Monday, January 31, 2011

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

I love cinnamon rolls.  I love them in the mornings.  I love them at night as a 'dessert'.  I love them on Sunday afternoons.  I pretty much love cinnamon rolls at any given time.  Usually we keep a roll of Pillsbury cinnamon rolls in the fridge in case a craving arises, but tonight we didn't have any (gasp!).  And of course, the commissary is closed on Mondays - what grocery store is closed on Mondays?!

I found a few recipes that looked promising, but a couple looked a little too tedious, and one made like 50 cinnamon rolls.  Even if I halved the recipe I would still be left with 25 cinnamon rolls.  THEN I found a recipe that looked perfect.  Easier than the others, made a decent amount of rolls.. and from a trusted source.

And let me tell you.  They are SO. GOOD.  Soft and gooey and absolutely delicious when they're warm.  And with a big glass of orange juice.  My husband gave me the side eye because I had four of them.  What, don't judge me.  They were small...

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls
recipe from Our Best Bites

  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 tbsp. butter, cut into chunks
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 (.25 ounce) package rapid rise yeast
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. ground cinnamon
  •  1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp. melted butter
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1-2 tbsp. milk
Dough: Place milk and 4 tbsp. butter in a microwave safe bowl.  Heat on high for 1 minute 30 seconds. Butter should be at least partially melted.  Stir and set aside.  In a large mixing bowl whisk together 2 cups flour, yeast, white sugar, and salt.  When milk mixture has cooled to warm (not hot) add it to the flour mixture along with the egg while beating with a mixer.  Beat until well combined, about 1 minute.  Switch to a dough hook attachment, if you have one.  Add remaining flour only until dough barely leaves the sides of the bowl.  It should be very soft and slightly sticky.  Continue to let the dough knead for 5 minutes.  If you are not using a stand mixer, turn dough out onto floured surface and knead for 5 minutes by hand.  Turn dough out onto a floured surface and let rest for about 10 minutes while you make the filling.

Filling: make sure butter is softened well. Mix with brown sugar and cinnamon.

Assembly: Roll dough into a rectangle about 12 x 14 inches. Spread brown sugar mixture over the surface and use your fingers or the back of a spoon to gently spread around. Roll up from the longer side of the rectangle and pinch edges closed. Score the roll into 12 equal pieces and then cut into rolls.  It's easiest if you use a piece of floss to cut them.  Place in a 9 x 13 pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Cover pan with a clean towel and let rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes - I turn on the oven and set mine on top of the oven.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

When rolls have finished rising, bake for 15-20 minutes or until light golden brown. If desired spread with icing while still warm. Makes roughly 12 rolls (depending on how big you cut them).

Rollin' out the dough..
Ready to bake!  Aren't those swirls just beautiful? :)

Soft, gooey, and perfect after they're drizzled with icing!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Frosted Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sounds like chocolate overload, doesn't it?  It's not.. I promise.  It's the perfect amount of chocolate for the chocolate lover!  I ate about 8 of them in one day.  Then I 'forced' my husband to take them to work so I didn't get myself into any more trouble with these cookies.  Needless to say, he sent me a text right after he got to work saying they didn't even last 5 minutes.  I promise you, if they would have stayed 5 more minutes in my house they wouldn't have lasted either (baby liked them.. a lot). 

The cookies have nice crisp edges, and are soft and delicious in the middle.  Top them with some of this 'perfectly chocolate' chocolate frosting, and they are definitely my new favorite cookie (and frosting).  I will never use another chocolate frosting again... cookies, cakes, cupcakes, brownies.. or by the spoon-full, he he.. this is hands-down my favorite chocolate frosting recipe.

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies
recipe from Nestle Toll House
  • 12 oz. package Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips, divided
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
Preheat oven to 375 F.

Microwave 3/4 cup choco chips for 1 minute.  Stir and microwave at additional 10 to 15-sec intervals until melted.  Cool to room temperature.  Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.

Beat butter, brown sugar, sugar and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl until creamy.  Beat in melted chocolate and egg.  Gradually beat in flour mixture.  Stir in 3/4 cup choco chips. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 8 to 9 minutes or until edges are set but centers are still slightly soft.  Cool on baking sheets for 3 minutes then move to wire racks to cool completely. Thinly frost centers of cookies with chocolate frosting (see the best chocolate frosting recipe ever.. below).

Yields:  About 20 small cookies.

Hershey's 'Perfectly Chocolate' Chocolate Frosting
recipe from Hershey's
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
  • 2/3 cup Hershey's cocoa
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Melt butter.  Stir in cocoa.  Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency.  Add small amount additional milk, if needed.  Stir in vanilla.

Yields:  About 2 cups frosting. (I halved this recipe and it was just enough to frost the cookies)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

French Dip Sandwiches au Jus

This is so good.  And so easy.  I love all things that go in the crockpot because that means I have to spend less time in the kitchen and I have more time to spend on the couch with my hubby watching the latest episode of The Office.  My husband loved these sandwiches and they'll definitely be in our dinner menu rotation from now on!  YUM!

French Dip Sandwiches au Jus
recipe from Foodie Bride
  • 3 lb. chuck roast
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 3/4 cup beef broth
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp. brown mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 6-8 sandwich rolls
  • 6-8 slices of provolone or swiss cheese
Slice onion into 1/4-in rounds and place in bottom of crockpot.   Add beef broth, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and garlic to the crockpot.  Salt and pepper both sides of the roast and place on top of the onions.  Cook on low 6 to 7 hours until beef is fall-apart tender.

Transfer the roast to a cutting board and shred using two forks and place in a medium sized bowl.  Remove onions and place in bowl as well.  If you need to, strain the juice into a large “defatter” measuring cup and get rid of the oil that collects on top.

Heat the broiler.  Place the split sandwich rolls on a lined baking sheet and toast for 1 minute or just until the bread begins to brown.   Remove the tops from the pan.  Scoop the beef onto the bottom of the rolls and top with cheese.  Return to the oven just until cheese is melted.  Top with sandwich halves and serve with small bowls of jus.

Yields:  Approx. 6 sandwiches

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Buttermilk Biscuits and Chocolate Gravy

You should be very excited about this post.  Because I'm very excited to share it with you!  My husband has been wanting this for breakfast for quite some time now, but I had to find a biscuit recipe that I really felt confident about.  Because the last time I tried to make them homemade, it was an unfortunate disaster that ended up in the trash.  But these turned out to be just beautiful.  They are soft and flaky, and they really don't take too much effort.  This is definitely my go-to recipe for biscuits.

Now.. chocolate gravy.. some of you may have never heard of this before (like me), unless you're from the south.  The first time I've heard of it was shortly after my husband and I were married and we were at his parents house for a weekend.  I was very unsure about it.. chocolate and gravy.. just didn't sound right to me.  But I'll try [almost] anything once, and my mother-in-law is a great cook so it just had to be good!  Let's face it, southern cooking is just amazing anyway.  Now this isn't her recipe because well, she is 15 hours behind us and that makes it a little difficult to just call any time, but I don't think this recipe varies too far from hers.

If you haven't had this, I urge you to try it at least once!  It's worth it, I promise.  :)

Buttermilk Biscuits
recipes from Sprinkle Bakes
  • 2 cups self-rising flour
  • 2 tbsp. cold shortening
  • 6 tbsp. cold butter, cut into pieces
  • 3/4 to 1 cup buttermilk (again, buttermilk substitute)
  • 2 tbsp. melted butter
Preheat oven to 450 F.

Put flour into a large mixing bowl; add the cut up cold butter and shortening and cut it into the flour with a pastry blender (if you do not have a pastry blender, you can use a fork) and blend until coarse crumbs form.  Then make a well in the center of the mixture and pour in the buttermilk (start with 3/4 cup buttermilk).  Mix with a fork until just combined, avoid over-mixing - if your dough is too stiff, add 1 tbsp. of buttermilk at a time).  Put the sticky dough on a lightly floured surface and knead about 5 times.  Pat dough out flat (with floured hands) to 1" thickness.

Cut the dough into rounds with a sharp-edged cutter (I used a cleaned out mandarin orange can).  Cut straight down without twisting to ensure tall and straight biscuits.

Lightly grease a baking sheet with nonstick spray.  Place on a baking sheet 1-inch apart for crusty sides or almost touching for soft sides and bake for 13-15 minutes, or until golden.  Remove from the oven and brush the biscuit tops with the 2 tbsp melted butter.  Serve warm.  Makes about 8 biscuits.

Chocolate Gravy
  • 4 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (preferably whole, but you don't have to.. I used 1%)
  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
In a medium sauce pan whisk together the dry ingredients.  Pour in the milk and whisk vigorously to combine.  Heat over medium-high until the mixture bubbles.  Turn heat down to medium and stir until mixture has thickened to a gravy consistency.  Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla.

TIP:  Is the gravy not thickening how you want it to?  Mix about a teaspoon of cornstarch into a little bit of cold water.  Pour a small amount of the water/cornstarch mix into your gravy, I'd say start off with a tablespoon.  Bring to a boil for about 1 minute.  Remove from heat when thickened.

Let cool slightly then transfer to a gravy boat. Serve warm over buttermilk biscuits.  Makes about 2 cups.

Beautiful, aren't they?

Not too chocolate-y.... but just perfect!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Mini Maple Pancake Muffins

I love pancakes.  I would eat them every day if I let myself.  My husband is actually making some for me right now, isn't he sweet!  ;)  And just how cute are these mini maple pancake muffins?  Dunk them in some warm syrup after they come out of the oven and mmmm, satisfied tummy!  These would be a fun breakfast for little kiddos, too!  Make them plain, throw in some chocolate chips... or even some blueberries (I made half of mine blueberry - yum!).

Mini Maple Pancake Muffins
adapted from Bakerella
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  •  1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk (remember my buttermilk trick?) 
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp. melted butter
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • A couple taps of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips or blueberries (optional)
 Preheat oven to 350 F.  Generously grease mini muffin pan with nonstick spray.

Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, sugar, and a few taps of cinnamon in a medium bowl.  Mix with a wire whisk.

In another bowl, stir buttermilk, egg, maple syrup, vanilla extract and melted butter until just combined.  Then add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir.  Stir in chocolate chips, if you desire.  I used frozen blueberries instead!  

Bake 8-9 minutes.  Makes 24 mini pancake muffins.  Let cool slightly and remove from the pan. You may need to use a toothpick around the edges to separate the pancake muffins from the pan.  Serve immediately with warmed butter if you like or even just with maple syrup.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Chocolate Cupcakes & Peanut Butter Buttercream

I have a 4-day weekend and what better thing to do than bake?  I've been itching to try out the decorator bottles my parents gave me for Christmas, so it was the perfect excuse to find a new cupcake recipe to try.  Do you know how many different cupcake recipes there are?  In case you didn't know, there are a lot.  I probably could have spent hours looking through all the different recipes and cupcake/frosting combinations, but I stopped when I spotted a chocolate cupcake with a peanut butter frosting (but trust me, I bookmarked about 10 recipes along the way).  Also, I did want to bake sometime today, so I needed to stop being so indecisive if I was going to get anywhere.  ;)

These cupcakes are delicious.  Just be careful not to over bake the cupcakes or they will be dry.  The frosting is absolutely amazing.  I wasn't sure about a peanut butter buttercream at first.  I didn't want it to be an overwhelming peanut butter taste.. but it wasn't.  I may or may not have eaten a big huge spoonful before frosting the cupcakes.  He he.  It was like peanut butter and sugar and heaven all whisked together and it was just begging for me to eat it.  I probably would've licked the bowl if I didn't have any self-control...

Chocolate Cupcakes
recipe from Baking: From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 8 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
  • optional:  chocolate shavings for decoration
TIP:   Don't have buttermilk on hand?  No worries!  Place a tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup,  then add enough milk to bring the liquid up to the one-cup line.  Let stand for about 5 minutes.. then voila, use as much as you need!  Buttermilk substitute!  I use it all the time.  :)

Preheat oven to 350 F and put 12 cupcake liners in a muffin tin.

Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a medium bowl, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy.  Add sugar and beat about 2 minutes, until blended with the butter.  Add the egg, then the yolk, beating for 1 minute after each addition and scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.  Beat in the vanilla, then reduce the mixer speed to low and add half the dry ingredients, mixing only until they disappear.  Scrape down the bowl and add the buttermilk, mixing until incorporated, then mix in the remaining dry ingredients.  Scrape down the bowl, add the melted chocolate and mix it in with the rubber spatula.  Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins, about 3/4 full.

Bake for 20-24 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean - be careful not to over bake!  Transfer the muffin pan to a rack and let the cakes cool for 5 minutes before unmolding them.  Cool to room temperature before frosting.

Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting
recipe from Cook's Illustrated
  • 8 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (do not use old-fashioned or natural peanut butter)
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp heavy cream
In a medium bowl, beat (or if you have a stand mixer, use the whisk attachment) the butter and peanut butter at medium-high speed until smooth, about 20 seconds.  Add the powdered sugar and salt, beat at medium-low speed until most of the sugar is moistened, about 45 seconds.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and beat at medium speed until mixture is fully combined (make sure to get all those lumps out.. you want a smooth frosting).  Scrape the bowl again, then add the vanilla and heavy cream, and beat at medium-high speed until the buttercream is light and fluffy - about 4 minutes, stopping to scrape down the bowl a couple times.

Makes 1 1/2 cups of frosting (will frost 12 cupcakes).

Also, I absolutely loved using the decorator bottles.  It was so easy to use.. no mess, and an easy clean-up!  And I must say, I like anything that makes my life easier.  :)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

90-Minute Soft Pretzels

I always want what I can't have, and being in Korea is making it worse (being pregnant while in Korea sure isn't helping, either)!  We have no Texas Roadhouse, Target or Walmart, Coldstone (ok, there is a 'Coldstone'.. but it is NOT the same), Olive Garden, Cracker Barrel... and there is definitely no Auntie Anne's!  Oh, what I would give for a warm and delicious Auntie Anne's pretzel!

There are about a million recipes for homemade pretzels out on the internet - no joke, I looked!  Then I found one in my bread recipes folder, so I decided to go with that.  I do want to try out a couple other pretzel recipes that I had my eye on, though.

You know how I said I was intimidated by crepes?  Yeah, well working with yeast just plain scares me!  Maybe it's because a few months back I attempted one of my Grandma's most famous recipes - Sweet Petals - and totally jacked it up and had to throw them all away.  But these pretzels were a complete success.  I have gained confidence and I see Sweet Petals in my future!  These pretzels are soft and delicious.  I topped some with cinnamon and sugar, dipped plain ones in mustard, and glazed a few with a honey butter sauce that I made.  Great for a Sunday afternoon snack!

90-Minutes Soft Pretzels
recipe from my Grandma
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 pkg. active dry yeast
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp. margarine
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten
  • 1 tbsp. water
  • Coarse salt (optional)
Mix sugar, salt, 1 cup of flour, and undissolved yeast together in a large bowl.  In a separate dish, heat 1 cup water and margarine to 120 to 130 degrees.  Gradually add to dry ingredients and beat 2 minutes at medium speed of mixer.  Add 1/2 cup flour.  Beat at high speed for 2 minutes.  Stir in enough additional flour to make a soft dough.  On a floured cutting board, knead dough for about 5 minutes.  Make dough into a round ball, and place into a greased bowl.  Cover (with a towl or with plastic wrap); let rise in a warm, draft-free place for 40 minutes.

Divide dough into 12 equal pieces.  Roll each into a 20-inch rope.  Shape into pretzels.  Place on greased baking sheets.  Cover with a towel; let rest for 5 minutes.

Mix egg yolk and 1 tbsp. water, brush on pretzels so they get a nice golden color.  Sprinkle with coarse salt (optional).  Bake at 375 F for 15 minutes, or until done.  Cool on racks.  Makes 1 dozen.

Best served warm.  If eating them the next day, just pop one in the microwave for a few seconds!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Peabody Vanilla Muffins

This is one of those recipes that I dug out of my Grandma's bread recipe folder.  I must say, her recipes never disappoint me!  I love muffins, although my favorite is blueberry, I thought I'd give this one a go.  At first I was afraid that this one would be too plain and boring, but not at all!  It's very simple, but still elegant.  My Grandma had a note written next to the recipe saying that they serve these at the Peabody Hotel in downtown Memphis (an extremely beautiful and historic hotel), so I asked my husband about that since he's from that area and he said that they do serve them - not that I was doubting my Grandma's notes!  I just thought it was neat.  :)
The view of Memphis from the top of the Peabody, while we were in town visiting family in 2009.
The famous Peabody ducks.
Peabody Vanilla Muffins
recipe from my Grandma
  • 2 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl.  In a separate bowl, mix milk, egg, and melted butter, and vanilla together.  Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, and pour all of the milk/egg mixture into the well.  Stir with a fork, only until all the ingredients are  moistened - over-mixing will result in tough muffins.  Spoon muffin batter into well greased muffin tins (or use paper baking cups), filling each slightly more than half full.  Also, before I bake them, I like to sprinkle a little bit of sugar over the top.  It makes the muffins all sparkly and pretty when they're done baking.  :)  Bake at 400 F for 15 minutes.  Remove from muffin pan immediately and serve hot.

This recipe makes 12 regular sized muffins, or 30 mini muffins.

My husband likes his with a little jam.  I like them with a little honey!  But they're just as delicious plain.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Strawberries & Cream Filled Chocolate Crepes

This was my first time ever making crepes.  I have to admit, I was a little nervous.  Crepes were a bit intimidating to me!  They're so thin and delicate.  But this recipe that I made was surprising fast and easy as well as husband-approved!  I see many more crepe recipes in my future.  There are just so many different thing you can do with them.

These particular ones would make a great dessert (or fancy breakfast... *cough, cough*.. yes, I did have about 5 of them this morning) for your special someone on Valentine's Day!

Strawberries & Cream Filled Chocolate Crepes
recipe adapted from Gina's Skinny Recipes
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 large (whole) egg
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • butter flavored cooking spray
  • 1 bag of frozen strawberries (I used frozen because strawberries are not in season right now, so it's much cheaper.. otherwise I would use fresh)
  • whipped topping
  • chocolate syrup, for serving
Put flour, cocoa powder, powdered sugar, milk, eggs, and oil in a bowl and whisk until they're smooth and there are no lumps left.  Then heat a nonstick pan on medium-low heat (I used a 9 1/2 in. pan).  When hot, spray the bottom of the pan with the butter flavored cooking spray.  Pour about 1/4 cup of crepe mixture into the pan and swirl pan slightly to make crepe thin and smooth and so it covers the bottom of the pan completely.  Cook for about 1 minute or until the bottom of  the crepe is light golden brown.  Flip and cook the other side about 30 seconds to 1 minute or until light golden brown.  These do not take very long at all to cook, so pay attention!  Also, your first one may not turn out the best - don't worry, the rest of them will turn out great.  :)  Repeat with the rest of crepe mixture, spraying the bottom of the pan before you make each crepe.

When you're ready to serve, spoon roughly 2 tbsp of the whipped topping into the center of each crepe and then put some strawberries on top of that... however many your heart desires!  Then fold both edges of the crepe over the filling.  Gently flip over so the seam side is down.  Sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar and drizzle with chocolate syrup.  They are absolutely wonderful when served warm, but they're also good when they're not so warm (they tend to get cold fast).  ENJOY!

The great thing about these?  You can make the batter ahead of time, and just stick it in the fridge!  The batter can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.  Nifty!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Weekly Menu Jan. 3rd - 9th

Trying to get back into the swing of things after Christmas isn't easy.  We've gone out to eat the past couple nights.  We have just been too busy!  But one of our goals for 2011 is to cut back on getting take-out, just to save a little bit of money especially with the new baby due to arrive in June.. we need to start preparing!  :)  I find that it helps us to cut back on going out to eat if I plan out meals ahead of time.  I planned quite a few quick & easy meals because I've been so exhausted lately.  Any leftovers we have, we usually eat for lunch.

Monday, Jan. 3rd
--Tater Tot Casserole
Tuesday, Jan. 4th
--Homemade Pizza, Half Pepperoni/Half Ham & Pineapple
Wednesday, Jan. 5th
--Maid Rites with Sweet Potato Fries
Thursday, Jan. 6th
--Steak Fajitas with Rice
Friday, Jan. 7th 
--Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup with Grilled Ham & Cheese
Saturday, Jan. 8th
--Pork Tenderloin with Veggies & Sweet Potatoes
Sunday, Jan. 9th
--Chicken Pot Pie (ultimate cold-weather comfort food... mmm)

Other cooking/baking:
--Homemade Pretzels, Peabody Vanilla Muffins, Chocolate Crepes with Strawberries, Homemade Hot Chocolate, Sticky Buns.

What's everyone else having for dinner this week??

Kitchen Christmas Loot 2

We had Christmas over Skype with my family this morning, and I received a few new kitchen-related items!

My brother and sister-in-law gave me a fondue recipe book!  I love fondue and they don't really have any fondue restaurants here in Korea, so now I'll be able to make my own at home.  :)  My parents gave me some utensils - I really needed some good wooden spoons, and these are awesome.  They also gave me a beautiful apron (which everything is laying on in the photo) and some decorating bottles.

I can't wait to try out these decorating bottles.  Pastry bags are a little fussy to deal with in my opinion, so I'm interested to see how these bottles work out!  They look like they'll be easy to use and a lot less messy.  Now I have a great excuse to make cupcakes.. or cookies.. or a cake, perhaps.

Today we finally took the Christmas decorations down, and now I'm just wiped out!  Time for a mug of hot chocolate and be a couch potato for a little while before I go to bed.  :)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Kitchen Christmas Loot

It has been such a long week, with being sick and everything during Christmas (no fun!), so I haven't cooked a whole lot since Christmas dinner.  That's okay - it's nice to have a break every once in a while!

I made out like a bandit for Christmas this year.  My husband and I are really very blessed!  And I must admit, he did spoil me just a little bit.  :)  But I can't wait to get using all of the kitchen things I received for Christmas, especially the stand-up mixer!!

I received a Sinsinsawa Mound cookbook from my Grandma, it's from the place where she works and it's filled with recipes from all of the nuns.  And I don't know why, but nuns probably make the best food in the world - particularly breads, cinnamon rolls, etc.  Just one of the things I miss about home is the farmer's market and all of the delicious treats the nuns cell there!  Ok, I just really miss the farmer's market in general.  It was one of my favorite things to do on Saturday mornings.

My husband bought me the Cook's Bible, which I think is one of the coolest things ever (does that make make me a nerd?).  It it filled with so much useful information!  Healthy eating and all about the five food groups.  All about kitchen equipment - different types of knives, scales, pots & pans, ovenware & bakeware, spoons & spatulas, and a lot of random kitchen equipment.  Preparation techniques, cooking methods, oils, vinegars, flours, pastas, beans & nuts, herbs, spices, sugars, and so so SO much more.  I could go on forever and bore you to death about it (if I haven't already).  It also has some really great recipes that I'm excited to use.  I definitely think this cook will make me a better - or at least more knowledgeable - cook!

You can click on the images to make them larger.


From Gabe and Jaala, the wonderful new friends we've made here in Korea, we received a Starbucks mug and hot chocolate mix.  Can you ever go wrong with Starbucks?  I think not!  It was really sweet of them to think of us.  :)  My husband also got me a stand up mixer, a new blender, some Martha Stewart prep bowls, and some new spatulas (great stocking stuffers!).  I love everything, and it all makes me excited to get in the kitchen and try some new recipes!  I'm so blessed that my husband will at least try anything I put in front of him.  ;)

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!!