Sunday, March 30, 2014

Savory Crescent Sun

Okay. I get it.
Winter is never leaving.
The new ice age has begun.
My theory is, if we want to see the sun at all then we have to make our own sun.
I had a roll of Pillsbury Crescents in my fridge and decided to take matters into my own hands and bring out the sun. I have provided photos for step by step instructions as this may seem rather complicated...but it's really not. I promise. 
What it is though, is a delicious, flaky, cheesy, garlicy, bit of warmth to help us get through this stupid chilly weather. 

Savory Crescent Sun

1 can Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
1/3 cup garlic pepper jelly (or jalapeno jelly)
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
1/4 cup dried chives

Preheat oven to 375. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
First 4 steps (see photo below):

Unroll the Pillsbury Crescent Rolls. 
Separate the rolls along the seams into the 4 crescents.
Step 1: cut 2 of the crescents in half so you have 4 pieces. Cut the remaining 2 crescents into quarters so you have 8 pieces. 
Step 2: Roll the pieces into balls. You should have 4 bigger balls and 8 smaller balls.
Step 3: Cut 2 of the smaller balls in half.
Step 4: Add the halves from the smaller balls you just cut to the 4 larger balls. You should now have 4 larger balls and 6 smaller balls. 

Next 4 steps: 

Step 5: Roll out the 4 larger balls as thin as you can. You should be able to make each one into an approximately 8 - 9 inch circle. Place the first circle on the prepared cookie sheet.
Step 6: Brush the dough with the garlic pepper jelly using a basting or pastry brush. Sprinkle with about 1 Tbsp of Parmesan cheese and a pinch of dried chives.
Step 7: Continue to layer the remaining 3 thin circles with the garlic pepper jelly, cheese, and chives. Finish with the last circle of dough but DO NOT put anything on top of the last one.
Step 8: Using a sharp knife, cut 4 straight cuts into the dough, crossing over each other in the middle of the circle,  leaving about one inch around the outside uncut. (See photo for clarification)

Next 4 steps:

Step 9: Carefully turn one of the triangles out so it folds back over the outer circle of dough.
Step 10: Continue to fold each triangle backwards.
Step 11: All triangles should be folded over and you will end up with the outer ring of the sun.
Step 12: Roll out 4 of the smaller balls as thin as you can. You should be able to make each one into an approximately 4 -5 inch circle. You want these to fit inside the larger circle you made first. Place the first thin circle into the center of the outer sun ring.

Next 4 steps:

Step 13: Brush the smaller circle of dough with the garlic pepper jelly using a basting or pastry brush. Sprinkle with about 1 Tbsp of Parmesan cheese and a pinch of dried chives.
Step 14: Continue to layer the remaining 3 thin circles with the garlic pepper jelly, cheese, and chives. Finish with the last circle of dough but DO NOT put anything on top of the last one.
Step 15: Using a sharp knife, cut 4 straight cuts into the dough, crossing over each other in the middle of the circle,  leaving about one inch around the outside uncut. (See photo for clarification). Make sure your cuts are NOT going to line up with the larger circle as you want the triangles to fold over in between where the larger ring triangles are. Carefully turn one of the triangles out so it folds back over the outer circle of dough.
Step 16: Continue to fold each triangle backwards until you have 2 rings of folded dough.

Last 4 steps:

Step 17: Roll out the final 2 small balls of dough as thin as you can. You should be able to make each one into an approximately 4 -5 inch circle. Place one thin circle into the center of the sun rings.
Step 18: Brush with remaining garlic pepper jelly and then sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese and chives. (If desired - save a pinch of the Parmesan to sprinkle on top of the sun.)
Step 19: Place final thin circle on top of the filling in the center. Gently tuck the edges of the circle under the edges of the ring if they stick up too much.  You can go around the outer ring and tuck in any dough if it is sticking out too far along the base of the outer ring but this is not necessary. It just helps to make it look tidier. 
Step 20: Bake at 375 until sun is golden brown and puffed up, approximately 20 - 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool on cookie sheet for 10 minutes. Then use the parchment paper to slide off onto a wire rack.

Let cool another 5 - 10 minutes before sliding onto a serving tray. 

Serve warm or room temp.
It's easy to just rip of the rays of sunshine and enjoy them that way OR you can use a knife and slice off slices.

So much crispy cheesy goodness. 

Ooops.... a ray is missing. How did that happen? I swear I wasn't doing any quality control. 

This would be easy to customize to your own personal preferences. Switch up the type of cheese, type of jelly, you could even use a thin layer of flavored cream cheese instead of the jelly, switch up the herbs too!
I know there is long list of steps but, seriously, they are pretty simple once you get going. 
I think this took me about 10 minutes to make and then about 30 to bake. 
Bring on the sun!

Looking for tons of links to tasty and crafty sites? Check these out - Hungry Happenings, Feeding Big, The Comforts of Home, Memories By The Mile, Anyonita Nibbles, and Chef In Training.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Chocolate Peanut Butter Lava Oatmeal (single serving)

Yes. It's another baked oatmeal recipe. 
I'm addicted now. 
My oatmeal hating status has official become an oatmeal loving status. 
Consider me converted. 
If you have been following our blog then you know I have an addiction to chocolate and peanut butter. We shared our Chocolate Peanut Butter Greek Yogurt and our Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal and both of those are super delicious and ready in about 2 seconds and are even kind of healthy. 
This recipe is super delicious as well but does take a little bit longer to make as you have to cook it first.
It is a warm and toasty chocolate and peanut butter volcano of flavor. 
Hence the "lava" in the title. 
*wink wink*
If you are like me and have a ridiculous amount of affection for all things chocolate and peanut butter then you have to give this a try. It is really really really chocolaty and then you hit the pool of melty peanut butter in the center and its like *boom* peanut butter heaven. 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Lava Oatmeal (single serving)

1/3 cup Quaker Quick Oats
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp Sugar Twin Brown Sugar
1 Tbsp unsweetened baking cocoa
2 Tbsp 0 fat, plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup chocolate almond milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp (heaping) light peanut butter
1/2 Tbsp mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven (or toaster oven) to 350. Lightly spray a single serving, oven safe dish with cooking spray, set aside.
In a small mixing bowl stir together oats, baking powder, Sugar Twin, and cocoa.
Add in the Greek yogurt, chocolate almond milk, and vanilla. Stir until well mixed.
Scoop 1/2 of the oatmeal mixture into the prepared oven safe dish.

Top with the spoonful of peanut butter. 

Then top with the remaining oatmeal mixture.

Bake at 350 for 20 - 30 minutes, until puffed up and top appears dry and browned.

Sprinkle with the mini chocolate chips. Let sit for about 2 -3 minutes for the oatmeal to cool a bit and the chocolate chips to get melty.

Dive in. (Careful! it's hot!)
According to Myfitnesspal the entire recipe - it's a single serving:
330 calories, 44 carbs, 15 fat, and 14 protein. 
I eat this for breakfast. I mean, it's oatmeal. Oatmeal is totally a breakfast food.
Thing is... this is so chocolaty and peanut buttery that I also eat this as a dessert. 
If you want to save 30 calories and 5 carbs and 2 fat - then leave off the mini chocolate chips from the top. This is chocolaty enough without them. I just threw them on top to make it over-the-top chocolaty. 
FYI - Make sure the oats and chocolate chips you buy are gluten free and then the whole recipe is gluten free. You can also make this vegan by swapping out the Greek yogurt for applesauce. 

We shared at these fabulous linky parties! Be sure to check them out - The Mandatory Mooch, The Chicken Chick, Ms. enPlace, Jam Hands, April's Homemaking

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Dinosaur Footprint Cookies

I had a lot of fun making these Dinosaur Footprint Cookies yesterday. They are sooooo easy and so adorable. I used my go-to sugar cookie recipe but you could easily use a store bought sugar cookie dough to make these even easier.
Jo and I couldn't help but make up our own dinosaur play and act it out while making the cookies. 
There was a lot of, " Raaaaar, I'm a scary dinosaur!" going on.....mainly because we are still 5 years old at heart  and playing dinosaurs is fun. 
We were inspired by a photo on Pinterest (HERE) 
This would be a great addition to a dinosaur themed birthday party. 

Dinosaur Footprint Cookies
AKA: Sue's Sugar Cookies

1 1/2 cup butter, room temp
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
3 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder

Line cookie tray with parchment paper.
Beat butter in large bowl with mixer until creamy. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
Blend in egg and vanilla.
Mix flour and baking powder in a separate bowl. Gradually beat flour mixture into the butter mixture.
Pinch off golf ball sized balls of dough and place on cookie sheet. 
Chill in fridge for at least an hour.
Remove from fridge when you are ready to bake. Let them sit on the counter while you preheat the oven to 350. (You want them to warm up a little bit so you can press the footprint into the cookie without it breaking.) Flatten the balls slightly with the palm of your hand. 
Press the foot of a toy dinosaur (that has been well cleaned) into the center of each cookie ball. 
Bake at 350 for 8 - 10 minutes, until bottom of cookie is lightly browned. 
Remove from oven and let cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes. Remove the cookies to a wire rack and let cool completely. 

Dinosaur photobomb.
So much fun, right?
A quick note - if you find your cookies are cracking then they may be too cold when you press the footprint in. Warm them a bit in your hand before pressing the toy in and it should work better. 

Stop by these great blogs for tons of fun, crafty, and tasty links! - Kitchen Fun With My 3 Sons, My Turn (for us), Morsels of Life, Horrific Knits, Hun...What's For Dinner

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Cinnamon Bun Chocolate Coconut Pecan Monkey Bread

Need an idea for a super quick, super easy dessert?
Have I got a deal for you.
I was supposed to make a treat for a birthday at work and knew that everyone would be expecting something over the top. (I tend to go a little crazy with work birthday treats) Anyway, the problem was that I kinda forgot about it and *boom* suddenly I have to have something for the next day that looks like I slaved all weekend over it. 
Oh...yeah...and did I mention I was feeling really lazy and didn't want to come home from work, make a fantastic treat, then have to make something for dinner and then clean up?
Because that's also true. 
Laaaaaazy lazy lazy.
This took all of about 10 minutes to make and then 30 - 40 minutes to bake BUT it looks and tastes like it took a lot more effort.
Win - win baby!

Cinnamon Bun Chocolate Coconut Pecan Monkey Bread

1/2 cup Hershey's Mini Kisses (or large chocolate chips)
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a bundt pan with cooking spray, set aside.
In a small bowl, mix together the kisses, coconut, and pecans. Set aside.
Unroll the 2 cans of Pillsbury Grands Cinnamon Rolls and cut each roll into quarters.

Place half of the cut rolls into the prepared pan, spacing as evenly as you can.

Sprinkle with half of the chocolate, coconut, and pecans. 
Place the remaining half of the roll quarters.
Finally top with the rest of the chocolate, coconut, and pecans. 

Bake at 350 until rolls are puffed and brown and cooked through - about 25 - 35 minutes. Top will be a deep golden brown.

Let cool in pan about 5 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan and the center and gently invert monkey bread onto a serving plate placed on a cooling rack. (It helps to hold the plate, upside down, on top of the pan and then carefully flip over.) You want to make sure the bread is not too cool as you may run into sticking problems. 

Drizzle one can of the frosting that comes with the cinnamon rolls over the warm cake.

Place the other can of frosting in a small dish and place it in the middle of the bread for dipping.

You can serve it warm - and die from the amazingness - or, what I did, cover and store in the fridge overnight and then serve at room temp the next day. 
Also ridiculously good.
Slice it and eat with a fork or - even better - just rip off hunks and dip it in the extra frosting. (FYI - this method is waaaaay more fun.) 
Fancy schmancy dessert in like 2 seconds. 

Adorned From Above and Dizzy Busy & Hungry and Mama Buzz and Nap Time Is My Time and Easy Life  and My Turn (for us) have some great links. Be sure to check them out!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

April Fool's Pierogies and Sausages

I don't know if you get in on the April Fool's day shenanigans at your place but we like to get pretty tricky around here. We went all out with our April Fool's A&W and KFC treats a while back and wanted to do something just as fun (and tasty, of course) this year. 
I knew instantly when I made our Red Velvet Donut Fries with Cream Cheese Frosting that I was going to make something for April Fools Day with them. They just really really really looked like sausages. 
I decided to use my Kitchen Mate Patty Trio to make some peanut butter sandwich "pierogies". 

I rolled the bread out thin with a rolling pin before pressing it in the cutter. I then dabbed a few bits of cocoa powder on the outside using a small paint brush to make it looked cooked. 
I used cashew halves to make the "fried mushrooms" ...

I also dabbed a little cocoa powder on them with a small paint brush to give them a cooked look.
Then I used white jelly beans to make the "fried onions"...

I squished the jelly bean with a rolling pin, then cut it into strips, then dabbed a little cocoa powder on a small paint brush and dabbed it randomly on the jelly bean strips. 
I then placed the "mushroom" and "onion" strips on top of the "pierogies". 

The "sausages" are simply a few of our Red Velvet Donut Fries. Nothing extra needed to be done to them. 
They already look like sausages. 
Go HERE to see how to make those. They are delicious, by the way. Even if you don't want to make an April Fools treat you should make them. 
Just sayin'

So... in summary... here are the ingredients you will need to replicate our April Fool's Pierogies & Sausages: few cashew halves
3 - 4 white jelly beans
1 tsp of cocoa powder
few slices of Dempster's white bread
few Tbsps of peanut butter
Happy April Foolin' 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Irish Soda Bread Scones With Honey Butter

I'm pretty sure there are a million or more variations on this recipe.
I happened to find mine in a Women's World Magazine a year or two ago. It turned out so delightful that I decided to keep it as my go to. I made one or two teeny changes and it is a family favorite now. 
It makes its appearance at St. Patrick's Day, of course, but also about once a month it is made just to go with afternoon tea/coffee. I like mine with a little honey butter to sweeten them up a little.
The secret to getting them to rise up so beautifully is using a sharp edged cutter and leaving the dough a little thicker. If you want that lovely "split" in the middle of the scone - see below for my method!

Irish Soda Bread Scones

3 cups flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup raisins
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1 egg, beaten
3 - 4 Tbsp sugar

Honey Butter
1/2 cup butter, room temp
2 - 4 Tbsp honey (liquid) (depending on how sweet you want it)

Preheat oven to 425. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, set aside.
In a large bowl stir together flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and raisins. 
In a separate bowl, slowly whisk the melted butter into the buttermilk. Stir the liquids ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined.
Turn mixture onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently knead 2 - 3 times until dough just comes together. 
Roll dough out to about 1/2 inch thickness. Fold the dough in half  and then gently roll out to about 1 inch thickness. (Folding the dough in half and then gently rolling it out a bit results in that lovely "split" in the middle of the scone that you see in the photos.)
Using a sharp edged cookie/biscuit cutter, cut out scones.
You can re-roll the scraps once more - any more after that it results in tough scones!

Place on prepared cookie sheet. Using a pastry/basting brush, brush the beaten egg over the tops of the scones. Sprinkle each with a little of the sugar. 

Bake at 425 until tops are golden brown - about 15 - 20 minutes. 
Serve warm or room temp with the honey butter. 
To prepare the honey butter - Beat the butter until smooth. Slowly beat in the honey until well combined. Serve at room temp. (Can be stored in the fridge but bring back to room temp before serving.)

These go really well with stew or soup. or, they are perfect to serve with a little honey butter and jam for afternoon tea/coffee.