December 21, 2014

Hot Buttered Rum


Is it just me or are the beginnings of blog posts the hardest? The beginning of the post should be what grabs your attention, it's what is supposed to lure you in to wanting more but what if the picture I am sharing should be getting all the attention and not the words I am typing before it?? I think that is why I am drawing a blank with this first paragraph today, the picture below speaks for itself (at least for me it does today).



Who would have thought adding butter to a hot drink would work!? Or what about adding coconut oil? I was pleasantly surprised that both actually work and taste GREAT. I tried both and have to say I preferred the coconut oil mixture more that the butter. I think the hint of coconut mixed with the pineapple juice pleased my tastebuds more then the butter mix did. 

Give it a try....who knows you may be adding a new beverage to your Holiday must-haves.



Do you have a favorite Holiday Drink you make every year?


Hot Buttered Rum 
makes 1 drink

1/2 cup pineapple juice
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 oz. Spice Rum (like Captain Morgan's)
1/2 vanilla extract
1/8 tsp cinnamon
a dash of nutmeg
1 Tablespoon butter or coconut oil 

Directions:

Before you plan on making and serving this Hot Drink I suggest to prep your butter/coconut oil in advance.....whip together the butter or coconut oil with the vanilla extract, cinnamon and dash of nutmeg and put it in the fridge to chill.

When the butter has firmed up you are ready to mix up this hot cup of goodness.

Heat the pineapple juice, rum and brown sugar just until it is hot and steaming a bit but do not bring it to a boil; you could do this either on the stove in a small pot or in the microwave.

Pour the hot concoction into your coffee mug and then top it with your prepared butter. Enjoy!

July 21, 2014

Top 5 for 2013

I just realized I never did a Top 5 for my 2013 blog posts. That's what happens when you are moving from one state to another to then pack up and move half way across the world again....all in the matter of 4 months!!

The Top 5 for this year are still family favorites of ours. All 5 recipes can easily be incorporated into a meal plan, prepared in advance or even taken to a potluck.


1. Tamale Chicken Bake
This is an easy go to recipe if you love tamales but don't have the time or the know how to prepare tamales from scratch ;-)
 2. Strawberry Crisp
LOVE this recipe! So easy to make and so delicious.


3. Mexican Cornbread Salad
Not only does this taste yummy but it looks great too.

4. Sweet Sesame Chicken
One of my absolute favorite go to recipes I have.


 5. Turkey & Wild Rice Soup
Nothing taste better then homemade soup and fresh baked bread on a cloudy day.


July 15, 2014

Chocolate Carrot Cake

I have been telling so many people about how much I like carrot cake and especially this Chocolate Carrot Cake. Thankfully I already blogged about this one because not only am I able to re-share this lovely concoction but I also can't seem to find my recipe card to remake this....moving across the world can do that. Down side I don't have chocolate pudding mix at home to make this RIGHT NOW!!! But it will be on my grocery list for the next shopping trip :-)


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Original Blog Post from August 22, 2012:

Yesterday was my birthday and I finally tried out a recipe for a Chocolate Carrot Cake that I have written down....uuhhh....too long ago. I have always liked a good Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese frosting but who would have ever thought of adding carrots and walnuts to a chocolate cake and it tasting so good!? And thankfully there is a cream cheese frosting that doesn't bother my lactose intolerance.....I will have to try making it one day with my dairy free cream cheese that I buy but didn't have any yesterday so the store bought kind was the one I used.



Chocolate Carrot Cake

1 box of chocolate cake mix (I used a Chocolate Fudge flavor)
1 small package instant chocolate pudding mix
4 oz. cream cheese, brought to room temperature
1 cup milk (I used lactose free milk)
3 eggs
1 tsp cinnamon
3 cups shredded carrots
 ½ cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350F and spray cake pans with cooking spray. I used a 13x9 cake pan but you could do cake rounds too (this should be enough for 2 thick layers or 3 thinner layers).

In a large bowl, combine cake mix, cream cheese, pudding mix, milk, eggs and cinnamon. Beat with mixer on low speed until all the ingredients are incorporated (about 30 secs) then increase speed for 2 mins. Stir in the remaining ingredients.

Pour into cake pans and bake 25-30 mins.

Cool before frosting. Store in refrigerator. Enjoy!

June 17, 2014

Gooey S'mores Cookies

I know it is an absolute must to make S'mores when you go camping and I would never not bring supplies to make them but I hate to admit it but I really don't love eating S'mores. As much as I love to bake and try new dessert recipes out I actually don't have a "real" sweet tooth and S'mores always seem to be too much "sweet" for me. At the same time though every time I make S'mores for my kids I always eat one too, I just can't help myself, smores are just one of those things that brings back memories of all the fun I had camping as a kid.
Now I know these cookies aren't "really" the same thing as making S'mores over an open fire BUT these are easy to make, take & share, they hit the spot when you aren't able to get a campfire going or if you just don't want marshmallow smeared all over your kiddos. 


Since we are talking about marshmallows, have you tried these Marshmallow Bits yet?? I really wasn't sure what to expect when I bought them but I have to tell you after eating a few I didn't automatically think of S'mores. The first thing that came to mind when I ate them was hot chocolate! These bits taste just like the little marshmallows you have floating around in your mug of hot chocolate....which is a must for me.
 
Gooey S'mores Cookies 
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/3 cups flour
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs 
(7 full graham cracker sheets)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup Mini Hershey’s Kisses (or chocolate chips/chunks)
1 cup Jet Puffed Mallow Bits


Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.

Using a mixer, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat for an additional 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, use a food processor or blender to crush 7 graham cracker sheets into 3/4 cup fine crumbs. In a separate bowl, whisk together the graham cracker crumbs, flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and mix on low speed until the dough just comes together. Add the chocolate and marshmallows and stir to combine.
Place 1.5 tablespoon sized scoops of dough onto the prepared cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.


Makes about 2 dozen cookies


June 11, 2014

Homemade Flour Tortillas

Don't ask me why I never made homemade tortillas in the past but now that I know how simple and so much more tastier they are I don't think I will ever go back to store bought kind.  The best part about making them homemade is that the ingredients are so simple and you "should" have everything in your pantry waiting to be used. The other great thing about this recipe is that it didn't require any special kitchen tools (minus a rolling pin or in my case a glass)....not needing any special tools to make these delicious tortillas is an added bonus for me since our household items are still in transit so I have had to find ways to accommodate the fact that I don't have my mixer, blender, knives and all the other tools I took for granted when I had them readily available.




I have only tried flour tortilla's but I do have cornmeal in my pantry waiting to be used for corn tortillas. I can't imagine them being any more difficult to make and I will share the outcome once I make them. I found a recipe to make homemade enchilada sauce too so my plan is to make enchiladas completely from scratch!!



Homemade Flour Tortillas

3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
⅓ cup oil (I used canola oil)
1 cup warm water (not boiling)

Directions:
In a large bowl combine your dry ingredients and stir. I combine the oil and warm water in my measuring cup before pouring them into the flour mixture (easier clean up). Stir in the oil and water, your dough will be a bit crumbly or shaggy looking at first but after kneading it about 10 times it should come together nicely. 

Now transfer your dough to a well floured surface. Divide the dough into about 16 equal portions. 16 portions makes tortillas large enough to roll into burritos, if you want them smaller just cut your portions in half again. My kids love the smaller size for soft tacos.
Flatten the portions quickly and gently by hand (you are just prepping the shape, so don't over flatten the dough now). Cover them with a clean kitchen towel and let them rest for about 10-15 minutes.

My rolling pin is still packed away so I had to improvise and used a glass instead! It works but I can't wait to get my rolling pin back.

After your resting time is over they are ready to roll out. You want to roll them as thin as possible without creating holes, they should almost be see through. **Don't have a fan on during this part, otherwise the dough will dry out too fast and then the tortillas will crack when you try rolling or folding them after cooking**

Keep the unrolled dough covered while you are working too. I roll out 4 portions before I start cooking them, this way I have 2 cooking, and 2 waiting while I work on the next 2 to roll. If you have a helper in the kitchen have them do the rolling or the flipping because they do cook fast. 

Heat your pan or pans to medium-high heat. Don't add anything to your pan to cook the tortillas. Once you notice golden-brown spots they are are ready to be flipped. Cook them the same way on each side. 

Eat them now, save them at room temp up to 24 hrs, store cooled tortillas in the fridge or freeze them for later. Either way enjoy them and learn to love the taste of homemade! 
Let me know if you feel the same as me "why haven't I done this sooner!?" 

June 10, 2014

Curry Chicken

Looking for a appetizer and main course for a Thai themed dinner party or just wanting to try out something new?! Here you go, both of these are tested and approved. 

The great thing about the soup is that you can make it your own in regards of how spicy you want it by adding more curry paste, if you rather use chicken or veggie broth and even if you would like to swap out the shrimp for a different type of protein OR leave it out too.

                                                                                                                             
THAI CURRY SOUP

3 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ TBS minced lemongrass
1 tsp salt
1 TBS olive oil
*2 TBS red curry paste
*32 oz chicken broth
1 can coconut milk
1/2 cup cooked/steamed potatoes, cubed
1/2 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 TBS lime juice, about half a fresh lime
1/2-1 cup peeled and uncooked medium shrimp
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2-3 green onions, sliced


DIRECTIONS:

Heat olive oil, stir in garlic and lemongrass for about 30-60 secs before adding the curry paste and salt. Heat curry paste for another 30-60 secs, stirring constantly. Pour & stir in 1/2 cup of broth to dissolve curry paste, then add remaining broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low, cover partially and simmer 20 minutes.

Stir in coconut, lime juice, potatoes and mushrooms. Bring back to a boil and then remove from heat.

Stir in cilantro, green onions and shrimp. Soup is ready to serve as soon as the shrimp are pink.

Serve with rice (optional)


From left to right: Chicken Pad Thai, Spicy Lettuce Wraps and Thai Curry Soup

CHICKEN PAD THAI
(Recipe shared with me from my friend Jamie)

8 oz rice noodles
1/4 cup salted peanuts, finely chopped
1/2 tsp grated lime peel
3 Tbs fish sauce
2 Tbs fresh lime juice
2 Tbs packed brown sugar
4 1/2 tsp rice vinegar
1 Tbs Asian chile sauce with garlic
3 Tbs cooking oil
1/2 lb skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized strips
1/2 package of firm tofu (3oz I think...?)
1 Tbs finely chopped garlic
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup fresh bean sprouts
1/2 cup sliced green onion
2 Tbs snipped fresh cilantro

DIRECTIONS

-Place noodles in a large bowl.  Add enough hot water to cover them; let them stand for 10 to 15 or until the noodles are pliable but not soft.  Drain well in a colander.
-Meanwhile, for peanut topping, combine peanuts and lime peel; set aside.
-In a small bowl combine fish sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, rice vinegar, and chile sauce; stir utnil smooth.  Set aside.
-In a 12in nonstick skillet heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Add chicken, tofu and garlic; cook and stir about 6 mins or until chicken is no longer pink.  Transfer to a bowl.
-Add egg to the hot skillet and cook for 30 sec.  Turn egg with spatula and cook for 30-60 seconds more, just until set.  Remove egg from skillet; chop egg and set aside.
-In same skillet heat remaining 2 TBS oil over high heat for 30 sec.  Add drained noodles and sprouts; stir-fry for 2 mins.  Add fish sauce mixture and chicken mixture;  cook for 1-2 mins more or until heated through.  Remove from heat and sprinkle with egg, peanut topping, green onion and cilantro.