Friday, December 24, 2010

7 Layer Cookies

These cookies are my absolute favorite. Every Thanksgiving and Christmas we make them. I remember the tattered scrap of paper that had the recipe written on it. My grandmother gave the recipe to my mom. After a while, no recipe was needed. Every member of our household knew it by heart. I have seen a similar recipe now, on the back of the can of sweetened condensed milk. They are super easy to make, kids can help and you can tweak and modify them to your preference. The 7 layers are butter, graham cracker crumbs, coconut, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, pecans and sweetened condensed milk. I would say the only ingredients that you must have are the butter, graham cracker crumbs and sweetened condensed milk. The other stuff you can leave out or add more of or add less of. You just melt 1 stick of butter. Add in about 1 1/2 cups of crumbs, mix together. Mash this down into a 9x13 pan to form a crust. Then layer in your stuff, and top with 1 can of sweetened condensed milk. I use about 2 cups of coconut, 2 cups of chocolate chips, 1 cup of butterscotch and about 1 cup of pecans. Some people like to put the condensed milk on the crust first, but I prefer it last. After the condensed milk layer you could sprinkle a bit of coconut on the top. The layers don't have to be even and with measurements this vague my kiddo can make these (mostly) on his own. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes. Cooking time might be longer depending on how thick you make your cookies.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Vegetarian Chili

So, I realized that I haven't posted in nearly a month. WOW that went fast! But, I am back, with something wonderful. Vegetarian chili. It is perfecto. Super simple and in a crockpot. Full of veggies and delicious. What more can you ask for? Well, I found the recipe and procured the necessary items. I did ASK my boy to do the actual cooking. I came home to the house smelling lovely and I had a wonderful meal. I used tortilla chips for dipping and added some shredded cheese.

There are several variations around, but this is the one we went with.

Slow Cooker Chili

  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, not drained
  • 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (16 ounce) can vegetarian baked beans
  • 1 (14 1/2 ounce) can chopped tomato puree
  • 1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 zucchini, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 (4 ounce) can diced chilies
  • 1 -2 jalapeno, chopped  
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro (optional)

  1. In a saucepan, saute the onion, bell pepper, zucchini, and celery for about 5 minutes.
  2. In a slow cooker, combine black bean soup, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, baked beans, tomatoes, corn, onion, bell pepper, zucchini, jalapeno, chilies, and celery.
  3. Season with garlic, chili powder, cumin, parsley, oregano, basil (and cilantro if using).
  4. Cook for about 6 hours on low.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Egg Salad (Yummy Yummy)

Tonight's dinner was super easy and everyone loved it. Egg salad, yummy yummy. No real recipe, just boil eggs, cool and peel. Smash in a bowl, add mayo and mustard. Some people like to do salt and pepper. We like paprika, a little in the mix and the grown ups add more later. I also like to add fresh onions to mine, while my kiddo likes using baby carrots to dip and scoop with.

I also found that there are a lot of ways to boil eggs. Who knew? I have always just boiled them my way, which turns out is wrong. I used to just put in the eggs and then bring to a boil and then boil for 10 minutes. Not how it is done! Not even ONE of the ways it is done. Not even CLOSE! Well, close as in you put eggs in water, but beyond that, NO. Some methods want the eggs left out to come to room temperature (approx 15 minutes). All methods bring the water to a boil, with a division between those that salt the water and those that don't. Some use the lid on, others off. After the water boils, the options are endless. Boil for 1 minute or 3. Remove from heat, leave on heat, or reduce heat and simmer for 7, 10 or even 15 minutes. After spending too much time on this, considering my current method does what I needs it to, I decided on a mixture of several different methods.

I placed eggs from the fridge into water. The water level was about an inch over the eggs. I did not salt the water, but I did use a lid. I brought it to a boil, and let it boil for 3 minutes. I then reduced it to a simmer for 10 minutes. I immediately drained the water and filled the pan with cold water. I do this because I am impatient and want the eggs to cool quickly. And guess what? I got hard boiled eggs! *cheer*

And did I mention that all of this was for hard boiled eggs? There is of course research to do for soft boiled...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Menu Plan

With the holidays approaching (so quickly!) we are trying to empty the freezer and pantry. As always the meal plan is Veg Friendly, meaning if it's not already vegetarian then there is another option available. I'm linking up to Meal Plan Monday.

Monday- Egg Salad sandwiches with carrots
Tuesday- Ravioli, Garlic bread and salad
Wednesday- Baked Tilapia or Pasta Soup
Thursday- Lentil Sloppy Joes (recipe to come)
Friday- Leftovers
Saturday- Dine out
Sunday- Appetizer Smorgasbord (Jalapeno Poppers, Crab Rangoon, Spinach and Artichoke Wantons)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Vegetarian Pasta E Fagioli Soup

Soup! We love soup around here! The other day we made a vegetarian version of Pasta E Fagioli Soup. It is really easy and done in a slow cooker. So, you might be asking yourself, why does the soup in the picture not look, well, soupy? Because I got home late and let it cook for too long. It looks a bit different, but it tastes the same. And I just told the family it was Italian Chili!

Chop up 3 carrots, 4 celery stalks, and 1 onion. We used whole petite baby carrots. Put the chopped veggies into the slow cooker along with 2 (28 ounce) cans of diced tomatoes, 2 (16 ounce) cans 1 of red kidney beans and 1 can of white kidney beans, 1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce and 30 ounces of vegetable stock. Add in 3 tsp oregano, 2 tsp pepper, 5 tsp of parsley and 1 tsp of Tabasco sauce. Allow to cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours. About 30 minutes before time to eat add in 8 ounces of pasta, I like the multi color rotini, but you can use what you like. Also, the recipe states that the Tabasco sauce is optional, but I think it is necessary. Actually I add extra to mine.

Now, if you don't want to go the veg route, you can always use beef stock instead of vegetable and add in 2 pounds of browned ground beef.

And that's it! Time to eat. I made it one morning before I left for work and we came home to the house smelling lovely and dinner being only moments away. I like to serve it with nice crusty bread for dipping, you know for all the brothy goodness...

Super close up because I love this soup chili soup chili soup!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tea Cup Cupcake

 Perhaps I am not quite current in the world of cupcakes. I have to admit this makes me a little sad. In my quest for knowledge of all things cupcake, I came across CUPCAKES! Okay, so not soo surprising. But these CUPCAKES were in TEACUPS! *shock* *awe* No? Overuse of the SHIFT KEY much? I digress.

Where was I?

Oh yeah.


I think it's a cute idea. Sorta fun right? But upon further investigation I found that there are many different uses for this style. For EXAMPLE!

This lovely post outlines how you could bake the cake in teacups that are oven safe. Hmmm...
This post uses the method in order to make up for a cake fail. I am a big fan! Even if you always make perfect cakes, this could be a way to use teacups that aren't oven safe.

And of course, FRED comes through with silicon teacups to bake in.

*all images are via the site they are linked with*

Monday, November 8, 2010

Thai Iced Tea

I find that I go through phases with beverages. I will become slightly obsessed with some tasty concoction and try to consume it daily. The current obsession is Thai Iced Tea. Now, I have to admit that it's not what comes to mind for November, but the heart stomach wants what the heart stomach wants. Besides! It's orange, very autumny? autumnal? fallish? autumnmonopoly? Yeah...moving on! Sadly, I have not yet found the ultimate recipe and I have been relying on the "within walking distance of work Thai place" to get my fix tea. I have tried to have sweetened black tea with condensed milk at home, but it's not the same. I think that the tea actually make a big difference. Look for something like this tea. Also, you might consider this, which is a Thai tea filter. My next recipe to try is the Emeril recipe over on Foodnetwork. It says it serves 6, but I like having 2 glasses for myself, just saying. I also might double the milk/cream part, since it seems like not quite enough. But I guess we shall see.

6 cups water
1 cup Thai tea
3/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons cream
6 tablespoons condensed milk

In a kettle, bring the water to a boil. Place the tea in a teapot or glass container. Pour the water over the tea and let steep until bright orange in color, 3 to 5 minutes. Strain into a clean container, such as a pitcher (or, if in tea bags, remove the bags). Add sugar and stir to dissolve. Let cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Fill 6 tall glasses with crushed ice and add tea to 3/4 full. Add 1 tablespoon cream and 1 tablespoon condensed milk to each glass.

Serve with iced-tea spoon so guests can swirl the mixture themselves. And don't worry, it's part of having the drink is mixing it yourself, sorta like a Caramel Macchiato.