Tag Archives: cooking

Baking / Christmas Cookies

20 Dec

While Bradley and I were in NY for Thanksgiving, I picked up a few of my mom’s recipes that I grew up on. One of them was this Christmas cookies recipe. One of my favorites, they are called German Love and have an amazing lemon glaze on the top.

This is the physical recipe from her cookbook, handwritten a few times over.

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Step 1: Mix butter, egg, sugar, and vanillaIMG_4440Step 2: Add flourIMG_4441Step 3: Add everything else, including a ton of spices (that’s what makes these cookies great!)

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This is what it should look like after that. Now you’ll chill it for an hour or two. I tend to clean the kitchen while cookies chill, but you could also put your feet up and enjoy a sweet cup of joe with eggnog creamer if you prefer.
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Step 4: After it’s chilled, flour a cutting board and roll out the dough to about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick.IMG_4454 IMG_4455As you can see, I like to over-flour things because I hate when batter sticks to me, the board or the rolling-pin.¬†IMG_4456Step 5: Cut dough in to squares/rectangles, and other geometric shapes with a knife.
IMG_4457Step 6: Put them on a sheet ready for the oven and cook for about 10 minutes. They won’t grow so you can crowd a cookie sheet if you need to.

IMG_4459Step 7: Make a little glaze for the top, lemon juice, water and powdered sugar. I added red and green food coloring for extra Christmas joy.
IMG_4461Step 8: After the cooking come out, transfer them to a cooling rack.
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IMG_4462Step 9: After the cookies have cooled, drizzle icing over top. I like to put a piece of plastic wrap under the cooling rack for easy clean up.
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Enjoy with a cup of strong black coffee, milk or eggnog!IMG_4465

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon all spice
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg

Glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon water
  • food coloring

Directions:

  1. Cream together butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla
  2. Add flour
  3. Add walnuts, molasses, lemon peel, cinnamon, clove, allspice, and nutmeg
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 1-2 hours
  5. Set oven to 375
  6. Roll out on floured cutting board (1/8-1/4 thickness) and cut into squares with a knife
  7. Place cookies on sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes
  8. Take out and place on cooling rack
  9. While cookies are cooling make glaze by mixing lemon juice, water, powdered sugar and food coloring
  10. Drizzle glaze over cookies with a spoon and allow time to set

These are great cookies to bring to the family’s house for Christmas or if you’re going to a cookie exchange, whip up a batch! They are some of the most simple to make and simply tasty cookies out there.

What are you go to Christmas cookies?

Cooking / Guacamole

11 Dec

Guacamole has become a favorite in my house recently. I’ve made my husband a guac convert! He’s still not keen about avocados but guac seems to be a completely different story. ūüôā

Today, I’m going to share my guacamole recipe with you! I wasn’t very good at getting the right balance of ingredients until a few months ago (maybe that’s why he didn’t like it). ūüôā We visited Plaza Azteca, an amazing Mexican restaurant, and watched them make the guac table side. ¬†I have now learned all their secrets!

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Ingredients

  • 2 Avocados
  • Bunch of roughly chopped Cilantro
  • 1/4 ¬†Yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp Jalapeno pepper, diced
  • 1/2 Roma Tomato, diced
  • 1 Lime, juiced
  • Salt, to taste

Directions

  1. Place avocado, lime juice and a pinch  salt in a bowl and begin cutting together with two knives.
  2. Add onions, tomato, and jalapeno and combine with a spoon.
  3. Sprinkle in cilantro and another bit of salt and mix.
  4. Sample with tortilla chips and adjust if necessary
  • If bland: add a little salt or lime juice

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Baking: Pumpkin Scones

22 Nov

As soon as Joy posted these on her Instagram, I knew I had to make them. I’ve never made anything with pumpkin before and these looked like a great place to start! As this is the week before Thanksgiving, it was the perfect time to try out a prospective recipe for turkey day morning. We are headed up to my parents house and after my mom saw these pictures she asked me for the recipe and requested I make them when I come!

This recipe is full of spices. You’re going to love the intense flavors!

IMG_3997Step 1: Use a whisk to mix together all the dry ingredients

IMG_4001Step 2: No editing needed here, look at that pumpkin color!

IMG_3999Step 3: And mix it together with the other wet ingredients.

IMG_4002Step 4: Cut the butter into cubes and use a pastry blender to mix in.

IMG_4003Step 5: Now combine the pumpkin mixture into the dry ingredients and add pecans.

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IMG_4005Step 6: Use a cookie scoop to get the perfect portion on to a well-greased pan.

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Step 7: While they are cooking, make the brown butter glaze. It was so simple and amazingly delicious!IMG_4009Step 8: After about 18 minutes pull the scones out and let them cook on a rack until cool.IMG_4010 IMG_4012 IMG_4013Step 9: Now drizzle the glaze back and forth all over the scones. I put a piece of plastic wrap down under the rack as to ease clean up later.
IMG_4017 IMG_4020Enjoy! These were the best scones I’ve ever made. You’ll be a pumpkin believer after munching on a few of them.Processed with VSCOcam with c2 preset

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Original Recipe from Joy the Baker

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup, 6 ounces) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes
  • 1 cup buttermilk, cold
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans

For the Glaze:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons whole milk

Directions:

  1. Place rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and all of the spices.  Add the cold butter to the dry ingredients and toss to coat.  Using your fingers or a pastry cutter, break the butter down into the dry ingredients.  Work quickly so that the butter remains cold.  Some of the butter will be the size of oat flakes, others will be the size of small peas.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk, pumpkin puree, and vanilla extract.
  4. Add the wet ingredients, all at once to the dry ingredients.  Stir together until almost thoroughly combined.  Add pecans and stir until no dry flour bits remain.  Using a large ice cream scoop, scoop scones dough by the 1/2-cupful onto the prepared baking sheet.  Leave about 2-inches of space between each scone.
  5. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until browned slightly with dry tops.  You can insert a toothpick into the center of a scone to test for doneness.
  6. Allow to cool completely before glazing.
  7. To make the glaze, in a small saucepan melt butter over medium-low heat.  The butter will begin to crackle and pop.  After the crackling subsides a bit, the butter will begin to brown.  Continue to cook until the butter smells nutty and the butter solids begin to brown.  Immediately remove from the heat and transfer to a small bowl.
  8. In a medium bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, browned butter, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons of milk.  Whisk together and add more milk as necessary until your desired consistency is reached.
  9. Generously drizzle scones with glaze.

Dinner / Roasted Asparagus

24 Oct

Last week, Bradley and I celebrated our second anniversary. Typically, he likes to take me out to a beautiful dinner at one of our favorite restaurants. Usually, I like to make him his favorite meal. So this year we did both. Since October 8th fell on a Tuesday, he took me out to Travinia after work that night. And the following weekend, I made him a steak dinner. (compromising!)

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I’ve always had a bit of trouble making creative tasty vegetable dishes. I can usually plan the “meat and potatoes” side of things quite well but fall short when it comes to vegetable sides.

*Enter Roasting*

Have you ever roasted vegetables? I tried roasting potatoes and carrots two weeks ago. It was amazing!! So much better than boiling (which seems to be my go to).

IMG_5449Roasting. Who knew? It’s so simple. Pretty much any vegetable can be easily tossed in olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper and thrown in the oven (I use the word “thrown” loosely). So I tried a roasted vegetable for our steak dinner. Turned out so well. Eons better than my previous method of boiling 3 minutes, throwing them in an ice bath to stop the cooking and them warming them with “sauce” in a pan. They tended to end up over cooked and…not tasty.

3 Steps to Easy and Delicious Roasted Asparagus

Step 1: Aluminum Foil over any pan (easy clean up), drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and add any herbs and garlic that you desire. I used a couple of finely chopped garlic cloves here.IMG_1089

Step 2: Roast at ňö350 for about 30 minutes.¬†IMG_0056

Step 3: Serve with your favorite meal to your favorite person. It’s the best way to enjoy a dinner like this. ūüôā
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Cara Box / May Reveal

28 May

Today I’m revealing my May Cara Box to you. Cara Box is a way for bloggers to link up, meet new people and send each other encouragement in a sort of care package. This was my first month participating and I was paired up with two amazing bloggers. Kym sent me a box and I sent one to Britiany.

Kym is an amazing girl who loves to run (especially with her family), lives in Indiana, and is married to a Marine. She sent me a great box for ¬†a summer cookout. The package was filled with such goodness, I can’t wait to use these things with B this summer!

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IMG_0171Corn dishes and holders (which I love because I hate burning my fingers)
IMG_8954Scarf, earrings, red nail polish (they are awesome!)IMG_8232Corn tongs, spoon, spatula and bright yellow towel!
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And a summer bbq towel and measuring spoons!IMG_3239
Thank you Kym for this great May Cara Box!

Breakfast: Oatmeal muffins

3 Apr

This is definitely one of my favorite muffins and muffin recipes. It comes from my mom’s cookbook Cooking Down East by Marjorie Standish. It was an old book with a faded yellow cover. The pages were all wrinkled and stained from years of cooking with it.

A few weeks ago, I Googled the recipe and found that the whole book had been scanned in to Google books. I was able to make the same muffins I grew to love growing up!

Step 1: Soak Oatmeal in milk

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Step 2: Mix dry ingredients and add oatmeal.
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Step 3: Spray with non-stick spray and pour mixture into muffin pans
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Step 4: Cook, remove from oven, let cool and eat with your favorite hot beverage
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Oatmeal Muffins

Recipe:
Soak 2 cups oatmeal or rolled oats in 1-2/3 cups milk for 2 hours.

Add:
1 tablespoon melted shortening or oil
1 beaten egg

Add: sifted dry ingredients
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 level teaspoons cream of tartar
1 heaping teaspoon baking soda
(I made a substitute here, 3 tsp baking powder for the cream of tartar and baking soda. I didn’t have cream of tartar and there was no taste difference.)

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes
Makes 12 muffins

Dinner: Whole wheat pasta and bolognese sauce

15 Jan

Two nights ago, B and I were watching a cooking show which was featuring a homemade tortellini dish with bolognese sauce. Well the next day, I remembered how we drooled over that dish and decided on spaghetti for dinner.

You can buy pasta sauce in a can, but B and I love thick and meaty sauce with our pasta. So I amped up the simple sauce and made an amazing, flavorful, rich bolognese sauce last night. It doesn’t take much to increase the flavor (and vegetable content!). With simple garlic toast and fresh apple slices, it was a complete meal!

IMG_4573Serves: 2-4
Ingredients:

  • 1/2 jar of store-bought spaghetti sauce
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh or dried basil
  • 1 tsp salt and pepper
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese

Directions:

  1. Brown beef onion and garlic in a pot
  2. Add red bell pepper and spaghetti sauce and mix
  3. Add tomato paste, basil and salt and pepper
  4. Heat through and let simmer on low for 30 minutes (if time permits) The longer it can cook the more flavorful it will taste.
  5. Pour over noodles of your choice.
  6. Garnish with a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese and a pinch of basil.

Dinner: Caprese Panini

9 Jan

One of Harrison and my favorite easy dinners is Caprese Paninis. It doesn’t take that long to throw together after work and we are a huge fan of sandwiches. We got our panini maker right after our wedding and it has been one of our most used appliances! These sandwiches aren’t just quick to prepare, they also taste like a restaurant quality meal.

Their most stunning ingredient is the fresh basil. I love basil so much I bought a basil plant at Wegman’s and clip leaves from it several times a week for our meals. It smells amazing and improves the quality of our food.

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I like to layer the tomato and mozzarella as shown in the picture. IMG_8553

The balsamic vinegar should not be overlooked. It adds another full flavor dimension to the sandwich.IMG_6513

Ingredients:

4 slices italian bread, 1/2 inch thick
4 tbps olive oil, for brushing
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
4 slices fresh mozzarella cheese
6 tomato slices
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 to taste salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 fresh basil leaves

Directions:

  1. Preheat an electric panini maker.
  2. Brush one side of each bread slice with olive oil.
  3. Lay the slices, oiled side down, on a clean work surface.
  4. Spread the top of 1 slice with mayonnaise.
  5. Layer on top the cheese and tomato slices
  6. Drizzle with the vinegar and season with salt and pepper.
  7. Top with finely chopped basil, then with the other bread slice, oiled side up.
  8. Place the sandwich on the preheated panini maker and cook until the bread is golden and the cheese is melted, 3 to 5 minutes.
  9. Transfer the sandwich to a cutting board and let cool a few minutes.
  10. Cut in half and serve with soup or salad.

(All photos are courtesy of Joodles Doodles)