Monday, November 25, 2013

Coffee Squares




Hello everyone, I hope this day is finding you all well.  The recipe I am going to share with you is a great thing to take to pot lucks, work food things, parties, or just to make because you have a family with a crazy sweet tooth.  Although if you are going to make these and kids are going to try them use decaf coffee.  These are pretty quick and easy to make with just a few ingredients.  So here we go with the recipe!

Ingredients:

1 cup of brown sugar
1 cup of oil
2 eggs
1 cup of warm coffee
3 cups of flour
1 tsp of baking soda
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of vanilla
1/2 cup of walnuts
1/2 cup of chocolate chips
1/2 cup of white chocolate chips
1/8 cup of white sugar

Instructions:

Pre heat your oven to 325, then grab a medium mixing bowl.  Mix all ingredients except the last 4 listed.  Now grease a baking dish with cooking spray and pour the batter into the dish.  Now in a small bowl mix the last four ingredients together, then sprinkle them over the top of the batter.  Bake in the oven for about 25-30 minutes.  Let cool for about 5 minutes and then start cutting them.  Its as easy as that.  I will link my video for those of you who wish to watch it.

Live, laugh and love.  Heather

Video:



Friday, November 22, 2013

Homemade Pie Crust


Hello friends, we are a week away from Thanksgiving.  Now you could be having a family thing at your house or maybe you will go to someone else's house.  Either way you can impress your friends and family with this quick and easy pie crust recipe.  I used to be so overwhelmed with the thought of making pie crust by hand and I always resorted to store bought.  However with the rising cost of everything everywhere, it really doesn't hurt to try this on your own.  Pie crust is very forgiving if you keep your butter and water ice cold.  You will save your money at the grocery store and you can throw in fun add ins to where its not just a pie crust but your very own pie crust.  The picture above is with home made pie crust and all I did was roll out the pie crust as normal.  Then sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon over the top.  Roll the dough into a roll and make small cuts going across and just press them to your pie pan.  You can keep with the basic recipe if this is your first pie crust.   

Ingredients:

2 cups of flour
2 tablespoons of sugar ( use salt if making a savory pie)
1 1/2 sticks of butter chilled in the freezer
approx. 5 tablespoons of ice cold water 

Instructions:

Before you begin, get a cup of water and throw about 5 ice cubes in the cup.  Now grab a medium sized mixing bowl and a pastry blender.  Its one of those handheld things that looks like a cheese slicer on the bottom.  Now add in the flour and sugar.  Mix together with your pastry blender, and add in the butter.  Blend the butter, flour and sugar together until the mixture looks like little peas (of course it wont be green).  Now add the ice water but only do it a spoonful at a time. Blend the water in and add more until the flour forms a ball.  Now all you need to do is incorporate any loose flour into the ball and you can use your hands for this.  I almost forgot if you do not have a pastry blender just use a fork.  After all your flour is worked into the crust.  You should probably give your dough a rest.  If you are going to be using it that day, go ahead and put this in your fridge for about 20-30 minutes and then roll it out.  If you want to just make up a bunch of these, which is what I do, just wrap it up in plastic wrap, and put it in the freezer.  

I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving!
Heather

Video:  



Thursday, November 14, 2013

Homemade Garlic and Cheese Bread



Another lifetime ago when I was in my early 20's I took a job working in a deli.  The pay was fair and the people I worked with were awesome.  In amongst having fun with people who were my friends we did a lot of cooking and we had a lot of food fights when the boss wasn't looking lol.  One of the most popular things we made aside from pizza, sandwiches, soups, salads, ect.  Were these, now at the time we called them breadsticks, you had the option of getting them plain or with cheese.  You can imagine that the breadsticks with cheese were the most popular of the two options.  You would get about 20 breadsticks with cheese and a side of marinara sauce.  We would get orders for these all over the city and surrounding areas.  So many memories, I think I miss the people I worked with the most.  We had Carl who sounded like wolf man jack with a heart of gold.  You had crazy Pam who was always chasing delivery men out of the store if he didn't get the orders right (she was the boss) a long with many other characters.  Carl is no longer with us anymore but I have memories of him being hilarious and a kind soul.  It is at this little store that these breadsticks will go down in my hall of fame memory because I made thousands if not millions of these things daily.  I am going to share this recipe with you all and I know some of you have made these a million times as well, but for me this is where I knew I wanted to do something with food for the rest of my life.

Ingredients:

2 frozen bread doughs or you can make your own but you need enough to make two
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon of celery seed
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of onion powder
a pinch of crushed red pepper flake
a pinch of salt and pepper
1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup of grated cheese I used a combo of mozzarella and provolone

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
If you use frozen or make your own bread dough you need to grease a large bowl and set the doughs on top of each other.  After they double in size and are thawed if you use the frozen.  Roll out with some flour and a rolling pin.  You want the doughs about a half inch thick and you want them stuck together side by side.  Grease a cookie sheet a large one, and place your dough on the cookie sheet. Now oil the top of your dough and start adding all your seasonings, save the cheeses for last, and add only half of your Italian seasoning, save that for after you sprinkle the cheeses on it.  Now add your cheeses and the rest of the Italian seasoning .  Bake in your oven for about 20 minutes, or until your crust is golden brown and the cheeses are melted and bubbly.  Like this (see picture below).




I hope you enjoyed this little walk down memory lane with me.  The truth is there are so many people and so many good times we all had its hard to remember them all.  A special shout out goes to a friend and a former boss after Pam left, Lisa.   Live, Laugh and Love everyone.  Heather

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Crock Pot Chicken Soup with Mini Wagon Wheels



Hello again friends, so we are in November and that could mean pumpkin season has already started, and seeing everything and all things tempting and loaded with many many calories, that we all save exclusively for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  By the time New Years rolls around we feel guilty and make unrealistic promises to ourselves that we can never achieve, unless of course your an NFL player.  We do not want to think of the other side of this chilly season and that is cold and flu season.  Oh the horror of fevers, chills, stuffy noses and persistent coughs, that is only if you get out of it easy.  There is the whole other side of all that I just mentioned plus many more that should never be mentioned on a food blog, you get my drift.  That is where this soup was born, we all want the comforts of something warm, nutritious and not out of can when we are sick.  At least for me I prefer homemade soups and as long as I can make them, you will not see me eat a can of soup unless I have a strange craving.  At any rate I give you the recipe for this stew like soup.

Ingredients:

1 pint of homemade chicken stock ( I will have the recipe for this soon) or 2 cups of
chicken broth 
 2 Carrots diced
1 large onion diced
3 cloves of garlic minced
2 stalks of celery
2 -3 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into bite sized pieces
1 tablespoon of parsley
1 teaspoon of garlic powder 
1 teaspoon of onion powder
1 teaspoon of thyme
1 teaspoon of rosemary
1/2 teaspoon of curry powder
1/8 of a teaspoon of cayenne pepper ( or to your taste)
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 pound of mini wagon wheel pasta
2 bay leaves
2 cups of water
1 tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Instructions:

In a large skillet saute onion, carrot, garlic, and celery until you can see through the veggies.  Take the veggies out of the skillet and put aside.  Now add the chicken, we are not cooking the chicken just searing on both sides.  Now add the veggies back in with the chicken add the seasonings and put veggies seasonings and chicken into a slow cooker.  Cover with chicken stock and water.  Add more of the same seasonings to the crock pot and simmer over night on low.  Half way through the cooking add in the mini wagon wheels.  Cook for about 2-3 hours or until the pasta is soft and serve.  It may take a while but its worth the wait.  The broth will darken to a dark mahogany color where the stock, veggies, and chicken have concentrated their flavors.  Feel free to add mushrooms to this if you like them, mushrooms would be a great addition to this.  However you choose to make this, you wont regret it.

Live, laugh and Love.     Heather