Monday, October 28, 2013

Sugar Cookie Bar Mummy Pops


This is a last minute Halloween treat that I am making for my son's kindergarten "Fall" party (well remaking, 'cause these ones are going to get eaten at home, and I will make them again on Halloween...whatev.)
I signed up to make a sweet treat for his class (yayyy) and a healthy treat for my other son's class (ehhh).
Sweet treat...right up my alley, because I am addicted to sugar.
Really, like call up the detox and get me a bed.
Anyway, to feed my habit....provide a snack for my son's class, I came up with these last minute Sugar Cookie Bar Mummy Pops.

Here's the great thing about these...there is no rolling, cookie cutter, fancy piping bags, or anything fussy at all. I had about an hour and a half from the time this idea popped into my mind until I had to get my little guy to school.
So here is what you need (and I did take some shortcuts).
-1 batch of sugar cookie dough (I used Betty Crocker mix, which requires 1 egg & 1 stick butter)
-Powdered sugar, about 4-6 cups
-1 stick butter, softened
-vanilla, 1 tsp.
-milk, about 1/4 cup
-salt, 1/8 tsp.
-white candy melts (And a baggie for drizzling, optional)
-candy eyes, or any type of small candy (m&m's, sprinkles, chocolate chips)
-lollipop sticks, or paper straws (optional)
-square baking pan, 8X8
-2 8 inch wide strips of parchment

Next, here is a quick little tutorial collage.

For the frosting, you will need about 1/4 - 1/3 cup soft butter. Cream butter with about 1 tsp. vanilla and tiny pinch of salt. Add powdered sugar, starting with about 4 cups. Mix into butter, it should be dry and lumpy. Next, mix in milk about 1 tablespoon at a time until the frosting is the desired consistency. I like mine to have stiff peaks, so it will hold it's shape on the cookie. If you add too much milk, just add a little more sugar. No biggie.

So now, you should have your mummy pops, or mummy cookies if you decide to forget the stick.
Quick, easy, cute, yummy.  Missing anything? I think not.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Loaded Potato Soup w/ Loaded Cheddar Biscuits's what's for dinner.  Yes, I said SOUP, not beef.
Did I ever mention that I LOVE soup?
Yeah, I think so.
How about another quick, easy & delicious soup recipe.
Perfect for this time of year.
Warm, comforting, and oh so yummy.


So here is the recipe. It's seriously sooo easy. The measurements aren't crucial like baking, it is hard to mess up.

Loaded Potato Soup (large batch)
about 1 pound cooked ham- finely chopped (I used a thick ham steak)
1 clove garlic- finely diced or grated
1 jalapeno- seeds & rib removed & finely diced (optional)
1-2 onions- chopped
2-3 carrots- finely chopped
about 5 large yellow or red potatoes- peeled & coarsely chopped
1/4 cup flour
6 cups chicken broth or stock
several cups milk
salt and pepper
cooked bacon crumbles
cheddar cheese
sliced scallions

-Start by prepping your toppings if necessary. Set aside.
-Next, in a large soup pot, brown diced ham in a splash of oil. Once browned on the edges, remove from pan and set aside.
-Next, add garlic and jalapeno to the pan, and cook for about a minute, just until garlic starts to become fragrant.
-Add about a tablespoon of butter or oil and add onions. Season with salt and pepper & cook for a few minutes, until they become soft and start to get some color.
-Next, add the carrots and continue to cook veggies until they become slightly tender.
-Move veggies to the outside of the pan, making a well in the center.
-Next, add a couple tablespoons of butter or oil the center of the pan and then add the flour. Mix flour into the butter/oil and stir into the veggies. Continue to cook the veggies and flour mixture for a minute or two, stirring often.
-Next, add the chicken broth and stir, just long enough to get the flour dissolved into the liquid.
-Turn heat to med-high and add potatoes. Season well with salt and pepper and let liquid come to a simmer.
-Continue to simmer until the potatoes become tender. About 5-10 minutes.
-Once potatoes are soft, add a few cups of milk. Just enough to fill your pot or achieve the consistency you like. (My soup was not super thick. It was about as thick as gravy, rather than chowder.)
-Once you add your milk, you will bring to a simmer one last time, and season to taste. Once it starts to simmer, quickly reduce heat and serve with all the toppings you like and maybe even Loaded Cheddar Biscuits.

I mean, seriously YUM! If you notice, this soup is not creamy white like a lot of potato soups. The slightly darker color comes from the chicken broth and the  caramelized ham and veggies. I love that about this soup, because to me color = flavor.

Now I will quickly add the biscuit recipe.

Loaded Cheddar Biscuits

Make a batch of biscuit dough, like Bisquick, according to package directions. Add 2/3 cup grated cheddar, and about a handful each of cooked bacon crumbles, diced jalapeno, and sliced scallions. Mix into dough, and bake according to package directions. While the biscuits are in the oven, melt 1/4 cup butter and mix with a teaspoon each of garlic powder and dried parsley. When the biscuits are just out of the oven, spoon a bit of the butter/herb mixture over the top of the hot biscuits. YUM!

Friday, October 18, 2013

5 Minute Sweatshirt Upcycle

My daughter is all girl.
I mean, obviously.
But she is ALL GIRL, like totally girly, not sporty, not athletic, not a tom-boy.
All Girl.
She loves dresses, and skirts, and anything that is sparkly.
I, however, find it a lot more practical to wear jeans, or leggings to school sometimes.
She can wear a dress maybe once a week, but not every day.

When shopping for her, I find that the "embellished" shirt is always more expensive than the plain one.
Duh, I get it. But usually, it's hard for me to justify paying $16 for the embellished shirt rather than $10 for the same shirt, that just happens to be plain.
Can I tell you a secret though, I usually like the embellished shirts more too.

Here's a perfect example:

Old navy has some really cute crew neck sweatshirts. Some plain, which are cute, and some sparkly ones, which are cuter.

Well, if you are wondering...I bought the plain one, for $10 (actually $7.50, I had a coupon).

But I am not going to settle for cute, when I can achieve cuter myself.

Do you want to upcycle a plain shirt too?

All you need is a plain sweatshirt (preferably with the neck stitching that makes a triangle shape), glitter t-shirt vinyl scrap, scissors, and an iron. All stuff I had around the house.

1. Pre-wash your shirt, and dry. WITHOUT FABRIC SOFTENER!
2. Cut your vinyl scrap down to size, whatever size you need. Just eyeball it.
3. Iron on, and ta-da!

This literally took 5 minutes, and cost nothing. It's not a huge difference, but according to Old Navy, it's worth at least $6....right?

I love it and so does my girly, sparkle loving daughter.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Apple Crumb Mini Pies

Apple Crumb Pie is one of the first major desserts I ever made. It also happens to be a story that is retold every Thanksgiving and Christmas since I was 10 and probably for the rest of my life.
I mean seriously, I was 10....cut me a little slack.

Just in case you're curious, this is what happened...

I was about 10 years old & it was Thanksgiving. I planned to make an apple pie (from scratch) while my mom was at work. I read the recipe many times, just to make sure I knew exactly what to do. I made the crust successfully & moved on to the apples. I thought I should peel them, but I re-read the recipe & it didn't say a word about peeling the apples. So....I didn't. I finished the pie & it was a total success. We had dinner at my Aunt's house & were cutting into the dessert. Everyone was complimenting my pie & how nice it looked. My mom was the first to have a piece. She took a bite & half-way through chewing she said "Did you peel the apples?" What, peel the apples? Really, it didn't say anything about peeling the apples. Well...being the very sensitive kid that I was, I started crying. My cousins took this as an opportunity to get a good laugh. I was locked in the bathroom crying, all the adults were trying to make me feel better, & my cousins were sliding pictures under the door. Pictures of a piece of pie with a whole apple in it....and pictures of Haley's Fiber Bars. Yeah, looking back, it is pretty funny, and totally not a big deal. But at the time I was really embarrassed. It did actually taste good, and since then, I have perfected my version of the apple pie. (Oh, and just for the record, the recipe said "pared" apples...which if I'm not mistaken, means "peeled")

So, this time I used my Apple Crumb Pie recipe and tweaked it to make mini pies. I don't know exactly where this recipe originated, but it is very similar to the one I used at 10 years old.

So, let's get started.

Here's the recipe-
pie crust (enough for a double crust pie) I used store bought...gasp
about 6 medium granny smith apples
1 lemon- juice and zest
1/2 cup sugar
4 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

for the topping-
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
4 1/2 tablespoons butter (cold)

Roll out crust and cut into as many 5 inch circles as you can get (I got 16). Take each circle and press into a muffin tin, just like you would a regular pie. Now, you will need to finish the edge and trim any excess crust (I used the same method I use when making a full size pie, but there are many methods to finish the edge). At this point, put your finished crusts into the fridge.
Next, you will want to prep your apples. First, peel and core, and then chop, pretty finely. Once all apples are chopped, add the zest and juice of one lemon. Next, add the dry ingredients, and mix well.
Set aside, and make the crumb topping. First, mix flour, sugar, and salt. Add cold butter and cut in using a fork, pastry cutter, or mixer. Mix until the mixture resembles barely wet sand. It should look fairly dry, but should somewhat clump together.
Remove crusts from fridge, and fill with apples. Top with a generous amount of crumb topping, and bake in a 375 oven for about 35-45 minutes. Just until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling.

Serve warm, with ice cream....

....or just pick it up and shove the whole thing in your mouth. Not saying I did that. Also not saying I didn't.