October 28, 2011

Pancake Pen

How fun is this, a Pancake Pen! We traditional have pancakes at my house just about every Saturday, so when I saw this on a friend’s Facebook post I had to check this item out.
Walmart $6
Pancake Creator
 A must have for pancake lovers with kids! You can draw anything you want and perfect for writing out names, numbers, and alphabet letters. I am all for fun stuff in the kitchen and this was definitely a hit at my house.

October 25, 2011

Fun Halloween Cupcakes

       These fun cupcakes are sure to please your kiddos at your Halloween bash this year. 
The cake mix I used is the exact recipe off the back of the Hershey’s Cocoa box “Perfectly Chocolate Cake”. I homemade the icing and tented each bowl of icing with Wilton’s icing colors, but if you are short on time use the already made icing.
Colors- white, black, brown, green, yellow, and red     
I highly recommend Wilton disposable decorating bags for this project!
Butter Cream Icing
1 stick of butter (at room temp)
2 cups of confections sugar (sifted)
1 tsp vanilla
2 TBS of milk (add more if needed)
In small bowl mix butter and sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy. Then add milk and vanilla until blended well.
To make chocolate butter cream icing add ½ cup Ghirardelli 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate chips melted with the milk and vanilla.
I made chocolate icing for the werewolf cupcakes, but if you want feel free to color your white icing brown.
I doubled the icing recipe and I halved the recipe for the chocolate icing.
Directions for Decorating
1. First with white icing completely ice the eye and spider web cupcakes.
2. Then with green icing ice Frankenstein and Monster cupcakes, but only ice half the cupcake for the monster.    
3.  Mummies – I used Wilton tip #352 and turned the tip on the side and used a wrapped look. Each mummy is wrapped differently, so don’t worry about technique just have fun. Leave a small opening near the top for the eyes.
4.  Next start on werewolves. I used Wilton tip #18 with chocolate icing. Start in the center and sweep out till point, kind of like you are making a flower. Also create little ears.
5.  Then change to yellow for the eyes; I used Wilton’s tip #3. I used yellow eyes for the mummies and monster eyes.
6.  After that I used Wilton tip # 18 with black icing for Frankenstein’s hair. Switch to tip #3 and fill in pupils for the mummy and monster eyes, Frank’s smile, and spider web.
7.  Then Tip #3 and white icing for Frank’s eyes, monster’s teeth, werewolf’s fangs, and werewolf’s eyes.
8.  Next use red icing and tip #3 for Frank’s tongue and red shot eye.
9.  The final touch is black icing and tip #3 for werewolf’s and Frank’s pupils, and werewolf’s mouth .

Enjoy a Merry Not Scary Halloween!

October 18, 2011

Homemade Pizza

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Today I am giving step by step instructions on how to make Bread Machine Pizza Dough and Homemade Pizza Sauce. This meal is so much fun to make with the kiddos so feel free to let them join in.
This is absolutely the best bread machine pizza dough I have ever made!
This recipe makes 2 pizzas, or you can roll out several individual pizzas.

Bread Machine Dough Ingredients
original recipe found here

2 teaspoons dried granulated yeast
3 cups all purpose flour or bread flour
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
2 tablespoons Honey
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 cup water, plus
2 tablespoons water
You can also use this pizza dough to make calzones.
The most amazing Pizza Sauce Ingredients
2- 6oz can tomato paste
12 fl oz of warm water
3 TBS grated Parmesan cheese
3 garlic cloves minced or 3/4 tsp garlic powder
2 TBS honey
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp marjoram
1 tsp basil
¼ tsp of black pepper
a pinch of cayenne pepper
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
Kosher Salt to taste
Mix all ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

My family loves extra pizza sauce for dipping,
but if you do not cut all ingredients in half.
Directions for Dough
1. Place all the ingredients in the order they are listed into the bread machine.

2. Select dough cycle or pizza dough cycle. The following two directions do not apply for those who have a pizza dough cycle.

3. When the dough cycle is complete, take the dough out of the machine and place it in a well greased bowl. Roll the dough around to coat the dough in the oil.

4. Cover and leave to rise in a warm place for about ½ of an hour.

5. Knead the dough lightly and adding flour as needed.

6. Cut the dough in half and roll until you have reached your desired thickness. Roll into any shape! Tip- When rolling rub flour on your rolling pin and flip the dough several times rolling out each side.

7. Then fold the sides creating a crust.
8. Place dough on foil and place in a preheated oven at 450 F for about 5 min.
Take the pizza out of the oven. Add pizza sauce, sprinkle with mozzarella cheese, and then add generous toppings of your choice. Keep the pizza on the foil and sprinkle top with parmesan cheese and oregano.

Toppings for this pizza includes: hamburger meat, diced red peppers, spinach, diced purple onions, diced baby bella mushrooms, and black olives. All these ingredients were sautéed, except the black olives, before placed on the pizza dough.
9. Place pizza in oven for about 10-15 minutes. Cooking times will vary from gas to electric ovens. When the crust is stable enough remove the foil and let the pizza cook for an additional 5 minutes or so. Removing the foil for the last 5 minutes will create a crispy crust.

Once your pizza is done call your family to the table and enjoy the fresh taste of homemade pizza made by you!

October 15, 2011

Breakfast Bowls for Dinner

Never have time to sit down as a family for breakfast. How about breakfast for dinner? I have a great quick meal waiting for you to try.
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6 eggs
2 TBS milk
6-7 small potatoes
¼ purple onion
1 package of turkey sausage
vegetable oil – enough to cover the bottom of your pans
Tony Chachere's Original Creole Seasoning
Garnish with shredded cheese, your favorite salsa, and avocados
Another great addition to this recipe is bell peppers. Add them to your potatoes or eggs. Bell peppers add wonderful color to this meal!

Directions: Wash, peel, and cut potatoes in chunks. In a large sauté pan heat vegetable oil and add potatoes and onions. Stir potatoes and onions until evenly coated with oil. Sprinkle Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning over the mixture and stir. Cover and cook over medium heat until potatoes are soft. Stir often to prevent sticking. If the potatoes are sticking add a little more oil.

 In a separate pan heat about 2 TBS of oil. Add turkey sausage and cook according to your desire. I like mine caramelized!

 In a mixing bowl add eggs, milk, salt & pepper to taste then happily whisk. Add butter to heated pan once your butter is melted then add your eggs. Do not stir right away. Cook over medium heat until your eggs are nice a fluffy.
Now you are ready to create your masterpiece; in a bowl add potatoes, eggs, salsa, turkey sausage, and cheese.
You just made an amazingly quick breakfast dinner!

October 6, 2011

Lentil Sausage Soup

Fall has arrived and there is nothing better than a cold day and a nice warm bowl of soup. Of course it's still hot in Texas, but us Texans can dream about cold weather.
These lentils are a combination of French Green, Petite Crimson, Golden, Black Beluga, Spanish Pardina and Ivory White Lentils. I found this Autumn Lentil Blend at Whole Foods Market in the bulk section.
Vegetable Broth
4 cups of water
½ onion sliced in small wedges
2 carrots
3 celery stalks
¼ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp whole peppercorn
1 tsp garlic and herb
1. Combine all ingredients in a medium sauce pan. Cover and simmer until vegetable are tender. Strain broth into larger pot.
2. Place the cooked vegetables in blender and add ½ cup of chicken broth. Blend well.
3. Add vegetable puree to the large pot.

Ingredients for soup:
1-2 carrots cut into thin chunks
2 small potatoes cut into thin chunks
4 cups of low sodium chicken broth
1 ½ cup of lentils sorted and rinsed (rinse lentils in a strainer)
1 package of turkey sausage sliced and sautéed

1. Add chicken broth to the vegetable broth and bring to a boil.
2. Then add lentils, potatoes, and carrots.
3. Bring back to a boil, cover, and simmer for 20- 25 minutes. Cooking time will vary. You will know the lentils are done when they can be mashed with ease when pressed between your thumb and forefinger. Don't over cook.
4. Then add sautéed sausage.
5. Salt and pepper to taste.

Lentil and Sausage Soup
Serve with warm cornbread and enjoy!

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October 3, 2011

Spiced Whipped Topping

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I often use whipped cream  in the place of icing. YUM YUM!

2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup of powder sugar sifted
1/2  tsp ground cinnamon
1/2  tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1.Chill your mixing bowl and beaters in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Then in a large metal bowl, whip cream until stiff peaks are just about to form. Beat in vanilla, sugar, and spices until peaks form. Enjoy on top of pumpkin pie, coffee, cupcakes, or waffles. The possibilities are endless!
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