Thursday, December 30, 2010

Nutella Hot Chocolate

I think I have died and gone to H.E.A.V.E.N. Nutella heaven, that is! I have made no secret of my nutella obsession but this takes it to a new level! I saw this recipe pop up on quite a few different food blogs I follow, the recipe was essentially the same, just a few small changes. But the one I like the best is from my friend Brenda's blog. I only changed it slightly...

Nutella Hot Chocolate

1 cup milk (I used 1%, it is what I had)
a splash of heavy cream (probably not necessary if you use whole milk)
1/4 cup nutella
a pinch of salt
a dash of cinnamon

Heat the milk and cream until hot but not boiling. Add the nutella, salt and cinnamon and whisk until the nutella is totally melted and combined. Serve with fresh whipped cream!

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Baked Spinach and Artichoke Dip

This is another recipe from my sister-in-law. I absolutely LOVE spinach and artichoke dip and this is my favorite recipe for it! It makes me like it even more that it doesn't have mayonnaise in it. Not that I have anything against mayonnaise but putting it in desserts and eating it in a big glob on top of crackers or bread just makes me want to gag. It is a mental thing. Anyway, you won't miss the mayo one bit in this, it is wonderful!

Baked Spinach and Artichoke Dip

1-10 oz package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1-14 oz can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
2-8 oz packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese, divided
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Mix together spinach, artichokes, cream cheese, sour cream, garlic, 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese and salt and pepper until combined. Top with remaining 1 cup mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese. Bake for 30 minutes or until the top is brown and bubbling.

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Monday, December 27, 2010


This is my very favorite pancake recipe. I actually got the original recipe from my Betty Crocker cookbook but completely altered it and added a few things. My kids ask for pancakes daily so I have had many opportunities to adjust these (not that I make them daily). Now, they are just as I like them! I have made them with all milk and all buttermilk but my favorite is half milk, half buttermilk.

(16, 4-inch pancakes)

2 1/2 cups flour
4 T sugar
4 t baking powder
2 beaten eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup buttermilk
2 T oil
2 t vanilla
1 t salt

Mix together the dry ingredients. Add the wet and mix until smooth. Cook on a hot griddle, flip when bubbles appear on the first side. Top with your favorite syrup (here is mine), berries, nutella, etc...
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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Eggnog Bunt Cake

This is one of the best Holiday desserts ever! I absolutely love it! It is the perfect combination of eggnog, caramel and cinnamon without being over bearing on any one of these flavors. I got this recipe from the Sister's Cafe.

Eggnog Bunt Cake

1 yellow cake mix
3 T flour
2 cups eggnog
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 t rum extract
1/8 t nutmeg

Beat together all the ingredients until smooth and creamy. Pour into greased bundt pan. Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes. Dust lightly with powdered sugar for presentation.

Caramel sauce:

1 cup brown sugar
2 sticks butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 T cinnamon
1/2 qt. rich vanilla ice cream (I used Haagen-Daz vanilla)

Melt all together over medium heat, until it just boils. Pour warm over individual servings immediately before serving.

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Friday, December 17, 2010

Gingersnap Cookies with White Chocolate Chips

I love soft gingersnaps, so when I saw this recipe at Two Peas and Their Pod, I was totally excited to try them. The white chocolate chips are the perfect compliment to these. I altered the recipe slightly to fit my liking.

Gingersnap Cookies with White Chocolate Chips
(makes about 3 dozen cookies)

1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup molasses
2 T canola oil
1 t vanilla
2 1/4 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 1/4 t cinnamon
1 1/4 t ground cloves
1 t ground ginger
2 eggs
3 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips

1 cup sugar - for rolling cookie dough in

Preheat oven to 350. Cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in molasses, oil, vanilla, baking soda, salt and spices. Mix well. Add the eggs, one at a time and beat until smooth. Slowly add in the flour. Stir in the white chocolate chips. Scoop the cookie dough into balls and roll in the sugar. Place on cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 minutes, the cookies should still be soft. Let cool on pan for five minutes and then move to wire rack to cool completely.
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Friday, December 10, 2010


These are my husbands favorite (I know, I say that A LOT! I guess he has a lot of favorites!) Anyway, these are from Abby's blog. I always know that I can count on Abby for great food and these are great! Oh, and super easy. It is highway robbery that candy stores can get away with charging so much for ONE of these!


1-14oz bag of caramels, unwrapped
6 oz whole pecans
1 bag chocolate chips (I used 1/2 semi-sweet and 1/2 milk chocolate)
1-2 T cream or evaporated milk

Melt caramels in a sauce pan with the cream, stirring until they are smooth. Add the pecans and mix until the pecans are coated. You want there to be LOTS of caramel around the nuts. Put little dollops of the nuts and caramel onto foil sprayed with cooking spray. DO NOT use wax paper, the caramel won't come off. Once they are cooled, melt the chocolate in a double boiler, microwave or in a bowl over a pan of simmering water (this is what I always do). Do this over low heat and don not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water. Stick a tooth pick into the top of a caramel/nut cluster and dip it into the chocolate until coated. Shake off the excess chocolate and place on wax paper. Repeat with the remaining caramel/nut clusters. Let the chocolate get hard and then try not to eat them all in one sitting!
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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Sausage and Kale Soup

I found this recipe at Martha It was quick and hearty, the perfect thing for a cold snowy day. It has a great almost creamy broth without the cream/milk. Serve it with some crusty bread and there is nothing better for a week night meal.

Sausage and Kale Soup
(4 servings)

1 T olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 t crushed red-pepper flakes
5 medium potatoes (1 1/2 pounds), cut into 1/2 inch chunks
3 cans low-sodium chicken broth
1 bunch kale, stemmed and shredded
12 ounces chicken sausage, cut into 1/2-inch half moons (We browned these in a pan before adding to the soup)

In a large pot, heat oil over medium. Add onion and cook until soft (about 1-2 minutes). Add garlic and red pepper flakes; cook until fragrant. Add the potatoes and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer until the potatoes are tender, 10-15 minutes.

In a blender, puree half the soup. Return to the pot and add kale and sausage. Simmer until the kale is wilted about 10-15 minutes.
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Monday, December 6, 2010

Hot Chocolate Cookies

Oh WOW! These are so good. When I saw the name of these cookies over at Tasty Kitchen, I just knew I couldn't go wrong. I guess I know what kind of cookies Santa is getting this year!

Hot Chocolate Cookies
(adapted from Tasty Kitchen)
(makes about 4 dozen)

2 sticks butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
3 1/4 cups flour
4 packages (1 ounce each, NOT sugar free) Hot chocolate mix
1 t salt
1 1/4 baking soda
1/2 t cinnamon (optional)
1 cup each milk, semi-sweet and white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Cream together butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl, combine flour, hot chocolate mix, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Add the dry to the wet in 3 or 4 parts, mixing after each. Stir in the chips. Chill dough for about 1 hour. Scoop dough onto a cookie sheet and bake for 9-11 minutes, until the edges are golden brown. Let cool on pan for a few minutes before removing.
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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Peppermint Bark

This was such a fun Holiday treat to make. My boys think it is the best thing EVER! I saw this recipe at a couple of different places, all the same, with some different toppings, so be creative. Or just use candy canes... nothing says Christmas like the cute red and white stripes!

Peppermint Bark

12 ounces Semi-sweet chocolate
12 ounces white chocolate
4 t vegetable oil
1 cup crushed candy canes

Line the bottom and sides of a 9x13 pan with foil, smooth out any wrinkles. Mix the semi-sweet chocolate with 2 t oil and melt in a double boiler. I used a pan of simmering water (on low) with a glass bowl set on top. Do NOT let the bottom of the bowl touch the water. Stir until completely melted. Pour into the prepared 9x13 pan, making an even layer and let chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. Repeat with the white chocolate mixed with the other 2 t of oil. Immediately after pouring the white chocolate in an even layer over the semi-sweet, sprinkle the crushed candy canes on top. Lightly press the candy canes into the white chocolate and then let set completely for about 1-2 hours in the fridge. Once set, break into uneven pieces. Store in the fridge in an air tight container.

I saw on a couple of sites that if you try and set the chocolate in the freezer the two layers don't stick together. I put mine in the freezer once it was totally set because I found it easier to break into pieces when it was frozen.
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Friday, December 3, 2010

Chicken and Dumpling Soup

I was in desperate need of comfort food this week. The snow has set in, my kids are sick and my husband is working too much. So what do I do? I cook, it makes me feel better. I found this recipe at My Kitchen Cafe. I have decided I would be lost without it. The blog not the recipe. Well, maybe the recipe too.

Chicken and Dumpling Soup
(6 servings)

4 cups chicken broth
4 cups water
2-3 chicken breasts (I used a rotisserie chicken)
1 1/2 T olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 1/2 t salt
1 t dried thyme (I used 1 sprig of fresh)
1/4 t pepper
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 1/4 cups flour, divided
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/4 t dried thyme (I used fresh, about 1/2 t)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1 T vegetable oil

In a large pot, boil the chicken in the broth and water until the chicken is cooked through (about 15 minutes). Remove the chicken and shred. Keep the reserved broth warm on the stove. (I used a rotisserie chicken and skipped this step. I sauteed the veggies in a soup pot and added the water and broth.)

While the chicken cooks, saute the veggies in the olive oil for 6-7 minutes, or until tender. Add the veggies to the broth along with the thyme (I put in the whole sprig), salt and pepper and bring to a simmer.

In a small bowl whisk together 1/2 cup cold water and 1/4 cup flour until smooth. While whisking, slowly add this to the vegetables and broth until combine. Add the peas and the shredded chicken and stir.

For the dumplings, stir together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. In a small bowl mix together the sour cream, milk and oil. Add the wet to the dry and mix until just combined, DO NOT over mix.

Heat the soup to boiling and drop teaspoonful amounts of dumpling dough into the boiling soup. The dumplings should be small, they expand as they cook. Cover the entire surface of the soup in a single layer of dumplings. Reduce the soup to a simmer. Cover the soup and let the dumplings cook for 15 minutes. DO NOT lift the lid while they cook.

Once the dumplings have cooked, remove the lid and stir gently to break the dumplings apart. Serve.

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Cinnamon and Sugar Almonds

These are my husbands most favorite. So when I saw them over at My Kitchen Cafe, I of course had to give them a try. I love everything about these from smell of my house while they cook to the sweet crunchy flavor. These are such a great holiday treat, ok, maybe an anytime treat!

Cinnamon and Sugar Almonds
(about 2 cups)

1 egg white
1 t cold water
1/2 t vanilla
2 cups unsalted almonds
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 t salt
1/2 t cinnamon

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Line a large 11x17 rimmed pan with foil and lightly spray it with cooking spray.

In a large bowl beat egg white until stiff peaks form. Add the water and vanilla and beat again until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in the almonds until they are coated with the egg mixture.

In a small bowl combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Add this to the almonds and stir until mixed well. Spread the coated almonds into an even layer on the prepared pan. Bake for about 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes, until the almonds look and feel dry. The coating should be crunchy. Let cool completely before serving and packaging.

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