Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Thin Mint N' Chip Crispers

So I frequent this blog Picky Palate and if you frequent my blog, you will know from my cookie disaster post that I attempted her Chocolate and Cinnamon chipper cookies, but quickly found out that cinnamon chips are very different than cinnamon "wood" chips. Anyhoo, I decided to steer clear of that recipe for now but ended up with this recipe from her site...Thin Mint N' Chip Crispers. These turned out much better. I didn't even know they sold a bag of chopped up Andes Mints on the baking aisle but right there in Super Walmart sat the bag...I was so excited. These cookies are so yummy and they taste just like a certain cookie sold by a certain little girl in a certain uniform with the initials G.S. Try 'em out and let me know what you think.

Thin Mint N' Chip Crispers

1 Cup softened butter
1 Cup packed light brown sugar
½ Cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 Cup whole wheat flour
1 ½ Cups all purpose flour
3 Tablespoons instant jello French vanilla pudding mix
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
10 oz bag Andes Mint Chips/pieces

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a stand or electric mixer, cream butter and sugars. Slowly beat in eggs and vanilla until well combined.

2. Combine flours, pudding mix, baking soda and salt into a large bowl. Slowly add to mixer along with the mint pieces until just combined. With a medium cookie scoop, scoop batter onto a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet, do not press cookies down. Bake for 9-10 minutes or until edges of cookies just start to turn golden brown. Let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Several Meals and Ideas from one Ham Bone

I cannot tell you enough how giddy I get when I bring home my Honey Baked Ham Co ham bone. It means easy meals for at least half a week, if not more. My mother-in-law, Donna, turned me on to this. I went to her house one night and had some pinto beans. The flavor was amazing. I asked her how she made them and this is when she revealed to me the "wonders" of the ham bone. But not just any ham bone...a ham bone from the Honey Baked Ham Co. I immediately ran out and bought one and have been hooked ever since. We have a Honey Baked Ham Co right down the street from our house so that helps but if you have to make the drive, it's completely worth it.

The Ham Co carries frozen ham bones. You can buy them in all different sizes. Every couple of months, they will run a special where you can buy a ham bone of any size and of any price PLUS one of their many soup mixes...both for $9.99. So when they run this sale, I buy a few ham bones for the freezer and I buy HUGE ones.

The one I bought last week was over $15.00 but since they were running the special, I got the ham bone plus a Split Pea Soup mix for $9.99.

You should have seen this thing...it was GINORMOUS!

It had so much ham on it. And the crust...OH, the crust. If any one of you have had a ham from the Honey Baked Ham Co...then you know what I'm talking about. The yummy crusty goodness all over the outside. This is just perfect for making soups or beans because you don't have to do much with it. All the spices and flavors are already all over the ham bone. Today's post I will show you how I made 4 meals with one ham bone.

So I bring my ham bone home. I thaw it out. First thing I do is make a Ham Sandwich...YUM! I ate it so fast I completely forgot to take a picture. Next thing I do, I cut off a large portion of the ham and cut those portions into small chunks and then I make my Split Pea Soup with that. You can make a home made split pea as well, but this mix I buy from them is amazing and even comes with a little seasoning packet. Total, it takes 2 hours, but you just put it in the pot and leave it and it does the rest for you. Very tasty.

I put my ham bone back in the fridge for the next day. I put my pinto beans in a pot and soak them over night. The next day I place the remaining ham bone in with the beans and simmer all day. The smokiness of the ham bone and all the yummy spices from the crust on the outside of the hambone, make these beans absolutely amazing. Best part? They are super easy! Beans and cornbread anyone?

The next day (after I have beans again for lunch, with cheese and sour cream, whoa Nelly, grab the Beano), I put my pinto beans into a pot, heat them up, add some milk, butter and a little bit of salt and pepper...and start smashing away to make my refried beans. I fry up a few corn tortillas. And waa-laa...Tostadas.

The next day for lunch, I pull out my smashed refried beans and make Bean and Cheese Burritos. I once again, gobbled it up so fast I forgot to take pictures.

So there you have it folks. One Ham Bone, 4 meals...wait a minute..let's recap:
  1. Ham Sandwich
  2. Split Pea Soup
  3. Beans (with cornbread)
  4. Beans for lunch (with cheese and sour cream)
  5. Tostadas (refried beans)
  6. Bean and Cheese Burritos
  7. Left over ham for Zim

Seven meals! With one ham bone. It doesn't get any easier than this. Try it out, you will not be disappointed.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

A few weeks ago, I had family in from out of town. We had the whole family and some friends over for 4 days solid! It was one giant whirlwind of cooking and baking. My niece Abbi has this super yummy recipe for cookies. She learned the recipe from school. It's like her thing she does...she always makes them for us. I hate pumpkin and I LOVE these cookies. She came over and baked these for us and we couldn't even get them out of the oven fast enough and they were gone before they even cooled down. Here is Abbi's recipe:
Marlee, River, Abbi & my little pumkin Gavin

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
You will need two bowls.

Beat these ingredients in the first bowl:
2 sticks of softened butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
2 cups (12-ounce bag) chocolate chips

In second bowl mix:
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Then mix both bowls together.
Scoop the cookie dough by heaping tablespoons onto the cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until cookies are browned around the edges.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Slow Cooked Roast and Gravy

I stumbled on this recipe blog, Recipe Sharing and realized that the owner of the blog not only lives in Arizona but we both know the same people and these are people that I've known for years...weird, HUH? Anyhoo, I'm glad I found it because the recipes sound DELISH! I made this roast, not only because it sounded good but also because I had all the ingredients in my pantry. This roast was AWESOME! The gravy was so amazing, I froze the remaining gravy and am going to use it for chopped beef in another recipe. My kids even loved it and when that happens, I know I've hit a home run!

Slow Cooked Roast and Gravy

1 (10 3/4-oz.) can cream of mushroom with roasted garlic soup
1 (10 1/2-oz) can condensed beef broth
1 (1-oz) envelope dry onion-mushroom soup mix
1 (3 1/2-to 4-lb) eye of round roast, trimmed
(I used top sirloin roast and it was amazing...super tender)
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

1. Stir together first 3 ingredients in a 5 1/2 quart slow cooker.

2. Sprinkle roast evenly with flour, salt, and pepper. Brown roast on all sides in hot oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Transfer roast to slow-cooker.

3. Cover and cook on LOW 8 hours.

4. Remove roast from slow cooker, slice to serve. Skim fat from gravy in slow cooker, if desired. Whisk gravy; serve over roast.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Great Cookie Disaster

This is not a good story to share when you're trying to show people that you actually kind of know how to cook...but I will admit...I'm an amateur and all amateurs deserve to have a "blonde" moment, right? (No insult intended if you are blonde...my mother and sisters are blonde..HA!).

So I love to bake...especially in the winter. Cookies are my weakness. I LOVE LOVE LOVE cookies. There is no cookie I won't try and especially now since I have this cooking blog, I'm always looking for new recipes. So I found this yummy sounding cookie from this blog called Picky Palate. They were called Chocolate Cinnamon Crispers.

The recipe called for cinnamon chips. Now when I read this, I got all excited, because I remember that I had some cinnamon chips in the spice cabinet. I had bought them from this co-op that I buy fruits and veggies from. I'm not sure why I bought them...I'm sure they were cheap and I figured I would use them some time. I wasn't even sure what they were for but, needless to say, I had them so I was going to try the recipe out.

I got all the dough mixed together and got ready to stir my cinnamon chips in and noticed that they were kinda hard. I nibbled on one and as it moistened in my mouth, it did become a little softer. I figured they would just soften up in the baking process. So I proceeded. I baked them up and they looked super yummy. I let them cool. I bit into one and almost broke a tooth. I thought...what the heck? So I kept eating it thinking maybe, just maybe I had gotten a bad chip. I ate the whole cookie, but it was hard...hard to eat that is. I kept chomping down on hard bits. Well I didn't proceed with the rest of the mix. I was worried.

My hubby Scott came home from work and this is how the conversation went:

Scott: Smells good, what are you making?

Jaime: I was making cookies but I almost broke a tooth when I bit into one.

Scott (laughing): Well what did you put in them.

Jaime: These cinnamon chips that I bought from Bountiful Baskets.

Scott: Let me see them.

Scott examines the chips

Scott: Jaime, these are obvious WOOD.

Jaime: Really???

I go straight to the computer and look up these so called cinnamon chips...and lo and behold...I had eaten an entire cookie full of

I'm an idiot!!!

What's your cooking disaster?

UPDATE: I was supposed to use these:

Friday, December 19, 2008

Jen's Having Her Baby!

So my blogging best friend Jennifer who I share this site with is having her baby today. Gillian Grace! I can't wait to meet her. Jen is having a c-section so she'll be on a blogging break for a while. I'll keep the blog alive while she's gone but we'll miss her! We can't wait to meet that little GiGi!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Barefoot Bloggers Savory Palmiers

So I joined this online blogging group called the Barefoot Bloggers. They post a couple of recipes a month. All recipes are from Ina Garten, and you have to make the recipes and post your results. Well I finished my first recipe today and I'm so excited. Not only were they super easy but they were good too. And they turned out sooo cute! I have to say, I'm pretty impressed with myself. These would be a perfect party appetizer. I put mine in the freezer for a couple of hours before I was ready to cook them. These are great because you can freeze them ahead of time and save yourself some time right before your party. When you take them out of the freezer, you need to let them thaw a tiny bit. I tried to slice them and they just kept crumbling on me so letting them thaw is very helpful. Also, one thing I would do differently, I would put more filling in them. It didn't seem like enough filling, so maybe double up on the cheese or something.
Savory Palmiers
1 package frozen puff pastry, defrosted
1/4 cup prepared pesto
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
Kosher Salt
Light flour a board and carefully unfold one sheet of puff pastry. Roll the pastry lightly with a rolling pin until 9 1/2 x 11 1/2 inches. Spread the sheet of puff pastry with half the pesto, then sprinkle with half the goat cheese, half the sun-dried tomatoes, and half the pine nuts. Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt.
Using the long ends, fold over about an inch and then fold over again maybe another inch or so and then fold the whole thing together. This might sound confusing but check HERE for better instruction on how to do this.
Repeat for the second sheet of puff pastry using the remaining ingredients. Cover both rolls with plastic wrap and chill for at least 45 minutes.
Cut the prepared rolls of puff pastry into 1/4 inch thick slices and place them faceup 2 inches apart on sheet pans lined with parchment paper. Bake for 12 minutes, or until golden brown in a preheated 400 degree oven.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


"if I was going to make the world a better place, I would do it with cookies"....Stranger Than Fiction

I've tried a few snickerdoodle recipes in the last couple of months and I think this recipe was the best. I usually use butter but this recipe called for butter flavored shortening. I happened to have some in the pantry so I tried it out. Very yummy. The cookies were crunchy on the edges but soft in the middle. Very very good!

1 cup butter flavor shortening
1 ¼ cups sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs at room temperature
2 ¾ cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon table salt
6 tablespoons sugar
4 tablspoons cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cream together shortening, 1 ¼ cups sugar, brown sugar and vanilla. Mix in the eggs. In a separate bowl sift together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Slowly incorporate all of the flour mixture into the egg mixture. In a small bowl stir together the remaining sugar and the cinnamon. Form cookie dough into 1” to 1 ½” balls. Gently roll dough balls in sugar/cinnamon mixture to coat one half of the ball. Place balls sugar side up on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly on the cookie sheet before moving to a wire rack to finish cooling.

I like mine with tea but this is how the kids like 'em.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Steak Quesadilla w/ Black Bean and Avocado Salsa

Here's another great recipe from Whitney at Rookie Cookie. This was really easy to make and was quite tasty. There are a few things I would do differently next time though. Scott wanted the grill taste so the next time we'll throw the steak on the bbq instead of cooking it in the pan. Also, being the critic that he is, Scott suggested that we cook them in a pan next time so that we can really brown the outside of the tortilla almost to the point of crunchy. These are spicy so if you want to tone the spice down, mix the pepper jack cheese with some colby or monterrey jack. And the salsa...YUMMY! Great on the quesadilla but even better with chips or right out of the bowl with a spoon.
Steak Quesadilla
1 strip steak (8 ounces and 1 inch thick) (I used thin cut sirloin)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
3 teaspoons olive oil
4 flour tortillas (10-inch or burrito-style)
1 1/2 cups grated pepper jack cheese (6 ounces)
1 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced (I didn't have this and I regret it now)

Rub steak with oregano; season with salt and pepper. In a 10-inch skillet, heat 1 teaspoon oil over high. Add steak to skillet, and cook, turning once, until browned and still rare, 2 to 3 minutes per side. (Steak will cook a little longer in the quesadillas during baking.)
Transfer steak to a cutting board; let rest 5 minutes before slicing 1/4 inch thick.Preheat oven to 425 degrees with racks in upper and lower thirds. Brush one side of each tortilla with remaining 2 teaspoons oil. Place 1 tortilla, oiled side down, on each of two baking sheets. Dividing evenly, layer with half the cheese, then onion and steak, ending with remaining cheese.
Top with remaining tortillas, oiled side up. (I just folded mine over). Press lightly to seal.Bake, turning over once (with a wide spatula), until lightly browned and crispy, about 7 or 8 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board; cut each quesadilla into 6 triangles. Serve with black bean avocado salsa.
Black Bean Salsa
1 can (15 1/2 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
2 plum tomatoes, cut into 3/4-inch pieces (I didn't have plum tomatoes so I used little grape tomatoes, it was really good)
1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Coarse salt and ground pepper
In a medium bowl, combine black beans, cilantro, tomatoes, avocado, and lime juice; stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

We've Been Tagged

Jen and I were tagged by Mandy from Home with Mandy. She tagged me on my family blog at My Crazy Crazy Life in Gilbert and she tagged Jen here at j&j Dish It Out. You can click on my link HERE to see my blog and Jen NEEDS to play the game here...so Jen, you better write the 7 things down or I will and, trust me, you don't want to know what I'm going to write about you!...HaHaHa.

Friday, December 12, 2008

No Bake Cheesecake

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this cheesecake. My family has been making this cheesecake since the 1970's. I asked my mom today where she got the recipe and she said she got it off the ready made pie crust years ago. I haven't made it in such a long time and was clearing out some of the old recipes in my recipe box and found it. I showed Sydney what to do and she pretty much made the whole thing by herself...it's that easy. It's not like your usual cheesecake. This cheesecake is so smooth and creamy and yummy.


1 Keebler graham cracker pie crust
1 (8 oz.) pkg. of Philadelphia cream cheese
1/3 c. (FRESHLY) squeezed lemon juice
1 (14 oz.) can of Eagle Brand condensed milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Mix together softened cream cheese, lemon juice, condensed milk and vanilla extract in a food processor until smooth, being sure to scrape down the sides a few times. It helps to cut the cream cheese up into cubes. Also, I have used a blender before and it doesn't work as well. The food processor gets all the little chunks out and makes it super creamy. Pour the mixture into the graham cracker crust and smooth all over making it look all professional like. Lick the scraper and the bowl and cover the pie and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

Top with strawberries, cherries or drizzled with chocolate but is still very delicious plain!
I use Comstock cherries. My mom always used these and I just follow suit...it brings back good memories. I have put fresh strawberries on it and that was good as well, but the cherries are still my favorite.