Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Sky's the Limit Popcorn

The photo above is from Super Bowl Sunday last year. Jamie made the Reeses version and the Oreo version of this popcorn. This recipe is fun because it's so versatile! Add the candy or cookies of your choice. I've had Reeses Peanutbutter Cups (my personal favorite) and Junior Mints and Hershey's kisses. You name it!

In a large bowl, mix:

2 bags of microwave popcorn (I use about 12 cups of homemade)

1 bag of mini-marshmallows

In a pan, add:

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup butter

1/2 cup Karo Syrup

Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.

Chop candybars or pour in you choice of candy. Some options:

  • about 8 regular size Reeses Peanut butter cups

  • about 40 Hershey's kisses (I used Mint Truffle last night and they were a hit!)

  • 1 theater size box of Junior Mints

  • about 30 Oreo cookies crushed

  • a package of Chips Ahoy cookies, crushed

  • get original, try something you love!

Add the candy or cookies to the popcorn. Pour the hot syrup over the popcorn. Put into a well-buttered 9x13" pan and cut like Rice Krispie treats or toss in a large bowl and serve with a scoop or spoon. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Norma's Doughnuts!

After hearing about her tradition, we began our own this year, by gathering together with friends and making donuts by the masses. It was too much fun! I got the recipe from my sweet friend, Norma, who is in her 90s! She's an amazing woman and I'm tickled to have a special recipe from her files!

1 cup shortening (I used butter flavored)

2 Tbsp. yeast dissolved in 1/2 cup warm water

5 eggs

1 cup sugar

1 Tbsp. salt

1/2 tsp lemon extract

2 cups mashed potatoes (she recommends making them from instant potatoes)

4 cups luke warm milk

5 pounds of flour (about 10 cups)

Scald milk with shortening, add salt, sugar and enough flour to the batter about the consistency of cake batter. Add the potatoes, beaten eggs and dissolved yeast, extract and enough flour to make a soft dough. Let raise twice and roll out flat. Cut into donut shapes. Let raise until light and fluffy (about fifteen more minutes.) Cook in hot oil (375°), turning as they become golden brown. Glaze or frost or dip in cinnamon sugar, plain sugar or powdered sugar. Enjoy!

A few tips:

  • each batch makes about 60ish doughnuts

  • we doubled the batch last night and used one gallon of Wesson Oil

  • from the rolling out to eating point, it took one hour

  • don't forget to cook the doughnut holes, toss them into a zip-lock bag of sugar and shake.

  • Store them tightly once completely cooled

  • Share some with a neighbor or friend!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Cranberry Delight Spread

Vikki brought this tasty dip over for our little appetizer night with the Bunco gals last week. It was surprisingly different! A sweet and fruity dip! Everyone loved it!

1 pkg (8oz.) cream cheese
2 T frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
1/8 t. cinnamon
1T. sugar
zest of one orange
1 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans (Vikki said, "I used almonds, my pecans were awol")
1 1/4 cup finely chopped dry cranberries
garnish with small mint leaf

In electric mixer bowl combine the cream cheese, juice, cinnamon and sugar
mix on med speed until smooth. fold in orange zest, pecans, and cranberries.
Refrigerate and serve with town house crackers. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Five Minute Chocolate Mug Cake

My friend, Sandy, sent this recipe in an email and I raced straight to the kitchen to try it! It got mixed reviews, but how dangerous is that to know that you are only five minutes away from a hot piece of chocolate cake at any time!


4 tablespoons flour

4 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons cocoa

1 egg

3 tablespoons milk

3 tablespoons oil

3 tablespoons chocolate chips

a small splash of vanilla extract

1 large coffee mug

Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well. Pour in the milk and oil and add the egg and mix thoroughly. Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla extract, and mix again. (Personally, at this point, next time I make it, I'd swirl in a bit of Caramel Ice Cream topping to make it a bit moister. Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts (high). The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don't be alarmed! Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired. (It really could serve two because it's quite rich!) Enjoy!

Friday, December 19, 2008

German Pancakes

Here’s Quayd's most requested breakfast. This is another fun possibility for Christmas morning. It takes about five minute of prep time and while it's baking you can set the table and gather the toppings. Very simple!

12 eggs
1 tsp. Salt
2 cups milk
2 cups flour

Preheat oven to 425°. Place 1/3 cup of butter in 9x13 pan and put pan in oven until butter is melted and sizzling. While it’s melting, mix the ingredients in the blender until frothy, adding flour slowly and last. Remove pan from oven and make sure that the entire pan is covered in butter. Pour the batter into the hot sizzling buttery pan. Place in oven and back for 15 - 20 minutes, until the batter is rising, golden and bubbly. It will poof up and be very pretty! Serve immediately with your choice of toppings. We use drained pineapple tidbits, fresh strawberries in sugar, sliced bananas, cantelope, cool whip, syrup, powdered sugar, jams or jellies. Whatever you’ve got will be a hit! QUICK, EASY AND WONDERFUL! Enjoy!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Brie Bites

My good friend, Marilyn, and I discovered these in a little restaurant in Salt Lake City and decided that they couldn't be very hard to make. We were so right! Two ingredients and you're in business.

Brie cheese

Pepperidge Farms Puff Pastry

Thaw the pastry. Cut it into 3" squares. Place about 1 tsp of brie on the center of the square and fold the four corners of pastry to a point (sort of like a wonton). Bake at 400° until they are golden brown. You can brush them with eggwhite but there's no need. Serve warm with cranberry jalepeno or raspberry jelly. A fabulous appetizer! Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Cinnamon Toast Strata

Here's a tasty breakfast that whips up in a matter of minutes the night before and can bake while you are busy doing other things in the morning. A new twist on the old strata recipe. Try it, you'll love it!

1 loaf french bread, cut into 1" cubes
8 eggs
4 tsp.sugar
3/4 tsp. Salt
3 cup milk
1 tsp. Vanilla

Place bread in greased 9x13 pan. Mix remaining ingredients well. Pour over bread. Cover and refrigerate overnight (8 hours). Remove from fridge half hour before baking. Dot with butter. Melt 2 tbsp. Butter and pour over then sprinkle with 1/3 cup cinnamon sugar. Cover and bake for 45 minutes at 350 or until knife comes out clean. Serve five minutes after removing from oven. Really good with maple syrup, like a pancake! or Serve with fresh fruit and whipped cream. Enjoy!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Cranberry Craisin Nut Bread

I've not made this recipe yet with my camera in hand. BUT. Picture or not, Oh, my! You're going to love this bread! That's all I can say!

8 oz cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup sugar

1 egg beaten

1 3/4 cup flour

1 1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1 small can pumpkin

1/c butter, melted

1 egg

1/2 cup water

1 cup craisins

1 cup chopped pecans

Combine cream cheese, egg, sugar. Set aside. Combine dry ingredients. Add pumpkin, butter, egg and water. Pour batter into greased, floured 9x5" loaf pan, reserving 2 cups. Pour cream cheese mixture over pumpkin batter. Sprinkle craisins and nuts over cream cheese. Top with remaining pumpkin batter. Swirl a knife through the batters mixing gently. Bake at 350° for 60-70 minutes. Enjoy!

Pull-apart Bread

This is an old tried and true recipe but it's worth rementioning especially at this time of the year because families are home for breakfast and we're looking for quick and simple things to prepare ahead of time. Some call it monkey bread or bubble bread. No matter what you call it, this is one tasty breakfast bread and has definitely been a hit at many a family gathering over the past twenty years.

24 oz. Rhodes frozen dinner roll dough (or use your own roll recipe)

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 3.4 oz package instant butterscotch pudding mix

1/4 cup sugar

2 t. cinnamon

1/2 cup melted butter

1/2 cup chopped pecans

The night or several hours before, grease and flour a 9 or 10 inch tube pan. Mix brown sugar, pudding mix, white sugar and cinnamon together. Place frozen dinner rolls in pan a layer at a time. Sprinkle brown sugar and pudding mixture over first layer of roll. Spread half the nuts and melted butter over first layer. Repeat with the next layer. Place on counter over night. Do not cover. The next morning, bake in a preheated 350° oven for 30 minutes.
Let stand a few minutes and turn pan over onto serving platter. Serve warm! Enjoy!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Jalepeno Pineapple Cheeseball

I posted this recipe a few weeks ago as Carol's always a hit cheeseball. But, out of neccessity, a few nights ago, I used a jalepeno pepper instead. So, I'm reposting it this way rather than going back and editing, just for simplicity of finding it again.

2 - 8 0z. cream cheese
1 large can drained crushed pineapple
1 finely chopped jalepeno pepper
2 green onions, use the entire onion except the tips of both ends
1 1/2 tsp. seasoning salt
1 cup chopped pecans

Blend cream cheese and remaining ingredients well. Place in a bowl on platter and chill until served. Serve with crackers. (We used it as on sandwiches with sliced turkey and it was fab!) Enjoy!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Peanut Butter Balls

These are so quick and easy and unfortunately, I could eat the entire pan! Very very tasty. It's a quick and easy way to make your own "Reese's Peanut butter Cups". I've tried lots of recipes for these, but this one is my favorite!

1 cup butter
4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups peanut butter (I use chunky Adams Natural)

1 bag milk chocolate chips

Melt the butter and peanut butter in a saucepan on medium-low heat. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and stir until mixed well. It will be a very thick consistency, almost a ball. Remove from heat. Roll the "dough" into teaspoon size balls. Cool for about fifteen minutes in the refrigerator. In your microwave, melt the chocolate chips. SLOWLY! Thirty seconds and remove from the microwave and stir, then thirty seconds more and again until they are creamy. Do not overcook the chips or they will crystallize and be of no use. Place a piece of wax paper on a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan. Using a fork or spoon, roll the balls into the melted chocolate chips until completely covered. Place them on the wax paper and chill. Enjoy!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Turtle Cake

This cake tastes like a scratch cake and is one of those ooie-gooey-nummy treats that will be a hit wherever you serve it!

1 German Chocolate Cake Mix


1 bag or about 2 cups of unwrapped caramels

6 Tbsp. butter

1/2 cup evaporated milk

1 cup chopped pecans

1 cup chocolate chips

Mix the cake according to the box directions. Put half of batter into 9x13" pan and bake at 350° for 15 minutes. While it's baking, heat the caramels, milk and butter in a saucepan on low heat. Pour the caramel mixture over the baked cake (it will still be gooey.) Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the caramel mix. Pour remaining batter over the top and bake for 25 - 30 minutes. Do not overbake! Cool and cut into squares. Drizzle caramel ice cream topping in a zig-zag shape on the plate before placing the brownie on the plate. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream and top with more chopped nuts. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Denise's Gooey Brown Balls

This is Denise's special treat every season. I'm not that big of a heavy chocolate fan, but everyone that is, loves these!

3 Giant Hershey bars

12 oz. cool whip

Vanilla wafers (1/2 box) very finely crushed or graham crackers

Crust the cookies first. Melt the candybars in a bowl in the microwave, but do NOT make them too hot. Once the chocolate is warm enough to melt, stir it until smooth. Fold in the Cool Whip gently. Using a large melonballer, scoop the mix forming a ball and dip into the crumbs and roll them, totally covering the chocolate with the crumbs. (They will be sticky.) Place in a Tupperware or other airtight container. This can also be rolled in coconut or finely crushed candy canes or Oreos. Store tightly closed. They firm up if stored in the refrigerator. Denise always says, "They don't always look that pretty, but, they are sooooooooooo goooooood!"

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Glazed Cranberry Wreathe

I but tried it the last few years and we loved it! The photo above is not of this recipe but it is very similar. I think I'll make one today! Enjoy!

1 can jellied cranberries
1 8 ounce package cream cheese
1 cup finely chopped cashews
2 pkgs refrigerated crescent rolls
1 ½ cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp. Butter
3 - 4 Tbsp. Milk
Separate the crescent rolls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet to form a circle with the wide part of the crescent in the center, the narrow part pointing away from the center. Press slightly overlapped edges together. In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese and cranberries until well blended. Add cashews. Spread the mixture over the crescent roll circle until evenly distributed. Pull each narrow end of the crescent up and over the cranberry mixture, pressing down at the center of the "Wreathe". Bake at 350° for 25 - 30 minutes or until well browned. Mix powered sugar, butter and milk to make glaze. Drizzle over the top of the wreathe after cooling to room temp. Serve with vanilla ice-cream or alone.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Carol's Soda Cracker Toffee!

Honestly, I get mad at Carol whenever she makes this because it's one of those "can't stop eating it until it's gone" type recipes! I prefer this to real toffee because you don't need dental work after you eat it. It's quick and easy to make and honestly, it's to die for!
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Place one sleeve of saltine crackers, plus a few more to cover the entire bottom of the pan. *Do not crumble the crackers, place them whole.

In a pan, melt 1 cup (2 sticks) butter and 1/2 cup brown sugar. Once it's melted, stir for three minutes. Pour the sauce over the crackers. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven. Pour one package of chocolate chips (Carol uses half semi-sweet and half milk chocolate chips) over the baked layers. Wait 30 seconds. Spread the chocolate to cover the pan. Sprinkle with chopped nuts. Place in the refrigerator for one hour. Remove and then break into bite-size pieces. Store in a sealed container, "If it lasts that long!", says Carol, when she gave me the recipe! Enjoy!

Note: Carol also uses Andes Mints Peppermint or Mint Chocolate Chips or Toffee Bits in place of the chocolate chips.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Creamy Caramel Apple Cider

This is a huge hit at Starbucks, but a bit pricey. You can actually buy the syrup at Starbucks, which would save you in the longrun if you get as hooked on this winter drink. But, the best way to go is to check your local restaurant supply store and get it for the cost of of one Starbucks original! Either way, you'll be hooked!

2 cups apple cider or juice
1/4 tsp. cinnamon or 1 - 2 tsp. cinnamon syrup
4 Tbsp. caramel syrup
Whipping cream

Heat apple cider and cinnamon. Mix in cinnamon. Pour into mug. Top with Whipping Cream and Drizzle 2 Tbsp. caramel over the top of each mug. Makes 2 cups. or Make this drink and serve it from a crock pot along with the toppings on the side! Enjoy!

Hot Chocolate Floats

Another hot wintry drink that doesn't get much easier.

1 cup Hot Cocoa, ready to drink

1 scoop vanilla ice cream

1 shot of whipping cream on top

Prepare Hot Cocoa. Add a scoop of ice cream and the whipping cream! If desired, drizzle Caramel or chocolate ice cream topping on the whipping cream. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Savory Bread Bites

After searching several cookbooks for something tasty for a baby shower, I decided to create my own! I used my own roll recipe and added the following ingredients.

10 ounces diced swiss cheese (about 3/8" cubes)
1 tbsp. dry mustard
1/2 - 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/3 cup bacon bits

I mixed up my rolls as always and added these ingredients during the kneading. When the dough has risen, form tiny balls (between the size of a mini-marshmallow and a regular size marshmallow and place them on a buttered baking pan. Preheat the oven to 400°. Let them raise until doubled in size and bake 14 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and brush them with generously with melted butter immediately. Sprinkle generously with salt. (The swiss cheese demands it.) Serve them right out of the oven as tiny appetizer bites. Very tasty! Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Almond Bites

Mom discovered a freebie cookbook near the Hersheys display in a grocery store last week and brought it home to me. It was filled with some pretty fun treats but this one spoke to me immediately. I used almond Kisses instead of regular Hersheys Kisses but wow! These were great! They were simple to make, once I figured that I had to have my hands buttered while making them. I'll be honest here... the recipe only makes about 12-14 treats, so you may want to double or triple it to make it worth your time to make them. Did I mention "WOW!"?

About 14 Hershey Kisses
3/4 cup ground almonds
1/3 cup powdered sugar
3-4 tbsp. light corn syrup
1.2 tsp. almond extract
granulated sugar

Remove the wrappers from the kisses. Stir together in a small bowl the almonds and powdered sugar. In a cup, mix the Karo and almond extract. (The recipe actually called for 1 Tbsp. of Karo, but it took almost 4 before the mix held together.) Pour the syrup mixture over the almond mixture and stir until completely blended. With well-buttered hands, shape at least 1 tsp. of this mixture around each Kiss into a ball. Roll in sugar. Store in an airtight container. The recipe also suggested that you add red or green food coloring to your sugar but I thought that they looked better natural. Enjoy!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Dorothy's Pretzel Snacks

This is a favorite recipe in our neck of the woods and so simple. It's quick to put together with hardly any mess!

50 pretzels
50 bags of Rollo Candies
M&Ms (the holiday colored ones are fun when you make them in any season!)

Place pretzels on a cookie sheet or jelly-roll pan that is lined with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 250°. Place a rollo on each pretzel. Heat in oven for about 4 minutes, just long enough to get the Rollo soft. Remove from oven. Gently press an M&M on top. Let cool and they will harden quickly.
I'm going to make these with pecans or cashews instead of M&Ms for the next gathering that I have! Can't wait! If you've not had them, pick up the three ingredients today and try them! Enjoy!