Saturday, November 27, 2010

It's about being first...

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! Hope everyone got to spend it with family and friends like we did! Many people asked me about my blog and future recipes. My husband's uncle announced, after cooking the turkey, that he may start a new blog called Cooking in Construction Boots!

I did not venture out on Black Friday...there was nothing I needed that bad! But, how crazy was that lady in Florida who was waiting outside a store for a week?!? And what did she want? "Nothing, it's just about being first...."

I did a lot of baking this week...Chocolate Cream Pie, Apple Rum Raisin Pie,and Vanilla Mousse Cheesecake. Since it was my first cheesecake ( which I don't actually even eat) I decided to post that recipe. In case you're wondering my father-in-law gives it two thumbs up and says I can make him cheesecake anytime! And we both agree that the springform pan is one of the best inventions!

Vanilla Mousse Cheesecake
adapted from


40 NILLA Wafers, crushed
5 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted
4 pkg. (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened, divided
1 cup sugar, divided
1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. vanilla, divided
3 eggs
1 tub (8 oz.) Whipped Topping, thawed

Mix wafer crumbs and butter.

Press onto bottom of 9-inch springform pan.

Beat 3 pkg. cream cheese, 3/4 cup sugar and 1 Tbsp. vanilla with mixer until well blended.

Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Pour over crust.

Bake 50 to 55 min. or until center is almost set. Run knife around rim of pan to loosen cake; cool completely in pan.

Beat remaining cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with mixer in large bowl until well blended.

Whisk in whipped topping; spread over cheesecake.

Refrigerate 4 hours. Remove rim of pan before serving cheesecake.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Is that you weekend?

I finally got to enjoy a weekend sleeping in, going out to breakfast, and spending quality time with my husband. We even had one of our Saturday drives checking out houses and finding out, "Where does this road go?"

My little sister turned 19 this week. How is that possible? I imagine this is how mother's feel as their children get older. It's crazy that 19 years ago I was singing "You are my sunshine," to her in a hospital waiting for her to be strong enough to come home. It still seems like she's starting kindergarten and asking me to lay at the end of her bed so she can fall asleep. I'm glad she's all grown up, but I still miss that little girl sometimes.

I think my sister would approve of the recipe for today....

Peanut Butter Blondies with Milk Chocolate Frosting

Oven 325
10 Tablespoons unsalted butter cut into 5 cubes
2 cups dark brown sugar
1 cup smooth and natural peanut butter
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

Grease a 9×13-inch pan, line with parchment paper if you have it on hand, then grease the parchment paper. If you don’t have parchment paper, these blondies will be just fine.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and sugar together until the butter is just melted.

Remove from the burner and allow to cool for 5 minutes, then add the peanut butter. Stir until incorporated.

Allow to cool for 5 minutes more, then whisk in the eggs and vanilla extract. You want the sugar, butter and peanut butter mixture to be cool enough that the eggs won’t begin to cook when they’re added in.

Whisk together salt, flour and baking powder. Add dry ingredients all at once to the wet ingredients. Stir until just incorporated. Pour the thick batter into the prepared pan and smooth out.

Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center of the blondies comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature before frosting.

Milk Chocolate Frosting

6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 Tablespoons milk
3/4 cup milk chocolate chips, melted

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter, cocoa powder and salt.

Add 1/2 cup powdered sugar followed by 1 tablespoon milk. Beat well. Add another cup of powdered sugar, followed by 2 tablespoons of milk. Melt milk chocolate chips in the microwave or in a double boiler. Add melted and slightly cooked milk chocolate the frosting and beat to incorporate.

Spread evenly over peanut butter blondies.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Day Off

Veteran's Day has come and gone...and I spent it doing schoolwork. I have so many big projects due at the end of the month for my master's classes that it seemed like the perfect time to get a good amount done. Unfortunately, it got to that point in the day when your mind is no longer able to read or think because you've been reading and typing for about 6 hours straight with a small coffee break. I did get a lot done and I felt it wasn't a day wasted.

I have two quick recipes that are pretty simple and still look great. The first is a quiche which we're using for our "Breakfast for Dinner" night. The second is a recipe for Palmiers using Nutella (my husband has been asking me about using it in a recipe for awhile).

Quick Ham and Tomato Quiche
Oven 400
1box Pillsbury® refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on package
3/4cup milk
2tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4cup grated Parmesan cheese
1cup finely chopped cooked ham (about 6 oz)
1medium tomato, cut in half, seeded and cut into thin strips
1cup shredded Cheddar cheese (4 oz)

Place pie crust in 9-inch glass pie plate as directed on box for One-Crust Filled Pie. DO NOT PRICK CRUST. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or just until edge begins to brown (if crust puffs up in center, gently push down with back of wooden spoon).

Meanwhile, in medium bowl, beat eggs, milk, flour and Parmesan cheese with wire whisk until well blended.

Layer ham, tomato,and Cheddar cheese in partially baked crust. Pour egg mixture over layers.

Cover crust edge with strips of foil to prevent excessive browning; bake 25 to 35 minutes or until golden brown and knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

adapted from

Oven 400

1 pkg. (17.3 oz.) Pepperidge Farm® Puff Pastry Sheets (2 sheets)
1 egg
1 tbsp. water
6 tbsp. sugar
*Nutella spread

Thaw the pastry sheets at room temperature for 40 minutes until they’re easy to handle. Lightly grease 2 baking sheets.

Stir the egg and water with a fork in small bowl. Unfold 1 pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface. Roll the sheet into a 12 x 10-inch rectangle. Brush with egg mixture. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons sugar ( I put a thin layer of Nutella spread on each sheet).

Starting at the short sides, fold pastry toward center. Do the same with the opposite side.Brush with egg mixture and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar.

Fold one side over the other, making a 4-layer rectangle.

Repeat with remaining pastry sheet. Cut each rectangle into about 12 (3/4-inch) slices.

Place cut-side down 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Brush tops with egg mixture and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for 12 minutes or until golden. Remove from the baking sheets and cool on a wire rack.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

They're coming...

...the holidays, that is. No matter what store I went to this week the Thanksgiving and Christmas "stuff" was everywhere. My husband, who can't stand when radio stations start playing Christmas music on what seems like the day after Halloween, is disgusted. I love the holidays, but would have to agree that it seems a bit rushed. Can't I enjoy Thanksgiving before Christmas?!?
I finished a masters class on Saturday...I lost three weekends in a row but I earned 3 credits. It was nice to be able to get it over with so quickly. Just a few more to it August yet? Meanwhile my husband has been battling the trees in our yard for 3 weekends. So far, the trees are winning. He has been raking up a storm, 13 bags of leaves and counting!
This dessert started out as Gingerbread Whoopie Pies, however, I don't feel that they are true whoopie pies, more like cookie sandwiches. Whatever you want to call them, they are very good. I especially enjoy the mix of ginger and lemon. Watch out for that lemon creme , its very good!

Gingerbread Cookie Sandwiches with Lemon Creme
adapted from
Makes 15 sandwiches

Oven 350
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Lemon Creme:
7 oz marshmallow cream
1/4 cup butter, softened
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon lemon extract
about 1 cup powdered sugar (to thicken)

Mix flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt in large bowl.

Beat butter and brown sugar in mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy.

Add molasses, egg and vanilla; beat well.

Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed. Press dough into a thick flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges of cookies just begin to brown. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.

For the Lemon Creme, mix marshmallow cream, butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar (to thicken)and lemon extract in medium bowl until well blended. Refrigerate.

Assemble sandwiches right before serving. To assemble, place about 1 tablespoon filling on the flat side on 1 cookie.

Top with a second cookie, pressing gently to spread filling. Repeat with remaining cookies. We ate these as sandwiches and also had some of the cookies dipped in the lemon creme. Either way everyone loved them!