May 29, 2008

spicy oatmeal cookies

spicy oatmeal cookies

The week? Where's it gone? Holy moly!

I'm a bad blogger. I don't get around to commenting much on the many blogs I read (but I am reading!) By the time you make the food, take a picture, type the recipes all out, put the picture up on the blog and then read other blogs, I'm done - put a fork in me. But this is a fun hobby, too bad I can't make it more of a priority, c'est la vie!

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These spicy oatmeal cookies were good but I wasn't thrilled with all the spice. I'm not sure if it's the cloves or the nutmeg (prob the cloves) but it's not really high on my list of favorites. Though, you would never be able to tell by the way I scarfed down these cookies.

Uhhhh, hypocrite, I know. Shut up and try it out yourself.

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spicy oatmeal cookies
makes 4 dozen

1 cup butter or margarine
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar

2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla

1.5 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves

3 cups rolled oats
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup raisins

Cram butter and sugars until fluffy.

Beat in eggs and vanilla.

Mix in a bowl, flour, soda, salt , cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Slowly add dry ingredients to creamed mixture.

Mix in oats, nuts and raisins.

Drop teaspoonfuls of dough on lightly greased cookie sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake at 350F for 8-10 minutes for a soft cookie or 12 minutes for a crispy one. Cool on wire rack.

Recipe adapted from: Better-Than-Mom's Oatmeal Cookies, The Best of Bridge Presents A Year of the Best.

May 24, 2008

high fiber pancakes

high fiber pancakes

These high fiber pancakes weren't bad at all. The pancakes felt heavier than usual pancakes I make, must be due to all the bran and rolled oats giving that high fiber count. It also had a darker brown appearance comparison to the usual fluffy white buttermilk pancakes.

You would think that high fiber = yucky "healthy" taste but not so. They were pretty good but I still think I'll keep making the pancakes I make. Not as high in fiber but why change a good thing?

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high fiber pancakes

- 1 cup low-fat (1 percent fat) buttermilk
- 1/2 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
- 2/3 cup miller's bran (unprocessed, uncooked wheat bran)
- 1 large egg, or 1/4 cup egg substitute
- 1/4 cup whole wheat flour

- 2 teaspoons sugar or splenda
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine the buttermilk, oats, and bran in a large bowl. Let stand 5 minutes. Add the egg and beat until blended.

In a small bowl, mix the whole wheat flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt until blended. Add to the bran mixture and blend until all the flour is moistened.

Prepare a hot skillet or griddle with non-stick pan spray. Pour in about 1/4 cup batter for each pancake. Cook about 3 minutes, or until bubbles form on the top and the edges are dry. Turn and cook the pancakes about 2 minutes more.

Nutritional Information Per Serving (2 pancakes): 2 points for two pancakes Calories: 136, Fat: 3 g, Cholesterol: 55 mg, Sodium: 462 mg,Carbohydrate: 24 g, Dietary Fiber: 7 g, Sugars: 6 g, Protein: 8 g Diabetic Exchanges: 1-1/2 Starch, 1/2 Fat

Recipe from: Fluffy High-Fiber, Low-Fat Pancake, Pancake Recipes-Pancakes Website

May 21, 2008

vanilla cupcakes

vanilla cupcakes

I also made some vanilla cupcakes for the princess' birthday. These were a big hit with the crowd, both young and old. They were fluffy cupcakes and the pretty icing colors made them really a bit hit.

Personally, they were a bit "eggy" tasting. I'm kinda sensitive to that egg taste in cakes and should have noticed that this recipe contains 3 eggs for the batch thus would probably set off my egg flavanoids on my tongue.

But, that's just me. Everyone else loved them.

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vanilla cupcakes
makes 12 cupcakes

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup granulated white sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and lightly butter or line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to the butter and egg mixture, along with the milk, and beat until combined.

Evenly fill the muffin cups with the batter and bake at 350 F for about 18-20 minutes or until nicely browned and a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, frost with icing.

buttercream icing:
yields 1.5 cups

1/2 cup margarine or butter
2 cups confectioners sugar
1 tbsp milk

Cream margarine. Add sugar gradually beating on medium speed. Icing should appear dry. Add milk and beat until fluffy. Color your icing by mixing in food coloring of your choice.

Vanilla Cupcakes from Joy of Baking website
Buttercream adapted from Wilton's Decorating Guide Yearbook


May 18, 2008

princess castle decadent chocolate cake

princess castle cake

I have a princess living in my home. She requested a princess castle cake for her birthday a while back and one can never say no to a princess. Especially one as cute and sweet as my princess :)

I doubled the below cake recipe to make this castle cake. I used a 9x13 sheet cake pan and a loaf pan to make the two tiers. (Cut each cake in half and layered them on top of each other). By filling the pans 2/3 full, I did have a little batter left over in which I used to make a few cupcakes. (Makes excellent cupcakes too!) I also filled fresh strawberries and a thin layer of strawberry jam in between the cake layers to give extra texture and added moistness.

I used regular buttercream icing, tinted to the colors of my choice, to ice the cake. I used a sugar cone, inverted over a regular ice cream cone to make the towers. And I used mini marshmallows to decorate. I am so pleased how it turned out. It wasn't a difficult cake to make but it did take a couple of hours to finish. Don't forget to add candles and sparklers, really adds to the fun!

I have used this recipe a couple of times. It's one of my keepers. It's truly decadent and chocolatey and I've had many folks all comment how tasty it is. The best part is that it really is moist and gooey. I plan on making it every time a prince or princess requests chocolate cake.

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princess castle decadent chocolate cake
makes two 9 inch cake pan cakes

2 1/2 cups cake flour (or use all-purpose white flour and substitute with 5 Tbsp cornstarch & 1.5 tsp baking powder)
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
3 1/2 ounces semisweet or bittersweet dark chocolate, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups cold water

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the cooled chocolate and vanilla and beat for 3 minutes to incorporate. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for another 3 minutes. Gradually mix in the dry ingredients in 3 batches, alternating with the cold water. Beat for 1 minute after each addition to incorporate the ingredients. Mix until the batter is smooth.

Coat 2 (9-inch) round cake pans with non-stick cooking spray. Cut 2 circles of parchment paper to fit the pan bottoms and place them inside the pans; then spray the paper for added non-stick insurance. Pour batter into the prepared pans and smooth the surface with a spatula; the pans should be 2/3 full. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes at 350F.

Leave to cool for 40 minutes. Turn the cakes out of the pans and remove the paper. Decorate!

Recipe from: A Gooey, Decadent Chocolate Cake, Food network website

May 13, 2008

(turkey) bacon-wrapped eggs in polenta cups

turkey bacon wrapped eggs in polenta cups

I love breakfasts and brunch. It's probably my favorite meal of the day. Unfortunately, we're usually eating cereal or toast most mornings because there is no time for something more fancy like this. Plus, it's more labor intensive and if I haven't had my morning cup of joe, it could be dangerous :)

Thus, the hubby made these and they were fully enjoyed. He used turkey bacon but next time, I'd recommend pork bacon. I found that the turkey bacon turned out way too rock hard. Not so enjoyable. But overall, tasty and beautiful presentation.

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(turkey) bacon-wrapped eggs in polenta cups
serves 8

Polenta:
2 tablespoons margarine or butter
1/4 cup minced green onions
3 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme

Baked eggs:
turkey bacon or regular bacon for each polenta cup
6 ounces cheese of your choice: I used old cheddar cheese
8 large eggs
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions

For Polenta: Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Add green onions and stir until wilted, about 1 minute. Add 3 cups water and salt; bring to boil. Gradually whisk in cornmeal. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until thick and creamy, stirring occasionally, about 13 minutes. Stir in parmeson cheese and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Cool to lukewarm. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate; polenta will become firm.) Form into little cups.

For bacon and baked eggs: Heat large skillet over medium heat. Add bacon; fry until beginning to brown but still pliable, about 4 minutes. Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Cool slightly.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Place polenta cups on baking sheet. Sprinkle cheese into each cup. Crack 1 egg into center of each cup. Sprinkle eggs with black pepper. Bake until egg whites are almost set, about 20 minutes. Let eggs stand at room temperature 5 minutes (eggs will continue to cook).

Adapted recipe Bacon-wrapped eggs with polenta
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