Saturday, March 24, 2012

A Cookie for Every Season

Sunshine Cookies...
http://glorioustreats.blogspot.com/p/cookie-decorating.html

The sugar cookie has got to be one of the most versatile cookie around.  You can create a million shapes with wonderful cookie cutters.  This cookie is not just for Christmas anymore... This year our family will be celebrating a new baby, a wedding, and a graduation.  Decorated sugar cookies are always a nice addition for showers and parties.  Of course Pinterest has many pictures and links to great ideas for sugar cookies.  The trick to a good sugar cookie, however, is a good recipe.  I've tried many different recipes and found the one I've posted below to be the best.  I found it on Allrecipes.com submitted by Jill Saunders.  It's a crisp cookie with lots of flavor.  It rolls out great and when baked holds it's shape.  I hope you will enjoy this recipe.  Also, don't forget to check out Pinterest and my board "The Cookie Shoppe"
http://pinterest.com/hoffy6675/the-cookie-shoppe/
for lots of great blogs to find very cute designs...

Eastertime!

Baby Shower Cookies...
http://www.flickr.com/photos/50612107@N07/galleries/72157624260846358

Tulips...

A little birdie told me...

Graduation 2012...

Candy shaped cookies...

Lots of wonderful designs and as we all know....everyone "loves" frosted sugar cookies!

The Best Rolled Sugar Cookie Recipe
Submitted by Jill Saunders

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups butter, softened                                 5 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar                                     2 tsps. baking powder  
4 eggs                                                           1 tsp. salt  
1 tsp. vanilla extract                                                                  
Directions:
1.  In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).
2.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.  Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
3. Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely before frosting.

Enjoy!!!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Dessert Pizza




From our friends at Pampered Chef... this is a quick dessert that the kids just love.  Using packaged sugar cookie dough and adding cream cheese and strawberries makes this quick and fun!

Ingredients:
1 package (18 ounces) refrigerated sugar cookie dough
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
4 cups assored fresh fruit such as sliced strawberries, kiwi, bananas or peaches; blueberries or raspberries

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degress.  For crust shape cookie dough into a ball. Place dough in center of medium round stone with handles; flatten slightly with palm of hand. Using lightly floured baker's roller, roll out dough to 12 inch circle, about1/4 inch thick. Bake 18-20 minutes or until light golden brown, cool 10 minutes. Carefully loosen cookie from stone using bread knife.  Cool completely.  For topping, combine cream cheese and sugar in Small Batter Bowl; mix well. Spread mixture evenly over top of cookie. Slice strawberries, peeled kiwi, or bananas using Egg Slicer Plus® slice peaches using Paring Knife. Arrange fruit over cream cheese mixture. Refrigerate. Cut into 16 wedges with Pizza Cutter. Serve using Mini-Serving Spatula.     Yield: 16 servings.

Enjoy!!!


Chocolate-Raspberry Tart


What a creation!  Chocolate and raspberries... could anything be more delightful!

Ingredients
  • Crust:
    28 cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, at room temperature
  • Filling:
    1 box (3 ounces) devils food or chocolate instant pudding and pie filling
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup cold milk
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons creme de cacao
  • 48 raspberries, rinsed

Directions

Crust:
1. In food processor, crush cookies until no white filling remains visible. Add butter; pulse until blended and crumbs begin to stick together. Transfer to rectangular 14 x 4 x 1-1/4-inch tart pan with removable bottom (see note); press up sides and over bottom to form 1/4-inch-thick crust. Refrigerate.
Filling:
2. In large bowl, whisk pudding mix and cocoa powder. In small bowl, whisk milk, 1/3 cup sour cream and creme de cacao. Add milk mixture to pudding mixture; beat on low until just moistened. Increase speed to medium-high; beat 2 minutes (consistency of frosting). Scrape into tart shell; spread level. Refrigerate 1 hour. (Recipe may be prepared up to this point, covered in plastic wrap and refrigerated for 4 hours or overnight.)
3. Gently spread the remaining 1/3 cup sour cream over the filling. Arrange raspberries over the top. Serve immediately.

Note14 x 4 x 1-1/4-inch tart pan available from Wilton, 800-794-5866 or www.wilton.com


Strawberry-Chocolate Tart


This is a not only beautiful to look at, but wonderful to eat...
Ingredients
  • Crust:
    14 chocolate cream-filled sandwich cookies
  • 3/4 cup pecans, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Filling:
    1/2 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 8 ounces white baking chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups strawberries
  • Garnish:
    White chocolate curls
  • Fresh mint sprigs

Directions

Crust:
1. In food processor, finely chop together cookies and pecans. Add melted butter; pulse until crumbs begin to hold together. Press mixture over bottom and up sides of 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Refrigerate while preparing filling.
Filling:
2. Sprinkle gelatin over cream in small bowl. Let stand until gelatin is softened, about 5 minutes. With electric mixer, beat cream cheese in medium-size bowl until smooth. Add cream-gelatin mixture; beat just until smooth. Transfer to small saucepan. Add white baking chocolate; cook, stirring, over medium heat until gelatin is dissolved, chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth, about 4 minutes. Pour into tart crust. Refrigerate 1-1/2 hours or until firm, or overnight.
3. Hull strawberries; rinse. Halve some of berries. Remove side of tart pan. Mound berries in center of tart. Garnish with chocolate curls and mint sprigs. Makes 12 servings.  Enjoy!


Orange Glazed Coffee Cake

This coffee cake is incredible.  If you like citrus, you'll love this recipe. 
Ingredients:
  • 1 pkg active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water (105 - 115 degrees)
  • 1/2 cup warm milk (105 - 115 degrees)
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 Tbsp grated orange zest
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • Glaze:
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • Icing:
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 1/2 to 2 Tbsp fresh orange juice
Directions:
In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in warm milk, orange juice, sugar, ricotta, orange zest, salt and egg into yeast mixture. Using a heavy-duty electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and set on low speed, beat 2 cups flour into yeast mixture until a wet dough forms. Beat in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until stiff dough forms. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, 5 to 10 minutes, adding more flour as needed to prevent sticking. Place the dough in a large, greased bowl, turning to coat. Cover loosely with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours. Grease a 10-inch springform pan. Punch down the dough. Turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead for 1 to 2 minutes. Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces. Roll each into a 20-inch-long rope. Braid the ropes together. Coil braided dough in prepared pan; tuck ends under. Cover loosely with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled, about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Brush the dough with glaze. Bake until the top of the cake is golden brown., 25 to 30 minutes. Turn the cake out onto a wire rack to cool slightly. To prepare icing, in a small bowl, stir together confectioners' sugar and orange juice until smooth. Spread icing over warm cake.
Serve warm.


Friday, March 2, 2012

Button Pins

Button Pins


I love to experiment with different mediums.  Because I love to sew, like so many others, I love buttons.  Over the years I have collected a lot of buttons.  You look at them and say what the heck can I do with these little gems.  Well, I also love to wear pins, or as my friends call them "broches"... LOL!!! They always tease me about my "broches"... Anyways, I love them.  I'm not a jewelry person, but love to wear pins.  So these are made from a bunch of buttons I had in my sewing box.  I tried using jewelry glue, but found out that it not only smelled really bad, but it didn't work the way I wanted it to.  About the same time I was making these, my sister-in-law was making bridesmaid bouquets out of buttons for her future daughter-in-law.  She also tried using jewelry glue and found that a glue gun worked much better.  I had to agree.  The glue gun worked perfectly.  I purchased the findings from the internet and now I have a host of button pins that I love to wear.

Button Bouquets



This is very similar to the bouquet that my sister-in-law made.  They were just gorgeous.  Her daughter-in-law had inherited massive amounts of buttons from her grandmother.  So this was a nice way of honoring her grandmother and using those beautiful buttons.



Meal of the Week

Another busy week at work with no time left over to work on my blog. I finally have some time and thought it would be fun to create a "Meal of the Week" post. So here goes....

"Meal of the Week Menu"
Mixed Greens with Parmesan Crisps
Pork Chops with Mushroom Gravy
Smashed Potato Casserole
Fresh Green Beans & Basil
Dessert:  Strawberry No-Bake Cheesecake

Sounds good?  I hope you enjoy the menu that I put together...looks like a lot, but would be a great meal for the family on Sunday afternoon...with hopefully some left-overs for Monday's lunch.

Mixed Greens with Parmesan Crisps


1 cup Kraft 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese
2 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
8 cups baby mixed salad greens
1/2 cup seedless red grapes, halved
1/2 cup Planters Walnut Pieces, toasted
1/2 cup Kraft Light Done Right! Red Wine Vinaigrette Reuced Fat Dressing


HEAT oven to 400°F.
COMBINE cheese and rosemary. Spoon 1 Tbsp. onto baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray; spread to flatten. Repeat to make 16 crisps, allowing 1 inch between each.
BAKE 6 min. or until golden brown, turning after 5 min. Cool on wire rack.
COVER 8 plates with greens; top with grapes, nuts and dressing. Serve with Parmesan crisps.

Pork Chops with Mushroom Gravy

February/March 2007

4 bone-in rib or center-cut pork chops, 3/4 to 1 inch thick
2 tsps. vegetable oil
3 T. unsalted butter
1 lb. white mushrooms, sliced
1 small onion, chopped fine
3 T. all-purpose flour
2 C. chicken broth
2 tsps. minced fresh thyme
1 T. Dijon mustard

  1. Pat chops dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Cook chops until well browned and meat registers 145 degrees, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to plate and tent with foil.
  2. In now-empty skillet, cook butter, mushrooms, onion, and 1/4 tsp. salt, covered, until softened, about 5 minutes. Remove lid and cook until moisture has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle flour over mushrooms and stir to coat. Slowly stir in broth, thyme, and any accumlated pork juices and simmer until gravy has thickened, about 3 minutes. Off heat, stir in mustard and season with salt and pepper.
Smashed Potato Casserole

This is a favorite of mine.  A friend gave me this recipe many years ago and it's a hit every time.

6 large potatoes of your choice
1 3 oz. pkg. cream cheese
1 beaten egg
1 green pepper chopped
1 small onion chopped
1 small package of shredded cheddar cheese

Peel and cut potatoes.  Place in pan, cover with water, add a little salt and cook until tender.  Drain.  Combine pototes and the rest of the ingredients and beat.  Spray a casserole pan with oil and place the potato mixture in casserole.  Bake for about 40 minutes at 350 degrees.  Remove from oven and add the shredded cheddar.  Return to oven for about 15 minutes longer.

Fresh Green Beans & Basil


1/3 cup Kraft Sun Dried Tomato Vinaigrette Dressing
1 lb. fresh green beans, trimmed
1 red onion, sliced
3 T. chopped fresh basil

HEAT dressing in large skillet on medium heat. Add beans and onions; cover.
COOK 5 min. or until beans are crisp-tender.
TOP with basil; cook, covered, 1 min.

Dessert - Strawberry No-Bake Cheesecake-Yummy!


12 Honey Maid Honey Grahams, finely crushed (about 2 cups crumbs)
6 T. margarine, melted
1 cup plus 2 T. sugar, divided
4 pkg. (8 oz. each) Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 cup straberry preserves
2 cups fesh straberries, chopped
1 tub (8 oz.) Cool Whip Whipped Topping, thawed


MIX graham crumbs, margarine and 1/4 cup sugar; press onto bottom of 13x9-inch pan. Refrigerate while preparing filling.
BEAT Neufchatel and 3/4 cup sugar in large bowl with mixer until well blended. Add preserves; mix well. Place strawberries and remaining 2 Tbsp. sugar in small bowl; mash with fork. Stir strawberry mixture and COOL WHIP into cheese mixture. Spoon over crust; cover.
REFRIGERATE 4 hours or until firm. Store in refrigerator.


The nice thing about this menu is that the potatoes and dessert can be made the day before and then all that's left is the salad, pork chops, and green beans to put together.  The chops and beans cook quickly and the salad is a snap to put together.  What a great meal for the weekend when we have a little more time to make something special.  You could also serve this during the week with a little planning.

Enjoy!