Sunday, November 23, 2014

Apple Pie Oatmeal

Do you ever go to bed dreaming about food?  I do.  In fact most of my cravings come at night while watching T.V. with those commercials with the most appetizing foods.  Last night's craving came courtesy of my Words With Friends playing. 

You know how you have to watch those advertisements in between plays?  Most of the time they are annoying, and I don't pay attention.  However, one did catch my eye.  I believe it was a commercial for Ziploc bags and containers.  It featured oatmeal. 

Seeing how much I love oatmeal, I sat right up in bed and watched the whole 30 seconds worth.  Basically it was oatmeal with different toppings that can all be stored in Ziploc. 

Let me back up a bit.  I said I love oatmeal.  I mean I have a true love affair with it.  Whenever we travel, most hotel breakfast buffets include oatmeal.  Mainly because it can be made in vast quantities and disguises itself as the healthy option among all the pastries.  It's always on my plate, or actually in my bowl, for breakfast when we travel.  I also enjoy it weekly at home.

The best oatmeal I ever had was at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City.  I joked with my husband that it was probably generic oatmeal that cost pennies, but it was so darn good.  Of course the buffet also offered toppings galore to adorn the piping bowl of goodness.  Every morning I changed it up.  Sometimes I would use just nuts while other mornings I added raisins and cinnamon.

OK, now that I have discussed my love for oatmeal, lets get to the recipe.  Last night I saw an oatmeal topped with some sort of baked apples.  Well this morning I woke up wanting it for breakfast.  So here is my version of apple pie oatmeal inspired by Ziploc.

recipe

1 c. prepared oatmeal, from scratch or the little microwave packets
1 small apple, peeled and diced
1 pat of butter, roughly a teaspoon
1 tsp. brown sugar
pinch of apple pie spice or cinnamon

In a small skillet over a medium heat cook the diced apples in a dry pan.  Stirring occasionally for about 3 to 4 minutes.  This just softens them a bit. The apples will still have a bit of texture to them, but that's how I like them.  If you want yours softer just cook them longer.

Meantime prepare your oatmeal and set aside.

After the apples have softened a bit, add the butter, brown sugar, and apple pie spice.  Cook for additional minute stirring to coat.

Top the oatmeal with the apple pie filling mixture.  Enjoy!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Snovember To Remember!


Oh boy it's been a tough couple of days.  Everything started off great as can be this week.  We celebrated Brandon's 7th birthday on Sunday with family.  Monday was a normal day, and then Monday night Brandon made a birthday wish.....he wanted a snow day for Tuesday.

Well, we got it and then some.  I think he wished a little too hard.  In Hamburg we had a record snowfall of 84.5 inches (7 ft.) in approximately 48 hours.  Other surrounding areas received the same treatment from Mother Nature.

The problem with all the snowfall is first it's very heavy and regular plows can't push it.  Secondly, there is no place to put it.  City areas are actually trucking it to old parking lots.  Cars have been abandoned for their driver's safety.  The National Guard has been called in to help the efforts. 

This isn't even the biggest problem.  We are set to have the temperatures warm up this weekend.  Now the snow will melt, compact, become even heavier.  This makes for the collapse of roofs and major flooding.  If the storm drains can't handle the melting, water will back up into homes.  Ugh! 

With all this being said, I have to say we live in a great community.  Everyone pitches in to help each other.  Strangers offer food, shelter, clothing, to each other. Checking on neighbors and digging each other out. It really is remarkable! I am so glad to have moved home :)

For our household, Jay has had a few impromptu days off from work, but he has been working tirelessly here clearing snow.  The boys have had four days off of school, and some playtime with neighbors.  I have been able to clear out the freezer and rotate my food supply.  Even though I ran out of bread two days ago, and I am on my last half gallon of almond milk, we are just fine.

Last night after Jay already cleared about 4 ft the day before


I am so thankful for all the people in our community who are helping us.  From the police, to the plow drivers, to the workers who are at Tim Horton's supplying coffee for the first responders.... THANK YOU!

For all my fellow Buffalo peeps, hang in there.  For all my out of town friends, keep us in your thoughts.  We still have a bit to go for normalcy, oh and Thanksgiving is around the corner.  (I don't want to even think of the grocery store madness this week)

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Quick Caramel Dessert Sauce

Tomorrow we our going over to my in-laws to spend the afternoon.  I am bringing an apple cake, but wanted a sauce to pour over the top.  Caramel sauce goes perfect with apple anything, but I didn't have heavy cream in the house.  I also did not want to make a trip to the store, seeing it is so cold out.

I rummaged the pantry and found a can of sweetened condensed milk.  OK, I have plan.  Condensed milk, vanilla, brown sugar, cinnamon equals yummy dessert sauce.


recipe

1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

In a sauce pot over medium heat, simmer sweetened milk with brown sugar, whisking for about five minutes.  Add vanilla and cinnamon, and continue to whisk for another five minutes.  The sauce will thicken slightly but be very pourable. The sauce is very light in color, but the longer you cook it the thicker and darker it will get.  I liked mine a nice blonde shade ;)

 Serve immediately over ice cream, cake, pie, a flip flop.  Well not really of flip flop, but you get my point!

Store in the fridge for up to 3 weeks. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Pin Cushion Teacups

I am finishing a few items for my last craft shows of the fall season.  One of my latest projects is pin cushion teacups. 

My mom has a huge collection of teacups she no longer wants.  She was going to just sell them, but I persuaded her to let me have them and put a crafty spin on it.  After browsing Pinterest, I found this really cute idea to make them into pin cushions.

Using fabric remnants, batting, and a little tacky glue, VIOLA!  These are perfect for anyone who sews, or just a cute little decoration tucked into a nook.

Supplies

Tacky glue
needle and thread
craft batting
scrap fabric

  • Simply cute a circle of fabric twice the circumference of the teacup. 
  • Run a basting stitch along the outside of the circle and gather slowly.
  • Fill the gathered material with batting until smooth and firm.
  • Stitch the fabric circle closed and apply a little glue to the inside of the teacup.
  • Nestle the fabric puff into the teacup.
 
 
I did not glue the cup to the saucer, but you could if you wanted it all in once piece.  I would use a ceramic or glass glue for that.
 
The saucer also makes a great place to place bobbins, thimbles, or any other small notion while working on a project!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups

This week Brandon is star of the week at school.  There are a lot of November birthdays in his class, so he gets to celebrate his a bit early in the month.  He loves this idea, basically because it extends his celebration to almost three weeks.

Brandon is having an Olaf party this year.  So for his treat at school he chose chocolate chip cookie cups with Frozen decorations.  I was able to find Frozen cupcake rings and snowflake candies on Amazon, yay!  Here's how they turned out.


The cookie cups are easy to do and are a fun alternative to a cupcake. Follow the easy steps below, and impress your friends and family this holiday season.

  • Start with your favorite cookie dough recipe (or a tub of store bought dough, I won't tell)
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly spray a muffin pan with cooking spray
  • Press about 2 tablespoons of dough into the muffin cup, pressing on the bottom and up the sides.  Be sure to hollow out the middle a bit to create a well.
  • Bake for 15 minutes and then take a spoon and knock down the center of the cup to re-create the well.  The bottom naturally puffs up during baking.
  • Bake for additional 7 to 9 minutes or until golden brown and the cups no longer look soft in the middle
  • Allow to cool in the pan for about 15 minutes, this allows the cup to cool and hold its shape
  • Using a sharp knife, carefully lift the cup out and allow to finish cooling on a rack
  • Dollop favorite butter cream recipe in the center of each cookie cup
To make it look extra fancy, pipe the frosting into the cup using a star tip and a pastry bag.  If you don't have a pastry bag, simply using a food storage bag and snip off the end, which makes a perfect hole replicating the round pastry tip.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Chicken Enchiladas


Like most bloggers, I have an obscene amount of food, craft, and other useless pictures taking over my camera.  Never knowing what I am going to blog about, I snap random pictures of various things.  Some pictures and ideas never see the light of day, while others manage to make their way to My Little Blogspot.

Today's lucky winner is chicken enchiladas.  I make this so often. I also make a double batch and always throw one into the freezer.  Then on a busy night or when I just forgot about dinner, I pop it in the oven.

This recipe is so easy and will be a go to favorite.  This recipe yields sixteen good size enchiladas, I usually make eight for dinner and then freeze eight.

ingredients (16 enchiladas)

16 oz. cooked shredded chicken breast
16 flour tortilla shells, 8 inch
16 oz. shredded taco cheese
1 large can enchilada sauce, I use Chi Chi's about 26 oz.

1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. adobo chili powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

*If you don't have these spices, you can use a taco seasoning packet, I prefer low sodium *

  1. In a large bowl, combine shredded chicken with seasonings and about 6 oz. of cheese. Set aside.
  2. Pour about 1/2 c. or so of enchilada sauce onto a plate.
  3. In a baking dish (I use disposable lasagna pans for freezing), pour about 1/4 c. of sauce in the bottom of the dish.
  4. Now we are going to make the assembly line.  Lay out the tortillas, plate of enchilada sauce, chicken, and baking dish...in that order.
  5. Take a tortilla and turn it in the sauce to coat both sides. 
  6. Take a few tablespoons of chicken and lay it in the middle of the shell. Fold the side of the tortilla in to meet the middle, and then roll the tortilla up to form a log. 
  7. Lay seem side down in prepared baking dish.
  8. Repeat with the remaining shells and chicken.
You will need to refill the plate with sauce as you go, but leave enough to coat the top of the enchiladas in the baking dish.  Top the finished enchiladas evenly with remaining cheese.


At this point you can wrap with foil and freeze, or bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

When cooking from frozen, allow to bake for about an hour, covered.  Remove the foil the last 20 minutes to brown the cheese.


I serve with salad and rice.  The enchiladas freeze nicely for about four months!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

New & Improved Easy Garlic Knots

Sometimes you need to improve on an old classic.  That's what I did a few weeks ago with my garlic knot recipe.  The original was just fine, but after a few years of making them, I thought.....it could be better.

The tweaks to the recipe were very simple.  I just allowed the dough to rise a second time and it produced a softer and better texture garlic knot.  I also used a little extra garlic butter when brushing them out of the oven, and that never hurt nobody ;)

recipe for the dough

1 c. warm water
2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
1 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
2 1/2 to 3 c. all purpose flour

Simply dissolve the yeast in warm water with honey.  Set aside and allow the yeast to bloom (or wake up a bit) and get foamy.  In a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, pour yeast mixture in with olive oil.  Add the flour, about 2 1/2 cups to start, and begin to knead on low (speed 1 or 2).  Add salt and continue to kneed for about 8 to 10 minutes.  If the dough climbs, up the dough hook, add more flour a few tablespoons at a time.  The dough should pull away from the bowl and be soft and smooth, not sticky.

Put the dough into a greased bowl, cover with a towel, and allow to rise for 2 to 3 hours. 

On a floured surface cut the dough into fourths.  Working with one fourth at a time, roll into a rectangle about 12 inches by 5 inches.  Cut the rectangle into 5 or 6 pieces lengthwise. 

Roll each strip into a little flour to remove tackiness, and tie into a knot.  Place onto greased baking sheet.

Repeat with remaining dough.  Cover with a towel and allow to double in size, about an hour.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Spray the tops of the knots with cooking spray.  If you want to add cheese, do it now.  Bake for 17 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown.



While the knots are baking, melt a stick of butter with 1 tbsp. minced garlic and 1/2 tsp. parsley.  As soon as the knots come out of the brush them liberally with melted butter mixture.  Serve immediately by themselves or with marinara!