Tag: dessert

Favorite Things Week – VPK School Lunch (and Chocolate Cake!)

This is my big boy’s last week of VPK. Sniff. I don’t know where the time has gone. I literally only blinked, and his entirely VPK year has come and gone. To help him celebrate his last three days of school, I decided to pack some of his favorite things.

For tomorrow:

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I packed a PB&J. This kid loves his PB&J’s. I also packed corn (his favorite vegetable), a yogurt squeeze (he always wants one), and a teeny slice of super sprinkled homemade chocolate cake for dessert.

Speaking of chocolate cake…

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…oh, yes boy.

Today was my last Mommy church group meeting for this school year, and I made a one-bowl frosted chocolate cake to take with me. I made sure to save some for my boys. They always ask me to save them special treats when I make them for get-togethers.

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I’ve used this recipe a dozen times before. It’s very quick to throw together. I almost always have the ingredients, as well.

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Who could resist such an easy recipe?

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It’s fudgy, not-too-rich, chocolatey, and super moist.

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I covered it with a ton of fun sprinkles.

Do it.

One Bowl Chocolate Cake

recipe adapted from: Six Sister’s Stuff

2 C AP flour
2 C sugar
1/2 C baking cocoa (I used 1/4 C of dark chocolate cocoa, 1/4 C regular)
2 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 C vegetable or canola oil
1 C buttermilk (you can easily make your own with milk and vinegar)
2 eggs
1 C hot water

Frosting:

1/2 C butter, softened
1/4 C milk
1 1/2 t vanilla extract
3 T cocoa powder (I used a mix of dark and regular, again)
3 C powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13″ pan.

In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Mix in the oil, buttermilk, and eggs. Pour in the water and mix well. It will be runny and that is okay.

Pour batter into pan. Bake for 33-38 minutes or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean. Mine was done at 35 minutes.

Once completely cooled, frost.

To make frosting, mix all the ingredients together. Add more powdered sugar or milk, as needed.

I hope you enjoy it!

Kristin

Crepe VPK & Mom’s Morning Out Lunches

When I was in high school, I went to France with my parents. While I appreciated it as much as any snotty-nosed punk high school girl who was away from her boyfriend would (aka not as much as I would now), it was an amazing trip. I saw priceless art that I may never have the opportunity to see again, I stood in the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles, I saw king’s castles, I did loads of shopping (I brought back clothes that wouldn’t even be in style in the States for over six months – sure, many of my classmates laughed at the styles then, but they appreciated it later), I went to a high fashion show, and I ate. Lots of good food, including many delicious crepes – some filled with ham, broccoli, and cheese, and some with Nutella and raspberries. All of them delicious, wrapped up in a cone shape, still steaming in the Paris air.

When I found a crepe recipe in my 100 Days of Real Food cookbook, it brought me back to that fab trip to Paris. While I had never made a crepe before, I thought it would be “similar” to pancakes. Boy, was I “wrong” (I feel like Joey on Friends, using his air quotes incorrectly). After many tries, I was able to make 3 decent crepes that would suffice for my boys’ school lunches (the recipe makes 16-18 thin crepes). Practice makes perfect, right?

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For my Bigs, I packed two crepes, some maple syrup, and some raspberry jam for dipping. I also packed a mandarin orange, blueberries, a few cinnamon apple sticks from Trader Joe’s, and a yogurt squeeze.

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My Smalls requested peanut butter for dipping, so I packed that and one crepe. I also packed blueberries (he likes those now), raisins, and a few cinnamon apple straws. He will have peanuts and applesauce for snack.

Here is the link to the recipe. I added almond extract.

http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2010/08/16/recipe-crepes-for-breakfast-or-dessert/

Au revoir,

Kristin

Pretty on the Outside

Upon reading this title, you may think this post has to do with something deep, profound, even. And I can get like that. I’m a deep thinker, that’s for sure. But this isn’t about anything like that. It’s about food. That’s pretty. On the outside. And not so much on the inside. Well, technically, the inside was pretty, too, but it didn’t taste pretty. The only way “pretty” can be used to describe this dessert was “pretty bad”, to be honest. So bad, that I am not even going to share the recipe with you. But I love how it looked, so I am going to share that. Just the looks. The pretty outside.

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Before this, I had never made a jelly-roll cake before. I had always wanted to. And it was a fun one to make. I am going to keep making them until I get one right. You know, for the sake of research. So, stayed tuned for that. “That” being future successful jelly-roll cakes (fingers crossed).

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See how pretty this came out? Such a tragedy about the taste. Despite following this particular recipe exactly, it came out very eggy. Not in a good way. There is a time and a place for eggs, and a beautiful jelly-roll cake is not one of those times, despite what you may have heard. Or not heard, in this cake (my fingers wanted to type “cake” and not “case”, and so how can I deny them that? leaving it.).

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Luckily, I had made it to take to a girls’ night in and it was eaten by friends, very polite friends, who told me it was good even if it did taste eggy. Bless. Bless them. Bless me. Bless my egg roll. And bless my kids, who thought it was great (but, also, my two year old licks floors and chair seats, so his tastes can’t really be complimented).

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So, see? Not everything that looks like a pretty little package on the outside has a matching inside. That’s as deep as I can go with this.

Not everyone is ready for this jelly.

Kristin

Cookies for Santa (and Mrs. Claus!)

Christmas is almost here! Do you know what you’ll be putting out for Santa to enjoy? I’ve got two very easy recipe for you, should you need them (and don’t we all need extra cookies recipes in our repertoire?).

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The first cookie could not be any easier! I’m sure you’ve tried these at least once in your life. They are no-bake chocolate, oatmeal, and peanut butter cookies. The best of everything!

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

2 C sugar

4 T cocoa (using dark cocoa really changes the flavor and makes them so decadent!)

1/2 C butter (1 stick)

1/2 C milk (I used coconut milk)

1 C peanut butter

1 T vanilla

3 C oatmeal

Bring sugar, cocoa, butter, and milk to a boil. Let it boil for about 1 minute. Add peanut butter, vanilla, and oatmeal. Drop spoonfuls onto a prepared sheet pan (waxed paper or Silpat). Let them cool and harden (you can do this in the refrigerator).

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They are as equally good freshly plopped onto the pan…

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…as they are from the refrigerator or freezer.

The second cookie is not as easy, because it is a baked cookie, but is equally delicious and completely customizable.

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They are a basic brown sugar cookie with chocolate chips, M&M’s, and sprinkles. All in Christmas colors! I think Santa will be back for seconds (if you ask me, and I would know, wink wink).

Santa’s Chocolate Chip, M&M’s, and Sprinkle Cookies

Recipe adapted from: “Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie”, www.dinnersdishesanddesserts.com

3/4 C softened butter

3/4 C brown sugar

1/4 C sugar

1 egg

2 t vanilla

1 T vanilla bean paste

2 C flour

2 t cornstarch

1 t baking soda

1/2 t salt

1 C chocolate chips

3/4 C M&M’s (I picked out the red and green ones)

1/4 C sprinkles (I used Christmas colors)

Cream butter and both sugars together, until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg, vanilla, and vanilla bean paste. Add flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt. Mix until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips, M&M’s, and sprinkles.

Chill the dough for 30 minutes. I covered it, and left it in the fridge overnight. I had to let it thaw a bit before baking. Chilling the dough makes for a thicker cookie.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Scoop out dough. I rolled mine into balls. Bake for 9-10 minutes or until golden brown. Let them cool on the sheet pan for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

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These were just a really fun take on the classic chocolate chip cookie, which goes over well with almost everyone I know. And to be honest, I’m not sure I want to know you if a chocolate chip cookie doesn’t go over well with you. #nooffense #moreforme

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My boys loved helping with these, especially knowing that “Santa” would be enjoying them (and indeed SHE will). They dumped in all the chocolate and sprinkles.

Enjoy! Only a few days left to get your baking on!

Kristin (aka Mrs. Claus, aka Cookie Queen)

Snowman Cupcakes

What a sweet week it’s been! And it’s not over yet. I’ve got more baking to do. So far this week, I’ve made Christmas Crack Candy, Christmas Chocolate Cake, Christmas Tree Brownies, and lastly, for now, Snowman Cupcakes!

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I took the semi-homemade route, again, this time. So, these were pretty easy. Sort of. I’ll get to that. But if you plan to make them, they will be easy.

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Aren’t they darling? I was in charge of dessert for my Bigs’ class’ birthday party for Jesus today. I thought about going the Jesus/religious symbol route when it came to decorating, but I was nervous about the kids having to eat Baby Jesus. It could go all kinds of wrong. I’ve seen some cute Jesus decorations, but knowing me, I’d make a disaster out of it.

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So, I decided on snowmen.

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I like the way they came out. I really enjoyed making these.

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And just like real snowmen, they each have their own little personalities*.

*decorating inconsistencies

These cheerful cupcakes were delicate and had a soft crumb, were rich in chocolate flavor (thanks boxed mix!), and covered in a delicious, fluffy, marshmallow-y frosting. The crushed peppermint added a refreshing, festive flavor. These were a hit!

Snowman Cupcakes

1 box of your favorite cake mix (or one batch of homemade) – I used chocolate

ingredients used to make cupcakes

silver cupcake wrappers (other Christmassy ones would be cute too)

1 batch of 7 Minute Frosting (recipe below)

candy canes, crushed (I crushed up 12, but didn’t need it all)

Wilton Icing Decorations, snowman variety

Follow the directions on your cake mix box and bake cupcakes, as directed. Let them cool completely. You can expedite this process by placing the cupcakes in the freezer or refrigerator.

While those are cooling, make your 7 Minute Frosting (recipe, directions, and a short story below). I iced the cupcakes using a swirled effect, to make them look peppermint-y. If you want to do that, you’ll need to paint a stripe of food coloring (I used Americolor Red gel) on the inside of your icing bag, before filling it with the frosting.

Once the cupcakes were iced with the swirled frosting, I sprinkled them with the crushed candy canes, and placed one of the Wilton Icing Decorations on top.

I ended up making the frosting twice.

7 Minute Frosting – Recipe #1

Source: Paula Deen, Food Network.com

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar or 1 tablespoon white corn syrup (I used white corn syrup)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup water
2 egg whites
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Place sugar, cream of tartar or corn syrup, salt, water, and egg whites in the top of a double boiler. Beat with a handheld electric mixer for 1 minute. Place pan over boiling water, being sure that boiling water does not touch the bottom of the top pan. (If this happens, it could cause your frosting to become grainy). Beat constantly on high speed with electric mixer for 7 minutes. Beat in vanilla.
I have made this dozens of times before, and it’s always turned out beautifully, but ran into a problem this time. I used the white corn syrup, while I usually use the cream of tartar. I had both on hand, so I’m not sure why I chose the syrup. Anyways, it didn’t set up and the sugar didn’t fully melt. It was a grainy, soupy mess. And I know that my boiling water wasn’t touching the bottom of the glass bowl on my double boiler. Ohhhh wellllll.
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I tried a different recipe for the second batch. I actually used a recipe I hadn’t used before and it worked out perfectly.
Fluffy White Frosting – Recipe #2
Source: allrecipes.com
1 C white sugar
1/3 C water
1/4 t cream of tartar
2 egg whites
1 t vanilla extract

In a saucepan, stir together the sugar, water and cream of tartar. Cook over medium-high heat until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is bubbly.

 

In a medium mixing bowl, whip the egg whites and vanilla to soft peaks. Gradually add the sugar mixture while whipping constantly until stiff peaks form, about 7 to 10 minutes.
I’m sure that either one you choose will work out fine. I’d stick with the cream of tartar though. That one always works for me. #nowiknow #lessonlearned #themoreyouknow
Since I only needed a dozen cupcakes, I had a little fun with my leftover batter.
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I baked a mini chocolate bundt cake. Then, I filled the hole with the red swirled marshmallow frosting (the good batch), sprinkled crushed peppermints on top, took a few pictures of it, then ate it, off of my “Cookies for Santa” plate. It was good. I had to test my product before it left my kitchen. Bakers and Chefs, you know this. It’s an important part of the process. I did this for you.
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I happen to know that Santa loves his (or her) cookies, but would not turn down this sweet little bundt cake, if you left it out for him (or her).
Blessings!
Kristin

Christmas Tree Brownies

As you may (or may not) know, I’ve been a baking fool this week (in my defense, a “fool” isn’t all bad! for you non-Anglophiles out there, it’s also an English dessert made from a mixture of pureed fruit that has been folded into whipped cream.). I’ve made something each day and I’m so excited about these next two (SUPER easy!) recipes that I’m going to be sharing with you all!

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Today’s recipe is not only stupidly easy, but adorable. It might be my favorite. It’s SO cute. I also love that this recipe can be changed around, so easily, for any kind of color scheme you want, or even just to use the decorating supplies you have on hand (I happen to be a decorating hoarder).

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Christmas Tree Brownies

1 box of brownie mix (or one batch of your favorite homemade recipe)

1 packet of green cookie decorating icing

1 packet of white Wilton Candy Melts (mine had sprinkles in them, a bonus for these!)

various sprinkles (I used multi colored nonpareils and star shaped sprinkles)

1 13×9 pan

Christmas tree shaped cookie cutter

Prepare your brownie mix as directed and pour into a greased 13×9 pan. Bake as directed. I baked for a little bit less time because my pan was very shallow. Let it cool completely, once baked.

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Place waxed paper on your counter top, under your cooling rack. Use your cookie cutter to cut out the desired amount of trees. Mine made 11 trees, with lots of scraps (you know, for snacking or whatever). Place on top of the cooling rack. Use your green cookie icing to make stripes on your trees. There is no wrong way to do this! Repeat with your Candy Melts (I melted mine in the microwave in a microwave safe bowl, using 30 second increments, until fully melted). The Candy Melts look like fresh-fallen snow on these beautiful trees. Add your sprinkles in any pattern (or none at all!) that you wish. When I added the star atop the tree, I first added a small dollop of the green icing, to act as glue.

Place in the fridge and package up, if desired.

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These came out SO cute and I think my Bigs’ classmates will really enjoy them.

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I hope you give these a try! Enjoy!

Kristin

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…cake!

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So, I told you I made cake. Remember that? I’m sure you do. I mean, if you told me that you made a cake, I would not forget. Cake isn’t a flippant thought in my mind. Anywhoooo…

Isn’t this a sight to behold? A thing of beauty? A real looker? I used one of my two go-to chocolate cake recipes, this one being the one-bowl selection. To decorate, I chopped up those magical Ferrero Rocher candies (I used a pack of twelve, four each of three flavors, for this 9×13 sized cake). I distributed those around the edge of this beast and sprinkled some Christmas nonpareils on top.

wpid-20141209_134643.jpgSure, my butter wasn’t fully softened and left little chunks in the frosting. Can’t win them all. But hey, when were chunks of rich, creamy butter a bad thing, in a rich, creamy chocolate frosting? Maybe you CAN win them all.

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This cake is incredibly moist and the frosting equally smooth. It’s a winning combo, especially with the addition of Ferrero Rocher chocolates. I realize this sounds like a sponsored ad, but it isn’t. Although, Ferrero Rocher, if you’re listening, I’m up for sponsorship. #pleasesponsorme #anyone #anyone? My Bible study ladies seemed to really enjoy it. I know I did!

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I mean, lookee.

Here’s the original recipe:

http://www.sixsistersstuff.com/2013/06/one-bowl-chocolate-cake-made-from-scratch.html

And the frosting recipe:

http://myrecipemagic.com/recipe/recipedetail/moms-chocolate-frosting-the-best-frosting-recipe

I also made lunches for my boys (obvi).

For my Bigs:

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It’s a wreath-shaped PB&J and a teeny little gingerbread-shaped PB&J. I also packed colby jack cheese, a few pretzels, half a mandarin orange, a few apple slices, and some of that freaking good cake. I promised my Bigs that I’d try to save him a piece. He’ll be so happy to have it. I also sprinkled on a few red, green, and white chocolate covered sunflower seeds just because. Unfortunately, he got sick in the middle of the night, so he’ll be enjoying this from home today. (if you think of it, say a little prayer for his recovery? he’s got a Christmas performance at school tomorrow that I know he’d really be sad to miss being a part of – thank you!)

And for my Smalls:

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For him, I packed a PB&J in the shaped of a little tree and a little gingerbread boy (which I’ve ruined with a big ol’ face, but he won’t notice), colby jack cheese, apple slices, half a mandarin orange, honey-roasted peanuts, and a few of the chocolate covered sunflower seeds for his little dessert.

Many blessings to you!

Kristin

Ice Cream Cone Cornucopias

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Boy, have I got a fun thing for you to try! If you’re looking for a sweet Thanksgiving treat for kids or even for place settings at the kid table (although I don’t know any adults who would turn this down), then you’ve come to the right place.

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I’m here to show you Ice Cream Cone Cornucopias! Filled! With popcorn! And M&M’s!!! I came across this idea on Pinterest when looking for Thanksgiving feast desserts for my Bigs’ VPK class. They looked super easy and I have a friend who has made them and she also said they were easy.

As oft happens in my kitchen adventures…

…(to me) easy they were not. The directions call for soaking the bottoms of sugar cones in warm water for 20 seconds, microwaving the cones for 20 seconds, and bending the bottoms around a pencil (or the like) for 20 seconds. Sounds easy enough, right? I was glad I purchased two packs (of 12 cones) even though I only needed 12. I ended up using every last one (I destroyed ate mucked up about 12). So. My recommendation to you, is to A) buy more than you need just in case and B) soak the cones for longer than 20 seconds (I’d say upwards of 45).

Or, maybe it will all work perfectly for you, as it’s supposed to. 🙂 I tend to muck things up a bit.

I had to let mine dry for a few hours, due to the massive bath they took during the earlier process. Once they were dried, they looked so cute. I wanted to fill them with popcorn, M&M’s, AND pretzels (a la Charlie Brown Thanksgiving), but I only had room for the popcorn and M&M’s. And I think it came out perfectly and the pretzels weren’t even needed. I hope the kids love them.

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Here is the original post, detailing the process:

http://thecraftpatch.blogspot.com/2011/11/thanksgiving-cornucopia-treats.html#.VG6ZjY-OOrA

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Blessings!

Kristin

It’s the end of the week as we know it (and I feel fiiiine)

It’s in your head now. Right? You’re welcome. R.E.M. rocks! Do people say “rocks” anymore? Do young people say “rocks” anymore? I wouldn’t know.

So, the end of the week is here (yay). It’s been such a crazy week. I haven’t even had a second. But now I do. So, I’m taking my second to show you food.

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Bigs’ Wednesday lunch was a breakfast theme! I packed a pancake “sandwich”, made with two gluten and dairy free pancakes, peanut butter, and honey. I also packed one slice of turkey bacon, cut up, some assorted raisins (Trader Joe’s big bag of assorted raisins ROCKS [#cantstopwontstop #imold]), a colby jack cheese slice, an orange, and granola (Trader Joe’s again).

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Bigs’ Thursday lunch was another turkey lunch (this time with ham and cheese!). I used my Food Writers and a turkey cookie cutter to make him so cute (if I can say so myself). His hay bale is crusts. I also packed grapes and applesauce. Bigs told me he was “staaaaarving” after eating this, so I made sure to pack more tonight for Friday’s lunch.

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So. For Bigs’ lunch tomorrow (Friday), I was sure to pack more food. I went with a Fallish squirrel theme. I made a ham and cheese sandwich, shaped like a squirrel. I used my Food Writers for his eye detail and cut out a little piece of fruit leather in the shape of an acorn. I also packed pretzels, seasoned corn, grapes and pineapple, an organic yogurt squeezy thing, and Trader Joe’s ginger cookies for dessert.

He’s going to go nuts! Get it? I love a pun.

And for my Smalls’ lunch today, I packed a Mickey Mouse(ish) lunch. And to prove it, here’s a blurry picture:

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Three baby Mickey Mouse shaped PB&J’s, some organic Trader Joe’s PB crackers, grapes, and TJ’s school house letter cookies. He ate all the grapes this time!

I also made Thanksgiving this week! I don’t think you can have it enough. I made a meal for a friend and doubled so my family could enjoy it too!

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I can’t wait for the REAL Thanksgiving! It’s going to be the bomb! (Do they say “bomb” anymore? Or is that done-zo?) For us, I made gluten free Turkey and Sage Meatballs.

Turkey and Sage Meatballs

1 lb (ish) ground turkey

1/2 C gluten free breadcrumbs

1 egg

S&P

1 1/2 t of ground sage or poultry seasoning

Mix together, roll into balls, place on greased pan, bake for 30 – 45 minutes (depending on size of meatballs) at 350F.

I covered our meatballs with a homemade cranberry orange sauce.

Cranberry Orange Sauce

1 C fresh or frozen cranberries

1/4 C frozen orange concentrate

1/3 C water

1 T sugar

1 packet of plain (unflavored) gelatin

Place all ingredients, except for gelatin, in saucepan. Bring to a boil. Whisk in the gelatin and simmer until thick.

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Roasted turkey breast for my friend. I seasoned it with S&P, garlic powder, onion powder, poultry seasoning, and olive oil. I roasted it according to directions.

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I made green bean casserole, all of which I could have eaten by myself. I love it.

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I made sweet potato casserole. I didn’t have marshmallows, but I DID have marshmallow fluff. And being the resourceful woman that I am, I swirled that ooey gooey fluffy goodness around in the sweet potatoes and it came out just fine.

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I made cheesy corn and cornbread casserole.

http://jareskepinterestrecipes.wordpress.com/2012/12/29/corn-casserole/

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I made my first ever pumpkin pie (weird that it’s my first!). I used a basic recipe. And I overdid it. But I love my friend, she didn’t even care.

And lastly, I made an old fashioned Cranberry Fluff Salad. I took a picture, but it looked awful. Like bad awful. But it was good. SO good. I am on the molded and gelatin based salad train. Doesn’t that sound like a gross train to be on? It’s not. It’s amazing. If you like that sort of stuff. Which I do. I DID have to change the recipe, due to my lack of marshmallows. Again, I used the fluff. I thought it might work since that IS one of the names in the recipe. And it DID work, maybe not as successfully as marshmallows would have, but it was still really good!

http://www.mybakingaddiction.com/cranberry-fluff/

Do it. That could be your Thanksgiving, right there.

Have a BLESSED end to your week! We are ending our week right with our church/school’s Fall Festival tomorrow night! It’s going to rock!!

Blessings,

Kristin

Soft Pumpkin Ginger Cookies

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It’s just about that time of year where we make loads of cookies and share them, in hopes that our friends will do the same. to spread joy. I’ve already been thinking about what I want to do this year. As per the usual, I am early (I sort of always am, when it comes to food planning, except for dinner planning – I don’t do that, to my dinner demise). I don’t normally like to make more than three kinds of cookies. It becomes overwhelming, especially when I have so many people, with whom I like to share.

I’ve been trying cookies ALLLLL YEARRRR LONNNNG, you know, for research and all. I’ll be sharing my favorite recipes with you.

Yesterday, I made these little beauties.

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I LOVE pumpkin and I LOVE ginger, especially in the form of a soft ginger cookie. These are the best of both – Soft Pumpkin Ginger Cookies.

They screamed my name from the second I found them.

I, naturally, ran out of sugar halfway during my rolling of the balls (at least I had enough for the cookies, themselves!), so I used raw sugar to roll. I actually ended up liking those even more. They were sparkly. These would make such beautiful food gifts this upcoming holiday season. And they are delicious – soft, crunchy from the sugar, full of pumpkin flavor and warmth from spices.

Make them.

http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/pumpkin-gingersnap-cookies/

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Imma go eat one or ten right now.

Kristin