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Cream cheese breakfast cookies

February 19, 2013

cream cheese breakast cookiesCream Cheese Breakfast Cookies

If you ever need a special sweet to serve with coffee in the morning, this is perfect.  They can be readied the night before, then sliced and baked while the coffee is brewing.  It’s like having your own little warm cheese danish.  But the real perk here is that the ingredients are as simple as can be.  So the next time you have a long weekend or a lazy Saturday morning to enjoy, try adding these to your day.  Enjoy!

Recipe:  Cream Cheese Breakfast Cookies

(from and adapted from Cookies and Cups)

1 can crescent rolls
4 oz. block of cream cheese, room temperature
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 c. mini chocolate chips

Beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth.  Unroll the crescent rolls and gently press seams together so you have a rectangle.  Spread the cream cheese mixture onto the sheet of crescent rolls, leaving about 1/2″ all along the edges.  Sprinkle mini chocolate chips over the cream cheese.  Roll the crescent sheet up, starting from one of the shorter ends, and wrap with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.

When chilled, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or lightly spray with cooking spray to prevent sticking.  Slice the roll into 1/4″ slices using unflavored dental floss or a sharp knife.  Bake on prepared cookie sheet for 12-14 minutes until rolls are golden.

Serve warm or at room temperature.


Chocolate ricotta mousse

February 2, 2013

chocolate ricotta mousseChocolate Ricotta Mousse

We were all having a chocolate craving last week and no one was disappointed with this treat.  I was a little worried the kids wouldn’t eat it, because it did have a mild texture difference from regular mousse, but they surprised me and couldn’t get enough.  In fact, they’ve both asked for it a week later, so I’m sure I’ll be making it again.

And as for the texture thing?  If you’ve ever eaten a cannoli, you’ll know what I mean.  It was kind of a silkier chocolate version of cannoli filling, to me.  To the kiddos, however, it was chocolate mousse through and through, and perfectly delicious.

Recipe:  Chocolate Ricotta Mousse

(adapted from Everyday Food)

2 c. fat free ricotta cheese
3 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 large egg whites, room temperature
1/2 c. granulated sugar
pinch of salt
mini chocolate chips and whipped cream, for garnish

In a food processor, pulse ricotta and cocoa powder until completely smooth.  Transfer to a large mixing bowl.

Place egg whites, sugar, and a pinch of salt in a medium heatproof mixing bowl, set over a pot of simmering water.  Whisk and cook until sugar dissolves and the mixture is warm to the touch, about 3 minutes.  Remove bowl from heat and beat mixture on high until stiff glossy peaks form, about 5 minutes.  With a rubber spatula, gently fold egg white mixture into ricotta mixture.  Divide mousse among 6 ramekins.  Refrigerate until set, at least 3 hours.  To serve, top with whipped cream and mini chocolate chips or shave chocolate.

Ice cream cone cupcakes

January 26, 2013

cupcake cones2Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

I made cupcakes in ice cream cones once quite a while back, and it was a disaster.  The cake mix baked over the tops and ran all over the place.  It did nothing but make a big old mess in my oven and I had to throw them all away.  When I walked by these teeny, tiny ice cream cones when I was grocery shopping the other day, I couldn’t resist the urge to buy them and try again.

I have to admit, that the first batch went straight to the trash.  Major flashback.  But I persevered and ended up with these adorable little cupcakes.  How stinkin’ cute are they?  The trick for me was definitely to only fill them halfway full.  They baked up just a little above the tops of the cones and were perfectly baked inside.  And with a nice swirl of frosting on top, they even look like ice cream cones.  Love!

cupcake cones1Just to show how small they really are, here’s a shot of my Sam holding one.

Recipe:  Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

boxed cake mix (and necessary ingredients) or favorite cake recipe
ice cream cones

Make cake batter, as per directions on the box or your recipe.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Set ice cream cones inside the cups of a muffin pan.  (I used a mini muffin pan for these little cones.)  Spoon batter into cones, filling halfway.  Bake for 13-15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  (If using regular sized cones, baking time will be 18-20 minutes.)  Allow to cool completely before frosting.

For those who need to know….


Peanut butter chocolate chip cookies

January 20, 2013

pb chocolate chip cookiesPeanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I was looking through my old bookmarked recipes the other day and came across this one.  It claimed to be for peanut butter cup lovers, and I’ve got a houseful of those, so I thought they were worth a try.  These were pretty delicious and the recipe made a bunch!  Enough, in fact, to freeze half for another time so we wouldn’t eat them all at once.  Plus, this way I’ll get to look awesome two times just by baking once.  See how that works?

Recipe:  Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

(from Cowgirl Chef)

1 c. butter
1 c. white sugar
1 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
1 c. peanut butter
2 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. soda
½ tsp. Kosher salt
2 cups milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.  Cream butter and sugars.  Add eggs and mix well.  Add peanut butter.  Sift the flour with baking powder, baking soda, and salt and add to peanut butter mixture.  Mix only to combine.  Fold in chocolate chips and chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.  Bake cookies 12-14 minutes.

Beef & lentil sloppy joes

January 17, 2013

sloppy joesBeef & Lentil Sloppy Joes

If you don’t already have a love of lentils, I really urge you to get to know them better.  Invite them to lunch.  Then have them over for dinner.  You’ll be so glad you did, because they bring loads of protein, fiber, and important vitamins to the party.

We had these beef and lentil sloppy joes for lunch over the weekend, and had enough leftover for a couple workday lunches.  I suggest serving them on a toasted roll with some melted cheese and a handful of crunchy chips on the side.

Sharing the lentil love with some of my favorite lentil recipes …

refried lentils
beef and lentil soup
stewed lentils and tomatoes
lentil sausage soup

Recipe:  Beef & Lentil Sloppy Joes

(from Can You Stay for Dinner?)

1 cup uncooked green lentils
4 cups water
½ lb lean ground beef
1 medium yellow onion, diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. salt
15 oz. can tomato sauce
1/4 c. tomato paste
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. yellow mustard

“Put the lentils in a small sauce pot and pour in 4 cups water. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, until lentils are soft. Drain and set aside.

About 10 minutes before the lentils are done boiling, set a large frying pan over medium heat. Saute the ground beef and onion for about 7 minutes, crumbling with a spatula as you cook, until the beef is no longer pink. Add the garlic and saute a minute more.  Add the cooked lentils, the chili powder, oregano and salt and mix. Add the tomato sauce and tomato paste. Cook for about 10 minutes.

Add the brown sugar and mustard and heat through. Turn the heat off and let sit for about 10 minutes, so that the flavors can blend.” Broil or grill rolls before filling with sloppy joe mixture.




S’mores treats

January 12, 2013

smores treatsS’mores Treats

My brother-in-law threatened to remove me from his favorites list yesterday because I haven’t posted anything new in almost a month.  Seemed a little harsh to me, but, just for him, I ran straight to the kitchen and mixed up these s’mores treats.

(Well, not really.  I really made them for my Claudia, but I know she’d share with Uncle Jim if he were here!)

Recipe:  S’mores Treats

3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 (10 3/4 oz.bag) of marshmallows
6 cups of Golden Grahams cereal
handful of milk chocolate chips
handful of mini marshmallows

Pour chocolate chips into a bowl and allow to chill in the freezer.  Spray an 8″ square pan with cooking spray and set aside.  Melt butter and the bag of marshmallows over low heat until melted and smooth.  Remove from heat and stir in Golden Grahams until coated.  Wait one or two minutes and stir in chilled chocolate chips.  Then add mini marshmallows.  Press mixture into the baking pan with the back of a spoon you’ve sprayed with cooking spray.  Cool completely and cut into squares.

Peppermint patty brownies

December 15, 2012

peppermint browniesPeppermint Patty Brownies

Yum, yum, and yum.  Three layers of goodness.  A brownie topped with peppermint frosting, finished off with ganache and crushed candy.  I am such a lover of all things peppermint and this fits the bill perfectly.

If you want to go the full homemade route, by all means, make your brownies from scratch.  I was definitely going for quick and easy, so I used a boxed mix.  But with the peppermint layer and the creamy ganache, even my humble boxed brownies reached great heights.

Recipe:  Peppermint Patty Brownies

(adapted from how sweet it is)

your favorite boxed mix and necessary ingredients

Peppermint Patty Layer:
2 c. powdered sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
3 Tbsp. evaporated milk
1/4 tsp. vegetable oil
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. peppermint extract

1/2 c. dark chocolate chips
2-3 Tbsp. evaporated milk

chopped candy cane Hershey kisses or crushed candy canes

Prepare brownies according to package directions, or make them using your favorite brownie recipe.  While brownies are cooling, mix peppermint patty frosting.  Combine powdered sugar, butter, evaporated milk, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, and peppermint extract in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Beat until smooth and creamy.  Spread over brownies and place in refrigerator until set, about 30 minutes.

To make ganache, gently heat evaporated milk until warm and pour it over chocolate. Stir for a few minutes until smooth and creamy.  Spread on top of the peppermint layer.  Sprinkle with chopped candy cane Hershey kisses or crushed candy canes.