Thursday, August 19, 2010

S'more Thumbprint cookies

Who doesn't like smores? Yummy marshallows covered in chocolate, warmed up, then smashed in a graham. So delicious. My husband brought me this recipe and said "Please make these." Okay let's give it a go . They are really easy to make, and are less messy than an actual smore.

1 Cup butter, softened
1/2 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
1 Egg
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 1/3 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1 Cup Finely Ground Graham Cracker Crumbs (16 squares)
1/8 Teaspoon Salt
120 Mini Marshmallows (about  1 1/4 cup)
60 rectangles Milk Chocolate (from 4 1.55 oz. bars.)

Here we go...
Heat oven to 325 F
In a large bowl, beat butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy.
Add egg and Vanilla; beat until blended.
 After this, blend up the cracker crumbs to make them a fine, almost dust like mix.
Add flour, cracker crumbs, and salt to mix. Beat on low speed, about 1 minute or until stiff dough forms.

Shape dough by heaping teaspoonfuls into 60 balls. On ungreased cookie sheet, place balls 2 inches apart. With thumb, make an indentation at the center of each heap.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until they are firm, and edges are just beginning to brown. The recipes says to press 2 marshmallows in the center. I do 3 (sometimes 4) because 2 is not enough to really get a good marshmallow  taste. Put back in oven and cook for two more minutes.

Top the cookie with 1 rectangle of chocolate. I used Hersheys because they are already in pieces, you can use whichever brand you like.

Let stand on top of the cookie for 2-3 minutes. Then with a knife or spoon, gently spread the chocolate over the top. Let is stand until the chocolate is set. (This may take a few hours. I just lay them aside until they can be safely stacked on top of each other.)

Courtesy of Pillsbury


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Shopping on a budget!

I have a budget. A small budget. A budget where I only shop for clothes if I can afford it budget. I wear my clothes until they shrink to nothing, or I outgrow them. If you're like me, you too have limited funds to spend on overpriced clothing. So, I figured I would tell you where to get some great clothes for a cheap. When I say cheap, I mean good quality cheap, not wear them one time and they fall apart cheap. Let me introduce you to my friend Ross. I know when you hear Ross, you think cheap, last season clothing. Wrongola my friends. Ross has come along way. For instance, last year I walked out of a store, that will remain nameless, with two pairs of jeans and a shirt for 75 dollars. This is pretty normal these days, I know. However, at Ross, I walked out of the store with 7 shirts, and three pairs of jeans, for 100.00. I went 6 months ago and got 3 pairs of capris, 6 shirts and a pair of jeans for 110.00. I think I made my point. I happen to be lucky that my Ross store is right next store to a Payless, which is my other addiction. It makes me very happy. So I put together an outfit that I paired up with some Payless shoes.
Here is the breakdown...
Blue shirt- $7.99
Jeans- $12.95
Silver Sandals- $5.00 (BOGO)
Silver hoop earrings- $3.99
For a grand total of.....
This outfit would have cost $50-60 dollars in other stores. This is why I love the Payless/Ross combination! Take a peek inside next time your out, they have it all!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Chocolate-Banana Empanadas

Today my husband came into the room holding some new recipes that he was very excited about.One of them was a recipe for Chocolate Banana Empanadas. I had never made them before, so I was a bit hesitant at first, but decided, hey, what the heck, right? They seemed pretty easy to make actually, so I figured something was going to go horribly wrong. To my surprise, they were good, and definitely for chocolate lovers. They were a bit much for my taste, but if you love chocolate these are right up your alley.

The recipe is as follows...
Empanada Dough

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup Masa Harina
1 Teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water (for egg wash)
Butter for greasing pans
(Filling recipe is below)

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, masa harina, baking powder, salt. Stir in the melted butter. Gradually add 1/2 cup to 3/4 cups of water, working it in your hands to incorporate; The dough should be easy to handle and not sticky.
Side note: We ended up having to add about a cup of water til the consistency was right, you will  have to play it as needed, when it is too dry it will flake apart very easily!
Form the dough into a ball, wrap it in plastic, and chill for 30 minutes.

While your dough is chilling, you can go ahead and start on the filling for your empanadas. You will need..
4 Large Ripe Bananas
2 tablespoons Sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 ounces semisweet chocolate (broken in small chunks)
Confectioners sugar for dusting.

Mash the bananas, sugar, and cinnamon all together in a mixing bowl until creamy, but not completely smooth-you should still have pieces of banana chunks.  Set aside. Remove dough from fridge.

Lightly flour your rolling pin and counter. Divide the dough in 1/2 so it will be easier to work with and roll it out to 1/8 inch thickness. Using a 4 inch cookie cutter or biscuit cutter, cut out 10 circles of dough, repeat with the other half.
Side Note: Believe it or not, we don't have cookie cutters... I know right?! If you don't have them you can use your measuring cups for templates.

 Spoon about a tablespoon of filling into the center of each pastry circle, leaving a 1/2 inch border.
Place a chunk of chocolate (or as we did, very small bits) onto the top of the bananas.
Side note: Next time around I would recommend mixing the chocolate pieces in with the banana mix individually. Our chocolate sat right on top and it was a bit strong.
Next, brush the edges all around with egg wash, and then fold the dough over in 1/2 to enclose the filling and form a semi-circle.
Seal the edges (above) with a fork. Chill 30 minutes before baking.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place the Empanadas on a buttered baking sheet and brush the tops with egg wash. Using a fork, prick a few holes in the top for steam to escape.
The recipe says to bake for 30 minutes, however, mine went about 23 minutes.
Dust with powdered sugar to desired liking!
  Courtesy of Food Network


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Sooo hot outside!!

I was woken up by my dog Einstein today at 6:30 am.  I got out of bed, shuffled around in a dark room, maneuvering through shoes, gates, and doors. I wearily opened the door to go outside. Normally at that time of the morning it is calm, peaceful, and a little cool. You can hear a few little chirps from the trees, and smell a little of that morning dew. Not today my friends.  For today, even the birds were in the shade somewhere praying that it might rain again. Or hoping someone has a bird bath that is not dried up. I immediately opened up the door, and looked down at my dog thinking, "This better be good."  I hadn't made it 2 inches through the door before my air kicked on screaming!  So I stood out there in little light, thinking to myself that today was definitely a Slurpee day for sure. Then I thought, oh, my blog!  So today, in honor of the summer shenanigans, I ofter you a chilly drink.  It's great for kids and adults. Hopefully it will cool everyone off a little.

Sherbert Punch
1/2 gallon Lime Sherbert
2 qt. bottles 7-Up
1 cup Pineapple juice

Put everything in a bowl and enjoy.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Buttery Jam Tarts!

Baked Goods! Yum!

Okay, so lets start with our baked goods! Last night we tried two new recipes. One was from an old book from the 80's. I honestly can't even remember the name to give it any credit. It was a holiday and cookies cookbook, almost like a joy of cooking type. I had frantically searched through it, before my mom moved out of state, to steal a bunch of recipes that I had loved growing up. This one was a little more than I could handle back when I was a kid, but now that I am older I thought I would give it a try. The recipe..Buttery Jam Tarts. They are yummy kids! I wasn't sure how they were going to turn out, but the end result was delish. They are basically like a shortbread cookie with filling. I almost didn't finish them because I kept eating the batter! I could hear my mom in my head screaming "There's raw egg in there!" Yet I did not care. Once I added the almond extract to it, mmm. It smelled like I had just poured a shot of Ameretto. It smelled so good! So I ate away, wasting dough. Anyway the first batch, was great, although they do not look like a million bucks. I will def. "fork" them out of the cookie sheet next time, so that they look a little more clean.
But here is the recipe for all...

Jam tarts

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup cherry preserves
Sugar for sprinkling

Oven @ 350
Mix all ingredients (except for cherries) in a large mixer, scraping often, until well mixed, for about 3-4 minutes.
Roll half the dough, on well floured surface, to about a 1/8 inch thickness.
Cut out with 2 1/2 inch round cookie cutter. Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Mark a small x in the other half of dough.
Place level teaspoons of cherry filling on cookie, and top with other half. Sprinkle with sugar.
Bake 11-13 minutes, until edges are lightly browned. Cool on wire racks.

My first day!

Hi to all! Today is the first official day of my first blog. Let me start off by saying that I have no idea what I am doing, but here goes. There have been so many people out there who love what I bake! They are always asking me for recipes.  So this will be my new way of sharing all. I will post pics of everything I bake...or attempt to bake, haha.  Some of the things I bake are not always a winner the first time around, so you will be learning with me!

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