Monday, April 29, 2013

Cookie Cake

The birthday girl from yesterday took a treat in to school for her lunch table last week.  Instead of heading to the mall for a cookie cake, I made one instead. Of course I had to make two so that everyone at home could have some too, because when the smells of cookies baking waft throughout the house, people expect something to eat when they follow their noses into the kitchen. ☺


3/4 C. butter, softened
3/4 C. dark brown sugar
1/4 C. sugar
1 egg
1 T. vanilla
2 C. flour
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1-1/4 C. chocolate chips or other mix in (M&M's, Reese's Pieces, Sprinkles, etc.)


Preheat oven to 350°F and line a 9" square pan with parchment paper. In a large bowl cream the butter and sugars together on medium speed until fluffy and light in color. Mix in egg and vanilla until combined. Slowly add flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt and mix until combined. Stir in chocolate chips (or other item of choice). Press dough evenly into prepared pan and bake for 16 minutes or until the edges just start to turn brown. Do not over bake (you don't want to have to cut a cracker). Let cookie cool completely in pan. Frost as desired.

Adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Birthday Buffet

15 years ago today we became a family of four (we have since added two more kids, but I'm talking about a specific date here).  Our second daughter was born in the wee hours of the  morning. She enjoys my baking and cooking and this year came up with a 4 page list (large font!) of potential menu items for breakfast, lunch and dinner the day of her birthday.
She also had an itinerary for the day in the 4 pages so it wasn't all food, but I joked with her that what food she did have listed was enough for a "Birthday Buffet" for a huge group not a family of 6 ☺. Her breakfast requests were my Crescent Cinnamon RollsMix-In Muffins with chocolate chips and Poppy Seed Bread.  I managed to have her narrow it down to Cinnamon Rolls since we will be having this S'mores cake later today. (I will post the recipe soon. )
Lunch was simple enough - French Bread sandwiches and fruit.  Dinner options were Chicken Parmesan, Meatball Subs, Meatloaf, Chicken Noodle Soup, Lemon Piccata Chicken, Pesto Pasta, Homemade Pizza, Pepperoni Roll and Steak Salad. We will have to see what we end up eating. Maybe this will be my menu plan for the week . . . Happy Birthday, Marshmallow! I love you to the moon and back ;)

Friday, April 26, 2013

French Style Bread

This bread is to good to eat and not difficult  to make. It does take some time, but you can do in between laundry or other things you're doing around the house. There is nothing like the smell of bread baking in the oven and the taste is hard to beat! Butter will melt on a warm slice of this bread and warm your mouth and heart when you take a bite.  If you have any leftover, it makes great toast or panini sandwich bread.


2 T. yeast
2 1/2 C. warm water
7 C. flour
2 T. sugar
1 T. salt
1 egg


In a large mixing bowl mix yeast, water and sugar. Let sit for 5 minutes. Add in 2 cups of flour and salt and stir together, then add rest of flour. Knead for 5 minutes. Cover and let rise until double (1 hour or so). Grease cookie sheet. Punch down bread and knead one minute. Divide in two. Roll each piece into a rectangle and then roll up jelly roll style. Place seam side down on cookie sheet and make several evenly spaced shallow cuts diagonally in the top of each loaf. Let rise until double (about 30 minutes). Before baking brush with egg wash. Place pan of hot water on lower shelf of oven. Bake at 375°F for 20 minutes or until bread gives a hollow sound when tapped.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Pumpkin Bread

I've been making this pumpkin bread for years. I've been eating pumpkin bread for even longer. My grandma made a glazed pumpkin bread that had a lot of spices in it. It was very good and perhaps another time I'll post that recipe. This recipe is subtle and more simple. It was requested by our oldest today for her birthday breakfast. She looks forward to the fall and being able to order a slice of Pumpkin Bread at Starbucks along with a Pumpkin Spice Latte (an ideal breakfast!). Happy Birthday, K! Love you ☺ 


1 1/2 C. sugar
1/2 C. oil
2 eggs
1 C. canned pumpkin (puree, not pie filling)
1/3 C. water
1 1/2 C. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon


Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix sugar, oil, eggs, pumpkin and water until combined. In a medium bowl, whisk remaining ingredients together and slowly add to first mixture. Mix just until thoroughly combined. Pour into greased 9" x 5" loaf pan. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Blue Cheese Dressing

If you like blue cheese, you should try making this dressing some time. It mixes up in minutes and is so easy to make. We go through a batch every time I make it! (This is a favorite recipe in our house.) We like it as a dip for vegetables and homemade chicken nuggets as well (especially if covered in Buffalo Hot Sauce). If you don't have red wine vinegar, cider vinegar will work, it might taste a little more tangy. You may want to use half vinegar and half milk.


8 oz. sour cream
4 oz. blue cheese, crumbled
2 - 3 T. red wine vinegar
salt and pepper


Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Smash blue cheese as you mix dressing.  If dressing is too thick, thin by adding vinegar or milk one tablespoon at a time and stir until desired consistency. Store in refrigerator.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Homemade Condensed Soup

On occasion a recipe will call for a can of "Cream of Mushroom" or "Cream of Celery" soup or something similar.  I realize how convenient it is to open those cans, but the sodium content and a few of the other ingredients made me search for an alternative several years ago.  This recipe cooks up quickly and only has 5 ingredients.  I have been using it in our family favorite Green Bean Casserole and Hash Brown Casserole for years without any complaints!


1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon pepper


In a small pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the flour and cook until the mixture bubbles. Whisk in the milk and chicken broth, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens to a sauce consistency. Stir in the pepper. Use in recipes calling for condensed cream soups. Yield: 2 cups.

Adapted from recipe on Life As Mom

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Dinner Rolls

We are a bread loving family.  Our kids love it when I bake rolls. These rolls are soft and light and worth every minute of making them. The kids will eat some store bought rolls. One holiday I bought a Sam's Club package of King's Hawaiian Rolls and when it came time to eat there were literally only 10 rolls left to put on the table for the 10 people eating.  I was horrified and exclaimed to the kids, "What happened to the rolls?" There were smiles all around the table on all 4 of their faces and on my younger sister's as well.  I heard, "Well, they were so fresh and they tasted so good and we were hungry and there is still one left per person . . ." I have made sure to have plenty of rolls ever since . . . and to hide them☺


2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1 cup warm milk
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 egg
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
5-6 cups flour


In a large bowl, combine the yeast and water. Let stand 5 minutes (however, if using instant yeast, add the yeast, water and milk together with the other ingredients). Add sugar, butter, salt, 2 cups flour and egg. Beat together until very smooth. Add remaining flour until a soft dough is formed. Knead the dough for five minutes if using an electric mixer and for at least 10 minutes if mixing the dough by hand. Place dough in a lightly greased large bowl and turn to grease top of dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled. Separate the dough into two portions. Roll each section into a 11"x14" rectangle. Brush the top with melted butter. Cut the dough across lengthwise making 2 long rectangles. Then cut those five times so you end up with 10 rectangles. Roll each rectangle up like a cake roll and place seam side down on a lightly greased baking sheet. Rolls can be touching. Cover the rolls with lightly greased plastic wrap and let them rise until doubled. Bake at 375°F for 12-14 minutes until they are nicely browned.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Kids in the Kitchen: Mango Punch

This is a light and fruity punch that is perfect for any Spring celebration. If you want it to be less sweet, substitute some or all of the soda with sparkling water. Pouring, stirring and serving are all kid friendly steps in this recipe. Drinking this yummy punch is their reward.  Hopefully they will serve you some!


4 cups mango juice, chilled and well-shaken
4 cups citrus flavored soda, chilled
Juice of 2 regular limes
Additional lime slices for garnish
Maraschino cherries
Ice cubes


Into a large punch bowl, pour mango juice, soda and lime juice. Stir to combine. Garnish with lime slices. Serve over ice cubes.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Whole Wheat Bread

I found this recipe through one of my favorite blogs, Amy's Finer Things. Amy actually credits it to another blogger's great-grandma so it's been time tested and served many family members. I can vouch for it both in taste and ease to create. The recipe even yields 3 loaves and they freeze well in case you wondered. As Amy points out on her post - no double rise time! I think that is a big turn off to so many people in making home made bread because we all feel as though we don't have enough time, right? You can mix up this bread before you start dinner and have 3 loaves made in the time before you clean up(presuming you eat at home and not at a drive through). It really is that simple!


1/2 cup water
2 T. yeast
1 T. honey
2 1/2 cups very warm water
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1/3 cup melted butter
1/3 cup honey
1 tablespoon salt
5 1/2 - 6 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour


  1. In mixing bowl, stir together water, yeast, and 1 T. honey. Let rise for 5 minutes. 
  2. Add 2 1/2 cups flour and 1 1/2 cups water. Beat together at medium speed for a few minutes.
  3. Stir melted butter, honey, and salt into the flour mixture. Add remaining flour. Knead for several minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic.
  4. Separate dough into 3 balls. Shape into loaves. Place in greased loaf pans. Allow to rise 10-20 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake bread for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven. Brush each loaf with butter. Remove from the pans to cool.