Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What's the Scoop? - Cookies & Cream

You can't go wrong with a classic! There is something about crushed up Oreos in a sweet cream ice cream that makes kids and adults all go crazy. I use Ben & Jerry's sweet cream base and then once it is mostly frozen, I toss in Oreos until I feel it has enough. Some days you may want more cookies, some days you may want less. Just eyeball it until it feels right for you!

Cookies & Cream Ice Cream

2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream or whipping cream
1 cup milk
Crushed Oreos

Whisk eggs for 1 to 2 minutes, until fluffy and light.

Gradually whisk in sugar, then continue until fully blended, about a minute more.

Mix in cream and milk and whisk to blend.

Freeze according to ice cream maker directions. Mix in Oreos at the end.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

TWD: Rum Drenched Vanilla Cakes

Check out those vanilla bean flecks... YUM!

I loved this recipe! I usually omit the alcohol from baked goods since I don't drink, but for whatever reason I decided to go ahead and buy a bottle of rum for this cake. I figured there was only 1/4 cup of rum in the recipe and it makes two loaves so the rum flavor wouldn't really be overwhelming.

To be honest, I didn't really taste the rum in the cake. The cake also had 2 vanilla beans in it, so the vanilla flavor was the most prominent. This pound cake was absolutely delicious!

I glazed one of the cakes with the rum glaze and the other I glazed with a simple syrup flavored with vanilla extract. Nathan said he could taste the rum in the glazed cake but that it didn't overpower the cake. I loved the plain glazed cake and really think it is a perfect pound cake!

Thanks to Wendy of Pink Stripes for hosting this week. The recipe can be found at her blog.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Cooking with Anya: Watermelon Garden

Here is a cute idea for the 4th of July (or any day, really!). Anya had a blast making this and both Eric and Anya loved eating it!

What Anya had to say:

I loved it. The watermelon garden was beautiful. You use white chocolate chips, watermelon, and blueberries. Of course, who could live without blueberries? And you make butterflies and flowers. Use sticks to hold up the flowers and butterflies. Come on... this is the best recipe. Everyone should make it. You can make it any day and everywhere. So go out today and make our treat. Make sure you don't put it in the oven. It's a good thing forever. The end.

Watermelon Garden
Idea adapted from Turtle Magazine

1 round seedless watermelon
White Chocolate Chips
Wooden Skewers
Flower & Butterfly cookie cutters

Cut about 1/4" off the bottom of the watermelon so it will sit flat.

Cut watermelon in half and set aside top part.

Scoop out inside of the bottom with melon baller. Fill bottom with watermelon balls, blueberries, and white chocolate chips.

Slice top half of watermelon in 1/2" slices. Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes. Stick skewers into shapes and then stake into the bottom watermelon.


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Daring Bakers: Chocolate Pavlova with Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse

The June 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Dawn of Doable and Delicious. Dawn challenged the Daring Bakers’ to make Chocolate Pavlovas and Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse. The challenge recipe is based on a recipe from the book Chocolate Epiphany by Francois Payard.

Talk about waiting until the last minute to complete a challenge! I didn't start this until 7 pm last night. Oops! I wanted to try it, though, so it was worth staying up and getting it finished. The pictures suffered a bit and considering it is brown on top of brown, the picture really needed all the help it could get. Oh well.....

The base is a chocolate pavlova which is basically a chocolate meringue. It is crunchy on the outside and chewy (almost marshmallowy) on the inside. Incredibly good but also incredibly rich. Small portions are a must with this!

The mousse is made with cream, mascarpone, and chocolate. Very delicious, but also rich. Again.... small portions!

The pavlova is topped off with creme anglaise (I used Dorie Greenspan's recipe for this).

Overall, it wasn't a terribly difficult challenge, but it was a little time consuming considering the pavlova had to bake for 2 hours. I'm not sure I'll be making this regularly but I am glad I tried it!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Cookie Carnival: Raspberry Jam Thumbprints

Part two of the carnival is here! I am starting to realize that I am not a huge jelly/jam person. I love it on toast or on a PB&J, but just a pile of jam on a cookie.... Eh... not for me. The cookie itself was incredible (you'd be hard pressed to offer me something made with almond paste that I didn't like!) and was good plain. But, I had a great solution for the not liking jam cookies dilemma...
Add melted bittersweet chocolate! DELICIOUS!

Raspberry Jam Thumbprints
Cooking Light

3/4 cup (3 ounces) grated almond paste
2/3 cup sugar
5 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg white
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (about 5 1/2 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons Raspberry Refrigerator Jam
Preheat oven to 325°.

Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper; secure to baking sheet with masking tape.

Place first 3 ingredients in a bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed for 4 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and egg white; beat well.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add flour and salt to almond paste mixture; beat at low speed until well blended. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and shape dough into 36 (1-inch) balls. Place balls 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheets, and press thumb into center of each cookie, leaving an indentation. Bake at 325° for 10 minutes or until golden.

Remove cookies from pans; cool on wire racks. Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon Raspberry Refrigerator Jam into center of each cookie.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Cookie Carnival & Cooking with Anya: S'Mores Sandwich Bars

It's Cookie Carnival time again! We have been given two recipes (second will be up tomorrow), one of which is for the kids. I am excited about this because it gives me the opportunity to post a LONG overdue "Cooking with Anya". :)

We LOVED these bars and they didn't last long in the house. Anya had a blast putting them together. Here is what she had to say:

I liked them and they were delicious and very fun to make. They have crust, chocolate chips, and marshmallows. They are very beautiful. Make sure to put them in the oven. You can make them for dessert any time. Like I said, use marshmallows, chocolate chips, and crust in the square pan and put in the oven so it is nice and hot. It will be done and it will be good. And this is what I like to say. And it was very good. I couldn't stop liking it and it was the best dessert ever. The end.

S'Mores Sandwich Bars


•1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
•3/4 cup sugar
•1 egg
•1 teaspoon vanilla extract
•1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
•3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
•1 teaspoon baking powder
•1/4 teaspoon salt
•1-1/3 cups (8-oz. pkg.) HERSHEY'S Mini Milk Chocolate Bars OR 5 HERSHEY'S Milk Chocolate Bars (1.55 oz. each) - I used chocolate chips
•3 cups miniature marshmallows


1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 8-inch square baking pan.

2. Beat butter and sugar until well blended in large bowl. Add egg and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt; add to butter mixture, beating until blended. Press half of dough in prepared pan. Bake 15 minutes.

3. Sprinkle mini chocolate bars over baked layer or arrange unwrapped chocolate bars over baked layer, breaking as needed to fit. Sprinkle with marshmallows; scatter bits of remaining dough over marshmallows, forming top layer. Bake 10 to 15 minutes or just until lightly browned. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars. 16 bars.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

What's the Scoop? - Cake Batter Ice Cream

Cake Batter Ice Cream is one of my guilty pleasures. I absolutely love it! I know there are some people who find it a little too sweet for their tastes, but for me, I can't get enough. I'll take it plain, with sprinkles, or with gummy bears (my favorite!). Enjoy!

Cake Batter Ice Cream

1 cup whole milk, well chilled
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups heavy cream, well chilled
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup cake mix

In a medium bowl, whisk the milk and granulated sugar until the sugar is dissolved.

Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla to taste.

Stir in cake mix, making sure there are no lumps. Gently heat mixture to dissolve cake mix. (Thanks for the tip, Ingrid!!!) Cool mixture and then freeze according to ice cream maker directions.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

CIA Homeschool: Lemon Buttermilk Cake

It's been awhile since I have posted anything from my CIA book. I made this cake about a month ago and I don't quite know why I haven't posted it yet!

The cake is a great base cake recipe. The buttermilk and lemon zest give it a nice tang. Next time I make it, I will up the lemon a bit because I prefer for my lemon desserts to be really lemony! I dressed up the cake with sliced strawberries and a simple powdered sugar/lemon juice glaze.
As I have said before, I won't be posting the CIA recipes here because I am making so many out of the book. However, there are a ton of lemon buttermilk cake recipes online, like THIS ONE from RecipeZaar that is quite similar and has good reviews.

List of Recipes to be made from CIA book

Yeast Raised Breads and Rolls

Boule (White Wheat Lean Dough)
Split Loaf (Lean Dough with Pate Fermente)
Batard (Whole Wheat Lean Dough)
Baguette (Lean Dough with Poolish)
Soft Roll Dough (Knot Rolls & Parker House Rolls)
Brioche a Tete
Challah (6 Braid)
Coffee Cake (Twisted)
Pita Bread
Apple Fritters
Berliners (Jelly Doughnuts)
Yeast Raised Doughnuts

Yeast Doughs (Not listed above)

Prosciutto and Provolone Dough
Tomato Dough
Roasted Potato Dough
Apple and Walnut Sourdough

Quick Breads and Cakes

Ginger Cake
Buttermilk Biscuits
Bran Muffins
Lemon Buttermilk Cake
Polenta Cake
Devil’s Food Cake
Chocolate XS
Carrot Cake
Chocolate Souffle Cake
Patterned Jaconde Sponge
Walnut Cheesecake


Mudslide Cookies
Sand Cookies
Orange Coconut Macaroons
Fudge Brownies
Pecan Diamonds (Short Dough)
Mirror Cookies (1-2-3 Cookie Dough)
Citrus Crisps
Zedern Brot
Vanilla Kipferl
Checkerboard Cookies
Vanilla Pretzels
Langues-de-Chat Sandwiches
Frangipane Cake (Made into Petit Fours)

Custards, Creams, Mousses, and Souffles

Crème Brulee
Pots de Crème
Vanilla Pudding
Lemon Curd
Chocolate Mousse
Bavarian Cream
Raspberry Souffle

Frozen Desserts

Chocolate Swirl Ice Cream
Lemon Frozen Yogurt
Orange Sorbet
Vanilla Bean Sherbet
Fresh Ginger Granita
Praline Parfait
Frozen Lemon Savarin

Pies, Tarts, and Fruit Desserts

Blueberry Pie
Warm Apple Charlottes
Lemon Fantasy Tart
Zesty Lime Tart
Cheese Tart
Cranberry Pecan Tart
Apple Strudel

Filled and Assembled Cakes and Tortes

Bavarian Cream Torte
Charlotte Russe
Black Forest Cake
Opera Torte
Orange Mousseline Torte

Individual Pastries

Lemon Curd Tartlets
Pecan Cranberry Tartlets
Strip Tartlets
Pecan Passions
Classic Napoleons
Chocolate Peanut Butter Bombes
White and Dark Chocolate Mousse in Glasses
Chocolate Eclairs
Bear Claws

Plated Desserts

Blueberry and Cream Cheese Crepes
Brown Sugar Roasted Pear
Funnel Cake with Maple Syrup and Summer Fruit Sauces

Chocolates and Confections

Milk Chocolate Truffles
Candied Orange Peel
Soft Caramels
Hard Candies
Nuss Bonbon


TBD (Trying to pick a cake with gumpaste, modeling chocolate, and possibly pulled sugar)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

SMS: Honey Chestnut Madelines

I love madelines even though I haven't had many. I have made more plain madelines (just a little lemon zest) and they disappear before I realize what is happening!

These madelines are a little fancier with brown butter, ground hazelnuts, and honey. To be honest, I think I prefer plain madelines. Not to say that these aren't tasty because they are. Just not my favorite.

The recipe can be found at Cafe Chibita.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Lion House Rolls

Best. Rolls. EVER. Enough said. Now make them for dinner... you won't be disappointed!

Lion House Rolls
Recipe from Mommy's Kitchen
VIDEO on how to shape rolls

2 - cups warm water
2/3 - cup nonfat dry milk
2 - tablespoons dry yeast
1/4 - cup sugar
2 - tsp salt
1/3 - cup butter
1 - egg
5 to 5 1/2 - cups all purpose flour

In your mixer combine water and dry milk. Stir until dissolved. Add yeast, sugar, salt, butter, egg and 2 cups flour. Mix on low speed until ingredients are wet, then for 2 minutes on medium speed. Add 2 more cups flour, and mix on low speed until ingredients are wet, and 2 minutes on medium speed. Add remaining flour (I only add one more cup, and leave out the last 1/2). Once combined, knead with hands, or turn on your kneading function on your bread mixer. Place dough in a oiled bowl. Turn over once so dough is covered with oil. Cover with plastic, and let rise in a warm place until double in size. Place dough on floured surface. Roll out dough, and brush with melted butter. Cut rolls into desired shape and size. (If you don't want to do it like in the video, you could just roll the rectangles.) Place on a greased or parchment paper lined baking pan. Let rise in warm place until rolls are doubled in size. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until browned. Brush with melted butter while hot.

How to freeze rolls: After shaping the rolls place them 2 inches apart on a waxed paper-lined baking sheet. Place the rolls in the freezer and freeze until firm. When the rolls are firm, transfer to a large zip lock freezer bag. Date and freeze for up to 4 weeks.

To use freezer rolls: Arrange frozen rolls 2 inches apart on baking sheets coated with nonstick cooking spray or covered with parchment paper. Cover rolls with plastic wrap coated with baking spray. Place in a warm place and let the rolls rise until doubled in size. Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Brush with additional butter while hot.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

What's the Scoop? - Butter Pecan Ice Cream

Butter Pecan is Nathan's favorite ice cream flavor. Before I made this ice cream (I've been making this recipe for him for a few years), I never really cared for Butter Pecan. It's not that I didn't like it, but it is an ice cream that wouldn't tempt me and that I would never order or make for myself.

But this Butter Pecan changed my world forever. I want to hide this ice cream from Nathan and eat it myself. It is so incredibly delicious. I think the key is the butter. The pecans are cooked in butter with generous helping of salt (don't skip the salt... it is essential in the flavor!). Once the pecans are browned, they are removed from the butter and that butter is put to use again. The delicious pecan flavored/salted butter is mixed in with the cream and then churned. Holy moly... this ice cream is fantastic!


Ben & Jerry's Butter Pecan Ice Cream

1/2 cup butter
1 cup pecan halves
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk

Melt the butter in a heavy skillet over low heat. Add the pecans and salt and saute, stirring occasionally, until the pecans start to turn brown. Drain the butter into a small bowl and transfer the pecans to another bowl and let cool.

Whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk the sugar, a little bit at a time, then continue whisking until completely blended, about 1 minute more. Pour in the cream and milk and whisk to blend. Add the melted butter and blend.

Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze following the manufacturer's instructions.

After the ice cream stiffens (about 2 minutes before it is done), add the pecans, then continue freezing until the ice cream is ready.

Makes generous 1 quart.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

TWD: Raisin Swirl Bread

This bread was so delicious that I wish I had made two loaves. The first was gone in about 24 hours. We didn't do anything fancy with it; just ate it plain and a few slices were toasted and buttered. I unfortunately didn't have enough bread to try out Dorie's sugar crusted french toast. :( Don't worry, though. Next time I will make sure to either make the loaf just for the french toast or I will make two!

Head over to Food.Baby for the recipe... you know you want it!

MSCC: Strawberry Cupcakes

Yay! MSCC (Martha Stewart Cupcake Club) is making a reappearance on my blog! I stepped down from the group shortly after my move. Even though it was only 1 cupcake a month, I just couldn't keep up with all my other baking commitments. Lucky for me, Sugar Betty opened up the group to let us bake along when we could. I was one happy camper when I heard!

Strawberry cupcakes were a good cupcake to jump in on. I loved the fresh strawberries in the cupcake and the frosting was delicious. A nice big berry on top and you have a great treat!

Head over to Sherry Starts Cooking for the recipe!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Chicken Club Quesadilla

The pictures don't do this quesadilla justice. This was so good and makes a perfect lunch. I debated whether or not to include the "inside" picture, but I decided to do it so that you could see the delicious ingredients inside. Chicken, bacon, avocado, tomato, cheese... what's not to love? Enjoy!

Chicken Club Quesadilla
Recipe from Lauren's Kitchen

4 large tortillas, warmed
1 cup chicken, cooked and diced or shredded
1 tomato, diced
1/2 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
1 avocado, seeded and diced
approx 1/4 cup lite Italian dressing (I used Ranch)
Bacon, cooked and crumbled

Combine all ingredients (minus the tortillas) in bowl. Divide evenly between the four tortillas, spreading on one half. Fold the other half of the tortilla over and cook on a panini press, quesadilla maker, or grill pan.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

SMS: Chocolate Orange Macaroons

Think Mounds bar with orange zest. If you like coconut, you will love these. If you don't like coconut, stay far away. :) I went the chocolate chip route instead of chopping chocolate because I had chips on hand.

Thanks to Ellen of Blue Tree Green Heart for hosting this week. The recipe can be found at her blog.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Brownies

Peanut Butter and Chocolate. You really can't beat that combination. Add cheesecake to the mix and I am in heaven. These brownies ROCK!

I have posted before about PB cheesecake brownies... the other had less cheesecake but with the addition of PB cups. Choose either one and you will be a happy camper!

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Brownies

Brownie Layer
7-ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Swirl
8-ounces cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar
1 whole, large egg

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9-inch square pan with foil or parchment paper, making sure it goes up all four sides. Use two sheets if necessary. Mist with non-stick spray or grease lightly.

2. Stir chocolate and butter in medium saucepan over low heat until smooth; cool 10 minutes. Using electric mixer on low speed, or stir in with a wooden spoon – sugar, eggs, and vanilla into cooled chocolate mixture, until uniform. Stir/beat in flour, cocoa and salt. Spread half the batter in pan.

1. In a separate bowl, beat together the cream cheese, peanut butter, whole egg or egg yolk, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. DO NOT OVER BEAT!

1. Drop large spoonfuls of the peanut butter cheesecake batter across the top of the first layer of brownie batter. Don’t swirl them together. Cover the peanut butter dollops with the remaing brownie batter and the remaining peanut butter cheesecake batter in dollops, then take a knife, spatula, spoon handle, or whatever you have on hand that can ’swirl’ well, and swirl the TOP layer of peanut butter cheesecake batter with the brownie mixture. Lift up some of the brownie batter to insure the brownie mixture swirls in as much as possible, since it can be little heavier than the peanut butter cheesecake batter, depending on whether you use a whole egg or just the yolk. As mentioned above, it’s ok if some of the first layer of both batters swirl also, just not too much.

2. Bake for 35-37 minutes, or until the batter in the center of the pan feels just set, or a skewer contains a few moist brownie crumbs sticking to it (you would stick the skewer in a chocolate area).

3. Let cool, then lift the brownies up and out using the foil or parchment paper and peel it away/off. Cut the brownies into equal squares.

Makes about 16 brownies, depending on how large or small you cut them.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

What's the Scoop? - No Machine Needed Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

As promised, here is proof that you can make ice cream without a machine! It is very much like soft serve, but I'm sure you could freeze it a little longer and it would firm up more. I just couldn't wait and I wanted to eat it! :)

Here are the progression pics and the recipe is below. Enjoy!

Vanilla Ice Cream

1 cup milk

A pinch of salt

3/4 cups sugar

1 vanilla bean

5 egg yolks

2 cup heavy cream

A few drops of vanilla extract

1. Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a saucepan. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the milk with the tip of a paring knife. Add the bean pod to the milk.

2. Stir together the egg yolks in a bowl and gradually add some of the warmed milk, stirring constantly as you pour. Pour the warmed yolks back into the saucepan.

3. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula. Strain the custard into the heavy cream. Rinse the vanilla bean and put it back into the custard and cream to continue steeping. Chill thoroughly, then remove the vanilla bean and freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturers instructions or follow the directions below to freeze without a maker.

Making Ice Cream Without A Machine

1. Prepare your ice cream mixture, then chill it over an ice bath.

2. Put a deep baking dish, or bowl made of plastic, stainless steel or something durable in the freezer, and pour your custard mixture into it.

3. After forty-five minutes, open the door and check it.

As it starts to freeze near the edges, remove it from the freezer and stir it vigorously with a spatula or whisk. Really beat it up and break up any frozen sections. Return to freezer.

4. Continue to check the mixture every 30 minutes, stirring vigorously as it's freezing. If you have one, you can use a hand-held mixer for best results, or use a stick-blender or hand-held mixer.

But since we're going low-tech here, you can also use just a spatula or a sturdy whisk along with some modest physical effort.

5. Keep checking periodically and stirring while it freezes (by hand or with the electric mixer) until the ice cream is frozen. It will likely take 2-3 hours to be ready.

6. Transfer to a sealed container until ready to use.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

TWD: Tender Shortcakes

Mmmmm... shortcakes! You just can't go wrong with a shortcake. I mean, it's pretty obvious that I love them considering they have their own label on my blog. Okay, so there are only 4 in that category, but they are so fantastic they deserve to have their own place!

While I do have a recipe that I usually use, that doesn't stop me from trying a new one. You never know when you will find something fantastic! Dorie's shortcake doesn't fail. I mean, anything with butter has to be good, right? I loved how it was slightly sweetened but not overly so. I let the berries sit in a little sugar and very, very lightly sweetened the whipped cream. I loved how everything went so well together without being too sugary.

(On a side note, don't judge my whipped cream. :) I turned away for a second to help one of the kids and next thing I know it was overwhipped. Still delicious, but not as smooth as I like for it to be!)

Writing this post is making me want more shortcakes.... Yum, yum, yum!

Thanks to Cathy of The Tortefeasor for hosting this week. The recipe can be found at her blog!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Southwest Steak and Pasta Salad

To me, this is a perfect summer meal. It has all the makings of a big heavy dinner, but it is light and yet still filling. Plus, there is minimal use of the stove. Nathan grilled up the steak outside while the kids were swimming in the pool and I boiled the noodles and cut up the veggies inside. Super simple, super delicious, and super summery! FYI... totally great as lunch leftovers the next day!


Southwest Steak and Pasta Salad


2 TBSP mayonnaise
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
2 TBSP olive oil
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper


1 lb flank steak
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp salt


8 oz linguine, cooked and cooled
1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 medium sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 cup corn kernels
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Salad greens

In a large bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients; set aside.

Season steak with chili powder and salt; grill until done. Let rest 10 minutes before slicing.

Add linguine, tomatoes, onion, corn, and cilantro to dressing; mix well. Serve with sliced steak over salad greens.

Giveaway Winner

The winner of the $25 gift certificate to King Arthur Flour is comment #41- Erica! Congrats and I will be emailing you with the gift certificate today!

Thank you so much to all who commented! I appreciate each and every one of you!

Friday, June 4, 2010

My 500th Post!!!! Oh, and a giveaway, too!

Can you believe it? This is my 500th post! When I started this blog almost 2 years ago, it was with the hope that my family and close friends would read it. I NEVER imagined that complete strangers would not only read it, but comment on posts and ENJOY what I was writing/making.

Now here I am, 500 posts later, and still going strong. I absolutely love blogging... almost as much as I love making the food I blog! I plan on continuing for as long as I have readers... so please keep reading! :)

Thank you to all who stop by and take the time to enter my world. I appreciate every single comment and am so grateful for my all of you!

As a thank you, I would like to give a $25 gift certificate to King Arthur Flour to one lucky commenter! I love KA flour. Not only do they have food items for baking, they also carry gadgets and pans. (No, I am not getting anything from them for saying this... I just love them enough to say it on my own!)

You have 3 chances to enter:

#1- Leave a comment. Easy peasy, right? Make sure you enter your email address, though, so that I have a way to contact you if you win!

#2- Become a follower of my blog and leave a seperate comment. If you are already a follower, leave a comment letting me know!

#3- Blog about this giveaway or post on Facebook and leave a comment telling me you did!

Please make sure that each entry has its own comment. If not, it won't be counted. :) The giveaway will end at 9pm EST on Sunday, June 6. I will announce the winner Monday morning.

And, just in case you would like the recipe for the delicious giant cookie you see above, here it is...


Giant Chocolate Chip Cookie

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips, divided

Preheat oven to 350.

Cream butter and sugars; add vanilla and egg. Mix in flour and baking soda just until combined. Mix in 1 cup chocolate chips.

Press dough into 12" pizza pan (make sure it has a lip). Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips and press lightly into dough.

Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Creamy Chicken Penne

Here is another great dinner... quick, easy, delicious! Enjoy!

Creamy Chicken Penne
from Phildelphia Cream Cheese

2 cups penne, uncooked

3/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced

1/2 cup chopped onions

1 TBSP olive oil

1 pkg (6 oz) snow peas

1 small red pepper, chopped

2 tsp minced garlic

2 TBSP butter

1 TBSP flour

1 1/2 cups milk

4 oz cream cheese, cubed

1/2 cup romano cheese (I used parmesan)

1 TBSP finely chopped fresh parsley

Cook pasta; set aside.

Heat oil in skillet and cook chicken until done. Add snow peas, red pepper, and garlic; cook and stir 1 minute. Remove from heat and keep warm.

Melt butter in medium saucepan. Stir in flour until blended. Gradually stir in milk. Bring to a boil; cook until thickened. Add cream cheese, romano, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook 1-2 minutes until cheese is melted.

Mix chicken, pasta, and sauce together. Top with parsley.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

What's the Scoop? - Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

It's June and that means that it is time for me to start my summer feature called "What's the Scoop?"! I have decided to make and post one ice cream recipe a week for the entire summer (June, July, and August). With it already hitting the high 90's here in El Paso, homemade ice cream is a welcomed treat!

For those who might not have an ice cream maker, please don't leave just yet! HERE is a link that will give directions on how to make ice cream without a maker. I had planned on trying it out before now but time got away from me. I do plan on trying it soon and posting about it, but in the meantime I can give you the link and the promise that I will do it at some point this summer!

The first ice cream is one of my favorites... Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream. The base is a slightly tart cheesecake ice cream. For me, it is the perfect balance of tart and sweet. There is cream cheese and sour cream in it and it tastes so much like cheesecake. Add to that crumbled graham cracker crust and a thickened blueberry syrup and you have a fantastic blueberry cheesecake in a bowl!


Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

Bluberry Mixture:
1/2 cup sugar
1 TBSP cornstarch
1/2 cup water
1 1/4 cups blueberries
1 TBSP lemon juice

Graham Cracker Mixture:
2 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 TBSP sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted

Ice Cream:
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups sour cream
12 oz cream cheese
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine blueberry mixture in saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened. Refrigerate until chilled.

Combine graham cracker mixture and pat onto a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned; cool completely. Crumble and set aside.

For ice cream, beat cream cheese until smooth. Slowly add the sugar and then beat in the sour cream followed by the cream.

Add the vanilla extract and lemon juice and mix until thick and smooth. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours.

Freeze in ice cream machine according to machine directions.
Layer ice cream, blueberry mixture, and graham cracker mixture 3 times then swirl with a knife.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


My apologies to Marte of Culinary Delights for not baking along this week. The recipe for White Chocolate Brownies can be found at her blog.

Also, I wanted to apologize for being MIA for the last few days. My grandmother passed away last Thursday and I haven't been in the mood to do much. On top of that, my handsome son turned two on Saturday and we had family in town for his birthday. Needless to say, blogging and commenting fell by the wayside (as it should be... family comes first!)

Luckily I already had my SMS post scheduled or that wouldn't have been posted, either. I am going to try and get through my google reader which is now over 250 posts but to be honest, I may just mark it as read and avoid the stress of clearing it out.

I hope everyone is well and had a good weekend. See you tomorrow with some food!

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