Friday, October 28, 2011

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

We are addicted to this bread.  So much, in fact that I am getting rid of my bread maker.  I don't need it with this recipe.  It is easier than the bread maker, takes less ingredients, and in my opinion is far superior.  I can make this bread in less time than I can run in a store when I am out and about.  I know it sounds too good to be true, but this bread is fabulous.  I don't add the water to the oven like the original recipe calls for because I like a chewier crust.  This also makes a great pizza dough.  I do like my basic dough a tad better, but seeing how I almost always have this dough made, it is easier to just use this. 
This takes less than 10 minutes to mix up the dough and less than 5 minutes to get ready for baking.  NO KNEADING!  We have fresh baked bread probably 4 nights a week with our meal.  LOVE it!!
The link has great step by step directions, but it is so easy and really hard to mess up. 
My mom says it tastes just like what her Italian grandmother used to make.  I love how it is a rustic bread and wonderful with pasta or soups.  This is the least intimidating bread I have ever seen or made.  Go for it!

recipe slightly adapted from

  • 3 cups warm water
  • 1 1/2 TBSP yeast
  • 1 1/2 TSBP salt (not coarse)
  • 1 1/2 TBSP sugar
  • 6 1/2 cups flour (I sub 1 c. whole wheat and 1 c. oat flour)
In a 5 or 6 quart bowl or lidded tupperware dump in the water and add the yeast, sugar and salt.
Dump in the flour all at once and stir with a long handled wooden spoon.

Stir it until all of the flour is incorporated into the dough, as you can see it will be a wet rough dough.

Put the lid on the container, but do not snap it shut. You want the gases from the yeast to escape.

Allow the dough to sit at room temperature for about 2 hours to rise. When you first mix the dough it will not occupy much of the container.  It will rise after the initial 2 hour and will pretty much fill it. DO NOT PUNCH DOWN THE DOUGH! It will settle itself.

The dough will be flat on the top and some of the bubbles may even appear to be popping. (If you intend to refrigerate the dough after this stage it can be placed in the refrigerator even if the dough is not perfectly flat. The yeast will continue to work even in the refrigerator.) The dough can be used right after the initial 2 hour rise, but it is easier to handle when it's chilled.  As it sits, it will take on more sourdough characteristics.  The flavor deepens with time.

It will collapsed in the fridge, but this is totally normal for the dough. It will never rise up again in the container.

Dust the surface of the dough with a little flour, just enough to prevent it from sticking to your hands when you reach in to pull a piece out.

You should notice that the dough has a lot of stretch once it has rested. You can add a bit of water if it isn't. 

Cut off a 1-pound piece of dough, about 1/3 or 1/4th of the original  depending on the size loaf you want (I do 1/4th for us, 1/3rd with company) using kitchen shears and form it into a ball tucking under the edges to make a nice round smooth top.  Place the ball on a sheet of parchment paper… (or rest it on a generous layer of corn meal on top of a pizza peel and I put the cornmeal on the parchment too!)

Let the dough rest for at least 40 minutes, (although letting it go 60 or even 90 minutes will give you a more open hole structure in the interior of the loaf. This may also improve the look of your loaf and prevent it from splitting on the bottom. ) You will notice that the loaf does not rise much during this rest, in fact it may just spread sideways, this is normal for our dough.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees with a baking stone on the center rack for 20 minutes or longer, with a metal broiler tray on the bottom (never use a glass vessel for this or it will shatter), which will be used to produce steam. (The tray needs to be at least 4 or 5 inches away from your stone to prevent it from cracking.)
*(or Cast Iron Pizza Pan- which will never crack and conducts heat really well. Be careful to dry it after washing rinsing with water or it will rust)

Sprinkle the loaf with a bit of flour and cut the loaf with 1/4-inch slashes using a serrated knife (I use kitchen shears). (If your slashes are too shallow you will end up with an oddly shaped loaf and also prevent it from splitting on the bottom.)

Slide the loaf into the oven onto the preheated stone and add a cup of hot water to the broiler tray. Bake the bread for 30-35 minutes or until a deep brown color. (I skip the water and bake it 30 minutes or less)
If you used parchment paper you will want to remove it after about 20-25 minutes to crisp up the bottom crust. Continue baking the loaf directly on the stone for the last 5-10 minutes.

Allow the loaf to cool on a rack until it is room temperature. If you cut into a loaf before it is cooled you will have a tough crust and a gummy interior. It is hard to wait, but you will be happy you did! Make sure you have a nice sharp bread knife that will not crush the bread as you cut. Or you can tear it apart as they do in most of Europe.

Dough lasts for up to 2 weeks!

Glazed Doughnut Muffins



 I love that we can call a cupcake a muffin and serve it for breakfast.    Because, these really are  like a cupcake. They are a bit more dense than a typical cupcake, because of course, they are  a "muffin" people, not a cupcake.  Or maybe they are a doughnut.  This is one confused recipe, but who cares.  I prefer these muffins in their mini-me form, but they are good either way.  

My friend came over this morning and we enjoyed these over coffee.  My kids each had 2.  I initially thought they were a tad dry, so be careful not to overbake.   I think they would be great filled with some jam or fruit filling, or perhaps even some creamy pudding.  Maybe next time. 


recipe adapted slightly from mybakingaddiction , originally from King Arthur

For the Batter:
  • 1/4 cup butter, room temp.
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 to 1 ¼ teaspoons ground nutmeg, to taste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk

For the Glaze:
  • 3 TBSP butter; melted
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar; sifted
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 2 tablespoons hot water


Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease a muffin tin or line with 12 paper muffin cups, and grease the cups with non-stick vegetable oil spray; this will ensure that they peel off the muffins nicely.
  In a medium-sized mixing bowl, cream together the butter, vegetable oil, and sugars till smooth.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating to combine. Stir in the baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla.
Stir the flour into the butter mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour and making sure everything is thoroughly combined.
Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared muffin tins, filling the cups nearly full.
Bake the muffins for 14 to 17 minutes, or until they’re a pale golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the middle of one of the center muffins comes out clean, or they bounce back to the touch.
  In a medium bowl, prepare the glaze by mixing together the melted  or very soft butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, almond extract and water. Whisk until smooth.  When muffins have cooled slightly, dip the muffin crown into the glaze and allow the glaze to harden. At this point, you can leave them as is or go for the double dip. I glazed my muffins twice.
This recipe made 12 muffins and 10 mini's.  Serve warm, or cool on a rack and wrap airtight. Muffins will keep at room temperature for about a day.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Apple Cider Caramels

These caramels have an intense apple cider taste and are rich and buttery.  These are a little bit time consuming, but I enjoyed the end result.  My caramels didn't firm up as much as they should have, so they needed to remain chilled, but I kind of like that anyway.  I think I needed to let them cook a little longer to get a firmer caramel.  I toyed with the idea of doubling the recipe, thinking a little 8x8 pan would not yield nearly enough for my sweet tooth.  I am so glad I didn't!  One of these a day will do ya, and even after sharing with some neighbors we have a ton of caramels!  Rest assured, we will "suffer" through and every last one will get eaten.  I think these would make a great little treat to give to parents when they come by with trick or treating little ones. 

Recipe adapted from:  Our Best Bites

  • 2 c. high-quality apple cider (like Simply Apple)
  • 1 c. heavy cream or whipping cream, divided
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. apple pie spice
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/3 c. light corn syrup
  • 1 stick (1/2 c.) real butter, cubed

Pour cider into a medium saucepan and boil on high for about 20 minutes or until the cider is reduced to 1/3 cup. (keep a glass or silicone measuring cup handy so you can pour it out and back in again if you need to and watch it near  the end). It should be thick and syrupy.  Set aside to cool.
Line an 8″ square pan with parchment paper, making sure to leave about 1″ hanging over the edges for easy removal. Spray with non-stick cooking spray and set aside. In a small bowl, combine 2/3 c. cream, spices, and reduced apple cider. It will be thick and smell divine.  Set aside.
In a large, heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, 1/3 c. whipping cream + enough water to reach the 1/2 c. line on the measuring cup, and corn syrup. Cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Insert the candy thermometer and simmer until the syrup reaches 234 degrees.
Remove from heat and slowly whisk in the cream mixture. Add the cubed butter and stir until the cream and butter are fully incorporated. Return the pan to heat and re-insert the candy thermometer. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until the temperature reaches 248 degrees (this takes a long time, like 20 minutes or longer).
Remove from heat and pour the caramel into the prepared pan. Let the mixture cool completely at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Cut the caramels into 1/2″ squares and wrap each caramel in wax paper. Store in an airtight container or in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Lemon Rosemary Chicken

My pictures are pathetic.  I have a huge rosemary plant on my back porch and I didn't think to get any.  It was dark outside and I was rushing to get a shot of this, while talking to my husband, who was on his way home and sick.  All this equals bad picture.  Oh well.  It still tasted great.
This is a chicken dish my mom made when I was growing up that I jazzed up a tad.  She would slice the potatoes and deep fry them and then bake them with the chicken.  I tried to make it a little lighter by just baking the potatoes with the chicken.  This dish has lots of flavor and is super easy.  My prep time to get it in the oven was less than 15 minutes.  A great meat and potatoes meal.  Easy and tasty!


  • 3-4 chicken breasts (bone-in and skin on)
  • zest of 1-2 lemons
  • 2 TBSP dry rosemary or 4-5 springs fresh, pulled from stems
  • 4-5 lemons
  • 1-2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1-2 tsp seasoning salt
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tsp minced garlic (I used garlic garlic by Tastefully Simple)
  • 2 1/2 lbs potatoes 
  • 1-2 cups frozen peas

Preheat oven to 375.  Place chicken in baking pan/dish and dice potatoes into 1" dice.  Add potatoes to pan.  Drizzle chicken and potatoes with olive oil.  Squeeze lemons over chicken and potatoes.  Add zest and toss potatoes and coat chicken with juice and oil.  Wash hands and season potatoes with seasoning salt and fresh pepper.  Sprinkle garlic over chicken.  Cover and bake for 45 minutes-1 hour.  Uncover and cook another 15 minutes.  Add peas and toss to coat peas and to turn potatoes for even browning.  Cook another 30-45 minutes until chicken is golden and cooked through and potatoes are beginning to brown.  Remove and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
*I personally don't eat the skin, but you can broil for a few minutes to crisp it up if you like the skin. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Vegetable Soup

 This is the kind of soup I wish I could eat every night.  I can not imagine anyone not liking this soup.  It had heartiness with the potatoes and the veggies in it were just amazing together.  I love that I can have 2 bowls, and gorge myself, and not feel an ounce of guilt. I love that I only had one pot to wash.  I love that it had so  much flavor, color and I felt so good about feeding this to my family, and they all loved it!  Even the 2 year old.

I really was looking to make more of a vegetable stew.  I wanted the veggies kind of rustic and large, but then I remembered I have a 2 year old, and diced somewhere in-between a dice and coarse chop.  The vegetables kind of melt into each other and get really tender.  I know some vitamins get lost when you cook veggies, but when it tastes like this, I will take the depletion happily.  This is a very versatile soup.   Add what you like, and leave out what you don't.  But did I mention how good this was? 



  • 2 TBSP olive oil (I substituted some for flaxseed oil)
  • 2 cups diced potatoes
  • 2 cups carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 cup celery, coarsely chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cup chopped red cabbage
  • 1 large zucchini, quartered and chopped
  • 1- 15 oz. can petite diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • 3-4 cups water
  • 2 TBSP fresh parsley chopped or 2 tsp. dry
  • salt and pepper


Over medium high heat, put the oil in a big stock pot and dump in the potatoes, onions, celery and carrots.  Cook for about 10 minutes, scraping the bottom as necessary to prevent the potatoes from sticking.    Add the cabbage, and garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes.  Add the can of tomatoes, broth, water and zucchini a bit of salt and pepper.  Cover and let simmer for about 30 minutes.  Add parsley and let simmer uncovered another 20-30 minutes, until all the veggies are tender and cooked through.  Taste broth to see if needs seasoning and add accordingly.  Serve with crusty bread and if desired, Parmesan cheese.

Gingerbread Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Icing

  Picture this: the creamy texture of the mini pumpkin pie against the moist crumb of cake.    I was thinking of making a pumpkin pie filled pumpkin muffin, which sounded great, but I was not feeling super inspired.  Then I thought about gingerbread and then the wheels really got turning.  Pumpkin pie, gingerbread and cinnamon cream cheese icing, now that will work! These cupcakes were delicious!   Lick your fingers and the cupcake liner/paper good.  (Well, my 8 year old daughter was licking hers until I gently and lovingly told her to stop.) 

A few words of caution; (OOO! sounds so scary!) This is a very gingery/molasses tasting cupcake, which I love, but may not be for you if you are not a big gingerbread fan. Also, these require a bit of prior planning because you have to cook the pumpkin pie before hand, but I enjoyed making them with my kids helping me along the way.  Maybe it was because I couldn't wait to taste them.   The pumpkin pie sinks while baking, which I didn't mind at all.  I topped them with some gingerbread men sprinkles so there would be no mistake that they are gingerbread and not chocolate. 




adapted from


For the Cupcakes:

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1 TBSP ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup hot milk
For the Pumpkin Pies:
I just made a pumpkin pie and used up some filling by placing into mini-muffin tins.
For the Frosting:
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 5 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (175 degrees C).  Spray a 12 spaces in a mini-muffin pan with cooking spray and fill 12 about 2/3 full.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  
this is just before spooning more batter to cover.
Butter or line with paper liners a 12-cup muffin tin. Cream 5 tablespoons of softened butter with the white sugar. Add the molasses and the egg and egg yolk and mix. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and salt. Dissolve the baking soda in the hot milk. Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and stir until just combined. Stir in the hot milk mixture. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared tins filling about halfway. Carefully run knife along outside edge of the pumpkin pies.  Carefully spoon out and place in the center of each cupcake.  Spoon some batter into each to cover pumpkin pies. You may have some batter left.  You can discard or make a 1-2 more cupcakes.  Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 17-20 minutes or until slightly springy to the touch.  Allow to cool a few minutes in the pan and carefully remove to a rack to cool.  
For the Frosting: Cream the 2 tablespoons butter and the cream cheese together. Beat in the confectioners' sugar until fluffy. Add the vanilla and cinnamon and beat. When the cupcakes are cool, frost the tops with the frosting and serve.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Spaghetti Bread

This is a great meal if you are a fan of piling up your spaghetti on bread.  I always feel rude or like a pig doing that, but it is my favorite way to eat spaghetti, on a thick slice of Italian bread, and my piggish nature seems to take over when I am eating spaghetti.  My kids all loved this meal and I did too.  My daughter said it may be her favorite meal ever, but then quickly recanted saying she likes so many meals, but this one is really great!  They all want me to make it again.  It can be a bit messy, but isn't spaghetti always messy?  I used 1/3 of a batch of artisan bread in 5 minutes a day, which I will post at some point,  but the Rhodes dough will work just fine!  I didn't have spaghetti in house, but linguine, hence the lack of spaghetti in the pictures. You could add meat to the spaghetti for some protein and added heartiness.

slightly adapted from Rhodes Rolls

  • 1 Loaf Rhodes™ Bread Dough or 12 Rhodes™ Dinner Rolls, thawed to room temperature or 1/3 artisan dough recipe
  • 6 ounces spaghetti, cooked
  • 2 cups thick spaghetti sauce
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 egg white, beaten
  • Parmesan cheese
  • parsley flakes

Preheat oven to 385 degrees and place pizza stone in oven (or use baking sheet lined with parchment).  Sprinkle cornmeal over parchment paper.  Flour surface of counter and roll dough some.  Transfer to parchment and roll dough into a 12x16-inch rectangle. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest 10-15 minutes. Cook spaghetti according to package instructions. Drain and let cool slightly. Remove wrap from dough. Mix spaghetti with some sauce and place spaghetti lengthwise in a 4-inch strip down center of dough. Top with more sauce and cheese cubes.
Make cuts 1 1/2-inches apart on long sides of dough to within 1/2-inch of filling. Begin braid by folding top and bottom strips toward filling. Then braid strips left over right, right over left. Finish by pulling last strip over and tucking under braid. Transfer to baking stone by sliding cookie sheet under parchment and sliding it off onto the hot stone.  Brush with egg white and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and parsley. Bake at 385°F 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.  This is better when it has a chance to set slightly and won't fall apart so easily. Cut carefully and slowly in at least 1" thick slices.

Pumpkin Donut (Doughnut) Muffins

I saw these and instantly wanted to make them.  I made them the same time I made the pumpkin cinnamon rolls, so these had some stiff competition.  The pumpkin cinnamon rolls won, but these are really delicious.  My kids loved them, and chowed them down.  I tried rolling the batter in the cinnamon sugar before and dipping without the butter as well.  While both work, if you are not wanting to add another half stick of butter, they really are great dipped in the butter.  But that is kind of a no brainer.  A little goes a long way with these babies, so I really enjoyed the mini muffins.  The batter made 12 regular sized muffins and about 12-15 baby muffins.  You could also roll these babies in powdered sugar for a little switch up, or make a glaze for them.  But they will be yummy no matter which way you bite them.

adapted from faithfulnessfarm
yield: 12 regular muffins and 12-15 mini

  • 10 TBSP softened butter
  • 3 cups Flour (I used some whole grain)
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/4 pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup melted butter

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour 12 standard muffin cups or spray with baking spray. Make batter: In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk and pumpkin puree. In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, scraping down bowl as needed. With mixer on low, add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with two additions pumpkin mixture; and beat to combine.
I dipped this one before baking.

Spoon 1/3 cup batter into each muffin cup, or use ice cream scoop, and bake until a toothpick inserted into center of muffin comes out clean, about 15 minutes for mini muffins and 23-28 minutes for large.  Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine granulated sugar and cinnamon. Let muffins cool 10 minutes in pan on wire rack. Working with one at a time, remove muffins from pan, brush (I dipped, sometimes the whole muffin and other times just the top) all over with melted butter, then toss to coat in sugar mixture. Let muffins cool completely on a wire rack. If not using butter in coating, dip in sugar as soon as possible after removing from oven, as the steam helps the sugar stick.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Oreo Cheesecake Cookies

These cookies came together in a flash.  I let each of my kids taste a bite, and my 4 year old was begging for more.  I told him, after dinner, before bed and he announced he was ready for bed now!  A delicious cookie.  A few things about them.  I think they are better when they have cooled which is not the norm for cookies.  Another thing, I think I will leave out the mini chocolate chips next time.  While they are certainly tasty with them, I wanted to taste the cookie more and I felt like it overtook the cookie in flavor a little bit.  Some of these came out picture perfect and other seemed to spread more and browned more on the edges.  Not sure why, but it doesn't affect the flavor, so I don't much care.  Oh, and no eggs in the batter, so go ahead and let the kids eat a ball of dough and  like the beaters and bowl clean.  Or do it yourself. These are great frozen too! 

yield: 1 1/2-2  dozen

  • 1/2 cup butter,room temperature
  • 3 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (Opt.)
  • 1 cup Oreo crumbs (about 8 Oreos)
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate, melted w/ 1/2 tsp crisco (opt.)

Preheat oven to 375.  Line cookie sheets with parchment or silicone mats.  Cream together butter and cream cheese until smooth and well incorporated.  Add sugar and vanilla and beat until mixed.  Add flour and mix on low until flour disappears, scraping bowl as necessary.  Stir in mini chocolate chips if using.  Place Oreo crumbs in a bowl and scoop cookies with cookie scoop or balls into crumbs (about 1- 1/2 inch balls) and  coat balls.  Place on lined cookie sheet, about 2" apart.  Bake for 12-15 minutes (mine went about 13) until edges are just golden and they are puffed.  Remove from oven and cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes before moving to wire rack to cool.  For white chocolate, microwave for 30 seconds and stir with spatula well.  Microwave for another 10 seconds and stir again (mine were melted) and repeat if necessary until melted completely.  Drizzle over cookies.

Girl's Dip (Black Bean, Corn and Feta Dip)

I am not sure what to call this.  My cousin Michelle made this for me last December.  I call it "girl's dip" because so far I have not met a guy who likes it, but all the girls love it.  It is the perfect mix of sweet and  salty.   I am sure it sounds like a bizarre combination, but it is so good and I crave this stuff.  I made it this week because my hubby is in the field playing army.  It is my lunch and dinner while he is gone.  Well, that and coffee milkshakes. 
Well, all joking aside, this is a super easy recipe and for me, super addicting, and it is for girl's only! 

from: Michelle Pierce

  • 1 can black beans, rinsed well and drained
  • 1 can Shoepeg corn (a white tender corn)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (I do more like 1/3cup)
  • about 1 cup of feta cheese (to taste, I like a lot)

Mix it all in a bowl.  This gets better as it sits.  Dip with tortilla chips.  Chill leftovers and it lasts a week or more.  Give it a stir every once and awhile while you are dipping.  Sometimes I dump off some of the liquid when it is about half gone. 

Coffee Milkshake

When I was pregnant for my first baby, we were stationed at Fort Huachuca and we lived in Sierra Vista, AZThere was a little place, hole in the wall really, that had the most amazing coffee shake in the world.  I watched them make it and tried to figure it out.
Lots of vanilla ice cream, a shot of espresso and maybe some milk and a sprinkle of espresso powder and shot of vanilla.  It tasted amazing!  Well, I don't have an espresso machine (*sigh*- someday) so I used some strong coffee instead.  This shake is very yummy and I had to fight all 4 of my kids for it!  Seriously, how many 2 years like the flavor of coffee?  Well, maybe lots, but mine normally does not.  But I had to pry his chubby little fingers off my glass to get it back.
Everytime I make coffee I have a bit left.  So ideas...Through it in an ice tray and make coffee ice cubes for iced coffee or toss them in for this shake.  Or just put it in the fridge for making this  shake later in the day for a pick me up. 

You could use coffee flavored ice cream if you want, but this had plenty of coffee flavor with the vanilla ice cream.  This will definitely do until we make it bake to Sierra Vista.

  • 2 cups ice cream
  • 3/4-1 cup coffee, chilled
  • 1/2 tsp espresso powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla flavoring, or extract or cocoa powder

Put it all in a blender and crank it up.  Start with 3/4 cup of coffee and  add more to get to preferred consistency.  Pour in a glass, go in the bathroom and lock the door so the kids don't bother you.  Enjoy!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Strawberry Nutella Waffles

First off, sorry for the half rotten strawberry in the picture.  We had company this past weekend and I was up way late the night before, so I was a wee bit tired.  So sorry!
I always do a waffles or pancake breakfast on Saturday, so I decided waffles would be good because I have done quite a few pancakes lately.  I started and intended to do just a basic waffle.  Really, I tried to leave it alone.  But I had a huge container of gorgeous strawberries (and a few half rotten ones, obviously) from Sam's Club, and I just could not stop myself.  My self discipline really stinks.  I sliced a bunch of berries for topping the waffles (we always top with berries and whipped cream), and before I even knew what was my hands were doing I was smashing the heck out of some berries and mixing waffle batter with it, then I swirled and big spoonful of nutella through.  I did it in little batches because I did not want the nutella to disappear in the batter.  I wanted it swirled, ding dang-it!  These were great waffles.  We really enjoyed them.  But it is kind of a no brainer.  Nutella+strawberries= YUM!


  • 2 cups flour (I used one whole wheat and other AP)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 3 TBSP sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup milk, warmed a bit
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • approx. 1 cup whole berries, mashed to be juicy and chunky
  • 1/3 cup nutella

Whisk together dry ingredients in a medium bowl.  In a large bowl, whisk eggs, then add vanilla.  Add a little warm milk to temper the eggs.  Whisk, then add some the rest and the melted butter and mix.  Add the flour and mix just until batter is smooth.  Add berries and mix gently.  I then ladles some into a smaller bowl and swirled a spoonful of nutella through.  Then pour onto waffle iron.  Note: Sometimes the nutella would leave residue on the iron.  I wiped it off before making more so it would not burn and tarnish the others.    Serve topped with more berries and butter if desired or whipped cream.  (for more decadence, mix some nutella into some butter and smear that on)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Caramel and Cream Cheese Icing

These rolls are delicious!  Will be making these every fall for sure!  We all really love the caramel icing and the cream cheese over that.  You could probably half the cream cheese icing.  I had it from pumpkin cinnamon swirl pancakes I had made and thought it would be a nice addition to these.  It was!  This is plenty of sweet for breakfast, so make sure you have some fruit or something savory to offset all this sugar! 
I made these when some friends came into town.  They joked that they were "delectable".  I think so.  Thanks Cristine for the inspiration! 
We actually ate some of the leftovers for dessert too!  Your mouth will be watering far before these reach your mouth.


For the rolls:
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • scant 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 (1/4 ounce) package dry yeast
  • 3 1/2-4 cups bread flour (you can use regular all purpose flour but bread flour makes them lighter)

Cinnamon filling:
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 TBSP ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup soft butter
Caramel Frosting:
upside down after turning out of pan
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • dash salt
  • 1 1/4 cup sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter, softened
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • milk to thin to drizzly consistency

    Heat milk in microwave briefly to be warm. Sprinkle yeast over and some sugar over and stir.  In large mixer bowl, combine pumpkin, sugar, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, and salt with paddle attachment. Add milk mixture and beat with electric mixer until well mixed. Beat in egg and yeast.
    Add the flour to pumpkin mixture. Switch to kneading attachment and knead for 5 minutes.  Turn into lightly greased bowl, then grease surface of dough lightly.
    Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled, 1-1 1/2 hours. Punch dough down. Spray a surface with cooking spray or turn onto floured surface. Knead a few turns to form a smooth dough, sprinkling with enough additional flour to make dough easy enough to handle and so it won't stick to the rolling surface. Roll dough into 12x10 inch rectangle.
    In small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon. Smear surface of dough with soft butter. Sprinkle with brown sugar mixture. Beginning with long side of dough, roll up jellyroll style. Pinch seam to seal. With sharp knife, or wax dental floss, cut roll into 12-15 1- inch thick slices. Place rolls, cut side up, in greased 11X17 inch baking pan. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled for 30 to 45 minutes, or chill overnight and take out 45 minutes before baking.
    Bake rolls at 350 degrees about 20-25 minutes or until golden. Remove from pan to waxed paper-lined wire rack. Cool 10 to 15 minutes. Drizzle with Caramel frosting. Makes 12-15 rolls (mine made 14).
    For Caramel Frosting:
    In small saucepan, heat butter cook over until melted. Stir in brown sugar and milk.
    Stir in brown sugar and milk. Whisk over medium low heat 1 minute until smooth.  Whisk in vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and confectioners' sugar. Whisk until all the white clumps disappear.    Mix cream cheese icing ingredients.  Drizzle caramel icing over warm rolls, and drizzle over cream cheese icing over caramel icing.  Serve warm.

    Chicken Enchilada Soup

    This soup is very yummy!  We enjoyed it for 2 nights.  Full of flavor and we all enjoyed it!  Our friends mixed some fresh salsa as well.  We added all the toppings.  A great soup!

    adapted from:

    • 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
    • 1 14.5-ounce can diced fire roasted tomatoes
    • 1 can mexicorn (or 10 oz bag frozen)
    • 1/2 cup chopped onion
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1/2 cup chopped bell pepper (I like red)
    • 1 10-ounce can enchilada sauce (I used mild)
    • salt and pepper
    • 1 10.75-ounce can cheddar cheese soup
    • 1 1/2 cups milk (I used skim)
    • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
    • 2 chicken breasts
    • 1/2 tsp cumin
    • 1-2 TBSP fresh cilantro, chopped roughly

    In a 3 1/2 to 5 quart slow cooker, combine drained beans, tomatoes, corn, onion, and bell pepper. Place 2 chicken breasts on top of mixture. In a large bowl, whisk together enchilada sauce and soup. Gradually whisk in milk until smooth. Pour sauce mixture over ingredients in cooker. 
    Cover; cook on low heat for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours. Remove chicken and cut or shred into bite sized pieces. Add chicken back into soup. Add chopped cilantro just before serving.  Top with cheddar or pepper jack cheese and serve. Can also be topped with avocado, sour cream, crushed tortilla chips and/or fresh cilantro.

    Pumpkin Gingersnap Bars

    Pumpkin mania continues.  These bars are awesome.  They are the marriage of a bunch of recipes I saw online, and they are addictive.  I usually am okay with a taste of dessert.  I ate like 3 of these bars after having 2 bowls of soup.  Yes, I am a gluttonous pig, and you will join me in that title if you make these.  I put out a plateful for the kids and my husband at the whole plateful. I like them chilled, because you get the crunch of the gingersnap crust, the chewiness of a caramel layer, and the creaminess of the pumpkin topping.  If you are not a cheesecake lover, you will still like these.  The cream cheese lends a creaminess, but you cannot taste it.  Excuse me, I need to go get another one now! You need to make these! 



    • about 50 gingersnaps run through food processor to make crumbs
    • 1 stick melted butter
    • 1/8 cup brown sugar
    • 1 bag caramels
    • 1/4 cup cream
    • 1 tbsp butter
    • 6 ounces cream cheese, softened (I nuked for 30 seconds)
    • 1 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
    • 1/3 heaping cup sugar
    • 1/4 cup brown sugar
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • dash salt
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (if you like less spice down this to 1 tsp.)
    • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/8 cup molasses
    • 1/3 cup sugae
    • 1/4 cup flour
    • 2 tbsp softened butter
    • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice

    Preheat oven to 350.  Crush gingersnaps and pulse in melted butter and brown sugar.  Spread in a 9x13 pan.  Bake for 7-9 minutes until butter bubbles a bit. 
    Unwrap caramels and in a double boiler or microwave safe bowl, place caramels, cream and butter.  If using microwave, stir at 30-60 second intervals, and if a double boiler, let it hang out, stirring periodically, while you work on the pumpkin layer.  I did the double boiler and it worked out great.  When caramel is melted  and smooth, dump over gingersnaps.  I tilted the pan and let the caramel pool to one side, then the other, until it was distributed.  The spatula seemed to pull the crust, so this method works great for spreading the caramel. 
    This picture is so off center.  ah well!
    For the pumpkin layer, whisk cream cheese, and pumpkin together.  Add eggs and vanilla and whisk.  Add brown sugar, vanilla, salt, spices and molasses and whisk until smooth.  Pour over caramel, titling pan if necessary to distribute evenly.
    Bake at 350 for 10 minutes while preparing streusel.  Mix streusel ingredients together until it is about like bread crumbs, remove pan and sprinkle evenly over top.
    Return to oven and bake additional 20-30 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.  When cooked, remove from oven and let cool for 30 minutes and chill for at least an hour before serving.  The crust will need some pressure to cut and a very sharp knife.  Cut and serve chilled.