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Blueberry Pumpkin Poundcake–with Butternut Squash

17 Dec

BlueberryPumpkinPoundcakeOne of my Thanksgiving and Christmas traditions is to make this fabulous, I-always-want-two-pieces-at-a-time Blueberry Pumpkin Poundcake. Well, this week three butternut squashes kept staring me in the face in my fridge, so I decided to make the cake for our small group Christmas party substituting butternut squash instead of the pumpkin. I assumed that it could be substituted easily and without sacrificing amazing flavor. It was a gamble, but I rolled the dice. Guess what? Same ol’ yumminess. So, if you ever have butternut squash staring you in the face, try this recipe and wow your friends with your this amazing cake! For the original recipe, visit this previous post.

Merry Christmas!

 

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Friday Favorite: Veggie Mix (1 recipe=4 meals)

29 Aug

FRIDAY Favorites

It’s been a while since I’ve had a Friday Favorites post for you fine readers! You probably already detected the reality– I took the summer off from my regularly scheduled posts: What We’re Reading Wednesdays and Friday Favorites. Well, school is back in session at the Mosley Casa, so I am hoping to get back to my regularly scheduled bi-monthly posts. Today’s Friday Favorites is one that I’ve wanted to share for a while! I made a double batch of this Veggie Mix this week, so I knew it was time! Here’s today’s Friday Favorites….

Veggie Mix

 

This summer marks the 3rd year that we’ve participated in a CSA in our community. What is a CSA, you ask? Read more here for a long exhaustive description. My simple explanation is that we buy a “share” of a local farmer’s produce crop, and our share of the crop is delivered weekly to a local produce store. We pick our weekly stash of fruits and veggies up on Tuesdays, and it’s almost like Christmas! Each week is a surprise! We have know idea what we will be picking up each week, so it’s always exciting. 🙂 After doing this two summers prior with the same farmer, I can anticipate what items we will receive. My hypothesis of each week’s “loot” may not be accurate, but I have learned that each CSA year we will, at some point, enjoy fresh strawberries and blueberries, cabbage, tomatoes, patty pan and spaghetti squashes, and a variety of other things. It has been an adventure in the kitchen for me each summer as I have received a variety of produce that was unknown to me! Embarassingly, I had to ask the farmer’s delivery man on more than one occasion the name of several vegetables. AND, I may or may not have googled a video on How to Cut Up a Bok Choy.  But, I digress!

Each summer, though, my excitement builds around August as I know that we’ll be showered with a ton of onions, peppers tomatoes, and eggplants. When those vegetables start appearing, it is time for me to make my Veggie Mix! I originally found this recipe in Southern Living. Its appeal was the title of the article, “Five Fast Dinners Begin with One Vegetable Mix.” Hmmm…fascinating! So, I ripped out the recipe and tried it. To summarize how this recipe works, you make a base “Veggie Mix,” and you end the day with 4 frozen packages for later use (or, you can use immediately!). The original recipe came with FIVE uniquely different recipes that can be made using one package of the “Veggie Mix” base and a few more ingredients. When I read this information, I was sold. I have been making this “Veggie Mix” for at least 5 years. Clearly, it’s a “keeper.” I love that each summer I make 8-12 frozen packages of the “Veggie Mix,” and we, literally, eat on it all winter!

Today, l share my version of the “Veggie Mix” recipe, and you can visit Southern Living’s website for the original version that contains the 5 different recipes–Individual Pizzas, Greek-Style Chicken Stew, Shrimp with Rice, Beef and Vegetable Supper (aka “Spaghetti” in our house), and Black Bean Soup–to make using your “Veggie Mix” base. We have tried all of the recipes except the Individual Pizzas. When I make either of the other 4 recipes, I love that the final meal tastes entirely different than the other, unused recipes. So, you can make this mixture on Sunday afternoon and enjoy 4 different meals that week. I promise that while eating the Black Bean Soup you won’t think, “Hmmm…this tastes just like the Greek-Style Chicken Stew expect it has black beans instead of chicken.” The recipes and tastes are unique. Without further ado, here’s the recipe!

photo (35)This week’s bounty. I doubled the recipe for 8 frozen packages to enjoy this winter!

 

Veggie Mix (adapted from this Southern Living recipe)

1-2 onions, chopped
4 bell peppers, chopped (I use a mixture of green, yellow, red, and orange.)
1/4 cup olive or coconut oil (I use either.)
1 large eggplant, chopped
3 (14.5 oz.) cans diced tomatoes (or in the summer I use fresh tomatoes)
1/4 cup Greek seasoning (I make my own.)

1) Saute onions, peppers, and eggplant in oil 5-10 minutes, until cooked.
2) Add in tomatoes and Greek seasoning.
3) I bring to boil and then, turn down to lowest setting and simmer 15-20 minutes. This makes my house smell heavenly, so sometimes, I let it simmer a while!
4) Spoon 3 cups of Veggie Mix into freezer bag. Does this to create a total of 4 bags.
5) Freeze the 4 freezer bags of the “Veggie Mix.”  The original recipe says to freeze up to one month. Ummmmm, confession, I keep mine longer than a month in my freezer. 🙂
When you are ready to make one of the 5 recipes (Individual Pizzas, Black Bean Soup, Greek-Style Chicken Stew, Shrimp and Rice or Spaghetti) consult the original recipe for those directions. I usually pull out a ziploc bag of the “Veggie Mix” the day before I need it. I let it thaw on a plate (to avoid spills/leaks) in my fridge.

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Aren’t these pepper beautiful?!!?

Additional hint: I pulverize my veggies! The first few times I made this recipe I chopped the peppers, onions and eggplant by hand. My sons were able to “sort through” the veggies and pick out what they didn’t like. (Awesome! Grr!) I got a little wiser and started pulverizing the veggies in my food proccessor! Now, they can’t organize the vegetables by peppers, onions and eggplant and “fish” them out to avoid eating. 🙂 I love the yumminess and healthiness that they are ingesting every time we enjoy a “Veggie Mix” recipe! Here’s a picture of what the pulverized veggies look like:

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I feel so “Sneaky Chef-ish.” 🙂 🙂 Please don’t tell my boys this little secret. Let’s just keep it between us, okay?

I’m excited to share this Friday Favorite with you! If you make this “Veggie Mix,” stop back by and comment below to let me know how you like it!

 

 

 

Friday Favorites: Fresh Corn (In Your Oven?!?!)

8 Aug

FRIDAY Favorites

Sorry for the long delay in a Friday Favorites post! I have been soaking up time with my family this summer, so blogging hasn’t been as frequent. With our school year starting back next week, I am hoping to get back into a rhythm of posting Friday Favorites and What We’re Reading Wednesdays.

Today’s Friday Favorites post is my new favorite way to cook fresh corn. My friend, Ashley, introduced this corn-on-the-cob cooking method to me last summer, and our family has jumped ship from the traditional means of cooking corn. Grant it, this is not the fastest way to cook corn on the cob, but the proof is in the pudding, or rather, in the bites of yummy, plump, juicy corn kernels.

fresh corn

Corn On The Cob (In the Oven!)

Ingredients:

Fresh corn, unshucked and silks trimmed*

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2) Place desired number of ears of corn directly on oven rack.

3) Bake for 30 minutes.

4) At the conclusion of 30 minutes, turn oven off and leave corn in the oven 5 additional minutes. This allows the corn to steam cook.

*I found out the hard way that it is best to trim the silks. The first time I whipped us up a batch of fresh corn in this manner I left the silks on. After about ten minutes, my kitchen was filled with smoke! Inadvertently, a few of the silks had fallen onto the oven’s heating element and created a smoky scene, so by all means, don’t do that! 🙂

Friday Favorites: Energy Bites (aka “Chocolate Chip Balls”)

16 May

FRIDAY Favorites

I have three sons. Their current ages are 8, 6, and 4. My sons eat massive quantities of food. I spend hours each day preparing food for them (of course!), but I spend equal amounts of my day brainstorming ways that I can earn a 6-figure income in the next year or two. Why, you ask? It’s not because I’m desirous of a larger home or a sweeter swagger wagon mini van. No, my reasons for seeking a 6-figure income is because our sons are eating us out of house and home! It’s time to increase the grocery budget! ha! 🙂 I can’t fathom how much food they’ll consume (or how much the food will cost!) when they are all teenagers. Wow. Mind blowing.

To satiate their little  ever expanding tummies, I have started force feeding  serving them these yummy Energy Bites! We’ve actually dubbed them “Chocolate Chip Balls” around our house. They never turn away a recipe with “chocolate chip” in the title. Between the protein from the peanut butter and the fiber from the oats and milled flax seed, my boys can go longer than ten minutes without a snack! ha! Honestly, 4 or 5 of these, and the boys are good to go for an hour of two. (And Moms everywhere are cheering with joy!)

Another plus–these are very easy to make! I must warn you, though. These are very addictive!!! I have no self-control when I eat these bad boys. I promise myself that I’ll only eat one….and half the mixture later, I realize I’ve broken my self-promise. hahahaha! AND…a special shout out to my dear friend Melanie who gave me this recipe. Best recipe ever!

This recipe is so delightful the energy bites magically arranged themselves on my plate in this design. Isn’t that amazing?image

Energy Bites

1 cup peanut butter (or any nut butter)
1 cup honey
3 cups oats
1/2 cup milled flaxseed
1/2 cup chocolate chips (or in this case butterscotch, which is all I had!)
other optional “add ins”–sliced almonds, rice krispy cereal, cheerios, raisins, craisins. It’s very versatile!

1) Mix all the ingredients together.

2) Form into balls and serve. (I use this to scoop them out.)

3) The recipe instructions are over, but I wanted to include another “tip” about this recipe. 🙂 You can line them on a cookie sheet and through them in your freezer to flash freeze them. Once frozen, throw them into a ziploc bag. Now, you can pop them out of the freezer anytime! Going on a road trip? Throw several frozen energy bites in a ziploc bag. They will thaw as you’re traveling, and viola! Snacks in the car! We use these a lot in the summer before heading out to swim. Swimming=even MORE ravenous sons. 🙂 Energy bites=ravenous boys satiated=happy Mom. 🙂

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I’m not even going to lie. This picture makes me so happy. I feel like I was channeling my inner Pioneer Woman when I took this photo. Doesn’t she always have the most magical food photos? I try not to covet her mad Kodak skills. Thanks to Apple and the iPad Mini for helping me reach my goal of channeling my inner Pioneer Woman. I’m sure it will take me at least 2 to 3 more years to take another cool “foodie” photo again. So, until then, I’ll just keep staring at this one. And…I digress.


imageThe finished product! I may or may not have eaten all of these as soon as I finished snapping their photo. Oops!

 

Friday Favorites: Southwest Cheesecake

2 May

FRIDAY Favorites

As I promised in last week’s Friday Favorites, here’s my other favorite cheesecake recipe. It’s called Southwest Cheesecake, and it is of the salty cheesecake variety. As with most recipes that I try, I am not certain what possessed me to try it! I am not a cheesecake fan, and I had no clue that salty cheesecakes existed. What possessed me to give this recipe a whirl? I’m thinking the biggest contributing factor was my husband’s love for cheesecake! Regardless of the reason for trying the recipe, I am so, so, so, so glad that I did! It’s fabulous! 

Southwest Cheesecake
Here are several reasons why I adore this recipe:
*It’s always a crowd pleaser. This recipe is delicious, in case you were curious! Every time I take this cheesecake to a gathering someone asks for the recipe! That always makes me a happy chef. 🙂
*It feeds an army. This is a great appetizer to take to or to serve at a party, event, or gathering. It’s almost as if the cheesecake multiplies as it is served. The cheesecake goes a long way. It is a crowd pleaser and feeds that crowd handily.
*It’s best to make it ahead. I get stressed out when I’m taking “party food” to a gathering. I usually make a dish the day of the event, but I’m always fearful that a recipe might flop. Then, if the recipe does flop, what would I take to the party?!?! The Southwest Cheesecake has made my “party food” anxiety fade away. The Southwest Cheesecake needs to be refrigerated for several hours, so it’s actually best if I make it the day before the gathering I’m attending. This recipe makes me stress free the day of the event because I already have the Southwest Cheesecake made! Plus, if the recipe flops, though it never has for me, I have ample time to remake the recipe before the event. Don’t you love being stress free?!?!? I do! 🙂
*It’s easy to make. I wrote in last week’s Banana Pudding Cheesecake post that making a cheesecake is actually super simple! The Southwest Cheesecake falls into that same category: cheesecakes=easy to make.

Southwest Cheesecake

adapted from Southern Living’s version

1 1/2 cups crushed tortilla chips
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 packages of cream cheese (8 oz. package. I use Nefuchatel cream cheese.)
2 cups Monterrey Jack or Pepper Jack cheese (depending on your “spice” level), shredded
2 cups sour cream (or one 16 oz. container of sour cream), divided
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups salsa
Guacamole or salsa, to garnish
2 bags of tortilla chips

Directions:

1) Crush tortilla chips until you have 1 1/2 cups. (Kitchen Tip: I put whole tortilla chips into a ziploc bag and crush them with a kitchen hammer until I have the correct amount.)

This is what the tortilla chips look like before I use the kitchen hammer…
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This is what the tortilla chips look like after I release a little aggression via my kitchen hammer. ha! 🙂

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2) Combine melted butter and crushed tortilla chips. Press into bottom of greased, 9 inch springform pan.

3) Bake the crust at 350 degrees for 12 minutes.

4) Remove crust from oven and cool on wire rack.

5) Combine cream cheese and shredded Monterrey jack cheese and beat with mixer until well combined.

6) Add 1 cup of sour cream and mix until combined.

7) Add eggs one at a time into existing mixture until well combined. Stir in salsa and pour into prepared crust. It should look something like this…

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8) Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes until the center is almost set. I shake the cheesecake, if it still “jiggles” in the center I cook additionally for 2 minutes (and repeat) until the center only slightly moves. It should look something like this. If there are craters or cracks on the top, no worries! They will be covered up. 🙂

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9) Let cheesecake stand for 10 minutes on wire rack. After 10 minutes, run a knife around the edge of the cheesecake to loosen the edge of the cheesecake from the springform pan. Cool completely.

10) Spread remaining 1 cup sour cream onto top of Southwest Cheesecake. Cool, minimally, 3 hours or up to 1 day.

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11) Additional toppings of guacamole or salsa can be added onto the sour cream as a garnish before serving. Serve with tortilla chips. Here’s a tip with this salty cheesecake–do not cut the cheesecake into wedges and serve as you would a sweet cheesecake. Use a spoon to scoop out desired amount to serve.

I made this recipe last week for our Classical Conversations End of Year Celebration. I was hoping to include with this blog post a picture of my finished Southwest Cheesecake with the additional toppings I included before serving. However, sadly, the Southwest Cheesecake fell on the floor of our van en route to our house after our End of Year Celebration. Yes, it made a magnificent mess in our van, and no, I did not get a “finished product” picture for you. 😦 I did manage to capture a picture of the Southwest Cheesecake in the trash bag shortly after the beautiful, amazing, tasteful cheesecake crashed onto our van floor. There it is in the lower right hand corner of the picture. Wishing the picture of the Southwest Cheesecake could be better, but for now, this one will have to do. 🙂 ha!

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Enjoy this yummy recipe!

Friday Favorites: Banana Pudding Cheesecake

25 Apr

FRIDAY Favorites

When my husband and I were engaged, like most engaged couples, we created a wedding registry filled with items needed to establish our home. On a trip to a well known retail chain to create our wedding registry, we had the following conversation.

“We must register for a springform pan, ” my then fiance’ declares.

“A springform WHAT?!?!?” I inquire.

“You know, a springform pan,” he insists.

“A springform pan,” I slowly repeated with my mind racing. Dare I confess that I have no idea what it is? Will he love me even if I don’t know what a springform pan is? My palms start sweating, and I try not to hyperventilate.

“It’s the pan you need to make a cheesecake,” he informs.

“Gotcha!” I nod in affirmation and confidently pretend that I know what he’s referring to.

He took me down the Kitchen aisle and showed me this:

  I dared not mention that I had never seen a springform pan fearing that this was a deal breaker for marriage. I, again, confidently pretended to act like the springform pan and I were BFFs. In that moment, I made a mental note listing 3 important points: 1) Future husband loves cheesecake. 2) Find a tutor to teach me how to use said springform pan.
3) Find someone to teach me how to make cheesecake ASAP.

Thankfully, my fiance’ didn’t ask for the ring back when he discovered that the springform pan and I weren’t BFFs and had never met previously. Whew! With twelve years of marriage under our belts, I have not forgotten important point #1: my husband loves cheesecake. His love of cheesecake has led me on a quest for the perfect cheesecake recipe. I’ve tried various and sundry cheesecake recipes. Some were heavenly. Some were not.

For today’s and next week’s Friday Favorites, I will share our 2 favorite cheesecake recipes. One is sweet and one is salty. (Yes, you read that right! Have you ever heard of a salty cheesecake??!!?!? It’s amazing! Come back next Friday for that recipe!). Without further adieu, let me introduce you to our favorite sweet cheesecake: the Banana Pudding Cheesecake.

Banana Pudding Cheesecake

 Banana Pudding Cheesecake

adapted from Southern Living’s version

1 1/2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs
1/4 cup butter, melted
17 vanilla wafers (Yes, there is a reason that 17 vanilla wafers are specified.)
2 large bananas, chopped (ripe to overripe bananas work best)
1 TBSP. lemon juice
2 TBSP. light brown sugar
3 packages cream cheese (8 oz. package. I use Nefuchatel cream cheese)
1 cup granulated sugar (I scale it back to 1/2 cup)
3 eggs
1/2 cup vanilla wafers, crushed

1) Demolish vanilla wafers until you have 1 1/2 cups crumbs. (Kitchen Tip: I put whole vanilla wafers into a ziploc bag and crush them with a kitchen hammer until I have the correct amount.)

2) Combine melted butter and vanilla wafer crumbs. Press into bottom of greased, 9 inch springform pan. Take the 17 whole vanilla wafers and press them securely into the crust around the perimeter of the springform pan. (The curved side of the vanilla wafer should be against the pan’s edge.) It should look something like this…

photo (23)

3) Bake the crust for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Let the crust cool completely.

4) While crust is cooling, combine chopped bananas and lemon juice and add to sauce pan. Over medium heat, add in brown sugar and stir constantly until brown sugar has melted. This should only take about a minute.

5) Beat cream cheese with a mixer. Add in sugar followed by eggs, one at a time. Beat in vanilla. Stir in cooked bananas into cream cheese mixture. Pour cream cheese mixture into prepared crust.

6) Bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes until the center is almost firm. Remove from oven and run a knife around the edge of the cheesecake to pull it away from pan’s edge. After I loosen the cheesecake from the pan’s edge, I pop open the springform pan. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 crushed vanilla wafers onto top of cheesecake. Cool on wire rack for about an hour. Cover and chill overnight.

And…that’s it! A cheesecake is much easier to make than I realized those many years ago when I was an engaged gal. If you have a Kitchen Aid mixer, it makes it even easier!  Don’t be afraid to make a cheesecake! I have been pleasantly surprised at how little effort it takes, and everyone will think you’re a professional chef! (Shhhhh, it’s our little secret! Don’t tell them how simple it is!) I made this for Thanksgiving, and my family asked where I bought it. That was a glorious moment in my (non-existent) cooking career. 🙂

What We’re Reading Wednesday & Friday Favorites

6 Mar

What We're Reading WEDNESDAYS

FRIDAY Favorites

I probably have 4, 276, 321 blog posts rumbling around in my brain. Every day a conversation is had or something I do makes me pause and think, “I  need to blog about that.” However, life often gets in the way, and those posts have yet to be written. (and I’m okay with that! After all, I’m first a wife and mother….blogger is w-a-y down on the list.) In an effort, though, to give myself some structure with the topics I enjoy writing about–books and favorite resources, I decided to have 2 on-going series moving forward with Suzanne Shares–“What We’re Reading Wednesday” and “Friday Favorites.”

What We’re Reading Wednesday–These posts will be related to books that I have or am currently reading myself or to my boys. If it’s not evident already, I’m a huge lover of books. I’m always eager to pass along a good book find. Hopefully, many of you will have additional books to offer to the conversation; I love when YOU share with me and my readers, too! So, get ready!

Friday Favorites–This will be a smorgasbord buffet on Fridays. These posts might be favorite recipes, tips from the kitchen, homemaking helps or the like. I might even sneak in a book here and there if it’s a favorite book that we’ve read in the past.

Frequency-I hope to post once a week in either “What We’re Reading Wednesday” or “Friday Favorites.” That is my goal, and as I’ve already confessed sometimes life sneaks in–6 and 8 year old league baseball games are to be watched (aren’t they just too cute in those little uniforms?!?!), church planting activities to plan or attend, a house to clean (oh, wait! I can always skip that one! ha!), or naps are to be taken. The weeks that life doesn’t creep in, though, I’ll be eagerly ready to share. It’s going to be fun! I look forward to sharing and…hearing from you guys as well!

FREE GIVEAWAY–Tomorrow will be the first installment of these two series. Since tomorrow is Friday it will be a “Friday Favorites.” I’m sooooooooooo excited to get this started, and I’m excited to announce that tomorrow’s post will include a FREE GIVEAWAY! So, come back tomorrow to read the first “Friday Favorites” and enter to win this favorite of mine! 🙂

Pumpkin Dinner Rolls-in your bread maker (or NOT in your bread maker if you don’t have one!)

22 Nov

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If you’ve been following the conversations going on over at the Suzanne Shares Facebook Page, you’ll remember that I promised to post my Pumpkin Rolls recipe. These rolls have become a Thanksgiving and Christmas tradition in our home. This week I have been making lots of these as I gear up to host my family and my in laws for Thanksgiving. I thought I would share some of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes with you while I’m cooking!

I love these Pumpkin Dinner Rolls for a multitude of reasons! First and foremost, these rolls are scrumptious! You can’t eat just one. (You’ve been forewarned!) Plus, the pumpkin gives the rolls a brilliant golden color.  Any time that I make these rolls, I have requests for the recipe. (That’s always a good sign!) Another perk with this recipe is that it’s a great “make ahead” or “freezer” recipe. You can easily make them ahead of time, bake them, and freeze them. When reheating and serving them at a later date, you are not sacrificing taste. They come out of the oven tasting like you made them that day! The final reason for my adoration of this recipe is that it can be made in your bread maker using the Dough cycle! My bread maker (this one by Sunbeam) is one of my top 5 “must haves” in the kitchen appliance category. No, I’m not an amazing, I-should-have-my-own-show-on-Food-Network kind of cook, particularly when it comes to bread. However, thanks to my bread maker people think that I am–wink, wink. Let’s keep this as our little secret. 🙂

The original recipe is from Tammy’s Recipes blog. You’ll note in the comments that someone posted about using the recipe in a bread maker. This inspired me to try it in my bread maker, and it worked! I didn’t follow the instructions per the Comments section exactly, so I wanted to post my bread maker adaptation of the recipe.  Don’t forget to pin this recipe because you will definitely want to make it over Thanksgiving or Christmas! I have included an abundance of pictures for those of you who are new to making rolls from scratch. Again, the bread maker takes all of the hardship and guess work out of bread making, which is why I’m a huge fan of bread makers! (I have a gargantuan fear of recipes with yeast, so if I can do this, you can too!) First, I’ll list the recipe, and the step-by-step picture montage will follow.

Pumpkin Rolls (for your bread maker)
Yields 30-36 rolls
1 cup warm milk (warm to the touch, not HOT. Extremely hot water will kill the yeast, FYI)
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp. butter
1 cup pumpkin (I love this kind, and yes, I buy it a case at a time. No, I’m not weird.)
5 cups All Purpose or Bread flour (King Arthur is my favorite, and the price shown here on Amazon is HIGH. Wowzers. Just posting for reference! You can definitely find it cheaper elsewhere.)
1 tsp. salt
3 1/2 tsp. yeast (I buy yeast in bulk @ Costco. I keep it refrigerated to keep the large quantity preserved.)

Add the ingredients to your bread maker in the order listed above. Set to “DOUGH” cycle and start your engines machine. At the end of your DOUGH cycle, just know that the dough may slightly rise out of the container. (See picture below. HA!) After forming the rolls and placing on a baking sheet, let rise 30 minutes. After rising, bake @ 350 degrees for 15-17 minutes. Top with butter and serve immediately.

To freeze: cool completely and place inside freezer bag. Throw in your freezer.

To reheat and serve: Thaw completely. I usually pull them out of the freezer 24 hours in advance. Wrap in aluminum foil or place on a baking sheet, covered with foil. Reheat @ 350 degrees 8-10 minutes, or until warmed. Brush the tops with butter and serve immediately.

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This is what the dough looked like at the end of the DOUGH cycle.

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I dumped the dough onto my Silpat mat to start the task of making rolls. The dough does not stick to the Silpat mat. Oh, what a delight and joy my Silpat is! (Thanks for recommending the Silpat, Annie Laurie!)

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Next, I form the dough into a rectangle as shown here.

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I use my dough knife to cut the dough into four sections. No dough knife? Use a pizza cutter. I try to make them “equal,” but I’m not as gifted at that as I would like to be. 🙂

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I work with the four sections one at a time. I cut one section in half as shown above.

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I take the two halves and cut them into 7-9 rolls. Therefore, each of the 4 sections yields about 30-36 rolls, which is always my goal with this recipe.

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I roll the rolls between my hands in a circular motion to form them into smooth round shapes. I place them side by side, slightly touching on a baking pan. I use this pan.
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Here are the rolls all beautiful and ready to rise! I’m still working on my technique for forming the rolls. Mine are always a million different sizes, but no one eating them seems to mind. 🙂

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Here’s what these beauties look like after 30 minutes of rising.

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Here’s what they look like fresh out of the oven. Yes, you are correct. There are 4 missing rolls between the previous picture and this one above. I know not [SWALLOW] why.imageTo freeze, I break the rolls apart into 1 dozen sections. I place them in a 2.5 gallon freezer bag, leaving space between each dozen, and throw in the freezer. When I’m ready to serve these, I thaw 24 hours in advance, wrap them in aluminum foil and heat @ 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until warmed. Top with butter, and enjoy!

This post contains affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure policy here.

Tropical Traditions-FREE SHIPPING TODAY (6/23)

24 Jun

When I started learning more about the benefits of cooking with coconut oil, I was eager to try it! However, my hubby doesn’t like the taste of coconut oil, so my attempts to “sneak it in” to our food failed. He quickly recognized my sneakiness and wasn’t as excited as I was about coconut oil.

Photo of Expeller-Pressed Coconut Oil - Certified Organic from Tropical Traditions. Expeller-Pressed coconut oil is a healthy cooking oil with a mild taste.

However, a friend told me about expeller-pressed coconut oil, which has the benefits of coconut oil without the coconut flavor. I ordered our first jar from Tropical Traditions a couple of years ago, and we’ve been using it ever since! Expeller-pressed coconut oil is “hubby approved.”

Interested in trying some coconut oil or other goodies from Tropical Traditions, today’s a great day for it! Tropical Traditions has FREE SHIPPING today (Monday, June 24) through MIDNIGHT ($16 minimum order). Use code 131766.

Click here to read more about the differences in coconut oils. Here are some articles about coconut oil benefits–here and here. There is a great archive of coconut recipes on Tropical Traditions website, too.

Crockpot Candy

30 Dec

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I feel like I must give a HUGE WARNING with this recipe. BEWARE–it is highly addictive! I was introduced to Crockpot Candy 8 Christmases ago. It was Christmas 2004, and I was about 11 weeks pregnant with our first son. A good friend of my in-laws gave them a tin filled with Crockpot Candy, and it was my downfall that Christmas. I could not stop eating this stuff, and the scales didn’t lie. I gained 8 pounds when I went to my OB appointment a couple of weeks later, and my OB told me to get it together! As Eve passed the blame to Adam in the Garden of Eden, I passed the blame to the Crockpot Candy. The Crockpot Candy made me gain the weight; it wasn’t my fault at all. 🙂

I make this yummy recipe every Christmas. Three reasons why I love this recipe…

1) It’s just YUMMY–Basically, Crockpot Candy is more adequately described as chocolate covered peanuts. How can you EVER go wrong with chocolate covered ANYTHING!?!?

2) The word “CROCKPOT” is in the recipe’s title–Don’t you love your Crockpot!?!? If not, you need to make that a New Year’s Resolution for 2013. For this recipe, the Crockpot does the work–dump ingredients, come back 3 hours later, drop the mixture by spoonfuls onto wax paper and you’re done!

3) This recipe makes SO MUCH–I make this every Christmas to use as gifts for friends and family. One batch of this recipe makes anywhere from 80-100 pieces (depending on how big you spoon out each piece). It makes great gifts for school teachers, Sunday School teachers, friends, mailmen, etc. Or, you can be like I did 8 Christmases ago…and eat a whole batch by yourself!

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  One of my favorite parts of making this recipe is hammering the Almond Bark. I’m sure there’s some other way to break the Almond Bark, but getting a little frustration out with the kitchen hammer is amazing.IMG_7478All of the ingredients are in my Crockpot! Now, I can go take a 3 hour nap while my Crockpot does all of the hard work.IMG_7487

3 hours later, the mounds of chocolate have melted into chocolate yumminess.

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Crockpot Candy

1 (16 ounce) jar salted peanuts*
1 (16 ounce) jar unsalted peanuts
1 (12 ounce) package chocolate chips (or 1 1/2 cups)
1 (4 ounce) bar German chocolate, broken into pieces
3 pounds white chocolate almond bark, broken into pieces

Put ingredients into a 4 or 5 quart crockpot in the order listed above.  Cover and cook 3 hours on LOW.  Do not remove lid during the 3 hours.  Turn off and cool slightly.  Mix thorougnly and drop by teaspoonfuls onto wax paper.  Let cool thoroughly.

*I usually use all unsalted peanuts.