A Nice Night at Home

Last night we decided to keep it low key. We rented a move, had cheese fondue, and made a nice big salad.

The salad I had in mind was one from my friend Nemmie -

Ten Restaurant's Signature Chopped Salad.

I had heard so many good things about this from my friends Jules, Amanda, Leslie, and of course Nemmie but there aren't words to describe the taste. It's fabulous. For the recipe and a picture of the salad please go here.

When my dad and step-mom came up she made an awesome cheese fondue. I need to call her and ask for the recipe. Last night however I searched the internet and found a recipe from allrecipes.com. I combined the original recipe with some suggestions from the reader reviews. This was very good. The only thing is I forgot to buy the Sauvignon Blanc, so we just used a Riesling. I think I used a bit too much Riesling but it was still delicious. We almost devoured the entire bowl.

I didn't measure out the exact amounts, just eyeballed it since there were only 2 of us.

Best Formula Three-Cheese Fondue

1 Cup White Wine (Sauvignon Blanc is suggested)
1 1/2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Gruyere cheese - shredded
Sharp Cheddar cheese - shredded
Emmentaler cheese - shredded
1 clove of garlic

Combine the cheese and flour in a bowl.
Rub garlic over inside of fondue pot -or- saute it in the pot
Simmer wine (Since I have an electric fondue pot, I just poured the wine in the pot and let it simmer.)
Add cheese/flour mixture to wine. Stir in a zig-zag motion until cheese is smooth.

We dipped french bread in this but the original recipe also suggest Granny Smith Apples. For the original recipe go here. Just make sure you read through the suggestions if you decide to make this.

THE $250 Cookie....

We've all gotten that email for the Neiman Marcus cookie recipe. I'd never thought much of it until I came across the recipe on line and decided to give them a whirl....

NM Chocolate Cookie

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons instant espresso coffee powder
1-1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips Directions

1.Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Cream the butter with the sugars using an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy (approximately 30 seconds)

2.Beat in the egg and the vanilla extract for another 30 seconds.

3.In a mixing bowl, sift together the dry ingredients and beat into the butter mixture at low speed for about 15 seconds. Stir in the espresso coffee powder and chocolate chips.

4. Using a 1 ounce scoop or a 2 tablespoon measure, drop cookie dough onto a greased cookie sheet about 3 inches apart. Gently press down on the dough with the back of a spoon to spread out into a 2 inch circle. Bake for about 20 minutes* or until nicely browned around the edges. Bake a little longer for a crispier cookie.

Yield: 2 dozen cookies

*Mine baked for about 15 minutes

The hubster and I loved these! The dough is excellent too. :)

Please meet my new friends

Consuela K and Francine Fondue (or Connie and Frannie).

I must have been a good girl this year because Santa brought them for me! I’ve wanted a KA Mixer for a long time. There was one on our wedding registry but, unfortunately we didn’t get it. I didn’t even know about the fondue pot until a few weeks ago when my dad, step-mom, and crew came to visit and brought theirs up. We had a wonderful fondue dinner and the hubs and I loved it and decided we would buy one after Christmas. Luckily, we don’t have to!

I’ve used the Mixer twice now and the fondue pot once (and it’s only been 5 days since Christmas) and they are awesome! It’s amazing how much easier baking has become with Connie.

'Tis the Season

A couple of weeks ago I made PB cookies that I got off the back of the almond bark package. They were such a hit I knew I wanted to make them for Christmas and make the vanilla version with regular Oreos and candy cane. My friend Julia commented that she made them one time using Mint Oreos. I decided that sounded delicious and I knew I had to make them. They were delicious!

Candy Coated Mint Oreos

1 package vanilla almond bark
1 package mint Oreos
Crushed Candy Canes and Sprinkles

Melt almond bark, dip Oreos and place on wax paper to harden. Add crushed candy canes and/or sprinkles if desired.


Perfect for the Weekend

I’ve wanted to make this coffee cake since before Thanksgiving. I had some family come up and stay with us this weekend, so it was the perfect time to make it. I’m not a big fan of coffee cakes but this was pretty good. Everyone else agreed!

Cinnamon-Walnut Coffee Cake
From …and a cookie for dessert

2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 tablespoon orange zest, finely grated (I omitted this)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped

1) Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350. Butter a 9-inch square baking pan (I used an 8 inch square).

2) In a bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed beat together the butter, sour cream, eggs, orange zest, 3/4 cup of the sugar and the vanilla until blended. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and beat on low speed until smooth.

3) In a bowl, stir together the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, the cinnamon and walnuts. Spread half of batter evenly into prepared pan and sprinkle evenly with half of walnut mixture. Top with the remaining batter, spreading it evenly, and sprinkle with the remaining walnut mixture.

4) Bake until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes. Let cool slightly in the pan on a wire rack. Cut into squares and serve warm.

Another S'more Dessert

Yesterday I was lurking on the nest when someone posted a link to her new blog. The first post had some cookie recipes. One that immediately caught my eye was for S’more cookies. Now, nothing beats the chocolaty, sticky goodness of a S’more but, I was pleasantly surprised with the S’more Cupcakes and knew I had to give these cookies a shot. These weren’t difficult to make, just different due to the marshmallows.

S'more Cookies
From Telly's Tasty Tidbits
My changes in italics

1 Stick butter
1 Stick margarine - I didn’t have margarine so I used 2 sticks of softened butter
1 Cup packed brown sugar
½ Cup white sugar
½ Tsp baking soda
2 Eggs
1 Tsp vanilla extract
2 ½ Cups all-purpose flour
1 Cup chocolate chunks
1 Cup crumbled graham crackers (leave some chunks at least ½ inch in size) – I used graham cracker crumbs because I had them on hand.
1 Cup mini marshmallows

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees – use ungreased cookie sheet or parchment paper.

2) In a large mixing bowl beat butter and margarine with mixer on medium-high speed for 30 seconds. Add brown sugar, white sugar and baking soda. Beat until mixture is combined, scrapping sides of bowl occasionally.

3) Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer and stir in the rest. Fold in chocolate chunks, marshmallows and graham crackers.

4) Drop dough by rounded teaspoons 2-inches apart on cookie sheets. Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes or until edges are slightly brown. Transfer to wire rack and let cool.


What it should have looked like....

I was on msn earlier and found a bunch of holiday candy recipes. Two of them were from a cookbook I own and have tried to make before.....

This Toffee, should have looked like this:

This Candy, should have looked like this:

Sad how it doesn't quite turn out that way.


A Christmas Must!

My favorite cookies to eat around Christmas are Gooey Butter Cookies. I absolutely lurve them. Every year my aunt makes them and I usually eat almost the entire batch. :) This year I thought, why wait? I'll make 'em now.

Gooey Butter Cookies

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2)In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter. Stir in the egg and vanilla. Add cake mix, and stir until well blended. Roll into 1inch balls and roll the balls in the confectioners' sugar. Place 1 inch apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet. (next time I make these, I'm going to let the dough chill for a couple hours before putting it on the cookie sheet)

3)Bake for 10 to 13 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove from baking sheets to cool on wire racks.

Simply Tasty

I found this recipe on the back of the Almond Bark package. It is quite tasty, kind of like a Girl Scout Tagalong/PB Pattie (depending on what bakery your GS's get their cookies from). I made a ton so I took some to work and my coworkers just loved them.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

1 Box Ritz Crackers
1 Jar Peanut Butter
1 Package of Chocolate Almond Bark

Put a generous helping of PB between 2 Ritz crackers. Dip in melted chocolate. Place on wax paper to harden. I also added some sprinkles to mine.

I think next week I'm going to dip Oreos into Vanilla Almond Bark and sprinkle crushed Candy Cane on top. Yum!


Fiesta, Fiesta

Last week I came to the conclusion I'm a huge fan of any dish that has corn and black beans in it. I made this last Thursday, Friday for lunch ordered Vegetarian Black Bean Soup, and for dinner had Southwestern Chicken Wraps that had corn and black beans in them.

This recipe is super easy and delicious. All the ingredients are things I usually have on hand and it makes a lot, so there are leftovers. We had this with a packet of Spanish rice and it was a perfect meal. My changes are in italics.

Chicken and Fiesta Cornbread Casserole
from ... and a cookie for dessert

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into bite size pieces
2 Tbsp EVOO
1 package taco seasoning (I have a jar of taco seasoning. I used more than a packet's worth)
2 cans black beans drained & rinsed
1 can ro-tel drained
2 cans Mexican corn drained (I used 2 cans of regular corn)
1 package corn bread with ingredients to make it
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup red bell pepper (I used 1 cup)
1/4 cup green pepper
1/8 cup green chilie peppers
Fresh Cilantro to taste

Heat oven to 350 degrees spray 3 quart dish with cooking spray.Heat EVOO in large skillet over medium heat. Brown chicken until the middle is no longer pink.

Make cornbread according to instructions, then stir in cheese and peppers, and cilantro.

Sprinkle taco seasoning over chicken. Add black beans, Rotel and corn, add more taco seasoning if desired. Mix together then pour into prepared dish. Pour cornbread over the top (Because I added extra peppers, I had to add more milk to the cornbread mixture to thin it out and make it pourable)

Bake for 30 minutes or until the cornbread is golden


To anyone who is trying to limit their sweets, home alone, bored, or just in the mood to make something super easy and delicious.... Dangerous. I found these while blog-stalking one of my favorite blogs a few weeks ago and I made them for a bake sale at work. They were one of the first things that sold out.... YAY! I also made them yesterday when I was stuck at home due to icy roads. I have a feeling I'll be making these peanut butter bars a lot.

Reese's Peanut Butter Bars
from ... and a cookie for dessert

1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter (I used close to 1 1/2 cups)
11 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (I think I used about 1 3/4 cup)

Combine graham cracker crumbs and powdered sugar in a large bowl. Add melted butter and peanut butter; stir to combine.

Press peanut butter mixture into a 9x13" dish. Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave until smooth.

Spread melted chocolate over peanut butter mixture. Refrigerate until firm. Remove from refrigerator and let sit 15 minutes before cutting to avoid cracking.


We had a bake sale at work last Thursday and I decided to make these cookies. They are full of chocolaty goodness and sold out very quickly. (woohooo!) They are a healthier cookie and can be gluten free. These will definitely be making an appearance on Christmas Eve.

Choco-gasm Cookies
from Cara's Cravings
(I forgot to take a picture....)

2 1/4 cups (9 ounces) confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon espresso powder (I used instant coffee)
1 cup (3 ounces) cocoa powder, Dutch-process or natural
3 large egg whites
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Whisk together the sugar, salt, espresso powder, and cocoa. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, stir together the egg whites and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients to the egg whites, and mix at low speed of an electric mixer for 2 minutes.

The batter will seem dry at first, but will become shiny and smooth as it mixes. Cover the bowl, and refrigerate the batter for 3 hours, or up to overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Thoroughly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets. Drop the dough in ping pong-sized balls onto the prepared baking sheets; a tablespoon cookie scoop works well here. (The dough is not like your typical cookie dough, but more like the consistency of store-bought cake frosting. It's sticky, you won't be able to roll it with your hands. A scoop would work really well, but if you don't have one, a rounded tablespoon coated with cooking spray works too.)

Bake the cookies for 12 minutes, reversing the pans (top to bottom, bottom to top) midway through. Remove them from the oven, and cool on the pan for 5 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely.

Yield: fourteen big (3 1⁄2") cookies.