Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Chocolate Crinkles

Another holiday classic. We call these chocolate snowballs.

Chocolate Crinkles

1 c chocolate chips
1 1/4 c flour
1/2 c cocoa
2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1 stick butter
1 c brown sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
1/3 c milk
1 c sugar
1 c powdered sugar

Mix butter and brown sugar until pale and fluffy.
Add eggs and vanilla.
Melt chocolate chips in microwave. Add to butter and sugar mixture.
Sift flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.
Add alternately with milk to butter mixture.
Chill until firm (about 2 hours).
Roll into 1 inch balls.
Cover in sugar and then in powdered sugar.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Spicy Mocha Hot Cocoa

Here's a little twist on hot cocoa.

Spicy Mocha Hot Cocoa

4 1/2 c whole milk
1 T cinnamon
1/8 t cayenne pepper (or more if you like a kick!)
3 c strong coffee
1/2 c sugar -or- 1/4 c honey/agave nectar
1 c cocoa

Heat milk, cinnamon and cayenne in large sauce pan until just about to simmer.
Add coffee and sugar.
Add 1/2 c warmed milk mixture to 1 cup cocoa and stir until not lumpy, then pour into saucepan.
Serve with whipped cream.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Fabric Playtime House

Wanna see what Isaiah's getting for Christmas?

It's a portable little play barn.
Wanna see what's inside?
It unfolds into a little play farm mat.
I found a tube of farm yard figures at Jo-Ann's to go along with it.

Then when he's all done playing, he can toss them inside, fold it up, and button it shut.

I was so pleased with how this turned out and had such fun making it, that I needed to make a girl version too!

There is a great tutorial here if you are interested in making your own.
I started with her design, but then added an extra section at the end for more play space.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Beef Enchiladas

Well, I say this every time, but it's true. I have yet to find an America's Test Kitchen recipe that I don't like. Those guys are amazing! This recipe is for a shredded beef enchiladas. A nice step up from hamburger and a nice way to use up that 1/4 of a cow in my freezer!

Beef Enchiladas
Cook's Country - America's Test Kitchen

3 garlic cloves, minced
3 T chili powder
2 t ground coriander
2 t ground cumin
1 tsp sugar
1 onion, chopped
1 to 1.25 lbs blade or chuck steaks,(or sirloin steak) trimmed to 2 " strips
1 T oil
1-15 oz can tomato sauce
½ c water
2 c shredded Monterey Jack or mild cheddar
¼ c chopped cilantro
¼ c canned japapenos, chopped fine (optional)
12 (6-inch) tortillas

1. Combine garlic, chili powder, coriander, cumin, sugar, and 1 tsp salt in a small bowl. Pat the meat dry and sprinkle with salt. Heat oil in a dutch oven (or I used just a deep saucepan) over med high heat. Cook meat until browned on both sides. Transfer the meat to a plate. Add chopped onions to the pot and cook over medium heat until golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic mixture and cook till fragrent, about 1 minute. Add tomato sauce and water, bring to a boil. Return meat and juices to the pot, cover, reduce heat to low, and gently simmer till meat is tender and can br broken apart with a wooden spoon or fork, about 1 ½ hours.

2. Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 350. Remove the beef to a bowl, breaking meat into small pieces, reserve the sauce. Add the cilantro, jalapenos, and 1 cup of cheese to the shredded meat.

3. Spread ¾ cup of sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. Microwave tortillas 6 at a time until soft, 1 minute. Spread 1/3 cup beef mixture down the center of each tortilla, roll the tortillas tightly, and set in the baking dish seam side down. Repeat with remaining tortillas and beef, you may have to fit a few down the sides of the pan. Pour the remaining sauce over enchiladas and spread to coat evenly. Sprinkle remaining cheese over, wrap with foil, and baked until heated through, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking till cheese browns slightly, 5 minutes.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Pecan Tassie

Another favorite holiday treat that I need to have at least once around the holidays.....Pecan Tassies!
Pecan Tassie


1 c butter
6 oz cream cheese
2 c flour

2 eggs

1 1/2 c brown sugar

2 T butter, melted
1 c pecans, chopped

for the crust:
Beat the butter and cream cheese.

Add the flour.

Roll into bouncy-ball sized balls and press into mini muffin tins.

Bake at 325 for 8 minutes.

for the filling
Combine all ingredients.

Fill crust cups and bake another 20ish minutes, until tops look crackly.
Let cool and enjoy!

Feta Dip

Here's an easy, tasty appetizer good for anytime of year, but looks quite festive in its red and green!

Feta Dip
adapted from Clover Lane

1 baguette, sliced
olive oil
1 block of feta
4 roma tomatoes, diced
1 bunch of green onions, sliced thin
garlic powder

Pour olive oil in bottom of serving platter-enough to coat.
Crumble one block of feta cheese on top of oil.
Add diced tomatoes and green onion.
Sprinkle with remaining seasonings.
Mix it all up and serve with baguette slices.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Soup definitely warms the soul on a cold winter's day. And it has been mighty cold around here lately. This recipe comes from my childhood church cookbook.

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

1/4 c olive oil
1/2 c chopped onion
1/2 c chopped celery
1 c shredded carrots
1/2 c flour
1 t salt
2 14 oz cans chicken broth
2 c wild rice (or white and wild mixture)
2-3 chicken breasts
1 c half and half

Heat oil in large pot.
Add onions, celery, and carrots and cook until tender.
Sprinkle with flour, stir and cook for 1 minute.
Add broth and cook until mixture comes to a boil.
Add in rice, chicken, salt and pepper.
Reduce to a simmer and cook until chicken and rice are done.
Remove chicken and cut into bite-sized pieces then return to pot.
Add half and half.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pumpkin Roll

You gotta do this at least once this season. Such an impressive but easy holiday treat.

Pumpkin Roll
adapted from Libby's

3/4 c flour
t baking powder
t baking soda
t ground cinnamon
t ground cloves
t salt
large eggs
/2 c sugar
cup pumpkin puree

pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, at room temperature
c powdered sugar
1 t vanilla extract

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.

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.

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

Slice into 1 inch rolls.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Cheddar Bites

These are addicting!
These taste just like Cheez-Its!
These will be gone by tomorrow!

Cheddar Bites
Martha Stewart Living Magazine

1 stick butter
2 c extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 c flour
1 t salt
1/4 t cayenne pepper
2 T cream

In a food processor, combine first 5 ingredients and pulse until it resembles course crumbs.
Add the cream and pulse until combined.
Divide dough into 4 pieces shaped into rectangles and wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
Roll out a rectangle to a 1/4 inch thickness then cut into squares.
Place on lined baking sheet and chill again for about 20 minutes.
Bake at 325 degrees until golden about 15-17 minutes.
Let cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Peanut Butter Puffs

I was at the grocery store and noticed for the first time a big bag of plain puffed cereal. No sugar. No coating. And I thought hmmmm, I wonder how hard it would be to make my own peanut butter coated cereal? Turns out it's quite easy and quite tasty!

(There is also a cocoa version still in the works. That one needs a few more tweaks, but I'll share it with you when I've got it figured out. Then you can make your own Reese's Puffs!

Peanut Butter Puffs

8-9 cups of puffed cereal
1 cup peanut butter
2 T coconut oil
1/2 c honey or agave nectar
1/4 t salt
1 t vanilla

Melt peanut butter, coconut oil, and honey in sauce pan until smooth.
Stir in salt and vanilla.
Poor over puffed cereal in a large bowl and mix until evenly coated.
Spread into 2 baking sheets and bake at 250 degrees for 16 minutes, stir and rotate pans half way through.
Let cool and store in an airtight container.

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Many Faces of Prayer

Here is a peek into a typical suppertime prayer with Isaiah.

He's been working hard at trying to keep his eyes shut.
So far so good.

Oh, it's getting hard!
When is this going to end!
Oh good! It sounds like Dad's wrapping it up.
Nope! False alarm.
Gotta focus.
I can do this.
I wonder what propitiation means?
I don't know, but I hope it's yummy.


Mommy! I kept my eyes shut!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Chicken Skillet Stew

A nice, hearty, cold-weather meal.

Chicken Skillet Stew

8 chicken thighs



olive oil

garlic, diced
onion, chopped

red pepper, chopped
4-5 potatoes, peeled and quartered

1 c baby carrots

2 T flour
2 c water

Heat oil in large skillet.
Season chicken with salt, pepper and herbs.
Cook chicken until browned on both sides.

Transfer chicken to a plate and set aside.

Add garlic, onion, red pepper, potato, and carrots to skillet.
Cook and stir about 5 minutes.

Sprinkle with flour stir and cook another minute.

Add 2 cups of water and scrape up bottom of pan.

Season with more salt and pepper.

Bring to a boil.
Place chicken back in pan and cover.
You can either continue cooking on low on stove top or place in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

If it is too saucy, place on stove top and remove cover and cook on high until some water evaporates and sauce is thickened.

Fudgy Pecan Pie Bars

Here's another big pan bar recipe good for feeding a crowd. It's like a pecan tassie, but in bar form and then you add some cocoa to the crust. Oh, and throw in some chocolate chips on top. It's a keeper!

Fudgy Pecan Pie Bars

2 c flour
3/4 c butter, softened
1/2 c brown sugar
1/4 c cocoa
1 t vanilla

4 eggs
1 c sugar
6 T butter, melted
2/3 c molasses
1 t vanilla
2 c chopped pecans
1/2 c chocolate chips

Combine crust ingredients until crumbly.
Press into cookie sheet or jelly roll pan.
Bake at 375 degrees for 18-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, beat eggs, sugar, melted butter, molasses, and vanilla until smooth.
Add pecans and chocolate chips.
Spread evenly over baked crust.
Bake again for about 15 minutes or until set.
Cool completely, about 1 hour.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Company Cresent Rolls

These are fun to make with the kids and taste really good.
They are just a little bit sweet and buttery.

The dough turns out so nice, even softer than a baby's....you know!
You don't even need extra flour when you roll it out.

Can you tell which ones Isaiah rolled up?
Give these a try next time you want some rolls.

Company Cresent Rolls

1 pkg yeast
1/4 c warm water
1 t honey

3/4 c hot water
1/3 c butter, melted
1/3 c honey
1 egg
1 t salt
3 c flour

Soften yeast in 1/4c warm water and 1 t of honey and set aside.
In large bowl, combine hot water, butter, 1/3c honey, egg, salt, and half of the flour.
Add the yeast mixture.
Add remaining flour.
Knead until smooth.
Remove dough, oil bowl and return dough, rolling it around to cover with oil.
Cover dough with saran wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.
Divide dough into 2.
Roll out into a circle.
Spread butter on top.
Cut with a pizza cutter into 8 triangles.
Roll up starting with the outer wide side.
Place on a greased baking sheet and let rise until doubled.
Bake at 350 degrees for 17-20 minutes.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Strawberry Scones

This is the original recipe that my orange scones is based off of. But I had never made the original. I know, I'm weird like that. I like to tweak. About a month ago I thought I should try the strawberry version. It's good to have some variety. And now, I think I like these better than the orange. Don't get me wrong, if you placed a strawberry scone and an orange scone in front of me and I had to choose which one.....I'd eat both!

Strawberry Scones

1 egg
1/4 c cream
1/4 c buttermilk
1 t vanilla
2 c flour
1/3 c brown sugar
2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
6 T butter
2/3 c strawberries, hulled and chopped

Combine wet ingredients into a 1 cup measuring cup- egg, cream, buttermilk, and vanilla.
Top off with cream or buttermilk or milk till you reach 1 cup.
Set aside.
Combine dry ingredients in a bowl - flour, sugar, baking powder, salt.
Cut in butter.
(You can put these both in the fridge at this point if you are wanting to make these ahead of time.)
Pour the wet into the dry and stir just until all is moist.
Carefully fold in strawberries.
Using an ice cream scoop, scoop out 12 scones and place on a baking sheet.
Bake at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes.
Top with glaze made from 3/4 c powdered sugar, 1 smashed strawberry and 1-2T milk or cream.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Taylor's Falls October 2010

So last weekend after snapping some family photos, we sat down to eat a picnic lunch and guess who came driving up?
My oldest brother and his family! They were camping at the same park the night before! Neither of us knew the other was there, until we bumped into each other. We were both about to go on a hike in the same spot! Crazy! God's cool like that! You should have heard the screams from the cousins when they recognized each other!
So we did some hiking.
Found a cool waterfall.

Some rested.
Played in the water. (It was cold!)
Practiced silly faces.
And just enjoyed God's creativity and artistry of the beautiful day!

What a mighty God we serve!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Fall Family Picture

October's weather has been AMAZING!

This past weekend we decided to get out and enjoy it.
So we headed to a nearby state park and thought maybe we could snap a family picture while we were there.

I think it was like 86 degrees! Unreal for October in Minnesota.

I think we got the perfect shot!