Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Mini Carrot Cakes

This is one of the desserts I made for Easter. I used my recipe for Carrot Sheet Cake here. After it had cooled, I cut out 2 1/2 inch circles with a biscuit cutter and then cut them horizontally to have 2 shorter circles. I made some cream cheese frosting, saving some out to add food coloring for embellishment. Assembly was one circle of cake, pipe on frosting, 2nd layer of cake, pipe on and smooth out frosting, then pipe on carrot. It was a little more work than just serving the sheet cake, but they turned out so cute and so good!

Even this bunny wants to eat it!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Deviled Eggs

I recently posted recipe for something my husband loves and I DO NOT. Now it's time for one that I LOVE (and he doesn't)! :) We had these deviled eggs with our Easter dinner. I could eat them all day, but unfortunately hard boiled eggs somehow make my husband spout all kinds of negative things relating to their smell. They even had to stay in the garage fridge. Poor little eggs! They are simple to make and this is how I like them. I have also included instructions on how I boil my eggs after the recipe.

Deviled Eggs
12 hard boiled eggs, peeled
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp vinegar
1 tsp mustard
1/8 - 1/4 tsp salt
Paprika or chili powder (optional)

1. Slice eggs in half lengthwise. Scoop out the yolks and place them in a bowl. Mash them with a fork. Add mayo, vinegar, mustard and salt. Mix well.
2. Spoon or pipe yolk mixture into whites. Sprinkle paprika or chili powder on top for garnish, if desired. Keep refrigerated until serving.

How I hard boil my eggs:  Put them in the bottom of a pan, and fill it with cold water to an inch above the top of the eggs. Bring to a rolling boil. As soon as it boils, cover and remove from heat. Let sit 15 minutes. Dump out hot water and fill pan with cold water. Peel when cooled.

Oops, I stuck my thumb in one.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Thick and Chewy Spring Cookie Bars

Aren't these the most spring looking cookie bars ever?! I saw something similar on Pinterest and couldn't get over how cute they looked! The idea for these comes from this website here. I love my own cookie bar recipe though, so I used that, and did a few different things, LIKE adding a little coconut and coconut extract. YUM!

Thick and Chewy Spring Cookie Bars
2 1/8 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup sweetened coconut flakes
12 TBSPs butter (1 1/2 sticks), melted and cooled slightly
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp coconut extract
1 1/4 cup spring M&Ms
3/4 cup vanilla chips
3 cups mini marshmallows

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Adjust the oven rack to lower-middle position. Line a 9X13-inch baking pan with foil, letting the excess hang over the edges of the pan by about 1 inch so you can grab those edges and pull the bars from the pan after they have baked. Spray the foil-lined pan with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Mix the flour, salt, baking soda, and coconut together in medium bowl; set aside. Whisk the melted butter and sugars in a large bowl until combined. Add the egg, egg yolk, vanilla and coconut extracts and mix well. Using a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture until just combined; do not overmix. Fold in 1/2 cup of M&Ms and 1/2 cup vanilla chips. Turn the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with the spatula.
3. Bake for 22 minutes. Remove from oven. Sprinkle marshmallows and remaining 1/2 cup of M&Ms over the top of the cookie bars. Return to oven and bake for 5 more minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup vanilla chips and sprinkles over the top. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature. Remove the bars from the pan by lifting the foil overhang and transfer them to a cutting board. Cut into squares and serve.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Carrot Pineapple Coconut Muffins

Don't set carrots out for the Easter Bunny! He would MUCH rather have these carrot muffins! I don't create many of my own recipes, but this one is mine. :) It is my muffin version of carrot cake. They are not overly sweet, but my kids love them and I feel good about serving them as a snack. You can leave out the coconut if you prefer it without. My husband doesn't like coconut, but he wants me to add raisins next time, so I'll probably give it a try with those. I also made a few mini muffins with this batter, and they worked well too.

Carrot Pineapple Coconut Muffins
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsps cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup sweetened coconut flakes (optional)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
8 oz can crushed pineapple in juice, undrained
1 cup grated carrots, loosely packed

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease muffin tins or line with paper muffin cups.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and coconut.
3. In a medium bowl, add the butter, egg, vanilla, buttermilk, pineapple, and carrots. Stir to combine.
4. Pour carrot mixture into the flour mixture. Stir just until everything is blended.
5. Using a large scoop (about 1/4 cup), scoop batter into the prepared muffin tin.
6. Bake for 20-22 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the tops of the muffins spring back when lightly pressed. Let cool in pan 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack.

Makes about 18 muffins.

For mini muffins bake at 375 degrees F for 10-12 minutes.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Tuna Fish Gravy

Let's be honest. I think this is kinda gross. My husband, on the other hand, loves it! So consider this his guest post. As long as you've got tuna in the pantry and a loaf of bread, you can make this for dinner...if you really want to. :) This was made with 1 can of tuna, but if you like it more meaty, then use 2.

Tuna Fish Gravy
dedicated to Gavin
1 can of tuna, drained
3 TBSPs butter or margarine
1/4 cup flour
3 cups milk
1/2 tsp salt
Pepper to taste

1. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour until thick and bubbly. Slowly whisk in milk. Continue to whisk until it starts to simmer and reaches desired thickness. Add tuna and salt and mix together.
2. Serve on buttered toast. Top with pepper...and sweet pickles, if you are my husband.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Brunch Party Food

I helped with the food at a friend's baby shower over the weekend. I tried a few new ideas and recipes and they all turned out amazing, if I do say so myself. :) I wanted to share them all together in one post. The recipes are posted separately and you can find links to them below the pictures. Most of the things I made were bite sized or in cute glasses because little finger foods are so fun!

 Mini Quiches - I made them ahead of time froze them!

Yogurt Parfaits - No recipe needed. Layer yogurt, granola, and berries in a glass. These are disposable wine glasses from Dollar Tree (6 or $1). The yogurt I used was ZOI Greek honey flavored that I bought at Winco. I tried 3 different kinds and liked this best. I made these gluten free with KIND granola.

French Toast Sticks - These were so cute! The sticks are in 2 oz. disposable shot glasses from Party City. Pretty heavy duty plastic too. I actually washed and kept them. I squirted a little syrup in the bottom, and had extra sticks on the side.

We also had Sausage and Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole (gluten free), bagels, and fruit. It all was so good! There might have been some Snickers cupcakes involved as well, which will be posted soon. :)

Mini Quiches

Here's another brunch recipe that I made over the weekend. You can put whatever you like in these! The quiches pictured are half spinach and half bacon. These also work really well if you make them ahead of time and freeze them for later use.

Mini Quiches
1 pkg refrigerated pie crust dough (2 rolls)
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups half and half
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
Shredded cheese and other desired toppings e.g. cooked crumbled bacon, spinach, ham, green onion.

1. Remove pie crust from refrigerator and let sit at room temperature while you prepare the filling. Spray 48 mini muffin cups with non stick spray. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, half and half, salt, and pepper.
3. Unroll 1 pie crust. Using a 2 1/2 inch round cookie or biscuit cutter, cut as many circles as possible. Collect leftover dough and roll out and continue to cut out circles. Repeat with 2nd pie crust. You should be able to get 48 circles. Press circles into mini muffin cups.
4. Put a pinch of cheese and other desired toppings into each muffin cup. Pour egg mixture into each cup, being careful not to overfill.
5. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until filling is puffed and pastry is golden. Remove from oven. Cool in pan for a few minutes, then carefully remove to a wire rack. Serve warm.

You can also make these mini quiches ahead of time! Bake them as directed above, then let them cool completely. Place them on a cookie sheet and put them in the freezer for an hour. Remove them and put them in a freezer bag and return to freezer. Then when ready to use, bake them at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes until heated through.