Saturday, January 30, 2016

Two Recipes: CAKE MIX Cookies and Brownies


I thought I would share a little secret…

I LOVE CAKE !!!


(okay that’s not much of a secret)… 

but I have two AWESOME recipes that use cake mix to make cookies and brownies!  This little trick is useful for an impromptu get together if you need desserts in a jiffy and just have cake mix in a cupboard (or if you just want a delicious snack).





Cake Mix Brownies:

Ingredients:
1 Cake Mix (any kind will do!)
1/4 cup Water
1 Egg


Directions:

1.  Mix all ingredients together.



2.  Grease pan and then press thick batter into pan.



3.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 - 25 minutes.



5.  Enjoy! 



Cake Mix Cookies:

Ingredients:
1 Cake Mix
1/2 cup Oil
2 Eggs
Icing {if desired}

Directions:

1.  Blend all ingredients.


2.  Place dough balls onto ungreased cookie sheet.

3.  Bake at 320 degrees for 10 - 12 minutes.

4.  Enjoy!



5.  Add icing for a cake mix cookie sandwich!



Friday, January 29, 2016

Taco Tuesdays


Taco Tuesdays are a regular occurrence in our house, but sometimes the quick dinner turns into throwing the bag of nachos onto the table, opening the bag of cheese, and dipping straight into the salsa jar.  Have you ever fallen into a dinner rut?  Not every night can be a fancy soiree, but you can change your dinners from good to great with just a few tips!

1.  Keep it easy!  

Keep the meal easy, it doesn't have to be a seven course meal!  Buy pre-packaged soft taco shells, queso dip, shredded cheese, and salsa, leave the homemade stuff for a big Fiesta!  Cook up some ground beef/turkey or refried beans - whatever your family prefers.  Chop up some lettuce and tomatoes (or even buy them at the store pre-cut!)  Preparation should only take about 20 minutes!           


2.  Use real dishes!

The easiest way to turn your good meal into a great one is to leave the bags in the kitchen and put your food into REAL dishes!  Yes, you'll have a few more dishes to clean, but the increased loading of the dish washer is worth the great dinner experience!


3. Turn on some music!

Music is an easy way to turn a boring meal time into a enjoyable experience - think about it - all your favorite restaurants have music playing in the background.  Get in the mood of your Mexican flavored dinner by turning on your Pandora - try a mariachi music channel!  Or if that's a little too much Taco Tuesday for you, turn on some back ground music of your choice.  Your dinner time is a time to enjoy!

How do you turn your Taco Tuesdays from good to great?!  Do you have any tricks to make simple dinners into moments to enjoy?


Friday, January 22, 2016

DIY: Easy Biscotti



Biscotti is a delicious Italian biscuit cookie that is usually served aside a cup of cappuccino or espresso.  Some people think that because biscotti is double baked that it is a difficult recipe to make.  My mom gave me her recipe for biscotti and I'm here to tell you it's really simple! This recipe is for my favorite large, soft, and sweet biscotti; perfect for cappuccino dipping or with a touch of chocolate!

Bill of Materials
12 oz butter
1 3/4 cups sugar
6 eggs
1 tbsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla
6 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
8 oz almonds (optonal)


First, gather all your ingredients!  I suggest actually taking an inventory of your materials prior to starting any mixing as this recipe does use an abnormal amount of butter and eggs!  You wouldn't want to run out!


To begin, cream together the butter and sugar.  If your butter came straight form the fridge, let it sit at room temperature for a while, or sit it in the microwave for about 10 - 15 seconds - don't melt it!

Then, add your eggs and extracts.  Once the eggs and extracts are fully mixed, add the dry ingredients.  I use my electric mixer, but I have made this recipe with a hand-held mixer and once by hand! Mix the ingredients with what you have or feel most comfortable using!


Once dough has formed, knead and divide recipe into two.  Take two lightly (and I meant LIGHTLY) greased cookie sheets and form two logs.  I like my biscotti long and thin, so I form my logs as wide and short!  You can form your logs however you best like your biscotti!


Bake the two logs at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.  Once they have baked, pull them out and cut them into slices.  


This is the point that you decide how big you end result is going to be!  Slice the logs and turn each slice onto it's side.  Put the slices back in the oven until toasted (approximately 5 - 10 minutes).  



Tada!  In under an hour - you have your very own, homemade Biscotti!  


Now make yourself a cup of coffee, latte or cappuccino and enjoy your delicious treat!  


Saturday, January 16, 2016

Recipe Cards - DIY


I love to experiment in the kitchen and try interesting recipes!  However, when I found a recipe I liked, I had a hard time finding it the next time I wanted to use it!  I was using a binder, random scrap pieces of paper, torn off backs of ingredient boxes, and pinterest to hold my recipes.  Can we say mess?  To organize my favorite go-to recipes I decided to use an old school approach - recipe cards.


To start my new organization tactic, I found a box that some 4x6 note cards would fit in easily.  I had a fancy cigar box, but you could use a small shoe box, gift box, food container, or go out and buy a brand new one!


I realized that 4x6 note cards weren't "pretty" enough for my favorite recipes, so I went to pinterest to find some free printable recipe cards.  I printed off a few different kinds, cut them out, and glued them to the 4x6 cards to give them some weight. You could also just print any recipe card printable on card stock!



Voila!  Recipe cards for my favorite recipes!  Now when I find a recipe I like, I will just write it on the card and I won't have to print anything off or cut it off a box!



How do you organize your recipes?  Do you use pinterest or do you like ol' fashioned paper?

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Smores Brownie Bites



I love making treats that look decadent, but are no trouble at all to create!  These little beauties are SUPER easy to make, and you probably have all the supplies in your house already (and if you don’t, you can easily pick them up at your nearby grocery store).  The best part about this recipe, is that you can mix and match items that you currently have on hand to make something delicious AND pretty! 
Bill of Materials:
Brownies
Marshmallow Fluff
Graham Crackers
Chocolate Sauce

Start with Brownies – seems a bit simple, but seriously, you can make small ones (I used a mini cupcake pan and made them using my favorite boxed recipe).  But, you can also make large brownies, cut out brownies, heck, even buy them (I won’t tell!).  But you will need brownies!

After the brownies are cool, dollop some marshmallow fluff on top of each one.


Drizzle your chocolate sauce (any ol’ kind will do! – I used a Ghridelli chocolate sauce, it’s what I had on hand at the time!).   Then, top it off with some crushed graham crackers – or crushed teddy grahams, or Nutella wafers… you get the idea.


Yum!



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