Gingerbread Cookies

gingerbread 7You know…the generosity of people never ceases to amaze me…especially this time of the year. And this year, it all began with a simple cookie swap.

I had the wonderful opportunity to participate in The Great Cookie Swap recently, where bloggers…well….we swapped cookies. But this isn’t just any ordinary cookie swap…over 500 bloggers from all over the world got together to not only swap over 20,000 cookies… but also helped to raise over $12K for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer!

Cookies for Kids’ Cancer is a non-profit organization committed to funding new therapies used in the fight against pediatric cancer, which sadly claims the lives of more children in the United States than any other disease.

So, not only was I able to be a part of such a wonderful fund raiser… I was able to meet some really wonderful people, as we were each paired with three talented bloggers!!

To share cookies.
And eat cookies.
Lots of delicious cookies!

I was truly excited to be a part of this swap, because last year, BB&B was still too new to meet the requirements, and when I finally received my acceptance email this year…I can’t tell you how happy it made me. And then when I received the names of the bloggers I was to send cookies…well….panic set in.

Because you know…I can’t bake to save my life.
Why would I sign up for something like this??
What on earth was I thinking?

What could I possibly make to send to other people for this swap? Bloggers no less!

gingerbread 3I decided on gingerbread cookies, and I’ll tell you why. Years ago, I did craft shows…and Christmas ornaments for me, were big sellers. One in particular, I couldn’t keep on the shelves. I’d take a simple ball ornament, and paint a simple little snowman standing in the snow…with little dots of snowflakes falling around him. People bought them faster than I could make them! And I thought… what if I made my simple gingerbread recipe, cut them into squares, and with royal icing, pipe a little snowman scene on the cookies?

I think they turned out pretty darn cute.
I would totally make these again.

And in my “I can’t bake to save my life, so I’ll make something that is quick and easy” theme… these cookies are pretty darn quick and easy to bake. I’m not going to lie… decorating them takes a little bit of time, but it’s all simple piping. So, I sat and watched a couple corny and sappy Christmas movies while I decorated them.

gingerbread 4I gave the royal icing the night to dry out, and then packed them up and sent them off to Annie from Annie One Can Cook, Gin from Gin’s Kitchen, and Julie from White Lights on Wednesday!

I received the most delicious cookies from some really wonderful bloggers: Honey Lavender Biscotti from Joy at The Joyful Foodie, Christmasdoodles from Melissa at Persnickety Plates (Melissa’s cookies were the first to arrive. My friends and I were so excited at work when they came, that we ate them all pretty much in one sitting before I even thought to take photos of them to post on Instagram. I felt so bad, but Melissa was so gracious about it!)…and some Double Chocolate Chip Cookies from Doree at Top Notch Mom. I hope you stop by for their recipes, because I can tell you first hand that these cookies truly belong in your recipe box!

This was a wonderful cookie swap, and I’m already thinking and planning what to make for next year! A special thank you to Julie at The Little Kitchen  and Lindsay at Love & Olive Oil for all of their hard work and planning that went into this highly successful swap for those beautiful kids battling that horrible disease. It was truly a pleasure to be a part of this. #fbcookieswap
gingerbread 2

 

Gingerbread Cookies
Author: 
Recipe type: Easy
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 2 dozen
 

Who says that gingerbread has to be men? This is a really cute and delicious gingerbread cookie to make your cookie platter festive!
Ingredients
  • 3 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¾ tsp ground cloves
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 5¼ cups flour

Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ground cloves, ground ginger,
  2. Using your stand mixer, add the butter and brown sugar to the mixing bowl, and beat on high until fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until fully incorporated after each one.
  4. Add the molasses and vanilla, and beat until well blended.
  5. Reduce the speed on the mixer to slow, and add the flour mixture one cup at a time, mixing until the flour is mixed in thoroughly after each addition.
  6. Go ahead. It smells so good….take a little taste!
  7. Divide the dough, and wrap in plastic wrap… refrigerate for at least two hours.
  8. To Bake:
  9. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  10. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  11. Roll the chilled dough out to about ¼” thin using plenty of flour on the surface.
  12. Cut squares using a 2½” scalloped square cookie cutter or your favorite cookie shape.
  13. Place on prepared baking sheets.
  14. Bake for 9 to 12 minutes depending on your oven’s temperature.
  15. Let cool completely on cooling racks.
  16. Decorate with your favorite icing and pattern!

Notes
Be prepared to chill the dough for a couple of hours before rolling out and baking. Use plenty of flour while rolling out, and don’t worry if they go into the oven flour covered…they will come out just fine, and any remaining flour can be wiped right off!

Gingerbread 1

Royal Frosting and Decorating the Cookies
Author: 
Recipe type: Easy
 

Ingredients
  • Royal Icing Recipe (From Wilton.com) (Double the recipe!)
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tbsp. meringue powder
  • 5-6 tbsp. water (depending on desired consistency. I used 5 tbsp. water)
  • Black food coloring
  • Blue food coloring
  • Red food coloring
  • Orange Food Coloring
  • Silver or White Decorating Sugar
  • Snowflake candy decorations
  • Disposable Decorators Bags

Instructions
  1. In mixing bowl, beat together the powdered sugar, meringue powder, and water until fluffy. I let it beat for about five minutes.
  2. To decorate the cookies:
  3. I used disposable plastic decorator’s bags, and cut the tips off (small, medium, and larger tips cut off)
  4. Take about one cup of the royal frosting, and add blue food coloring. Mix well.
  5. Take about ½ cup of the royal frosting, and add black food coloring. Mix well.
  6. Take about ¼ cup of the royal frosting, and add red food coloring. Mix well.
  7. Using the white frosting, fill a disposable bag with a small tip cut off, and make the outline of the snow, (see photo of cookie).
  8. Using the white frosting, fill a disposable bag with a medium tip cut off, and fill in the outline of the snow. Sprinkle with silver or white decorating sugar.
  9. Using about ¼ cup of blue frosting, fill a disposable bag with a small tip cut off, and make the outline of the sky. (See photo of cookie)
  10. Using the remaining blue frosting, fill a disposable bag with a medium tip cut off, and fill in the outline of the sky. Use snowflake candy decorations, or using the small tip white frosting, pipe dots around the sky.
  11. Using the white frosting, fill a disposable bag with a large tip cut off, and begin with the bottom of the snowman, pipe a large dot. On top of that, pipe a medium size dot. On top of the medium dot, pipe a small dot for the head.
  12. Using the black frosting, fill a disposable bag with a small tip cut off, and pipe a little top hat on top of the head (see photo of cookie). Still using the black frosting with the small tip, pipe two small dots on the middle circle for buttons.
  13. Using the red frosting, fill a disposable bag with a small tip cut off, and pipe a little scarf on the snowmans neck (see photo of cookie).
  14. Dip one end of a toothpick in orange food coloring, and carefully draw a triangle nose in the middle of the head.
  15. Dip one end of a toothpick in black food coloring, and carefully dot two eyes.
  16. Let the frosted cookies dry on bakers racks for a few hours, or overnight.
  17. Enjoy!

 

Chocolate Sprinkle Kisses

chocolate sprinkle kissesA special thank you to Marielle Reuser  from Miss Beretta Blog for this absolutely gorgeous Christmas header!  I cannot thank you enough for all that you do for me.  Honestly. You are a beautiful soul..and a truly talented artist.

Let’s see, I’ve been a mom for almost 30 years now…and ever since the kids were old enough to understand gift giving… they’ve asked me what I’d like for my birthday, or for Christmas. My answer has always been the same, let’s say…for the last 25 years:

Dish Towels
Pot Holders
Viva Paper Towels

And every year, I’d get dish towels, pot holders, and Viva paper towels. Well, except for the last three years or so, because my kids have grown up, and now refuse to buy me my dish towels, pot holders, and Viva paper towels. I mean, as one reached the “no more pot holders” age, I could always count on the younger ones to come through for me…

Now don’t get me wrong… they spoil me with these huge and lavish gifts on every occasion…and I’m forever grateful to them. I mean, one year, they bought me a trip to Boston, and the girls spent the whole weekend showing me around town. I know…right? My gosh, I had the time of my life…It was totally unforgettable.

They’re great kids..
I’m a lucky mom.

But honestly… I had a good racket going on for those first 15 years. I was never lacking in my towel or pot holder needs. But now… all of a sudden…my dish towels are starting to look like rags. I buy the store brand paper towels that have about 10 sheets to a roll… and I’m down to one pot holder.

That’s right.
One Potholder.
One.
With a big hole along the thumb.
chocolate sprinkle kisses 5So, this year when they started asking me in November, what I’d like for my birthday and Christmas, I asked for…. Yep…. You guessed it. Dish towels, pot holders and Viva paper towels.

Katie said: “You’re not helping, Mom”.
Jess rolled her eyes, and said: “I’m not buying you pot holders again”.
And Mike asked: “Do you want to go in the sink?”

Well. Shoot. That didn’t work. So I tried the pity tactic…and brought up my lone pot holder with the hole in the thumb….

They didn’t care.
I don’t know.  I’m really starting to believe that they expect me to buy my own…
chocolate sprinkle kisses 1It was while I was baking these cookies that I came to the realization that it’s just not going to happen this year, and I need to go out and buy myself some potholders before I make the next batch of cookies.

Life changes….and that’s totally okay.
But cookies?
They don’t ever have to change.

Especially the favorites that are a necessity on a cookie platter, you know, the ones that everyone expects to see year after year. Like these chocolate sprinkle kisses. They’re just expected to be there.

And of course, these are a quick and easy cookie.. I love that, because you can make a couple of batches in no time! And.. while I want to call them filler cookies, because they really are.. they still have the confidence to stand alone on the plate.

They’re pretty, and they know it.
chocolate sprinkle kisses 3They add such a festive color to the cookie platter. And of course, that they’re filled with sprinkles…my most favorite! They’re rich and fudgy, and they stay soft and chewy. I’ve never been able to figure out why the kiss stays so soft after you put it on the cookie right out of the oven, but I’ve always noticed that they don’t harden as hard as they were when I first unwrapped them. Or maybe it’s just in my mind..but I don’t think so. If you make them ahead of time… plan on making a couple more batches later, because they’re not going to last!

Life is good. It’s a “I mean seriously kids.. POT HOLDERS!! Mama needs to bake some cookies…” kind of good.

chocolate sprinkle kisses

Chocolate Sprinkle Kisses
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 3-1/2 dozen
 

The pretty cookie, that brings so much festivity to the plate…yet is delicious enough to stand alone!
Ingredients
  • 1-1/3 cups butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ⅔ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2-1/4 cups flour
  • 1 cup festive colored sprinkles
  • 1- 11oz bag Hershey kisses, unwrapped

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line a couple of baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl, sift together the baking soda, cocoa powder, and flour. Set aside.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  5. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until completely blended after each egg.
  6. Add the vanilla and salt, and mix until blended.
  7. Add the flour mixture one cup at a time until well blended.
  8. Roll the dough into walnut size balls.
  9. Roll the balls in the sprinkles until fully covered, and place on baking sheet, about 2 inches apart.
  10. Bake for 8-11 minutes, depending on your oven, until the cookie is fully baked.
  11. Gently push a Hershey kiss into the middle of the cookie immediately after removing from the oven.
  12. Wait about two minutes. Eat a cookie.
  13. Cool completely on a cooling rack.
  14. Store in a plastic container up to two weeks.
  15. Enjoy!

chocolate sprinkle kisses 3I’ll be sharing this recipe with my friends at the following parties:

Fiesta Friday at the Novice Gardener, with the lovely Angie as our host…. and Margy from La Petite Casserole and Judi from Cooking with Aunt Juju as our wonderful co-hosts!  I hope you stop by, this is a great party with so many wonderful people showing off their talents!  Please feel free to join in the fun, they’ll welcome you with open arms!

Cookie Bites

 

IMG_5593Just Another Cookie Monday With Elaine from foodbod

 It is a wonderful Monday morning…one that I’ve been looking forward to, because our own Elaine from foodbod has graciously agreed to share not only one, but TWO of her cookie recipes with us today!

As I was thinking about what I wanted to say about Elaine… all that kept coming into my head was “heart”. Heart, heart, heart. You’re probably wondering “What does that even mean, Prudy?”…

Well…if I could sum Elaine up in one word… that would definitely be it….

Heart.

Because hers is filled with a tremendous amount of love and compassion for every single person, animal, and any living thing residing on this earth….and it’s very apparent the moment you meet her…and you can’t help but love her instantly. Honestly. It is truly an honor to have her as my friend.

Elaine is a busy girl, spending most of her time as a recipe consultant for a food manufacturer, as well as creating some wonderful dips for her customers… and whipping up delightful goodies usually filled with delicious nuts and fruits…or fabulous dishes filled with cultural flair to share on her blog! So, needless to say, I’m thrilled to have her here, sharing her wonderful creations with us today.

Thank you, Elaine…for taking the time to share your amazing cookie bites with all of us… I know that this is going to be bookmarked a lot today!! Take it away, my friend…

~~Elaine from foodbod~~

Elaine Boddy When lovely Prudy asked me if I would like to do a guest cookie post, my first response was to remind her that I don’t eat sugar, and everything I make tends to be gluten free and often dairy free, and to double check that she really did want a cookie recipe from me?? Luckily she said yes! So here are two recipes for tasty, healthy cookie bites, packed with flavour and goodness. These are dairy free, with only natural sugars from the banana, and can be made gluten free if you use gluten free oats. There are lots of options at the end of the recipes so the cookies can be tailored to your tastes and choices – and feel free to add chocolate chips if you fancy!   Thank you darling, Prudy, I hope your readers like my bites :) Enjoy!

Before I start how cute are my new measuring cups??? TKMaxx is the best place ever!! Adorable measuring cupsCookie Bites Recipe One:

IMG_5596

Cookie Bites
Author: 
Recipe type: Cookies, Snacks, Treats, Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

 

Fruits and nuts combined to make a deliciously healthy cookie!
Ingredients
  • ½ cup oats (I used nice big fat oats, not the fast cook or rolled oats)
  • 1 large or 2 small very ripe bananas
  • ½ cup of my ‘frukkah’ see note below

Instructions
  1. Peel and mash the bananas and add the oats and mix well
  2. Leave this mixture to stand for 5 minutes
  3. Add the frukkah and stir everything well so that it’s all mixed evenly
  4. Drop tablespoons of the mixture onto the prepared trays and bake for 15 minutes, until they start to brown ensuring that they do not burn
  5. Eat warm or cold (you have to try some warm straight out of the oven though!!) and store in a tin

IMG_5559Frukkah

My ‘frukkah’ is a crumb mixture that I make weekly by throwing handfuls of various nuts and/or seeds into my small bowl food processor and chopping them all to a crumb, along with whatever dried fruit takes my fancy; this week it was unsulphured dried apricots and dried cranberries. This mixture can be anything you fancy though, I just chuck whatever I’ve got in my cupboard together and chop it all up; I eat it for breakfast with Greek yoghurt, or I use it to make my goodness snacks, or often I’m found just digging into the mix with a spoon!!!

IMG_5586

Cookie Bites Recipe Two:

Cookie Bites Recipe Two
Author: 
Recipe type: Cookies, Snacks, Treats, Desserts
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 32
 

A deliciously wholesome cookie bite!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup of oats
  • 2 large or 4 small very ripe bananas
  • ½ cup chopped nuts
  • ⅓ cup chopped dried fruit (I used sultanas, raisins and cranberries)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp allspice
  • A pinch of salt

Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C and line a large baking tray with parchment paper
  2. Peel and mash the bananas and add the oats and mix well
  3. Leave this mixture to stand for 5 minutes
  4. Add the dried fruit, chopped nuts, spices and salt and stir everything well so that it’s all mixed evenly
  5. Drop tablespoons of the mixture onto the prepared trays and bake for 15-20 minutes, until they start to brown ensuring that they do not burn
  6. Eat warm or cold (you have to try some warm straight out of the oven though!!) and store in a tin
  7. Options:
  8. This is not a particularly sweet recipe, the dried fruit adds more than enough sweetness for me – add a tablespoon of honey or half a teaspoon of vanilla essence, if you prefer something sweeter
  9. Add any single or mixture of dried fruits based on what you like
  10. Mix up or leave out the spices based on your taste
  11. Add nut butters or seed butters to the mix
  12. Swap the nuts for chopped seeds
  13. Add flaked coconuts…
  14. Basically, add whatever you like to the basic oats and banana mixture!

IMG_5556IMG_5552IMG_5587

Thank you so much, Elaine… it has been a pleasure to have you as a guest Cookie today!  

Pampered Pets Giveaway!

421135_4637909557205_1130960903_n I think you know by now how much I love my Sophie…and how much we tend to spoil her… Why else did we get her but to love and to spoil?  Right?

And…I know how much so many of you love to spoil your little four legged family members too..

There is a great giveaway at Katherines Corner and I get to join in on the festivities!

Seriously…How much fun would it be to pamper your  little bundle of fur this Christmas?!!  A new collar, or a little bed, some toys, maybe a little catnip for the kitties…or wouldn’t it be great to load up on food?!

Well…I’ve teamed up with Katherine and some really great bloggers to bring you this chance to win $200 in Paypal cash…and a $75 Petco gift card!

Just read the directions below to enter!!   Good luck to all of you!!

Pampered Pets Giveaway

One winner will receive-

$200 in PayPal Cash! and $75 Petco Gift card

 

pampered pest giveaway

PayPal cash provided by Katherine and some of her bloggy friends ♥

pampered pets giveaway

Katherines Corner

listed in no specific order

Simple Nature Decor

Sew Crafty Angel

Tabler Party Of Two

Lou Lou Girls

Gods Growing Garden

Woods of Bell Trees

I Dig Pinterest

The Painted Chateau

Butter Basil and Breadcrumbs

Oh My Heartsie Girl

Heartbeats and Soul Stains

Entering the Pampered Pets Giveaway is easy, log into the entry form using your email address or facebook and click on the first entry on the rafflecopter form. Please read the terms and conditions and write yes.

Become an email follower or confirm you are a follower of Katherines Corner via email ( this will be verified) and enter as many bonus entries as you would like.

Open to all over 18 where permitted . Giveaway starts December 5th and ends December 30th

Copy the button for the Giveaway below and paste it to your blog with a link back to Katherines Corner for extra entries.

( remember to let her know where to find it ).

Pampered Pets Giveaway

Good luck in the Pampered Pets Giveaway ♥

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Pepitas Turtles

pepitas turtles 2When I was at my beloved Wegmans grabbing the bag of sunflower seeds for this recipe, there was a lady and her husband in the same aisle with me. While she was grabbing a bag of trail mix to throw into her cart, he asked her: “Why do you eat that stuff? It’s like eating birdseed…”

It made me think that I had to buy some birdseed for my feeder..
Which made me think of the little chickadees..
Which made me think of this story…

I’m a bird girl. I love them.

But when I say I’m a bird girl…I’m talking about chickadees, finches, robins, etc…. I’m not talking about parakeets, and all of those exotic birds. Well…I don’t have anything against exotic birds, I’m sure they’re very nice… they’re just not for me.
turtles 3It all started one day as I was walking in a mall parking lot. I was really young…it had to be sometime in the 80s, because I was wearing leggings and a long sweater. I remember that, because as I was walking into the mall….this little bird and I collided. I say he collided into me, but I think he thought otherwise, because he somehow got stuck to the pocket that was near my hip on my sweater, and immediately began fighting me.

I screamed…
And I’m pretty sure he screamed.
And then we both began the struggle of getting him untangled from my sweater.

It wasn’t a “Let’s keep calm about this, little bird, as I try to untangle you…” It was more of a “GET OFF OF ME YOU WILD BEAST!!” type of deal.. I know that he thought the same of me.

We were terrified of each other.

After what seemed like an hour of struggle (which was probably only 30 seconds)..he became submissive…

He probably thought: “Well, this is it. I can’t fight anymore, so I might as well let the giant amazon woman finish me off…” And he stopped fighting. He just sat there clinging to my sweater.

He totally broke my heart…and then it was easy for me to calm down, too.
And…at that very moment…we bonded.
Well, I bonded…
He braced for death.

It was very easy to see how he was stuck to my sweater after we both calmed down.. it was just a little loop of a thread caught on his little toe. Are they called toes? I think they’re called talons. I don’t know. For the sake of this story, and that little bird…it was his toe.

That little loop of thread easily slipped off his toe, and the second he realized he was loose… he flew off as fast as his little wings would let him….

I was disappointed… and I don’t know why, and I’m not sure what I expected from him. A simple thank you, maybe? I mean, it’s not like we were going to become life-long friends… go for coffee and laugh over our little mishap. Of course he was going to get away from me as fast as he could, because even though I showed him a moment of kindness..I was still his enemy. And that made me feel bad, because I couldn’t hurt a flea. Ok, yeah. I would kill a flea and not think a thing about it, but you know what I mean…
pepitas turtles 1Ever since that day, I’ve had a fondness for birds…and I have a few decorative birds around my house… no, I’m not like the crazy magnet lady whose fridge is covered in magnets… I don’t have a lot of birds, and they’re placed discreetly around the house, so that people almost have to do a double take to see them.. My kids think I’m nuts…because if I see a decorative bird in the store…it has to “talk” to me, before I take it home. I have to feel a bond with it, like I felt that day with my little friend in the mall parking lot.

Is that crazy?
Maybe.
Okay, yes.

But a couple of weeks ago, Katie and I were at Target, I stood staring at this little bird in the Holiday Department.. and I of course, I asked him if he’d like to come home with me… I looked up to see a lady standing next to me.. I felt a little embarrassed, until she asked the bird right next to my bird if he’d like to go home with her!! Hahaha!! Katie comes walking around the corner to ask a question, and I said “Katie, please… can’t you see we’re having a moment with our birds??” The lady laughed… and took her bird and walked away. Katie walked away shaking her head.. Anyway, it was nice to see that I’m not a total raging lunatic…Well, I am. But that’s a story (or stories..) for another day(s)…

So, I call candies such as these “cookie plate fillers or gift basket fillers”…. they always make the cookie plate look pretty, and just “finished”, you know?  And of course, they have to be quick and easy to make…and these turtles fall right into that category.   Now, you don’t have to use sunflower seeds.  I just happen to like them with chocolate and pretzel, but honestly…use whatever tickles your fancy!  Or just caramels and pretzels covered in chocolate without anything else are just as delicious. It’s the salt that makes them so addicting, anyway!

Life is good.  It’s a “Unexpected collisions aren’t always a bad thing…” kind of good..
pepitas turtles 2

Pepitas Turtles
Author: 
Recipe type: Candy, Snacks, Treats
Prep time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 40
 

Pretzels, caramel, and sunflower seeds covered in chocolate make a delicious candy to fill your cookie platter, or gift basket!
Ingredients
  • 40 square, round, or knot pretzels
  • 40 caramels, unwrapped
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Melted Chocolate (I used a 12oz bag milk chocolate chips)
  • Sea Salt

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
  2. Spread the pretzels in a single layer on the baking sheet.
  3. Place one unwrapped caramel on each pretzel.
  4. Bake for about 3-5 minutes, until the caramels have melted (You might have to help them spread out with the back of a spoon).
  5. Sprinkle with sunflower seeds.
  6. Top with melted chocolate, and decorate with more sunflower seeds. Sprinkle with a few granules of sea salt.
  7. Place in the refrigerator until cooled and hardened. Wrap in cellophane or parchment paper.
  8. Enjoy!

Notes
While this recipe calls for sunflower seeds, you can use whatever type of nut or seeds that you like! Or keep them plain with no nuts at all… They’re delicious no matter how you make them!

I’ll be sharing this recipe with the following parties:

Fiesta Friday at the Novice Gardener with the lovely host Angie, and her co-hosts, With Michelle from Giraffes Can Bake and MB from Bourbon and Brown Sugar!  This is one of my most favorite parties… lots of wonderful people showing off their talents, and sharing the most delicious recipes you’ve ever tasted!  If you haven’t linked up to this party yet, I highly recommend that you do.  You’ll love everyone there… and you’ll think you’ve been friends forever!

Chocolate Almond Biscotti

chocolate almond biscotti 3It’s official. The Christmas season is here, and I couldn’t be happier! And Christmas music?  Well,  I impatiently wait for it to get here every year…And when it finally does get here, I am seriously in my glory!

I don’t know if you’re like me, but I tend to turn the volume up as high as I can on the radio station that plays Christmas music starting November 1st…(yep…I’m in the “Christmas Music Before Thanksgiving” club!)… And then I sing as loud as I can while I’m driving… I love it so much, that I’ll even sing the instrument’s solo when it comes on… I’m sure you know what I’m talking about… I sing the saxophone, I sing the flute, the trumpet…and even the drums…

I think my most favorite instruments to sing are Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s Christmas / Sarajevo (it’s so intense!!)… or their Christmas Canon… and whichever hand isn’t on the steering wheel does the Maestro gestures while I’m singing the instruments…

I am my own pathetic little orchestra…

…And if you are like me… then you know that when I hit the red light, the singing abruptly stops and turns into a mouth closed humming …maestro gestures stop and both hands immediately go to 10 and 2…and I’m sitting there, watching the light as if nothing is going on in my car… you know…. Just in case someone is watching. But in reality, my car is probably moving a little from the vibration of the speakers… and my hair is blowing a little in the breeze… and I’m still humming loud enough for the car ahead of me to hear…

They know.
The other cars know what’s going on.
They’re doing it too.

chocolate almond biscotti 2Seriously…I worry that someone is watching me sing?
Clearly, I need to realize that I should worry that they HEAR me sing.
Sadly, I can’t sing.

I mean, alright, I can sing.
Everybody can sing.
I just can’t sing in tune.

But that’s ok! When I’m singing the Christmas Song with Nat King Cole, nothing else matters except for me and Nat…and I swear I’m singing in tune when I’m singing with him…

…And then…there are Christmas cookies…one of the other important things on the very long list of Important Christmas Things…

chocolate almond biscotti 5

I started my baking a couple of weeks ago, and started with these Chocolate Almond Biscotti. The problem with baking Christmas cookies early, is that you are doomed to bake another batch or two, because everyone eats them up right away!!

These biscotti are so delicious…I love almonds, and I love cocoa…and the hint of almond extract in the background? Well, it’s to die for. I can’t pinpoint what these cookies remind me of, but it’s definitely a distant memory that is lodged in the back of my mind… hidden, so that I can’t remember…but clear enough for me to know that it makes me happy…whatever it is..

This is a great recipe. I used my mom’s biscotti recipe as the base, had her on the phone going over the recipe, trying to figure out what we could reduce, and what we had to add… and then added the chocolate, almonds, and almond extract. They’re actually perfect. They’re full of cocoa and almond flavor, and they’re hard enough that you want to dip them in your coffee or hot cocoa (yes, please do that).. but not so hard that they’re impossibly inedible.

And you know, cookies make such a great inexpensive, yet thoughtful gift… these biscotti can be tied together with a pretty ribbon, and added to a basket of mugs, coffee, cocoa, marshmallows, etc.. Who wouldn’t love to receive that?

Life is good.  It’s a “Sing to your heart’s content, and pay no mind of the other cars…” kind of good.

chocolate almond biscotti 1

Chocolate Almond Biscotti
Author: 
Recipe type: Cookies, Desserts, Sweets, Treats, Snacks
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 2 dozen
 

A delicious chocolate biscotti with a lovely hint of almond in the background.
Ingredients
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp almond extract
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup toasted slivered almonds
  • Melted chocolate

Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. To toast the almonds: Spread almonds in a single layer on a baking sheet, and bake at 350 degrees for about five minutes, or until they’re golden brown. If you smell the nuts baking, they’re ready to come out of the oven.
  3. Beat the eggs, sugar, vegetable oil, and almond extract on high speed until fluffy.
  4. Add the cocoa powder, and beat on slow speed until fully combined.
  5. Sift the flour and baking powder together, and add to the cocoa mixture. Beat on slow speed until combined.
  6. Stir the toasted almonds in by hand.
  7. For small cookies, form the dough into three logs onto two baking sheets lined with parchment paper (three logs won’t fit on one baking sheet).
  8. For larger cookies, form the dough into two logs on one baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  9. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the cookies are baked through (they’ll have small cracks on top).
  10. Remove from oven, and within a couple of minutes, begin to slice the logs into biscotti.
  11. For small biscotti, slice straight across the cookie.
  12. For larger biscotti, slice at a diagonal.
  13. Place the slices back on a baking sheet lined with fresh parchment paper, and put back in the oven for about 8 minutes.
  14. Remove from the oven, and flip the cookies over. Place them back in the oven to bake for another 8 minutes.
  15. Remove from the oven, and let cool completely on a cooling rack.
  16. Drizzle with melted chocolate and let cool.
  17. Store in a plastic container with a lid. These cookies freeze really well.
  18. Enjoy!

Notes
You can make these cookies any size you’d like… if you want a smaller biscotti, then mound the dough into three logs on the cookie sheet, and cut straight across after the initial bake time. If you want them a little bigger, then mound the dough into two logs, and cut on a diagonal after the initial bake time.

chocolate almond biscotti 2

 

Pulled Pork Sandwiches

pulled pork 3A couple of weeks ago, I had a nice man, Rod Morrison, from Rocky Mountain Organic Meats strike up a conversation with me on Twitter. We chatted back and forth about organic foods…and I’m ashamed to say that I really had no knowledge of organic foods. But not only did I not have knowledge of organic products, but I had no idea of what went into raising the animals or growing the crops that produce organic foods.
heart mountainIt was quite apparent from the get-go, that Rod was quite passionate about his livelihood, which is producing only the best organics that will ever grace your table. He is quite knowledgeable, extremely witty, and an all-around nice guy. And now, because of that random conversation… I can honestly say that I have a connection to a REAL food source! On 400+ irrigated acres, and a one acre organic garden, Rod is the Farmer, the Rancher, and the Marketer. In his words: “We own it womb to tomb and do all the work.”
Rods Cows“Wyoming is the cowboy state and meats are what we do best” Rod said to me during our conversation. He went on to say that that the Organic Seal is the only food label with legal standing. All others are just marketing tools with no meaning behind them…it is the organic farmers who bring it back to the land, rather than a bunch of food processors and middlemen. It requires more labor to create, more effort, and ZERO chemicals or drugs or petrochemical fertilizers.
beans just floweringTo learn a little more about organics, I visited the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) blog, and found a wealth of information… Did you know that in order to sell, label, or represent organic products, the operation must be critically inspected by trained inspectors every single year? They have to verify that the farming practices comply with the USDA organic regulations, so they take samples of soil, they examine records and document farming practices, including an audit of invoices, material applications, sales, harvest and yield. They even go as far as checking the neighboring farms to make sure that the integrity of the organic fields is maintained (From the USDA Website).

As long as the farm is to be certified organic, they must go through this inspection every year.

pulled pork 1The end result, though, is the most delicious meat that I have ever tasted… the deep rich flavor comes from the grass fed livestock… with leaner meat that is lower in total fat and calories, and contains much more Omega-3 fatty acids. They claim to have meat that has “serious flavor”… and I can verify that statement.

It is serious…
I’m serious…
It’s delicious!

pulled pork 2So, Rod generously offered to send me some of the organic products from his farm, and a gorgeous pork roast was included in the package. The first thing that came to mind was a pulled pork sandwich. I mean, how could I resist? Made with coleslaw and this barbecue sauce, we thoroughly enjoyed this crockpot filled with pulled pork that was so rich with flavor, and just laden with its juices. We ate it for at least three days, and you know how sometimes you get tired of leftovers? Not this time… I could have eaten it every day. I’ve never tasted pork like this…

Pulled pork made in the crock pot is so perfect for this time of the year. I mean, really….don’t you love meals that are a “set it and forget it?” type of deal? Throw it in before you leave for work, and it is fork ready by the time you get home! Or even on those busy “Getting ready for Christmas” days, when you just don’t have the time to spend in the kitchen… Served on a roll with a quick and easy coleslaw and barbecue sauce, along with your favorite side dish, and you have a meal that is truly stick-to-your-ribs goodness!

A special thank you to Rod Morrison and Rocky Mountain Organic Meats for sharing your passion and knowledge about organic farming, I truly enjoyed our conversation! And a huge thank you for sharing some of the “fruits of your labor”. This is the first of many recipes to come!

pulled pork 3

Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Author: 
Recipe type: Sandwiches, Lunch, Dinner, Parties!
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

 

A rich and flavorful pulled pork sandwich made with 100% organic pork.
Ingredients
  • 5 pound organic pork roast
  • 12 oz organic apple juice
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¾ to 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper

Instructions
  1. Set your crockpot according to the directions in the manual for pork roasts. I set mine to medium heat, for about 6 hours, and then turn it to low for the last hour or two.
  2. Place the pork roast in the crockpot, and add the apple juice.
  3. Add the chopped onion, and garlic to the pot.
  4. Season with salt and black pepper (add more or less to suit your taste)
  5. Let the crockpot do the work for about 6-7 hours (watch it closely the last couple of hours), and then turn to low for the last hour or two.
  6. You will know when it’s done when it is fork tender, when you can take a fork and pull it apart.
  7. Serve hot with your favorite coleslaw and barbecue sauce.
  8. Enjoy!

Notes
Now, I’m sharing my crockpot cook time with you. All crockpots are different, so use the heat setting and time it according to your personal crockpot. See the manual that came with your crockpot if you’re unsure of the heat setting and time.

All content provided on butter, basil, and breadcrumbs is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site.

Chocolate Chip Granola Cookie

Suzannes Chocolate Chip Granola Cookie

Just Another Cookie Monday

with Suzanne from A Pug in the Kitchen

I cannot even begin to tell you how thrilled I was when Suzanne agreed to do a guest post for Just Another Cookie Monday…

I’m thrilled, but I’m not surprised….because that’s Suzanne. She has the biggest heart, and is always right there willing to lend a helping hand… or a cookie recipe…

I met Suzanne early on when I first started my blog… she was right there with the first couple of my posts (which is a huge thing…if you’re a blogger, then you understand that feeling of excitement when you get your very first comments), and has been right there ever since. For that, I am forever grateful.

Suzanne is the popular girl of our blogging community, the one that we all look up to…respect…love…the blogger that we all should learn from. When she isn’t posting an insanely delicious recipe… then she’s visiting and leaving kind words of support on so many people’s blogs…I don’t know how she does it. If there is anyone in this blogging community that I’d would want to be like…it is Suzanne. I’d love just an ounce of her wonderful spirit…honestly.

So, when I say that I’m thrilled to have Suzanne do a guest post today…I honestly mean that. It is such a treat to have her share her very own creation on Just Another Cookie Monday… I feel blessed to know her…and it is truly an honor to call her my friend..  I know that you will love Suzanne, just as much as I do..

Thank you, Suzanne, for taking the time to share this wonderful Chocolate Chip Granola Cookie that you created! This one is definitely a keeper…

Take it away, my friend..

~~ Suzanne, from A Pug in the Kitchen ~~

square_225Just Another Cookie Monday, what is that you might ask well it’s the brainchild of Prudy@Butter,Basil and Breadcrumbs. When I got an email asking me to participate in this cookie extravaganza I didn’t even hesitate to say YES, of course I would love to. First of all anything for Prudy, one of my absolute Fave bloggers and a real sweetheart, secondly, who doesn’t love cookies and anything to spread the cookie love is a very good thing. I hope you all enjoy my recipe.

The season of giving (cookies) is almost upon us and I am starting to make my cookie dough in preparation for the gift boxes, Secret Santa and Holiday Parties that are planned. The other day I made a lot of granola. Granola is one of my favorite things, and homemade is what I really like best. I was feeling creative and used my recipe for chocolate chip cookies and changed and adapted to include some granola. My homemade granola is full of really good stuff, almond meal (left after making almond milk) coconut, brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, pecans and I toast until really crisp.

The resulting cookies are really nice, chewy and crisp at the same time, a little salty (in a good way) and chocolatey. They will make a really nice addition to a holiday gift boxes.

Suzannes Chocolate Chip Granola Cookie

Chocolate Chip Granola Cookie
Author: 
Recipe type: Cookies, Desserts, Snacks, Treats
Serves: 2 dozen
 

A delicious chocolate chip granola cookie created by the one and only Suzanne from A Pug in the Kitchen
Ingredients
  • 1 cup + 1 tbs (2 sticks + 1 tbs) butter, room temperature (I use salted)
  • 2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1 egg at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1½ (heaping)cups granola (recipe here) Use your favorite or try mine. Your choice
  • 3 oz milk chocolate cut into pieces
  • 3 oz dark chocolate cut into pieces

Instructions
  1. Cream butter and brown sugar until creamy, add egg and vanilla and beat until fully incorporated and the mixture is fluffy.
  2. With mixer on low add the sifted flour, baking soda and salt, beat just until combined, add the granola and chocolate and again mix just until it is combined.
  3. I like to wrap the dough in plastic wrap or parchment put in a zip lock bag and refrigerate for at least an hour but its even better overnight.
  4. Remember: If you refrigerate overnight let sit at room temperature before baking(a half hour on the counter will do it). You can also freeze cookie dough, wrap well and place in zip lock freezer bags and store until ready to use. Let thaw in refrigerator about 2 days before you will be making the cookies.
  5. Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.
  6. Place scoops of the dough (I used a 1½ tbs ice cream scoop) on silpat or parchment lined baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool on rack.
  8. Note: the granola I used had pecans in it. If your granola doesn’t contain nuts you can add to the cookie dough unless you have a nut allergy.

Thank you, Suzanne!  What an awesome recipe,  I have the ingredients…and plan to add them to my Christmas Cookie Repertoire…

In the meantime, if you are a blogger, and are interested in doing a guest post for Just Another Cookie Monday…. contact me, and we’ll set up a date!  Otherwise, you can be sure that I’ll be contacting you very soon!

Peanut Butter M&M Cookies

Introducing: Just Another Cookie Monday!

xl-pb-cookies2

I’ve often thought that Mondays should be a required part of the weekend, and then we wouldn’t hate them so much. But then Tuesdays would be on our list of things we love to hate, Wednesday would no longer be hump day, and Thursday… well… it would be Thursday.

Not to mention, adding national holidays that normally fall on Monday to the mix, would now be on Tuesday, leaving a three day work week. Sounds wonderful, but somehow I think it would totally mess up the whole weekday ecosystem. Monday as part of the weekend is just not a feasible option.

So, what would make Mondays better? What would give us something to look forward to Mondays, the same way we look forward to Fridays?

Well… Cookies.
We need cookies on Mondays.
Lots of cookies.

So, today is the first of what is now going to be “Just Another Cookie Monday” (Yep, go ahead and sing it to the tune of the Manic Monday song… and now you’ll have that tune in your head all day. I do already…You’re welcome!)

I’m thrilled today, to have Jess from Cooking Is My Sport to be my very first cookie expert!

Jess from Cooking is My SportLet me tell you a little about Jess… and why I was smitten with this girl the moment I met her…

She says she’s shy… Shy?!!
I think not…
Silly girl…
She makes it so easy to get caught up in her excitement..

Her personality really shines bright as the sun… especially when she starts talking about the food that she has prepared, and the recipes that she’s sharing with all of us… well, you can feel the passion and the enthusiasm in every word she writes…and you just know that cooking is truly in her heart… and when food is made from the heart, then you know it’s absolutely delicious.

She is always there with kind words and unending support, and I feel lucky to have met her in this vast blogging community… I’m honored to call her my friend, and so, SO happy that she agreed to share her Peanut Butter M&M cookie recipe with you today…

Thank you, Jess, I’m excited that you’re here! Take it away, my friend…

~~Jess from Cooking Is My Sport~~

xl-pb-cookies1

My collar is definitely popped right now. I’m feelin’ pretty good about myself and I don’t mind admitting it.

Know why? Cause I get to do a guest post on my friend Prudy’s blog. As I pointed out to her when she asked me to contribute to this new awesome series: she’s like one of the most Popular Girls in this Blog School we all go to. If we all had to vote for a Homecoming Queen or Miss Congeniality for the yearbook, her picture would be right there in lights. I literally jumped at the opportunity to guest post for her, and to kick off this great series. Thanks Prudy- you’re the best :-D
xl-pb-cookies3You know, I’m only in my mid twenties (how the bleep am I five years from 30?), but I’m still at the point in my life when I can look back at my younger years at some of the stuff I used to do and ask myself:

“How did I DO that?!”

I remember I time when I could crawl on my hands and knees in the tubes at Chuckie Cheese and Discovery Zone. Now? My knees ache just THINKING about putting them against hard surfaces.

I used to be able to put both my legs over my head and just chill on the floor with a smile on my face.- no pain, no pulled muscles, nothing. Now? Ha…ha…ha. That’s funny.
xl-pb-cookies4Another thing I have a very clear recollection of is coming home from school when I was young, and eating snacks to tide me over before dinner. Because I was hungry all the time back then. I also had the metabolism of the Road Runner. Now? Well, I don’t have the metabolism of the Road Runner, and if I were to do as much snacking now as I did then, my appetite for dinner would be spoiled entirely. My jeans would also probably be a lot bigger. So I don’t do it.

One of the things I loved to snack on the most were the Keebler Rainbow M and M Chocolate Chip Cookies. Please don’t ask me how many of those I used to be able to put away, then STILL be hungry for dinner.

Because I won’t tell you. Because I still have my pride.

The takeaway from this should just be, I love cookies with M and Ms in them.
xl-pb-cookies2I wanted to do something nice for a family that helped me and my sisters out when our mom was in the hospital recently. They love Peanut M and Ms. And I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love peanut butter- unless you have a nut allergy, you must lead a pretty bleak existence. Food and cooking is the best way I can think of to say thanks or show my appreciation to someone, so I made a batch of these to surprise them with. Now, to be perfectly honest, I did keep back one or two for myself. I just couldn’t help it. And neither could you, if you could taste these right now.

The texture of the cookie itself is soft, soft SOFT, because I baked these for the minimum of 11 minutes. I don’t believe in crunchy PB cookies. And neither should you. They’re literally bursting with peanut M and Ms, and to boot, they’re LITERALLY the size of my palm.

C’mon, what’s not to like about that?

Adapted from Crazy for Crust’s XL Bakery Style Peanut Butter Cookies..

xl-pb-cookies1

Peanut Butter M&M Cookies
Author: 
Recipe type: Desserts and Snacks
 

Adapted from a http://www.crazyforcrust.com/ recipe.
Ingredients
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ¾ cup peanut butter
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1½ cups of Peanut Butter M and Ms

Instructions
  1. Cream butter, peanut butter, and both sugars in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add egg, vanilla, milk, baking soda, and salt and mix until combined.
  3. Slowly add flour and mix until dough just comes together.
  4. Stir in Peanut Butter M and Ms.
  5. Chill your dough for at least 4 hours.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  7. Line a cookie sheet with parchment or a silpat baking mat.
  8. Scoop ¼ cupfuls of chilled dough and place on the prepared cookies sheets. The dough will be hard to scoop, so use your muscles.
  9. Flatten the cookies slightly with the palm of your hand, they won’t spread much on their own. Bake 11-14 minutes (I did the minimum 11 for the softest cookies) until the bottoms start to brown.
  10. Cool about 5 minutes and then remove from cookie sheets

Thank you, Jess!  What an awesome recipe, it’s one that I know Mike will definitely love!  I’ll be making these very soon!

In the meantime, if you are a blogger, and are interested in doing a guest post for Just Another Cookie Monday…. contact me, and we’ll set up a date!  Otherwise, you can be sure that I’ll be contacting you very soon!

Baked Apples

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.
~~Helen Keller~~

baked apples 2I’ve had a lot of people contact me in the last few weeks…wondering where I’ve been.   I know.  I’ve been a little quiet….

What’s Been Going On:

Back in October, we found out that we were having the third RIF (reduction in force) within two years at work, and that we would find out who would be affected by the first of November. A whole month to wait. Needless to say, it was a very stressful month. The tension was tremendous… I had a lot of people stop by my desk for some of “Prudy’s sunshine” over the course of October. So by the time I got home from work every night, I was pretty much good for nothing.

I am sure that some of you have been through this, so you know that both the people who are laid off, and the survivors of an event as large as this, experience a shock, even though they knew that it was coming, and think they are prepared…

I, for one, thought I was mentally prepared. I kept telling people that I had flipped the switch in my mind, and I was ready for whatever came my way. I honestly thought that I was going to be one of the people affected…I actually started preparing for it a month ago. I started cleaning out my desk, taking personal items home.

I can tell you now, that you are never truly prepared.
You’re never really prepared to leave….
And you’re never really prepared to stay….

When it finally happened a couple of weeks ago, those of us who were left standing there in the aftermath were struck with an overwhelming sense of guilt, and profound sadness for the friends we had just lost.

Things change…

How I Handled It:

The job that you once knew, is now that same job, plus two more…and there is no training available…so you pick up the pieces as best you can… you brush yourself off the best you can….and learn new things that pop up on a daily basis. There is a range of emotions that everyone goes through…some people can handle it better than others.

As we were walking out of the building the evening of the RIF, one of the girls who also survived asked me if I had some of Prudy’s sunshine to spare…and for the first time throughout this whole thing… I didn’t have any sunshine.

Let’s just say that I found myself rather weepy that week.
Yep, little Miss Sunshine couldn’t cope.
It got to the point in which my friends would walk by my desk, roll their eyes, and say: “Again??!!”

I don’t know if all of that tension had finally come to a head… or if it was the shock of losing so many friends…or if it was the shock of surviving… or a combination of all. Some people were angry, which I found out later… that anger is really a reaction. It isn’t an emotion. So those who were angry, were reacting to an emotion that they didn’t want to feel. I think that because I wear my heart on my sleeve, and let my tears and feelings flow… the anger part didn’t really hit me.

Believe me… I know that there are worse things in the world. I do. But you can’t measure sadness, especially when you are feeling sad.

How My Friends Handled It:

And because we didn’t have the chance to say our goodbyes before they left, I reached out to a couple of my friends a day or two later…. And I was struck by their strength, their resilience, and their ability to face a new day….

Where I expected tears and sadness… I was instead met with:

“Oh, I just baked a batch of cookies last night…”
“I was just out raking leaves…”
“I’m cleaning my house from top to bottom…”
“I’m starting to prepare for Christmas…”

Honestly…The strength of the human spirit never fails to amaze me.

I miss them every day. I walk by offices that were once lit up with laughter…that are now dark and quiet, and I’m sad. I miss their personal items in their offices… photos of kids on the walls… candy dishes… silly stuffed cows… and just things. Their things. But most of all, their laughter. We are a close knit group here, my co-workers and I.

Friends. A family. My little work family.

But I want them to know that I’m proud of them. Proud of that strength and resilience that they’ve shown in the last couple of weeks…and their ability to move on, because you know what? The sun does come up the next day. Life truly does go on…

So Now What?

And learning from their strength, I’m beginning to get back into my groove… I feel like cooking again. I feel like writing again… although now I’m working ten hour days, and by the time I get home, I make dinner (sometimes), I do the dishes (sometimes) and my fat rump hits the couch (most of the time).

So now, most of my cooking and recipes will be done on the weekends… and I have a few that are in the works right now…all prepared, photographed, and just waiting for some silly story to be written for them…

I just need to get me, my blog, my work life, and my home life into a routine that works for all.

Bear With Me…

Please bear with me while I adjust to this change, and I promise that there will be a lot more recipes and a lot more stories to come!

So enough of this sad stuff…. Because Christmas is right around the corner, and it’s time to start preparing for what is my most favorite time of year! I have a couple of ideas up my sleeve that I can’t wait to start sharing with you!!

Baked apples 1In the meantime, I’ll share this quick and easy baked apple recipe with you, which seriously.. I baked it in the oven, but I used to make this in the microwave for Katie when she was little, and it came out beautifully. It was one of her most favorite bedtime snacks.

I love them, because they’re just like a quick apple pie without the crust, but laden with nuts and raisins and crunchy goodness instead. Like I said, I used to make this for Katie as a snack, but it would make a beautiful dessert too! Make a few of these alongside your pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving and let your guests choose between apple or pumpkin… or if they’re like me… a sliver of both please…

You’ll notice a ring sliced around the apple, and that is to keep the apple from exploding. Yes, I can confirm that it does, in fact, explode if you don’t slice that ring of skin off. It’s funny, because I honestly thought that because a hole is cut through the center of the apple, that it would be enough for the steam to escape, or whatever it is that makes the apple explode….but that is truly not the case. So, yeah, slice that skin. You’ll be glad you did, especially if you’re making some of these on a day that you need that oven to be running continuously without having to stop and clean up a sticky mess!

Enjoy!

Baked Apples
Author: 
Recipe type: Desserts and Snacks
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 4
 

Ingredients
  • 4 large apples, any variety
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup oats
  • ½ cup pecans
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ⅓ cup butter, softened
  • ½ to 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease a 9 x 13″ pan, and set aside.
  3. Core the apples to about ¼” from the bottom. You don’t want to core all the way through the apple, so that the brown sugar mixture doesn’t leak out during baking.
  4. Peel a strip of skin all the way around the apple.
  5. In a medium bowl, mix together the brown sugar, oats, pecans, raisins, butter, cinnamon, and salt.
  6. Spoon the brown sugar mixture filling into the middle of the apple, mounding it generously on top of the apple too.
  7. Place the apples in the prepared pan, and place in preheated oven. Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until the apple is tender.

baked apples 2
I’ll be sharing this recipe with the following link parties:

Fiesta Friday at The Novice Gardener…with Angie as your host, and her wonderful co-hosts, Tracy from Scratch It  and Stephanie from The Cozy Cook!  This is one of my most favorite link parties, that hosts a lot of wonderful bloggers sharing their fabulous ideas and recipes.  I hope you stop by to visit, or participate!  It’s a great party, and I know they’ll welcome you with open arms…