Saturday, December 17, 2011

Deviled Eggs

I'm sure there are people that think it's crazy to have a post about deviled eggs. But in all seriousness, this is the first time I've ever made them.  I have never thought of making them before. Maybe it's because they always remind me of a holiday or big family-gathering food.  And they always seemed like a hard thing to make, when in reality, they are super easy. I of course had to call my mom to find out how she makes them. I remember them being REALLY good, and wanted to make them like she does.
Boiling Eggs!

The first thing you have to do is boil your eggs. Now I have a special way of boiling eggs that I learned from the Food Network. You put your eggs in cold water then bring to a boil. Boil for ONE minute, then remove from heat.  For hard boiled eggs, let sit for 10 minutes.  For some reason, the eggs come out perfect when cooked like this, and the yolks have a golden orange color as opposed to the powdery yellow (sometimes greenish) color.  Once the 10 minutes are up, pour out water and re-cover eggs with cold water.
Cold bath

My post-baby brain caused me to almost reach into the pot of super hot water to grab an egg before having them sit in cold water. I don't know why, but I remembered right before I touched the scalding hot water. Phew! Now for the hardest part: Pealing the eggs. This either goes REALLY easy and good for me, or downright bad.  I boiled 6 eggs and had 5 and 1 lonely yolk once all were peeled. Once all your eggs are peeled, slice eggs in half (longways) and 'pop' the yolk out of the eggs into a small bowl.
See? Nice golden color

Once you have all the yolks in a bowl, mash with fork and add mayonnaise and mustard.  You can add anything you want, but I just made basic Deviled Eggs.  Combine until creamy. Then spoon back into the empty eggs.  I know some people pipe the egg mixture into the eggs, but I'm just not that fancy!
Popped out pretty easily

All mixed together!

The cool thing about deviled eggs is that they are customizable. You want relish in them? Add it! Hate mustard? Don't use it! They are that easy! When I make these again, I will use a bit more mustard, because you couldn't really taste it. I wanted the tang I remember my moms having. Maybe though, it's just one of those things our mom's will always make better.

6 Eggs
About 1/4 Cup mayo (a little more, a little less)
Mustard (add to preferred taste)

Hard Boil Eggs
Peel Eggs
Slice in half longways
Pop Out Yolks into bowl
Mash Yolks with a fork
Add desired amount of mayo and mustard until creamy.
Spoon into halved eggs.
Refrigerate about an hour before eating. 

In case I don't get a chance to post next week (Bowl week and Christmas), Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Blueberry French Toast

One of the things served at my bridal shower almost 6 years ago was this really delicious Blueberry French Toast. It was so good, and although I have had this recipe for oh, like 5 years, I only just made this for the first time on Easter. It was a huge hit. I know I talk about my daughter a lot, but when your two year old really likes something, it's a VERY good thing. And she liked this breakfast. There is a bit of prep for this breakfast as it requires preparing the night before. But it is WELL worth it.
Ingredients (Salt was an oops)

The first thing you need to do for this recipe is to buy the bread. It works best with day old bread. I have used fresh (bought and prepped same day), but the bread absorbs more if it is a day old.  Now when I went to the grocery store on Friday, I got a baguette of french bread FRESH OUT OF THE OVEN. It took all my willpower not to rip into that divine smelling, warm bread. A lot of breads will have the date they were bagged on them, so check because you may be buying one that was bagged the day before. So you would want to use it that night.  Once your bread is 'day old' you are ready to start preparing your french toast! Slice bread into even (about an inch to an inch and a half) slices. If they aren't even it's okay. Mine rarely are. You then lay them flat in a buttered 9x13 dish.
Yes those little fingers did steal a piece
All lined up in your dish

Then it's on to the egg mixture.  I find it easier to put your brown sugar, nutmeg, and vanilla in the bowl first before the eggs or milk. I give the dry stuff a quick stir, than add the eggs and stir all that up. Then slowly add the milk. For me, I've found that doing it that way makes it mix up a bit more uniformly. I always end up with some brown sugar stuck to the bottom of the bowl no matter how hard I stir or whisk. So don't worry if you do too. Once everything is mixed you pour it over your bread. Flip each piece of bread to make sure it is well coated. Then cover with tinfoil and refrigerate overnight.
How it looks before going in the fridge.
After it's overnight soak.

In the morning, take out your pan, remove the tin foil and let sit while your prepare the rest to let some of the chill off.  Melt butter and brown sugar in a saucepan together until butter is fully melted.  Top bread with blueberries and drizzle bread and blueberries with your brown sugar butter mixture. 
Looks good even with uncooked egg

Pop into preheated oven for about 25 minutes.  Now, I usually let cook for the full 25min and then using a spatula smoosh the blueberries a bit to let the juices out. I do this for 2 reasons. The first being, I like having the blueberry smeared every where.  The second: It's not fun when a not so hot feeling blueberry bursts molten juice in your or your child's mouth. Really. Not. Fun. In fact it involves lots of crying (yes I am talking about myself). So, I give those babies a quick smoosh and then I pop the whole thing back in the oven for about 5 extra minutes. I like crispier bread and it gives the bread a chance to absorb some of the blueberry juice.  Now today because Craig had to work, I didn't do the extra 5 minute cooking and it was still good. Also, the blueberries resisted most of my spatula attack. So we just made sure we popped the one's on Kae's french toast when we cut it up. 
Fresh out of the oven (before attacking blueberries)

As I said, there is a good deal of prep for this meal. But the end result is so good. I love that the flavor is so good, you don't need to add anything (like syrup) to it. It's delish all on its own.

1 baguette (day old)
5 eggs
1 1/2c milk
3/4c packed brown sugar (divided)
1tsp vanilla extract
1/2tsp ground nutmeg
4TBS butter (Cut into pieces)
2 Cups blueberries

Butter 9x13 pan.
Cut baguette into 1- 1 1/2 inch slices. Arrange in even layer in pan.
Whisk eggs, milk, 1/2 cup brown sugar, vanilla and nutmeg in bowl and pour evenly over bread.
Turn bread slices to make sure they are coated.
Chill Overnight.
*Next morning*
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Take dish out of pan and let sit for about 20min to take chill off.
Sprinkle blueberries over bread.
Combine butter and 1/4 cup brown sugar in small saucepan, until butter is melted. Drizzle over bread.
Bake 25 minutes or until blueberry juices are bubbling.

Now it's time to watch the Patriots/Redskins game. My two favorite teams, playing each other. It's a win/win! Happy Sunday!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Mug Cake

After my cupcake frenzy last weekend, I had promised myself I would eat better this weekend.  Well, after a VERY stressful day Thursday, I cheated.  Then today Craig and I splurged and got Sushi for dinner. It was DELISH. I haven't had sushi in months, and when I did, it was raw-fish free (thanks pregnancy!).  So I was super excited for it. The only bad was that once I was done eating, I was hungry like 30min later. So we decided to make something little and sweet that we could all split. I searched on the interweb and found a recipe for 90 second nutella chocolate cake. I hate nutella, so I thought... Why not replace it with peanut butter?? End result? Chocolatey warm yummy-ness. It was also really quick and easy to make.
Ingredients (short the egg)

Now I've made these mug/ramekin chocolate things (like brownies) before and have HATED them. I always thought that the batter would smell nice, but once cooked, it always tasted less than stellar.  For some reason (glutton for punishment maybe?) I keep trying them.  I thought that with the peanut butter, this one would maybe taste better than the others. If not, well hey, there's always a first time for a "This was nasty" post. Course not this time =0)
So you take all the ingredients and mix them together in a small bowl. I added chocolate chips because EVERYTHING is better with chocolate chips. You then pour your batter into a greased mug or ramekin. I used a ramekin.
All lovin, no oven!

Pop it in the microwave for 1 minute. That should cook it all the way through, if not, cook for 15 second intervals. I've had to do that a few times with the mug recipes. You can either pop the cake out on to a plate to eat, or eat it right out of the dish. We chose to eat it right out of the ramekin. It actually was a lot better than I expected. It was very moist and the chocolate chips added a nice surprise into each bite. Craig said he was surprised by how good it was. It didn't have as much of a peanut butter flavor as I thought it would. The batter smelled REALLY peanut buttery, but the end result wasn't that strong. I'd add more peanut butter if I make this again.

1TBS Cocoa Powder
1TBS Flour
1TBS Brown Sugar
1/4tsp Baking Soda
2TBS Peanut Butter
1 Egg
Large Handful Chocolate Chips (more or less to your preference) 

Mix first 6 ingredients in small bowl. 
Add Chocolate Chips
Pour batter into greased ramekin/mug
Cook in Microwave on high 1 min. (15 second intervals after if not cooked completely)
Eat immediately and enjoy!

Hope you guys like this spur-of-the-moment dessert as much as we did! And stay tuned tomorrow for my Blueberry French Toast.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Crock Pot Chicken and Dumplings

This is a dinner I have REALLY been looking forward to making. I love soupy/stewy/chilli type meals when it starts to get cold out. I have hardly ever used the crock pot. In fact, I believe I used it once and the meal turned out to be a mess. A super, barely any taste mess. So I've usually left the crock pot cooking to Craig and his super yummy chilli.
When I saw this recipe for Crock Pot Chicken and Dumplings on Pinterest, I thought "Hey! A recipe even I can't screw up!"
Ingredients (minus the biscuits that I forgot to take out of the fridge) 
Now, the recipe I found called for 1LB of Chicken Breast. If you can find a package of Chicken Breast for less than 2lbs.. Yay you!  I could not, so I doubled the recipe. Which was VERY good since both Craig and I had seconds and we still had enough for leftovers. You start by taking your chicken breasts and laying them in the bottom of your crock pot.  You then top the chicken with butter.
Raw Chicken and Butter. Umm, yum??

Then you pour your Chicken Broth and Condensed Chicken Soup on top of your chicken. It looks really unappealing after you pour all that in. But once it starts cooking, it smells really good. Totally confused my daughter, who kept asking if dinner was ready.
I will not say what this looks like.

Once everything is in your Crock Pot, set on high and cook for 4-6 hours.  I cooked mine for 5 hours.  You then carefully (seriously: CAREFULLY) remove your chicken breasts and shred with a fork. It will be very hot and should be extremely easy to shred.  
What your chicken should look like

You then put the chicken back into the crock pot. Again, do this carefully. As I learned, letting the chicken splash back in and splatter HURTS. Take your refrigerated biscuits (i.e: Pillsbury Grands and the like) and cut into pieces. I quartered each biscuit. 
Cut up biscuits.
Carefully drop the biscuit pieces into the crock pot and give everything a stir. Re-cover your crock pot and continue cooking on high for an additional 30 minutes. 
All Done
Ready to Eat
This meal came out a lot better than I expected. It was like a creamy chicken noodle soup, but with dumplings instead of noodles.  It got 2 thumbs up (and seconds from myself and Craig) and most importantly, a "Delicious" from Kaedence.

2LBS Boneless, skinless Chicken Breast
4 Cans (10.5oz) Cream of Chicken Soup
2 Cans (14oz) Chicken Broth
1 Can Refrigerated Biscuits 
4 TBS Butter

Lay Breasts in bottom of crock pot, top with butter.
Add Soup and Broth, cook on High 4-6 hours
Remove Chicken, shred with fork. Return to Pot
Cut up Biscuits, add to pot and stir. 
Continue cooking on high for 30 min.
Serve immediately. 

Hope you enjoy this savory, warm dinner!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Pepperoni & Cheese Crescent Rolls

When my husband is away, I like to make and eat food that he normally wouldn't eat. I'm a big fan of snacky foods, especially since my 2 1/2 year old doesn't eat much. I feel it's really a waste to make an elaborate sized meal for the 2 of us. For dinner last night, I wanted something quick and easy to make. I saw this recipe on Pinterest and thought I would try it out. It is super easy, cheap, and fast! And the best part: my daughter LOVED them.

Pepperoni & Cheese Crescent Rolls
Now, my husband probably would eat these as a snack or during a football game when we tend to eat more 'junky' type foods. 

Like I said, this was super easy. Only THREE ingredients. How many dinner's do we make that only involve 3 things? Not many.  Now, you can pretty much use any type/flavor of cheese, we used Mozzarella. It's Kaedence's favorite and she loves the Harris Teeter brand string cheese. I used to be against using store brand products, basically out of spoiled-ness and the assumption that 'store brand' meant cheap/bad tasting food. Not so! I LOVE the Harris Teeter brand products.  I would have gone with HT crescent rolls, but the Pillsbury ones were on sale and I had a coupon.  We also spent a bit more on Nitrate-free Pepperoni. We actually don't buy regular pepperoni anymore.   The first thing you do is lay out the crescents on a baking sheet. I did four at a time (8 in the roll), since they were easier to roll up. I then chopped up my pepperoni and laid them on larger end of the crescents.
MMMM Pepperoni

Then I cut my string cheese in half and laid those on top of the pepperoni. Then I slowly rolled up the crescent as I would if I was making the regular rolls. I then tried sealing in the sides around the cheese. It worked better on some then others as you will see.
Ready to be rolled up!
Ready for the oven

Then you bake them according to the cresent roll package. I would probably leave them in a minute or 2 more depending on how crispy and brown you like your crescents. As is, I cooked mine for the full amount of time they requested. I had some cheesey explosions, but I liked it. Extra crispy cheese, yummy!
Ready to eat! (Something tells me I should ask Santa for a new baking sheet)
Doesn't this look delish?

And you're done! This meal took all of 20 minutes to make and cook.  They were really yummy, and the only thing I would change would be to seal the ends better and cook them for a minute longer. They weren't as brown as I usually like. But that is just my preference.

1 can Crescent Rolls
4 sticks String Cheese cut in half (I used Harris Teeter Mozzarella)
8 Large Pepperoni chopped up (You can use more or less depending on your preference)

Preheat oven according to Crescent Roll package (mine was 350degrees)
Lay out crescents on baking sheet
Lay pepperoni on long side of crescent.
Top with half a string cheese
Carefully roll up into crescent roll shape, try to seal in sides.
Bake according to crescent roll package.

No baking this weekend for me as there are a few holiday events going on in town, and FREE cupcakes! So, I'm going to be partaking in that with my little munchkin instead of baking. I certainly cannot pass up to have one of my favorite desserts (being cupcakes) and free ones to boot! Hope you all have a fantastic weekend!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Hidden Kiss & White Chocolate Gingerbread Thumbprints.

For the last football game of the season, I decided to make Hidden Kiss and White Chocolate Gingerbread Thumbprints. I ended up being really frazzled and rushed for time today. Why? Well, it seems to take EXTRA long for butter to soften if your house is not that warm. So, I totally misjudged the amount of time I would need to make both cookies. I also had an issue with Ariana (my almost 2 month old) not wanting to be put down. But, I managed to get them both made.
It is NOT easy to make cookies like this!

Hidden Kiss Cookies
When I originally saw this cookie recipe, they were called 'Forgotten' instead of Hidden. I thought 'Hidden' made more sense given that you are essentially hiding the Kiss (or Hug as I used both) in the cookie dough. 
 All the ingredients

Now, because I wasn't paying to much attention as I begin to make this cookie, I had no idea until I was making it that this recipe is egg-free. So the cookie ends up being more of a Shortbread cookie instead of a chocolate chip cookie like I was first expecting.  Also, I will warn you that because of the lack of egg, it took a lot longer to mix the flour into the butter/sugar/vanilla mixture. It was also tougher to stir in the mini M&M's. Not impossible, and by no means would I not make these cookies again, just making you aware.
Finished Cookie Dough

Kaedence really liked eating this dough, and being egg-free I was totally ok with it. Weird how I have no problem eating dough with raw egg in it myself (Salmonella anyone?) but it freaks me out to let my daughter.
Now, just like last week's cookies, I totally recommend opening up your Kiss's ahead of time. I used Hershey's Special Dark and Hershey's Hugs (since I had some left from last week).
Hugs & Kisses

I found it super easy to 'hide' the candy. It was MUCH easier than hiding the Oreo's I did last week.  I just took a glob of cookie dough, pushed the Kiss/Hug into it, folded the dough up and then rolled it into a ball. Then onto a cookie sheet they went and into the oven.
 Big Helper and dough balls ready for the oven.
Finished Cookie!

These cookies tasted pretty good. I tried taking a picture of how the middle looked, but my pictures didn't come out as well as I had hoped.
You can see the chunk of chocolate (this was a Dark Chocolate Kiss), but the picture came out a bit blurry. I won't lie, if I made these again, I would use a basic chocolate chip recipe and substitute the chips for M&M's. I love the shortbread taste, my husband does not. I've actually made shortbread cookies before, and he was not a fan. So just for that I would switch it up.
1 Cup Softened Butter
1/3 Cup Sugar 
1/3 Cup Light Brown Sugar (packed) 
1 Teaspoon Vanilla 
2 Cups Flour 
1 Cup Mini M&ms 
1 9oz. Bag Hershey Kisses (I used Dark and Hugs)
Preheat over to 375 degrees F.
In a large bowl, beat butter, sugars, and vanilla until smooth.

Add the flour and stir until well mixed.
Stir in mini M&M's.
Mold a tablespoon of cookie dough around each Kiss, covering completely. Shape into balls.
Place on ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake for 10-12 minutes

White Chocolate Gingerbread Thumbprints

I attempted a similar recipe to this last year. I saw it in a McCormick Spice Holiday recipe pamphlet. It used Hugs pushed into the middle of a Gingerbread cookie (like the peanut butter blossoms). So last year I made them from scratch. I hated them. Really, REALLY hated them. Not only is gingerbread SUPER hard and time consuming to make (you have to refrigerate overnight), I came to the realization that I cannot stand the smell of Molasses. I had no idea how BAD molasses smells. Who would have thought that when molasses cookies taste SOOO good?!?! Oh and the cookies I attempted last year also ended up as flat as paper. So when grocery shopping last Sunday and carousing the baking isle, I came across a Betty Crocker gingerbread cookie mix. Yes people, I cheated again and used a pre-made mix. And I am VERY happy I did! 
  All the ingredients (minus the water) to make the cookie dough.

This recipe also called for softened butter, so make sure you have enough time for that to happen! It was super easy to mix and smelled DELIGHTFUL. Reminded me of Christmas cookies.
Once the dough was mixed, I took chunks of dough and rolled them into about 1 inch balls. I then rolled them through white sugar and placed them on baking sheets.
 Ready for the oven!

Then into the oven they went. My whole house smelled divine while these babies were cooking. I'm pretty sure my dog even licked the oven.  Once the cookies were done and out of the oven, I immediatly pushed white chocolate chips into each cookie. I found it easy to make a imprint (hint the name) with my finger in each cookie and then push in the white chocolate chips. That way they didn't roll off the cookie onto the pan. I will warn you, the cookies will be HOT. So do so at your own risk.
Out of the oven and ready for their decorations!

These cookies tasted FANTASTIC. There is nothing better than a good gingerbread cookie. And the white chocolate added a bit of sweetness to the spicy cookie. 
Finished Cookie!

1 Pkg. Betty Crocker Gingerbread Cookie Mix
1 Egg
1 Tablespoon Water
Sugar (less than half a cup)
White Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 350 Degrees
Mix Dough according to package (butter, egg, water and mix)
Roll dough into 1 inch balls
Coat balls in sugar
Place on ungreased baking sheet
Bake for 10 min
Remove and immediately place 4-6 chips in middle of each cookie.
Cool completely. 

Thanks for reading! Hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving and here's to hoping for a great weekend of College Football!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

NC State Peanut Butter Blossoms and Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

So this past weekend for the NC State/Clemson football game, I tackled Peanut Butter Blossoms and Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies. Be forewarned... My camera is not that great, so in turn my pictures.. Well, they leave a lot to be desired. But, I am assured that I will be getting a new one for Christmas, so my pictures *Should* improve.

Red Peanut Butter Blossoms:
I decided to make one of my husbands favorite cookies, Peanut Butter Blossoms/Kiss Cookies. The spin on it this time was that I was going to dye the dough red (Didn't exactly work out) and use Hershey Hugs instead of my go to of Dark Chocolate Kisses. And because I was in a bit of a rush last weekend, I cheated and used Betty Crocker Peanut Butter Cookie mix instead of making the dough from scratch. Heck, 2 kids and one that is literally attached to me every 2 hours should allow for some shortcuts.... Right?

So I made the dough as it said on the package and tried to dye it red..... It really didn't come out that red and I didn't want to use too much. But, I did have red iridescent sugar I was planning on rolling it in, so I was hoping that would make up for the lack of dye.

This is Kaedence being SUPER excited to help. Or just eat the Hugs (which she calls big chocolate chips).
Who doesn't love sparkly sugar?!?!  And RED sparkly sugar at that.
So as I said, I made the dough then  rolled them in to roughly 1 inch balls. Then they were rolled through their beauty treatment of red sugar.  Then I lined them up on a baking sheet and popped them in the oven.
Ok, so not exactly uniform in size.

So while they were baking, I opened up all the Hugs I would need for that batch, minus the ones my daughter stole. I find it easier to have the candy ready as you have to shove them into the cookie as soon as they are out of the oven.  Once the cookies were done, I popped the hugs into the middle of each cookie and then left them to cool. You need to leave them to cool for awhile as the Hug will melt and as Kaedence found out, it is very easy to smoosh the Hug.
Finished Cookies!

1 Pkg Betty Crocker Peanut Butter Cookies
1 Egg
Oil and water according to package
1 Pkg Hershey Hugs (You will not use all)
Decorative Sugar... I used Cake Mate Red Crystals
*I also used Red food coloring, but I wouldn't recommend it with the packaged mix.*

Mix cookie dough according to package.
Roll dough into 1 inch balls.
Roll through sugar, coating well. Reform into balls if necessary.
Bake 9 min at 375 Degrees.

 Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

I saw a recipe for these on Pinterest and KNEW I had to try them.  What is better than my 2 favorite cookies in ONE!?!  They seemed super easy, but in fact were not as easy as I thought to assemble. Oh and I should mention, they were GIGANTIC. Like huge to the point of only being able to bake 6 at a time. Kaedence LOVED these cookies. Though, I don't think Kaedence has met a cookie she didn't like.  Oh and while I'm on the subject of kids... Here is a picture of what my husband, dog and baby were doing while Kaedence and I slaved over the cookies:
I love them =0)

So on to the cookies....  These were super yummy and very, very decadent. Like I couldn't eat more than one in a sitting. You take a basic chocolate chip cookie recipe, whip it up and wrap it around an Oreo. I had to try really hard not to eat one raw. I love me some cookie dough. That may be the worst part about being pregnant. The inability to eat any type of raw dough or mix. So I am certainly making up for it now. 

Here is my almost finished cookie dough and the Winter Double Stuff Oreos.

I used the red holiday Oreo's because NC State's colors are Red (and white).  Once my cookie dough was mixed, I started the task of covering an Oreo with the chocolate chip cookie dough. It was really not easy. The dough was sticky and was sticking to my hands a ton.  I seriously recommend refrigerating the dough for a few and keeping flour nearby for your hands. I did this after my first batch. Basically you put a glob of cookie dough on top of the Oreo, a glob under and then wrap it around the sides so the Oreo is completely covered. Then you bake them.
HUGE Cookies in the oven.
As I said, these cookies are gigantic. I could only bake 6 at a time. My whole batch made about 16 very large cookies (after I ate some of the dough of course). 

 Finished Cookie!

The cookies all came out yummy and the guys loved them. This cookie also had a surprise. Above the Oreo, a little bubble formed (not sure why). And in that bubble was gooey cookie dough. YUM.

 Right out of the oven. See the gooey soft cookie dough on top of the smooshy Oreo? HEAVENLY

2 Sticks (1 cup) softened butter
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 package Double Stuff Oreo cookies

In large bowl, cream butter and sugars. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract.
Add Flour, salt and baking soda and mix until well combined. Add chocolate chips and mix. 
*Refrigerate if dough is too sticky to handle*
Take dough and form a ball or lump. Place 1 lump under and 1 lump over Oreo. Smoosh over sides until  Oreo is completely covered.
Bake in 350 degree oven for 12-14min or until golden brown.

And that's it for last weekends cookies! Stay tuned for my next foray into cookie making this weekend!