoy the fruits of my and others labors.  After this week, I think I may be ready for a little kitchen downtime.  I love to cook, but it’s time for a few days rest after the Christmas hustle and bustle.  New Year’s weekend is looking like a good time to enjoy the fruits of other people’s (namely restaurants) labors. 

This week is jammed packed with candy, dessert, main and side dishes.  Here is what I have planned:

Monday: pizza night (might be a late work night, so I decided to keep it simple)

Tuesday: ham slices & roasted potatoes-I will probably also make hamburger stew for my dad and in-laws for Wednesday night.

Wednesday: Sausage bake & fruit

Thursday: take out of some sort-I start my holiday weekend that day and will spend it making candy for Christmas Eve.

Friday: Peanut brittle (recipe coming soon), divinity (recipe coming soon), chocolate pecan fudge, peanut butter fudge, sweet potato casserole (recipe coming soon), butter roasted potatoes (recipe coming soon), Faux Red Lobster cheesy biscuits (recipe coming soon)

Saturday: Salisbury steak, butter roasted potatoes, Cole slaw, Faux Red Lobster biscuits, Oreo pie

I also want to show off a couple of things that I did this weekend.  I made candy gift bags for my co-workers and a few other workers at the judicial center.

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I also made an Italian Cream cake for C’s big family Christmas party which was held yesterday.

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I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas and gets everything that their heart desires!!

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Easy Chocolate Pecan Fudge

It is Christmas season and that means celebrating Jesus Christ’s birthday around here with food and family.  I love all of the homemade candy that gets made around the holiday, especially fudge.  For some reason, I have never found a recipe that ended with a batch of smooth, creamy, rich fudge.  Mine has always either been gritty or does not set up and I have fudge soup. 

I was searching the internet a little while ago and found this recipe for easy chocolate fudge.  Yeah, right!  I’ll just see about that.  I even made it more of a challenge by making it on a rainy day.  Did you know that the higher the humidity, the more difficult it is for candy to harden?  Try making divinity on a rainy day and see what I mean.  Well, on second thought, don’t.  You will just be wasting your ingredients; just take my word for it instead.  I learned the hard way!  By the way, I found this recipe at www.verybestbaking.com.  The only change I made was to use pecans instead of walnuts.

This recipe lived up to its names.  It is easy and turned out great!

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk

1 cup chopped & toasted pecans

1 tsp vanilla extract

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Line a 8 or 9 inch square baking dish with foil and set aside.  Combine chocolate chips & milk in a heavy saucepan.  Warm over low to low-medium heat, stirring until smooth.  Remove from heat and nuts and vanilla.

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Spread evenly into the foil-lined pan.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until firm.  Lift the fudge out of the pan and peel off the foil.  Cut into 48 pieces and enjoy!  Come back next week for a great peanut butter fudge recipe!

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Come join the fun at the My Baking Addiction and GoodLife Eats Holiday Recipe Swap sponsored by Scharffen Berger.

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Vote for me!!!

In the last couple of months, I have started entering online contests sponsored by other bloggers.  I haven’t won anything yet except, hopefully, a few new readers, and that is the main reason why I have been “linking up” my recipes with other blogs!

I have had some really favorable comments and I want to keep them coming.  Right now, My Baking Addiction and goodLife Eats are sponsoring a comfort food challenge and the winner receives a Le Creuset French Oven!  Oh my goodness…I am drooling right now.  I have always thought that Le Creuset cookware was beautiful, but I have never owned a piece of it. 

Voting starts December 17th at 12:00am and if you have time, I would greatly appreciate your vote at either blog.  You only have to vote at one because they are linked together.  Here is the list of recipes that I have submitted:

Chili

Salisbury Steaks

Sloppy Joes

Spicy Beef Vegetable Soup

Banana Pancakes

Peanut Butter Pancakes

Taco Soup

Cinnamon Bun Pancakes

Thanks in advance for your vote!!!

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Menu Plan Monday

It seems like just yesterday that I was making last week’s plan, and it is time to do another one.  Time goes by so fast and sometimes it is hard to stop and enjoy yourself.  There never seems to be enough time in a day to do all of the things that I would like to do!  I guess most people feel this way, but I wish there was a way to just say “Done!” and all of the boring chores would just magically be finished and I could do all of the fun things that I don’t seem to have time for.  Oh, well. 

At least I do make time for cooking. It is one of my greatest joys and brings me a lot of happiness and satisfaction, especially when I get to see people enjoy it! 

Last week’s plan went great except for the dessert.  I didn’t have enough eggs to make the cake.  Oops!  Good planning there, huh?  I made some fudge instead and those recipes will be on here in the coming weeks.  This week starts our Christmas celebrations.  One night my co-workers plus C & I will be traveling to a nearby town to watch “The Christmas Story” play and eat out for our Christmas party.  Then next weekend, C’s granny is having her Christmas meal.  There is a large family so they try to have their dinner on an “off” day during the holidays.

Spicy beef vegetable soup

Beef taco ring

Pizza night

Baked ham

Hamburgers and fried potatoes

Tomato soup & grilled cheese sandwiches

Italian Cream cake

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Moist Caramel Apple Cake

One of the recipe e-mail newsletters that I subscribe to is from Kraft Foods.  There are always easy, delicious recipes for main dishes and desserts, alike.  This is one of those recipes. 

I had bought a few Granny Smith apples at the grocery to bake something, I just didn’t know what at the time.  When I received this recipe, I knew I had to try it!  It is so easy and so good.  The only thing I changed from the original was the caramel sauce.  The original recipe called for melting caramel candies with milk.  I did not have any caramel candies, but I did have caramel ice cream topping so I used that instead.

1 pkg yellow cake mix

1 3.4oz pkg instant vanilla pudding

1 cup water

4 eggs

1/3 cup oil

3 Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped

Caramel ice cream topping

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a Bundt pan.  Here is a little side note:  I have read other people extolling the virtues of Baker’s Joy, which is a non-stick spray that includes flour for prepping pans.  I splurged a little at the grocery store and bought a can.  Love it!  It worked great for the Bundt pan and got in all of the nooks and crannies.

Beat first 5 ingredients on low speed until blended.  Beat on high for 2 minutes.  Stir in apples and pour into the prepared pan.

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Bake for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.  Cool in the pan for 15 minutes.  Loosen cake from sides of pan and invert on to a cake plate or wire rack.  Cool completely.

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Just look at those apple pieces in there.  Yum!  That is the great thing about Granny Smith apples.  Even after baking for an hour, the pieces are still crunchy.

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When you are ready to serve, place a slice of cake on a plate and drizzle with caramel sauce.

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