Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Blueberry Toasted Coconut Tart

Recipe from Sugar Hero

What you need:

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup toasted coconut
5 oz cold butter (cubed)
1 large egg yolk (room temperature)

Pastry Cream-
2 large egg yolks (room temperature)
1 1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/8 tsp salt
3 TBsp cornstarch 
1 cup toasted coconut
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp coconut extract

3 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup granulated sugar
zest of one lemon
juice of one lemon
1 1/2 TBsp corn starch

How to make it:

Combine the flour, sugar, toasted coconut, and salt in a bowl of a food processor, and pulse until everything is well blended.
Add the cold butter and pulse until it is in small pea-sized pieces.
Add the egg yolk and pulse in long 5 second bursts until the dough starts clumping together.
Turn the dough out of the food processor and knead it lightly several times to incorporate any extra flour.
Spray a 9 inch tart pan with a removable bottom with nonstick cooking spray.
Press the dough into the bottom and sides of the pan in an even layer.
Freeze the shell for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375˚F.
Spray the top of the tart dough with nonstick spray, then press a sheet of foil into the shell, shiny side down and fill the foil with dry beans, rice, or pie weights.
Bake the shell for 20 minutes, until the sides start to take on a little color and the center no longer looks raw, then carefully remove the foil and weights.
Bake for an additional 14-15 minutes, until the shell is golden brown.
Let the shell cool completely before filling it.

Pastry Cream-
Place the egg yolks in a medium bowl and whisk them briefly to break them up.
Combine the milk, sugar, salt, and corn starch in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
Whisk everything together until the sugar and cornstarch dissolve, and continue to whisk while the mixture heats up.
Once it starts to bubble and thicken, remove it from the heat.
Whisk the bowl of egg yolks while slowly streaming in about 1 cup of the hot milk mixture.
Now whisk the milk mixture while you pour the egg yolks into the saucepan.
Return the pan to the heat and continue to cook, whisking constantly until pastry cream thickens and has the texture of pudding.
You may want to occasionally scrape the bottom of the pan with a rubber spatula to prevent any scorching.
Once think, remove the pan from heat.
Stir in the toasted coconut, vanilla extract, and coconut extract.
Let cool to room temperature, whisking occasionally so that the top doesn't form a skin.

Combine 1 cup of fresh blueberries with the sugar and lemon zest in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
Stir occasionally while the sugar melts.
In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and corn starch; when corn starch has dissolved, pour mixture into the blueberry saucepan.
Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, while blueberries come to a simmer, break down, and begin to thicken.
Cook until the mixture has a thick jammy consistency, about 3-4 minutes once it comes to a boil.
Remove the pan from the heat, then whisk occasionally as it cools to room temperature.
Once room temperature, stir in the remaining 2 cups of fresh blueberries.
To assemble, remove the tart shell from the pan.
Spread the chilled pastry cream in the bottom of the shell.
Top with cool blueberry topping mixture.
Chill the tart for about 30 minutes to set all the layers.
Cut into slices, then ENJOY!

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Monday, April 28, 2014

Bailey's Irish Cream Chocolate Cheesecake

Recipe from All Recipes

What you need:

1 1/2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs
1/3 cup confectioner's sugar (sifted)
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (sifted)
1/4 cup unsalted butter (melted)
3 (8oz) packages cream cheese (room temperature)
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 TBsp all purpose flour
3 eggs (room temperature)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup Bailey's Irish Cream liqueur 
Chocolate bar (for garnish)

How to make it:

Preheat oven to 350˚F.
In a large bowl, mix together the cookie crumbs, confectioner's sugar and 1/3 cup cocoa.
Add melted butter and stir until well mixed.
Pat into the bottom of the a 9 inch springform pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes; set aside.
Increase oven temperature to 450˚F.
In a large bowl of an electric mixer, combine cream cheese, white sugar, 1/4 cup cocoa powder, and flour.
Beat at medium speed until well blended and smooth.
Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
Blend in the sour cream and Irish cream liqueur; mixing on low speed.
Pour filling over baked crust.
Bake at 450˚F for 10 minutes.
Reduce oven temperature to 250˚F and continure baking for 60 minutes.
DO NOT open oven door.
Turn off oven leaving cheesecake to cool.
When cooled, put cheesecake on a wire rack to cool completely.
Leave cheesecake in springform pan, place in refrigerator to chill overnight.
To serve, using a knife, loosen cake from rim of pan and take off.
Place on serving platter.
Using a vegetable peeler, make chocolate curls and sprinkle on top of the cheesecake.
Cut into slices then ENJOY!

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Monday, April 21, 2014

So ARTistic

     A while ago, Liam's school put on an Art Show featuring all of the student's masterpieces they have been working on throughout the school year.  Liam was so proud to show off his artwork.

He made a little story to go with one of his pictures.

Kinley loved looking at all of Liam's art too!

Checking out some of the other student's work.

Big smiles with his teacher!

It was a great night and everyone's artwork was amazing!

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Friday, April 18, 2014

French Toast Roll Ups

Recipe from Chocolate Moosey

What you need:

Roll Ups-
16 slices white sandwich bread
1 cup apple butter
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
2 TBsp melted unsalted butter
1 TBsp sugar

Dipping Sauce-
3 oz cream cheese (room temperature)
1/4 cup apple butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar (sifted)
2 Tbsp milk

How to make them:

Preheat oven to 375˚F.
Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or grease REALLY REALLY well. (they WILL stick)
Flatten one slice of bread to about half of its original thickness.
Spread about 1 TBsp of apple butter evenly on top.
Roll up the bread and set aside, seam side down, repeat with remaining bread.
In a bowl, beat together the eggs, mil, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Dip each roll up into the egg mixture, completely covering and shaking off excess.
Place on the baking sheet.
Bake 10 minutes.
Pull out of oven, brush the tops with the melted butter.
Flip them over and brush the bottoms with butter too.
Leave bottom side up and bake another 10 minutes.
In a small bowl, add the sugar and remaining 1/2 tsp cinnamon.
As soon as the roll ups have finished baking, roll each one in the cinnamon sugar mixture.
While roll ups are baking, in a bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese and apple butter until smooth.
Gradually beat in the powdered sugar.
Then add the milk, beat till smooth and creamy.
Serve with dipping sauce (or drizzle the tops with the sauce, that's what I did).

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Chicken Tetrazzini

Adapted from All Recipes

What you need:

1 lb cooked and drained spaghetti
5 chicken breasts (cooked and cubed)
1 cream of onion soup (10.75oz)
1 cream of chicken soup (10.75oz)
2 1/4 cups water
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 cubes chicken bouillon
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

How to make it:

Preheat oven to 350˚F.
Place cooked spaghetti ino a 9x13-inch baking dish.
Place chicken on op of spaghetti.
In a medium saucepan, heat together the soup, water, butter, and bouillon.
Bring to boil, season with salt and pepper to taste.
Then pour over the pasta and chicken.
Sprinkle top with cheese.
Bake for 25 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.
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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Chicken Pot Pie

Adapted from Recipes that Crock

What you need:

32oz chicken broth
2 cans of Cream of Chicken Soup (10 3/4oz cans)
2 cups milk
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cooked and cubed
2 cups frozen peas and carrots (or mixed veggies, that's what I used)
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp pepper
4 TBsp cornstarch
4 TBsp water
1 can of refrigerated biscuits

How to make it:

Put the chicken broth, soup, milk, chicken, veggies, salt, and pepper into a 6-quart crock pot and stir well.
Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours OR high for 3-3 1/2 hours.
Once hot and bubble, remove 4 cups of gravy.
Put the gravy in saucepan over medium-high heat.
Mix the water and cornstarch together.
When the gravy comes to a boil, add the cornstarch and water mixture.
Stir continually until gravy thickens.
When gravy thickens, remove from the heat and pour back into the crock pot.
Preheat oven to 375˚F.
Ladle mixture into small ramekins.
Top ramekins with 1 or 2 raw biscuits smashed together to cover the filling.
Poke a small hole in the biscuit to let the steam vent out while cooking.
Bake the pot pies for about 8 minutes or until tops are golden brown.
Take out of oven and let cool, then ENJOY! 

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

My Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

What you need:

1 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour (sifted)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs (room temperature)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 cups chocolate chips

How to make them:

Preheat oven to 350˚F.
Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a mixing bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter, sugars, and vanilla until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Add eggs one at a time.
Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
Add flour mixture to butter mixture, mix until well blended.
Fold in chocolate chips.
Scoop dough onto prepared cookie sheets.
Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.
Take out of oven let cool on sheet for 2 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Cookies 'n Cream Cookies

Adapted from  Notes From Nessa recipe

What you need:

1 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 package Cookies 'n Cream pudding mix
2 eggs (room temperature) 
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour (sifted)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
10 Oreos (chopped)
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

How to make them:

Preheat oven to 350˚F.
Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Stir in pudding mix, until incorporated.
Add in eggs and vanilla, until well combined.
Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
Add flour mixture to the butter mixture, mix well.
Chop ten Oreos into small pieces.
Add chopped Oreos and white chocolate chips to the dough.
Stir until all ingredients are combined.
Scoop dough onto prepared cookies sheets.
Bake for 7-9 minutes or until slightly brown on top.
Take out of oven and let cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, then ENJOY!

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Chewy Biscoff Cookies

Adapted from The Smart Cookie Cook recipe

What you need:

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour (sifted)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
8 TBsp unsalted butter (room temperature)
3/4 cup creamy Biscoff Cookie Spread
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg (room temperature)
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 Biscoff Cookies 

How to make them:

Preheat oven to 350˚F.
Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt, set aside.
In a bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter, Biscoff spread, and brown sugar.
Mix in the egg and vanilla.
Add the flour in thirds, mix until smooth.
Scoop dough and place on prepared baking sheets.
Press down scoopfuls a little to flatten.
In a large Ziploc bag, place the Biscoff cookies and using a rolling pin, crush the cookies until they are finely crushed. 
Sprinkle some of the crushed cookies on top of the dough cookies.
Bake for 10 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking time.
Cool the cookies on a wire rack, then ENJOY!

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Bountiful Baskets

     A couple of weeks ago one of my friend's gave a presentation about Bountiful Baskets at my MOPs meetings.  Since moving from California where the most awesome produce is growing pretty much right in your backyard and having the option of visiting a Farmer's Market with fresh and local fruits, veggies, honey, nuts, etc. on any day of the week; I have been on the search of something, anything like that here in the dessert land.  I did check out the "Farmer's Market" that's held here on Saturdays downtown.  But I was so disappointed to find stand after stand after stand of dreamcatchers, pottery, baskets, rugs, candles, pretty much everything crafty.  Don't get me wrong, those people are amazing how they can weave so many baskets and make candles out of soy, but I WANT some food! Where is all the produce? Isn't a Farmer's Market suppose to have actual food from the farm?  Anyways....enough rant....the purpose of this post is actually to say YAY! It's the closest thing, I found, to a real Farmer's Market here...finally!

      If you haven't heard about Bountiful Baskets, here's a little information from their website (bountifulbaskets.org)

"Sally Stevens and Tanya Jolly started Bountiful Baskets Food Co-op in May of 2006. It was a winning combination from the beginning. Tanya and Sally both had experience running their own small food co-ops that were not web based. As their small co-ops grew it challenged them to think of a way to keep up as more families were wanting to save money on healthy food. Adding a little bit of e-commerce technology to the mix was just the trick. Since May of 2006 BBFC has grown from 2 sites and an average of 120 families a cycle participating, to hundreds of sites in 16 states and countless participating families! In April of 2011 BBFC started to offer 100% organic baskets every week at nearly every site.
The Co-op offers a conventional produce basket very other week which is generally ½ fruit and ½ veggies. The monetary contribution is $15.00 and is generally worth $50.00 retail. Organic baskets require a contribution of $25. To participate visit http://www.BountifulBaskets.org and check the schedule to see when your state is available to make your monitary contribution using a debit or credit card. Then, pick up your basket on Saturday morning at the time and place you chose when you contributed!"

     Since that MOPs meeting I was really curious as to how this all worked.  So that day I went on their website, and set my phone reminder to notify me to order my basket.  How it works, on Monday after 12pm, you go on their website, find your closest location, you can make a "contribution" (order) for your basket.  Once all the baskets are claimed that's it.  Hence, why I set my phone reminder.  That following Saturday is when you have to pick up your basket.  I was warned to definitely be there EARLY and with your OWN basket, since baskets with be distributed at 7:45am and if you aren't there to pick it up, it will get donated.  Also, the actual basket your goodies are in are just to hold them till you get there, you don't actually get those.  Printing out your receipt or having it saved on your smart phone is also a good idea, just in case they can't find you on their master pick up list. 

     So, on Monday, I made my contribution, printed my receipt, and got out my big picnic basket (hoping it will fit it all).  Saturday came, I was so excited.  Kind of silly to get excited about picking up a bunch of carrots and stuff.  But I was!  With basket and receipt in tow, I made sure to leave extra early since I didn't know exactly where the pick up site was.  I put the site address into the GPS and on I went.  As I'm driving I'm jamming to an awesome song and thinking "Yay, I'm gonna be early!"  Ummmm, yeah, so NOT the case.  I am driving up and down the street trying to find this place, pretty much checking the GPS every five seconds because I am RIGHT there according to the little red and white target dot, but I'm not.  Then I start looking for street signs and company signs, but nothing.  I glance at the time, oh man, it's 7:40am! I only have five minutes to get to this place.  And I'm thinking..."I don't want my basket to get donated, I need to find this place ASAP!" Finally, I spot a bunch of cars turning into a side street around the area the pick up site is suppose to be.  So I follow them with a hunch his might be it....and turns out it was!! Thank goodness!

     I park, grab my basket and walk up to this... (so glad I had a thick sweatshirt, it was cold that 

Look at all those baskets and two of them are MINE!

 I wait patiently in line in the cold with the rest of my foodie friends!
I saw a few friends from MOPs and greeted them 
with my best early morning frozen face smile I could muster.

It took a little longer for the volunteers to stock the baskets, 
but once they started the line went quick and then it was my turn.
I gave the lady my name, I signed for my basket and another lady
showed me to my assigned basket, number 51.
There was one basket of fruit and one of veggies.

Here's my basket and it was overflowing with bountiful goodness!

When I got home, I spread out all my riches!
Fruits and veggies galore!

The hubby couldn't believe I got all this for only $20 
($15 for the basket, $3 for a 1st time basket (pay only once), and a $2.00 for handling)
With so much yummy stuff, now the question is...
what to make?

I will definitely be making more contributions in the future.  
So simple and inexpensive for such an amazing quality and 
quantity of fresh locally grown produce.
You should totally look into your own Bountiful Basket
they are worth it!

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Spirit Week

     The week before Spring Break, Liam's school had some fun.  Each day the kiddos were suppose to dress up.  Monday was School Spirit day.  Well, Liam did wear his school shirt and I did wake up early to make a breakfast dish for the school potluck and we did go to eat breakfast with his school...but when he refused to eat the chocolate chocolate chip pancakes with chocolate syrup, I knew he wasn't feeling well.  So, yes he was sick the first day of Spirit Week, which means I didn't get a picture.  Oh, well.  

     Tuesday was Pajama Day!  He is REALLY, I mean REALLY into Skylanders anything.  So I found him some Skylanders SwapForce PJs, Sklanders socks, and some Shark slippers which he named TaraFinn (one of the characters, which is actually a shark).  He also brought his Eruptor stuffed figure to complete the outfit! (He even had on his Skylander undies)  What can I say, that boy LOVE them!

     Wednesday, is usually chapel day, so it only fitting it would be Dress Up for Jesus Day.  The students were to dress up in their very best outfits and wear a special cross.  I found this cute springy suit at Walmart.  Nothing too fancy or expensive, but I figure he would wear it for Easter Sunday before he grows out of it.  The cross is actually mine.  It is VERY special to me, since I was wearing it when I was baptized.  He was very excited to wear it.

     Thursday was Book Character Day.  The only stipulation on this one was that it had to be a character from a book IF or BEFORE it was made into a movie.  So I chose the Fox in Socks.  I just so happened to have an extra fox costume for Kinley that was way too big.  I borrowed the ears headband and the tail for his costume.  I found the orange pants, shirt, and the socks at Walmart.  Gotta love finding what you need for cheap!  I put a little circle on his nose and he was a fox!

     Friday was Backward Clothes and Crazy Hair day!  Liam didn't want to wear his pants backwards, but since they are just comfy pants, as we call them, you really can't tell if they were backwards or not.  So he wore then the right way.  However, he did turn his Skylanders, of course, shirt backwards. He actually let me spike up his and spray it with some color.  Usually he just likes it "flat" as he calls it.  Everyone at school loved his hair!

He looks like a rainbow!

What a fun week before Spring Break!

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Monday, April 7, 2014

Did you wear your Green?

    Tonight, I was updating the pages of my blog and I noticed I hadn't posted how we celebrated St. Patrick's Day.  Sooo here is all the fun we had making leprechaun traps, following the signs to the end of the rainbow, the festive food, and cute pictures I took of the kiddos!

I found these yummy Green Mint Dark Chocolate M&M's,
perfect for St. Patrick's Day snack!

The Friday before St. Patrick's Day I made this
rainbow inspired lunch for Liam.

That Sunday, before St. Patrick's Day, Liam and the hubby 
constructed a Leprechaun trap.

The next morning, was St. Patrick's Day, we discovered
Liam's trap with a few surprises, a rainbow trail for us to follow,
but no leprechaun.  He must have been very sneaky!

Since Liam was the first one up, he found all the colored signs first
ending in a rainbow with a basketful of goodies!

What a lot of fun treats!

While Liam was getting ready for school, I made his a 
snack that had Fruity (rainbow) Cheerios and a packet of Applesauce.

And here is his festive lunch!
Grapes & Kiwi
Green Goldfishes
 Green Apple Jelly & Peanut Butter Sandwich with green sprinkles
Shamrock Cookie
Rainbow Sweet Sour Strip

That day I wind up keeping him home since he wasn't feeling well that day...
but of course later that day he was fine. Go figure!
So I set up a little photo shoot for the kiddos after their naps.
Here's a selfie of us wearing our green!

My cute little leprechauns 

After pictures they had some fun playing while I made some dinner.

Our Saint Patrick's Day Feast!
Root Veggies
Shamrock Rolls

Kinley tried out the Irish fare for the first time and liked it!

I baked these Lucky Leprechaun Cookies for dessert!

After we put the kiddos to bed, I enjoyed a couple of the cookies in bed 
while sporting my cool Shamrock Socks to watch The Voice.

Another great St. Patrick's came and went. 
We had a lot of fun and no one got pinched!

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