Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I've Been Tagged!

Stephanie from Macaroni and Cheesecake tagged me in her blog to share 7 interesting facts about myself. I don't usually do these things, but I thought this was a fun way to share things with my here it goes!

1. I think my love for cooking started with my Easy Bake Oven when I was a kid. Actually, as embarrassing as this is to share, my sister (who is younger than me) enjoyed the Easy Bake Oven just as much a I did. So I was able to play with it well into my late teens!!! Sometimes having a younger sister has its perks!!!

2. My name comes from The Sound Of Music. I seriously could watch this movie over and over and it would never get old to me! Many people say that I actually resemble Charmian Carr (the character who played Liesl).

3. Growing up, I always had a strong passion for computers. I know boring right!! I actually thought I was going to go into Computer Programming for the longest time. In high school, I got involved in Theater and pursued trying to learn as much backstage technical knowledge as I could. That inspired me and I began to get a passion for Theater/Television and learning all the details that go into making a Production/Show happen. Today I am a Video Editor and love being a part of what goes on Television!!

4. I studied Sign Language in High School and on into College. I hold a special place in my heart for the deaf community. They are amazing people!

5. My husband and I love to travel. We make it a point to plan at least one trip a year to somewhere new and exciting! We love exploring new places and cultures! Especially the food! I swear in my next life I will be a Travel Agent! I don't mean to toot my own horn, but I plan a pretty mean trip! I work really hard to find places that make me feel like a local...not a tourist!! If you ever need tips let me know!!

6. One of my favorite things to eat (when it comes to dessert at least) in this world is S'mores!!! I love them!!! There is nothing better than sitting in front of a fire with a warm S'more in my hand!!

7. I really enjoy drinking wine! I am not really a drinker, but when it comes to wine, I can't resist. My passion started when I was in College...I took a Wine Tasting course (and yes I got credit for getting tipsy!). It was great because it taught me how to appreciate wine. I knew at a young age how to pair things and what to look for in a good bottle of wine!

And now comes the part where I get to tag other people! I can't imagine all of you will do it, but I enjoyed sharing my facts so maybe you will too!

1. Erin of Erin's Food Files
2. Julie of Peanut Butter and Julie
3. Nicole of Baking Bites
4. Marcie of America's Little Germany
5. Leslie of The Hungry Housewife
6. Nicole of Pinch My Salt
7. Dani of Sweet Treats

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Strawberry Stuffed Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream Frosting!

So I cheated a little bit with these cupcakes by using a box mix. But my reason for that was mainly because I had this new idea for a cupcake, and I wanted to try to master making a Buttercream Frosting! I actually went to a party last night where someone made a chocolate cake covered with Strawberry Buttercream...the frosting was so yummy! So being a freak about baking, I came home last night thinking about how good that frosting was! I started trying to think of a way I could use that frosting, and that is when I decided to try a Strawberry Stuffed Cupcake with Strawberry Buttercream Frosting! THEY TURNED OUT AMAZING!!!! I will definitely be making these again, but maybe next time I will actually make the cake myself!!
Strawberry Stuffed Cupcake
(recipe from Liesl)
1 Box White Cake Mix
1 Cup Strawberry Jam

Prepare Cake mix according to back of the box. Bake Cupcakes, again according to the back of the box. I made 24 Cupcakes total. Once cupcakes have finished baking, cool completely on a wire rack. While Cupcakes are cooling, fill a resealable zip lock bag with the 1 cup Strawberry Jam. Once Cupcakes are completely cooled, poke a hole in the center of each cupcake. I used the end of a wooden spoon to do this. Take the zip lock bag filled with Strawberry Jam, cut a small hole in the corner of the bag, and pipe the Jam carefully into each Cupcake.

(These are my cupcakes filled with jam, just waiting for that yummy Strawberry Buttercream Frosting!) I filled my Cupcakes and then prepared the Frosting, but you could always make the Frosting first so it would be ready to spread once the Cupcakes cooled.

Strawberry Buttercream Frosting
(from Joy of Cooking, with a few additions of my own)

1 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup water
1/4 Teaspoon Cream of Tartar
5 Large Egg Yolks
3 Sticks Unsalted Butter Softened
2 Tablespoons Strawberry Extract
2 Tablespoons Powdered Sugar (used this just to thicken it a little more)

Combine Sugar, Water and Cream of Tartar in a heavy saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring until the mixture begins to simmer. Stop stirring and cover for 2 minutes. (this allows the sugar to dissolve) Uncover and cook until the syrup registers 238 degrees (soft-ball stage) on a candy thermometer. Meanwhile, fill a wide, deep skillet with 1 inch of water and bring it to a simmer. In a medium heat proof bowl, be 5 Large Egg Yolks on high speed until thick and pale yellow in color.

Just before Syrup is ready, begin beating the eggs again on medium speed. While beating the eggs, pour the hots syrup in a thin steady stream into the eggs. Set the heatproof bowl in the skillet of simmer hot water and stir egg mixture constantly with a whisk until the mixture registers 160 degrees. Remove from heat. Wash beaters and beat the hot mixture until it cools to room temperature.

Once cool, beat in 1 Tablespoon at a time of the Unsalted Butter. Beat each Tablespoon of butter into the buttercream until it is smooth and spreadable. Continue process until you have incorporated all your butter. Once all your butter is incorporated, mix in the 2 Tablespoons of Strawberry Extract (or any other flavor you like). If it gets too soupy when you are adding the butter just stop and refrigerate it for a little bit. I also went ahead and put my frosting in the refrigerator for about 2 hours after making it, to let it set better. When I pulled it out it was still just a little to thin for my liking so that is when I added the 2 Tablespoons of Powdered Sugar...just to thicken it up. It didn't really effect the flavor at all.
Fill a resealable zip lock bag with Frosting. Cut a small hole in one corner. Pipe Frosting on top of each cupcake. I placed mine in the refrigerator after frosting to keep the Frosting set.

Sunday afternoon treat

So this year I actually decided NOT to make all my traditional Christmas Cookies. I wanted to just take a break and not worry about getting all my cookies baked in time to pass out; since I am still recovering from my accident. Of course that really hasn't happened! AND as it turns out, I haven't made any of "MY" cookies LOL, but I am making all sorts of other goodies I have seen recipes to on other's food blogs! I found this recipe on Beantown Baker's Blog. I knew it wasn't really a "Christmas" cookie, but I love pumpkin and white chocolate and I really wanted to make these cookies just because! They turned out amazing!!!! They were really easy to throw together and really made a lot of cookies! They are so moist and the white chocolate chips add just the perfect touch!
Pumpkin White Chocolate Chip Cookies
(original recipe found here)
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
pinch nutmeg
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup white chocolate chips
Preheat oven 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. In a large bowl, cream the butter with the sugars. Beat in egg, then vanilla, then pumpkin. Add flour mixture and stir until just incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips and pecans, if using.
Drop by tablespoons and bake for 12-14 minutes at 350 degrees. Bake them until they’re lightly browned at the edges, but not dark. Remove from oven, cool for 2 minutes then remove and finish cooling on a wire rack.

What do you call it?

It's funny because all the memories I have of this delicious snack all seem to revolve around what the heck people call it!! I have heard every thing from Puppy Chow (which my family calls it), to white trash, to even reindeer poop!! What do you call it?!? I have always loved Puppy Chow. It is one of those comfort foods that just always hits the spot! I actually brought this to a party this weekend thinking no one would bring it and sure enough someone did!! Go figure!! It is so easy to make and goes over really well as a party snack!

Puppy Chow
9 Cups Rice Chex Cereal
1 Cup Milk Chocolate Chips (I like milk better than semi sweet)
1/2 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter
1/4 Cup Butter
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
2 Cups Powdered Sugar (some recipes only call for 1 1/2 cups, but I just add it to my liking)
In a large bowl measure Rice Chex and set aside. In a microwave bowl, microwave chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter until melted and smooth. Add vanilla and stir to combine. Pour mixture over Rice Chex carefully stirring to coat the cereal. Pour covered cereal into a resealable bag. Add powdered sugar a little at a time. Make sure bag is sealed well, and then shake to coat the cereal. Keep adding Powdered Sugar until all cereal is coated. Spread cereal onto a baking sheet to cool. Store in an airtight container.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Toffee Shortbread Delights

I took the day off work today to get stuff with my car taken car of, and I also decided to do a little baking! I found these cookies on Dragon's Kitchen. I have been wanting to make shortbread for a while and thought that Toffee Shortbread sounded like a great combination! I always thought shortbread was more challenging, but really discovered just how easy it is to prepare and bake! I made my cookies a little smaller than the original recipe, that way if I ate 5 I didn't feel so bad!! hehe
Toffee Shortbread Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (I actually used a whole teaspoon)
2/3 cup cornstarch
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 salt
1/2 cup toffee bits
Preheat the oven to 325F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
Cream the butter, powdered sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Sift the cornstarch, salt and flour together. Add to the butter mixture. Stir until dough forms. Mix in the toffee bits. I always find that refrigerating any cookie dough helps the cookie turn out better, so I refrigerated these for a couple of hours before baking. (just put the mixing bowl full of dough right in your fridge) Scoop dough and shape into 1 inch balls. Place the balls 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 12-14 minutes just until set and the bottoms begin to turn a light golden brown. Cool cookies on the tray for 2 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Mmmmm Cheesecake

I happened to come across this when I was looking for pizza recipes. I actually found it on the same blog as the Spinach Turkey Alfredo Pizza. I was needing to make a dessert for my Holiday Party at work and this looked simple and delicious!!! It was a HUGE hit, everyone at my party really loved! I think I am going to make another one today just so my husband can take it to work!!!

White Chocolate-Raspberry Cheesecake Bars

12 Oreo cookies
2 tablespoons melted butter
3 ounces finely chopped white chocolate, divided
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
1/3 cup raspberry preserves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.In a food processor, add Oreo's and process until finely ground. Add butter and pulse until combined. Scoop mixture into an 8" baking pan coated with nonstick spray - evenly press mixture to form a crust over the bottom. Place into the oven and back just until firm, about 4 to 6 minutes.

In a small microwave-safe bowl, add 2 ounces white chocolate and heat on medium power, stirring every 30 seconds, until smooth and melted. In a large mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until well combined. Mix in melted white chocolate. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing just until combined after each. Pour filling over the crust and spread smooth.

Place into the oven and bake until the center is almost set, about 24 to 28 minutes. Meanwhile, add preserves to a small microwave-safe bowl and heat briefly until warmed. Press preserves through a small sieve to remove seeds (this is optional - if you don't mind the seeds, skip this).

When cheesecake is done, remove and place pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Add preserves and spread evenly over the top. Melt remaining ounce of white chocolate - drizzle over the top and allow cheesecake to cool completely. Cover and place into the refrigerator to cool for at least 4 hours before serving.

Spinach Turkey Alfredo Pizza

I was so excited when I found this recipe on Culinary in the Desert! I have been on this kick lately of finding new recipes/ideas for pizzas! I didn't have time to make my own crust, but I did make my own Alfredo sauce!!! My husband loves Olive Garden, and especially their Alfredo sauce. I finally have been able to come up with something that is similar enough that we don't have to frequent the restaurant as often!! :o) This pizza was really a lot better than I expected it to be! And it reminded me how much I love Spinach on pizza!!

Turkey Alfredo Pizza
(adapted from Culinary in the Desert)
12 ounces whole-wheat pizza crust
1 garlic clove, halved
1 cup shredded cooked turkey
10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed dry
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup Alfredo sauce - homemade or store bought will do (I used a bit more than 1/2 a cup)
3 ounces (about 3/4 cup) shredded Parmesan cheese (I also sprinkled a little Mozzarella on top)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Preheat oven to 450. Rub cut sides of garlic all over the pizza crust. In a medium bowl, toss together turkey, spinach, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Spread Alfredo sauce evenly over crust - top evenly with turkey mixture. Scatter the top with the cheese and crushed red pepper. Slide pizza back onto the stone and bake until the cheese has melted and the crust is crisp, about 8 to 12 minutes. Remove and let cool slightly before serving.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Breakfast of Champions

First of all...I really hate this camera I have. My camera broke so I had to go out and get something to just get me by. So I bought this cheap ($60) point and shoot camera...clearly it is worth ONLY $60!!! LOL I hope to get a better one soon, so just bare with me! However, I did notice on this first picture you can see the smoke from my omelet!!! hehe

Anyhow, this blog is about breakfast...not my crappy camera!! :o) I love breakfast, and I love waking up Saturday morning and making new things for my husband and I to enjoy. I have been thinking about trying to perfect a Sweet Potato Patty of sorts, but haven't quite "perfected" it yet, so I will just keep trying and when I get it I will blog about it!!! In the mean time just think ... sweet potatoes with a slight crunchy outside, a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg, topped with honey!! I know sounds delicious right!?! I promise to get this right soon...the omelet on the other hand was amazing!

Saturday Morning Omelet
(Kitchen of Liesl)
2 Eggs and 1 Egg white
Garlic Salt
Diced Ham
Cheddar Cheese
Combine eggs, milk (I usually add just a couple of Tablespoons), pepper and garlic salt together with a whisk. In a skillet of Medium heat, melt 1 Tablespoon butter. Add diced ham to skillet. Cook ham until it browns slightly. Pour egg mixture into pan over ham and cover with a lid. Cook until eggs are almost done. Sprinkle cheddar cheese on one side of omelet and fold over the other side on top of the cheese side. Let sit for a minute to melt cheese. Serve with cheese on top!

Pamper Yourself With A Little Party!

I have always wanted to have a Pampered Chef Party and the perfect opportunity finally came up. A friend of mine told me that her cousin was getting into Pampered Chef, so I decided to host her first party! I figured it was great for her and even better for me!! I love Pampered Chef! They have great kitchen gadgets and are fairly reasonable in price. Check their stuff out here! I would have to say the best thing about having a Pampered Chef party is the fact that you get to cook (and eat!)!!! And actually, you now prepare the meals yourself so you get to use their products and get a sense for how great they really are!!! I wanted to share the recipes that we made with all of you because they are very easy and VERY DELICIOUS!!!

Club House Chicken Squares
(from All The Best Pampered Chef Cookbook)
2 packages (8 oz.) refrigerated crescent rolls
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp mayo
1 small clove garlic, pressed
1 tsp All Purpose Dill Mix (optional)
1 can (10 oz.) chunk white chicken, drained and flaked (I just boiled 1 chicken breast and cubed it myself)
1/2 small cucumber, sliced and then quartered
2 plum tomatoes diced
1/2 cup (2 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese
6 slices bacon, crisp-cooked and crumbled
Preheat oven to 375° F. Unroll one package of crescent rolls across one end of the Stoneware Bar Pan with longest sides of dough across the width of the pan. Repeat with other package, filling the pan. Use the baker's roller, roll to seal the perforations and press up the sides to form a crust. Bake 12-15 minutes, till golden, then remove to stackable cooling rack and cool completely.
In Classic Batter Bowl, mix mayonnaise, cream cheese, garlic and dill mix until smooth. Spread over crust. Top with Chicken. Sprinkle cucumber, tomatoes, cheese and bacon over chicken. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Cut and serve.

Banana Cream Supreme
(from All The Best Pampered Chef Cookbook)

16 (2 1/2 inch) Graham Cracker Squares (about 1 1/4 cups crushed)
1/4 cup butter, melted
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 (12 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 container (8 ounces) sour cream
1 (3.4 ounce) box vanilla instant pudding and pie filling
3 medium bananas, sliced
2 tablespoons pecans, grated
Chop graham crackers using Food Chopper. Place in 1 quart Batter Bowl. Add butter and sugar; mix well with Skinny Scraper. Press crumb mixture onto flat bottom of Springform Pan.
In Classic 2 quart Batter Bowl, whisk sour cream and milk until blended. Add pudding mix; whisk until pudding is dissolved. Add whipped topping, mixing until well blended. Spread half of filling over crust.
Slice bananas using Egg Slicer Plus; arrange over filling. Spread remaining filling over bananas. Grate pecans over top using Deluxe Cheese Grater. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes. To serve, remove collar from pan; cut into 12 wedges.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Calling all you leftovers!

I was trying to figure out ways to use up all these Thanksgiving leftovers, when I came across this blog. There was a recipe for Broccoli, Ham, Mac and Cheese Soup...I know right...YUMMO (as Rachael puts it so well!). I changed a few things in the recipe just so it wasn't AS unhealthy, but the soup turned out delicious! It was so easy to throw together too! My husband loved it as well, which is always a good thing! :o)

Broccoli, Ham, Mac and Cheese Soup
(adapted from Culinary in the Desert)
4 ounces dry medium pasta shells
1 1/2 cup chopped broccoli florets
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cup skim milk
8 ounces (about 2 cups) shredded sharp white cheddar
1 cup diced ham (I used a little more than 1 cup)
fresh ground black pepper
garlic salt
In a large pot of boiling salted water, add pasta and cook according to package directions. Cook pasta according to package directions. A minute or two before the pasta is done, add broccoli - drain well when done and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, heat butter over medium. Whisk in flour and mustard - cook, whisking, for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in broth, and milk. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium-high until the mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat to low.
Gradually stir in cheese until melted and smooth. Stir in ham, cooked macaroni and pasta - cook, stirring, until thoroughly heated through, about 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and garlic salt to taste. I saved some cheese to put on top of the soup along with some fresh cracked pepper. ENJOY!!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Idea for that leftover Turkey!

So I know I have yet to blog about my turkey, but I promise it is coming!!! :o) I wanted to get this out there so you all could have an idea for all those turkey leftovers!! This is something that my husband's family has always made with leftover turkey and I thought I would give it a whirl this year. It turned out so won't believe how good it tasted over Amish biscuits!!! LOL
Creamed Turkey
(per Gram, but kinda a little of Liesl!)
1 Cup Milk
1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream (I used this because I had it leftover from a cake I made! You could just use 2 cups of milk though, but I think the whipping cream is what made it so creamy and delicious!)
3/4 Cup Chicken Stock (may want to add more if you want it thinner)
4 Tablespoons Smart Balance 50/50 Butter
Fresh Cracked Pepper
Garlic Salt
4 Tablespoons Flour
Leftover Turkey Chopped up (I just kept adding Turkey until it looked like it was enough...I would say it was several cups though)
Leftover Biscuits to serve Creamed Turkey on
In a large skillet, heat the Milk, Heavy Whipping Cream, Butter and Chicken Stock. Whisk in the flour, eliminating any lumps as you add it. Bring to a boil. This mixture will thicken up as it boils, but be sure you continue to stir/whisk. Add Salt, Fresh Cracked Pepper and Garlic Salt to taste. Continue stirring as you add your Chopped Turkey. If it is too thick just add more Chicken Stock. Continue heating until Turkey is warm. Serve over leftover Biscuits! ENJOY!

Craving Something Healthy!

I was craving something healthy for dinner tonight since I have eaten like crap for the last couple of weeks! I was actually going to make this salad for Thanksgiving dinner but totally forgot!! It came out of Rachael Ray's magazine (of course). I changed it up a little though with ingredients that I thought would make the salad better!! If you want the original recipe it can be found here.

Autumn Greens and Apple Salad
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
½ small onion finely chopped
Fresh Ground Pepper
Garlic Powder
3 ribs celery finely chopped
2 crisp Gala Apples sliced thine;y
1 small head red leaf lettuce, torn into small pieces (about 8 cups)
1/2 small head green leaf lettuce, torn into small pieces (about 4 cups)
Feta Cheese for topping

In a large salad bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, shallot, salt, fresh ground pepper and garlic powder (I just added the salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste). Add the celery and apples and toss. Add the lettuces and toss again. Top with Feta cheese.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

For Serious Pumpkin Lovers!

This recipe is actually a staple at any Holiday table now-a-days! I got this recipe from a good friend of mine and it seriously has changed my life!!! Everyone is always asking me to make this for the Holidays!! It is super delicious! I wasn't going to disclose the secret, but it is absolutely delicious and I wouldn't want you all to miss out on it! Enjoy!

Pumpkin Dump Cake
(recipe from The Wyatt's)
1 29 Ounce Can Pumpkin
1 12 Ounce Can Evaporated Milk
3 Eggs
1 Cup Sugar
1 Teaspoon Salt
3 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1 Box Yellow Cake Mix
1 Cup Chopped Pecans
3/4 Cup Melted Butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix first six ingredients until well blended. Pour batter into a 9x13 greased baking pan. Sprinkle cake mix on top. Cover with Pecans. Pour melted butter over top of the cake. Bake for about 50 minutes or until you shake the cake and it doesn't wiggle!
2 Cups Powdered Sugar
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
Mix ingredients and pour icing over warm cake. Let cool. Serve with Cool Whip!


So I subscribe to Rachael Ray's "Everyday with Rachael Ray" Magazine. I actually used last years Thanksgiving Magazine to make almost all my recipes this year!! I didn't get to make them last year, so I thought since I was hosting I would pull it out and try them this year. I had a lot of success, thanks Rachael!! This recipe was one my husband actually told me I HAD TO MAKE!!!
Carmel Apple Layer Cake
2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 cups plus 1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 sticks (1 pound) plus
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 crisp apples (about 1 pound), such as gala, peeled and thinly sliced lengthwise
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup store-bought caramel sauce
Preheat the oven to 350°. Generously grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans. Using an electric mixer, combine the flour, 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, the baking powder and salt. Mix in 2 sticks butter at low speed until the mixture is crumbly.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, 1/2 cup cream, applesauce and vanilla. Mix into the flour-butter mixture at medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute.

Divide the batter between the prepared pans. Bake until springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the cake to release the layers, invert onto the rack and let cool completely.

In a medium skillet, melt 3 tablespoons butter over medium-low heat. Add the apple slices and remaining 1/3 cup granulated sugar and cook, stirring often, until the apples are tender and the juice is syrupy, about 15 minutes. Stir in the remaining 3 tablespoons cream and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Meanwhile, using an electric mixer, beat the remaining 2 sticks butter and the confectioners' sugar until light and creamy. With the mixer on low, slowly mix in the caramel sauce.

Place 1 cake layer on a cake plate; spread the apple filling evenly on top, then cover with the remaining cake layer. Using an offset spatula or butter knife, cover the top and sides of the cake with the caramel frosting, swirling the top to make a decorative pattern.

My Thanksgiving Tablescape

This year, the family decided to come down and have Thanksgiving at our house. This was actually the first Thanksgiving my husband and I have hosted at the house!! I also took it upon myself to make the turkey (which was a first for me) and I will post about that later!! Everything turned out great and I can't wait to share all the recipes with you!

With all the family coming down, I wanted to do something special for my tablescape. So this is what I came up with...
We had to bring in a long table to have extra space, so our table isn't too fancy...and nor are the plates LOL! Anyhow, I was in Yankee Candle awhile ago and bought 2 large Harvest Candles, 2 Autumn Wreath votives (which I placed in glass jars) and they also had those festive looking confetti leaves! I also bought fall napkins and Indian Corn to help bring it all together!

For the name tags, I just wrote each name on a leaf and placed it on the plate! Everyone loved it and the house smelled amazing!!! :o) I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving...I will be posting my recipes shortly!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Oh how I love thee...let me count thy ways!

So since I have been in my accident I have had a lot of time to look at recipes! A friend of mine (who knows my love of pumpkin and how much I have struggled not being able to bake) sent me this EASY recipe from Southern Plate. I was so excited about it because when I saw the recipe it only called for....get ready two ingredients!!!
I was so all about this, since my recent condition has me incapable of doing very much at all. So I tried this out and let me tell you they were A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!!! I even let the hubby take them to school today since I wasn't able to make my favorite pumpkin rolls this year. Here is the recipe from Southern Plate.
Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Streusal
1 box spice cake mix
1 can pumpkin
1/2 cup water

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin. In mixing bowl, place all ingredients. Mix until well blended. Scoop into muffin tin. Make topping.

1 C Brown Sugar
1 Stick Margarine (I used Smart Balance 50/50)
1 C Flour

Stir together flour and brown sugar, breaking up any lumps. Cut in margarine. Spoon or sprinkle on top of muffins, pat down slightly. Bake at 350 for 20-24 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
These muffins are by far some of the best muffins I have had in a long time! You seriously NEED to try them out!! They are actually pretty healthy too (minus the topping) with only having the mix, pumpkin, and water!!!

Getting back in my grove...attempt #1!

If you are looking for something cheap and convenient, my friend let me introduce to you .... THE PIZZA ROLL! I was craving a little comfort (and quality time with my kitchen) yesterday and went looking through my recipes. I came across this family favorite and decided it was perfect. After being out of commission from my kitchen I wanted something simple, yet satisfying. It turned out perfectly...very tasty and comforting with hardly any effort!

1 10 ounce refrigerated pizza crust dough
2 Tablespoons Garlic Butter melted (I just made my own using Garlic, Garlic Salt and Butter)
2 Tablespoons Pizza Sauce
1 Teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1/4 cup (maybe more) sliced Pepperoni
1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1/4 cup Shredded Parmesan/Romano Blend Cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place Garlic Butter in a microwave safe bowl and microwave until melted. Open pizza crust dough and roll out on a cutting board or flat counter surface. Brush melted Garlic Butter over top of crust. Rinse brush and brush Pizza Sauce over crust. Sprinkle Italian Seasonings over top of sauces. Next, arrange your pepperoni in a single layer. Sprinkle Mozzarella and Parmesan/Romano Blend on top of pepperoni. To roll the pizza crust, carefully start by folding over one end (long ways) about 2 inches. Pat down. Then continue folding/rolling until it is finished and the seam side is down. Place roll on a greased baking sheet seam side down. With a sharp knife, cut slits about 1/2 inch deep every two inches. Place in oven for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Let rest for several minutes before serving. I also brushed the rest of my leftover Garlic Butter on top before serving. You can also serve this with a side of Pizza Sauce for dipping! Hope you like it!

Friday, November 21, 2008

I miss my kitchen :o(

I am sure I don't have many followers that read my blog, but for those of you who do, I am sorry for the lack of posts. I was in a pretty serious car accident on November 13 and since then have not been able to really spend quality time with my kitchen. It has now been a week and I am still struggling to get better...slowly I am seeing a light...ok maybe a glimmer! I am hoping to be able to get back in the swing of things soon...I have dishes I had high hopes for making for Thanksgiving! Until then, happy cooking/baking to all of you out there, I hope to join you again soon.

Much love,

Friday, November 7, 2008

I say "Potato"!

I love Potato Soup!! Back when I lived in Ohio there was a restaurant (Bennigan's) that had the BEST Potato Soup ever!!! They actually went out of business, but I always had searched for a recipe to make that beloved Potato Soup they served. My friend had sent me a recipe awhile ago for a knock-off version of the soup, and I did some research on Food Blog Search. I found a recipe on Baking Delights Blog and decided to combine it with some of my Potato Soup recipes I had tried in the past...this is what I came up with!! It was so delicious!!

Not Quite Bennigan's Potato Soup...
8 Large Potatoes Peeled and cut into bite size pieces
6 Tablespoons of Smart Balance 50/50 Butter
1 Onion Finely Chopped
3 Ribs of Celery finely chopped
4 Cloves of Garlic Minced
3 Tablespoons of Flour
2 Cups Low Sodium Chicken Stock
2 Cups of Half and Half
1 Cup Skim Milk
2 Tablespoons Garlic Salt
Freshly Cracked Pepper
1 Cup Shredded Velveeta
Boil potatoes until soft. Drain and set aside. In a deep soup pan, melt the butter. Add the onion and celery, cook until soft (not browned). Add the minced garlic, garlic salt and fresh cracked pepper. Stir to coat the celery and onion. Add the flour to create a Roux (it helps thicken the soup). Let the flour absorb all the melted butter until it gets thick. Once it thickens add the Chicken Stock, Half and Half and Skim milk. (I waited to add the milk just to see how thick it was, and added milk for the consistency I wanted) Once combined turn heat to low and let simmer. Take about 1 cup of potatoes and mash them. Add the mashed and bite size pieces of potatoes to the soup. Stir. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes stirring occasionally. Top with cracked pepper, shredded Velveeta and garlic salt if desired.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I bow down to thee Cesar!!

Calling all you Cesar Salad lovers...yes, this tastes as good as it looks!!! I love it when other food blogger's leave comments on my blog, because half of the time it winds up taking me to a food blog I have never read!! That is what happened this time. I found this recipe on Whippin' It Up. I knew right away I HAD TO MAKE IT!!! My husband and I love Cesar Salad!!! What a great idea!!! I can't believe I never thought of it!!!
Chicken Cesar Salad Pizza
One Pizza Crust of your choice
1 cup Cesar Dressing
Parmesan Cheese
2 Chicken Breasts cooked and cut into bite size pieces (I boiled mine)
2 Roman Lettuce heads, washed and cut into bite size pieces (I buy the ones that come in a 3 pack and just used 2 of those)
Fresh Cracked Pepper
Bake the Pizza Crust according to the directions on the package. Take it out of the oven once it is baked and put half of the Cesar Dressing on the crust. Top with Parmesan Cheese and place back in oven to melt the cheese. Place the bite size chicken pieces on top. Then place the Roman Lettuce on top of the chicken. Top with remainder of the Cesar Dressing and sprinkle with more Parmesan Cheese and Fresh Cracked Pepper!
THIS WAS SOOOOO YUMMY!!!!! (excuse the paper plate...I was going for easy clean up last night! hehe!)