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Tag Archives: Baking

Cherry Scones

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Happy (belated) New Year to all you lovely bloggers out there.  I hope you had wonderful Christmas and New Year’s celebrations with your loved ones. I thoroughly enjoyed our holidays this year…and, yes, I’ll be posting some Christmas pictures soon!  Our family was treated to an extended vacation due to the recent snow storms, and I have enjoyed every minute relaxing and playing with my sweet little kiddos and hubby.  Now, the snow has been replaced by lots of rain, but I’m not complaining…our state could really use the rain today!

So, today is a dark and rainy morning, and I decided to make some warm scones for breakfast.  I love scones for breakfast, my husband swears it’s his very favorite breakfast food, and even my kids devour them.  These scones are really not hard to make, and you can even replace the cherries with other dried fruit or nuts if cherries aren’t your thing.  I hope you and your family enjoy these warm, delicious, flaky scones as much as my family and I do.

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Cherry Scones

Ingredients:

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup sugar

5 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into small slices

1/4 to 1/2 cup dried cherries (or other dried fruit, or nuts, or both!)

1 egg

3/4 cup heavy cream

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350F.

2.  Stir the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a large mixing bowl.

3. Cut the butter into the flour mix until it looks like crumbs.  I use two knives to cut in, but if you have a dough blender or pastry cutter, use it!

4.  Add your dried fruit, or nuts, or both, and stir into the mix.

5.  Mix the egg and heavy cream together in a separate bowl, then add to flour mix.  Stir just until combined.

6.  Pour mix onto a cutting board and work the mix into a large round.  Don’t knead the dough!  Use a rolling pin to gently roll the round out to about 10 inches and about 1 inch thick.  I use my hands around the edges to make sure the round keeps its shape and the edges don’t go flaking off.  If you do lose some pieces, just stick them back on there, and keep rolling.

7.  Slice the round into 8 wedges.  Transfer wedges to a baking sheet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.

8.  Bake the scones for about 22 minutes or until they barely start to brown.  You want these guys light and flaky.  Don’t over-bake!

9.  Scoop a hot scone onto a plate and devour…forks are useful, but not mandatory.  And for Pete’s sake, have a cup of hot tea with that scone!

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Kids In The Kitchen: Gingerbread Houses

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Gingerbread is a big thing in our house at Christmas.  We usually make gingerbread men and women, or gingerbread trains, or gingerbread trees and snowflakes to decorate.  When we have made “gingerbread houses” in the past, we’ve always just used graham crackers.  This is the way I made my houses when I was a kid.  It’s easy, and no baking and waiting are required.  The kids can just start decorating…which is the best part anyway!  This year, we decided to make our gingerbread houses from scratch.  It took a lot more time, but the gingerbread tasted wonderful and the houses looked great!  I hope you enjoy making these gingerbread houses with your family as much as I enjoyed making them with mine!

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Gingerbread Houses:  (This recipe makes one house)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup shortening

3/4 cup molasses

1/3 cup cold water

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. ground ginger

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. ground allspice

1/2 tsp. ground cloves

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1 Recipe of Gingerbread Frosting (recipe to follow)

Assorted candy, nuts, cookies, etc. to decorate with

Directions:

Heat oven to 350F.  Grease bottoms and sides of a jelly roll pan with shortening.

In a large bowl, mix the brown sugar…

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the shortening…

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and the molasses.

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Stir in cold water.

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Add the flour and the baking soda…

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and the ginger, salt, allspice, cloves, and cinnamon.

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Mix everything together…go ahead, get your hands in there…until a nice dough ball forms.

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Press the dough into the greased jelly roll pan.  My kids got really enthusiastic on this step!

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Bake for about 15 minutes or until no indentations remain when center is touched.  Cool 5 minutes.

Now comes the fun part!  Cut shapes:  two rectangles, two trapezoids, two squares, and two triangles.  Place these shapes on top of your gingerbread, and cut around them.

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When you are finished cutting, remove the shapes to a cooling rack.

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While your gingerbread is cooling, make your gingerbread frosting…

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Gingerbread Frosting

Ingredients:

2 cups powdered sugar

1/3 cup shortening

2 Tbsp. light corn syrup

5-6 tsp. milk

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl until smooth and spreadable.  This stuff is thick and works just like glue for your house.

Now, back to the gingerbread houses…

Assemble your houses using your gingerbread shapes and your gingerbread frosting.

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Let the houses stand for about 30 minutes, or until the frosting is completely set.

 

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Then, you can decorate your house with candy, nuts, cookies, crackers…whatever your little heart desires!

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Last, but not least, stand back and admire your artistic abilities.  I love my creative little kid’s gingerbread houses!

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Yellow (Summer) Squash Casserole

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Yes, I realize that summer squash is easier to find and of better quality in the summer, but this recipe is a family favorite for the holidays.  I acquired this recipe several years ago from a very sweet lady who I admired very much.  It was a favorite in her family, too.  When I first made this for my husband’s family, they were a bit skeptical, most of them are not squash lovers, but they were willing to try it, and now they ask me to make it for almost every holiday dinner!  It is so super good!  And who doesn’t love a casserole?  I hope you will enjoy this as much as my family and I do!

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Yellow (Summer) Squash Casserole

Ingredients:

6 cups very thinly sliced squash

1 small onion, very thinly sliced

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 cup sour cream

1 cup grated carrots

1 stick salted butter, melted

1 box chicken flavored Stove Top Stuffing Mix

Directions:

1.  Cook the squash and onion in salted boiling water for 5 minutes and drain.

2.  In a large bowl, mix the soup, sour cream, and grated carrots together.  Add the squash and onion to the mix.

3.  Mix the butter with the stuffing in a separate bowl.  I usually add a couple of tablespoons of water to make the stuffing a little more moist, but if you want yours crispier, leave it as is…the choice is yours!

4.  Pour the squash mix into a 9×13 casserole dish.  Top with the stuffing mix.  Bake at 350F for 35-40 minutes.

5.  Enjoy!  Make sure to share it with your friends and family…they will thank you for it!

Butternut Squash Soup with Cinnamon Sugar Croutons

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Well, I’ve had an extended vacation from my blog…much, much longer than planned.  I’ve really missed writing, but it seems that life gets busier each year.  I can’t promise steady blog posts, but I will try not to take 6 months off again…haha!

I promised my facebook friends that I would post this recipe, so that’s just what I’ll do.  This soup is so wonderfully perfect for this time of year.  It’s so creamy, and savory, and sweet, and just super yummy!  I hope you’ll like it as much as I do.  Here goes…

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Creamy Butternut Squash Soup with Cinnamon Sugar Croutons

The Soup…

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into about 1 inch cubes

1 large onion, diced

1 Tbsp. butter

Big pinch of sugar

2 large garlic cloves, sliced

1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. ground ginger

3 cups chicken broth

1- 1 1/2 cups milk

Directions:

Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat.  Add squash and onion.  Saute, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to brown, 7-8 minutes.  Add butter, sugar, and garlic.  Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are a rich caramel color, about 10 minutes longer.

Add spices and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add broth and bring to a simmer.  Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

Now, use an immersion blender, if you have one, and puree your soup.  If you don’t have one, and most people don’t, transfer to a blender and puree in batches until very smooth.

Return to pot and add enough milk to thin soup to desired consistency.  Heat through.  Ladle into bowls and top with croutons.  Enjoy!

The Croutons…

Ingredients:

1 small loaf sour dough bread

1 stick of butter (more or less)

Sugar

Cinnamon

Directions:

Cut loaf of bread into cubes.  These can be as big or as small as you like your croutons.  Place in a large bowl.

Melt butter and pour over bread cubes.  Stir to coat evenly.

Now comes the fun part.  Add as little, OR AS MUCH, sugar and cinnamon to your buttery bread as you want!  Stir to make sure each croutons is covered.  Yummy!

Place bread cubes on a large cookie sheet in a single layer.  Bake at 400F for about 15 minutes.

Put a good handful of these delicious Cinnamon Sugar Croutons on top of your Butternut Squash Soup and dig in!

Beans And Greens…A Country Staple

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I hope all of you enjoyed your Memorial Day weekend as much as I did.  It’s wonderful to spend time with family while honoring and remembering the ones who have served our country and died for our right to be free.  We live in such a great nation with so many freedoms we take for granted on a daily basis.  I am proud to be an American and so proud of all those who serve and have served our country, including many of my own family members.

Although the recipe I am going to post has nothing to do with Memorial Day, I needed to take a moment to show thanks for those who have served and the freedoms we enjoy because of them.

Now, on to the delicious country dinner of beans and greens, which I’m quite certain any service man or woman would love!  This dinner is one of my favorites, right up at the top with meatloaf.  There is nothing like good ole country, stick to your ribs, beans and greens.  And no dinner of beans and greens would be complete without corn muffins to sop up the soup at the end of your meal.  I always dice up some onion to put in my beans, and for some reason, I always serve slices of cheddar cheese with beans.  And, for goodness sake, make sure you throw some of the ham hock in your dish of beans.  The whole combination of beans, greens, corn muffins, ham hock, onions, and cheese just seems to be perfect.  Hope you enjoy!

Beans and Greens…A Country Staple

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Pinto Beans

Ingredients:

1 pound dry pinto beans

1 ham hock

salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

1.  Place dry beans in a pot and cover with 6 to 8 cups of water.  (Make sure to check your beans for little rocks before you start cooking.)  Bring beans to a boil for 2 minutes and then remove from heat.  Allow them to soak for 1 hour.

2.  Now, you can either drain the water from the beans and rinse them, or not.  I know that every recipe I’ve ever read tells you to drain and rinse.  This soak and rinse method is supposed to make the beans cause less “uncomfortableness” after you eat them.  (You all know what I’m talking about!) I’ve never noticed any difference in soaked and rinsed beans and soaked and non-rinsed beans.  So, I just soak my beans to cut down on cook time, but do not rinse.  I think it takes away a lot of the flavor of the beans to rinse them, but the choice is up to you.

3.  Add the ham hock and salt and pepper to the pot.  Cook the beans low and slow, stirring often, for about 4 hours.  Always make sure the beans are covered with water, at least 2 inches above the beans.  Cooking the beans slowly, and on low heat, makes for a richer soup and keeps the beans from busting.

Collard Greens

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These greens came straight from our box garden.  There’s nothing like eating fresh greens and knowing what goes in them and where they came from.  Since I garden organically, I know that absolutely no pesticides touched my greens.  And they are so very yummy!

Ingredients:

1 bunch of fresh (or frozen) collard greens

2 cups water

4 Tbsp. butter

1 ham hock (from pinto beans)

1 Tbsp. sugar

salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

1.  Separate the stems from the leaves and throw the stems away.  Wash leaves in cold water.

2.  In a large skillet, combine water, butter, ham hock (just steal the one in your beans), sugar, and salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil and add the collard greens.  Simmer over medium heat for about 1 hour, or until tender.

Corn Muffins

Ingredients:

Shortening

1 large egg

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 cups Buttermilk Self-Rising Corn Meal Mix

Directions:

1.  Heat oven to 450F.  Place 1 small spoonful of shortening (I use Crisco) in the bottom of 12 muffin cups.

2.  Stir eggs, milk, oil, and corn meal in a bowl until smooth.  Batter should be creamy and pourable, so if it’s too thick, just add a little more milk.

3.  Put the muffin pan in the oven for about 5 minutes, or until shortening is hot.  Fill cups about 2/3 full with the batter (I use an ice cream scoop to fill my muffin pans, makes less mess), and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Buttermilk Biscuits With Pan Gravy

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I’m not much on big, heavy breakfasts, but I love breakfast for dinner!  We like to call it “brinner” in our house.  Last night, we really wanted some “brinner”, so I made some super yummy buttermilk biscuits and smothered them in pan gravy and served them up with a side of bacon.  Oh, my, that’s some country goodness right there!  And it’s such a cheap and easy meal. It’s friendly on the budget and the time, which most of us are in short supply of.  I hope you enjoy this “brinner”, or breakfast, as much as I did!

Buttermilk Biscuits and Pan Gravy

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Ingredients:

1 package bacon

2 cups self-rising flour

dash of salt

dash of sugar

3 Tbsp. shortening

1 1/4 cup buttermilk

2 Tbsp. butter, melted

6 Tbsp. bacon drippings

6 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups milk (or more)

salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 400F.  Place bacon slices on a sheet pan, and bake in oven for 10-12 minutes, or until done.  Place slices on a paper towel lined plate and set aside.  Reserve 6 Tbsp. of bacon drippings for later.

2.  Preheat oven to 475F.  In a medium bowl, mix together self-rising flour, dash of salt, and a dash of sugar.  Cut in 3 Tbsp. shortening until mixed with the flour.  (I use two knives to cut in my shortening, but they actually make a handy, dandy tool for this, so if you have one, use it.)  Add the buttermilk and 1 Tbsp. of the melted butter.  Mix lightly until all ingredients are just mixed together.  Do not overmix.  Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead two or three times.  Pat the dough out to about 1/2 inch thickness.  Cut dough using a biscuit cutter.  Do not twist the cutter, this seals the edges and won’t allow your biscuits to rise properly.  You should get about 12 biscuits.  Place them in two round cake pans and bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.  Brush with the remaining Tbsp. of butter when they come from the oven.

3.  While the biscuits are baking, heat a skillet over medium heat.  Add the drippings, and stir in 6 Tbsp. of all-purpose flour.  Cook until lightly browned, stirring constantly.  Slowly stir in 1 1/2 cups of milk.  You may need to add more depending on how thick you like your gravy.  I always end up adding a little more.  Add salt and pepper to taste, and continue cooking over low heat until the gravy is smooth and thick, stirring constantly.

4.  Put a couple of those golden brown buttermilk biscuits on a plate or in a bowl, drown them in that smooth, thick, rich gravy, stick a few slices of bacon on the side, and dig in!

Mother’s Day and Mocha Caramel Sea Salt Cupcakes

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Happy Mother’s Day to all you other momma bloggers out there!

I had a most wonderful day with my kids and my momma and the rest of my loving family.  When hubby asked what I wanted for Mother’s Day, I couldn’t think of anything because I have everything I need.  I have been so blessed.  However, I did get a morning serenade, breakfast in bed, and homemade cards from my little kiddos and hubby…so sweet.  When I asked my mom what she wanted from me for Mother’s Day, she said, “Make me some of those Mocha Caramel Cupcakes.”  So, along with a few other gifts, she got her cupcakes.  We don’t need much to be happy…just love and cupcakes!

I thought I would give all of you the recipe for these super easy, super yummy cupcakes as a Mother’s Day gift.

(Or a Happy Sunday gift if you aren’t a momma.)

Mocha Caramel Sea Salt Cupcakes

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Ingredients:

1 box Yellow Cake Mix (I prefer Duncan Hines)

2 containers Chocolate Frosting (Ditto)

3 Tbsp. Coffee Extract

Caramel Dessert Topping

Course Sea Salt

Directions:

1.  Prepare cake mix according to directions on box.  Add 3 Tbsp. Coffee Extract (more or less according to taste).  Mix.  Pour into cupcake liners in a  muffin pan.  Bake according to directions on box.  Allow to cool.

2.  Frost cupcakes with chocolate frosting.  I used a No. 2A round tip to frost mine.

3.  Drizzle caramel dessert topping over cupcakes.

4.  Sprinkle course sea salt onto cupcakes.

5.  Devour!  Mom likes to devour hers with a cup of coffee.  I like a mug of milk.  To each their own!

Here’s a picture of me with my sweet momma many years ago.  Aren’t mommas the greatest?

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Kids In The Kitchen: Thumbprint Cookies

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Today, since it was rainy and cool and we could not have class outside, my kiddos and I enjoyed class on the couch followed by a wonderful time playing in the kitchen.  We have been wanting to bake thumbprint cookies for a while, so today we did!  Oh, how I love thumbprint cookies!  They are easy to make, budget friendly, fun for kids, and so very deliciously addictive.  In fact, out of the 3 dozen we made, I think we have 4 left…thanks to a little help from our family visiting today.  I really have to get that recipe for my sis-in-law!

So, here are my little chefs demonstrating the joys of baking thumbprint cookies…enjoy!

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Thumbprint Cookies

Ingredients:

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup shortening

1/4 cup butter, softened

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 egg yolk

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp. salt

1 egg white

1 cup finely chopped nuts (I used pecans)

Filling of choice:  Nutella, strawberry jam, lemon curd, peanut butter…I usually mix and match, but today we went straight for the Nutella!

Directions:

1.  Heat oven to 350F.  In medium bowl, add softened butter, shortening…

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Add the brown sugar…

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And the vanilla…

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And the egg yolk.  (Save that egg white in a small bowl for later!)

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Mix with a spoon.

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Now, add the salt…

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And the flour…

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And stir some more until everything is mixed together.

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2.  Shape the dough into balls.

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Place the egg white in a small bowl and the nuts in another.  Set up an assembly line with the dough, egg, nuts, and cookie sheet.  The kids love this part!

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Dip each ball into the egg white.

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Then, roll it in the nuts.

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Place balls on an ungreased cookie sheet.  And, the best part yet…press your thumbs…

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or fingers…

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into the center of each cookie to make an indentation, but don’t press too hard. You don’t want to break the little cookies!

3.  Bake about 10 minutes or until golden brown.  Quickly remake indentations (moms, not kids, as the cookies are still super hot!).  If you haven’t already burned all the feeling from your fingers as I have, and don’t really want to touch cookies that are 350F, you can use the end of a wooden spoon to do this.  Let cookies cool slightly and transfer them to a plate.  Fill each thumbprint with about 1/2 tsp. of filling (or more if you know what’s good for you!).

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Try to wait until they are filled before eating them.  My daughter can hardly contain herself!

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4.  Last, but not least, enjoy all your hard work.  Maybe even share them with your kids.  After all, they did help.  And please, share with your family, because they can smell them and will travel to your house to steal them all.  Trust me, I know!

Kids in the Kitchen: Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Clearly, there is a lot of cooking going on in my house.  I love to cook, and so do my kids.  Today, they were dying to make some cookies after we finished up with school.   We have made these cookies many. many times, and we love them!  They are super yummy…and the oatmeal and cranberries make them sort of healthy…right?  Sure they do!

So, here are my kids demonstrating the process of making delicious Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies…hope you enjoy this as much as they did!

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Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

2/3 cups butter, softened

2/3 cups brown sugar, packed

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/4 cups dried cranberries

2/3 cups white chocolate chips (or a little more if you know what’s good for you!)

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 375F.

2.  Use an electric mixer to beat the butter and brown sugar together until fluffy.  Hope you don’t have as much trouble getting that packed brown sugar out of the measuring cup as we did…making cookies is hard work!  Whew!

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3.  Add eggs, mixing well.

4.  Combine oats, flour, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl.  Add to butter mixture gradually, mixing after each addition.

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5.  Stir in dried cranberries and white chocolate chips.

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6.  Drop by spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.  Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Cool on wire rack.  Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

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7.  Dress up like cowboys and cowgirls before devouring your cookies!  Mmmm, good, yummy, yee-haw!!!  The wearing of the cowboy hats makes the cookies taste better…really!  You should try it!

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