Thursday, July 29, 2010

July Cookie Carnival—Pillsbury Oatmeal Raisin Cookies & Thyme-Cheese Crackers

We had two choices for the July Cookie Carnival this time around.   One was for Pillsbury's Oatmeal Raisin Cookies.  These are GREAT oatmeal cookies.  I made them back at the beginning of July for our family reunion and they were a big hit.  I’d also made some other oatmeal cookies for the same event and this Pillsbury recipe by far was better than the other.  These were the perfect thickness, crispiness, chewiness and had great taste.  I will for sure make this recipe again—over and over.

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Get the recipe off the Pillsbury link above, but know that I made a few small changes.  I used salted butter and omitted the salt in the recipe.  (Just happened to be what I had at the time.)  I also used white whole wheat flour instead of all purpose flour.  I would totally do that again—as soon as I find a store around here that sells white whole wheat flour.  I’m out and haven’t found any yet.  Sigh.  I haven’t looked farther than our two closest stores, so I know I’ll find it. 

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Another recipe we could choose to make for July for Cookie Carnival was for Rosemary-Cheese Spritz Cookies from the Food Network Kitchens.  I decided to make those, too.  But I’m not calling mine that.  They are hereafter known as Thyme-Cheese Crackers.  I don’t love the taste of rosemary.  Mostly when it’s the only herb in something.  I think it’s okay when it’s mixed with other herbs.  As I was making the dough for the crackers, I actually was just going to leave any herbs out, but as the mixer was stirring for the last few rounds, I decided to throw in some dried thyme.  (The rosemary recipes calls for fresh rosemary.  I wish I’d had some fresh thyme.)  I can’t wait to start growing some herbs here.  Probably won’t happen this summer, but I did just buy a few basil plants and a pot and started those growing.  Basil is probably my favorite herb.

Back to the crackers.  The original recipes has you make the dough and put it in a cookie press, which is why they call them cookies.  These are not cookies.  They are crackers.  Cheese crackers.  I don’t have a cookie press.  Someday.  I chilled the dough, rolled it out, froze it for 15 minutes or so, then cut shapes out of the dough.  (The cookie press dough was way too sticky to roll out as cut outs.)  I’ve made cheese crackers before.  They are good and a little addicting.  But the ones I’ve made before are made with cheddar cheese.  This recipe calls for Pecorino and Parmesan.  Yum.

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These are crispy and cheesy and flaky and again, addictive.  Here is the recipe as I made the crackers.  (I halved the recipe provided by Food Network.)

Thyme Cheese Crackers, by Katrina, adapted from Food Network-Rosemary Cheese Spritz Cookies

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1/2 an egg yolk (1 yolk was 14 grams, so I used 7 grams of yolk)  (GET A KITCHEN SCALE!)

3 tablespoons heavy cream

1/2 cup plus 6 tablespoons all purpose flour (105 grams)

6 tablespoons finely grated Pecorino cheese (30 grams)

1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (28 grams)

1 tablespoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme (I’d double that next time or use 1 tablespoon fresh thyme)

1/2 teaspoon salt

pinch freshly ground nutmeg

Beat the  butter and lemon zest with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth, about 30 seconds.  Slowly beat in the egg yolk and cream.

Whisk the flour, cheeses, sugar, salt, thyme and nutmeg together in a bowl.  Gradually add the flour mixture into the butter mixture while mixing slowly.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then beat on medium speed until combined and dough is sticky.  Wrap the dough in plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Roll the dough onto a wax or parchment paper lined baking sheet dusted with a little flour to about 1/8-1/4 inch thickness.  Freeze the dough for about 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Cut the dough into desired shapes.  I just baked the scrap pieces in the shape they were in as well, instead of re-rolling it. 

Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden.  Let sit on baking sheet for a few minutes.  Transfer to wire rack to cool completely.  Store in airtight container for up to 1 month.

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Look it’s the Eiffel Tower!  Or a teepee.  Or, okay, it’s just a scrap.  Look it’s my goofy boys!

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Couldn’t leave Kevin out of the pictures.  He’ll be so happy that I put these pictures on the blog, he says I only ever put goofy pictures of him on here.  (You ever played Hawaiian Charades?  You must.)

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Love you, Hon!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Archway Cookies—Sweet Summer Treats Recipe Contest

For nearly 75 years, Archway has shared in the simple traditions of families across America by providing a variety of freshly-baked cookies.  Archway Cookies are made with pride at the Archway bakery in Ashland, Ohio.

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I’m sure you’ve eaten a cookie or two of theirs over the years.  Iced Lemonade Cookies, Iced Oatmeal Cookies, Raspberry Fruit Filled or Apple Oatmeal Cookies, Molasses Cookies, Windmill Cookies, Ice Circus Animal Cookies—any of those ring a bell?  They are all really good.  I consider myself a chocolate lover (who knew?), but I LOVE those Iced Lemonade Cookies.  (Special thanks to Archway for sending me a bunch of their cookie varieties to sample.  What a fun surprise that was!)

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Since receiving some of their samples, we have been crazy busy with our move and getting settled and having family reunions and such and I’ve been dying to just get in the kitchen and play with some of their cookies.  Why, you ask?

Archway is having a Sweet Summer Treats Recipe Contest.  They realized that not only were people buying and enjoying their cookies as is, they were also using them to make other delicious treats.  So they decided to have a recipe contest.  They are having a total of three different categories for you to submit your creations and enter their contest.

1. Desserts with ice cream
2. Desserts without ice cream
3. Non-dessert creations (e.g., appetizer, muffin, etc.)

A total of three grand prize winners (one from each of the three categories) will be selected. Each grand prize winner will receive a $250 Visa® Gift Card and have their recipe featured in Archway® Cookies promotional materials, including ArchwayCookies.com and the Official Archway® Cookies Facebook fan page.

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I wish I had more time to play around with their cookies and enter different recipes.  I’ve tried a few, one included some of their Gingersnaps in a fruit crisp topping, which was really good.

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And I don’t know if I’d say the other thing I’ve done, just last night, is a recipe, but I sure had fun with it.

I decorated some of their Molasses Cookies with some leftover cream cheese frosting I had and some fun different candies to use up.  You could really play around with these.  I like the flowery shape of the Molasses Cookies (And they are almost all we have left from their yummy samples, the boys have been devouring most of the others before I thought of playing around with them.)  One thing I really liked was making a fun treat for the boys, but not having to turn on the oven and bake since it’s the dead of summer and it’s been so hot lately.  You could even just set out frosting and candies and let the kiddos decorate their own cookies—Archway has many varieties of cookies that are big enough for decorating and would be yummy with all kinds of frosting added.  These Molasses Cookies were great with cream cheese frosting.   

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Sam was right there as I was trying to take some pictures.  He insisted on being in a picture.

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Head over to Archway's website and check out more information about their contest.  You can also get a $1.00 off coupon for their cookies.  The contest has been running since June 22 and will go until August 15, so get creating and submitting and enter their contest.

(Special thanks again to Archway for sending me some samples of their cookies and special thanks also to my mom for the fun decorated cookies idea.  She makes big sugar cookies and decorates them all different fun ways and sells them at their local farmers’ market.  I’m hoping to do a post to show you all her creations sometime-soon.)

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

TWD—Chewy, Chunky Blondies

I’ve made Dorie’s Chewy, Chunky Blondies numerous times and didn’t even realize they hadn’t been picked in the TWD line up before.  But Nicole of Cookies on Friday chose them just so I’d have an excuse to bake them up again. ;)  I would not say I’m any sort of an expert on blondies (like I would probably say I am with chocolate chip cookies, hehe), so I can’t really compare, but these are great.  I will probably just stick with this recipe when I need a blondie recipe.  They are great for any add-ins.

So for TWD this week, I did a couple different things this time.  When I told Kevin this week’s recipe was for blondies, he kind of curled up his nose and said he doesn’t really care for blondies.  (It’s a sweet thing, he just doesn’t like things that are too sweet and I will say, these are.)  Well, I showed him.  Without even telling him, I used the dough for this recipe and made COOKIES instead of blondies.

IMG_2190 These had milk chocolate chips (2 cups) and toffee bits (just 1/2 cup is all I had).  Kevin had no idea these were really blondies and actually aet a number of them.  They are good and super toffee-ish.  Since the blondies already have a lot of brown sugar, they are already caramel-ly sweet.  I chose to leave out the coconut and used milk chocolate so they boys would eat these.  I have a few picky “I don’t like dark chocolate” kids.  I felt like an ice cream sandwich was in order with these cookies.

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But still wanting to play the TWD Blondies game, I also made 4 mini blondies using some smaller pans I have.

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I actually like the blondies better than the cookie.  They were more chewy and a little gooey.  The cookies are really good, but are more crisp/chewy.  I played around a little with the heart shaped blondie, I mean, that wouldn’t really be fair if only the cookies got ice cream.

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Mmmm, stay tuned for that chocolate ice cream!!!

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Nicole will have the recipe on her blog for these fabulous, versatile blondies.  Check out the hundreds of other blondies creations over at TWD.

A couple other posts I’ve done with Dorie’s blondies recipe in the past--

Heavenly Peanut Butter Blondies

Chocolate Orange Almond Toffee Cookies

Dorie's Chewy, Chunky Blondies w/M&M's

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Check out the corn I froze a few days ago.  I bought four dozen ears of corn on the cob at a roadside stand last Saturday.  I spent a bunch of the day shucking the corn and cutting it off the cob.  I only got 34 ears done, but that ended up being 19 bags with 2 cups each in them!  This just might get us through the winter with all the fresh/frozen corn off the cob we’ll need.  (But maybe not, maybe I’ll get more in the next few weeks.)  Here’s a delicious recipe I’ve made 3 times in less than a week with fresh corn for a tasty Basil Corn and Zucchini Saute.  (I have left out the beans each time and used shallots instead of onions twice and haven’t yet had it with salmon yet as originally posted.  But this tastes so great.   Tonight (Monday) for dinner I made fajitas with homemade salsa.  So I saut√©ed up some corn and added salsa and butter to it and it was also really good.  I’m hoping to get the salsa posted soon.  It was, in my opinion, the best salsa I’ve ever made. 

Kevin and I are off for a weekend away this Friday.  For Mother’s Day, he got me ticket to go see Clay Aiken in concert in Reno, NV.  I know, you’re all thinking, “Clay Aiken, really?”  I think he is a fabulous singer, that’s all there is to it.  Clay is doing a tour this summer with Ruben Studdard.  (American Idol 2003)  Excited for our weekend away, Kev!  Thanks.

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Check out our neighbors just a few houses away and how close that fire was last week came to their property!  It’s amazing to see the fire line and hear about how the neighbors all worked together to help each other.  While we are certainly grateful that all was well, we were a little bummed to have not been here to help and be a part of this trying time with our new neighbors.

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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Dentyne Pure Gum Giveaways!

Check out the Dentyne Pure Gum Giveaways on my Giveaway and Reviews blog!  FIVE lucky winners will receive a pack of each of the two new flavors of Dentyne’s Pure Gum with NeutraFresh.  You have until Wednesday, July 28, 2010 (9 p.m., MST) to leave me a comment on the giveaway blog. (Open to US residents only.)

Thanks, Dentyne!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

CSN Stores Upcoming Review

I am super excited to be doing a review (coming soon!) for CSN Stores.  I LOVE this website!  Did you know that CSN stores has over 200 stores with literally millions of items to choose from?  I could spend hours on their site, wishing, dreaming and literally purchasing so many things.  CSN has anything and everything ranging from dining room tables to knives and measuring cups.  Oh, that’s not all, they have everything you’d need ranging from outdoor items, things for babies and children as well as all your pet needs.  Next time you’re in need of—well, anything, check it out.   I’ll be doing a review of one of their items soon, so stay tuned for that!

One thing I really like about CSN Stores is that they always give back to the community by participating in and supporting charities of all kinds.  These are the kinds of companies I like supporting myself. Thanks, CSN Stores! <-- One of my favorite links. ;)  The review will be coming soon!  

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

TWD—Lots-of-Ways Banana Cake

I’m still in Idaho.  I made this cake for our family reunion.  I made it in a 9x13 cake pan.  We loved it.

I took really fast, not-so-good photos.  I did not add nutmeg, or rum, or coconut.  I used “homemade” buttermilk.  I used walnuts.  I made a cream cheese frosting.  I made up the recipe for the frosting.   

I feel like I’m writing a report for a 5th grade assignment.  I miss you all.  I’m so behind.  I will catch up.  I don’t exactly know when.  Soon.  Or I fear my Google Reader will explode.

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My brother, Matt, who said he’s not eating sugar right now, caved and ate a piece of this cake.  He LOVED it.  Loved the frosting.  Snuck a plateful of pieces of cake to his hotel one night that he said his wife was going to want.  Right, Matt.  The verdict is out on that one.  He ate a chocolate chip cookie I made, too.  A half dozen or so of those were also on the plate he was sneaking out with. 

I love bananas.  I love everything that has bananas in it.  I will use this cake recipe again lots of times, I’m sure.  I always have overripe bananas.  I will use the recipe “Lots-of-Ways”.  Thanks to Kimberly of Only Creative Opportunities for the fabulous recipe pick this week for Tuesday's With Dorie as we keep on baking on.  You can get the recipe on Kimberly’s blog.  I think you should buy the book.  I think my turn to pick the recipe for our group is coming up in August.  How fun for me!

Part of the reason this is so short and super sweet is because my mom and I played Scrabble tonight (Monday night, which is really now last night and I should so totally be in bed).  I had all the good letters for most of the game and was kicking her rear.  She overtook me in the end and whooped my buns.  That was only because my dad came along and started helping her.  I played all by myself.  ;)

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I left for Idaho last Wednesday.  I love being at “home”.  I came with the three youngest boys.  Kevin stayed in Utah until Friday and drove up with Scott (who is in band camp to begin his dream of playing drums).  Three hours after Kevin started driving (it’s about a six hour drive), his sister called and said there was a brush fire behind our new house.  See this picture of our backyard (and beyond) that I posted a few weeks ago.

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WAYYYY too close to home!!!

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In the first photo, you can see this cement slab on the left of the picture.  The fire was very close!  Cindy and Sarah worked to make sure our property was safe.  It was a windy day.  They say (since I'm not home yet, I haven’t really seen it), that the fire came within about 15 feet of our neighbor’s property four houses away.  Just sayin’, still too close for comfort!  I was sort of freaking out.  Cindy asked Kevin’s mom to say a prayer and ask for the weather to change (I guess she’s good at doing that).  We all prayed.  Not long after that, the wind shifted away from coming toward the houses and the firefighters were able to put the fire out. 

Thank you Cindy, Sarah, Mom-in-law, and Heavenly Father!  We really felt helpless and feel totally blessed!  I had forgotten how dry Utah is compared to green, wet Kansas!

We’ve had a lot of fun with my family, the reunion and visiting friends and family and playing.  We’ll leave on Wednesday to go back to Utah and desperately try to feel like life is getting back to normal.  Whatever that means.  I hope to get some fun pictures up on my blog in the near future.   You ever heard of Hawaiian Charades?  It’s an all occasion party must-play game.  Especially if you’re in the Scott Family. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

TWD—Brrrrr-ownies

Brownies!  In general, love them.  Karen at Welcome to Our Crazy Blessed Life, who I just adore, chose our Tuesday’s With Dorie recipe for today and she picked Dorie’s Brrrrr-ownies.

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They are a basic fudgy brownie with York Peppermint Patties chopped up and mixed throughout them.  They were strange, but if you like chocolate and mint, you’d probably like them.  I have a better, favorite mint brownie recipe, photo below,

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but I’m always glad to try new recipes as either way, it helps me decide on favorites.

I thought the pictures of the brownies didn’t turn out too badly for how rather ugly they are.

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These Brrrrr-ownies were a little strange.  That said, I might have messed them up a bit.  I was halfway through making the brownies right when the boys decided they needed lunch.  Somehow with all the commotion, I ended up adding the flour and salt before adding the sugar.  So I was stirring them all in at the same time, while the melted butter was separating from the batter.  It was strange and annoying.  Sigh.  I hate it when that happens!  Little annoying mistakes.

With the batter in the pan, and butter swimming all over it (I could not get it to mix in and when I melted the butter and chocolate, it was perfect!), I went ahead and baked them anyway.  And I ended up with a pan of brownies that looked like craters of the moon. (Photo courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org) 

Not only was the butter all bubbly all over the top, but the peppermint patties bubbled up and melted all over as well. 

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This was after I took a paper towel and dabbed off all the excess butter pooling on top of the brownies.

My only concern was that it wasn’t just my error of adding the flour at the same time as the sugar because after reading the P&Q's at the TWD blog, it seemed that others had issues with the mint patties melting into a gooey mess.  Oh well.  You win some, you lose some.  Funny thing is, they are still getting eaten, mostly by Kevin and Scott.  I’d remembered that one other time I made some brownies (my favorite, easy, go-to cocoa brownies, adapted from Dorie’s Tribute to Katharine Hepburn’s Brownies.  I make these brownies all the time and with every kind of add in you can imagine.  And I can recite the recipe in my sleep.  When we made them for TWD, I made the brownies three different ways, one of them being brownies with added York Peppermint Patties.  But the patties didn’t melt.  Maybe it was because they were the little baking pieces (which may only be available during the holidays???)  I think the thicker York “bites” are too thick with too much mint filling.  Live and learn.

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Just so this ends on a happy note, Kevin snapped a few pictures of us playing Don’t Eat Pete for FHE.

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A little glimpse.  The dining room is part of the kitchen/family room.  Check out that giant built-in fish tank that looks into Kevin’s den.  He can’t wait to get it up and running.  There’s another big fish tank in the front living room as well.  The door with windows is double doors that open to a back patio.  Four big windows line the back wall to the kitchen/family room.  We are loving our house home.

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Interested in seeing how other’s Brrrrr-ownies turned out?  I am.  Check out the TWD blogroll.  Karen will have the recipe on her blog.  We’re off to Idaho for a family reunion with my family.  I’m SO bummed, we had Kevin’s family reunion last week and I took TONS of pictures the day we went up in the mountains, some gorgeous scenery with a waterfall and some great ones of the boys.  They are not on the camera.  Gone.  We have no idea what happened to them.  They must have somehow gotten deleted before they were downloaded on to the computer.  UGH!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Blueberry Crisp With a Hint of Lime

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I ended up (long, boring story) with 25 pints of blueberries yesterday.  Twenty five pints!  One pint has about two cups—that means we’re talking about 50 cups of blueberries.  Whew.  I’ve stuck most of them in the freezer.  But I have really had fun trying to think of all the things I want to make with them.  I decided to make a blueberry crisp.  I really like pie.  Pie is dangerous, I pick at it.  The crust is my favorite.  I cannot do that to my figure.  But a crisp is, well, healthier and still so delicious.  And much, much easier and faster to make! 

I quickly glanced at a few recipes here and there on the internet, but ultimately decided on my own recipe with the amounts of ingredients I thought sounded good.  And I’m mostly talking about the crisp topping—I did at least double the amount it seemed like most recipes had.  I flavored the blueberries with some lime zest and juice.  I just really like that combo.  You could use lemon if you want, but if you haven’t tried blueberries and lime, you must!

Blueberry Crisp with Lime, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

4 1/2 cups fresh blueberries (or frozen, but not thawed)

1/2 cup granulated sugar

zest of one lime

juice of one lime

1 heaping tablespoon cornstarch

Crisp Topping:

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/2-1 teaspoon cinnamon (to taste)

pinch salt

1/4 cup flour

1  1/4 cups old fashioned oats

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut in to small pieces

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray a 9x9 inch square baking pan with cooking spray.  Set aside. 

Carefully stir the blueberries, sugar, lime zest and juice and cornstarch together in a bowl until the berries are coated with the sugar and cornstarch.   Spread the berries evenly in the prepared pan.

In another bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon, salt, oats and flour and whisk together.   Add the butter and mix it in with the dry ingredients by rubbing it together with your fingers, until all the butter is incorporated into the oat mixture.  Sprinkle the crisp topping evenly over the blueberries.  (Here is where I “cheated”, I had about a cup of crisp topping that I’d made something with last week and saved some in the freezer and I also sprinkled that on top, so since I love the topping so much, I would probably just double the topping recipe here.  Sometimes I might use it all and sometimes no necessarily.  You can store crisp topping in your freezer for a few months.)

Bake for about 40 minutes, until the topping is golden and some of the blueberries have bubbled up around the topping.  Cool on a wire rack until warm. 

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I invited some family over for dessert tonight.  The crisp and some homemade ice cream I’d made were all gobbled up along with some chocolate chip cookies I had also made the day before. 

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What will I make with some of the blueberries next?  Kevin voted for muffins. 

Friday, July 09, 2010

Green & Black’s Organic Chocolate & Excellent Brownies

Days before we moved from Kansas to Utah, the awesome folks at Green & Black’s offered to send me some of their organic chocolate.  Well, I certainly would never turn down chocolate!  This stash arrived in my mailbox just a few days later--

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Thank you Green & Black’s.  Here’s a little information about Green & Black’s Organic Chocolate.

“Green & Black’s offers no compromise—great taste and the finest organic ingredients.  Our aim is to create great tasting chocolate.  We believe that every step from bean to bar is equally important—whether it’s using the finest organically grown cocoa beans or taking that extra time and care to bring out the intense flavor that has become our trademark.

First introduced in England in 1991, Green & Black’s the world’s first organic chocolate, made the voyage to the United States in 2003.  In addition to their popular chocolate bars, chocolate lovers also can enjoy Green & Black’s hot chocolate, baking bars and ice cream.

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Only days after getting somewhat settled here in Utah, I HAD to bake something.  After talking (emailing) with Chef Paige about her brownies, I knew that was what I was going to bake with some of Green & Black’s chocolate.  Paige was concerned about the brownies when she tried them with a great quality chocolate (Scharffen Berger) and they didn’t turn out as well as when she usually makes them with Lindt Excellent 70% Dark Chocolate.  Thinking all good quality chocolate is equal, especially if the percentage is the same, she was surprised at the results.   I mentioned to her that I’d try the brownies with some of the Green & Black’s I was sent.  I used the 70"% cocoa content dark chocolate.  But since the recipe calls for 6 ounces, I only had 3.5 ounces, so I halved the brownie recipe and made them in an 8x4 inch bread pan.  (I cannot vouch for what happened to the extra half ounce of chocolate. :)

I need to make the brownies again and use Paige’s recommended Lindt chocolate (which I buy most often), but I thought the brownies with Green & Black’s were fabulous.  Kevin wanted to taste them right after they cooled out of the oven, so the only pictures are took of them are fresh as can be. 

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Almost nothing is better than a perfectly chilled brownie (at least a few hours to overnight), so we saved most of them for the next day.   Our friend, Dan, was still here from Kansas and had the pleasure  ;) of trying a brownie.  He raved about how perfect they were.  I agree, these are perfectly fudgy, but not gooey, they have a very light crisp top and the chocolate flavor was right on. 

You can get the recipe on Paige’s blog here.  Excellent Brownies

Thanks to Paige for the recipe and thanks again, Green & Black’s for the chocolate.  Can’t wait to try the other flavors!

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Random photo of Scott and Sam laying on the couch together watching tv.  Gotta catch those moments with Scott!

View of mountains all around us.  Part of our backyard--

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Our neighbors have horses.

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Out the front.  More mountains!

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It is so beautiful here!  And on that note, we do miss Kansas, which was a lot more green.  It’s amazing how there really is beauty wherever we go on this earth!  (Even when we lived in Arizona, we learned there are many, many shades of brown to enjoy. ;)  Arizona had some great sunsets with cactus in the foreground.

That’s all for now.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

TWD—The Tarte Noire That Wasn’t, But Plenty Else That Was

We’re right in the middle of a family reunion here and believe me it pains me to no end to have not been able to make this tart.  Chocolate ganache = DELICIOUS!  To serve slices of chocolate ganache in a sweet crust, most likely heavenly!  When you’re having a family reunion with over 70 people, this just was not the dessert to make.  I didn’t want to make 10 tarts so that everyone could have a slice. ;)  Since moving and getting settled, I’ve been making lots of quick goodies and freezing them.

I did make one of Dorie’s recipes from her book, Baking From My Home to Yours.  I was given a bag of Granny Smith apples, so I decided to make her Cran-Apple Crisp.  Although, I didn’t have any cranberries, so I used some chopped dried apricots and dried mixed berries.  No photos, but everyone loved the crisp!

I made Red, White & Blue pancakes for breakfast Monday morning.

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I made the S'mores Bars that I posted last week.  Most of those were frozen and will probably be eaten tomorrow (today, Tuesday) or Wednesday.  I also made my favorite chocolate chip cookies (always a favorite).  I made a double batch of my favorite brownies, as well as 2 boxed mixes.  Two different oatmeal cookie recipes were made as well as some banana muffins.  I have made some Friendship Bread from some batter that was given to me by a friend in Kansas before we left. 

And today I made Texas Sheet Cake which was the biggest hit of the day.  I only snapped one quick picture of the whole cake in the pan.

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To go along with that, I also made Sugar Cookie Bars (I used a recipe from Recipe Girl, but I’ve seen these EVERYWHERE on the internet.  And all the recipes are the same.) 

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The recipe says to bake them (in a 13x18 sheet pan) and to only bake them for 10-15 minutes.  I’m still figuring out this new oven of mine and when I kept checking on the bars, they seemed doughy even after 15 minutes, so I kept baking them a few more minutes and checking them.  I decided they were done at 21 minutes.  But after cutting the bars, I think they are slightly dry, so they are probably baked a little too long.  These are super sugary and you can cut the bars into pretty small squares.  I think I cut 42 bars.

And finally, for now, I also made some fun cookies that I found at Jenny’s blog, Picky Palate.  They are Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Duo.

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Make the super simple, flourless peanut butter cookie dough—which is just 1 cup peanut butter, 1 cup sugar and 1 egg.  The recipe makes great peanut butter cookies, but IS quite sweet.  The chocolate cookie dough is a great recipe.  I even played around with it (there was a lot more of the chocolate dough than the peanut butter, so after making lots of duos, I added some chopped Nutter Butter cookies to the dough, and I added some chopped Oreo Cookies to some more.

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These are probably some cookies I’d make again sometime!

Again, sorry to not have made this week’s chosen Tarte Noire.  I’m interested to get a look at some of those tarts out there in TWD land.  If you’d like the recipe, you can get it from Dharmagirl at bliss: towards a delicious life

I’m WAY behind on sleep, lots more family reunion activities for the next few days.  It’s great to see family!  This reunion is Kevin’s side of the family.  Mid-July we have a reunion with my family in Idaho.   Blogging may be sparse.  I’ll be back though.  Again, I SO want to catch up on all the blog posts I’m behind on with all my favorite blogs and I apologize if I haven’t been by!