Monday, December 31, 2012

Candy Cane Hot Chocolate Mix

This Candy Cane Hot Chocolate Mix is positively the best stuff you could ever dream of drinking.  It's true!  It even passes the picky 11 year old doesn't-like-anything test.  And with flying colors!  That's saying something.

This Candy Cane Hot Chocolate Mix turned out so well we had to share it with our friends and neighbors at Christmas.  

Today is the last day to enter the giveaway I have going.  Don't forget to enter!

1 (11.5 ounce) bag milk chocolate chips
10 peppermint candy canes
1 1/2 cups powdered milk
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup powdered creamer

Break up candy canes and place them in the bowl of a food processor.  Process until they are powder (it took me 1 to 2 minutes).  Pour candy cane powder into a large bowl and place chocolate chips in the bowl of the food processor along with 1/2 cup powdered milk.  Process until the chocolate has turned into a powder.  Pour chocolate powder into the bowl with the peppermint powder and add remaining powdered milk and other remaining ingredients.  Mix well and store covered.  To make Candy Cane Hot Chocolate, add 1/3 cup mix to 3/4 cup very hot water.

Recipe from They Royal Cook - an original!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Creamy Hot Cocoa Mix

It's been snowing here faithfully every day since Christmas eve.  That's 6 days straight!  Thank goodness I have an awesome hubby and teenager that take care of my snow removal. :) Since there is so much snow, I figured I would take advantage of it and take the kiddos sledding.  After almost freezing our little tushes off, I made some of this Creamy Hot Cocoa to thaw us out and warm us up.  It was perfect!

Don't forget to enter the giveaway I have going on right now.

2 cups powdered milk
2 cups powdered creamer
3 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups cocoa powder

Combine all ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined.   To serve, add 1/3 cup mix to 3/4 cup hot water and mix well.

Recipe from The Royal Cook - an original!

Linked on Nifty Thrifty Things and Tatertots and Jello.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Soft Pretzels

There nothing my kids like for a snack after school than a Soft Pretzel.  Being the nice, super way cool, mom that I am (if you wouldn't mind telling my kids I'm nice and super way cool, that would be fantastic! :)) I made these Soft Pretzels for an after school snack for them.  They all loved them and devoured them in record time.

Don't forget to enter the giveaway for 2 free movie tickets and a box of General Mills cereal that I have going on right now!

2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 cup very warm water

1/2 cup warm water
2 tablespoons baking soda
Coarse salt (optional)
3 tablespoons butter, melted

In a large bowl combine the flour, salt, sugar and yeast.  Mix to just combine.  Add the water and mix well.  Add more flour, a little bit at a time, if needed, to form a soft, smooth dough.  Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, until it is soft and smooth, and not overly sticky.  Place dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover and let rest/rise for 30 to 60 minutes.  Preheat oven to 500 F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or grease them.  Place dough on a lightly greased work surface and divide into 8 to 10 equal pieces of dough (depending on how large you would like your pretzels) and lest rest, uncovered for 5 minutes.  While the dough is resting, combine the 1/2 cup warm water and the baking soda in a small, flat bottomed plate, pan or bowl that is just large enough to dip the pretzels in, and mix until dissolved.  Roll each piece of dough into a long, thin strip and shape into a pretzel.  Dip each pretzel into the baking soda mixture (the baking soda didn't dissolve completely for me, so I stirred it before dipping each pretzel).  Place each pretzel on a prepared baking sheet about 2-inches apart and sprinkle lightly with coarse salt, if using.  Let rest rest for 10 minutes, uncovered.  Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they're golden brown.  Brush the baked pretzels with melted butter and serve warm.

Recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe.

Linked on Tatertots and Jello and Nifty Thrifty Things.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Giveaway: It´s Movie Time, brought to you by General Mills

Congratulations to our winner, Susan, commenter #5 who said "I've seen Les Miserables Los Angeles and on Broadway. Can't wait to see the movie, but I wish Russell Crowe wasn't playing the bad inspector!..." 

Now that Christmas is over I thought it would be a good time to do a giveaway!  And a very cool giveaway if you ask me!

I don't think I can tell you how excited I am about this giveaway!  2 Of my family's favorite things combined. I like LOVE going to the movies!  I go to at least 2-4 movies a month.  I think I'm addicted!  And don't get me started on the insane amount of General Mills cereal I buy.  Have you ever seen a 13 year old boy eat!?  He can go through an entire box of cereal in one sitting!  If he opens a box of Reese's Peanut Butter Puffs or Cookie Crisp, it's as good as gone.  My sweet little 4 and 6 year old can't get enough Lucky Charms.  My 4 year old calls them "Chucky Charms". :)  The baby's favorite is Cookie Crisp.  It always makes me smile when he asks for "Cookies" for breakfast.

Move over busy schedule - It´s Movie Time, brought to you by General Mills.

Now we know that a family night out might feel impossible right now. Whether it´s preparing for the holidays or managing the kid´s busy schedules, it can be difficult to find time to get out of the house for some family fun. Well, General Mills is willing to make it easier to catch the latest blockbuster just by eating their delicious cereal!

For a limited time enjoying a night out at the movies is as simple as enjoying your favorite cereals from General Mills.  With the recent releases of The Hobbit, Les Miserables and Monsters Inc. in 3D, it´s time to spread the word that you can all go to the movies for free.

Here´s how it works:
For a limited time (11/08/2012 - 12/06/2013) you can receive a free movie ticket when you purchase two specially marked packages of General Mills cereals including Cheerios, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Lucky Charms, Trix, Cocoa Puffs, Golden Grahams, and Reese´s Peanut Butter Puffs.

After purchasing two participating cereals, visit to enter the unique code found inside each box of cereal and print-off your free Movie Cash certificate (good for one admission of up to a $12 value at participating theaters). To find a participating movie theater in your area log onto:

One of my favorite people (anyone who comments :)) will win an awesome gift pack!

Your gift pack will contain:
-       Two free movie tickets
-       A free box of General Mills Cereal brands participating in the

To enter this giveaway leave me a comment telling me which movie you would see with your 2 free movie tickets or what General Mills cereal is your favorite.  I would also love for you to follow me here and/or on Facebook (but not required to enter).  Please be sure to leave a way to contact you if you're the winner.  Good Luck!!  This awesome giveaway will close on December 31, 2012 at 11:59 pm.

Disclosure: The information, products and General Mills  gift pack were provided by General Mills through MyBlogSpark. General Mills provided me with the free product, information and gift pack through MyBlogSpark.  All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Ghirardelli English Toffee

I don't like to beat around the bush much.  I prefer to say it how it is (or at least how I see it).  Sometimes my hubby doesn't like that lovely trait of mine so well. :)  This Ghirardelli English Toffee is hands down, the best English toffee I've ever had the pleasure of putting in my mouth.  Seriously!  It's sweet, and buttery, and chocolatey, and just plain perfectly amazing.  1 Batch wasn't nearly enough at my house.  It disappeared right before my eyes! 

1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup pecans, chopped
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. Toast the chopped pecans on a baking sheet in the oven for 6 to 8 minutes, or until fragrant.  Watch carefully so they don't burn!  With heavy-duty aluminum foil, form a 10-inch square shell with 1-inch high sides. Place the foil shell on a baking sheet, and set aside.  Combine butter, sugar, water, and salt in a medium sized sauce pan and cook over medium heat until the temperature reaches 305F (hard-crack stage), stirring occasionally (watch closely after it reaches 290F because the temperature will increase rapidly). Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour the mixture into the foil shell.  Sprinkle with chocolate chips and, when the chips are melted, gently spread chocolate over the toffee and sprinkle with pecans.  Let toffee cool at room temperature until the chocolate it hard.  Break into pieces and store covered at room temperature.

Recipe adapted from Ghirardelli.

Linked on Tatertots and Jello and Nifty Thrifty Things

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Time to Reflect

I don't watch the news and I don't listen to the radio much.  Facebook was the way I found out about the unfortunate shooting at the elementary school in Connecticut.  Although I was saddened by the news, today is the day that it really hit me. 

Every year at my children's school they put on a Jingle Jam.  All the classes make their way into the gym overflowing with parents, grandparents, friends and other family, one at a time, to sing 2 Christmas songs they've learned.  I sat there watching all of those amazing children sing and their parents beaming with pride as they watched, recorded and snapped pictures of their kids.  I always have to laugh at myself when I realize how big of a smile I have on my face every time I watch my kids perform.  And that smile usually comes with at least half a tear (although I would never admit it!).

After I got home from the school, I had the realization that tomorrow is the last day of school for my kids before Christmas break.  I've been a bit of a slacker and still haven't gotten a gift for the kids teachers.  As I was thinking what I could do, it hit me that the teachers my kids have really do love and care about my kids.  What kind of gift says, not only Merry Christmas, but thank you for caring about my kids and making them feel important?  For me, that's huge!  Especially after last year.  My oldest daughter came home in tears, more than once, because her teacher had a harsh way of doing things and my sweet daughter felt hated by her teacher.  No child should have to feel that way.

As I picked my youngest daughter up from the bus today, I watched as the bus helper lovingly helped her down the stairs.  Then I watched as my baby girl ran to me, with her arms outstretched for a hug.  She was just as happy to see me as I was to see her. 

As I drove home I took the time to think about the events of the morning.  I thought of my beautiful children and the beautiful children I watched perform at the school.  I thought of the parents that love their kids every bit as much as I love mine.  I thought of the wonderful teachers my children have been blessed with.  And then I thought of those who were affected by the Sandy Hook shooting and I broke down.  I lost my niece just 2 months ago and my heart breaks for those who have lost someone.  My heart breaks for the loss, the pain, the emptiness, the heartbreak they feel.  My heart and prayers go out to them.  

Monday, December 17, 2012

Cherry Chocolate Cookies

The chocolate and shortbread combination of these Cherry Chocolate Cookies is delicious!  Even after my 2 and 4 year olds picked the chocolate kisses off half of them when nobody was looking. :)

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons maraschino cherry juice
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup maraschino cherries, chopped
36 milk chocolate kisses, unwrapped

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Place butter in a large bowl and beat until creamy; about 1 minute.  Slowly add the powdered sugar and salt and mix until well combined.  Add the cherry juice and the almond extract and mix until combined.  Slowly add the flour, and then the cherries.  Shape the dough into small balls ( about 1-inch) and place the balls on a baking sheet about 2 inches apart.  Gently press each cookie in the center until the cookie is about 1/2-inch thick.  Bake the cookies for 12 to 14 minutes, or until the bottoms are very lightly browned.  Once removed from the oven, immediately press a chocolate kiss into the center of each cookie.

Recipe from The Curvy Carrot.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Fudge Glorious Fudge - 13 Different Flavors!!

I still find myself being amazed at the countless different types of fudge you can make.  There are lots of flavors other than chocolate and chocolate with nuts.  Who knew!?  Here is my "sweet" little collection.  (Please tell me there are other punny (funny + pun = punny.  That's what my mom and I call it... ) people out there.)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Random Ramblings - Security Questions?

I usually stick to recipes here, but I decided to change it up a little today.  I've been trying to change my email address on a site I belong to, but they insist I answer my security question before they'll let me.  The only problem is....I don't remember setting a security question and none of my answers are working.  I emailed them letting them know and got this reply:

"Thank you for your email and I apologize for the distress you may be experiencing with answering your security question correctly. I too can sometimes have a brain fart and forget the answer to my security question too. You may answer your security question an unlimited number of times until you answer it correctly. Below I have provided the question you chose at signup again.

What was your first car?"

Pretty sure I wasn't having a "brain fart", even though I thoroughly enjoyed the term.  To try and convince them of my unusual ability to remember anything (strange how kids can make you forget anything and everything...), I sent them this reply.  Enjoy the history of my vehicles. :)

Photo Credit:

"Is there a way to reset my security question?  I've put in so many different answers I now have carpel tunnel in my wrist.  My very first vehicle what a 1979 Chevy Luv.  It was rad!  The horn didn't work so my brother (who is an electrician) rigged up 2 door bell buttons on my dash for my horn.  The first was the sound of the horn, the second was a siren that sounded quite similar to a police siren.  I had many fun times driving down Main with my siren horn going off.  I  lovingly nick-named it 45.  That's because 45 mph was as fast as it would go.  Down hill.  I think my dad did that on purpose....  It was black with great big bright orange and yellow stripes down the side and a big 4x4 at the rear.  Like I said, it was rad!  That answer didn't work.  The make and model combined or separate.

Photo Credit:

My next vehicle was my brothers Camaro.  It was a very cool blue IrocZ T top.  Another very rad car.  It liked to over heat when I drove around town, so I could only drive on the freeway, or directly to my destination.  The guys liked it though, and I would have loved to be able to cruise around in it more to find the hotties.   Once again, neither make and model together or separate worked for me.

 Photo Credit:

My next car was the bomb!  It was my very first car that I purchased for myself.  It was a 1995 Mitsubishi Eclipse.  It was white with pink and purple pin-striping down the sides.  I referred to my baby as sexy.  I even got a customized license plate cover that said "I'm not spoiled, I'm a princess".  The guys really liked this car as well.  My guy friends would bribe me to let them use it for their dates.  I could usually get a tank of gas out of them.  Jake's bribes were always the best.  He would fill the tank, then wash, wax and detail my sexy baby.  Jake was rad!  And then there was Mike.  He borrowed my car for a date and said he felt cool.  WAY cool driving it.  Until he was pulled up at a stop light and car full of girls pulled up next to him.  Then he remembered the license plate cover said "I'm not spoiled, I'm a princess".  He said the cool feeling instantly obliterated and all he could do was sink down in the seat and hope they didn't think he was gay.  My sexy baby was fast too.  I somehow got pulled over 2 times going WAY over the speed limit (read: 100 mph+ yikes!!) and also somehow got off both times.  I guess a cute young thing batting her eyelashes really does work.  And yet again, the make and model together and separate didn't do the trick.  

Fast forward a few years (with the 2 cars in between entered with no success either) to the first vehicle my husband and I bought.  It was a brand new Dodge mini-van.  It was silver and awesomely cool.  It was the best road tripping vehicle you could get.  Very comfy!  It had all the bells and whistles and was paid off before we had it for 6 months.  It was my baby and I took immaculate care of it.  It was silver and I always thought it looked pretty.  Almost like it was smiling at me.  It lovingly carried 3 of my babies home from the hospital.  My sister teased me when I bought it.  She called me a soccer mom.  She wasn't being mean and I didn't care.  Love my van!  I had that one until the first part of this year when we were involved in a car accident and my poor baby was totaled.  We replaced it with the exact same thing.  Except it was gold.  It reminds me of vomit.  Not my color.  It washes me out.  And did I mention the previous owners didn't love on their baby the way I did on mine?  We got it through an auction and I soon realized it was the ghetto version of what I had.  Either that, or the owners were ghetto.  Maybe both.  And once again, I entered both make and model combined and separate to no avail.

The hubs says he's planning on getting me a new mini van (cause I like minis) the first part of the year.  If I still don't have the security answer resolved by then, I'll try the new cars make and model, just in case I was having future visions when I (presumably) answered my security question."

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Fudge

I don't know about you, but one of my favorite (if not favorite) parts of making cookies is eating some of the dough before all the cookies are baked.  And my favorite dough is chocolate chip cookie dough.  Yum!  I hate to admit how much chocolate chip cookie dough I eat each time I make cookies.  I think that's one of the reasons I love this Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Fudge so much.  It really does taste like cookie dough!  My kids all loved it, especially my 4 year old.  She couldn't get enough!

1 3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup cream
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Line an 8x8 inch pan with foil.  Combine the sugar, brown sugar, cream, milk, corn syrup, and salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Boil until the candy reaches 242 degrees, stirring frequently.  Remove from heat and stir in the butter, flour, and vanilla.  Pour mixture into a greased 9x13 inch pan and let cool to about 110 degrees.  Once cooled, scraped mixture into the bowl of a stand mixture.  Beat with the paddle attachment until the mixture holds its shape (3 to 5 minutes).  Press fudge into the 8x8 inch pan and sprinkle with chocolate chips (press the chips down lightly).  Let the fudge set until chocolate chips are no longer soft.

Recipe adapted from Bake at 350.

Linked on Sweet as Sugar Cookies

Monday, December 10, 2012

Candy Cane Fudge

I love fudge.  Pretty much all fudge.  As I was making this awesome Candy Cane Fudge I tried to think why someone would make fudge.  The reason behind the very first batch. And I think I've finally figured it out.  Chocolate just doesn't have enough sugar in it on it's own.  I can picture it now.  Some crazy mad scientist experimenting and wonders what would happen if he added a bunch of sugar to a bar of chocolate.  The result was an amazingly delicious bit of, what we now know of as, fudge.  Maybe that's not really how it happened, and maybe I should think so much....  Whoever came up with the idea of fudge, regardless of the reason, is pure genius. 

2/3 cup canned milk
3/4 cup butter
3 cups sugar
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 (7 ounce) jar marshmallow cream
6 peppermint candy canes, crushed almost to a powder (I used my food processor)
2 peppermint candy canes, broken into small pieces (I used my food processor again, just didn't let it run for as long)

Combine canned milk, sugar, and butter in a large pan and place on the stove over medium heat.  Let the mixture come to a boil and boil, stirring constantly, for 4 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate chips and marshmallow cream; stir until melted.  Add the crushed candy canes and mix until thoroughly incorporated.  Pour into a 9x13 inch pan that has been lined with foil.  Sprinkle with the small pieces of candy cane and gently press down to ensure they stick.

Recipe from The Royal Cook - an original!

Linked on Show Me What Ya Got! and Sweet as Sugar Cookies.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Cookies and Cream Fudge

Oreo cookies are pretty much a prefect cookie, if you ask me.  The crispy outside sandwiched around a creamy filling.  Perfect dunked in a glass of cold milk, or just eaten plain.  I think you could add them to just about anything and reach perfections.  Like this Cookies and Cream Fudge.  It's perfection.  My kids all agree.  The husband agrees.  Not only is it delectable to eat, but it brings the family together.  Together in the the same general consensus that I'm number 1.  I rock.  I'm amazing.  I'm the  Yep, it's perfection. :)

2/3 cup canned milk
3 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter
1 (11 ounce) bag white chocolate chips
1 (7 ounce) jar marshmallow cream
28 chocolate sandwich cookies, crushed and divided

Combine canned milk, sugar, and butter in a large pan and place on the stove over medium heat.  Let the mixture come to a boil and boil, stirring constantly, for 4 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in the white chocolate chips and marshmallow cream; mix until melted.  Reserve about 1/4 cup of the crushed cookies and add the remaining crushed cookies to the fudge and mix well.  Pour into a foil lined 9x13 inch pan.  Sprinkle with reserved cookies.

Recipe from The Royal Cook - an original!

Linked on Tatertots and Jello, Or so she says, Just Winging it, Sweet as Sugar Cookies and Show Me What Ya Got!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Eggnog Fudge

This Eggnog Fudge is amazing!  My daughter (who is not a fan of eggnog) tried a piece.

Daughter "Eww!  This stuff is disgusting!  It tastes just like eggnog."
Me "Um, that's why it's called Eggnog Fudge."

I sure love my kids!

If you like eggnog, you'll love this Eggnog fudge.  As my friend said in a text "It's like eating eggnog... I like it." :)

1 1/2 cups eggnog
4 cups sugar
2 (12 ounce) packages white chocolate chips
1 cup butter
1 (7 ounce) container marshmallow cream
1 1/2 teaspoons eggnog extract (Mine is from Lorann Oils that I bought at Orson Gygi)
nutmeg for sprinkling

Combing eggnog and sugar in a large pan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it comes to a boil.  Boil, stirring constantly, for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in the butter, marshmallow cream and white chocolate chips and mix until everything is melted and well incorporated.  Stir in eggnog extract, if using.  Pour into a foil lined 9x13 inch pan and sprinkle with nutmeg.

Recipe from The Royal Cook, an original!

Linked on Tatertots and Jello, Sweet as Sugar Cookies and Show Me What Ya Got!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Easy Chocolate Truffles

I am still amazed at how easy and incredibly delicious these little buggers are.  And they only have 3 ingredients!  Easy, delicious and only 3 ingredients?  Can you guess what will end up on the goodie trays my friends and neighbors will be getting in a couple weeks?  These Easy Chocolate Truffles. 

2 (11.5 ounce) bags milk chocolate chips
1 (8 ounce) tub frozen whipped topping, thawed
12 chocolate sandwich cookies (like Oreos), crushed (I used mint filled Oreos.  YUM!!!)

Place chocolate chips in a large microwave safe bowl.  Heat in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring after each 30 seconds, until chocolate chips are melted.  Let the chocolate cool for 5 minutes, then stir in the whipped topping until smooth and well combined.  Place mixture in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.  Roll the chocolate mixture into small balls and roll in the crushed chocolate sandwich cookies.

It's easiest to have a little helper when rolling the balls.  One to roll the chocolate mixture and one to roll them in the crumbs.  It's not hard to do both alone, just a little easier with a little helper.

Recipe from The Royal Cook - an original!

Linked on Sweet as Sugar Cookies, Tatertots and Jello and Show Me What Ya Got!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Christmas Muffins

I can't believe it's almost December!  Christmas is quickly on it's way and the end of the year is on it's tail.  I hope you all take a little time to slow down and enjoy the wonderful season.  The smells, the sounds, the lights, the spirit.  Happy holidays!

I always get excited for fresh cranberries.  Fresh cranberries always mean Christmas Muffins.  I kinda like LOVE these Christmas muffins.  They are full of fruit and spices and are delicious!  Now if only I could get the kids to like cranberries......

¾ cup brown sugar
¾ cup white sugar
3 cups flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon sat
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup butter, melted
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ginger
2 eggs
1 ¼ cups milk
1 ½ cups cranberries, chopped
1 ½ cups apple, chopped

Mix together sugars, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.  Make a well in the center, add the melted butter, milk and eggs, mix until smooth.  Stir in cranberries and apples.  Spoon batter into muffin pan until cups ¾ full.  Bake at 375 for 15 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 

Recipe from???

Linked on Sweet as Sugar Cookies and Tatertots and Jello.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Crazy Good Crispy Rice Treats

I've never been the biggest fan of crispy rice treats.  I'd eat one here and there, but never have a second.  Until I had one at Bunko.  And then a second.  I couldn't believe how good they were and asked the hostess what her secret was.  She laughed and told me it was an insane amount of butter.  I played around with them and come to find out, she was right.  Lots of butter makes some Crazy Good Crispy Rice Treats!

1 (10.5 ounce) bag marshmallows
1/2 cup butter
4 cups crispy rice cereal

Combine marshmallows and butter in a large microwave safe bowl.  Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring after each 30 seconds, until marshmallows and butter are melted; about 2 minutes total.  Once marshmallows are melted, add crispy rice cereal and mix until thoroughly combined.  Pour mixture into a greased 8 x 8 inch pan and press down (I grease my hands and use my hands).  Let sit for at least 1 hour before cutting.

Recipe from They Royal Cook - an original!

Linked on Sweet as Sugar Cookies.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Soft Sugar Cookies

I don't think the holidays would be complete without Soft Sugar Cookies.  From Valentines to Christmas, Soft Sugar Cookies are a must!  These Soft Sugar Cookies are perfect for cutting out festive shapes (or not so festive shapes). The dough is easy to work with and the cookies come out soft and delicious.

1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
6-7 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons baking powder

Cream butter and sugar.  Beat in eggs, vanilla and sour cream.  Combine with dry ingredients and mix well.  Roll out to about 1/4 inch thick and cut.  Place on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 8 to 10 minutes.

Recipe from The Royal Cook - an original!

Linked on Sweet as Sugar Cookies.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Corn Chowder

I'm not a fan of the cold.  The kids get stir crazy, which drives me crazy and makes me grumpy.  And it's cold.  I really, really don't like to be cold.  When I start to shiver I really shiver.  It takes, what seems like, forever to warm up and then my body aches because of the shivers. 

On the bright side, cold weather is a great excuse to make soups, stews, and chilies.  Like this Corn Chowder.  I was surprised how well it went over with the kids.  Most of them had seconds!

8 ounces bacon
6 cups diced onions 
6 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
12 cups chicken stock
6 cups diced potatoes
3 (16 ounce) packages frozen corn kernels
2 cups half-and-half
2 cups grated cheddar cheese

In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon and crumble; save for garnish. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onions and butter to the bacon fat, cook for about 10 minutes until the onions are tender and translucent. Stir in the flour, salt, pepper, and turmeric and cook for 3 minutes. Slowly whisk in chicken stock. Add potatoes, bring to a boil, and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Add the corn to the soup. Next add the half-and-half and cheddar. Cook for 5 more minutes or until the cheese is melted (do not boil!). Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Serve topped with bacon.

Recipe adapted from Skip to my Lou.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Pumpkin, Pumpkin, Pumpkin!

I have a serious thing for pumpkin.  Love the stuff and still can't seem to get enough!  If you're a fan of pumpkin too, this is for you.  Here are my 5 most viewed pumpkin recipes.

Pumpkin Poppers - A cross between and muffin and a doughnut hole. 

Kneaders Pumpkin Bread (with chocolate chips) - Enough said.

Pumpkin Pancakes - A perfect pair with real maple syrup.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Caramel Frosting - Almost too good to be true.  Almost.

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice - I love DIY mixes!!

Linked on Sweet as Sugar Cookies.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Ricotta Gnocchi

I've never made my own pasta before, but this Ricotta Gnocchi was so simple!  Not only was it easy, it was delicious.  After cooking the Ricotta Gnocchi, I fried it in butter and sprinkled it with Parmesan cheese.  It was good, very good!  It would also be fantastic in soup or with a pasta sauce. 

1 (15 ounce) container ricotta cheese
1 egg
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl, except flour, and mix well.  Add 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough is soft and sticky.  Pour the dough out on a floured surface and knead in remaining 1/2 cup flour until the dough no longer sticks to your hands.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Divide dough into 6 pieces.  Roll each piece into a rope that is about 1/2 inch thick.  Slice into 1 inch pieces.  When the water is boiling, drop the gnocchi into the water.  When the gnocchi is all floating, cook for 30 more seconds.  Remove gnocchi from the pot with a slotted spoon and drain in a colander.

Recipe from Budget Bytes.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Chocolate Cake Balls Pops

Calling all chocoholics!  These Chocolate Cake Ball Pops are for you.  They're chocolate x 3 and amazing!  My kids loved them so much they wanted to share them.  With everyone.  Friends, teachers, neighbors.....  After sampling multiples, of course.  I loved them so much I wanted to share them too.  To keep myself from eating them.

 I'm drooling!

All packaged up for my girls to take to their teachers.  They LOVE their teachers!
1 package chocolate cake mix (or your favorite chocolate cake recipe) baked according to package directions and cooled
1 1/2 cups chocolate frosting (I used this Chocolate Frosting)
3 cups milk chocolate chips (semi-sweet would work as well)
2 tablespoons shortening
Sprinkles, optional

Crumble cake into a large bowl and add 1 cup of the chocolate frosting; mix well.  Add remaining frosting, a little at a time, if needed, to make a mixture that holds together.  Shape into small balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Place a sucker stick into the balls and press well into the cake ball (I go all the way to the bottom of the cake ball).  Place cake balls in the refrigerator and cool for at least 1 hour.  Combine chocolate chips and shortening in a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring well after each 30 seconds, until the everything is melted and smooth.  Remove cake ball pops from the refrigerator and dip into the chocolate, one at a time (I like to dip just the top part of the stick as well.  I think it helps the ball stay on.  Hold the pop above the chocolate to let the excess chocolate drip off (I hold it for 10 to 15 seconds and I hold the pop side ways instead of upside down to help prevent the ball from falling off).  Place pop back on the parchment paper and sprinkle with sprinkles, if desired.  You can also put the pops in a glass with the pops up after dipping if you prefer them without the flat side.  I like the flat bottom because I think they are easier to serve.

Recipe from The Royal Cook - an original!

Linked on Sweet as Sugar Cookies.
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