May 31, 2012

Mint Lemonade Cookies

Hello it is Christian, Audra's daughter, and I am back to share a wonderful, refreshing treat I recently made in the kitchen. My mom has always made a different version of these cookies at Christmas ever since I can remember.

This spring I put a fresh, new spin on the cookies I grew up with. I call them Mint Lemonade Cookies. I have recently been baking in the kitchen, since school is almost out and I have attended many end of the year parties. The parties I have attended were outside with water games and in the hot baking sun, and well we all know Texas is the hottest place on earth ;). What better treat than a Mint Lemonade Cookie to cool you off before continuing to play in the sun!

The first time I made these I did not include mint. My mom and I tried the cookies and decided that something was just missing. Mint, of course, is what my mom suggested and I made them a second time, with mint, and they tasted perfect! When tasting your first cookie you experience the flavor of mint and then a burst of lemon, it is so refreshing.

Mint Lemonde Cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 (18.25 ounce) package lemon cake box mix

1 large egg

2 TBS + 2 tsp finely chopped fresh mint

1/2 cup shifted powdered sugar

Directions:
makes about 4-5 dozen depending on the size of your cookies

First, chill your mixing bowl and beaters in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Pour whipping cream into the chilled bowl and mix until peaks form and you have the texture of whipping cream (usually takes 5 to 6 minutes). Once the whipping cream is ready, measure out 1 cup of whipped cream and place into a large bowl!

Then add the lemon cake box mix, egg, and chopped mint with the whipping cream and blended well. If you do not have a kitchen aid mixer, it will take some arm muscle to mix the batter. The batter will be thick and very sticky.

DSC_6075

Shift powdered sugar on a clean flat surface. First dust your hands in the powdered sugar (so the batter will not stick to your hands) then take a small spoonful of batter and roll in the powdered sugar and form it into a ball. Make sure all cookies are rolled into evenly sized balls.

DSC_6072 

Place on a cookie sheet that is covered with parchment paper and bake at 350 degree F for 8 to 10 minutes. They may be very soft coming out of the oven but once the cool they will set. Once out of the oven place on a cooling rack for about 5 minutes. Serve and enjoy.

DSC_6077

I hope you enjoy this tasty treat, it is a definite crowd pleaser on a hot summer day. Once my cookies were at the party they were literally devoured in an instant. Later this week I will be making
Banana Split Cupcakes
for my next end of the year gathering. They are completely delicious and they too are another great crowd pleaser.

May 29, 2012

Blueberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Whipped Topping

If you read my blog you know I am a huge fan of whipped topping! I am not an icing girl, but if you give me whipped topping I am in trouble. Every 4th of July I make angel food cake and cover each slice with fresh strawberries and blueberries, then top it off with homemade whipped cream. Well, for this Memorial Day I thought I would change it up a bit and make Blueberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Whipped Topping. It was one of the most refreshing cupcakes I have ever eaten. If my veteran was home I know he would of enjoyed this cute cupcake too! My husband is currently working in Afghanistan and will be home for a short break at the end of June. I will definitely be making these delicious cupcakes for him this 4th of July!

blueberry cupcakes with strawberry whipped topping
Blueberry Cupcakes
makes 12 cupcakes
recipe found
here, I just added blueberries

1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup milk

1 cup of fresh blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F . Line a muffin pan with paper liners.
2. In a medium bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then add vanilla. In a small bowl, combine flour and baking powder, add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Then stir in the milk until batter is smooth. Next, fold blueberries in the batter using a spatula. Pour or use an ice cream scoop to place batter into the prepared pan. Fill each muffin cup about 3/4 full.
3. Bake 20 to 25 minutes.
Cupcakes are done when it springs back to the touch.

Strawberry Whipped Topping
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup powder sugar, sifted
8 fresh strawberries, pureed

Chill your mixing bowl and beaters in the freezer for about 10 minutes. While your bowl and beaters are chilling, put strawberries in blender and puree. Then in a large metal bowl, whip cream until stiff peaks are just about to form. Beat in vanilla and sugar until peaks form.Then gently stir in strawberry puree with a spatula. Now you are ready to top your blueberry cupcakes!

Refrigerate cupcakes until ready to serve.
Enjoy!

May 28, 2012

Tomato Basil and Mozzarella Salad

The one thing I love about this time of year is all the summer vegetables that arrive. I grew up with a grandmother that search for the very best garden vegetables one could find. If she could not grow it, she found someone who did. My grandmother bought peas by the bushel and I found peace and comfort in shelling peas with her each summer.
As a child, summer dinners often consisted of a large garden tomato, fresh fried okra, and a bowl of cream peas.
How can you beat that!
As you can see I have always had a love for summer vegetables. I will be posting a great number of vegetable dishes this summer so stay tuned!
Today I am sharing a favorite lunch of mine. Who's kidding, sometimes I have this for dinner too! A few day ago I picked my first bunch of sweet cherry tomatoes out of my garden and had to make this salad. If you have never put paired these ingredients together, please do!

Tomato Basil Mozzarella Salad 

The best thing about salads is no measuring is required!
All you need is:

cherry tomatoes (halved)
a salad cucumber (sliced, I use pickling cucumbers)
a few sprigs of fresh basil
Mozzarella Pearls
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (for drizzling)
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper (to taste)

Mix well and enjoy!

May 25, 2012

Turkey Basil Meatballs

You know how some families love meatloaf and it is apart of their regular meal rotation? I must admit... I have never made traditional meatloaf! Shocker, I know! You probably thought that was a mom specialty. I may not be an experienced meatloaf maker, but I can make some meatballs, so on to the recipe...

Turkey Basil Meatballs

Turkey Basil Meatballs
1 lbs ground turkey
1 egg slightly whisked
     2 TBS chopped fresh basil or 2 tsp of dried basil
   (I highly recommend fresh basil if possible)
1 TBS finely chopped fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp onion powder or 1/4 onion finely chopped
1 tsp garlic and herb seasoning
1/4 tsp kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
3 TBS shredded parmesan cheese
2 slices of toasted bread for breadcrumbs
Click here
for a tutorial on how to make quick and easy homemade bread crumbs.
Olive Oil

Combine all ingredients (don't forget the bread crumbs) and mix well (best to use your hands to mix) and form evenly sized meatballs. When forming turkey meatballs I coat my hands with a little olive oil. Fresh ground turkey tends to be really soft and I find adding olive oil to your hands before making them forms a nice, sturdy meatball.
meatballs evenly rolled

Now, warm a frying pan with enough oil to cover just the bottom ( I use an iron skillet). Use tongs to place the meatballs in the pan. When placing them in a heated pan swirl the bottom of the meatballs in the oil to ensure it will not stick to the bottom of the pan as it is cooking. I cook on a gas stove, so I start on medium heat and reduce  to medium- low heat as the meatballs are cooking. Adjust temperature to your stovetop.

cooking turkey basil meatballs

Turn often and cover between turnings.Cook until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. The end result... a mighty fine Turkey Basil Meatball.
These meatballs pair very well with a Tomato and Herb Sauce and a side of angle hair pasta, topped with shredded or shaved parmesan cheese.

Tomato and Herb Sauce
1- 15 oz can tomato sauce
1- 6 oz can tomato paste
1 cup chicken broth (add more if needed)
1 TBS of fresh chopped oregano or 1 tsp. dried oregano
1 TBS of fresh chopped basil or 1 tsp. dried basil
1 TBS of fresh chopped marjoram or 1 tsp. dried marjoram
1 tsp garlic & herb
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp red pepper
(add a bit more for a little more spice)
1 TBS honey
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes or longer. Stir occasionally.
Serve over meatballs and top with shredded or shaved parmesan cheese.

Enjoy!

Thank you for stopping by and have a wonderful day!

May 22, 2012

Tuesday's Kitchen Tip {how to cut a pineapple}

Good evening everyone! Tonight I am going to show you step by step on how to cut a pineapple! This fruit is one of my favorite summer treats and it is especially wonderful grilled. If you pass by this exotic fruit because you fear of not knowing how to cut it properly, fear no more!
When picking a pineapple you want a golden yellow pineapple with a little green. Also, use your sense of smell. If you pick up a pineapple and can smell the sweet fragrance then you have picked a winner! Stay away from bruised or mushy pineapples.

First cut the crown of the pineapple.
cut the top of the pineapple
top of pineapple cut

Then cut the bottom.
cut bottom of pineapple

Now, set your pineapple upright and slice the skin from top to bottom. Try to remove only the skin and minimal pineapple flesh.
cut sides off pineapple

Next, carefully remove all the eye spots with a paring knife.
cut these little piece of rind with paring knife

Now you are ready to slice your pineapple. Slice your pineapple to your desired thickness. If you like, core the pineapple carefully with a paring knife.
coring a pineapple

I love grilling my pineapple. You can grill it plain or marinade your slices. There are many marinades you can create with a combination of honey, lemon or lime juice, cinnamon and other spices. I like mine just as is and placed on a greased grill. The natural sweet juice is enough for me to indulge in this delicious treat. Grill until these divine grill marks are apparent. As you can see I left the core in my grilled pineapple slices. Next time you are at the grocery store do not pass up a fresh, ripe pineapple, there is no comparison!grilled pineapple

Thank you for stopping by!

May 17, 2012

The Ultimate Burrito

I cannot express how much my family loves Mexican food. It probably has something to do with being raised in the South and growing up on Tex-Mex food. In my house we love burrito night. I chop up a variety of veggies, Mexican herbs and encourage everyone to add generous toppings! This is how we make the ultimate burrito...

The Ultimate Burrito

First, I use Santa Fe Refried Beans; I highly recommend this brand! They are a great alternative to canned or if you do not have time to make your own. If you cannot find this brand at your local grocery store click on the picture below for pricing and reviews at Amazon.com

 
They are dehydrated pinto beans, how cool is that?!
To prepare just follow the directions on the package.

Santa Fe Refried Beans
I season the beans with:
1/2 cup of my favorite salsa
1/2 cup of shredded colby jack cheese
1 tsp diced jalapeños (optional)
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
kosher salt and pepper to taste
Please feel free to adjust all seasonings to your liking.

Then, I brown 1lbs of ground chicken and add the following seasonings:
Please feel free to adjust all the seasonings to your taste!
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cumin
kosher salt to taste

Ground Chicken

Next, I sauté yellow and orange bell peppers with purple onions.
Sauteed Veggies 

At last, I chop up avocados, cilantro, cherry tomatoes, and shred colby jack cheese.
Veggies for Burritos


Finally, layer all ingredients on top of a burrito size flour tortilla and enjoy this simple and nutritious dinner!
The Ultimate Burrito

May 15, 2012

Tuesday's Kitchen Tip {how to make homemade bread crumbs}

Hello everyone! I hope you are having a fantastic day! Today I am going to let you in on a little secret on how to make homemade bread crumbs! If you do not already know this trick, you will be amazed. I am thankful my grandparents let me in on this secret at an early age! It is so simple and easy,
I promise you will never buy store bought again.


Here we go...

All you need is 4 slices of toasted bread! That's right toasted bread :) You may use any bread of your choice, it just has to be toasted! You can cut the crust off if you like, but I leave mine on.

Toast

Then, tear your toast into small pieces, put into a blender. Only put in a few pieces at a time and blend, with the top on! If you use a food processer, pulse until you have...

Toast in blender

Bread Crumbs

My 4 slices made about a cup and went into these lovely basil and turkey meatballs for dinner last week!
Turkey Meatballs

Recipe coming soon!

Thank you for stopping by and have a wonderful day!

May 14, 2012

Blueberry, Banana, Coconut Smoothie

 
Good Morning Everyone! I trust you all had a wonderful Mother's Day! I hope all your families out there spoiled you because you deserve it! Well, this morning I have a wonderful smoothie recipe for you to try.

Blueberry, Banana, Coconut Smoothie

When hot weather enters the Houston area, smoothies are made in my kitchen daily! My family loves fresh fruit and we enjoy experimenting with a variety of milk from coconut to almond. I love the flavor each one brings to a smoothie. Now on to the recipe...

Blueberry, Banana, Coconut Smoothie
makes about 2 cups
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 banana
1 cup Coconut Dream
Try the smoothie without sweeteners and
if needed add
sugar of your choice
I used a 1/2 tsp of truvia in this smoothie

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth! If you use fresh blueberries add a few ice cubes at a time until you reach your desired consistency.

Now that's one nutritious, yet refreshing breakfast everyone will enjoy!

May 11, 2012

Mustard, Lemon, and Herb Sauce

This mustard, lemon, and herb sauce is perfect for salmon and works really well drizzled on grilled asparagus.

Mustard, Lemon, and Herb Sauce
Such a simple sauce to prepare and is bursting with herb and lemon flavor. The best part is no butter is required, perfect for the waistline!

Mustard, Lemon, and Herb Sauce
2 TBS whole grain mustard
juice of one large lemon
1 TBS of fresh chopped lemon thyme
(you can substitute any thyme)
1 TBS of fresh chopped rosemary
a few turns of fresh ground pepper and kosher salt to taste

Combine all ingredients and spread over salmon and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes before baking or grilling. The spread will cover about four 5 oz. fillets. Double the recipe if you would like to drizzle over grilled asparagus. I grill my salmon @ 400 degrees on foil until the internal temperature of the salmon reaches145 degrees or until flesh is opaque and separates easily with a fork.

Hope you enjoy this beautiful meal on your grill tonight!

Thank you for stopping by and have a wonderful day!

 

May 9, 2012

Charoset

Charoset is traditionally served during Passover and can be found on the Seder plate. My family and I celebrate Passover each year. It is a special remembrance of the story of Moses in Egypt and a great reminder of the Last Supper. This wonderful mixture of apples, walnuts, and spices cannot only be enjoyed during Passover but throughout the year.
My family loves Charoset for an afternoon snack and I am enjoying it as a light, easy lunch option. Very refreshing and wonderful served on Matzos.

Charoset

Charoset
Recipe that my family uses
2 gala apples
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
a pinch of nutmeg
a pinch of cloves
1 tsp honey
1 TBS sweet Passover wine
(you can use grape juice for children)

Core and peel apples (you can leave the peel on if you like). Finely chop apples. In a medium size bowl add apples, walnuts, cinnamon, honey, wine or grape juice. Add more honey if needed and stir, combining well.
If you like this recipe check out my Charoset inspired

Crock pot Apples Stuffed with Walnuts

Thank you for stopping by and have a wonderful day!

May 7, 2012

Mocha Coconut Frappuccino {Guest Post: my daughter}

Hi my name is Christian and I am Audra’s daughter. I am so excited to be guest posting on Once a Mom Always a Cook. You may have heard my name mentioned around here a couple of times. I have a passion for cooking and I am quickly following in my mom’s footsteps as a cook. I have only learned from the best. By the way, if you have not noticed she is only the best cook in the whole world. Well, today I am sharing with you a recipe that is sure to please all Frappuccino lovers! Before we get to the recipe I will share a little bit about myself and how this drink came about.

Mocha Coconut Frappuccino2

I am fifteen years old and I attend an early college high school, which is a program where I will be able to graduate high school with my Associates Degree. Due to this rigorous program it means I have many nights of staying up late doing my homework, which also causes me to drink coffee in the morning to be able to function. The hard work is all worth it though because I am about to complete my freshman year of high school with 7 college credits which is really exciting. Since school is coming to an end for the summer I recently got my first real job as a lifeguard for my neighborhood pools; below is a picture of me before going to work on Saturday for the opening weekend of the pools.

clip_image002

Ok, enough about myself and on to how the recipe began. It all started last summer when I was introduced to Starbucks Mocha Coconut Frappuccino. After just one sip I knew this drink was going to be trouble, since it was around 5 dollars for a Grande, but little did I know what was soon to come. Just as summer was coming to a halt and school was beginning, I went to order my Mocha Coconut Frappuccino when the barista told me the dreadful words,
“That was just a seasonal drink.”

The school year went on and soon came spring. The days of warm coffee was growing old. I was just waiting, it had almost been one year since I tasted the sweet taste of chocolate and coconut in a drink. I began to get fed up with the wait. I set out on a mission to make the same drink for a cheaper cost! This is the formula I came up with for the solution to my mission! I kind of sound like a superhero, if you really think about it!

Mocha Coconut Frappuccino
This recipe makes about 5 cups, so you can share this goodness! 

1/8 cup shredded coconut for toasting
Chocolate Syrup for drizzling

Whipped Topping Recipe:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. of vanilla

The Frappuccino Recipe:
1 cup low-fat 2% evaporated milk
3/4 cup double strength coffee, COLD
2/3 cup of chocolate syrup (I used nestle)
1/2 tsp. coconut extract
5 cups of ice

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place coconut evenly on a tray that is covered in foil. Put in the oven for about five minutes or until golden brown. About half way shake the tray so the coconut will turn and will evenly cook.

 Whipped topping: 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 and sugar until peaks form.

 Frappuccino: Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until the ingredients are mixed well.

Pour into a cup and simply enjoy the taste of sweet coconut and chocolate, while not breaking the bank. Do not forget to top with fresh whipping cream, toasted coconut and a drizzle of chocolate syrup.
(This is my favorite part of the drink :D)

Tips: For the double strength coffee I used Folders Coffee Singles and placed two of them in a cup with about a cup of water (because some water will evaporate during the heating process) and heated the mug in the microwave for a minute and 20 seconds. I followed the directions on the  coffee box. I then placed a couple of ice cubes in the cup until cold. Then I measured 3/4 cup of the coffee into the blender.

May 4, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies

Today I am colliding two amazing worlds, chocolate chip cookie dough and brownies, together to create one awesome dessert you will love! My sous chef, AKA my daughter, is responsible for combining these ingredients together to create
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies.
I promise you will not be disappointed!
She is keeping me young at heart in the kitchen :)

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies
Brownie recipe:
3/4 cup unsweetened coca powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup boiling water
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Recipe:
1 cup + 2 TBS all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp of salt
1 stick of butter (soften)
Click here for a tip on how to soften butter quickly
1/4 cup + 2 TBS sugar
1/4 cup + 2 TBS brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 cup of semi-sweet mini morsels (I used Nestle)

  Directions

1. Heat oven to 350 and grease a 9x13 pan.

2. Brownie mixture first- In a large bowl stir cocoa and baking soda. Add 1/3 cup of vegetable oil and boiling water. Mix until will blended and thickened. Stir in the sugar, eggs, and remaining oil. Finally add the flour, vanilla, and salt. Mix well until all of the flour is absorbed. Spread evenly into the pan.

3. Cookie dough mixture- In a small mixing bowl combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Then in a medium bowl beat butter, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla until creamy. Add egg, beating well. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels.

4. Now drop cookie dough by rounded tablespoons on top of the brownie mixture and gentle press down on the cookie dough to ensure it is in the brownie mixture.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies in oven

5. Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes, but always check at 30 min. Allow to cool before cutting. Once cool, cut into squares and enjoy with a big glass of milk!

glass of milk

May 1, 2012

Tuesday's Kitchen Tip {Must Have Seasonings}

Hi everyone! I hope you are having a fabulous day :) Today I am sharing two seasonings I must have in my pantry at all times. If you follow my recipes you know that I am a huge fan of garlic and herb seasoning. Well, there is a specific brand I am particular fond of and here it is dun dun dun...

garlic and herb

I buy this at my local Sam's, but if you cannot find this brand you can buy it from Amazon. I know there are many varieties of garlic and herb seasoning, but hands down this is the best, or at least that is my opinion.

Another seasoning that is a must...

Tony's Creole Seasoning
If you want to spice things up, this is the seasoning for you!

What seasoning is a must in your pantry?

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