Saturday, October 29, 2011

Pretzel Bites and a Snowy Day

It snowed today, Oct 29, 2011. It is still snowing. Lots. Lots and lots of snow. I carved my first pumpkin in over 15 years today. I carved a snowflake into it. It just seemed appropriate. Or maybe ironic. I also spent some time in kitchen. I will share the favorite recipe for the day with you. :)

4 cups of flour ( I used high gluten, but you don't have to)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 and 1/4 teaspoons of yeast or 1 package
1 and 1/2 cups warm water
1 egg, beaten

Dissolve yeast in the water.
Mix together the dry ingredients. 
Add wet ingredients
Mix together until it forms a ball. ( I used a my dough hook in my KitchenAid mixer)
Roll out pieces of the dough into a snake. 
Cut them into 1 inch pieces.
Bake at 425 for 6-8 minutes. 
Cool slightly and dip in melted butter, then roll in topping of choice.

Honey mustard topping
I mixed together this mustard  (you could use regular mustard or dijon)
 Some lemon juice
mixed it and dipped it. YUMMY!!! 

Cinnamon & Sugar
Well, I actually had left over mixture from the Mini Apple Pies so I used it. :)

Sea Salt

You can also use parm cheese, italian seasoning, garlic, cheese dip, etc!!! Great party food, super easy, no need to even let the dough rise! YUMMMMMMYYY!!!!

Oh and by the way, here is my snowflake pumpkin :)

Friday, October 28, 2011

The weather ruined my plans...

So it is October 28th. They are calling for 5-8 inches of snow tomorrow. I live in south central PA. WTHECK! Really? Snow? And 5-8 inches yet at that! Ummm... no. See Mr. Weatherman, I have plans. A kid's event at the local dirt track and a harvest party at a church with the besties. And now what of those plans you ask... Canceled, postponed, rescheduled. Not exactly feeling so welcoming of the first snow. Can you blame me? It is only October!!!!!!! But it is what it is, and it is up to ME to make the best out of a rather glum situation. So, my new plans are hottub in the snow with the fam, sweat pants, fuzzy socks, movies, hot chocolate, bake, crafting, and finishing "The Help" (read it!!! it is great!) I am not so sad now. So if you are like me, and weather or what not has threw a hitch in your plans, and it is causing you to re-plan... here are some ideas for you :) 

If you have a family with little kiddos, or if your family is like mine... no kiddos, but young at heart, then whip up these quick fall-ish waffles! 

So simple! Just whip up your fav waffle recipe ( or use this one) and add some fall sprinkles and /or choco chips into the batter! So simple, yet the kids will go crazy! A shout out to my little brother, Ben, for the great idea!
Here is another one for the kiddos. Check out my Caramel Apple Craft post here... Simple and fun! If you don't have everything on hand, improvise! :) :) :) Don't be afraid to give the kiddos some scissors and let them cut up some paper for on the apples! Need to build those fine motor skills! :) :) :) 

One of my most popular posts, Tye Dye Cake is another simple activity, fun for the whole family! It would look awesome in purple and orange for Halloween! 

Try a new recipe. Here are some Peanut Butter Fudge Caramel Apples I created a few weeks ago. I have been waiting to share them with you! I wanted to make them with my mom's PB Fudge recipe, but did not have everything on hand for it, so I used a simple recipe. Feel free to use you fav fudge recipe!  I used 5 Granny Smith apples, shoved a wooden stick into each one. Meanwhile I laid out wax paper for the apples to dry on. I just bought a bag of Kraft Caramels in the candy section and followed the recipe on the back for making caramel apples. Super easy... Dipped my apples and after they were set, made the PB fudge with a can of sweetened condensed milk and a bag and half of Reese's PB chips. You need to get your milk really hot without boiling it on the stove, then add you PB chips until melted. Then quickly dip and drip off the excess.  Let set. YUMMY!!! Caramel + PB= Best combo ever!!!

My fudge was kind of thick, so I could spread it around too. Not the prettiest, but I think it was just the fudge recipe I used. I did not care what they looked like. They were too yummy to care!!!! TRY THIS!!!

Whip out your favorite classic and reread it! Jane Eyre is my new favorite all time book. If you have not read it, it is a must!!! Charlotte Bronte has an amazing way with words!

Or grab your favorite movie. The one you always mean to watch again, but keep putting it off cause you need to be in the right mood. Get your sweatpants and fuzzy socks on and snuggle up with your hot chocolate and watch your movie. Mine is "Breakfast at Tiffany's". Audrey Hepburn was fabulous!!! 
So, not such a boring weekend anymore, right?  Thank you snow. Thank you for ruining my plans. I needed a weekend at home. :) 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Caramel apple craft

Use wooden craft sticks, glitter, colored rice, paper hole punch scraps and whatever else you have laying around to create cute caramel apples! :) :) :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes

I hate cheesecake.
I do not think cream cheese should be used in desserts.
Cheese + Cake = Gross
I hate cream cheese icing with a passion. 
I love to cook with cream cheese.
I only use Philadelphia brand and recommend you do the same. 

BUT, I made mini cheesecakes. Pumpkin ones. And they were seriously good. Yes, I took a small taste! :) My family loved them and my neighbor requested the recipe be posted on here, so Melinda, this is for you ;)

*Disclaimer: this is more of a cheesecake  pumpkin pie*

The rest of ya'll, you should really try these! I made them for my Nanny's tea party! 

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes

A bag of small gingersnaps
1- 15 ounce can of pumpkin (not pie filling)
1 block of Philadelphia cream cheese (at room temp)
1/2 cup of white sugar
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp dry ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
 Cupcake pan
Foil cupcake liners

1. Fill 24 cupcake molds with foil liners. ( I use foil because cheesecake is sorta wet)
2. Place a gingersnap in the bottom of each liner.

3. Preheat oven to 350.
4. Beat your cream cheese and sugars until nice and smooth.
5. Add pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt.
6. Beat well.
7. Add heavy cream, eggs and vanilla.
8. Beat really well. ( This is the part where the heavy cream will help thicken your mixture.)
9. Use a cookie scoop to fill the cupcake papers. ( almost full)
10. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes.
NOTE: the edges will be done and the center may seem undone, but that is just cheesecake. Don't be tempted to over bake it.

Adapted from here. Check her out! :)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pumpkin Tea Sandwiches

I planned and catered a Fall Tea Party for my Nanny's birthday last week. I thought I would share a quick and easy recipe from the day that I came up with.

1 loaf of Pepperidge Farm Pumpkin Spice bread
1 container of Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese spread (philadelphia)
1 handful of raisins
1 handful of sweet apple, peeled and chopped in small pieces
1 or 2 teaspoons of brown sugar
nuts (optional)
Apple cider (optional)

Warm some apple cider in the microwave and then soak raisins in it until soft.
Drain them and toss them in a bowl with the apples, cream cheese, brown sugar, pumpkin cream cheese and nuts if you choose to use them.
Spread onto pumpkin spice bread and enjoy!
 I used a pumpkin shaped cookie cutter and cut my bread out first :) :) :) 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Super Easy Beef Stroganoff

I love beef stroganoff, but if you remember from this post, I am not a fan of mushrooms. Schwann's used to ( and maybe still does) make the best stroganoff ever!  I have been soooo hungry for it. So I threw this together. You can add a can of mushrooms to it, or fresh ones if you like them.  :)

Beef Stroganoff

A hunk of beef ( it could be beef tips, or a tender cut of steak, whatever you like)
1/4 cup onion
1 can of beef broth
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
2-3 TBSP of flour
1/2 to a cup of sour cream
Butter or oil for cooking the beef
Salt and pepper
Can of mushroom stems and pieces are optional.

If you are using a chuck roast or other meat that needs cut, cube it, season it.
Heat butter or oil in the skillet.
Brown beef and onions for just a few minutes, until the outside is done only, reduce heat.
Stir in flour.
Add can of beef broth and cream of mushroom soup. 
Cook for 30 minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally. 
If you are adding mushrooms, add them the last 5 minutes of cooking.
Remove from heat, and stir in sour cream. 
Serve over egg noodles.

This was super easy and super yummy. It exceeded my expectations for a non mushroomy beef stroganoff. YUM! :) 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Mini Apple Pies

Hello Autumn. :) I pretty much L-O-V-E you. Your colors are beautiful and your breeze is refreshing. But, you bring out the baker in me. And a baker I am not. You make me wanna be a better baker. But baking makes me fat. Well, it is not the baking part that makes me fat as much as the eating part... but...

Well anyway, I saw these yummy Honeycrisp apples on sale at the store. I bought more than we could eat, as usual, so it was a good excuse to bake an apple pie. But I like mini things. Little, tiny, itty, bitty, teeny foods are always so much yummier. Or maybe just as yummy, but a whole lot cuter! So mini apple pies for me!

I have never actually made an apple pie before. Let me correct that, I have never actually made a pie before at all unless you count these adorable teeny Key Lime Pies that I made HERE. But it seems like making an apple pie just comes naturally. Cinnamon, apples, sugar... right? Well I guess we will see!

2 Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie crusts
3 large baking apples. (I used Honeycrisp,  but you could use Granny Smith)
1/2 cup sugar
1.5 TBSP flour
1.5 TBSP cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 TBSP butter
A muffin tin

Preheat oven to 425
1. Peel and chop apples into small pieces.
2. Mix dry ingredients together. 
3. Pour the mixture over the apples and stir.

4. Use a large cup or jar to cut out circles from the pie dough.
5. Press one circle lightly into the bottom of a cupcake cup.

6. Continue with half of the circles. 
7. Fill the cups with the apple mixture.

8. Top with another circle cut out. Press down to seal.
9. Cut 3 small slits in the top of each mini pie.

10. Melt butter and brush onto the top of each pie.
11. Sprinkle with a little cinnamon and sugar.

12. Bake at 425 for 30 minutes. 

Want to print the recipe? Follow my link to the printable PDF. Click HERE

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Tye Dye Cookies

So if you have not read or tried my Tye Dye Cake post, you should sooo check it out. I have had a lot of FB friends try the cake with great results :) Or you could just keep reading this post and try Tye Dye Cookies instead! :)

Shi wanted to make cookies for her birthday, so in about 30 seconds I came up with these. Super Simple. Seriously, try it. You won't be disappointed. :) 

 1 box or pack of sugar cookie mix ( or you can use your own recipe)
ingredients needed to mix up the cookies (my box mix called for a stick of butter and an egg)
3 colors of food coloring ( I used the gel color b/c it is so much more vibrant)

1. Mix up the cookies as directed on the package.

2. Separate the dough into 3 piles or bowls. 
3. Add one color to each pile and mix it up.

4. Slap the 3 separate piles on to a cookie sheet.

5. Use a cookie scoop and scoop up a little of each color.

6. Place each dough ball onto a separate cookie sheet.

Don't worry if your dough gets a little mixed up, it just adds to the look!

7. Fill your sheet, then bake according to the package instructions ( Mine was 375 for 10 mins)

8. Let them cool for a few minutes before removing from the cookie sheet. 

9. Eat, eat, eat some more!!!! And smile while you do it! :) :) :) 


        Happy Birthday Shi! :) :) :) :) :) :)