Archive | snacks

{i cannot bake}

99e4d60f95b951aefaf4f999bf1b2dbd This graphic is so funny to me because I don’t bake.

I have a confession that many of you have already heard from me. I cannot bake. I mean I can bake {sort of} but I don’t like to. I’m terrible at it. I burn things or mess them up.

Baking requires measuring and precision with ingredients and perfect timing {I don’t posses such skills}. It just doesn’t work for me. I’m the type to buy store-bought, write a check or choose a really easy dessert when it comes to bringing something for the bake sale or a party.

It’s funny that as a mommy I feel completely obligated to teach my children to bake. My Grandma Lil baked anything and everything. My mom, sister, in-laws {and even my husband} are all good at baking. Shouldn’t I be passing on this skill? Isn’t that what stay-at-home mom’s do?

I do try to get the kids in the kitchen to bake from time to time but honestly I don’t enjoy it. I want to know what is wrong with me???? ahh hahh hah! I could cry.

Okay. Not really.

But seriously. Let’s hope that someday I can find the strength to use my brain in such a way. In the meantime…

Here are a few of my favorite no-bake desserts:

THESE coffee & ice cream floats are great…so is the FALL ice cream dessert

Pretzel Bites

Squirrel Mix {aka: Muddy Buddies}

And because you don’t have to measure perfectly I also love THESE anytime goodies!

Finally, notice that THESE tips for baking with kids mention to just have Daddy do it! That works for us!

What kind of recipes do you enjoy that don’t need baking skills?

musings-250

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great catering advice & recipes {holiday hospitality 101}

holiday hospitality 101My friend Stephanie is amazing. She is our MOPS coordinator and she is fun, creative and beautiful {inside and out}. She is a total foodie and has done catering for years {oh yeah and she is a pastry chef & mom of two}. Somehow she manages to whip up amazing food & great decor for her home and for church events, she organize MOPS seamlessly and takes care of her family all while looking cute.

Here is the display and food she shared with our group last week and some great catering/party advice! Hope you appreciate her advice and recipes as much as I do! {P.S. I took these pictures very quickly and apologize for their poor quality}

DSC_0061::Party Food Tips::

Appetizers:

  • If you’re having just an evening function with no dinner, plan on at least 10 – 15 pieces per person. Round up, especially if it’s going to be served buffet style, as people tend to eat more than if a tray is passed.
  • If you’re serving pre-dinner appetizers, plan on 3 – 5 pieces per person, and choose lighter food options, as dinner will follow.

Beverages:

  • Plan on about 3 beverages per person for party, with coffee drinkers consuming on average one cup every 1 1/2 hours

Breakfast:

  • People usually drink 2 beverages on average – either juice, coffee, tea, etc.
  • Plan on a main entrée per person, along with two sides, including bread. Fruit makes a great and healthy breakfast dessert. Estimate about 3 – 5 pieces of cut fruit per person, or one cup or less of fruit salad.
  • If you’re serving pastries only, plan on 2 pieces per person.

Lunch:

  • For hors d’oeuvres, plan on 2 – 4 per person.
  • Offer a main entrée with 2 – 3 sides, including a starch and a dessert.
  • Offer a selection of drinks, including soda, beer, lemon water, etc.
  • If you’re having sandwiches, allow for 1 -2 per person (cut in half).

Dinner:

  • Have 3 – 5 hors d’oeuvres per person, depending on the number of courses.
  • Plan on a main entrée and 2 – 3 sides, either veggies, beans, pasta, etc.
  • Offer small portions of bread, salad, or soup.
  • Always have water, along with other beverages.

Desserts:

  • Plan on 1 – 3 servings per person. (Depending on size)
  • Offer one slice of cake, tart or pastry, or small serving of a creamy dessert, i.e. mousse.
  • If you have a large variety, serve smaller portions. (2-3 per person if doing small portions)
  • Coffee consumption peeks after dessert is served.

 DSC_0064

Homemade Caramel Dip

Ingredients:

Sweetened Condensed Milk

Small Mason Jars for Storing

Crock Pot

Directions:

1. Pour the sweetened condensed milk into glass jars that will fit in your slow cooker. You can cook this right in the can, but I’m leery of the lining of the can. You’re going to store it in something after you cook it, anyway, so just pick some jars you like with tight-sealing lids.  Tighten them as much as possible, so nothing leaks in or out.

2. Place the jars in your slow cooker and cover with water. It’s important that they be covered with water, or they could explode. No, mine didn’t, but I didn’t want to test it! Put the slow cooker lid on, turn it on low, and let it cook 7 to 8 hours, until the caramel is, well, a caramel color. The water should be simmering, but not boiling.  I had to turn mine to high for a couple of hours at the beginning to get the water temp high enough.

3. Remove from the hot water and let cool, then enjoy with sliced apples. Store any extra in the refrigerator, since we didn’t really process these like you would in canning to make them shelf stable.

One can of sweetened condensed milk made one full jar and about 2/3 of the other 8 oz jar. It doesn’t expand or contract while cooking, so the amounts in the jars will be the same after cooking as before. This would make an AWESOME hostess gift!

Recipe from ChaosServedDaily.com

DSC_0065

Prosciutto Pinwheels

Ingredients:

1 Box (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, thawed

2/3 cup Dijon mustard

¾ lb. prosciutto, thinly sliced

Provolone cheese

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment. Working with one sheet of the puff pastry, roll it out on a lightly floured surface to a 14-inch square. Brush with a thin layer of mustard (using 1/3 cup). Cover with half the prosciutto and half the Provolone, leaving ½” uncovered along all four edges.

2. Roll pastry tightly from one edge. Pinch seams to seal Cut into ½” pieces and place cut side down on baking sheet, 1” apart.

3. Repeat with remaining puff pastry sheet.

4. Bake in oven for 10-15 minutes

Mini Brie en Croute with Cranberry Sauce

Ingredients:

–        1 box (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, thawed

–        1 –  8 oz Brie wheel

–        Cranberry Sauce (homemade or store-bought)

–        Mini Muffin Tin

Directions:

  1. Spray muffin tin, and cut thawed puff pastry sheets in 3”x 3” squares.
  2. Place 1 square into each muffin tin, and fill with a piece of Brie and a spoonful of cranberry sauce.
  3. Bake in the oven according to package or until puff pastry is golden brown.

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

“Triple Berry Sauce”

Recipe in MOPS cookbook page 25

Ingredients:

–        1 cup frozen cranberry juice cocktail concentrate, thawed

–        1/3 cup sugar, plus a little more depending on taste

–        12 oz. fresh cranberries, washed and drained

–        ½ cup dried cranberries

–        3 tbsp. orange marmalade

–        2 tbsp. fresh orange juice

–        2 tsp orange zest

–        ½ tsp. ground allspice

–        Dash of cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Combine cranberry juice and sugar in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir until sugar dissolves.
  2. Add fresh and dried cranberries. Cook until dried berries soften and fresh berries pop. Stir often for approx. 7 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients. Cool Completely.
  4. Cover and chill until cold, about 2 hours.
  5. Can be made 3 days ahead. Enjoy!

 

Wine & Cheese Pairing:

 Brie – Chardonnay

 Gouda – Merlot

 Sharp White Cheddar – Cabernet Sauvignon

 Parmesan – Chianti

 Gruyere – Sauvignon Blanc

 Blue –  Riesling

 Ricotta – Pinot Grigio

 Mozzarella – Sauvignon Blanc

Fun Water Combinations:

Just add ingredients to water.  It adds flavor and looks pretty too!

–        All Citrus

–        Raspberry Lime

–        Watermelon Rosemary

–        Blackberry Sage

–        Pineapple Mint

{from theyummylife.com}

DSC_0076{Compiled by Stephanie Mcdaniels, over 10 years of experience in the Hotel & Restaurant Industry}

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{STOVE-TOP POPCORN}

favoriteTHINGS Friday
I love popcorn. Love it. While I love the convenience of microwave popcorn…I do not always love the flavors, the calories or the chemicals used in those delicious smelling bags. And I don’t really like to share my popcorn {who does really?}! For some reason everyone always wants it when they hear that pop…but microwave bags only make a small batch! So, a few years ago, in search of a solution I finally figured out how to make a big batch of it on the stove. It’s kind of intimidating at first. I don’t know why but I was totally freaked out by even trying it! And to be honest I have burnt a few pans {one of which is still living with the burn scars} and felt a few flying kernels singe my arms in the process. BUT IT IS SO WORTH IT! It tastes great, you can control the ingredients and you don’t have to stand by the microwave waiting for another batch!
Here is a basic recipe for popping popcorn and how I adapt it to any size pan that I have on hand:
::Stove-Top Popcorn::
What you will need:
Popcorn Kernels
Oil {I like to use Canola or Coconut Oil}
Deep Sauce Pan or Large-Wide Sauce Pan
{If possible I like one with a glass lid that is easy to shake…this is not the time for cast iron}
Large Bowl
Seasoning of Choice
Directions:
1. Pour oil into the saucepan and place on medium high heat. Some recipes call for 2 tablespoons of oil to 2/3 cup of popcorn. I like to just pour a thin layer of oil on the bottom of the pan so that I can make the right amount for whatever pan I have on hand {if you learn to do it this way you can make it at anyone’s house or cabin}!
 2. Set out a bowl…a large bowl…right away so you are ready to dump when the popcorn is ready! This step is important!
3. Pour popcorn into pan. Again, you can use the ratio above {2 tbsp oil to 2/3 cup popcorn} but I like to just pour the popcorn in the pan without measuring…I add enough to cover one thin layer on the bottom of the pan. Some recipes will say to put a few kernels in the pan and wait for them to pop…then add the rest. You can do this but I find it is just as effective to start with them all in the oil at once and it saves a step. Again, this is up to you. DON’T WALK AWAY AFTER THIS STEP! Be sure to babysit your pan until the kernels start to pop.
4. Once they start to pop…cover the pan and start shaking. Gently shake the kernels so they get covered in the oil {the higher the heat, the better the popcorn, but you have to keep shaking or the kernels will burn}. This step will not take very long.
5. When the popping finally slows down and stops {or the popped corn has reached the top of your pan} it is ready to pour into a bowl. This is why I like to use a glass-top pan if possible. Be sure to put the pan back on a different burner with the lid back on or you may get burnt from hot oil flying out of the pan. I have learned this one the hard way!
6. Add your seasonings of choice. You drizzle on melted butter, salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese, lemon pepper, taco seasoning or garlic salt {or any combo of the above}.  I like to keep it simple with no butter. I sprinkle it with sea salt for the kids and set our their portions. Then for my bowl I add a little more sea salt, fresh cracked pepper and garlic salt {and sometimes I add a dash of something spicy like taco seasoning}! If we are having movie night I add a few M&M’s to the bottom of the kids bowls before adding the popcorn for a sweet and salty treat {my sweet friend Amber taught us this trick}!
ENJOY!
Now stop, breath, read the directions again and go for it!
You {and your next movie night at home} won’t be sorry!
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game day FOOD

It’s almost time for the BIG game this weekend, woohoo! If you are trying to figure out what to make or bring to your next Super Bowl Party or any party…you are in luck! Here are a few of my favorite recipes (I took these pictures at an appetizer party that our MOPS team had in December)!
Here are a few of these recipes:
::Josaphina’s::
Ingredients:
1 cup butter, softened
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chilies or 1 (4 ounce) can jalapenos
1 cup monterey jack cheese, grated
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 loaf French bread (baguette)Directions:
First, combine butter, peppers, cheese, mayo, and garlic powder. Then slice bread 1/4 inch thick and spread with butter mixture. Finally, spread on a baking sheet and broil until cheese bubbles.


I wanted to mention that cutting the veggies yourself (if you have the time) makes a big difference in flavor & freshness! I used a good quality pre-made ranch for the dip.

But if you have the time…here is a homemade recipe that I’m dying to try:

 Homemade Ranch Dressing | The Pioneer Woman

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{NANA’S SUGAR COOKIES}

favoriteTHINGS Friday
 
  
I never had the chance to post this recipe at Christmas time but it is worth posting now. My mother-in-law makes these every year with the kids. They are the best sugar cookies I have had!
I figure they are good anytime of year so try them out. Enjoy!
Nana’s Sugar Cookies
Ingredients:
1 cup Butter (at room temperature)
1 1/4 cup of Sugar
2 Eggs
1 tsp. Vanilla
1/4 tsp. Almond Extract
3 1/2 cups Flour
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. Salt
Directions:
Beat butter until creamy. Beat in sugar, eggs, vanilla & almond extract. Stir together flour, baking powder & salt. Add to butter mixture and beat well. Cover and chill for 1 hour or just start rolling out cookie dough as it usually is just fine to do so. Roll out and cut into shapes of choice! Bake in 400 degree oven for 6 to 8 minutes or lightly brown (around the edges of the cookies).
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