Monday, December 9, 2013
I feel like it's been forever since my last Hello Monday post,
so its time to catch up :)
Hello to the best black Friday purchase ever! My first Stihl leaf blower.
We have a ton of leaves, so this baby is my new best friend!
Hello to our baby turning 20 years old.
HOW CAN THIS BE?!?!
Hello to making a peanut butter pie for the birthday girl.
Hello to receiving our first Christmas gift - Harry & David goodies.
Everyone knows not to touch my Moose Munch!
Thanks Aunt Dory!
Hanging out at Nana and Pawpaw's is the best!
Hello yummy Banana Pudding Shooters.
Recipe to come soon.
Hello sweet readers!
What have you been saying hello to?
Wishing you a fabulous week!!
Linking up to Hello Monday with Lisa Leonard.
Sunday, December 8, 2013
The super nice people at McCormick sent the attendees of the Mixed Conference
this box of goodies.
What a happy mail day!
I can't wait to try it all!
Did you know that you can make your own colored sugar by simply adding McCormick
Food Colors to granulated sugar?
How easy is that!
Colored sugars help to brighten any sweet treat, especially cupcakes and cookies.
I decided to make some using the pretty neon food colors that were in my gift box.
Here's how I did it.
Simply add white sugar (I used 1/3 cup) to a Ziploc baggie.
Add 5 or so drops of food coloring to the sugar.
Seal the baggie and knead it gently until the color is evenly distributed.
I found these cute little clear glass jars at the dollar store.
They are perfect for storing my pretty sugars.
I made my favorite sugar cookies (recipe coming soon) and rolled the cookie dough balls into
the colored sugar before I baked them.
Aren't they pretty!
You can customize your own colors depending on your celebration.
These cookie would be perfect for a baby shower.
See how easy that was!
What are you waiting for?
Grab some McCormick Food Colors and make pretty sugars for your holiday cookies!
Thank you McCormick!
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Today I am sharing one of the side dishes I made for Thanksgiving since my sister-in-law and cousin have both requested the recipe. This is the second year I have made this cheesy potato dish - it's definitely a keeper!
I thought about making a sweet potato mash this year, but in the end I opted for the Mixed Potato Gratin once again.
It may just become a new tradition.
I'm sure a mandolin would make slicing the potatoes much easier, but since I do not own one, I went the old fashioned route and used a knife :)
Just make sure all of your slices are the same thickness so that the potatoes cook evenly.
This potato dish is the perfect side any time of year.
Give it a try and let me know what you think.
Mixed Potato Gratin
3 large Russet potatoes
3 large sweet potatoes
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 T minced fresh thyme
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups shredded Gruyère cheese
3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
2 T butter, cut into small pieces
Peel all of the potatoes.
Using a mandolin, food processor or very sharp knife, cut them into 1/8-inch-thick rounds and place them in a bowl.
In another medium sized bowl. combine the cream, garlic and thyme and set aside.
Place 1/2 cup of the shredded gruyere cheese aside to use for the topping.
Spray a 9x9 baking pan with cooking spray and layer the potatoes, alternating colors in 1 even layer. Sprinkle the top of this layer with some salt and pepper, a little bit of gruyere cheese and a little bit of parmesan cheese. Repeat this process until you use up all the potatoes. I had about 4 layers.
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Pour the heavy cream over the mixture once all your layers are done. Sprinkle the top with the remaining gruyere cheese and dot it with butter.
Cover gratin tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 25 minutes longer. Let it set for a few minutes before serving.
Recipe from What's Gaby Cooking
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Last weekend I had the opportunity to attend the Mixed Food Bloggers Conference again,
held at the beautiful Mountain Lake Resort in Pembroke, VA.
(You can read about last years conference here.)
and Susan of Doughmesstic.
There were so many awesome sponsors this year!
I came home with lots of goodies :)
We made our own sugar scrubs in the Dixie Crystals Sugar Suite.
The Chocolate Sugar lip scrub tastes fantastic!
You can find the recipes to make your own here.
McCormick was one of the major sponsors.They taught us so many great tips on flavoring and coloring foods to make them extra special.
How cute are these cookie cups colored and flavored to match your celebration.
This confetti cake was my favorite.
It is SO pretty!
Ombre cakes are very popular right now.
The possibilities are endless!
How adorable is this polka dot cake!
Hazelnut Hot Chocolate on a Stick.
Perfect for holiday parties!
Hershey's made sure we had plenty of sweets on hand!
Reese's, Twizzler's and Kisses, oh my!
We had the opportunity to sample Hershey's new Chocolate Spreads - yummy!
Dole Dippers for movie night.
One of the highlights for me was meeting Alan Richardson and Karen Tack of the book
Hello Cupcake, What's New Cupcake and Cupcakes, Cookies & Pie, Oh My.
They have the best ideas and decorate the cutest cupcakes!
I met so many new friends this year.
This is Kara of Kara In The Kitchen.
Kara was so nice and friendly!
And Courtney of Neighbor Foodie.
Isn't she the cutest!
This is me with Caroline (and little Liam) from Chocolate and Carrots and
Karyn from Pint Sized Baker. Love their blogs!
Love these girls!!
The weekend was a total success!
I met new friends, got some great ideas, ate way too much food and made some great memories!
Sunday, November 24, 2013
I love mini desserts!
They are super cute and since they're so small, you don't have to feel guilty when you try more than one :)
Mini pumpkin pie shooters would be perfect on a Thanksgiving dessert buffet.
A pre-baked pumpkin pie makes them super easy to put together and the maple whipped cream adds just the right amount of sweetness.
You could also make my cheesecake shooters or chocolate eclairs in a jar and have a variety of mini desserts to serve. Everyone would LOVE you!
I serve the dessert shooters in small glass votive holders I find at the Dollar Store.
They're just the right size for mini desserts.
Mini Pumpkin Pie Shooters
1 frozen pumpkin pie, baked, cooled and refrigerated overnight (I use Mrs. Smith's)
maple whipped cream
Layer small slivers of pie, maple whipped cream and toffee bits.
Top with crushed pie crust and toffee bits.
Keep refrigerated until serving time.
Maple Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy cream
2 T cold maple syrup
1 T sugar
1/2 tsp.vanilla extract
For best results, chill mixing bowl and beaters 30 minutes before making whipped cream.
Beat the heavy cream on high until slightly stiff.
Add the maple syrup, sugar and vanilla and whip until it forms soft peaks.
Sunday, November 17, 2013
If you read my blog often, you know how I feel about oatmeal.
I LOVE IT!
Instant, baked or microwave - it all works for me.
Clean eating is important to me and I try to do it as much as possible.
By starting my day with a healthy bowl of oats I am more likely to stick with my plan and make healthy choices the rest of the day.
This oatmeal couldn't be easier to make and it tastes delish!
Ripe banana adds just the right amount of sweetness and makes the oats extra creamy.
Clean Eating Microwave Oatmeal
1 ripe banana
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Slice or mash banana into a microwave safe bowl.
Top banana with oats, milk and cinnamon.
Microwave on high for about 3 minutes (stir oats after 1 1/2 minutes).
Add your favorite toppings.
Mine faves are almond butter, dried fruit, fresh fruit, nuts or shredded coconut.
Here are other ways I enjoy my oats:
Make-ahead Steel Cut Oats
Baked Oatmeal in a Jar
Steel Cut Oats Freezer Pucks
DIY Travel Oatmeal
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Sorry I'm still posting pumpkin recipes, but these muffins are just too good not to!
They combine three of my favorite things in baked goods - pumpkin, toffee bits and chocolate chips!
I decided to make these muffins for a special co-worker's birthday.
She loves pumpkin, so I thought Pumpkin Toffee Chocolate Chip muffins would be perfect for her.
I changed the recipe slightly by using half whole wheat flour and half all-purpose flour.
Just trying to make them a little healthier :)
They were delish!
I've gone a little crazy lately with the buntings, but they make things look so much more festive don't you think?
Pumpkin Toffee Chocolate Chip Muffins
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup toffee bits
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
toffee streusel topping:
3 T all-purpose flour
2 T brown sugar
2 T cold butter
1/4 C toffee bits
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with paper liners.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, spices, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin, sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla. Stir until smooth.
Add dry ingredients to the wet, stirring just until combined.
Fold in toffee bits and mini chocolate chips.
Using a cookie scoop, fill liners 3/4 full.
To make the topping - combine all of the streusel ingredients into a small bowl. Using a fork or your fingers, combine until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle one tablespoon over each unbaked muffin.
Bake muffins for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack.
Makes 12 muffins.
Recipe from Two Peas & Their Pod