Tag Archives: recipes

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!

 

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. 🙂

image
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…
image

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

image

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…

image

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. 🙂

image

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.

image

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!

image

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. 🙂

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

22 Nov

image

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.

image

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

image

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!)

image

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

image

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. 🙂

image

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

image

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.

image

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.
image

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. 🙂

image

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

image

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

IMG_7490

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!

IMG_7476

  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.

___________________________________________________________________________________________

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.

Chocolate Chip Cookies (with a Christmas twist!)–freezeable!

23 Dec

One wonderful, delicious, still makes-my-mouth-water, heirloom (passed to me from my mother, who got it from her mother!) recipe that never loses its magic is my Mom’s, actually my Grandmother’s, Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. I make it ALL the time, and I’ve learned how to freeze it. So, anytime I need dessert in a hurry, I pull out homemade, from scratch chocolate chip cookie dough and make cookies. The cookies are ALWAYS a hit. This is an easy, frugal, cooking from scratch recipe for homemade chocolate chip cookies. No need to buy the ‘ready-made’ dough at the store when you can make this recipe at home, freeze it and pull it out anytime!

I posted this list of 25 Ways Your Family Can Serve Together at Christmas last month and was inspired by its great ideas. One of the ways that we chose to serve others this Christmas is to make cookies and deliver them to a Police or Fire station on Christmas Day. We’re planning to do this on Tuesday. I had some extra time last week, so I took advantage of that and whipped up a batch of cookie dough. However, since it’s Christmas, I substituted Christmas M&M’s instead of chocolate chips. 🙂 I can’t wait to take these to the Police or Fire Station with my family on Tuesday. If you, too, want to do this, I’ve included the recipe below:

IMG_7298

I must confess that mixing all of the ingredients for the dough is so much easier with my KitchenAid Mixer. I saved my Christmas money 3 years ago and bought one from Costco. Why, oh why, did I wait so long to buy one?!?! I no longer break my arm mixing this by hand. Trust me, its hard.
IMG_7299 Once the chocolate chips or M&Ms are mixed in, I take the dough and form it into balls in order to freeze it.IMG_7300 One recipe makes about 2 logs of cookie dough. I wrap them individually in cling wrap.IMG_7304I put both logs of dough into a Ziploc Freezer Bag (Gallon Size)* and through them into my freezer. When I need to make cookies, I put the dough in the refrigerator 24 hours ahead, or if I’m in a hurry, I let is defrost on my kitchen counter. *I’ve found the best deal on Ziploc bags of any size is at Costco.

________________________________________________________

Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies
my Grandmother’s & Mother’s recipe

1 cup brown sugar AND sugar
1 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
3 1/4 cup all purpose flour (I use unbleached all purpose)
1 tsp. salt AND baking soda
2 cups chocolate chips (or M&Ms, peanut butter chips, or a mixture of all!)

1) Soften butter to room temperature.

2) Add sugars, eggs, vanilla, salt and soda to butter and mix well.

3) Add flour one cup at a time.  Stir well.

4) Fold in chips.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill dough overnight (or atleast 4-6 hours).

5) For cookies, bake at 350 degrees 7-10 minutes (depending on your oven) and cool on wire rack.

TO FREEZE: The dough can be frozen for up to 2 months (maybe longer! Ours rarely makes it to the 2nd month! ha!).  To freeze, spoon dough onto plastic wrap.  Form into log-shape and roll up, covering completely, with plastic wrap.  I usually make 2 logs out of 1 recipe of dough.

Merry Christmas!

Black Bean Dip

7 Dec

IMG_7202This is one of the Mosleys’ favorite, favorite, FAVORITE recipes! It’s been a staple in our home for at least 10 years. I, first, got it from my friend, Amy after my husband and I were married (ten years ago this year!). Ten years later, I’m making it even more frequently! My boys love, love, loveBlack Bean Dip. I usually make it early in the week, and my boys eat it most days for lunch. It’s so YUMMY!

I love Black Bean Dip for three reasons (in addition to its wonderful YUMMINESS!):

1) It’s rich in protein and fiber. This dip is very filling; I love that it’s hearty for my boys! I wrote here about how my occupational title should be “Food Fixer,” not Mother.  My boys eat ALL the time. Some days, literally, it’s every half hour. Whew! Black Bean Dip keeps their tummies full longer due to the protein and fiber in the beans.

2) It’s meatless, so it’s easy on the pocketbook! Anytime I can serve my family meatless protein dishes, I do because it stretches my budget. My Black Bean Dip falls into the category! YAY! One other way that I’ve found to stretch my budget with this recipe is to use dried black beans. Buying the dried black beans in bulk is much cheaper (and healthier!) than using them from the can. I can buy organic, dried black beans at a local produce store cheaper than I can by the non-organic, canned black beans. I just cook the dried beans in my Crockpot all day, and then, I freeze them in a Ziploc 2 cup portions. One can of black beans equals about 2 cups of my Crockpot black beans. I make several pounds of the dried beans at a time, so I have a huge stash of frozen black beans in my freezer AT ALL TIMES.This makes it easy for me to whip out a package of black beans at any time and whip up a dish of Black Bean Dip, which is what I did today. 🙂

3) It’s a CROWD PLEASER and feeds a crowd! Anytime I have a wedding or baby shower that I’m helping with, friends over for dinner, a gathering in my home, or a potluck at church, I make this recipe. I am constantly asked for the recipe; it’s always a hit at parties! My friend, Amy, who first shared the recipe with me gave me the great tip of transferring it to the Crockpot after it’s baked. Once it’s in the Crockpot it can be kept on the “Warm” setting and served at a gathering. Taking it to a gathering without the Crockpot is not such a great idea. The dip is best served warm, so use the Crockpot version for those occasions. When I use the “Crockpot” version, I typically double the recipe. I also have started doubling the recipe at home for my boys since their appetites are growing, growing, growing. This makes the recipe last longer in our home. 🙂

So, if you’re looking for a great recipe to take to a Christmas party this year, or if you just want a new non-peanut butter and jelly lunch option, try my Black Bean Dip! The recipe is below including instructions for using/serving in the Crockpot.

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Black Bean Dip

1 can or 2 cups of black beans (rinsed & drained)

1 12-14 oz. package frozen corn (cooked, rinsed & drained)

2 cups salsa

1 cup plain yogurt (original recipe called for sour cream)

1 cup cheddar cheese (shredded)

1 cup mozzarella or Monterrey jack (shredded)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mash black beans.  Add next 5 ingredients (corn-cheddar cheese) to black bean mixture. Stir Well. Pour into 1.5 or 2 qt. Pyrex dish (or a favorite dish…doesn’t matter that much) Top evenly w/mozzarella (or monterrey jack) cheese. The types of cheese can be switched up (only cheddar, only Monterrey jack, etc. to suit your preference).

Bake for 20-25 min. or until dip is bubbly or thoroughly heated.  Serve w/tortilla chips.

Crockpot instructions:
This dish can be doubled (or tripled!!) VERY easily.  Follow the instructions for making the dish except do NOT top with cheese.  Bake as per instructions above.  When finished cooking in the oven, transfer the dip to Crockpot and top with mozzarella or Monterrey jack cheese.  Keep Crockpot on “Warm” setting.

ENJOY!What are your favorite meatless recipes? I’m always looking for new ones! Please share! 🙂