Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Jigglers for your Gobblers!

My kids love Thanksgiving. They don't talk about the amazing sausage stuffing, the sweet potato casserole to die for, or the black bottom pecan pie I can't wait to get my hands on. They love it because they know Gumma is going to make Jigglers! My mom "Gumma", pulls out the cutest cookie cutters and lets the girls get to work. They're not gourmet - they're "Gumma-made" and my kids love her for making them at the holidays.

Start out with some seasonal cookie cutters. In a month the tree cookie cutters and the lime jello will be making their appearance. Tell your grandkids they'll be cutting tree's when they get to your house for Christmas - They'll love it.

Gumma got my girls adorable Thanksgiving aprons and it was time to get to work.

Jello Jigglers
1 (3 oz) Box any flavor jello
1/2 cup + 1 Tablespoon boiling water

Dissolve jello in boiling water for at least 3 minutes.
Pour into flat bottom dish and chill for 3 hours.
Dip bottom of pan in hot water to loosen jello.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sailor's Crispy Crunchy Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

Two blogs that I check regularly are "Prudence Pennywise" and her daughter's blog "Sailor: Little Girl on the Go!" I should rephrase that - I check Prudence Pennywise and whenever my daughter hears the song on her blog by Gracie Fields "If I knew you were coming, I'd have baked a cake" she runs over to my computer and asks to check Sailor's blog. I always oblige since I love looking at it as well. A while ago Sailor made these yummy fudgey bars and one cold November day - Logan knew it was the perfect time to attempt them in our home.

Sailor's Crispy Crunchy Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
6 oz Semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 sticks + 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
One 16 oz jar peanut butter
3 cups Rice Crispies
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups confectioners sugar

1. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper. In a medium saucepan, melt half of the chocolate and 1 tablespoon butter over low heat. Remove from the heat; stir in 1 cup peanut butter, then 2 cups rice cereal. Spread the mixture evenly in the prepared pan; refrigerate until set, about 15 minutes. Wash out the saucepan.
2. In the saucepan, combine the remaining 2 sticks butter and the salt; melt over medium heat, stirring. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining peanut butter and the confectioners' sugar. Spread half of the peanut butter mixture over the cereal layer. Top with the remaining 1 cup cereal.
3. In a small bowl, microwave the remaining chocolate at medium power until melted, 1 1/2 minutes. Stir into the remaining peanut butter mixture. Spread evenly on the cereal-topped peanut butter layer; refrigerate until set, about 45 minutes. Cut into 16 pieces.

Have a huge glass of milk on hand! These Peanut Butter fudgey morsels are over the top sweet, over the top good, and over the top easy! We can't wait to see what Sailor does next! Check out her cute blog today!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Funnel Cakes - Pancake Style!

This creation was the aftermath of our end of year Volleyball party at my house.

I was the assistant (and I say that very liberally) coach this year to my oldest daughter's Volleyball team. I had a blast and I am sure I learned more then any girl out there! I used to love volleyball in high school (I'm 6 foot tall - I think it is mandated somewhere that every female over 5'10 has to at least ACT like they like it). The sport has changed so much. If your a freshmen in high school and play volleyball, you have to be able to take out small planes with the force of your overhand serve. It was not like that when I was growing up. Thank goodness my daughter is only 10 - and they just want the girls serves to go over the net. The overhand serves come next year - and I for one need to practice before Logan gets there!

I hosted the end of the year party at my home and I knew exactly what we would do. I would call Dominoes for the pizza and get out my two deep fat fryers for a funnel cake bonanza!

My parents always had donut parties when I was growing up - I can't quite get the hang of making the donuts - but I have found I make a mean funnel cake - Thanks in large part to Emeril Laggassi's Funnel Cake Recipe. I make the batter before the guests arrive and put it in these condiment containers I found at Walmart. I cut the tops off and they make perfect funnel cake "pourers"!

Emeril's Funnel Cakes
3 large eggs
2 1/4 cups milk (I add about 1/4 cup more milk to mine)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 cups flour
1 cup light brown sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Oil for frying
Powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat the oil to 375 degrees F. In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, milk and vanilla. Whisk well. Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together. Fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture. Stir until smooth. Hold your finger over the funnel opening. Place your hand over the oil (not too close) and carefully remove your finger. Scribble and crisscross the filling into the hot oil. Fry until golden on both sides. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels. Dust with the powdered sugar. Repeat till all the batter is used.

I had about 50 people to my home that night and made 4 batches of batter. I ended up with one batch remaining at the end of the night. (The picture above shows the 4 bottles I had in my fridge the morning after). Rather then throwing it away - I decided to try making pancakes with the batter. It was delicious and fun and my girls felt like the party hadn't ended, and that is always a good thing. These pancakes were sweet, yummy goodness, that they had fun dipping!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Pecan Pumpkin Crumble

I never make pumpkin pie - my hubby won't let me! Once he tasted this Fall delight - he said what's the point?

Pecan Pumpkin Crumble

1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 eggs
1 (16 oz) can of solid pack pumpkin
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk (I use fat free)
3/4 box yellow cake mix (any kind)
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
3/4 cup chopped pecans

Mix together sugar, pumpkin pie spice, eggs, evaporated milk, and pumpkin. Pour into an ungreased 9 x 13 glass pan. Sprinkle 3/4 box of yellow cake mix over pumpkin mixture. Drizzle butter over this, followed by chopped pecans.

Bake at 350 for 40 - 50 minutes.

Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream and watch all the faces melt with each bite!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Bobi's Bites: Stuffed Baked Apples!

My mother, bless her heart, has been pumping out more blogs then I have lately. It usually starts with a call that goes something like this... Rindy, I'm going to such-and-such house and I am going to try a new recipe. Do you want me to take pictures of it for your blog? To which I ALWAYS reply "YES"! I have been benefitting greatly from my mom's active social life. These apples did sound great when she was describing them to me and by the pictures I know they were a huge hit at the party she was attending. Thanks mom for blogging for me and sharing this recipe for yummy Stuffed Baked Apples. I'm sure it will be an additional THANKSGIVING Dessert everyone will love! Keep up the good work (and active social life)!

Preheat oven to 350
Bobi's Bites: Stuffed Baked Apples!
You will need:
10 X 15 baking dish
About 20 medium gala or delicious apples
32 oz. container of cider or Cranapple juice
1 stick butter (8 tblspns)
10 firmly packed tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 cup sliced almonds

Granola Topping
Two cups
(You may make your own or buy a good quality granola cereal.)

Caramel Sauce
1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
` 4 1/12 Tablespoons water
1 stick butter
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
(makes about 1 1/2 cups)

Cut off tops of apples. Using a melon baller remove core, cutting to
but not through bottom of apple.
Hollow out apples leaving 1/4 inch thick shell (reserve apple flesh
for filling.)
Place apples in 10 x 14 baking dish and fill apple shells with cider.
Bake at least 20 minutes or until apples are slightly tender. Drain, discarding juice.

In a saucepan combine apple flesh, butter, brown sugar, vanilla and
cinnamon. Cook over medium-high heat until apples are tender.
Stir into above mixture graham cracker crumbs, sliced almonds, and about two cups of apple cider left over from filling apples before baking.
Spoon above filling into prepared apples.
Sprinkle with granola topping.
Serve with a dollop of whipped cream, just plain heavy cream or
ice cream to which you may or may not want to add carmel sauce
which you can make or buy

Friday, November 14, 2008

Denise's Chicken Tortilla Soup

This is my sweet, sweet friend Denise! We have known each other for 8 years now-and our friendship just keeps getting better. This picture cracks me up. It was taken this past year when we went down to the National Mall and did the "Walk for the Cure". We had just run into "Carlos" from Desperate Housewives in a store downtown. Denise - my crazy, always up for anything friend wanted to get our picture with him. She had remembered that he had lost his mother to breast cancer and wanted to use me (her breast cancer friend) as a decoy to get a picture with him! I love her - and on any given day I probably would have been up for it - but I was literally having a panic attack on the spot. My inside voice kept saying, "Your hair looks like a guy, you're 20 pounds over weight, and you would look like an idiot in the picture anyway - so what is the point of taking a picture you wouldn't show any one anyway!" I HATE that little voice. I have since stopped listening to it. Needless to say - today I wish I had thrown myself into "Carlos' " arms and told Denise, "Take a picture". Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda's!! Doesn't she have cheek bones to die for? By the way, she is an AMAZING tennis player and just went to the national level with her Ashburn tennis team.

Denise's Chicken Tortilla Soup
2-3 Chicken Breast Cubed (you can use raw or pre-cooked chicken)

2 Cans of Cream of Chicken Soup whisked with 2 cans of water
2 celery stalks chopped
1 onion chopped
1/4 cup of Fresh Cilantro chopped (I do this in the food processor with the onion)
1 Red Bell Pepper finely chopped
16 oz of Corn
1/2 cup of Cheddar Cheese or Mexican Cheese mix
Tabasco to taste (you may want to add that to only your own portion since it can be too spicy for kids)

4 to 6 hours in Crock Pot (my kids have fun topping the soup) with the following that make the soup a success:

Favorite Tortilla Chips broken
Dollop of Sour Cream
Fresh Salsa (Giant has the best)
Shredded Cheese
Guacamole (if you like)

I love this soup. Denise brought it to me the day after my surgery and I have been hooked ever since. Hope you enjoy it too!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Creamy Dijon-Dill Potato Salad

I was raised on "Charlie's Potato Salad". I have not blogged about it - but I will. I love this potato salad. Tons of hard boiled eggs, perfectly cubed potatoes, pimentos, and just the right amount of mayo makes it the perfect pinkish potato salad you have ever tasted! My mouth is salivating as I write this. My mom found the recipe in a library book when they lived in MN. I guess that means that they have been making it for about 50 years. The other day my mom called and said, "I found a potato salad I think I like just as much"! I didn't believe her because for the last 38 years (My life) my parents have played the game "I like it - but it's not as good as mine". You know the game! My mom made the salad and took these pictures for my blog-- Thanks mom!

A Florida acquaintance,Betty, brought this to a party she attended. She got it from Dave Lieberman off the Food Network.

Creamy Dijon-Dill Potato Salad

3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 stalks celery
1 cup mayonnaise
1 small red onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup tightly packed fresh dill
1 to 2 tablespoons vinegar
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 Tablespoon grainy or regular Dijon mustard

Put the potatoes in a big pot with enough water to cover by 1 inch. Season with salt and bring the water to boil. Cook just until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 25 minutes.

Drain the potatoes and return them to the uncovered pot off the heat. Let them sit until almost room temperature. Cooling them in the warm pot will get rid of any excess water in the potatoes, and that's good.

Meanwhile, cut the white parts off the ends of the celery stalks. Cut the stalks in half lengthwise, then across into 1/4 inch slices. Stir the celery, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and the remaining ingredients together in a serving bowl large enough to hold all the potatoes.

When they're cool, cut the potatoes into 1 inch pieces, and add them to the bowl as you go. Stir gently until all the potatoes are coated with dressing. You can make the salad up to a couple of hours in advance. Keep covered at room temperature. Don't refrigerate or the potatoes will loose their rich, smooth texture.

Eat it up!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Slow Cooker Thai Wraps

I had the extra tortilla shells left over from my "Best Ever Taco" night and looked through my cookbooks for a recipe to use them. I was so excited when I stumbled across this recipe that my family loves and I haven't made in a million years!

Thai Chicken Wrap
1 pound raw chicken tenders
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
3 Tablespoon creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon curry powder

Place all ingredients in slow cooker for 6 hours on low. Take out and shred. Serve on soft tortilla with broccoli slaw.
My hubby loves this and the great part is - my kids do too!!

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Best Taco filling - EVER!

I'll admit it - I am completely partial to Mexican food. If given the opportunity to go out to eat, I ALWAYS choose Mexican. I am constantly looking for recipes that will give me the flavors I love at restaurants, but also in the comfort of my own home. Well, the other day I hit pay dirt! I dug into my cookbooks and came across this recipe from an elementary school cookbook I purchased last year. It caught my attention when I saw - Slow cooker - but it stole my heart with the first taste!

White Chili Mini Tacos
1 1/4 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs (I used organic chicken tenders)
2 Tablespoons Taco Seasoning Mix
1 (4.5 oz) can chopped green chilies
1 (19 oz) can cannelloni beans, drained
Taco shells

Place chicken in crock pot. Sprinkle with taco seasoning mix. Top with chiles and beans. Cover and cook at low setting for 5 or 6 hours. 15 minutes before serving, shred chicken in crock pot and mix together with beans. Place into shells with favorite taco toppings.

My family ATE IT UP! This recipe will definitely go into the family rotation!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Perfect Poached Egg!

Recently one of my girlfriends gave me some fresh eggs, straight from her chicken coup in her back yard. They looked too perfect to eat, and certainly too beautiful to put in any old recipe. What to do? I decided it was the perfect time to get out my new "Eggshell" poacher and eat these little jewels all by themselves.

The "Eggshell" comes with two silicone egg cups. Fill a pot with 2 to 3 inches of water. Bring water to a boil and float the "Eggshell" containing one egg in the water. Reduce heat to medium. Place the lid on the pan and cook for 4 to 6 minutes, depending on how firm you like your egg.

Remove "Eggshell" from the water. Run spoon around the inside of the cup and pop out your perfectly poached egg!
I love a poached egg, but usally end up with mostly egg yolk since my whites are left floating all over the water. These little silicone cups were perfect and kept my eggs completely intact!

Two thumbs up for this Perfect Product - The "Eggshell".

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Halloween is over...or is it?

This is the time to run right out and buy the left over Halloween decorations at a great price. If you are having guests for Thanksgiving many of the orange decorations will fit right into your theme. Plus the candies that are wrapped in fall colors are perfect for the dishes you set on your end tables during the Thanksgiving Holiday. My mom took advantage of the sales. She has a November Birthday party coming up for a neighbor and those cute little orange, silver, and black pails found in the dollar section of Target were reduced to a quarter a piece and they make perfect nut cups or candy favors. As you check out the Halloween items you will find lots of goodies that will enhance your Thanksgiving table so make haste.