Archive for November, 2010

PostHeaderIcon Jalapeño Popper Dip

This is such a great appetizer to have while watching football. I made this when my brother and sister-in-law came over to watch a Bears game a few weeks ago.

This was a huge hit and everyone definitely enjoyed it. This dip is spicy, cheesy, and delicious served with tortilla chips and baguette slices. I must warn you, this dip definitely has a kick to it so make sure you have something to drink by you! :)

Jalapeño Popper Dip

2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup mayonnaise
1 (4 oz.) can chopped green chiles, drained
1 (4 oz.) can diced jalapeño peppers, drained
½ cup shredded Mexican style cheese
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 375˚ F.  In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise, green chiles, jalapeños, and shredded cheeses.  Mix thoroughly with a spoon or spatula until smooth and evenly combined.  Spread the mixture into a baking dish (9 x 9).

In a second bowl, combine the Panko and Parmesan and stir with a fork until combined.   Sprinkle over the cream cheese mixture in the baking dish.  Spray lightly with cooking spray.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the mixture is hot and the topping is golden.  Serve warm with baguette slices, tortilla chips, vegetables, etc. as desired.

Source: Annie’s Eats, originally from My Baking Addiction


PostHeaderIcon Crock Pot Applesauce

(I apologize for the picture. Applesauce is difficult to photograph!) :)

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and a relaxing weekend! I had a great Thanksgiving and I’m so glad I was able so share it with so many family members.

I often buy way too many apples for a two-person household. I love apples but I can’t seem to eat all of them before they start getting brown/soft spots on them. This recipe is the perfect way to use up old apples and it makes delicious applesauce! I make this on a regular basis and my husband and I both love it.

The recipe below makes the perfect amount for a small crock pot. However, it can easily be doubled and made in a larger crock pot.

Crock Pot Applesauce


4 large apples, skinned, cored, and diced

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1/4 cup water


Skin, core, and dice your apples. Put the apple pieces into your crock pot. Add the lemon juice and the water. Pour in the vanilla extract, and add the cinnamon and brown sugar.

Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours. When the apples are super tender, mash with a potato masher or large fork. (I don’t like to mash it up too much since I like some apple chunks in my applesauce.)

Source: Prevention RD


PostHeaderIcon Thanksgiving Sugar Cookies

I will make up any excuse to decorate sugar cookies!

Of course, Thanksgiving is the perfect time to make sugar cookies and try out new cookie cutters. I would decorate anything and everything with polka dots if I could…..I do think they turned out really cute on the acorns though! I used orange sanding sugar on the leaves and I really liked how it made the colors pop. And aren’t those turkeys too darn cute!? I had so much fun making all of these cookies!

Happy (early) Thanksgiving!

Interested in ordering sugar cookies? Here is my contact information!


PostHeaderIcon Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookie Bars

The combination of anything sweet and salty is one of my major weaknesses! I can easily polish off a bag of chocolate covered peanuts in a few minutes hours. Don’t get me started on chocolate covered pretzels, those are just bad news for me (and my thighs).

I love to try new recipes and these were on the top of my to-bake list for some time. I knew these bars were going to be great but they were truly amazing! These bars were so dang good that I had to give them away the very next day so I wouldn’t eat them all! I will definitely be making these again (and again and again).

Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookie Bars


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1½ sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
12-ounce bag bittersweet (or semisweet, if you prefer) chocolate chips
1½ cups mini pretzel twists, coarsely chopped
¼ cup chocolate chips, for drizzling
¼ cup peanut butter, for drizzling
1/4 cup pretzels, crumbled, for topping


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray.

In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda and salt. Using a mixer, beat the butter and both sugars at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Beat in the eggs and the vanilla extract. On low speed, beat in the dry ingredients just until incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips and pretzel pieces.

Spread the batter evenly in the pan and press it down evenly with a spatula. Bake for 30 minutes, until golden brown. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool completely.

In separate sandwich size baggies, melt the chocolate chips and peanut butter. Cut off a small corner on each bag and drizzle the chocolate and peanut butter over the top of the bars. Sprinkle the extra crushed pretzels on top. Let set and then cut into squares.

Source: Two Peas and Their Pod


PostHeaderIcon Texas Caviar

Ever since I can remember, my favorite part of watching a football game is all the great food!

I vividly remember getting excited when my mom would plan to have people over for a football game since I knew she would make tons of snacks and appetizers (How am I not morbidly obese? Never mind, don’t answer that.). I love to graze when I eat so a table full of appetizers is ideal for a gal like me!

I’ve seen this dish made two different ways. The first way is with a bottle of italian dressing, the second (and my favorite) is with a combination of red wine vinegar, olive oil, and fresh lime juice. Both ways are delicious but the second way is my favorite since it uses freshly squeezed limes instead of bottled dressing. The original recipe only called for 1/2 lime but I used two limes and it was perfect! This dish is a great appetizer or side dish to some mexican food.

Texas Caviar


1 can (15 oz) black eyed peas, drained and rinsed

1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can (15 oz) corn, drained and rinsed

1 whole tomato, chopped

2 whole green onions, chopped

2 whole jalapenos, finely chopped

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 limes, juiced

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

3 pinches ground cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper


Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Stir and chill for several hours or overnight.

Serve cold on its own as a side dish or with chips as an appetizer!

Source: adapted from Tasty Kitchen


PostHeaderIcon Chicken Noodle Soup

It’s that time of year again when a bowl of soup just warms the soul. A warm bowl of soup and homemade bread makes the perfect meal on chilly days.

I love chicken noodle soup! It’s such a basic soup but I always need a recipe to go off of when I make it. I did omit the potato because I eat too many carbs to begin with. I also added garlic since I love garlic and can never get enough of it. But besides that this recipe is perfect! I can’t wait to have it as leftovers for lunch this week!

Oops….I got a kitty in the picture! Howard was just making sure it was cool enough for me to eat. :)

Chicken Noodle Soup


2 teaspoons butter

1 cup sliced celery

1 cup sliced carrots

1/2 cup sliced onion

1 small potato, diced (omitted since I eat too many carbs the way it is)

1 teaspoon thyme

4 (14 oz) cans chicken broth

2 teaspoons chicken bouillion

5 ounces egg noodles

2 cups cooked chicken

I also added 1 clove of garlic


Melt butter in a large pot. Saute celery, carrots, and onion for 2 minutes. Add garlic and saute for an additional minute.

Add potato, thyme, chicken broth, and chicken bouillion. Bring to a boil.

Add uncooked noodles and cooked chicken. Cook on low for 20 minutes.

Serve with fresh bread.



PostHeaderIcon Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

Who could resist a whoopie pie?

I don’t understand why cupcakes are the craze right now when whoopie pies exist. Two soft pieces of cake with a delicious frosting sandwiched between them! Wow, that just sounds incredible.

I used a pastry bag with a small circle tip to pipe the cake batter and the cream cheese frosting. You could also scoop the batter on your baking sheet/parchment as well. However, I found that using the pastry bag and tip was very easy and fun! I also love the little swirls the circle tip made.

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies


For the cookies:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. cocoa powder
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 oz. red food coloring

For the frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese
5 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2½ cups confectioners’ sugar

Preheat the oven to 375˚ F.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Beat in the egg until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.  Blend in the vanilla.  With the mixer on low speed, beat in about a third of the dry ingredients, followed by half of the buttermilk, beating each addition just until incorporated.  Repeat so that all the buttermilk has been added and then mix in the final third of dry ingredients.  Do not overbeat.  Blend in the red food coloring.

Transfer the batter to a pastry bag fitted with a plain round tip.  Pipe the batter onto the baking sheet/parchment paper.  Bake 7-9 minutes or until the tops are set, rotating the baking sheets halfway through.  Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets at least 10 minutes, until they can be easily transferred to a cooling rack.  Repeat with any remaining batter.  Allow cookies to cool completely before proceeding.

To make the cream cheese frosting, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until well combined and smooth, about 2-3 minutes.  Mix in the vanilla extract.  Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until totally incorporated, increase the speed and then beat until smooth.

Transfer the frosting to a clean pastry bag fitted with a plain round tip.  Pair the cookies up by shape and size. Flip one cookie of each pair over so that the flat side is facing up. Pipe frosting onto the flat-sided cookie of each pair, leaving the edges clear.  Sandwich the cookies together so the flat sides are facing each other and press gently to help the filling reach the edges.  To store, refrigerate in an airtight container.

Source: Annie’s Eats


PostHeaderIcon Southern Comfort Apple Pie

I love pies but rarely make them since my husband and I can easily polish off an entire pie in just a couple of days (I wish I was kidding)! But since my parents came to visit a few weeks ago I decided to make a pie for their arrival. I searched through all of my cookbooks to find the perfect pie, and trust me, it took a lot of time since I have way too many cookbooks.

While I was going through The Pastry Queen cookbook, my eyes lit up when I saw this recipe for Southern Comfort Apple Pie. I immediately called my mom to tell her the good news! Since both of my parents are HUGE fans of anything sweet (and big Southern Comfort fans) I knew they would appreciate this amazing recipe!

I did everything the recipe called for except I used this Williams Sonoma pie dough recipe. This Williams Sonoma recipe is my go-to dough recipe whenever I make a pie.

I topped the pie with homemade cinnamon ice cream, which was the perfect compliment to the pie. My parents enjoyed it so much they had it for dessert Friday night and breakfast Saturday morning!

Chef Mark’s Southern Comfort Apple Pie

1 unbaked Basic Pie Crust


1/2 cup pecans

1/3 cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons firmly packed dark brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup (5 1/3 tablespoons) chilled unsalted butter

Apple Filling:

5 to 6 medium-size tart apples (Braeburn, Cortland, or Winesap)

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

3 tablespoons ground cinnamon

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup Southern Comfort liqueur

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream


To make the topping: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Arrange the pecans on a baking sheet in a single layer and toast them in the oven for 7 to 9 minutes, until golden brown and aromatic. Coarsely chop the nuts.

In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, process both sugars, the cinnamon, salt, and flour for about 1 minute. Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the sugar-flour mixture. Pulse about 10-15 times, until the mixture is crumbly. Stir in the pecans. Refrigerate the topping, covered, in a medium bowl until ready to use.

Line a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate with the pie dough. Press it into place and crimp the outside edges with your fingers or a fork.

To make the filling: Increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Peel, core, and cut the apples into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter starts to foam, add the apples and saute for 5 to 8 minutes. In a small bowl, stir together the cinnamon and sugar; sprinkle it on the apples and stir to combine. Simmer the apples over medium-low heat about 1 minute longer. Remove the apples from the skillet with a slotted spoon, leaving as much of the butter-sugar mixture in the skillet as possible. Transfer the apples to a baking sheet and arrange in a single layer. (If heaped in a pile, the hot apples will steam-cook and become soggy.)

Pour the Southern Comfort into the butter-sugar mixture in the skillet. Simmer the mixture over medium heat at least 5 minutes, until the alcohol burns off (carefully sniff the mixture at close range; if it burns the insides of your nostrils, the vapors are still burning off). Add the cream and continue cooking about 5 to 10 minutes, until the mixture is as thick as pourable caramel. Return the apples to the skillet.

Pour the apple filling into the unbaked pie crust and sprinkle the topping evenly over the apples. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until the filling is bubbling and the topping is brown. Serve the pie warm or at room temperature.

Source: The Pastry Queen


PostHeaderIcon Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins with Pecan Streusel

There’s something so right about waking up and enjoying a freshly baked muffin with a hot cup of coffee! Especially these pumpkin muffins, the cream cheese inside makes it more of a dessert than a muffin (but I’m not complaining). The pecan streusel sprinkled over them just puts these bad boys over the top!

They are a bit more time-consuming than most muffins but they are completely worth it. Be sure to make the cream cheese filling ahead of time (about 2-3 hours) so the filling can harden before you bake the muffins. I also made the pecan streusel ahead of time so when it came time to baking the muffins the process seemed very smooth. :) Enjoy!

Pumpkin and Cream Cheese Muffins with Pecan Streusel

Yield: 12 muffins

For the Cream Cheese Filling:

4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

3/4 cup powered sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the Pecan Streusel:

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup pecans, chopped

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the Muffins:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

1 cup canned pumpkin

5 ounces (1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons) vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


To prepare the filling: In a medium bowl, beat together the cream cheese and powered sugar until smooth. Add the vanilla extract and beat until fully incorporated. Form the mixture into a log on plastic wrap, wrap it, and freeze for 2-3 hours.

To make the pecan streusel: In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, pecans, butter, and cinnamon. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard muffin tin with 12 paper liners.

To make the muffins: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, baking soda, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, pumpkin, eggs, oil, and vanilla. Pour the pumpkin mixture over the dry ingredients. Use a spatula to gently combine the batter, mixing just until the dry ingredients are moistened.

To assemble the muffins: Remove the cream cheese filling from the freezer and divide into 12 1-inch pieces. Scoop a small amount of the batter into each muffin cup. Place 1 slice of the cream cheese log in the center of each cup, then fill with the remaining batter.

Bake until golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove muffins to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Let them come to room temperature before serving  or warm briefly in the microwave.

Source: adapated from Brown Eyed Baker


PostHeaderIcon Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

This year is flying by! It’s hard to believe it’s already November 5th…….which means only 49 more days til Christmas (but who’s counting?)!

These pumpkin cupcakes are a delicious treat for any Halloween or Thanksgiving party! I never thought I liked pumpkin until I ate these, now I can’t get enough of them. These are a must-try!

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: about 24-30 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
¼ tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. salt
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
4 large eggs

For the frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese
5 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2½ cups confectioners’ sugar

To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350°F.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.  In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt.  Set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, blend together the pumpkin, granulated sugar, brown sugar and oil. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  With the mixture on low speed, add the flour mixture in two additions, mixing just until incorporated.

Fill the cupcake liners about three-quarters full.  Bake until the cupcakes are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 18-20 minutes.  Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes, then remove the cupcakes from the pans and let cool completely.

To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Beat on medium-high speed until well combined and smooth, about 2-3 minutes.  Mix in the vanilla extract.  Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until totally incorporated, increase the speed and then beat until smooth.  Frost cooled cupcakes as desired.

Source: Annie’s Eats