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Friday, December 28, 2012

Mashmallow Whipped Cream & Peppermint Whipped Cream {the key to a great hot cocoa}

I came upon these two recipes (1. Marshmallow Whipped Cream & 2. Peppermint Whipped Cream) about a month and a half ago, and I've made them too many times to count. Seriously, I think I have a problem. I spied them as I was out to have some family over for a hot cocoa bar.  I like hot cocoa. But I L.O.V.E. hot cocoa with these two whipped creams. Hot cocoa will never be the same, so beware! The Marshmallow Whipped Cream is soft and fluffy with the perfect hint of vanilla, which, if you ask me, it makes the whipped cream.  The peppermint whipped cream is perfectly sweetened with blended candy canes (making peppermint powder). This can be prepared two ways. You can fold the peppermint into the cream and let it sit in the fridge and the it dissloves in the cream, leaving you a lightly pink and smooth peppermint flavored whipped cream. Or you can fold the peppermint in right before serving and you can little bits of crunchy peppermint. The last way is the way I like it.  Honestly if I had to choose just one whipped cream to make I'd make the marshmallow whipped cream. But I really like them side by side (as pictured above), they compliment each other so well.

Just as a side note, I did try to combine the two recipes for a Marshmallow-Peppermint whipped cream, and it worked, but I didn't really like it as much. It was too sweet, the marshmallows, powdered sugar, and candy cane was just too much sweetener.  So I've been sticking to making them separate, or just the marshmallow version. Yum! Enjoy some hot cocoa!

Marshmallow Whipped Cream & Peppermint Whipped Cream {2 Recipes}
Printable Version

Marshmallow Whipped Cream
1 cup of whipping cream (I have an easier time whipped cream that isn’t ultra-pasteurized)
1-2 tablespoons powdered sugar (I always use 2)
a splash of vanilla
1-2 cups small marshmallows (I use 1 1/2 cups)

In a bowl, whip cream and powdered sugar until firm stiff. Stir in a splash of vanilla. Fold in marshmallows.  Use immediately to top cups of hot cocoa.  Or place in the fridge for a few hours and the marshmallows will puff up and soften.  I like to let it set for an hour or two in the fridge otherwise you might as well just use marshmallows in your cocoa and have cream on top.  The soft marshmallows add the perfect touch to this light and fluffy whipped cream.

Peppermint Whipped Cream
3 (regular sized) red and white peppermint candy canes
1 cup of whipping cream (I have better luck with whipping cream that's not ultra-pasteurized)

Unwrap your candy canes and place them in a blender or food processor. Process until the candy canes until they are a fairly fine powder. (Mine usually turn into powder works great)

In another bowl, whip cream until firm. Fold in the candy cane powder in the cream, the candy canes give it enough sweetness, so there is no need to add sugar. Use immediately to top you cocoa if you like little pieces of crunchy candy cane in it (my favorite way). Or place in the refrigerator for a few hours and allow the candy canes to completely dissolve. It’s great both ways! 

 I love the candy cane smells good. 
But don't breath it in. It can't be good for your lungs or nasal passage! :)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

"Seasoning" Greetings {Savory Holiday Neighbor Gifts}

Last year we got a bottle of homemade seasoned salt from my uncle. We also had about 13 plates of delicious sweets too from other friends and family. I ended up freezing most of the sweets because we just couldn't eat it all! However, the seasoning salt lasted months, and we used it every day (on our eggs mostly).  I thought it was an awesome gift (Thanks again, Tom). So last year I made a mental note that I'd like to give out a seasoning mix to my neighbors for Christmas. I have a few seasoning recipes on the blog so far (Taco & Fajita), and they are ones I use on a regular basis.  The taco seasoning is one I thought would be good to pass around, I mean doesn't everyone use taco seasoning (it's even gluten-free).  I had the idea to make a catchy "seasoning" saying on my gift tag. I orignally thought of saying 'Tis' the "Seasoning"', but after talking to Leesh, I decided to go with '"Seasoning" Greetings'. I thought it was kind of fun and cute!   Thanks for always helping me out, Leesh!

So, if you're in the market for savory vs sweet gift to hand out to friends and/or neighbors, just mix up your favorite seasoning mix (or check out my taco and fajita seasoning recipes), buy some big seasoning shakers (or small salt and pepper shakers) at the Dollar Store ($1 for the big ones and 2/$1 for the salt and pepper size), fill up the bottle with your seasoning of choice, make a nifty little tag ("Tis' the "Seasoning" with Love, Your Name OR ""Seasoning" Greetings" with Love, Your Name, the options are endless here), and tie it on with some cute twine or raffia.  And your set!  
Other ideas for Neighbor/Friend Gifts - Check out all the links!
Johnson Cookies (with Christmas colored sprinkles)
Whole Wheat Chocolate Chips Cookies (just use Christmas colored M&M's)
Glazed Doughnuts (cut out with Christmas cookie cutters - add Christmas sprinkles too)

Here are a few of the things I did to assemble my seasoning shakers!

I made these tags by printing the phrase on some tan card stock. I found the cute Candy Cane Font here. (It's the 5th one down or so). I then glued it on to some green scrapbook scraps, punched a hole in the corner, and got some cute candy-cane twine for tying it on.

 I washed and dried the seasoning bottles and made a narrow-mouth funnel to pour in the seasonings (since I don't have a real funnel).
 The funnel helped for a no-spill project!
 I cut little circles of aluminum foil about the size of the shaker top....
 ...and then put it in the top of the lid so we didn't have taco seasoning all over the place! :) 
And to keep it fresh!
 I also had cards to hand out with my gifts so I wrote up the recipe for the taco seasoning and stuck it in the envelope. That way if they like it, they can make more, and it tells how much seasoning to use for your taco meat!

Happy Gift Giving!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Heavenly Chocolate Mousse {in a Pie Shell or Single Dishes}

**Note: if you're looking for Thanksgiving recipes, visit our side bar under "labels" and click on "Thanksgiving. Or visit our Recipe Index page and look under Thanksgiving for more of our favorite "tried & true" recipes!

My mom has made this mousse for us since we were kids. She cut the recipe of a Knox gelatin box years ago. It's always been a favorite for my family!  A few weeks ago we had some requests for Thanksgiving recipes and a cream pie was requested (Lisa this is just for you!).  This and banana cream pie are two of my favorite cream pies. I'll work on getting a banana cream pie posted here sometime. 

This chocolate mousse is so lovable because it's incredibly light and fluffy and the semi-sweet chocolate chips make it really chocolatey (I suppose if you aren't a huge dark chocolate lover that milk chocolate would work well, but I've never tried it). And if you are one of those strange people (aahem, Leesh) *wink, wink*  that isn't a huge pie lover than you can most certainly put the mousse in individual single serve dishes.  But pie lover or not, topped with chocolate curls and whipped cream this is sure to please a pie or non-pie lover!

As for me, I'm a huge fan or the sweet filling of a chocolatey pie, like this, with a light flaky, salty crust. Sweet and salty just hits the spot for me.  And in case you missed last weeks post about pie crust. Check it out here, this is my favorite pie crust and there is a video tutorial so you can no excuse to not make your own! :)  

Heavenly Chocolate Mousse
Printable Version

1 envelope Knox Unflavored Gelatine
2 tablespoons sugar
1 ½ cups milk
1 package (6 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups sweetened whipped topping (I use real whipped cream, sweetened with a little powdered sugar)

In medium saucepan, mix gelatine with sugar; blend in milk.  Let stand 1 minute.  Stir over low heat until completely dissolved, about 5 minutes.  Add chocolate and stir until melted (I like to melt in at 50% power in the microwave first (one minute at a time). It mixes with the milk better that way).  Beat mixture until well blended.  Stir in vanilla.  Pour into large bowl and chill, stirring occasionally, until mixture mounds slightly when dropped from a spoon.  Fold in whipped topping.  Turn into dessert dishes or a 4-cup bowl (or into a 9-inch baked pastry shell - see variation note); chill until firm.  Garnish with additional whipped topping and chocolate curls.  Makes 8 servings.

For a CHOCOLATE MOUSSE PIE, turn into a 9-inch baked pastry shell instead of dessert dishes; chill until firm.

Recipe Source: from Diana K. via Knox gelatine box (from years ago).

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Perfect Pie Crust {Oil Pastry with Video Tutorial}

Welcome to pie crust making 101 {1st video tutorial on this blog - yay!}. This is my favorite recipe for multiple reasons. 1) It's so simple to make (seriously about 10 minutes from start to finish). 2) The ingredients are pure (I am kind of an anti-shortening kind of girl) - all this is is flour, salt, oil, and ice water! 3) When baked to a golden perfection and filled with your favorite filling you enjoy the lightly salty and perfectly flaky! I love me a flaky crust!  
Please enjoy the video tutorial here! I was pretty excited to have my mom be the hands in this video! And thanks to my sweet husband for helping me edit and compile the video!  

Sometimes pie making can be fussy, but this recipe is seriously no fail. And if the dough it did in this video :) - we were working under pressure - it's just fine because it really is quite forgiving and can be mended with ease!  I wanted to put this video here so that you can say "goodbye" to store bought crusts! 
*In case the video isn't enough, I have pictures and step-by-step instructions listed in the recipe.

Happy pie making! And Happy Thanksgiving! 


In case there is a problem with the video on the blog, here is the YouTube Link

Oil Pastry {Single Pie Crust}
Printable Version
1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
⅓ cup oil (canola or vegetable)
2-3 tablespoons ice water

Preheat oven to 475 degrees F. 

In a medium size mixing bowl stir together flour and salt until combined. Add oil and using a stiff thin spatula or frosting knife (or other such utensil) cut (not stir) the oil into the flour mixture until combined, being careful not to ove rmix (over mixed pie dough will give you a dry, non-flaky pie crust). Once oil is cut in add 2 tablespoons of ice water and cut (like you did with the oil) the water into the flour/oil mixture.  If it’s still looking dry after the first 2 tablespoons of water are absorbed, and ½ a tablespoon of water more at at time until moist and the dough can be easily formed into a ball. 

Between 2 sheets of wax paper, roll pastry into a circle that is 2 inches larger than upside down pie plate. Peel wax paper away (flipping over and peeling it off the other side too, so it's loose) and place in pie dish, removing any air pockets (so it’s nice and snug in along the bottom, inside edge of the pie dish. Fold overhanging pastry underneath and flute the edge as desired. Prick the bottom and sides of the sides or pastry with a fork. For a pre-baked crust bake for 8-10 minutes or until light brown. Cool on cooling rack.

Note: If your pie filling requires baking you don't need to pre-bake the crust.
Recipe Source: Diana K.

Original post photos :) New photos updated Feb. 12, 2015

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cranberries - 2 Ways {Cooked & Raw}


My husbands family is serious about their cranberries with Thanksgiving dinner! I had never really tried cranberries until I married into this family! And I feel I've been missing out big time! I love them! I remember as a kid thinking they were just some weird red fruity sauce that only grown-ups liked. And since I'm a "grown-up" now maybe that's why I like them so! I don't know but these two recipes are downright delicious. I especially loved the raw cranberries. They are a bit more tart than the cooked (although you can adjust that to your liking with how much sugar you add). I like them as a side on my Thanksgiving dinner plate or I like them spread across sandwich on a leftover roll with cold leftover turkey. I think these leftovers are the reason I love Thanksgiving so much! Oh and the pie....I can't forget the pie!  

If you're family isn't into the cranberry sauces and you still want to add some cranberry to your Thanksgiving meal, try this recipe for Cranberry Cream Salad that Leesh posted last year. It's a major crowd pleaser....I mean marshmallows, fruit, and whipped cream, who could resist?!?!?

If you try any of these recipes for you Thanksgiving meal, we'd love to hear what you think. Leave us a comment! We love to hear from you!

Cranberry Sauce {Cooked}
Printable Version {Cooked Cranberry Sauce}
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1-3 tablespoons ginger, grated (pick your zesty scale)
1 orange, zested and juiced
1 (12 ounce) bag fresh cranberries
¼ teaspoon cardamom

Boil everything but cranberries until the sugar is dissolved in a medium size saucepan. Add cranberries and continue simmer until all the cranberries pop. The sauce will get really thick (and tasty). Remove from heat and cool.

Serve as a side with your thanksgiving meal, or spread on a leftover turkey and roll sandwich!


Recipe Source: Jon J.

And here's another recipe......

Cranberry Sauce/Relish {Raw}
Printable Version {Raw Cranberry Sauce/Relish}
1 (12 ounce) bag cranberries
1 orange
¾ cup sugar

Grind the cranberries and whole orange in a food grinder, blender or food processor until mostly smooth.  If you’d like you can put the whole orange segments and all of the zest (thoroughly zested) in and blend up.  Add sugar and blend more til combined.

Let cranberry mixture sit in a bowl, stir occasionally.  The longer the sugar has to soak into the cranberries the less tart it will be. You can add more sugar to taste if you’d like.

Serve as a side with your Thanksgiving meal. Or use as a relish on a leftover turkey and roll sandwich.


Recipe Source: Maureen G. 

Bacon Wrapped Lil' Smokies

These little beauties have been seen all over the internet, but I had never seen or heard of them til about a month ago. I went to a bridal shower and they were served buffet style alongside a pleothora of other morsels of goodness. But of all the goodies, these were my favorite! I think I ate at least 8....not so dainty for a bridal shower, I know! But I couldn't help myself!  
Anyhow a week or so ago I asked on our Facebook page if anyone had any specific recipes or kinds of recipes they wanted us to share for planning a Thanksgiving menu. I had a request for appetizers.  Although we don't usually have too many appetizers at our Thanksgiving meal (I'm always saving room for LOTS of pie), I thought these lil' smokies would do the trick for pleasing man, woman, and child! 

These are so simple to make. 3 ingredients, toothpicks and an oven and your set (well I guess a baking sheet would be helpful too!).  The savory little sausage is wrapped in some love (aka bacon) and sprinkled with a little brown sugar. The sugar, flavor of the bacon and sausages is out of this world. I also saw while looking online that some people even glaze with some brown sugar and maple syrup! Sounds divine! I don't think you can mess these up. Just make sure the bacon is cooked through and you'll be drooling from your over satisfied saliva glands not knowing what to do with such goodness! 

These babies would also be fitting at Christmas time, tail gate parties, BBQ's and more! Hey I even had them at a Bridal shower, so they aren't just man lovin' food!  


Bacon Wrapped Lil' Smokies
Printable Version
1 pound bacon, cut into thirds or fourths (in about 2 ½ inch lengths)
1 package of Lit’l Smokies (I buy Hillshire Farms brand)
½ cup brown sugar
Round wooden toothpicks

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Cut bacon into about 2 ½ inch strips. Just enough to barely overlap the bacon as it’s wrapped around one wiener.  Wrap each wiener with a strip of bacon and insert a wooden toothpick through the wiener and bacon to hold the bacon in place. Place wrapped wiener on a baking sheet, leaving ½ inch between each wiener. When all of the wieners are wrapped, place a pinch of brown sugar on top of each of them (about ¼-½  teaspoon per each). 

Bake at 325 degrees until brown sugar is dissolved and bacon is cooked through, about 40 minutes.

Serve warm.  To keep warm for serving consider placing them in a crock-pot on low or warm. 

I’ve also cooked them at 375 for 15 minutes and then turned the oven to 350 for an extra 5 minute and they’ve turned out well this way....speeds up the time, you just want to make sure the bacon is cooked through. The inside of the bacon touching the wiener may not be done as soon as the outer side of the bacon is.

 Recipe Source: Inspired for said Bridal shower above

Monday, November 12, 2012

Bread Stuffing

Last year I had intentions of posting more of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes. But I didn't make them until the day or so before Thanksgiving and I was sure everyone already had their Thanksgiving recipes all planned out. So I saved a few of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes to share this year with you all.  

This reicpe for bread stuffing goes way back! It's my husband's grandmothers recipe. The secret to the recipe is making it from scratch.....down to the bread (I have used Grandma Sycamore's bread from the grocery store and had good results too).  We definatley prefer the homemade bread. 

I usually make one batch of my favorite whole wheat bread recipe and that is plenty of bread to make 24 cups of bread cubes. This bread recipe freezes well so if you want to plan ahead you can make the bread, freeze it, and then pull it out 3 days or so before you plan to bake the stuffing.  I start by getting a large disposable aluminum deep baking dish from the dollar store (the kind you'd send a meal to someone in and not expect to get back)  and cut my bread in cubes with kitchen shears.  I measure as I go and dump it into the tin.  I let this sit out on my counter for a few days with a wooden spoon near by and I toss it every time I walk by, helping it dry out all the way through.  When its hard and no moisture is left, that's when you know it's dry enough for making stuffing.  

We don't bake this stuffing in the turkey that's why it calls for chicken broth or hot water to provide plenty of moisture (see recipe directions below for a more through explanation).

It only bakes an hour! Serve alongside your other favorite Thanksgiving dishes! Enjoy!

Bread Stuffing
Printable Version

24 cups dry bread cubes (2-3 loaves) (whole wheat homemade bread is best)
2 tablespoons salt
1 ½ teaspoons pepper
1 ½ poultry seasoning
1 ½ cups butter, melted
4-6 onions, finely chopped (I like yellow onion)
1 bunch celery, finely chopped
¼ cup olive oil
Hot chicken broth or water (2-5 cups; see note below)

Dry out 24 cups of bread cubes.  I put mine in a large (dollar store) disposable aluminum deep dish baking pan (the kind you’d send to someone and not expect to get it back). I let this sit out on my counter for a few days (about 3) and toss it every time I think about it so that it has enough air exposure on all the layers to dry it out completely. If you have a dehydrator you could speed the process up by using it.  And of course if you don’t want to use homemade bread you can usually buy dried bread cubes in the bakery department at your local grocery store around the Thanksgiving holiday.

In a small bowl mix together salt (see note below about the sodium level), pepper, and poultry seasoning.  Set aside.

Finely chop 4-6 yellow onions and one bunch of celery.  Place a large deep skillet or stock pot on the stove over medium heat, add olive oil, onions and celery and saute them until translucent and no longer crunchy, stirring frequently.

Melt butter in a small saucepan on the stove over medium-low heat until completely melted.  Set aside.

Heat two cups of chicken broth on the stove or in the microwave as needed. 

Once bread is dry toss the salt mixture over the dry bread cubes in layers so it’s evenly distributed.  Toss butter in small increments until it’s absorbed by the bread cubes.  Then toss in the sauteed onions and celery.  At this point we want to add enough  hot broth/water until the bread is all very wet and when you scoop to the bottom of the pan you can barely see the broth starting to puddle in the bottom. You don’t want it  sloppy, just very moist. As it bakes it will dry out more as it’s not baked inside a turkey.  Once the bread mixture is as moist as desired cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. You can toss half way through. You want it a bit crispier/toasted on the top when it’s done. 


NOTE: One thing I'd watch for is the sodium levels.  If you use salted butter, and a chicken broth that is not low or no-sodium, and add all the salt called for in the recipe it tends to be a bit much salt for me.  If you don't have unsalted butter and chicken broth then cut the salt in the recipe in half, and add more to taste if you think it's too bland.


Monday, August 27, 2012

Steel-Cut Oats with Apples & Raisins

First off, if the word "raisins" is scaring you away from this post, don't let it, they are optional! 

A few months ago I posted another oatmeal recipe.  Both the recipe I'm sharing with you today and that one are from Annie's Eats food blog. I have never been a huge oatmeal lover but have been determined to find some ways that I do like it because it's a healthy and filling way to start the day! Steel-cut oats are by far the healthiest form of oat since they include the whole oat grain. Steel-cut oats are just oat berries cut in about half. Because steel-cut oats are so hearty, they cook just a little longer than your average oatmeal (about 20 minutes). But the results are worth every extra minute. If you truly find yourself not having enough time to make them, then you could have this for a quick dinner with an omelet and yogurt.  You won't be sorry you made this oatmeal no matter what time of day you make it!

What I love about this particular recipe is, well, a few things: 1) the hearty-ness of the oats, 2) the fact it's cooked with milk and water, it makes it more creamy, 3) the crisp touch of apple, and 4) the sweet touch of the raisins and maple syrup. I used to gag over oatmeal that was soggy and saturated in brown sugar and milk to make it a little more bearable to eat. But this oatmeal is not soggy at all which is one thing I have always hated about oatmeal (the other recipe I mentioned above is another non-soggy, yummy-in-your-tummy oatmeal too). And I felt no need to add any milk to my bowl of oatmeal, but it surely wouldn't hurt it if you'd like to!

Enjoy a filling breakfast and a happy morning! 

Steel-Cut Oats with Apples and Raisins
Printable Version
3 cups water
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup steel-cut oats
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon (I like Saigon cinnamon for it’s extra strong flavor)
1 apple, peeled, cored and grated
⅓ cup raisins (optional, but recommended if you like them)
¼ cup maple syrup

Combine water and milk in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a 10-12 inch skillet over medium heat.  Add the oats and toast, stirring occasionally, until golden -- about 2 minutes (you can skip this step but still add the butter to the milk mixture if you are in a hurry).

Stir the toasted (or un-toasted) oats into the simmering liquid.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and gently simmer until the mixture is very thick, about 20 minutes.  Stir in the salt, cinnamon, apple, raisins and maple syrup.  Continue to simmer for just a minute or two more stirring occasionally, until all of the liquid has been absorbed and the oatmeal is creamy.

Serve with milk on top or just how it is. It’s great either way!

Yield: 3-5 servings

Recipe Source: Annie's Eats, via America's Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook

Monday, August 20, 2012

Classic Glazed Doughnuts {Crispy & Creamy}

Can I just say "WOAH!"? Homemade doughnuts  Seriously! Until this weekend we've never attempted to make traditional fried doughnuts! We'd tried baked doughnuts and were thoroughly disappointed with the results of that recipe. And then my husband and I decided that  if we were going to be eating doughnuts we weren't really going for a health factor, since doughnuts aren't listed on the list of top 10 superfoods or anything.  So why waste calories on baked doughnuts when you can have melt in your mouth, creamy, and crispy doughnuts for just as much effort?  I don't see any reason to!  

I found this recipe via pinterest. The picture linked me to where I saw this recipe had 4.5 stars (out of 5) and had 790 reviews. I read some reviews and decided if 790 people gave this that high of a rating then I really had nothing to loose!  We had wanted to invite some friends over for doughnuts but we afraid they wouldn't turn out good enough to serve to guests. We were ever so wrong to be afraid! They turned out perfect! So we took them to some friends and family and then my husband took the rest to work to share with his buddies.  

The dough is similar to bread dough in that it's yeast based and you knead it by hand or with a mixer and it rises a few times.  The difference is that it has more sugar, eggs, milk,  and butter mixed into the dough. After you prepare the dough (I have very specific instructions below how to do everything in this recipe) you let it rise, then you roll the dough out and cut with cookie cutters, a doughnut cutter, or into bars or squares with a pizza cutter. They rise one more time, and then are fried in hot oil.  Then glazed and devoured!  It's a little time consuming. But the results are worth it! 

Making homemade doughnuts will be a yearly summer and/or fall tradition at our house.  We kind of hate the smell of frying in the house so we did it outside on our camp-stove in the dutch oven (see my notes below for more on that)! I deem these doughnuts Krispy Kreme quality! Maybe even better than Krispy Kreme because they are homemade, and that makes everything better, right?

Now what are you waiting for? Go make some doughnuts!  

Classic Glazed Doughnuts {Crispy & Creamy}
2 tablespoons instant yeast
¼ cup warm water
1 ½ cups lukewarm milk
½ cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
⅓ cup butter
5-6 cups all-purpose flour
1 quart vegetable oil for frying

⅓ cup butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
4 tablespoons hot water (or as needed)

1. In a large bowl, mix together the yeast (unless you are using dry active yeast, then proof yeast in the warm water and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes or until foamy), water, milk, sugar, salt, eggs, butter, and 2 cups of the flour. Mix for a few minutes with stand mixer on low speed, or stirring with a wooden spoon if you don’t have a mixer. Mix until smooth. Beat in remaining flour ½ cup at a time, until the dough cleans the sides of the bowl (you don't have to stick to the 5-6 cups, I judge the dough by the way it cleans the sides of the bowl, once it does that you know you have enough flour). Knead for about 5 minutes on high speed, or until smooth and elastic. Place the dough into a greased bowl, and cover. Set in a warm place to rise until double. Dough is ready if you touch it and an indentation remains.

2. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and gently roll out to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut with a floured doughnut cutter, cookie cutter, or simply into squares or rectangles with a pizza cutter. Let doughnuts sit on the floured surface to rise again until double (30-40 minutes). Cover loosely with a clean towel.

3. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth. Remove from heat, and stir in hot water one tablespoon at a time until the icing is somewhat thin, but not watery. Set aside.

4. Heat oil in a deep-fryer or large heavy skillet to 350 degrees F. Slide doughnuts into the hot oil using a wide spatula or metal tongs (don’t squish them with the tongs). Turn doughnuts over as they rise to the surface (they may not sink, and that’s okay - yeast produces lots of air and makes them rise to the top). Fry doughnuts on each side until golden brown. Remove from hot oil, to drain on a wire rack. Dip doughnuts into the glaze while still hot, and set onto wire racks to drain off excess. Keep a cookie sheet or tray under racks for easier clean up.


-You can make the doughnuts first and let them cool and dip them into the warm glaze too. Depends on if you want a fresh, hot doughnut. 

-Also I didn’t have a candy thermometer. My meat thermometer only goes to 300 degrees and I didn’t want to ruin it by dipping it into hot oil. So what we did was cook these outside on our gas camp stove (I hate the smell of fried oils in my house) in our Dutch oven. We heated the oil on medium and it was too hot, I tested it by throwing a small blob of dough in and it turned dark brown fast. I ripped it open and the middle of the doughnut was still doughy but the outside was really too brown.  So we added more oil and turned the heat off for a while, since oil takes a long time to cool off. After I added almost twice the oil it was the right temperature, as it cooled we turned the gas stove back on to low and that was perfect. It takes about 20-30 seconds per side to cook the doughnut through and still be golden brown on the outside.

Recipe Source: lightly adapted from Allrecipes found via Pinterest.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Stuffed Zuchinni Boats

 Another summer favorite around here is Stuffed Zucchini Boats!  Listen up you Gluten-Free eaters, this one can be for you too!  

Have you found yourself with a plethora of zucchini this summer?  If you don't have a garden maybe you are getting some from your friend. Or maybe you simply buy them at the gardener's market or grocery store. Zucchini is a summer favorite at our house, and I'm always on the hunt for new ways to serve it.  

We usually use zucchini in my recipe for zucchini saute or zucchini brownies, or zucchini bread, or zucchini patties. But now we have yet another tried-and-true way to serve this.  I might post another recipe for zucchini boats too, because we like them a few different ways. 

This recipe called for ground turkey, which I really liked.  I loved the herb combination of basil and rosemary and the wonderful flavor of fresh Parmesan cheese!  

Stuffed Zucchini Boats
Printable Version
1 zucchini, about a foot long (or you can use 2 about half that size
2 tablespoon olive oil, divided
½ cup onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground turkey
2 tablespoons chicken broth
2-3 tomatoes, seeded and diced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil (or 1 heaping teaspoon dried basil)
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary (or ½ teaspoon dried rosemary)
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper

Cut zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out the insides, leaving an outer shell about ¼-inch thick.  Reserve about half of the insides and set aside.

In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  Sauté the onion and garlic in the oil until tender and fragrant, about 3-5 minutes.  Add the reserved zucchini insides to the skillet and sauté another 2 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Crumble in the ground turkey and cook until thoroughly cooked, stirring occasionally.  Stir in the cooked onion and zucchini insides mixture.  Add the chicken broth  to the pan along with the tomatoes, basil and rosemary.  Cook for 1 more minute.  Drain off any excess fat and water (from cooking), remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 375° F.  Once the turkey mixture has cooled a bit, mix in the Parmesan cheese, egg, salt and pepper.  Fill the zucchini shells with the mixture.  Fill a 9x13 baking dish with about  ¼-inch of water.  Place the filled zucchini shells in the pan and bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, until golden brown.  Remove the zucchini from the pan and serve immediately.

*If you have extra mixture that won’t fit in your shells, either use more zucchini or grease a small custard dish and bake it along with the zucchini boats.

Recipe Source: adapted from Annie's Eats.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Jicama Orange Salsa

 Let's not even talk about the fact that I haven't blogged in almost 2 months. I know, I know, it's shameful. But we have been soaking up the summer. We surely have been enjoying some new and delicious recipes this summer, but I must be stuffing my face too much to even take time to write about them. Consider me back, I have countless pictures of lots of recipes I want to share with you and preserve for myself!  

I subscribe to emails from one of my friends recipe blogs, and this recipe for Jicama Orange Salsa showed up in my inbox one afternoon, and I decided I had to make it asap. I got all the ingredients that next day and made it. Usually when I see a recipe I want to make, I pin it, or bookmark it and think I'll try that one day. But this one sounded so good, I seriously was about running to the grocery store.  I was glad I did too! We gobbled the first batch up quickly and made more just 2 days later!  

Served with tortilla chips the fresh crunch of the jicama and the juiciness of the oranges is what had me hooked. The other flavors of cilantro, tomatillos (they look like green tomatoes, and are very mild in flavor), jalapeno, and onion blend together in a unbelievable harmony! Even my husband who isn't a fan of many non-traditional salsas (especially sweet ones) was loving this one! I seeded the jalapeno so there really wasn't any heat, if you want some heat feel free to leave some seeds in!

Enjoy another fresh taste of summer! 

Jicama Orange Salsa
Printable Version
2 medium oranges, peeled and chopped into small bits
1 cup jicama, chopped
½ cup tomatillo, chopped
½ cup red onion, finely chopped
4 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon honey
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons jalapenos, finely chopped

Mix all ingredients together and chill for a few hours. Serve with tortilla chips as a side.

Other serving ideas: Have grilled chicken with the salsa  served on top of steamed rice.

Recipe Source: Candi's Recipe Collection