Thursday, December 23, 2010

Crinkle Cookies for Santa

I saw these cookies a few years ago in a magazine, we tried them and loved them. This year after I made them my husband informed me that these were one of his 2 Favorite cookies, and proceeded to eat as much as I would allow. Since I made these to give out to neighbors I kinda had to hide them from him. But in his defense they are REALLY REALLY GOOD!
So while we already made these a couple of times and ate most of them, we have decided to make them for Santa as well because doesn't he deserve the BEST, and they are the BEST!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Christmas season and I will report back after Christmas with all the goodies I have eaten and made, here are a couple that you may find some use for.

Chocolate Crinkles

3/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 ounces mini semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup powdered sugar

In a large bowl mixt together he melted butter, cocoa powder, and sugar. Wisk in the eggs and vanilla extract. In a medium size bowl, stir together the four, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Use a large spoon to slowly add he dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture. Stir in the chips . Refrigerate dough 2 hours.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Form the dough into 1-inch balls, then roll them in confectioners sugar. Bake the cookies on an un-greased cookie sheet for 10 min. Set the sheet on a wire rack for 5 min. then lightly dust the cookies with powdered sugar. Transfer cookies to rack to cool completely. Makes 4 dozen.

Once again these are so good and taste like little truffle cookies, so moist and rich and oh just perfect. Also here is a cute way to give them to a friend.
Put some cute paper on an empty pringles can.

For Steve's Birthday this year I did a Cereal bar party, I also made a couple of breakfast casseroles. This one from Pioneer Woman was INCREDIBLE. It was totally different and so good everyone loved it and it was the first one gone. The secret is the Pita Chips, if you have ever had these you know they rock, if not you are missing out.

This is what I will be making for Christmas Morning, I am already excited for it!

Here is the recipe I used, next time I make it though I will be adding at least 4-6 more eggs. It did not have enough. Just fyi

Recipe: Mushroom Bacon Breakfast Strata

| | |

  • 10 slices Bacon, Cut Into 1/2" Pieces
  • 12 whole White Mushrooms, Sliced
  • 8 whole Eggs Beaten
  • ½ cups Half-and-half
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 4 ounces, weight Cream Cheese
  • ½ cups Grated Cheddar Cheese
  • 10 ounces, weight Stacy's Simply Naked Pita Chips

Preparation Instructions

Fry bacon pieces in a large skillet until done but not overly crispy. Drain on a paper towel, pour grease from skillet. Add mushrooms to skillet (don’t clean skillet first) and cook until done.

Mix eggs, half-and-half, salt, and pepper.

Arrange pita chips in an 8 x 11-inch baking dish. Slightly press to flatten. Tear pieces of cream cheese and evenly distribute over the top of chips. Distribute mushrooms and bacon over the top of this, followed by the cheddar cheese. Pour egg mixture evenly over all ingredients.

Place into the fridge for several hours of overnight (makes a handy breakfast casserole!), then bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes or until eggs are set. Cut into squares and serve immediately. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Progressive Dinner

We have been doing Progressive Dinner with the Cummards for awhile now. This was my family's first year to do it. It is such a fun way to see everyones Christmas Decor while enjoying AMAZING food! My family sure knows how to bring it.

The first house was appetizers with Hayley & Brett the newlyweds!
She made spinach and artichoke dip & , jalapeno jelly with cream cheese.
Brett decided to get fancy and made this super Delicious Brie En Croute, I have been seeing this everywhere but didn't really think I liked Brie, well I was wrong this puppy was to die for. The puff pastry was stuffed with brie, pecans and brown sugar - Hello this was almost dessert and dang good. Also could it look any fancier. If you are looking to impress this is the way to go.


(adapted from Martha Stewart0

Serves 12 to 16

  • 1/2 cup pecan halves
  • 1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • All-purpose flour, for dusting
  • 2 standard packages (17 1/4 ounces) frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 wheel (2.2 pounds) Brie
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream


  1. In a medium bowl, combine pecans and sugar, using your fingertips to thoroughly mix; set aside. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat (French nonstick baking mat) or parchment paper; set aside.
  2. Lightly dust work surface with flour. Place two sheets (one box) of puff pastry on the work surface one on top of the other. Using a rolling pin, adhere the two pieces of the puff pastry together. Continue rolling puff pastry until it is very thin, slightly less than 1/8 inch thick. Using a pastry wheel or a sharp knife, cut the puff pastry into a 13-inch round, reserving scraps for decorating.
  3. Place the Brie in the center of the puff pastry. Top the Brie with pecan mixture, spreading to within 1/2 inch of the edge of the cheese. Be sure to remove any sugar or nuts from the puff pastry, as they may cause holes to form during baking. Fold puff pastry up and over Brie to enclose. The center of the Brie will not be completely covered with pastry. Transfer to prepared baking sheet.
  4. Lightly dust work surface with flour. Repeat rolling and cutting process with remaining two sheets of puff pastry. Drape pastry over the Brie, tucking the edges under to enclose.
  5. In a small bowl, combine egg yolk and cream to make an egg wash. Cut reserved scraps of puff pastry into decorative shapes. Using a pastry brush, gently brush the decorative shapes with the egg wash, and adhere to wrapped Brie. Brush the wrapped Brie evenly with the egg wash. Transfer to refrigerator and chill for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight.
  6. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake Brie until golden brown and puffed, about 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake until dark golden brown, 25 to 35 minutes more.

Next was Colin & Heather's
Wow she really went all out.
Look at this drink station, yes those glasses are rimmed with sugar and limes!
What a gorgeous table setting!
I forgot to take a pic of the food but it was superb, she had chicken recipe from Kona grill with some amazing sauces and mashed potatoes. I am definitely going to be getting this recipe so stay tuned.

Last but not least my house for Dessert. I made Hot Chocolate Truffle balls from Mels Kitchen.
As soon as I saw these I knew I would be making them, they are super simple and a cute way to have hot chocolate.
(I think next time I am going to try milk choc. chips instead of semi-sweet. )
Red Velvet Cake from Costco
try this you will not be disappointed.
Hudson made cookies with his cousins and brought them to share at the party
Everyone got a treat to pick from

Peppermint Bark -from Costco
Trail Mix -from Costco
- these were better than the ones at the mall, and Jackson made them all by himself!

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Yes I do realize it is Almost Christmas! I am a little behind but since both of these dishes will still work great for the Holidays I thought I better share them.

We had a Great Thanksgiving Weekend. We started with our Cummard Thanksgiving Eve Lobster Fest, which is exactly as good as it sounds. Even the side dishes are as delectable as the Lobster. They kind of have to be since I have a few sisters-in-law who are not into the whole "Seafood" scene, sad I know. My son however is Pro Lobster all the way, he tries to order it everywhere we go.

I brought the hor d'oeurvres, a Hot Spinach and Artichoke dip, and Deviled Eggs. They were both fantastic, that dip didn't last very long especially with the delicious Five Seed Crackers from Costco ( the BEST!!!!). My mom gave me this recipe forever ago and every time I make it I get rave reviews. It is very rich, creamy and tasty, it is hard not to eat every last bite. I even had a spinach hater dipping in! Yes it is as fattening as it looks, sorry!

Hot Artichoke Heart Dip


1-14 oz can of artichokes (marinated in water) chopped and drained
2 cups mayo
1 cup graded parmesan cheese
1 can green chilis diced
2 dashes of garlic powder
1/2 pkg chopped spinach drained

Mix and Bake at 325 degrees for 30 min. Serve warm with crackers.

Serving idea: Microwave on high in covered dish until bubbly, 3-5 min. Transfer to round bread bowl, hollowed out. With a quick trip to the oven until bread is warm and slightly crispy

Yes this is me getting 3rd's of this phenomenal salad ( which I must get the recipe for).
The next day we headed up to Tonto Basin for Thanksgiving part II.

I saw this recipe on Mels Kitchen Cafe and even though I am NOT a stuffing fan I knew I had to make it. First it had goat cheese in it, which I love ( and also had a ton of) plus the picture looked so good I just knew it had to be. My mom also decided I need to make it as well after hearing the title " Wild Rice and Goat Cheese Stuffing" Hello, how could that not be good.

I ended up baking mine on a cookie sheet so there was more surface area to crisp up and oh baby it was good! I mean I think my Grandma's may have gotten overlooked next to this beauty. There were a lot of fans and not one nay sayer. So if you are looking to impress this will make you look like Giada or Rachel!

Wild Rice and Creamy Goat Cheese Stuffing
from Mels Kitchen Cafe

*Note: if you don’t prefer the taste of goat cheese, simply substitute cream cheese, a milder tasting creamy cheese, or leave it out altogether.

*Serves 10-12 as a side dish and the recipe can be easily halved

2 cups wild rice (I used a blend of wild and brown rice)
8 ounces turkey bacon, chopped
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup diced yellow onion
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced celery
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 (day-old) loaf country-style or artisan bread, cubed, about 6 cups of bread cubes
12 ounces goat cheese or cream cheese
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cups chicken broth or stock

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Cook wild rice according to package directions, making sure the rice cooks completely and is very tender and soft. Transfer the rice to a large bowl when it has finished cooking and has cooled for about 10 minutes.

Heat the butter in a large 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon, onions, carrots and celery and cook until soft, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the onion mixture, bread cubes, goat cheese, parsley, salt, pepper and chicken broth to the large bowl with the rice. Mix to combine. I like my stuffing a bit on the non-soggy side so add more chicken broth 1/4 cup at a time if you’d like your mixture more wet.

Transfer the mixture to a large (9X13-inch or even larger) lightly greased baking dish and bake, uncovered, until heated through and golden brown, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Guess I caught these 2 a little off guard
Jackson on his 2nd helping of pie. This boy is such a good eater, there isn't anything he won't eat!
and what would a good Thanksgiving in the desert be without some clay pigeon shooting

man look at that form
yeah I didn't hit any :(
and of course my greatest Blessings

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Holiday Aroma

Every year my mother-in-law's house smells oh so Good!
She burns this little mix of stuff on the stove that is just divine. I always say I am going to make it to pass out to friends and neighbors, and use for myself. Well this year I finally did it, I love it and it is so easy. You just put all the stuff into a pot on the stove and keep it on low, refresh it with water and when it stops smelling do a new batch.

Holiday Aroma

1 small orange
1 lemon
2 tbsp. of cloves
1-3 cinnamon sticks
1 bay leaf

Slice and mix in one quart water, place on low on stove, renew with fresh water.

Monday, December 6, 2010

And the Winner Is.......

The Youngsters

Well Miss Maile you have won yourself a brand new Silicone Baking Mat- which will be perfect for the oreo bon bons you love so much! Hope you enjoy and Merry Christmas.
Thanks to all those who entered.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Giveaway & Favorite Things

This past week my in-laws on the Cummards side had our annual Favorite Things Night! It is one of the best nights of the year. We go to dinner then head back to get an armful of awesome goods. It's kinda like Oprah's favorite things but instead of one person giving all the stuff we each bring 6 of our favorite things to give to everyone. This year I did a Silicone Baking Mat, I have loved these things for awhile now and couldn't wait to share my love with everyone.

Favorite Things:
Syd- Anthropologie Bowls
Summer- Homemade Ranch kit
Kanoe- Joe Joe's- Calendar & Caribeeanar
Suzie- Breakfast- homemade trail mix, bread, peanut butter, apple and protein shake, reusable bag
Sarah- Nothing Bundt Cake (mmmmm good) lip balm and moisturizer
Cheryl- Cutting boards ( love these) wrapping paper cutter, wrapping paper, reusable bag

Seriously it was better than Christmas thanks girls and sorry I won the dinner draw 2 yrs. in a row!

So onto the Giveaway, as you have probably guessed it is a Silicone Baking Mat. These little puppies have like a million and one uses. I love mine so much that I now have 3. For cookies it is so great, since I have been using them I have had perfectly cooked cookies, no more brown bottoms and undercooked tops. They totally eliminate the need for wax paper and work even better. Great for rolling out on. Bake anything on them fries, rolls, truly anything.

So if you have always wanted one, never even heard of it or already have one and need another then this giveaway is for you. It couldn't come at a better time either, since who isn't going to be baking like crazy this Holiday Season.

Entry Rules:
leave a comment telling me your favorite Holiday goodie
for another entry become a follower and leave a comment letting me know ( if you already are just tell me that)
for yet another entry leave a comment telling me about a recipe of mine you have tried

Good Luck
I will be drawing a winner Monday 12/6 at 5 p.m

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Moroccan-Style Chicken-Crescent Casserole

Awhile ago I had WAY too many crescent roll packs. I went on to the pillsbury website and found me some recipes. I wanted to try something I don't usually make with crescent rolls, so when I saw this I knew I had to try it. It was superb, except that I forgot to put on the almonds which I love so I am sure it would have been even that much better. This is my first "Moroccan" style dish it was so good that I am definitely going to have to try some more.

Moroccan-Style Chicken-Crescent Casserole
tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 lb), cut into bite-size pieces
cup chopped onion
cup sliced carrot
can (14.5 oz) diced fire-roasted or regular tomatoes, undrained
tablespoon tomato paste
tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 1/2
teaspoons paprika
teaspoon salt
teaspoon ground cumin
to 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
can (8 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated crescent dinner rolls (8 rolls)
egg, beaten
tablespoon sliced almonds
  • 1Heat oven to 375°F. In 12-inch skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken, onion and carrot; cook and stir about 7 minutes or until chicken is browned and no longer pink in center. Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, parsley, cilantro, paprika, salt, cumin, cinnamon and red pepper. Cook and stir about 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
  • 2Into ungreased 11x7-inch (2-quart) glass baking dish or 9 1/2- or 10-inch deep-dish pie plate, pour hot chicken mixture. Immediately unroll dough over chicken mixture; pinch edges and perforations to seal. Brush dough with beaten egg; sprinkle with almonds.
  • 3Bake 18 to 25 minutes or until deep golden brown. If desired, garnish with fresh cilantro.

We offer two amounts of cinnamon. Ease into Moroccan flavor with 1/4 teaspoon, or use 1/2 teaspoon for authentic taste.
Add 1/4 cup chopped, toasted, blanched almonds or raisins to the chicken mixture for added flavor and texture.
Be quick putting the casserole in the oven so that the dough gets done on the bottom.
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