Saturday, January 21, 2012

Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes

This past Christmas I wanted to make chocolate peppermint cupcakes and found the PERFECT recipe at Glorious Treats.  And they didn't disappoint!  I made the cupcakes for two different parties and they were a hit.  I slightly modified the frosting recipe by adding 2-3 teaspoons of peppermint extract (to taste) so it really had a nice minty flavor.  Also, I used crushed candy canes to top my cupcakes instead of peppermint bark.  Oh just thinking about these is making my mouth water!

Yummy Winter Treats: Marshmallow Snowmen and Chocolate Peppermint Oreos & Pretzels


For my daughter's Girl Scout holiday party I decided to make the girls some different treats instead of the usual cookies or brownies.  Since they were asked to bring an assortment of treats I decided to make marshmallow snowmen, chocolate peppermint Oreos and chocolate dipped peppermint pretzels.  All of these were a huge hit with the girls.
Marshmallow Snowmen
Ingredients:
  • Lollipop or popsicle sticks
  • Large Marshmallows
  • White chocolate, Brown chocolate, orange chocolate (for melting)
  • Oreo cookies (regular size)
  • Mini-Oreos
  • Fruit roll-ups or licorice
  • Mini M&Ms or Red Hot Candies
Stick 3 large marshmallows on your lollipop or popsicle stick then completely dip into melted white chocolate. Let chocolate harden.  Use melted brown chocolate to make eyes, mouth and arms of the snowman.  Then use the orange chocolate to make the the nose.  Once that chocolate has hardened use a little bit of the remaining melted chocolate to stick the M&Ms or Red Hots onto the front of the snowman for buttons.  For that had use half of a large Oreo and glue (using melted chocolate) a mini Oreo on top.  Use the melted chocolate to stick the hat onto the Marshmallow.  Once everything had dried tie strip of licorice or fruit roll-up for a scarf and you're done!



Chocolate Peppermint Oreos & Pretzels
Simply melt white chocolate and dip the Oreos and pretzels in the chocolate so they are covered.  Lay the Oreos flat on wax paper to dry.  While the chocolate is still soft sprinkle crushed candy canes over them and let harden.






Sunday, November 13, 2011

Winter Squash

We see so many types at the grocery store this time of the year and if you're like me you don't know all the differences...how they vary in flavor, how to cook them, etc.  I am absolutely in LOVE with the Delicata squash and want to venture and try others but was intimidated by them for some reason.  That is until I stumbled across this wonderful article in Real Simple that breaks them all down. 


Acorn squash

Acorn

Shaped like its namesake, this small, dark green, orange, or buff-colored squash has a ribbed rind and a moist yellow or orange interior that is loaded with fiber. When halved for roasting, acorn squash can be used as a natural bowl for fillings, such as apples, currants, and chestnuts.
Great for: Roasting. Peeling is difficult, so cut it in half or slice (the skin is edible).
Butternut Squash
Butternut

One of the most common winter squash, this foot-long, bell-shaped variety has thin, butterscotch-colored skin and sweet, nutty flesh. Its smooth, thin skin makes it easier to peel than many other squash varieties. For the most abundant flesh, look for butternut squash with a long, thick neck. Dense and creamy, it pairs well with a variety of flavors, including smoky bacon, cinnamon, and balsamic vinegar. It also has the highest doses of vitamins A and C.
Great for: Roasting and soups.

Calabaza

Calabaza

Long popular in the Caribbean, calabaza squash (also called West Indian pumpkin) has a sweet, juicy golden orange flesh similar in taste and texture to butternut squash. Getting to it can be difficult, however, thanks to its super-tough tan, green, or red orange rind. Use a cleaver, or look for cut-up pieces at Latin markets. Look for pieces with tightly grained flesh and no wet spots. Whole squash will keep up to 6 weeks in a cool, dry place; cut pieces should be refrigerated and will last for a week.
Great for: Baking.


 Delicata Squash


Delicata

Also called sweet potato squash because of its creamy flavor and texture, delicata squash resembles a giant, fat cucumber (it typically weighs 1 to 2 pounds) and has pale yellow skin and dark green pinstripes. Popular in the early 1900s, this heirloom variety is enjoying renewed favor thanks to its fine, creamy flesh, which tastes similar to sweet potatoes and butternut squash. And, yes, you can eat the skin (no peeling necessary).
Great for: Roasting and stuffing.


Hubbard Squash

Hubbard

One of the largest winter varieties, Hubbard squash typically weighs 8 to 20 pounds and range in color from orange to grayish blue. Hidden beneath the hard, nubbly skin is a delicious yellow flesh that’s both savory and sweet. The flesh is high in sugar but sometimes mealy, which means it’s best pureed (as a pie filling) or mashed. A whole squash will keep for up to 6 months in a cool, dry place. It’s also sold cut up.
Great for: Pie filling, purees, and mashes.


Kabocha Squash

Kabocha

This pumpkin-shaped Japanese squash (typically 2 to 3 pounds) is fairly new to the U.S. market but has caught on quickly due to its subtle, honeyed sweetness and smooth, almost fiberless texture. The jade green exterior has light green stripes, and the meat is a pale orange. Drier and denser than most squashes, the kabocha can be baked or steamed, like acorn squash, or pureed to give soups a buttery richness.
Great for: Soups.

Pumpkin Squash
Pumpkin

With their bright orange skin and light orange flesh, round 2- to 8- pound specimens are best for cooking. Pureed, pumpkin is a tasty, healthful addition to soups, sweet breads, pancakes, and risottos and makes a good filling for ravioli. Pumpkins have a mellow sweetness and dense flesh that’s perfect for autumn baking. (The bigger, Halloweeny guys tend to be watery and less flavorful.) Varieties to look for include Small Sugar, New England Pie, Baby Pam, and Pik-A-Pie.
Great for: Pies, quick breads, pancakes, risottos. Roast or steam,         puree, then add to recipe. For more ideas, find delicious pumpkin 
                                               recipes  here.


Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti

This oval yellow squash contains a surprise: a stringy flesh that, when cooked, separates into mild-tasting, spaghetti-like strands. Exceedingly mild, spaghetti squash is often dressed with tomato sauce like pasta, or it can be simply enhanced with butter and herbs. Spaghetti squashes typically weigh 4 to 8 pounds; squashes on the larger side will have the best flavor and thicker “noodles.”
Great for: Roasting. Scrape out the strands and dress with butter or pasta sauce.


Now that you know all the different types of squash, learn how to prepare them here.

Monday, October 17, 2011

How ya like them apples- 8 amazing apple recipes

This post was inspired by my dear friend from college.  Each year she posts the most amazing pictures of her (now) family of 6 at the apple farm on her Facebook page.  She then usually blogs about the million creative ways she uses, cooks, and bakes the millions of apples they picked.  So once again today she posted pictures of her family at the apple farm which has inspired me to compile and share some of my favorite apple recipes. 

IMG_8577
apple cinnamon coffee cake from Joy The Baker (how can you go wrong with anything from Joy?)
apple pie egg rolls from Miss in the kitchen

Caramel Apple Tart. Photo by KC_Cooker
caramel apple tart from Food.com

classic apple crisp from Pinch of Yum

candy and caramel apple pie from She's Becoming DoughMessTic
mulled cider in a crockpot from Tasty Kitchen
apple pie cake from Martha Stewart

inside out apple crisp from My Baking Addiction


Oh and by the way, if you're like me and find yourself in the produce section of the grocery store staring at the apples trying to decide which type is best for whatever you're going to make/bake, here's an apple cooking chart from Real Simple.

Enjoy!!

Flyaway Favors- Halloween Goodie Bags

Sending you child to school with Halloween treats for their classmates?  Instead of using plastic goodie bags make these super cute and clever flyaway favors from Martha Stewart.  What I love about these is not only are they really cute but they are also a green alternative to the plastic goodie bags so readily available (if you make the ghost bag, to keep it green don't use the cellophane bag).

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Candy Corn Vases & Bottle Vases

If you've been following along you would know by now my obsession with anything candy corn this Halloween season.  I stumbled across a tutorial from The Swell Life on how to make these candy corn vases.  I went to our local St. Vincent de Paul store and picked up a bunch of glass bottle vases and full size vases and really broke the bank.  The bottle vases were $.25 and $.50 each and the larger vases were a whopping $1.25 each.  Add a couple coats of Krylon paint in white, orange and yellow and viola...candy corn vases.  I made extra ones for my kids to give to their teachers with some fresh flowers.  Hey, some sucking up doesn't hurt. If you knew what a handful my 5 year old is, you would understand that we need all the sucking up to his kindergarten teacher we can get....or think of it as an apology gift. Get the step by step tute here.  


Halloween Yarn Spheres

These Halloween yarn spheres from Red Couch Recipes are so clever and easy.  And better yet they cost almost nothing to make.  They would look great in a nice Halloween bowl on a coffee or console table.  This is a nice and easy project to make with kids too.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Creepy Coconut Kiwi Panna Cotta

You had me at coconut!  This looks disgustingly awesome but sounds delicious.  The dessert from Kitchen Table Scraps is the perfectly ghoulish way to finish off Halloween dinner.  It may look disgusting but with coconut, kiwis and raspberries how can you go wrong?

Halloween Caramel Apples

Whenever I was a kid and I would go with my Dad to Disneyland or Six Flags, the day wasn't complete without a caramel apple.  And nothing says fall more than the changing colors of the leaves and anything made with apples.  Sadly, the days of making these kinds of things and giving them out on Halloween instead of candy are over.  Nevertheless, caramel apples are always a crowd pleaser with our kids and guests.  Here are nine different Halloween caramel apple ideas for you to enjoy.

Country Living apples

Candy-Coated Caramel Apples Recipe
apples from my recipes




 



Halloween Candy Apples
Southern Living candy apples

 
cinnamon caramel apple pumpkins from Bakingdom


spider webbed caramel apples from Purple Chocolat Home



Caramel Apple Recipes
classic caramel apples with a twist from dot com Women
 
Cinnamon Caramel Apple 2
Blondie's Cakes & Things' apple pie caramel apples







creepy caramel apples from Marvelous Girl







Homemade apple pie apple
 apple pie apple by The Cooking of Joy





Thursday, October 13, 2011

Royal Icing Googly Eyes

You see them everywhere...cookies, cookie-pops, candy, cake balls and cake-pops...they are the googly eyes that bring the edible characters to life.  Ever wonder how to make them?  Find out here at How Does She.  The great thing about these is that you can make a ton of them at one time and keep what you don't need right away in a airtight sealed container
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