Thursday, April 28, 2011

carrot cake sandwich cookies and helpful tip

so i got some good looking carrots from my bountiful basket last week and thought carrot cake cookies would be ideal for easter brunch.. for my helpful tip.. when grating your carrots do it over a plastic bag in your sink and not directly into the sink.. i did it into the sink clogged up my garbage disposal didn't know it kept running it because water would not go down burned up the motor and caused the thing to leak all over my kitchen.. so pete at 7:00 at night and run to lowe's and get a new disposal and install it so i could finish cooking and cleaning the kitchen.. ugg.. but despite or in spite of all that the cookies turned out wonderful.. now again i was inspired by this recipe here but again didn't follow the directions.. which is why my baked goods usually turn out un-edible but this time it worked..

carrot cake sandwich cookies

prep time: 20 minutes
cooking time: 12-15 minutes (each batch)
servings: approx. 25 sandwiches (I made mine bigger and got about about 12 but smaller would have been better)

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ginger
1 1/2 cups finely grated carrots (about 3 large carrots)
1/2 cup golden raisins
cream cheese frosting (recipe here)

preheat oven to 350 degrees (f).  line 2 baking sheets with baking mats, parchment paper or foil and set aside.  with your mixer combine sugars and butter, beat until light and fluffy.  add eggs and vanilla and beat until well combined.  in large bowl sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and spices. stir to combine.. gradually add flour to the butter mixture.. mix on low speed until just blended.. add carrots and raisins.. chill dough in fridge until firm for about an hour or more. using a 1/2 ounce ice scream scoop (i didn't this part and wish i had) scoop dough onto prepared baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between each cookie.. transfer to oven and bake until browned and crisp.. rotating pan 1/2 way through.. about 12-15 minutes..transfer to a wire rack and let cool.. repeat baking process until remaining dough is gone.  once cooled completely spread about 2 tsp. of cream cheese filling onto a cookie then sandwich together with a second cookie.. repeat with remaining cookies.

overnight french toast aka bread pudding

i saw this recipe one day awhile ago and knew i had to make it for easter.. i saw it on this wonderful blog here.. now i didn't follow the directions exactly but mine came out scrumptious!! the recipe on the other blog calls it overnight french toast which is what i called it on easter and my dad whose favorite all time dessert is bread pudding said not only is it not french toast it's bread pudding.. and it's amazing bread pudding..

overnight french toast aka bread pudding

prep time: 20 minutes
cooking time: 45 minutes
servings: approx. 24

10 croissants, ripped into small pieces
1/2 cup butter, melted
8 beaten eggs
2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups half-half
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 tsps. cinnamon


1 stick of unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup dark karo syrup

melt butter and pour into a 9x13 casserole dish.  put ripped up croissant pieces into buttered casserole dish.. in a large bowl add milk, half and half, beaten eggs, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon.. mix well.. pour mixture over the croissant pieces.. gently press down croissant pieces so the milk and egg mixture is absorbed.. cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

when you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees (f).  to prepare topping, mix melted butter, brown sugar and karo syrup in a small bowl.. pour over top of croissants.. bake uncovered for 45 minutes.. serve immediately.. this was so good it left a few people speechless!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

heavenly lemon bars

ok usually my motto is when it comes to dessert if it's not chocolate it's not worth eating.. and that motto has been good to me thus far.. but after i made these lemon bars oohhhhhh eeeeemmmmmmmmm geeeeee. seriously this is what i have been missing out on? ohh lordy.. the crust was so buttery and rich.. the filling was so tart and tangy and creamy.. simply put these babies rocked!! now only if i can figure out how to add chocolate to these suckers they would be sublime.. i got this recipe from here.. and stuck to it pretty closely but you will see if you compare not exact.. i know i know it's a problem i have.. i would say i am working on it and promise to change but we all know that's not going to happen.. i am what i am.. to quote my favorite spinach loving muscley man..

heavenly lemon bars

prep time: 10 minutes
cooking time: 45 total minutes
servings: approx. 20

for crust

3/4 lbs. unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp. salt

for filling

6 extra large eggs, at room temperature
3 cups sugar
1 tblsp. grated lemon zest
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup flour
powdered sugar for dusting

preheat oven to 350 degrees (f).  for crust cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.. in a separate bowl combine flour and salt until incorporated.. add flour slowly to butter and sugar mixture and beat on low speed.. line the bottom and two sides of a 9 by 13 baking pan with parchment  paper leaving about a 2 inch over hang on each side.. pat the dough evenly into the prepared pan with your fingers, building up a 1/2 inch edge on all sides.. bake crust for 15-20 minutes, just until very lightly browned.  let cool on a  wire rack.. leave oven on.  for the filling whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and flour.. pour over cooled crust and bake another 30-35 minutes and until the filling is set.. let cool at room temperature.. dust with powdered sugar and cut into 2 by 2 inch squares..

apple bundt cake with cream cheese frosting..

so we are participating in this wonderful co-op.. called Bountiful Baskets.. we don't know what fruits and veggies we will get.. so last week we ended up with tons of carrots, apples and lemons.. thus my choices of what i was going to make for easter this year.. first thing i made was an apple bundt cake using janet's sun flower bundt cake pan.. unfortunately the bottom/top stuck and well it didn't last that afternoon.. so the next day i made it again in a regular bundt cake pan and it stuck slightly.. so it might not be the best cake for a bundt cake pan..  the recipe was inspired here and also here.. but like most of my recipes i couldn't follow either one so i basically took the parts and ingredients i liked from each and made my own..

(1st cake)

apple bundt cake

prep time: 30 minutes
cooking time: 50 minutes
servings: 10


6 peeled, cored and chopped apples (i used brauburn the first one and granny smith the second)
2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tblsp.cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 sticks of melted butter
4 eggs

preheat oven to 350 degrees (f).  in a large bowl combine sugar and apples.. then add dry ingredients and stir well.  in a separate bowl combine melted butter, eggs and vanilla.  beat until incorporated.. combine egg mixture with apples and blend until well combined.  pour until a greased bundt cake pan and bake for 50 minutes or until your cake tester comes our clean.  cool in pan on rack 15 minutes; invert onto rack to cool completely.. then frost with cream cheese frosting..

cream cheese frosting

prep time: 5 minutes


1/2 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
4 oz. (1/2 package) of cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

in a microwave safe bowl cream butter and cream cheese.. then add sugar and vanilla and blend well.. microwave for about 10-12 seconds until smooth.. spoon over top of bundt cake and let drip down the sides..

(apple cake #2)

Hoppy Easter..

this year we ended up having about 43 in total come and it was so much fun.. we had an egg hunt for the little ones and then an adult hunt for the big kids.. the food was amazing.. and the company even better.  jimmy made perogies, biscuits and gravy.. can you say yum!! pete's mom brought polish sausage.. i made scrambled eggs (or rather pete did i was getting dressed), roasted potatoes, tina potatoes, over night french toast aka bread pudding, lemon squares, apple budnt cake with cream cheese frosting and carrot cake cookeis with cream cheese frosting.. a good time was had by all..

Ollie on a mission with those eggs..

Ollie on the hunt for the perfect egg...

Everyone enjoying the amazing weather..

Uh Oh.. Jake taught Ollie how to use a squirt gun..

Stick em up Jake..

Stevie sorting her loot..

Shell: What did you do last night Jake for your 21st Birthday?  Jake: Well umm let me tell you a little story there kid..

Josh and Jess..

Shell and Sam..

Do I look older?

Hey Dad we match!!

Ollie preparing for the paparazzi when he becomes famous..

Lot's of yummy food..

To darn cute!! :)

yummy overnight french toast aka bread pudding..

daisy biscuits and apple cake..

carrot cake cookies..

time to eat!!

is that an angelic or devlish smile?? hmm..

oops you caught me with my mouth full..

Poppi, Uncle Curtis and Bob (yes we call my mom Bob..)

Grandma Barb with AJ..

all smiles!!

Shell and Ollie.. cousins...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

greek lemon chicken skewers with tzatziki

well tina and lo turned us onto this organization called bountiful baskets.. you pre-order your basket by tuesday and pick it up the follwing saturday.. but you basically have no idea what fruits and veggies you will get so last week was our first week and we got tons of lemons.. and baby cucumbers.. so tonights meal was created.. i still have alot of lemons so i will be making lemon bars for Easter..  now i used my basic tride and true tzatziki sauce which can be found here.. i was able to use some greek oregano from my garden.. this dish came out light.. filling and yummy..

greek lemon chicken skewers

prep time: 10 minutes
cooking time: 20 minutes
servings: 6


1 bag of chicken tenders
juice from two lemon
zest from one lemon
chopped greek oregano
lemon salt
1/2 cup of olive oil
wooden skewers
tzatziki sauce
sliced cucumbers
sliced radishes
diced tomatoes
feta cheese
nan bread (heated according to package directions)

combine lemon juice, lemon zest, oregano and olive oil in a plastic zip lock bag.. salt and pepper your chicken and then add it to the bag.. close tight and squish the chicken around in the bag so it gets covered completely.. put in the fridge for about an hour before grilling..soak your skewers in water so they don't flare up on the grill..after about an hour thread your chicken tenders on the wooden skewers discard any remaining marinade.. now it's time to heat your grill to medium high heat and add chicken skewers to your grill.. turning about 8-10 minutes into it.  making sure both sides are cooked. remove from heat when chicken is no longer pink (16-20 minutes).. remove from skewer.. add to your nan bread, add sliced cumbers, tomatoes, radishes, feta and tzatziki sauce.. fold like a taco and enjoy.. goes well with a nice greek salad..

Monday, April 18, 2011

spring has sprung

so spring has sprung in my backyard.. we have started a lot of diy projects this year and several hire it out projects.. ha the house is being repainted this week (gawd i hope it's done by Easter.. i am expecting 35-40 people over) we planted herbs, veggies and flowers last week.. and they all look so pretty..

Here are my "bleeding hearts"

greek oregano




pomegranate tree

lime tree (with tarps in the background because our house is being painted..)

myer lemon tree

sunday slow roasted pork roast

It was a wonderful sunday.. we got a lot done in the backyard.. we went to breakfast at coffee cup in boulder city.. and then went shopping for groceries and diy before we left i made the rub for this roast (the rub was inspired by this recipe..) turned the oven to 225 and put the roast in to slow cook..

prep time: 10 minutes
cooking time: 7 hours
servings: 4-6


1  2-3 lb. pork butt
1/4 cup beer

rub (there will be left overs put in air tight container and use the next time your grilling- i used it in burgers last week)

3 tbls. cinnamon
3 tbls. ancho chile powder
3 tbls. chipolte chile powder
3 tbls. ground coriander
3 tbls. brown sugar (i used splenda)
2 tbls. smokey paprika
2 tbls. garlic powder
2 tbls. onion powder
2 tbls. course sea salt
2 tbls. coarsely ground black pepper
1 tbls. all spice
1 tbls. ground ginger
1 tbls. ground fennel seed
2 tsp. cayenne pepper

combine all the spices above in a mason jar.. rub the rub all over the roast (you will have left over rub) and then put your roast in a casserole dish fat side up.. place dish in a preheated 225 degree (f) oven and slow roast for 5 hours.. after about 2 hours i poured in 1/4 of a cup of beer in the pan..

after 5 hours i removed it from the oven and  finsihed cooking it on my bbq grill.. i had one side on medium-high and i cooked it on the off side for 2 more hours... then i removed it from the grill let it sit for about 10 minutes then shredded it.. we served it with grilled veggies and a salad but would have been wonderful on a bun or in a tortilla..

lemon chicken with grilled salad

it was such a nice night out on thursday we decided to grill some chicken and salad.. a very light and bright meal.. sometimes the simplest meals are the best..

prep time: 5 minutes
cooking time: 20 minutes
servings: 3


3 large skinless/boneless chicken breasts
olive oil
lemon salt (recipe found here)
zest of one lemon

drizzle olive oil on chicken breasts, salt and pepper to taste, sprinkle with lemon zest.. repeat on the other side.. heat your grill to medium heat.. cook about 7-10 minutes each side depending on how thick the chicken breast is. 

grilled salad

1 head of romaine lettuce
salt and pepper
2 cloves of garlic chopped
olive oil

cut lettuce length wise, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle salt, pepper, and garlic.. heat your grill to medium heat.. cook lettuce about 7 minutes each side or until lettuce becomes a little charred and wilty.. now what I did for shell was cut up the chicken and lettuce add some feta, tomatoes, onion, chopped hard boiled egg, balsamic vinegar and a dash of garlic olive oil.. she just loved it!!