Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Dulce de Leche Bars...just hold on to your hats

All I have to do is say the words "dulce de leche" and my mouth starts watering. Even if I use to say it completely wrong until a wonderful stranger informed me that it's not said duls--dee--lech but rather  dolchay-day-lechay.

I might have giggled in complete embarrassment, which then took a turn for the worst in defending my stupidity. Why in the world don't "they" spell it the way it's suppose to be said? Just to make idiots out of people like me?! It's like bruschetta...which I always pronounced broo-shetta, but in actuality (according to my husband who lived there for two years, so I guess I'll take his word for it) it's suppose to be pronounced as broo-sk-etta.

Go figure?!

Anyways besides the point...whether you pronounce it right or not this stuff is amazing times ten. It is very rich, so a small square will suffice. Well, until about ten minutes later when you're crawling back for a second small square, and then a third.  Than suddenly you realize that when people tell you it's a "rich dessert" it simply means its better in small consistent increments. :-)

No, but in all seriousness it's delicious and great for the holiday baking season! You'll just have to taste it yourself!
 ^^^and then there was one...^^^

18 graham crackers-crushed (I actually by the already crushed box of crackers in the baking isle)
4 T sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter-melted
***make and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Than bake at 350 degrees for 17 minutes. Cool completely!

filling and topping:
3 T cornstarch
2 T milk
***mix cornstarch and milk in bowl and set aside

2 (14oz)  cans sweetened condensed milk
4 T unsalted butter
2 T karo syrup
8 oz. milk chocolate chips
1 tsp. vegetable shortening
***bring condensed milk, butter and syrup to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly to avoid burning. Whisk in the milk and cornstarch mixture until thick. Pour over cooked and cooled crust. Bake at 350 for 8 minutes (until the top starts to bubble). Refrigerate for about 2 hrs.
       Microwave butter and shortening and spread over cooled filling. Refrigerate for another 45 minutes. Cut into small squares and serve immediately after cooling (the condensed milk seems to drain a bit, so it's better to serve immediately).

substitution: if you don't want it to be as rich you can substitute the chocolate topping with whipping cream and then drizzle about 4 oz. of melted chocolate over the top of the cream. Just sayin' :-).

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Saturday, November 29, 2014

No One Fights Alone...

My dear friend Jamie's sister was just diagnosed with non hodgkin lymphoma cancer. She is a mother of three little ones, and now has to undergo chemotherapy. I cannot imagine being told news like this, especially when I had three little children to look after. Jentrie is a fighter and will surely get through this...thankfully she has a lot of support from family and friends. However, with that comes a lot of  medical bills. If you would like to donate simply click HERE.

I know that any amount makes a huge difference... hopefully with the help of everyone we can make this journey a little less difficult.

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Friday, November 21, 2014

Did someone say Christmas Stovetop Potpourri?

Yes indeed it's that time of year...when the leaves have fallen, the air is crisp and you can almost taste the smell of homemade potpourri... Okay, wait rewind. Growing up my mom LOVED anything that made her house smell good. From candles, and incense to baking and cooking...if it smelt good it was a no brainer. So I guess I have inherited this way of thinking. I can always tell if something is off in my home just by the way it smells haha.

So anyways, my mom use to make this homemade potpourri and burn it over and over until the oranges barely had any more color to them. It's such a beautiful scent and one that always helps make it feel like the holidays. It's amazing to me how smells can bring back a flood of memories...who knows maybe that's why I love this stuff so much.
1/2 cup cranberries
1 bay leaf
1 orange
1 green lemon (they have a stronger lemon scent then yellow)
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp pumpkin spice
2 TBS cloves (or more if you'd prefer)
2 1/2 cups water

put over stove top and simmer on the lowest level until all water has evaporated. Refill and re-simmer (not sure that's even a word but it totally works here so there ya have it...)

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

New Orleans Part Dos

Remember when I posted about our trip to Alabama and New Orleans ?! Well, I'm happy to say that I am FINALLY getting around to posting the last bit of our stay. New Orleans, with its ornate architecture and colorful little shops and art galleries, was like nothing I'd ever seen. 

I wish I could give you a big, long list of things to see and places to eat. However, to be honest we didn't eat at any fancy spots or go do anything out of this world spectacular. Having kids makes traveling a bit different.  We did a lot of exploring, walking, and just being together. 

I will say that the market downtown is awesome and so is the children's museum! It was out of this world. My little four year old actually asked me if we could live there to which I replied, "well where would we sleep and shower?" She then said "Oh, we can just pretend."

Sounds good to me! :-)

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

The merriest of merry go rounds

Hey friends! I decided to take a little bit of an unintentional hiatus from this here bloggy. It seems that time just literally flies cliche, but so true! We have been going on small business trips with my husband; which sort of messes with my routine. Right when we get into the groove of things we pick up and tag along once again! I figured I might as well enjoy this time of our lives when we can be more spontaneous, with no school or practices or whatever else holding us back.

Anyways, one of the trips we joined my husband on was out to Northern California. My sister lives there so I figured it was a perfect excuse to go visit her and the cousins! It was far too short and I wish so bad she lived closer...but we had so much fun exploring her neck of the woods.

One day we went up to Berkley to  Tilden park where there's the most beautiful antique merry go round; one of the fewest left in the United States! It was built back in 1911. The craftsmanship is what amazed me...the detail in the paintings, carvings and vibrant colors! I mean the horses had tails made with real horse hair for crying out loud! Anyways it was so fun and the kids loved it so if you're ever in this area you should make the trek to this place!
  ^^^and this photo I just couldn't help but post. We got to dress up once again for their church trunk or treat...any excuse to get extra candy is a good excuse, right?! Luckily, I was able to be a cat alongside my sister who was the best cat lady I ever did see! 
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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Halloween Swig Cookies

What better way to celebrate the upcoming festivities of Halloween than with a copycat recipe of the infamous swig sugar cookies?! Except, for this recipe, I made a few adjustments. Instead of vanilla frosting I made chocolate frosting; and instead of white dough I made orange dough because well ya' know that's how I ro' (I try people, I try).

Caution: These cookies are extremely addicting and as a matter of fact we gave them ALL away (well, okay not ALL but MOST) because the husband is on a "clean eating kick". Totally kills all the fun. 

***recipe is at the bottom of the post!

  • Cookie Dough:

  • 1 Cup Butter, softened
  • ¾ C Vegetable Oil
  • 1¼ C Sugar (plus ¼ cup reserved)
  • ¾ C Powdered Sugar
  • 2 T Water
  • 2 Eggs
  • ½ t Baking Soda
  • ½ t Cream of Tarter
  • 1 t Salt
  • 5½ C Flour
  • 8-10 drops orange food dye

  • Frosting:
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ¾ C Sour Cream
  • 5 Cups powdered Sugar
  • 1 t salt
  • ¼ C Milk
  • 1/2 C cocoa powder
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cream of tarter, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter, vegetable oil, sugar (1¼ C), powdered sugar, and water. Add in eggs and food dye.
  3. Slowly add in flour mixture until combined. Roll the dough into golf sized balls and place onto a non stick cookie sheet.
  4. To give the cookies their signature rough edge, dip the bottom of a glass into the reserved ¼ cup sugar and press onto the cookie ball to flatten the cookie. You still want the cookie to be thicker so don’t press them to thin.
  5. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the bottom is lightly brown. The cookies stay soft so do not over bake.
  6. To make the frosting: Cream together butter, sour cream, and salt. Add the powdered sugar and cocoa. Add in the milk to the desired consistency. Spread over cooled cookies and store in an airtight container.

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