Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Nutella Snacks

If you have not yet discovered Nutella, you are totally missing out!!!  The first time I tried this delectable treat was when I was visiting Mozambique with a group called Care For Life. They are an amazing non profit organization that goes to Mozambique and teaches the people the skills they need to have a better chance of survival.

One night we were all sitting around chatting about the next days events out came the Nutella from someones suitcase.  We ate in on a regular ol piece of bread, and I'll tell ya, that bread wasn't so regular after that!  Delicious!!!

One day, about a year ago, Nutella came back into my life. My mom had made some snacks for us while we were hanging at their house.  She made the usual, celery with peanut butter and then decided to try some nutella on the celery.  Man oh Man was it good!  This is a super easy after school snack for your kids! Give it a try, everything is better when Nutella is involved!

Nutella Snacks


Wash celery and cut into desired size pieces.  Spread Nutella into the groove of the celery stick.  Scarf!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Joyce's Toffee

A while back, some friends of ours came over for a visit.  She (Joyce) made us this toffee for a holiday treat.  It was simply divine!  I've never tasted toffee so delicious. I wish I was an amazing writer so that I could put into words, just how scrumptious this toffee was! But I'm not... so you'll just have to try it for yourself. Or take my word for it, but that's kind of lame.  Trying it offers so many more benefits than just taking my word for it.

You will want to get a good heavy frying pan for this recipe. Make it big, because the mixture does boil.

 Also, you will need to use your senses when cooking this one.  You will be watching for smoke.  That tells you that you are starting to burn the sugars just enough to crystallize them. You will also want to follow your sense of smell.  It will start to smell really yummy just before you get to the right stages.  It will also turn a nice toffee color when it is just about ready. So watch for that. 

Shown below are different variations.  Some with Almond slivers, some that are plain and some with chocolate.  I think the almond slivers with out chocolate are my favorite! To add an even better flavor, toast the almonds ahead of time!

Joyce's Toffee

4 cubes butter (1 lb)
1/2 C dark Karo Syrup
1/2 C Water
2 C Sugar
1/4 lb chopped almonds (optional)
Chocolate chips or grated chocolate bar (optional)

Melt butter, then add sugar and mix in. Then add all other ingredients into a big fry pan or skillet. When the mixture begins to boil, add almonds (if desired) and turn down heat to medium. Boil and stir constantly at medium heat until it smokes. (Don't mistake smoke for steam. The toffee will turn a nice toffee color. It takes about 10-11 minutes depending on your stove.) When it starts smoking, pour onto a greased pan. Pour chocolate chips or grated chocolate bar over the hot toffee mixture.(if desired) When melted, spread over the toffee. Top with more almonds if desired.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Mashed Potato Layer Bake

I hope that everyone had a great Thanksgiving! We did!  I've had some sick kiddos the past couple of weeks, so I apologize for not posting.  But hey, there's no one more important to me that my husband and children.

This year, my sister-in-law brought this delicious dish to our Thanksgiving dinner. No lie, I could have eaten the whole pan... yeah it was THAT good!  She got the recipe from Kraft. I like how simple it is to make and yet tastes like you slaved over the hot stove all day. 

To cook the potatoes, you can bake them at 350 degrees until tender or just cube them and boil them until tender.  I've even cooked potatoes in the microwave for about 5-10 minutes until tender. For the best flavor, I'd probably bake them. If you have the time that is.

Mashed Potato Layer Bake

3-1/4 lb. baking potatoes (about 7), peeled, chopped and cooked
 1/2 lb.  sweet potatoes (about 3), peeled, chopped and cooked
 1 tub (8 oz.) Chive & Onion Cream Cheese divided
 1/2 cup  Sour Cream, divided
 1/4 tsp. Salt
¼ tsp Pepper
 1/4 cup  shredded or grated Parmesan Cheese, divided
 1/4 cup Cheddar Cheese, divided

Heat oven to 375°F.

Place potatoes in separate bowls. Add half each of the cream cheese spread and sour cream to each bowl; season with salt and pepper. Mash until creamy.

Stir half the Parmesan into white potatoes. Stir half the Cheddar into sweet potatoes. Layer half each of the potatoes in 2-qt. clear casserole. Repeat layers.

Bake 15 min. Top with remaining cheeses; bake 5 min. or until melted.

Make Ahead- Assemble casserole as directed, but do not add the cheese topping. Refrigerate casserole and cheese topping separately up to 3 days. When ready to serve, bake casserole (uncovered) as directed, increasing baking time as needed until casserole is heated through. Top with remaining cheeses and continue as directed.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Perfect Apple Pie

You can't have Thanksgiving without pie right?  This pie is a definite must!!

Perfect Apple Pie

6 cups thinly sliced, peeled apples (6 medium)
¾ cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon lemon juice.

1 Refrigerated pie crust

Heat oven to 425°F. Place 1 pie crust in ungreased 9-inch glass pie plate. Press firmly against side and bottom.

In large bowl, gently mix filling ingredients; spoon into crust-lined pie plate. Top with second crust. Wrap excess top crust under bottom crust edge, pressing edges together to seal; flute. Cut slits or shapes in several places in top crust.

Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until apples are tender and crust is golden brown. Cover edge of crust with 2- to 3-inch wide strips of foil after first 15 to 20 minutes of baking to prevent excessive browning.

Cool on cooling rack at least 2 hours before serving

This recipe came from Pillsbury 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sweet and Sour Sauce

Here is a yummy sweet and sour sauce to go with yesterday's post for some delicious Egg Rolls.  My Husband is really great with his sauces.  It works perfect, because usually I eat foods for their sauce.  When I'm pregnant and hungry but not sure what to eat... he just goes through a list of sauces and then makes a meal to center around that sauce.  No lie!  What a husband I've got!!

Sweet and Sour Sauce

¼ cup water
2 tbsp corn starch

¼ cup ketchup
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup water
¼ cup rice vinegar

Stir in ¼ cup water with corn starch and set aside.  In a small pot boil first 4 ingredients and bring to a boil.  Boil for 3-4 minutes.  Stir in corn starch mixture.  Boil for about a minute, or until thickened. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Egg Rolls

The other night my hubby and I decided we wanted to have a little party.  I have been craving his Lettuce Wraps lately and he had promised to make some for a few people.  So we made a party out of it. I decided to take a whack at egg rolls. I have to admit, I'm pretty impressed with how they turned out! 

Next time I would change a couple of things to make them even better....noted below.  Stay tuned tomorrow for the sweet and sour sauce that Trever made to go with these!

Egg Rolls

1 Pkg Cole slaw mix
1 chicken breast cooked and shredded
½ cup chopped green onion
1/3 cup soy sauce (next time I will try ¼ cup)
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chopped or ground ginger
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
2 tbsp butter (next time I'd leave this out)
½ c. diced celery
1 Tbsp Hoisen Sauce (not necessary if you don't have it, but is super yummy with it)
2 Tbsp sugar (next time I would do all brown sugar)
1 Tbsp brown sugar

14-16 egg roll wrappers

Melt butter in a large skillet, toss in all other ingredients (except for the egg roll wrappers) and sauté until crisp tender. Place egg roll wrappers with one corner towards you. Scoop desired amount of filling into a wrapper, roll and fry in a skillet or deep fryer until golden brown.

(Drain the liquids from the mixture as you scoop it onto the wrapper. You don't want it too moist.)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Libby's Pumpkin Roll

I'm back!!  Two weeks ago, we had another precious spirit join our family.  We now have 5 beautiful daughters! I am so very blessed.  Recovery has been wonderful and I'm excited to cook again.  Although it was so nice having meals taken care of by my sweet MIL and friends. It really helped cut my recovery time down a lot. I've enjoyed soaking in all of the resting and snuggling with my little pumpkin.

That leads me into today's post.  What is the holiday's without pumpkin right? Like I said a couple of weeks ago, we had a pumpkin party with some friends and had some yummy dishes come out of it.  I'm still trying to track down a few of the recipes, so "pumpkin week" will turn into sporadic pumpkin recipes through out the month.

Today's recipe is the one I took to the party.  Leave it to me to make mine a dessert :)  I remember the first time I ate a pumpkin roll.  My dear friend Amber brought it over to my house one day when we were hanging out.  At that time, I had never even tried pumpkin pie, and had no desire to ever try anything pumpkin.  I ate a piece just so I didn't hurt her feelings.  Who knew that moment would change my life forever!!  I love pumpkin rolls!!!  Thanks Amber for showing me the brighter side of life.  (In so many ways)

Libby's Pumpkin Roll

1/4 cup powdered sugar (to sprinkle on towel)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Powdered sugar (optional for decoration)

PREHEAT oven to 375° F. Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan; line with wax paper. Grease and flour paper. Sprinkle a thin, cotton kitchen towel with powdered sugar.

COMBINE flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in small bowl. Beat eggs and granulated sugar in large mixer bowl until thick. Beat in pumpkin. Stir in flour mixture. Spread evenly into prepared pan. Sprinkle with nuts.

BAKE for 13 to 15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched. (If using a dark-colored pan, begin checking for doneness at 11 minutes.) Immediately loosen and turn cake onto prepared towel. Carefully peel off paper. Roll up cake and towel together, starting with narrow end. Cool on wire rack.

BEAT cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar, butter and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until smooth. Carefully unroll cake. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake. Re roll cake. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving, if desired.

Be sure to put enough powdered sugar on the towel when rolling up the cake so it will not stick.

I quintupled (x5) the recipe to be able to freeze a few. The amount of pumpkin you would use is the entire large can of pumpkin puree.To Freeze, just cook them according to the instructions and wrap in foil and plastic wrap and throw in the freezer.  Take it out and thaw for a little bit.  It's really good served cold.

Recipe from Very Best Baking