THINKING OUTSIDE THE MAC&CHEESE BOX

Thursday, November 25, 2010

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!


Happy Thanksgiving everybody! I am thankful for Friends, Family, and FOOD!

Cooking a turkey is a bit to difficult for me so this year we are going to an enourmous buffet at a  FANCY resturaunt today.

Many people have made big mistakes while cooking turkeys though. So be sure to be extra safe and remember...              
                                       SUPERVISE YOUR TURKEYS AT ALL TIMES!!!
Some of the most common mistakes that people make are:
1) Not allowing enough time to thaw the turkey
2) Forgetting to take out the bag of innards and cooking the turkey with neck, liver, etc. still in the plastic bag, inside the turkey. (YUCK)

Did you know that most Deep Frying Turkey Disasters are due to cooking in hot oil above 350 degrees and leaving the turkey unattended?

Don't let THIS happen at your house!
U.S. Fire Administration statistics report that approximately 2,000 Thanksgiving Day fires occur in U.S. homes each year resulting in five deaths, 25 injuries and $21 million in property loss.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Biscotti

Hey everyone, I've been getting some requests to make some pumpkin bread but I decided to put a twist on it and turn it into pumpkin BISCOTTI!! Mine are perfectly moist, not rock solid, and of COURSE...    PUMPKINSPICYYY!   You can dip them in milk, have them with coffee, or eat them plain, any way, they are delicious!  They're also that perfect thanksgiving treat to top off your holiday perfectly!  Biscotti seems like it would be complicated, but like a lot of Italian food, it's really very simple.  So be brave and PREPARE, BAKE, and  ENJOY!

Our star  ingredients

Give it a whirl!

Uhhhh, THAT looks like babyfood!

The dough is coming together

Shaping the logs for baking

Slicing the biscotti & getting it ready for the 2nd bake

Ready for a second baking

Mom's Note:  This is a simple delicious biscotti. They don't look very fancy, but the pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice really give a flavor boost, and your house smells wonderful after baking these!  I also love the fact that there is no butter in this recipe, yet the pumpkin keeps them moist.  Bake some up today!

Pumpkin Spice Biscotti
makes about 2 dozen

2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
2 eggs
½ cup pumpkin puree
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt,  baking powder and pumpkin pie spice


2. In a mixer bowl, on low mixer speed combine eggs, white and brown sugar, pumpkin and vanilla.  When it looks like babyfood, add flour mixture to bowl and mix on low just until the dough is formed.  Be aware that the dough will be very sticky, work with it carefully and quickly.
3. Divide dough in half. Place each half on a parchment lined cookie sheet, and shape each one into a log, about 8 to 10 inches long. These rise a bit, so I prefer to make the log wide, rather than tall. 
4. Bake for 28 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes, then slice each loaf into biscotti about 3/4 of an inch, and slightly on a diagonal.


5. Place cut slices on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, flat on their sides. You'll need 2 parchment lined baking sheets to accomodate all of the sliced biscotti. Bake them all for 8 more minutes. Turn pieces over and bake for an additional 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Enjoy!!


Tools we used: 



Saturday, November 20, 2010

A New Kind of Fruitcake


Well, peeps, the Holidays are coming, so I thought I would offer a new kind of fruitcake to enjoy.  This one comes from a very close family friend, who happens to be my brother's best friend's mom. 
We dropped off my little bro for his friends' birthday party, and since his friend hates cake (this I DO NOT UNDERSTAND, but anyway), his mom made this topsy turvy beauty for him.  She also had a yummy looking chocolate cake for us cake-lovers.  I just had to share this one, though.  My mom and I thought it might be a good idea for a healthy alternative to bring to a Thanksgiving gathering or another holiday party.

Mom's Note:    We don't have an actual recipe for this, but in this case, I think a picture is worth a thousand words.  It should be pretty easy to replicate.  PS.  Make sure to buy a new box of toothpicks, because it looks like that's what she used to affix everything.  Enjoy!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

VANILLABELLA FUDGE


This weekend, we made a batch of creamy delightful Vanilla Bella Fudge! We combined marshmallows, vanilla, sweetened condensed milk, and white chocolate chips. While they melted together, I had to STIR STIR STIR for 10 minutes and by the time I was done, my arms felt like big dead trees at my side. but it was totally worth it for the outcome:  A big batch of yummy, sweet fudge. It was very nice to have the fudge too considering the fact that our family usualy doesn't buy fudge. Our homemade type is even better than storebought kind.



so much white chocolate!



STIR!!!!!!


Finally melting
 
gooey ribbons of sweetness!


it's like hot lava


After a night in the fridge, we have....a cake of fudge

a bit tough to cut there

Ta-Da!!! ;)




the final outcome

FUDGE TOWER!

Mom's Note:  This fudge was super quick and easy.  The most difficult part was waiting for it to cool and harden in the fridge overnight.  We were looking through my recipes yesterday for my favorite oatmeal toffee cookie, when I came across a recipe for white chocolate macadamia nut fudge.  Sounds yummy, but we just didn't have all the ingredients on hand.  We will probably make some of that to give away for Christmas, so check back for that recipe. 

We adapted the recipe, and have christened it VanillaBella Fudge.  Recipe is below.  Enjoy, friends!

VanillaBella Fudge
3 cups (18 ounces) white chocolate morsels

1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows

1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
Line a 9” square pan with aluminum foil; lightly grease foil. Cook first 3 ingredients in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, 10 to 11 minutes or until smooth. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla and salt until blended. Pour fudge into prepared pan. Cover and chill at least 4 hours or until firm. Cut into squares and store in refrigerator.




Saturday, November 13, 2010

SMART COOKIEs

 Time for dessert! This is my mothers all-time favorite cookie. They're Oatmeal Toffee Cookies. They've got everything but the kitchen sink! Oats, chocolate chunks, dried cherries,and toffee. The toffee gives a buttery delicious crispy bottom to it. The cherries add a bit of tartness. The semi-sweet chocolate chunks are rich. The oats give it a nice texture.

It all begins with softened butter
 
creaming the butter and sugar

measuring the toffee bits


"That's some chunky cookie dough," said mom 


space them out equally--these cookies flatten and spread out quite a bit


ready to bake


Cooling Down
 

The critic likes it
 


I must concentrate
 Here's the recipe:
Martha Stewart's Oatmeal Toffee Cookies

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light-brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups oatmeal
1 cup dried cherries
1 cup bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup toffee pieces, (5 1/2 ounces)

1.Heat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together flour and baking soda, and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice during mixing. Add egg, and mix on high speed to combine. Add vanilla extract; mix to combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

2.Add the sifted flour a bit at a time on a low speed until well combined. Add oatmeal, cherries, chocolate, and toffee pieces; mix to combine.

3.Scoop 2Tbsp rounds of dough onto lined cookie sheet (we use non-stick Silpat, which is awesome for baking), and bake until golden brown, 8 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven, and transfer to a baking rack to cool.
                                                              
Makes about 2 dozen 3-inch cookies        TOOLS WE USED:

Thursday, November 4, 2010

SOUP'S ON


Hey Peeps! 

It's been a tough couple of days for us here.  Me my brother AND my mom have been sick with cold/flu, and not wanting to do much cooking OR eating. 

My Mom says that chicken noodle soup is awesome food to fight a cold, because it's usually salty, and makes you retain water, and your body needs the fluids to heal.

Mom hasn't been feeling well enough to make it from scratch, so we've been feasting on our favorite standby:
Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup!

MMMMMMMMMMMMM.  I think I'm feeling better already.
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