Monday, December 26, 2016

German Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is now my top favorite cookie. They're technically called Coconut Pecan cookies, but the frosting is the same for German Chocolate cake, so I've renamed them. They also could go by the alias "crack cookies"-sinfully delicious. If you enjoy baking cookies, this one is a MUST on your list. :)

Christmas Menu 2016

I scaled down my holiday dinner this year--just a little bit since it was just the hubby and I. However, everything on this list (except for the mashed potatoes and ham gravy) was a new experience for me. I finally found a recipe for brussel sprouts that tastes amazing--of course bacon makes everything taste better; honey mustard ham glaze; and a to-die-for German Chocolate Cake. It was a very yummy Christmas.

Red mashed potatoes with ham gravy (with cornstarch)
--I used milk and ranch dressing, salt and pepper for the potatoes

I actually put this in a 13x9 pan. 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Holiday Almond Tassies Recipe

Tassie, means small cup. This particularly recipe is an old Dutch recipe. I loved it because I love almond flavored anything. One caveat-I think it could have used more orange juice for a bit more kick/contrast. Although the cream cheese crust and filling were a good combo, it was almost too much work for this busy girl. Very glad that I own silicon mini muffin tins and had a good fat handle for creating the cups. 

Pecan Meltaways Recipe

I call these "Pecan Melt-in-your-Mouth" cookies. This is part of Taste of Home's "Countdown to Christmas Cookie" set and they are ah-mazing. One thing I've learned about cookies dipped in powdered sugar--it's imperative that you let them cool to room temperature. Also, these cookies don't taste quite right without the powdered sugar. They go from ehh' to wow! Super easy recipe, only makes a couple dozen, but nice for our small family.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Cranberry Cookies with Browned Butter Glaze Recipe

The picture does not do this recipe justice! These are probably the best cookies I have ever eaten. It was also my first time making browned butter glaze. I'm going to tuck this recipe away and use the glaze for cinnamon rolls. If you like to bake--you HAVE to make these. Your friends and family will love you (even more), should you decide to share. :)

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Chocolate Mexican Wedding Cakes (Christmas Cookie Countdown)

Cinnamon and powdered sugar make this an exceptionally delightful cookie. I am adding this one to my list of favorites. :)

Toffee Almond Sandies (Christmas Cookie Countdown)

I'm a little behind on my Christmas cookie countdown because I tried the Betty Crocker version the first 2 days, but was sadly disappointed that it was mostly pre-packaged cookie mix recipes. Now I'm back on the Taste Of Home Cookie Countdown in which I get 1 cookie/day from Black Friday until December 25th. Every year I challenge myself to make each and every one of them for the past 8 years but have only been successful once. This is a very busy year so I'm picking the ones that don't require many steps. This recipe was a great choice for cookie #1. I didn't have chocolate covered heath crumbles, just toffee bits, so I added mini chocolate chips. These were hard to share. :)

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving Menu 2016

Thanksgiving morning started with welcoming 2 rescue donkeys to our 4 legged family. Then our meal was planned and enjoyed by the members of Taste of Home; my selections were based on the requests of the boys. I really like their recipe box and shopping list feature. It makes it easy to get what you need from the grocery store and pull up all the recipes at once. The only exception were the 2 pies from my "Baking at High Altitude" cookbook, Noble Pig's Dill Pickle Dip and Rachael Ray's White Cheddar Mac and Cheese. As have many in the past, this was a truly blessed year.

Cranberry Pie (from Baking at High Altitude)

Blueberry Pie (from Baking at High Altitude)

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Best Tater Tot Casserole

Thanksgiving week and I like to try to make meals on the days leading up to Thursday that don't taste anything like our holiday feast. Things like beef and fish are usually on the menu. Yesterday I was craving Tater Tot Casserole and found Carole's blog--it claimed to be the best tater tot casserole and she was right. I ended up using low fat yogurt, frozen mixed vegetables, and McCormick Steak seasoning in the hamburger. I didn't salt the top of the tater tots since there was already plenty of savory goodness mixed in. The boys agreed, it was one of the best they'd ever had. :)

Monday, November 21, 2016

One Pan Sour Cream Chicken Enchilada Skillet

I often cook a whole chicken in the crockpot and give the dogs the broth (over several days). However, it's sometimes a challenge to use up the chicken meat and I have plenty stored up for winter stews. So, I simply typed "chicken" in the Pinterest search bar and found this awesome recipe. It's the herbs and spices that make this one such a delight. I didn't have green chiles or black olives, but I did have Rotel and since we don't eat black olives anyway, it was perfect. I also had 3 large flour tortillas that I cut up (instead of corn) and cooked some rice to add. The boys added fiesta cheese and Frank's Hot sauce to their bowls and gave it 2 thumbs up. :)

Giant Molasses Cookies

On Black Friday, I'll start getting 1 cookie recipe per day as has been my tradition for the past 7 years. I usually do Taste of Home, but this year I opted to use Betty Crocker's option via daily emails. But, the cookie jar is empty and I'm anxious to try fun new recipes. I happened to see this series of fall cookies in one of my Taste of Home emails last week so I decided to get started a little early. I love that this recipe has pecans and even in high altitude they turned out perfect!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Copycat Chick-fil-a Chicken Strips

So I guess the secret ingredients to Chick-fil-a are pickle juice and powdered sugar. The hubby wanted chicken fingers last night so I looked to Pinterest for ideas and came across this recipe. I didn't have time to soak them for 4 hours in the juice, but I let them sit and didn't pat them dry before dunking in the milk and flour. I also didn't fry them in oil but rather baked them for about 35-40 minutes. The flavor was amazing and the hubby couldn't stop eating them. This one is going in my recipe box as a keeper. :)

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Saffron Rice

So the hubby used to be a sous chef in his younger years and had a craving for Saffron rice. So, naturally he brought home the ingredients and presented them to me. I was actually really excited because I had never made it at home but had often enjoyed it in restaurants. This recipe was perfect. So delicious. He can bring me home ingredients like that anytime. :)

Million Dollar Pound Cake

Last weekend I had the opportunity to be part of a fondue party. I had so much fun picking out some yummy dippers for the cheese and chocolate including bacon wrapped avocado, stuffed mushrooms, and this one. I've never liked the grocery store's version of pound cake so I decided to make my own. [And, my guests, knowing how much I love to bake, were expecting it. haha] Wowsa! This cake was amazing! I actually baked it in 2 loaf pans and cut it up into cubes to make it easier for dipping; it also did well in high altitude (6500ft). We had both white chocolate and dark, and yes, it was as good as you can imagine. No more store bought cake for me. :)

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Salted Caramel Chocolate Dump Cake

This one was just for fun as a treat for my boys. It was just as decadent as it sounds. The only complaint was having to chop a whole bag of caramels (1.5 cups=1 bag Kraft caramels). I used the kitchen scissors to quarter them but it ended up being worth it in the end. I would also recommend that you make this the night before or in the morning for an evening serving. They definitely tasted so much better when everything was cooled off and blended. Be prepared for a pan full of ooey gooey goodness. :)

Rustic Pear and Apple Galette

We spent our anniversary in the charming little old mountain mining town of Ouray, CO last weekend. All over town there were 130 year old apple and pear trees ripe for the picking so we brought some home. I harvested the seeds and decided what would be more perfect than a rustic pear and apple galette! In truth, it's the first galette I've ever made and am already in love. They are so easy to make and have that country, pioneer beauty. Definitely right up my alley--I can always make things taste's the pretty part that's a challenge. I'm looking forward to growing these heirloom plants on our property and have someone else enjoy them in another 130 years. :)

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Butterscotch-Toffee Cheesecake Bars

Staying with the butterscotch theme, I added the hubby's 2nd favorite--Heath! Taste of Home posted this on Facebook the other day and I knew I had to make it. It was almost too easy to fix AND eat. ;)  By the way, my secret to anything that requires cream cheese is to let it get to room temperature--in this case, I pulled it out the night before and prepared it this morning so that I could chill it in plenty of time before lunch. Be prepared--you will have to fight yourself (almost physically) to stop eating them :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Duncan Hines Chewy Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

I bought an industrial size box of Duncan Hines brownies for "emergencies". I noticed that on the back of the box there were recipes for other yummy treats, so I tried the Chewy Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies. I liked the oatmeal and chocolate chips, but next time I think walnuts will make these cookies perfect. They are a little rich, but if you remember that they are really brownies shaped like cookies it helps. Maybe I can add the ingredients and make bars instead of cookies next time--oatmeal brownies :) Super easy and worth making for your chocolate lovers :)

Black Bean 'n' Pumpkin Chili

I found this recipe in an email recently and decided I "had" to make it. Believe it or not, I've never used fresh pumpkin, but the decision was pretty easy at the store....1 14oz can of organic pumpkin was 4.99 and 2 pumpkin pie size pumpkins were 2 for $ brainer. I couldn't believe how much edible pumpkin these 2 produced as well as the happy pigs that loved the skins. I wanted to use dry black beans, but ran out of time, so I did use canned beans. We still have racks of tomatoes that are ripening in the sun room, so they worked great. Every 2 weeks, I make chicken broth for the dogs and so I added the shredded chicken from the last batch. The hubby was extremely impressed with the chili and has decided that pie pumpkins and/or Hubbard squash will be planted in the garden next year. I'm really excited about the new recipe opportunities that are now open, similar to our first crack at butternut last year :)

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Butterscotch Rice Krispie Treats

So I recently found out (after 7 years) that my hubby loves butterscotch. So I used that as a good excuse to peruse Pinterest--butterscotch gold mine! Excited to explore my many options. This one seemed the easiest, especially when time was short last night. I actually read the recipe wrong and put peanut butter in both the butterscotch mix and the rice krispie part---happy accident! I also ended up adding 1/3 cup of butter to the rice krispies because it seemed a little dry with just 1/4. Then I put it in the freezer while I made dinner and wa-la! Ready to go in less than an hour. These are probably the 2nd best rice krispie treats I've ever had, second to a Reese's version I made a while back.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Soft and Chewy Butterscotch Pudding Cookies

Do you ever eat something so scrumptious that you almost embarrass yourself with how much pleasure envelops after tasting it? Well, that's what happened when I took a bite of these cookies. Of course anytime you combine butterscotch pudding and butterscotch chips, you can't go wrong. When it comes to pudding and chips, I never buy generic...ok, I did buy off brand once, and I didn't like the quality, so no more cutting corners. The bonus is that it's probably even easier to make than chocolate chip cookies. :)

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Dr Pepper Ribs (Slow Cooker)

I had seen recipes for Dr. Pepper ribs and decided today was the day to cross it off my bucket list. So I thawed out some pork ribs, threw them in the crockpot and "wa-la", 6 hours later (on high), perfection! I (accidentally) omitted the brown suger, but in all honesty, don't think it needed it. What a wonderful 5 ingredient dish. Definitely one of my favorite (easy) crockpot meats. It would be a great idea for a party (such as Super Bowl.....).

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Mushroom Meatloaf with Mushroom Gravy

So tonight was all about comfort food. When given the choice today between steak and meatloaf, I about fell over when the teenager said "Meatloaf!". He's not a big fan of sweet sauces, so he was pretty excited to learn that this was a gravy meatloaf. The hubby has recently informed me that when it comes to meatloaf and beef stew, he prefers gravy vs tomato. This recipe is now going into my go-to for meatloaf. You will definitely wow your family or guests if you serve this one :)

Broccoli Cheese Casserole

Tonight was all about comfort foods. I've been craving broccoli and cheese casserole, so I found this recipe. The boys prefer it with rice, but I enjoyed the low(er) carb option. It worked perfect to cook it in the oven with the meatloaf recipe at 350 degrees. Next time I will find a recipe with rice to make the rest of the family happy.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Jalapeno Poppers (with Panko)

The hubby's garden is gi-normous this year. He planted jalapeno peppers for the first time and this Kansas, weak-tongued girl has never really worked with fresh ones. [I usually buy them already sliced and in a jar.]
Last weekend we hosted a bbq and I decided to mass distribute them in the form of poppers. I didn't realize they would lose most of their bite just by taking out the seeds and even more so when baking. It turns out that this is one of the best appetizers I've had the privilege to make. Needless to say, they didn't last long :)

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Blueberry Banana Bread with Cinnamon Crunch Topping

Today I was cleaning out the freezer and fridge and discovered I had bananas and blueberries that needed to be used up. So, thanks again to Google, I found this delightful recipe from Alaska. I ended up doubling the recipe due to the amount of bananas and blueberries I had on-hand. Such a delicious Saturday morning treat to go with my tea. :)

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Easy Refrigerator Dill Pickles

We had a few Armenian cucumbers from our garden and an English cucumber from the store that needed to be addressed. I recently saw an episode of "Farmhouse Rules" on Food Network in which Nancy Fuller made No-canning refrigerator pickles. This appealed to me a lot especially since we've been so busy this season. Although I didn't use her recipe, Grandma Ma's French Pickles, I want to site her for the inspiration. Now I have to wait a week to see if it was worth the convenience.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Shortbread Toffee Cookie Bars

Yep, this just happened. Heath crumbles=the hubby's favorite. Shortbread=my favorite. Chocolate=our favorite. I had to almost literally pull myself away after 3 bites. I definitely should have waited until we had guests because I think I'm going to slide a little bit off the wagon this week. ;)  It was incredibly easy to make (too easy if you ask me, haha). If you get the chance and you love heath as much as we do, treat yourself. <3

Sunday, September 4, 2016

One Pot-Stove-Top Chicken and Rice

We spoil our animals and a prime example is our dogs. I have been making them up chicken or beef broth jars weekly. I put a whole chicken, or roast or whatever in a crockpot and fill it full of water and a few seasonings. Then put the broth in pint size mason jars and each dog gets a half a pint at breakfast and dinner which, one crockpot lasts about a week. Then I have shredded chicken or beef depending on the week. In another blog, I have a recipe for chicken salad, made especially good with the armenian cucumbers from our garden which has now become a staple in our fridge. This past week, I found the following recipe which took almost no effort to make because I used (already cooked) shredded chicken rather than the thighs; I also added onions and mushrooms. If you like looking at recipes, Noble Pig is a favorite.

The Best One Pot Stove Top Chicken and Rice its so easy to make too

Fluffy Key Lime Pie

I referenced this recipe in the "real" key lime pie blog. It's an easy no-bake alternative that can be quite a bit healthier. I think if people don't think of it as key lime, rather, just lime, it's a fresh, delicious pie for summer.

Key Lime Pie with Gingersnap Crust

I've been with the hubby for 7 years now and had never made him Key Lime Pie, even though it's his favorite. I had also never eaten Key Lime Pie in my 39 years of life. I made a similar (easier/healthier) version a couple of weeks ago, but he stated it was "good" but not the same. So, I took to google and discovered that gingersnap cookies are a popular crust for this pie--another favorite of his. I quite enjoyed this recipe, but again, he wasn't a fan of the lime zest (noted for next time). The link is for "Santa Cruz Organic" and pushes their lime juice, but I just bought the key lime juice off the shelf at the store. I think it made the pie a little sour so maybe I won't use quite so much next time. Overall, I would use this recipe again, omitting the lime peel. Also didn't use the whipped cream topping. It was just fine without it. Probably would go great with lime sherbet. :)

7 Layer Dip

It's Labor Day weekend and we hosted a BBQ yesterday. It's always really great when friends make the trek out to our farm. I love planning the menu and I rarely make the same thing twice. Believe it or not, I've never made 7 Layer Dip, even though I (now) know it's super easy. I loosely used the following recipe (more based on the fabulous picture), however, what I found most helpful were the reviews. [Always read the reviews in a recipe because by the time you try it, other people have shown you what works and doesn't work about it as well as other substitutions/tricks.] Based on the comments, I added the taco seasoning to the sour cream rather than the refried beans. I  also added salsa to the beans to make them more pliable. I also omitted the lettuce as a personal choice, did not add black olives, or tomatoes and put green onions on top. I made fresh guacamole and salsa and refrigerated for 3-4 hours. By the end of the night, there was nothing left :)

Watermelon Feta Salad

What a busy week. Finally have time to post all the fun recipes I tried since my last post.

Starting with Watermelon Feta Salad. I'm not afraid to try new recipes and think this one would have been really good if the watermelon had been ripe enough. I was so disappointed when I brought it home and found it to be pink rather than red and not very sweet. This recipe relies on the sweetness of the watermelon to compliment the rest of the ingredients. Also, when it says serve immediately, use that as gospel, otherwise it will turn into a watery (unattractive) mess even a few hours later.
Even with the watermelon not being perfectly ripe and being served 4 hours later, I don't think my boys will get used to the idea of mint and feta with watermelon. In any case, it was a fun one to try.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Sour Cream Zucchini Brownies

So this just happened last night and was every bit as delicious as I expected. The recipe is straightforward and did well in high altitude. I did end up having to cook it for 1 hour and probably could have gone longer. Please make this for your family if you get the chance :)