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TWD - Low and Lush Chocolate Cheesecake

This week's TWD selection was made by The Tea Lady of Tea and Scones . I had intentions of making this one. However, despite trekking to two grocery stores with two kids in tow yesterday, I somehow managed to make it home without any cream cheese. There was no way I was going back yesterday, nor was I getting back out today in the cold and snow (yes, more snow -- what is up with that??), so no cheesecake for me this week. Be sure to check out what the other TWD bakers did with this recipe, however. For the recipe click here . And cross your fingers that I'll actually make it home with all the ingredients for next week's recipe!! ;) Katy

Peanut Brittle Two Ways

I have a confession to make. I've never made peanut brittle the traditional way. For the last few years, I've made it in the microwave. There. I'm a slacker candy maker. :) Anyway, I managed to buy more peanuts than I really needed at the store yesterday, so after making a batch of microwave brittle, I thought why not try something new and make a batch on the stove. I wanted to see if I could actually pull it off, and I thought it would be fun to have a little taste test! We are iced and snowed in today (nothing like the blizzard some people are expecting, but bad weather for us!!), so I figured why not spend the day cooking (and blogging!). I can remember being at my grandmother's house and "helping" her make the peanut brittle every year. She may have had a recipe, but I'm not entirely sure about that. I do know that she never used a candy thermometer. She tried to teach me how to tell what stage it was at, but I didn't trust myself, so I pull

TWD - Dorie's Favorite Pecan Pie

I had originally planned on ending my TWD break in January, but when I saw that a pecan pie had been chosen...well the break had to end early! I'm always on the lookout for a new pecan pie recipe. I've been baking pecan pies for years, and once I decided that I wasn't satisfied with the recipe on the back on the Karo syrup bottle...well, it's been a neverending quest ever since. Beth of Someone's in the Kitchen with Brina made the selection for this week, chosing a pie that Dorie lists as her favorite pecan pie . After reading the recipe, I decided that there was no way that my family would actually go for this pie -- it contains espresso powder, cinnamon and chocolate in it!! I thought about making it without those ingredients, but then decided just to go for it! It sounded intriguing and I really wanted to try it. I figure I can always make the "plain" version for Christmas if I need to. The only change I made in the ingredients was the additio

Butterscotch Pecan Cookies

By now, I think that we all now that while I like to cook, I love to bake. So, when the folks at C&H Sugar offered me a chance to bake a recipe from their site , blog about it, and they'd even throw in a $20 gift card to cover my expenses, of course I was going to jump at the opportunity!! What to choose, what to choose...it was hard picking! I finally decided on Butterscotch Pecan Cookies , which is actually a recipe to make a mix in a jar for gift giving. But who wants to give a mix for a recipe they haven't made? That's what I thought. I decided to pick something just a little bit different, and the butterscotch sounded like a nice change from all the chocolate you get this time of year (not that I'm hating on chocolate, by any means, lol!!). I must have made them bigger than I was actually supposed to, because I didn't get the three dozen the recipes states it will make. No matter though! They smelled very yummy while baking, and tasted even better! T

Zucchini Parmesan Crisps

I first saw these Zucchini Parmesan Crisps posted by Pamela of Cookies with Boys . They looked so good, that I had to print the recipe to try. I made these tonight while my one-pot spaghetti was cooking. Sean wouldn't try them (shocker) but Kade did, and D and I decided this is the only way to cook zucchini from now on...they're that good!! Really, you should try them. They are not that hard to fix, and quite tasty. I loved the crispiness that they got. I've tried doing something similar before, and they just got mushy, not crispy, so this recipe is definitely a keeper in my house! Enjoy!!

Chicken Soft Tacos

Lately, I have had a craving for chicken soft tacos from a certain chain restaurant that shall remain nameless, but they do have a giant red pepper on their buildings... Anyway, I almost considered ordering some to-go the other night, so I looked up their menu online. Now, it hasn't been that long since I've eaten there, but I could not find those chicken soft tacos on the menu!! If it's true, I'm disappointed because that was my favorite dish from there. However, that also set me on a quest to find a recipe to make my own, which admittedly is not only likely better for my waistline, but is definitely better for my bank account! I printed a recipe I found online (but forgot to bookmark the source...oops) and modified it. While I won't say it tastes exactly like the restaurant version, it was quite good and definitely satisfied my craving!! This will most certainly be going in my recipe file. :) On a side note, I'm getting better about blogging again,

Spiced Tea Mix

This is something that I've been drinking forever. My grandmother has made this hot tea mix for as long as I can remember. I've seen recipes calling it Russian Friendship Tea, but I always just called it Spiced Tea. This is great for gift-giving, or just for keeping in the cabinet to drink on cold days!! Spiced Tea Mix 1-1/2 cups sugar 2 cups instant orange drink mix (Tang) 3/4 cup unsweetened instant tea powder 1 envelope unsweetened lemonade mix 1 tsp ground cinnamon 1/2 tsp ground allspice 1/2 tsp ground cloves Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container. To use, fill a mug with boiling water and stire in 2-3 tsp of mix, to taste. Enjoy!! :)

Buttermilk Waffles

As you know, most Sundays I can be found making either pancakes or waffles. This week, I had some buttermilk to use up, and realized that I didn't have a recipe for buttermilk waffles that didn't require the eggs to be separated and the eggs to be whipped, like this recipe that I've reviewed before. Sure, I could have just used the exact same recipe and just not separated the eggs, but it was early, I wasn't thinking straight, and I hadn't had any caffeine (still haven't for that matter!). So I went on a search. I wound up adapting a recipe I found on Recipezaar. The kiddos kept asking for more, so I took that as a good sign. When I finally got to taste, I thought they were pretty good. My waffle iron makes quite thin waffles. If it ever bites the dust, I think I'll get one that makes thicker waffles. I think that would be an improvement, but of course the kids would probably want the thin ones!! Acutally, I think the problem is that the wells fo

Happy Thanksgiving!!

I hope you are all having a wonderful Thanksgiving Day. Ours has been nice. I perhaps overdid it a bit, but that's no big surprise. :) I thought I would share the menu I served today. Lasagna (yes, frozen; sue me - I'm pregnant and exhausted!) Pioneer Woman's Sweet Potatoes - made this last year; I love it! The only thing is I add cinnamon to both the sweet potato mixture and the topping. (Sorry Christi -- forgot to tell you I did that!) Browned Butter Pecan Pie - hmmm...new recipe for me. Smelled delish. Tasted good. But it didn't set up well at all. Not sure what the deal was. And my mom brought: Spicy Brown Sugar Carrots - I'll be honest. I didn't like this one. I don't really like my carrots sweetened and spiced in this way. Just my preference! And of course, there were other things served, but nothing I can link to. :) In other news, the Sprout decided that my grandmother is not so bad after all!!

Pumpkin Bread with Cream Cheese Filling

I wouldn't go so far as to say "I'm back!" but I'm getting close. :) It's been a rough few weeks...okay months, and it's just taken the wind out of my sails. But I love baking, especially during the holidays, so I just couldn't stay away. I stumbled upon a recipe for pumpkin bread on Joy of Baking that I just had to try, and yesterday was the day. Man, it took more energy than I thought it would!! I thought it turned out very well. It was quite moist and had a good taste to it. Toasting the pecans added an extra flavor that I think was worth it. I only added nuts to one of the loaves so the other would be toddler-friendly, and I tasted that one as well -- if you don't like/can't have nuts, you won't miss them if you leave them out! As I was mixing it, the cream cheese filling was thinner than I expected it to be. I'm not sure if that was due to user error, or if that's just how it is! I did mix it in my mixer instead of a food

Share Our Strength

Share Our Strength is a national organization that is fighting to end childhood hunger in America. I have recently discovered that Domino / C&H Sugar has launched a fundraiser on Twitter . For each time that #NoKidHungry is mentioned in a tweet, Domino/C&H Sugar will donate $1 to the Share Our Strength organization, up to a $10,000 donation. Even if you don't use Twitter (um, like me!) I wanted to pass this along. This is a worthy cause, so go online, get a Twitter account if you don't have one, and help out!! Confession time: I do actually have a Twitter account, I just don't use it -- I can't keep up!! :)

Banana Buttermilk Pancakes

This morning, while trying to decide what to fix for breakfast (ie deciding between waffles and pancakes) I noticed one lonely ripe banana sitting on the counter. Banana pancakes! That was the answer. I knew that somewhere in my files I had a recipe for banana pancakes. Indeed I did, although it had been several years since I'd made them. The recipe actually called for two bananas, but in my notes at the bottom I had made a notation to cut the recipe in half. Perfect!! I tried passing these pancakes off as "normal" to the oldest, but he noticed something was off. Never mind that in the aforementioned notes I had written down that he loved them, but he didn't like them this time around. Oh well. Lucky for him there was something else he could have! Anyway, the rest of us enjoyed them, and I was able to make use of that last banana. :) Banana Buttermilk Pancakes 1 egg 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 1/2 cup whole wheat flour 1 cup buttermilk* 2 Tbsp vegetable

Turkey Day is on its way!!

It's hard for me to even believe it's November. But it is, and that means that Thanksgiving will be here before we know it. I have absolutely no idea what our plans are for this year because 1) I have no energy, 2) eating good food sounds wonderful, but it doesn't always work well for me right now, and 3) for some unknown reason my 19-month old is currently terrified of my grandmother, and she usually comes over for Thanksgiving. Now, if you ask my husband he would probably just say to "skip it" this year. Except for the pumpkin pie. He loves pumpkin pie. In case I haven't mentioned it before, I'm not really a pumpkin pie kind of girl...give me sweet potato instead any day! Anyway, skipping it just isn't going to happen, but I'm not sure what will happen. I guess we shall see... So, what are your plans for turkey day this year?? I'll leave you with this, just because it made me LOL today...

I have an announcement.

That is all. :)

Yes, I really can count!

I know in my last post I said I was going to take a week off, and well it's been...much longer than a week!! It's just that I've been dealing with some things that I've kept me from baking and blogging, and probably will for a while longer. I promise I haven't forgotten about or abandoned my blog!!

Taking a short break...

Just letting everyone know that I'm taking a break from the blog for a week or so. I have several recipes that I'm behind on posting about, but Sean starts school next week and well, it's just crazy around here! :) Hopefully after things calm down some I'll have lots of yummy things to post about!! Enjoy the rest of the summer everyone!!

TWD - Brownie Buttons

"Awesomely delicious!" That's how Sean described this week's Tuesdays with Dorie selection, Brownie Buttons , chosen by Jayma of Two Scientists Experimenting in the Kitchen . And I couldn't keep him out of them! Well, we all thought they were great. My parents were over for supper again (a Tuesday thing at our house) and my dad and I agreed that I should have put a pecan half on top of each brownie before baking. I'll try that next time. It was a bit chaotic in my kitchen tonight, so I didn't get any pics of the process, but I will say that these brownies were simple and quick to make. The only thing I did differently than the recipe was that instead of melting the butter, chocolate and brown sugar on the stove, I did it in the microwave! It seemed to work just fine. My only complaint about this recipe (and the only complaint I heard from anyone else) was that it didn't make nearly enough. Sixteen mini brownies just isn't going to cut it at m

TWD - Classic Banana Bundt Cake

Welcome, welcome! Look at me. Actually baking and blogging about a Tuesdays with Dorie recipe. :) You can all quit staring in shock and disbelief now. This week's recipe, Classic Banana Bundt Cake , was chosen by Mary of The Food Librarian . Now, let me start by saying that not only did I actually make this recipe, but I made it yesterday even. That's right. I didn't wait until the last minute. Good thing too. So yesterday I drop Sean off at chess camp (yes, chess camp) and then run to the grocery store for a few items that I know I need for the recipe. Namely bananas and sour cream. I'm just hoping that the grocery store has relatively ripe bananas (they did!). Kade crashes on the way home, so I take the s-l-o-w route there to give him a little longer to sleep (he is the anti-nap child). I don't usually take the time to take a picture with all of the ingredients lined up beforehand. I'm glad I decided to this time. Look at the picture below. Do you see

My Learn to do List

Okay, so I completely stole this idea from Megan of My Baking Adventures ( which, unfortunately her blog doesn't seem to be there anymore, Aug 2011 ). But it was such a fun idea, I couldn't help myself! So, here goes, but I'm sure this list will morph over time, as all of my lists have a tendency to do!! 1. Bagels 2. Challah February, 2011 3. Brioche 4. Fresh Pasta 5. Tiramisu 6. Cheesecake 7. Fresh Mozzarella 8. Pickles* 9. Red Velvet Cake 10. German Chocolate Cake 11. Tamales 12. Pecan Pralines 13. Divinity * Technically speaking, I have made pickles before, but not as an "adult". I helped my mom and grandmother make them when I was little. And now, a question for you: what are some things that you would put on your own "learn to do" list??

TFF - Country Meatloaf with Tomato Relish

For this week's Tyler Florence Fridays recipe, I chose meatloaf. While searching for the recipe online, I discovered that there are two nearly identical meatloaf recipes of Tyler's floating on the Food Network's site: Dad's Meatloaf with Tomato Relish and Country Meatloaf with Tomato Relish . The recipe that I've had for years is actually the latter. The main differences seem to be the inclusion of torn bread, milk and bacon in Dad's but not Country. I mentioned that I've had this recipe for years, and it's true. What's fun about this one is that I have it handwritten on a recipe card, not printed out like many of my more recent recipes, and that it's actually in D's handwriting (which admittedly, makes it a little (lot) harder to read...). He was the one that saw the episode of Food 911 that it was featured on and wrote it down. He's quite fond of this recipe actually! The recipe involves a little bit of work, but really the end re

Operation Baking GALS Anniversary!

As you may recall, I recently posted about participating in Operation Baking GALS for the first time . Well, OBG is celebrating their first anniversary! They are trying to promote the group, as well as celebrating with giveaways and such. Start by checking out the OBG website here . Now, like I said, the last round was the first time I had participated. I had seen it mentioned on various other blogs, and had even bookmarked the website, thinking to myself "that sounds neat...I should sign up some time." Well, for some reason I was moved to sign up last month, and am very glad that I did. I'm not sure why I feel so motivated to participate, to be honest. I didn't grow up in a military household. Well, my dad was a Marine (okay, okay, once a Marine, always a Marine!) but he was discharged before he and my mom even met. I don't have any close friends or family that are in the military. But...it just seems like a great thing to do (participating in OBG, that is)

Lemon Ricotta Cookies with Lemon Glaze

This month's cookie for the Cookie Carnival was Lemon Ricotta Cookies with Lemon Glaze , a recipe from Giada De Laurentiis (who is just too darn pretty -- it's not fair! LOL). I don't believe I've ever made a cookie with ricotta in it before, but it was good! The texture was almost like a dense cake, and it reminded me a lot of my Nanny's Pineapple Cookies (I'll have to post about those some day!!). My parents were over for supper, so I whipped these up for them to taste-test for me. My dad tends to like lemon-flavored things, so I figured he would be a good test subject. I will admit that I didn't make the glaze for it -- I took a poll and everyone agreed I should just skip the glaze (I think they just didn't want to wait that long to try one!). I would deem this recipe a success. The lemon was pleasant, but not overpowering. Instead of the two tablespoons per cookie, I just did a heaping tablespoon of dough per cookie (so just slightly smaller

TWD - Vanilla Ice Cream

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie selection was Vanilla Ice Cream by Lynne of Cafe Lynnylu . You would have thought I could actually get this one made, right? And I intended to. I even went to the grocery store this afternoon and bought the ingredients to make it. Then we got home. And I had to get supper going. And then I re-read the recipe. And realized it would be ready to eat about, oh...say, midnight. So, my apologies to all those to came looking for yummy pictures and rave reviews. I'm sure it's a great recipe (although I may decrease the number of egg yolks, as suggested by some) and I hope to try it soon. In the meantime, be sure to check out what the other TWD Bakers did with the recipe!!

Best. Breadsticks. Ever.

Well, at least the best breadsticks I've ever made! Simple, easy, delicious. You can't go wrong with that! I found this recipe over at Our Best Bites , a blog I've recently discovered. The original recipe can be found here , and has been used for all sorts of things, including breadsticks , pizza, pizza rolls, and more. I love making yeast breads, and these were a definite hit in our house. The recipe calls for you to start by proofing your yeast, or adding your yeast to a mixture of sugar and water. I skipped this step, because I use instant yeast , which does not need to be proofed first. Instead, I mixed the yeast with 1-1/2 cups of the flour, the sugar and the salt, then added the warm water. I highly recommend checking the temperature of your water/liquid in yeast bread recipes with a digital thermometer if you have one. Having your liquid at the proper temperature is key to achieving a good result with your yeast bread recipe. After mixing all that together, I

Tyler Florence Fridays - Chicken Noodle Soup

I know what you're thinking. Chicken noodle soup, in July, in Texas. You're thinking I've lost my mind. Well, that is debatable, especially if you ask D... But no, it was chilly and rainy on Wednesday, and chicken noodle soup just plain sounded good! To top it off, I recently found out about a group called Tyler Florence Fridays . Everyone makes different recipes, either from one of Tyler's books or from his recipes available on the web, posts about it, and a roundup of the week's posts are then made. So, deciding to join in on the fun, I searched for a recipe for chicken noodle soup, and found one on the Food Network's website. The original recipe can be found here . It was actually from an episode of Food 911...I miss that show! :) Let me also remind you that nothing is ever easy at my house. What should have taken only a few hours (we were making our own stock, you know) in reality took all day. Why, you may ask. Well, I didn't even start making the

Isn't it cute?

The new blog design, I mean. :) As you may know, I've been playing around with the design myself. However, I recently stumbled upon Scrap-e-Blog and thought her backgrounds were just the cutest, so I grabbed one and even had her make me a custom header to go along with it!! Thanks Cori!!!

Chip Chick

First, a little randomness before I get to the topic of the day. Tonight my parents were over celebrating my dad's birthday. He mentioned that the cafe that he has coffee at every morning charges 89 cents for a "little ol ' chocolate chip cookie". Now, he doesn't realize that I've paid much more than that for a cookie, nor does he really need to. But anyway, I laughed and said "I'm in the wrong business." I look over, and my husband has his fingers stuck in his ears, saying "I can't hear you!" It was just amusing. Maybe you had to be there. Now, onto this "Chip Chick". It's my version of chicken strips/nuggets. I actually made this Tuesday night. Sorry...no pictures this time. My original recipe was handwritten on a piece of notebook paper, so I'm not entirely sure where this one came from. My apologies if I'm not giving credit where it is due. Also, I was once told that "how can you use potato chips?

Operation Baking GALS

Several times over the last few months I've run across posts mentioning Operation Baking GALS . I'd even bookmarked the website. Well, a few weeks ago I stumbled onto this post from April at Wine Lover's Cooking Diary asking for people to join her team. I don't know April, or her brother, but something told me to sign up. I just had to. Here is a little excerpt talking about what Operating Baking GALS is: Baking GALS (GALS stands for Give A Little Support) is a group of volunteer bakers who bake and ship homemade goodies to our heroic troops that are currently deployed. Each soldier is “Hosted” by a blogger, and potential bakers are “recruited” from the bloggers own site as well as the GALS site. Each Host recruits between 20-25 bakers, meaning LOTS of goodies get delivered to our soldier…so many, in fact that he or she has plenty to share with their fellow troops! Why do we do it this way? Why not just ship to “Any Soldier”? Well, we don’t know “any soldier” – a

Blueberry Cornmeal Pancakes

Just so you know, I blog all the time. In my head anyway. I'm always thinking to myself "I could write about this, and that..." I do this while shopping, driving, attempting to sleep. Sometimes while actually cooking. And yet, many of these thoughts never make it to the computer. Such is life, I guess. But look at me go. How many blog posts in a week's time? Let's hope this trend continues. While flitting about on the internet the other day, I came across a post on Bakerella's site about blueberry cornmeal pancakes. I became intrigued. Mostly because I love blueberry pancakes, and just so happened to have some blueberries in my refrigerator . It was fate, I tell you. Monday night I whipped up a batch of the orange maple butter. It was not as easy as described. Sort of like mixing oil and water. Oh, wait... Anyway, I got it "mixed" and into the refrigerator . Tuesday morning - cooking time. Cornmeal in my pancakes was an interesting idea. How

Tuesdays with Dorie - Tribute to Katharine Hepburn Brownies

Mmmm...brownies...yum. Brownies with espresso powder, cinnamon, chocolate chunks, and pecans...YUM! This week's Tuesdays with Dorie pick was Tribute to Katharine Hepburn Brownies , chosen by Lisa of Surviving Oz . Lisa is not a regular TWD baker, but she recently won the TWD logo contest so she got the honor of making this week's choice. omg, you should read her blog...she's hilarious! Now, on to the brownies! I'll admit, mine are still baking away in the oven, but I wanted to get my blog post in while it was still technically Tuesday, and if I don't do it now while I have a chance, well it might never get done!! According to Dorie, this makes a thin, soft gooey brownie. Doesn't that just sound sinful? :) It's actually made without much flour at all, which sounds intriguing to me. I'm anxious to see how they turn out. Here comes the hard part...the waiting...I have to let them cool for 30 minutes in the pan after baking, then I am instructed to