Saturday, December 25, 2010

Early Christmas Presents

Merry Christmas!

We went down to visit my granny in Georgia and some of my aunts and uncles on Thursday. Along with seeing my family, I picked up some great antique/vintage finds from my granny's house. 

I got some jadeite Swedish modern mixing bowls, a set of pastel striped Pyrex bowls, a black sake set that my dad brought back from Japan while he was in the Navy, a depression glass measuring cup, milk glass plates, and a couple of demitasse cups. 

What a wonderful assortment of early Christmas presents!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Bacon Wrapped Christmas Presents

Basically, everyone knows things taste better with bacon. Its a fact of the world. 

So when I saw Deliciously Organic's recipe for bacon-wrapped steak bites, I knew that Jonathan would die if I made them. 


We tried them tonight and they stand up to their simple, but self-explanatory name of goodness.  I just mixed it up and used some of the apple cider vinegar I had on hand and made the batch bigger for our dinner but it worked perfectly. Even though his mom's chocolate pound cake wasn't so fortunate (it had trouble baking for some reason).

We topped of a big Caesar salad with these bad boys and it was just amazing. We are definitely making these again. I think next week. Or tomorrow :) 

For our after-dinner treat, we baked up some Chocolate Andes Mint Cookies from the Novice Chef (from her Ass Friendly section- so they're less guilt-inducing! So many cookies to try, why make tons of just fattening ones?)

These are going to be my go-to chocolate cookies from now on! They are so light- I'm going to make them with Heath Bar pieces next week too! Go try some- they're amazing. And just replace the Andes mints with something else if you're not a fan. 

It was a great day in the kitchen, except my minor burn from the steam that resulted from cooking my acorn squash for today's lunch with Jonathan's family with water in the pan at 400 degrees. Oops! More on the lunch tomorrow- its time to nom!

4 Hours in the Kitchen: what can YOU do?

Bake 4 types of cookies, of course! We went on a little baking spree yesterday morning to buff up our cookie supplies- we chowed through a bunch over the last couple of days. We made our standby gingerbread, dark chocolate cutouts from Martha Stewart, mincemeat pies (not shown- oops), mini-blackberry pies, and some German cookies with poppyseed filling from the recipe on the can's wrapper.

For the blackberry pies, my mom just thawed out some of the blackberries we picked this summer in a colander to keep them from getting mushy, added some vanilla and sugar and cut out circles from pre-made pie crust. We baked it at 400 degrees for maybe 12 minutes- super simple and it would work with a bunch of different fruits! (See where I get my kitchen experimenting from?!)

Cookies GALORE! And my sister made more after I left to go to dinner... yay! More later on my AMAZING dinner recipe- you'll be jealous!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Weekend Cookies

Which one doesn't belong?
I went to visit a friend for a couple days last week and we got the chance to bake her family some cookies. 

I even convinced her to bake a new recipe (she is partial to tried-and-true family recipes) along with her family's chocolate chip cookies. 

We made some fabulous double chocolate mint crunch cookies from the Novice Cook. They turned out more like double chocolate with a teeeeeny bit of mint, but Jonathan said they tasted like thin mints.

Along with getting a little more Christmas shopping done, it was a relaxing time! But I'm glad to be home- more gingerbread to be baked!

How funny is this?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Beer for Dinner

I wanted to surprise my dad and make him some dinner with some of the beer he had in the fridge! So I made up some beef and beer chili from Recipes Every Man Should Know (via Eats Well With Others).

And for the side, because beer bread is just so easy, I made some with this recipe. It smells really great and I'm glad that I found some ways to get my dad his beer in a different form! It was a great dinner and I hope you make some up really soon!

Cookies Galore! (And some REAL food too, of course!)

It so good to be back in the kitchen!

After getting more groceries, I whipped up these orange molasses cookies that I found in Eating Well. They turned out well, especially for cookies that only use oats and whole wheat flour!

Wait until the next day if you didn't really like them- they get sweeter and more molasses-y overnight!

Today, I woke up and made some pumpkin and orange muffins from Recipe Book, a blog that I just started following via Swap-Bot. I'm so excited I started following her because the recipes are all amazing! The muffins are super delicious and have a great orange flavor.  I ran out of brown sugar yesterday, so I substituted sugar with a little molasses, via this tip.

And for lunch, I made some roasted pumpkin-apple soup from Eating Well. Don't even try it- it went down the sink drain.

There were a few problems: I halved the recipe that says it is originally for 12 and it looks like it would barely serve 2 people! So I added 1 more cup of chicken broth to lengthen the soup.

It had pretty much no flavor except from the little chunks of apple that my food processor refused to make smaller. It was not sweet but not savory- just bland. Then, my mom tried to add some spices to make it better, but there was no saving that dish. I guess not every dish can be a winner!

At least I baked some more gingerbread cookies! My family ate up the batch I made 2 days ago! We LOVE gingerbread and this time I made mittens and socks! So cute!

Check back later for what I made for dinner! One hint: it involved beer!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Back in the Kitchen

I'm back! After a week of exams and packing to move out, I'm finally home and back in the kitchen! I actually got back Saturday afternoon, but this is the first time I've had a chance to post some stuff, but I've already started the kitchen take over!

On Sunday, I pulled some of the spiced thumbprint dough that I froze over Thanksgiving and put some strawberry-rhubarb preserves in the middle. DIVINE!
And I made some bacon grilled cheese for the family dinner yesterday with sweet potato fries on the side (I followed a recipe, but I apparently didn't put enough oil on the sweet potatoes so most of them burned before actually "blistering" and getting perfect). But they still tasted good!

And I made myself some delicious gingerbread hot chocolate with gingerbread men for dessert! I just added maybe 1/4 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice (the easy way of measuring gingerbread spices!) into my regular hot chocolate mix that my mom makes. It was delicious! 

I hope your day is wonderful and I'll be posting again more regularly with the recipes that I love to bake and cook! 

Friday, December 3, 2010

Your Eggnog's Too Strong!

Your Eggnog’s Too Strong

If you see a fat man …
Who’s jolly and cute,
wearing a beard
and a red flannel suit,
and if he is chuckling
and laughing away,
while flying around
in a miniature sleigh
with eight tiny reindeer
to pull him along,
then lets face it…

Your eggnog’s too strong!!!

Here are some great recipes that are not just the basic eggnog to spice up your holiday season! Drink and eat up!

Eggnog Cheesecake Bars from Martha Stewart

Eggnog Latte Cupcakes from Judy in her Natural Habitat

Anytime Eggnog from Martha Stewart

Eggnog Thumbprint Cookies from Delightful Dessert

Skinny Eggnog from Skinny Tastes

Maple Eggnog from Seasonal Ontario Food

Peppermint Eggnog from Martha Stewart

Eggnog Mousse from Martha Stewart

Eggnog French Toast from Feasting.In

Do you have a favorite eggnog recipe? Do you even make eggnog as a traditional holiday food? My family really hasn't so I'm curious to hear about other families' holiday food traditions!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Cozy and Warm

Its just about the perfect time for hot chocolate- after Thanksgiving and the Christmas decorations are coming up and tea and coffee just aren't festive enough. Here are some of the recipes on my to-make list for sure this season!

Nutella Hot Chocolate- Nutella ANYTHING peaks my interest!

Toblerone Hot Chocolate

Candy Cane Hot Chocolate

Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate- sounds very "foodie" to me

Gingerbread Hot Chocolate

Do you have any family recipes that are crowd-pleasers? I just imagine having my friends come over, sitting around the fire and drinking hot chocolate. Yum!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Not Just Canned: Cranberry Round-Up

Cranberry sauce that stays in the shape of the can is traditional and all, but lets get out of that rut!

According to Food Reference, cranberries should be stored in an airtight plastic bag and can last up to 2 months in the fridge. Be sure to separate the bad, mushy cranberries from the good ones because the rotting will cause the other berries.

I love fresh cranberries and can't wait to take advantage of their season from October to December, but I feel like cranberries belong between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Here are some of the recipes I have bookmarked to try this season!

Steel Cut Oats with Fresh Cranberries from Meet Me in the Kitchen

Cranberry Bars from Fork Spoon Knife

Cranberry Applesauce from Martha Stewart

Cranberry Liqueur from Savoring Time in the Kitchen

Ginger-Lime Cranberry Sauce from The Gluten-Free Hippie

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread from TBD (The Best Dishes)

Cranberry Pancakes from Martha Stewart

These use dried cranberries or cranberry juice instead of fresh cranberries, but sometimes they are just easier to find!

Cranberry Bliss Bars from Lovin' the Oven