Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Salted Caramel Chocolate Turtle Cookies

I usually stick to recipes, not changing one little detail. I found this recipe and I loved the idea of making a spectacular, different kind of thumbprint cookie. The original recipe used melted caramel candies but I knew that I have a salted caramel recipe up my sleeve that kicks that idea's butt.

I'm going to just announce that this recipe stinks. I think maybe then I won't have to share with anyone else. Okay, maybe my husband will get a cookie or two :)

Seriously, these are great. I don't even like pecans. You know, I keep saying that about nuts. I think I may have changed my mind after my husband's pecan pie. I think I just don't like plain nuts but if they are encased in sweet gooeyness or coupled with chocolate and salted caramel... well, what's a girl to do? EAT IT!

In this picture you can see that I didn't even wait for the caramel sauce to cool and harden a bit before putting it together. I need to learn patience!

Click here for the stolen recipe for Chocolate Turtle Cookies.
Click here for the salted caramel recipe. This sauce is included in one of the best brownie recipes ever.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Tortilla Soup

The food blogger described this soup as easy and one pot (low mess in my mind) so I was on it. I'm glad that I tried a new recipe today. A soup was a great idea for a very cold, wintry day. And I love an enchilada/tortilla taste. Yum. I do need to say that this isn't very authentic Mexican. It felt like cheating but that's okay.

I think maybe I didn't use enough chicken. I'd probably add more vegetables of some sort too. I guess I'm used to a chunkier soup but the flavor was there. I used a mild canned enchilada sauce. I wonder if hot would have been too hot?

I garnished with avocado, baked tortilla strips (strips with oil and salt, baked at 400 for 10 minutes), cilantro, lime, sour cream, pepper jack cheese. Yum-o!

I've noticed that I don't print out a recipe until I've committed to making it again. I did send this recipe link to my husband so he can print it out tomorrow. I need to add it to my binder for future meal rotations.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Well, Jim is eating his but maybe he's just being polite?

I made these "apple pies". I followed a recipe for the caramel apple pies and then just sauteed apples with butter, sugar, and cinnamon for James' pie. I call them pies but they're not really. Well, they have pie crust but only on top. I made little star and moon cutouts on the tops, so I knew that the star was James'. I guess I didn't figure that the caramel would ooze up and out of the ramekins.

Well, the crusts were fine. I think I'd make that recipe again. The caramel filling? Well, I didn't have Southern Comfort so I substituted another liqueur, Jim's ginger stuff. It seemed very thick and rich, but I thought it would bake up thick and rich too like a pecan pie filling. Well, no. It ended up kind of gloopy, for lack of a better word. The consistency of a raw egg white, you know, when you let it drip from the egg shell. It just hangs there, not really breaking off but just hanging on. Gloopy.

I didn't care for it.

Click here for the recipe for Spiced Caramel Apple Pie.
Click here for the recipe for Martha's Perfect Pie Crust (Pate Brisee). (I would make this part again. I am imagining using this for pot pies, minus a bit of the sugar.)

Chocolate Peppermint Crinkle Cookies

I made these cookies, thinking they'd maybe make it on my Christmas cookie plate later. Yeah, maybe. There are just so many cookies I'd like to make, so now that I've made these they might be out of my system, no matter how good they were. They were good! I found the recipe because I knew they'd be similar to Panera's cookies.

The first batch came out too dry. I overbaked. They were so soft to the touch that I kept adding minutes and more minutes to the baking time. Mistake. I guess they set a bit after you pull them out, more so than other kinds of cookies. So I learned. I made them smaller with the next batch and took them out earlier. They were crunchy on the outside but chewy on the inside. Yum. And so minty!

Click here for the stolen recipe for Chocolate Peppermint Crinkle Cookies.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What's for Dinner?

Well, I was by myself tonight. I hadn't planned anything but I defrosted a salmon fillet quickly and then baked it with this dry marinade. I like this stuff a lot- it's sweet and tangy. I found Wee Willy's at Cub, in the spice section.

The salmon is from Sam's Club. You can buy a package of them (10?) for like $19. It's a nice, quick option to have in the freezer.

The coleslaw is leftover from last night's dinner.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


It's amazing how little time it takes to scarf down all that food, all that love, energy, and time spent cooking for two days. Was it worth it? Of course! I was very happy to try so many new recipes. I don't think a single one really disappointed. My cranberry walnut rolls weren't light and fluffy, but kind of dense but still good. It was one recipe I wouldn't repeat as is. I wonder if I kneaded too much? Anyway, lots of good food. And I made my own gravy! Very proud and happy :)

OH! And my husband made both desserts. I can't make any claims on those. He did a fabulous job!


Stuffed Mushrooms


Unfortunately, I didn't get any "after" pictures of the turkey. This is the 20 pounder slathered in herb butter. James declared it "yucky" looking.

The turkey ended up with a fabulous brown crust. It was darn pretty. I am so regretful that I did not get one little picture. Oh well. I have something better- leftovers!

Pioneer Woman's Creamy Mashed Potatoes- These were great because I made them ahead of time and just stuck them in the oven while the turkey rested.

Brussel Sprouts Gratin- This isn't a picture from tonight's gratin. I was flying around the kitchen at the very end and didn't take a picture of the gratin or the turkey. Bummer.

Sourdough Stuffing with Carmelized Onions and Apples

We are all satisifed and full. Our guests all went home with plenty of leftovers. That 2o pound bird was more than enough for our meal and many others. Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanila-Salted Caramel Buttercream

I finally tried THE chocolate cake recipe that I've seen so many times on food blogs. THE recipe is on the back of every Hershey's cocoa tin. Wow. I am so glad I tried this recipe. I guess I've been a cocoa snob, thinking my Penzey's Dutch cocoa is sooooo much better than plain old Hershey's cocoa. Maybe so. But this recipe reminds me of the fluffy, moist cake that you can can easily make with a boxed mix. Boxed mix is okay, and call me a snob again but I just think a homemade recipe with ingredients that you can pronounce is definitely the way to go.

So moist fluffy chocolate cake. Yum. And then there is a salted caramel sauce. A little bit of it went into the vanilla buttercream. And then a little is drizzled on top of the cupcake. Oh yum! Buttercream is usually a little too sweet for me so the saltiness of the caramel was good, cutting that sweetness a bit.

I'm so glad that (one of) my BFF's birthday is this week and I could make some cupcakes to share. I hope she likes them. Happy Birthday Bobbi! You better be at work tomorrow :)

Click here for the stolen recipe for Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla-Salted Caramel Buttercream.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Best Meal Ever

So I guess we were both really hungry. We both devoured our food. Jim proclaimed this "the best meal ever". It's damn good.

Easy notes: Make this on a Sunday, be leisurely about prep. I made the rice in the morning. I chopped the carrots, onion, garlic, ginger, and green onions ahead of time so when it came time to put everything together it was all just about following the recipe steps.

The sweet and sour chicken takes some effort because you have to pan fry the chicken pieces after they've been dipped in cornstarch and then egg. You brown them up and then put them in a 9x13 pan, pour the sweet and sour sauce over it, and then bake for an hour. You do need to flip the chicken pieces every 15-20 minutes so they don't dry out. In the last 15 minutes I started the fried rice.


Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust

Getting ready for Thanksgiving! I tried this recipe out last week, making it into mini cheesecakes that we could munch on all week. I also took two dozen of these babies to work. They were quickly devoured :)

We have declared them a success and will make the full sized cheesecake for Thanksgiving Day. Yay!

Click here for the stolen recipe for Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust.

Week's Menu

Sunday- Sweet and Sour Chicken & Vegetable Fried Rice

Monday- Tuscan Vegetable Soup

Tuesday- Leftovers

Wednesday- New recipe! Skinny Sloppy Joes & Buttermilk Broccoli Slaw

Thursday- Thanksgiving, baby! Turkey, Mashed Potatoes, Brussel Sprouts Gratin, Cranberry Sauce, Cornbread Stuffing (?), Cloverleaf Rolls (new recipe), Pumpkin Cheesecake, Chocolate Pecan Pie (looking for recipe)

Friday- Leftovers

Saturday- Pizza

Tuscan Vegetable Soup

Update: I added a better picture. Also, added this to my "Easy" category!

Sunday's dinner- Tuscan Vegetable Soup. I added some prosciutto and pesto paste (new product I found).

This is fabulous soup. I've made this a few times now and each time it tastes different, probably because I'll vary the amounts of each vegetable or add more spices. It is just full of good vegetables and it really is very simple to make, after the time consuming part of vegetable chopping. I really need a sous chef in those moments!

My brother in law ate this soup one night and asked me, "Was this cooking all day?" No, but it sure tastes like it!

Click here for the stolen recipe. This blogger borrowed the recipe from a cookbook called The Food You Crave, which seems fitting for this soup!

Easy notes: I have chopped the vegetables and premeasured the spices (except for the salt) in a bowl the night before. It comes together pretty quick if you have that chore out of the way.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Fish Sticks

I forgot to take a picture until there were just two left. James wasn't thrilled with anything today, so I don't know why I dared to dream that he would try something new tonight. Oh well. We thought these were good, and easy! I will make these again, maybe with a bit more seasoning in the crumb mix and a bit more cooking spray across the tops to make them toasty looking.
But good!

Star Wars cookies

I think these are my third official attempt at Royal Icing. I want to say that it's getting better with each attempt but I think I'm just failing to read the directions completely before I get too deep into the process.

Anyway, these were fun :) They were for James' 4th Birthday party and for the treat bags. Each of his little friends took home one cookie, wrapped with so much love.

Plain cookies. These are cute enough just like this!

I didn't get many pictures of the details but this is one cookie, very wet.

The cookies were all bagged up after completely drying overnight plus. I once made the mistake of moving and letting plastic wrap touch not-completely-dry cookies. Ugh. Never again.

We think they turned out well. Four year olds aren't picky!
My sister gave me this embosser for my birthday. Each cookie had my seal on it. I looked so professional!

Mummy Dogs

This was for my son. He didn't end up touching them. Stinker.


This is from a few weeks ago but the picture makes me happy. I must make this again especially now that it's cold!

Brussel Sprouts Gratin

I've made this recipe twice now and we've loved it. Jim isn't a big brussel sprouts fan but he really likes this one. How could he not like this recipe with shallots and brussel sprouts cooked in bacon grease and then with crumbled up bacon? Two strips of bacon isn't much in a recipe for two pounds of sprouts, but it's enough. Okay, confession. I used three strips.
Try this. We like it. We're making this for Thanksgiving dinner.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Ginger Pumpkin Muffins

These were bound to make both Jim and myself happy- they combine our loves of ginger and pumpkin!

These were very good. Jim ate one and when I told him he could have another he was obviously very happy. He said they are "very, very good". So glad :)

I actually made these not for us but for James. At naptime he told me it was the Sun's birthday and we need cake and presents. I went with it because it was a good way to get him to actually take a nap- if there was something to look forward to afterwards. So the muffins will serve as the cake. I don't know what we're going to do about the presents :)

Yeah, that's my muffin in the front. Its half eaten and then I thought maybe you'd like to see the inside of these muffins.

The recipe called for 1/2 cup of crystallized ginger. I didn't think James would care for that so I substituted 1/2 cup of mini chips. I know he'll love those.

Click here for the stolen recipe for Ginger Pumpkin Muffins. This is a recipe from one of my favorite bloggers. She does some great recipe comparisons.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Giant Ginger Cookies

My big sis needs a little cheering up so I baked some cookies for her. Okay, for all of us. I ended up only having a half cookie (3.5 points) but Jim enjoyed a whole one. He is a sucka for ginger anything :)

I hope Ana likes these! They are HUGE and gingerlicious. Martha just doesn't fail me!

Last CSA Farm Box

So the verdict? I don't think we'll get another farm share. I really, really enjoyed getting the boxes and the challenge of making the different vegetables. I certainly did try new ones but I think I wasted and gave away a lot too.

And I think I really don't like squash. Squash. I got lots of squash in these last few boxes. I don't know what to do with them. We'll see.

BUT I did get a pumpkin! Mmmmmmmm. Pumpkin pie. I'm saving lots of my points for a piece. Just one piece.

Did you know that brussel sprouts grow like this? and how many kinds of squash ARE THERE?!

Well, it was a great experience. I look forward to hitting farmers markets all over the metro next year, and not just for the safe and easy vegetables. We need to try new things too.

Pico de Gallo & Mexican Flatbread Pizza

I've never really paid attention when my Mom makes her Pico de gallo. DUMB.

Here's my train of thought of why I needed to make it all of a sudden. We went to a restaurant the other night and on the menu I figured the safest thing to eat was a veggie flatbread pizza. I only ate half and I had a side salad. It was SO GOOD. I figured it wouldn't be hard to make one at home so I looked up "flatbread pizza" in my good ol' Google Reader. Pioneer Woman had the first search result. Good ol' PW! Her version was a Mexican pizza, with beans, her pico de gallo, seasoned meat, cheese, etc. The only icky thing was that she used canned biscuits for her flatbread. I have been trying NOT to use processed food like that. I used Flatout flatbreads (1 WW point each!)

I didn't print the recipe, I just figured I had the idea. Well, Jim wanted to make the pizzas so they'd be ready when I got home. I told him how to make the pizzas. They were just okay. He did everything as I asked. I later found out that we should have used refried beans with salsa mixed in for the bottom "sauce". Our versions of the pizzas were too dry. I liked all of the flavors but I think it needed something else. I'll definitely try these again. Jim wasn't a fan, so maybe I'll make them when he's not home :)

We baked the flatout breads with a little olive oil for a few minutes in a 350 degree oven, this helped it get crispy first. The toppings went on and back in the oven for a few more minutes. Easy.

Click here for the stolen recipe for PW's Pico de gallo.

Click here for the stolen recipe for PW's Mexican flatbread pizzas.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sesame Chicken with broccoli and snow peas

I wasn't organized about this recipe. I should have read through it at least once really well and then I would have caught the details, like using only 3T of the soy sauce for the marinade. I put in the entire 5T and then had to add additional ingredients to balance it out. I hate when I make mistakes. I hate when I'm flustered/crabby because of low blood sugar. I was a maniac in the kitchen and my poor husband had to wait patiently for me to calm down.

Good thing this was good! If this had been a crappy meal, I would have lost it completely. It was pretty simliar to sweet and sour, and pretty good for being a "light" meal. Who needs battered chicken?

I couldn't find chili paste at the grocery store so I substituted a bit of ketchup with red pepper flakes (I looked it up online). It worked but I could have been heavier with the red pepper.

This recipe said it makes 5 servings. I think because I added the broccoli (whole head) I think it probably stretches out to a very healthy sized 5 servings. It also includes the rice. A serving is 9 weight watcher points. This scared me at first but I it was do-able for my day today. I even have 2 points left for a snack tonight! Mmmm. Skinny cow ice cream sandwich!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Torte

I was asked to bring a dessert to a friend's house, for a birthday celebration. I was told that she likes tortes. I actually considered just buying one from a fancy bakery in Anoka but I looked up some recipes and found this one. It didn't seem hard at all, and used very few ingredients. The blogger's picture looks absolutely HORRIBLE but the reviews were good.

So I made this...

It tastes a lot like the Chocolate Intensity Cake that Jim loves so much but with a sweet raspberry kick.

My friends really loved this cake. We are all dieting in some way so I watched them eat little bits at a time. A lot of little bits but who was counting?

Click here for the stolen recipe for Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Torte. Please look at my picture of this cake, don't look at hers. Hers is a hot mess.

This cake was made in a 8 inch springform pan. The cake was on the thin side, but a slice was still 8 Weight Watcher points. There were 8 servings. But really, you only needed half a slice. It's very rich and delicious.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Crab Cakes

Jim said these crab cakes are better than any he's had in a restaurant. Ooooh high praise!

I made these crab cakes last night, the mixture anyway. I made the cakes and put them on a baking tray and refrigerated them overnight. This was great. I pulled them out of the refrigerator, dredged them in a bit of flour, and then sauteed them for 3-4 minutes per side.

For dinner, a crab cake with a lemon herb sauce, leftover Tuscan vegetable soup, and a side salad. Plenty of food! (9 points total)

My sister has been telling me to buy the lump crabmeat at Sam's Club. Whenever I've made crab cakes in the past I've used canned crabmeat. Good, but not great. These were great! It was $16 for almost a pound of meat but well worth it. This recipe made four healthy sized crab cakes. We've decided that we need to make these again :)
Click here for the stolen recipe for Crab Cakes. I found the recipe in my The Best Light Recipe cookbook but found the basic recipe online. Try 'em, you'll like 'em.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

I don't think I'm a big fan of squash which is unfortunate because my farm boxes are arriving PACKED with it. I made this soup tonight for later in the week. (My recipe says it keeps for four days, covered in the fridge.)

I snuck a little taste of it and I think this will definitely be a small serving on the side of a meal. It isn't the star, in my eyes. It's really, really velvety smooth and I think it's probably a great soup. I just don't think I'm BFF's with squash. We're just civil to each other :)

I really wanted to love it too because it took up a whole hour of my life! Roasting in the oven, then cooking on the stovetop with garlic, broth, white wine, and then pureeing it in the blender, and finally adding a touch of half and half. I didn't even bother with the dishes. I was just too tired :) (Sorry Jimmy!)

Click here for the stolen recipe for Roasted Butternut Squash Soup.

Ooops! I can't find the recipe online. I lack the energy to type it out. Here are the ingredients though: 1 large butternut squash, 1 onion, 2 tsp vegetable oil, 3 garlic cloves, 1/4 cup dry wine, 1 bay leaf, 1 1/2 cups chicken broth (low sodium), 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth, 1/2 cup half and half, salt and pepper.

This soup has 4 servings. Each serving is 3 Weight Watcher points.

Another Chicken Pot Pie

I don't know how my other Chicken Pot Pie rates in the weight watcher world but I would guess with the processed pie crust (probably made with lard) that it isn't very healthy. Lovely tasting, but not good for my diet right now.

I found this recipe in my The Best Light Recipes by Cook's Illustrated. I am really appreciating that it breaks down the calories, fat, carbs, protein, and fiber at the end of each recipe. I was quickly able to figure out which recipes I could make for my diet. A serving of this Pot Pie is about 8 points. It's all I ate and I actually had 1 1/2 servings :) All within my diet!

The filling was on the thin side, like runny. I actually like the other recipe much better but I'll have to check the points on it before I make it again. I really liked the biscuit top to this pot pie. Yum. It was quite easy to make, just mixing wet and dry ingredients separately and then all together. The biscuits were dropped on top of the filling.
So we really enjoyed this dinner!
Click here for the stolen recipe for Chicken Pot Pie. I found the recipe in my cookbook. I love that book :)
This pie has 8 servings. Each serving is 8 Weight Watcher points.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Cauliflower Soup with bacon and cheese

There really isn't a recipe. I found this "recipe" on another blog but it didn't have exact amounts of ingredients or anything. It's more of an idea of what to do for the soup.

  1. Steam cauliflower, for approximately 20 minutes. I did half a head of cauliflower, thinking it would be plenty.
  2. Blend the cauliflower with chicken broth. (I used about 16 oz or 2 cups of low sodium chicken broth.)
  3. Season with salt and pepper. I added a little cayenne pepper, I don't know why.
  4. Serve with small amounts of shredded cheese and bacon. (4 soup servings = 4 strips of bacon)

So it wasn't plenty. We loved the soup and it was more like side dish servings for 4 so I steamed the other half of the cauliflower and made more soup! It tastes creamy but without cream/milk which is GOOD for WW.

Each serving was only 2 Weight Watcher points, that includes the 1 strip of bacon and 2 T of RF cheddar cheese for each serving!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes with...

ganache filling and Chocolate Swiss Meringue frosting. Yeah, that's a whole lot of chocolate! 22 ounces of bittersweet chocolate for 24 cupcakes!

I think this is one of the best chocolate cake recipes I've made. It's a deep chocolate flavor because of the added coffee and Dutch cocoa. Oh, and vinegar. I don't remember the reason for the vinegar but I've used it before in cake recipes.

And I actually like the frosting and I don't like overly sweet stiff frosting. The amount of butter is concerning but oh well :)

The ganache filling was interesting. A teaspoon of ganache is placed on top of the cake batter before you bake the cupcakes. It was supposed to sink to the middle and voila! ganache filling. Well, I'm happy with how mine turned out but the ganache is more on the bottom of the cupcake. It tastes the same so who cares?

They must have been good- Jim had TWO cupcakes.

The reason I made these was for my dear friend Sara's baby shower. She wasn't very specific about what kind of treat she would like for her shower, just "something chocolate". I think these will do!

Click here for the stolen recipe for Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes with ganache filling. This recipe comes from Cook's Illustrated originally. You just can't beat their recipes.

Each cupcake is worth EIGHT weight watcher points. I figured it out. Worth it!