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3.30.2014

Easy Easter Egg Jelly Doughnuts

The following post contains sponsored content. A huge thanks to my friends at Pillsbury. Without the help of brands like theirs, I would not be able to take the time to post new recipes for you all!

Holidays like Easter or Christmas always leave me with little energy to prepare breakfast. Typically, my kids are so excited on the eve of a holiday, that they can not fall asleep. That then means Mom and Dad are up super late hiding Easter eggs or wrapping gifts.  And you KNOW they will all wake up before the sun rises because their excitement just can not be contained! 

Mornings like those require bottomless cups of coffee, and then something REALLY easy to prepare for breakfast. But not just any breakfast, holidays are meant to be special. Cold cereal or instant oatmeal just will not make the cut! 


As you all know I am a huge fan of deep fried doughnuts. There is nothing in the world that compares to their greatness. However homemade doughnuts can be a ton of work! Because of that, they are not made all that often here, especially on Easter morning when I am half asleep.

However I have just discovered an easy peasy way of making doughnuts at home with little effort. The perfect quick breakfast treat on Easter morning! All you need for this recipe is a can of Pillsbury Biscuits, some hot oil for frying and then fill and top them with whatever your heart's desire. My kids had a blast helping me fill and decorate our Easter Egg Jelly Doughnuts. Not only was breakfast made in under 30 minutes.... They had a fun project to do as well!
Easy Easter Egg Jelly Doughnuts

Ingredients:
1 package Pillsbury Grands Homestyle Original Biscuits (Any of their refrigerator biscuits do the trick!)
1 cup of your favorite jelly 
1/2 cup chocolate
2 tbs heavy cream
Vegetable oil for frying
Colored frosting, sprinkles or candy for decorating 

Directions:

Remove biscuits from packaging, and separate. 
Gently shape the biscuits into an oval/egg shape with your hands. 
Heat oil to 365 degrees. 
Fry biscuits 1-2 at a time, 3 minutes per side or until evenly browned. 
Remove from oil and drain on paper towels and allow to cool.
Once doughnuts have cooled, prepare you chocolate topping by melting chocolate over low heat with your cream. Once smooth remove from heat and set aside. 
Place jelly in a pasty bag. Cut a small hole in one end of each doughnut and then fill each doughnut with jelly. 
Dip the tops of filled doughnuts into the chocolate. Place on a cooling rack to dry. 
Decorate as desired. 

(Disclaimer: I received monetary compensation from Pillsbury to write this post. However, all opinions are 100% my own.) 
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3.29.2014

Cheesy Pizza Rolls

~ The following post contains sponsored content. A huge thanks to my friends at Red Star Yeast. Without the help of brands like theirs, I would not be able to take the time to create new recipes for you all!~



My daughter is an absolute ham.  At  the young age of 2 1/2 she has more spunk and personality than I have ever seen. When my boys were her age,  they were smart and mischievous little monsters. But the two of them combined don't even compare to the level of mischief in this little girl. Imagine if Punky Brewster and Dennis the Menace grew up and had a baby..... That's my Mads. 



My spunky little girl was a huge fan of my recent Pizza Rolls. These rolls are chewy like pizza crust, but in roll form and stuffed with extra cheese and pizza sauce.  We kept ours simple, because my kids are purists. They hate extra pizza toppings junking up their slices. However the possibilities are endless. You can add so many toppings in to your roll filling!

Thanks to Red Star's Platinum yeast, I was able to get the rolls into the oven in under 30 minutes! To check out the full recipe be sure to check it out over on Red Star Yeast's website. 

My Cheesy Pizza Roll Recipe can be found HERE. 

(Disclaimer: I received compensation to write this post. However all opinions are 100% my own.) 


3.28.2014

Maple Custard Ice Cream Sandwiches (Made with Bacon FAT!)




How is the weather where you live?

It's flipping cold in New Hampshire. 2014 will go down as the coldest longest winter of all time. This time of year we should be reaching 40-50 degrees, sugar houses should be boiling syrup, we should be prepping for our spring gardens.... we SHOULD be doing a lot of things. But thanks to the cold we are still stuck inside eating soup and comforting casseroles.



So what do I do? I crank my heat to 75, put on a skirt and flip flops and pretend it's warm so I can justify making ice cream!



To make these ice cream sandwiches, I paired my favorite amazing maple custard with a slightly sweet maple bacon fat cookie.



The  ice cream is pretty sweet all on it's own, so I didn't want the cookies to over power the ice cream. So I made them a tad savory by adding in some bacon fat, and then reduced the sugar content.

They are great on their own, however more of a sweet biscuit than a super sweet cookie.



These ice cream sandwiches are the perfect way to kick of spring and maple sugaring season. Who cares if it's freezing outside. We call pretend for just a moment!




Ice Cream Sandwiches with Maple Custard and Maple Bacon Fat Cookies

Ingredients:

For the Ice Cream:

1 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbs vanilla extract (maple if you want more maple flavor)
4 egg yolks

For the Cookies:
2 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup bacon fat

Directions:

To prepare you ice cream, in a sauce pan whisk all of your ingredients together until combined, heat over medium low heat whisking constantly until it comes to a low boil or is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Be sure to constantly whisk.

Remove from heat, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cool. (I did mine over night)

Place chilled custard mixture in the bowl of your ice cream make and prepare according to the manufacturers directions.

Freeze ice cream after you have finished.

To prepare the cookies, pre heat oven to 350.

In a mixing bowl sift flour, baking soda and salt together. Set aside.

In a sauce pan melt butter and bacon fat. Set aside to cool just slightly.

In a separate mixing bowl, mix eggs with brown sugar , maple syrup and vanilla extract. Slowly mix in the butter and bacon fat mixture.

Once combined fold in the sifted dry ingredients.

Refrigerate cookie dough for 2 hours or until it is firm.

Roll into 1 inch balls. Place on a lined cookie sheet and flatten with the palm of your hand, or the bottom of a cup until they are about 1/4 inch thick.

Sprinkle tops with granulated sugar *optional*

Bake for 11-13 minutes or until they have puffed up and slightly golden.

Place cookies on a cooling wrack and cool completely.

Sandwich each cookie with your maple custard. Either eat immediately, or wrap individually in plastic wrap and place in the freezer.

To celebrate Maple Sugaring Season, my friends and I have teamed up to host a link up party! Be sure to go check out their recipes as well as enter your favorite maple recipe link below!


Healthy Seasonal Recipes: Maple Chipotle Flank Steak Tacos
Ari’s Menu: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites 

Yankee Ninja Kitchen: Boozy Maple Bacon Jam

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3.20.2014

Coconut Almond Frappuccino ~Dairy Free~ + Keurig Green Mountain Giveaway



Two years ago, we had a really strange winter in New England. We had no snow. None at all. The only snow storm we got, was at the end of October, and then poof. Gone. We had warm temps all season long, and in March? 80 degrees! Not even joking. Though this was great for people like me who love the warmer temps. It killed our local economy. The mountains (skiing) were not open as long, and our sugaring (maple syrup) season was pretty much non existent.




I feel like Mother Nature is paying us back now. Two years later, and I swear up and down this is the coldest, longest winter I have ever experienced. Perhaps I'm just a weeny, and we have had worst. But I know this is the worst I've had in a lot of years! My heat bill.... $800 PER month December, January, and February. Ouch!

One thing I think all of us in this area can agree on, spring needs to hurry the heck up!

Last month I was contacted by Keurig Green Mountain and asked if I wanted to head up a special giveaway to kick off spring by introducing my readers to their Limited Edition Island Coconut Coffee being released on March 24th.

Of course I said, HECK YES! I need a taste of the tropics as I start to thaw from this arctic winter!


Now I was pleasantly surprised. I am typically not a fan of flavored coffees. (With exception to Green Mountain's Pumpkin! Duh.... how can you say no to pumpkin?!) I was on the fence if I would fall head over heals in love with this new flavor.

But I did. It's not at all what I expected. It was not overpowering like many flavored coffees can be. It had just enough toasted coconut flavor that hits you right at the end. Paired with some almond milk, ice, whipped coconut cream and chocolate it's like a frozen almond joy. Dessert that you can have with breakfast!


Coconut Almond Frappuccino 
Ingredients:
1 cup of strongly brewed Green Mountain Island Coconut Coffee
1/2 cup almond milk
Sweeten to taste using your sweetener of choice (I take mine sugar free but on occasion as a treat add 1 tbs of raw sugar)
1 cup of ice
Whipped coconut cream *directions to follow*
Chocolate shavings to garnish (optional)

Directions:
Prepare coffee, mix with almond milk and sweetener of choice. Allow to cool in the refrigerator until cold. 
In your blender, blend coffee with ice until smooth. 
Serve topped with whipped coconut cream.

*Refrigerate a can of coconut milk over night.  Once chilled, remove the waxy oil that has hardened and risen to the top of the can. (Set aside for later use in other recipes!)  Once you have removed all solids from the can of milk, place coconut milk in the bowl of your electric mixer. Whip on high for about 3-5 minutes or until soft peaks start to form. Mix in sugar if desired, about 1 tbs.*  

To enter in the giveaway, follow the directions on the box below. One lucky winner with win this beauty of a Keurig brew station, plus a box of Green Mountain Island Coconut Coffee. AND there are two second place winners, who will each win a box of Green Mountain Island Coconut Coffee! 

Also be sure to check out what the other New England and New York bloggers prepared with their Island Coconut Coffee. Who better to appreciate the arrival of spring than a group from the North East?! 
Kitchen Ninja  
Healthy Seasonal Recipes 
Running to the Kitchen  
Nutmeg Nanny  
Spiced Blog 
Healthy Delicious  
All Day I Dream About Food 
Sugar Free Mom  
Kelly Bakes 






Tell me, what is YOUR favorite part of spring???

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclaimer: I did not receive any monetary compensation to write this post. Keurig Green Mountain provided me with free coffee and sponsored this giveaway.

3.17.2014

Bacon Wrapped Asparagus with Balsamic Glaze



I really enjoy roasted vegetables of any variety. I am one of those people who likes most of their veggies slightly overcooked. I KNOW. Don't tell the culinary police, they'd shake their heads at my mushy broccoli.



The reason I love roasting so much, is that it still maintains that crunch without turning into baby food, but is cooked enough that it gets so much flavor from the caramelization. 


This recipe is incredibly easy, and so delicious, it is the best way to enjoy asparagus. I assure you. Bacon makes all things GREAT.



Bacon Wrapped Asparagus with Balsamic Glaze
Ingredients:

1 lb of fresh asparagus
1/2 lb of bacon
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbs honey or maple syrup

Directions:

Remove woody part of the stems by gently bending the spear. The part that snaps off can be discarded. 

Wrap bunches of 4-6 asparagus spears in once slice of bacon.  Arrange bundles in a baking dish.

Bake at 400 for about 15 minutes or until the bacon is crisp.

To prepare glaze, add vinegar and honey/syrup to a small sauce pan. Over low heat bring the mixture to a low boil, and allow it to cook down so it has reduced in volume. You should be left with about 2 tbs of a thick syrup.

Drizzle over bundles before serving and enjoy!
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3.16.2014

iPad Air Giveaway and Cheddar and Potato Oatmeal Rolls



I am hoping to bring the Luck of the Irish to you all a tad today. Not only am I sharing a great moist dense flavor roll recipe, great to pair with you Irish stews tomorrow (St. Patrick's Day). One of you lucky little readers is going to snag their own iPad Air!




To enter in the giveaway scroll past the recipe and follow the directions on the widget (magic box that  has the giveaway info).  Leave a comment so I know you entered. If for some reason you can NOT see it the widget, try changing internet browsers. For some reason many have had issues entering if they are on Internet Explorer. Try something like Chrome, or Firefox.


Cheddar and Potato Oatmeal Rolls
Ingredients:
1 cup mashed potatoes
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup buttermilk
1 tbs salt
1/2 cup butter,melted
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup warm water
4 1/2 tsp active dry yeast ( I like Red Star)
4 1/2-6 cups bread flour
1 egg +1 tbs water (egg washer)

Directions:

In a small bowl combine, warm water, sugar and yeast. All to sit until foamy. Usually about 5 minutes.

In a mixing bowl combine potatoes, cheese, oats, buttermilk, salt, butter, and yeast mixture.

Mix in a 1/2 cup of flour at a time until a dough starts to form. Once the dough has come together into  a ball (and is just barely stick).

Start to knead on a well floured surface for about 6-8 minutes. Or until the dough is nice and elastic.

Turn dough out into a buttered bowl, cover with a dish towel, and set some place warm to rise. (Yeast loves warmth).

Allow dough to double in size, this can vary from time to time. Typically mines takes an hour.

Once dough has risen, punch down and shape into 12 equal dinner rolls and place into greased baking dishes. I used two cake pans, pie plates also work great.

Set rolls aside and allow to rise a second time, until they have doubled in size.

Once doubled, using pastry brush, brush each roll with the egg wash. 

Preheat oven to 350 and bake for about 30 minutes or until golden and baked through.

Best served with a hearty soup or stew.

To enter the giveaway, follow the directions on the box below. Also be sure to check out the blogs that helped sponsor this great giveaway!


Bakeaholic MamaCravings of a LunaticDiethoodCrazy for CrustCrissy PageMiss in the KitchenThe Hopeless HousewifePineapple and CoconutEat Your Heart OutFoodie with FamilyVery CulinaryMom On TimeoutNutmeg NannyThe Lemon BowlRachel CooksRoxana’s Home BakingThe Baker ChickDinners, Dishes, and DessertsEats Well With Others

3.15.2014

~ WÜSTHOF CLASSIC 8-inch Cook's Knife Giveaway~

The following post contains sponsored content. Without the help of brands like Craftsy, I would not be able to take the time to create new recipes for you all.


Most cooks know that quality knives in the kitchen are super important.  Luckily for you all, I have teamed up with Craftsy to give one lucky reader a WÜSTHOF CLASSIC 8-inch Cook's Knife which is valued at about $165!




The heavy 8 inch blade is perfect for cutting and chopping so many things in the kitchen. It's made out of high-carbon stainless steel, is dishwasher safe AND has a lifetime guarantee. 


These knives are the mac daddy's of cutlery. You all need to get yourself some to add to your collection at home! 

 

Remember that great Free Knife Skills Class I took last month? In the class, the instructor Chef Brendan McDermott uses a WÜSTHOF CLASSIC 8-inch Cook's Knife . He talks about the types of knives, how to care for them and most importantly how to use them. 

If you have not checked out the Free Knife Skills Class yet, you really should. I learned so many techniques that have saved me a lot of time, and tears! (Like how to dice an onion and not cry!) I also learned how to correctly dice my herbs used to brighten up  dishes like my Sweet and Sour Chicken Thighs.

Click here to enter to win a WÜSTHOF CLASSIC 8-inch Cook's Knife and register for Craftsy. If you already have a Craftsy account, great! Just log in, and when you click over you are automatically entered! One winner will be chosen by a random number generated. Craftsy will contact the winner, and ship them the prize. Please feel free to leave a comment below, so I know you entered without any issues. 

What will you chop and dice with your new cook's knife if you win??

(Disclaimer: I received monetary compensation to write this post on behalf of Craftsy. However, all opinions are 100% my own. Craftsy has also generously sponsored this giveaway and will be sending one winner the WÜSTHOF CLASSIC 8-inch Cook's Knife . Entrants must be 18 years of age or older, giveaway open world wide. Giveaway is open from 3/15/2014- 3/21/2013 at 11:59 pm)

3.14.2014

Roasted Beet Ravioli with Goat Cheese and Herbs



I get a tad frustrated from time to time, I enjoy cooking and baking so much. But when I try to post recipes that get more pins and page views on my blog, I tend to steer away from the things I love to make.

I've noticed over the years, that recipes that I am most proud of get viewed the least amount of times. However simple recipes like S'more Dip, or Sriracha Chicken Fingers get shared over and over. I love the traffic they generate (this is a business after all traffic = income) but they are not as fun to prepare in my opinion.

When I started my blog in 2011, I wanted to challenge myself and others. I wanted to share my love for food, improve my skills and encourage my following to do the same.

The general public is too busy to take time to improve their skills. We all have jobs, family and obligations that keep us from doing things we love. A lot of people love cake mixes, quick fixes and  20 minutes meals. I don't hate those things either! I love dinners that are easy to prepare. They have a HUGE spot in my life considering I do not have time to make a gourmet dinner every night of the week. But to blog them is just not nearly as fun for me

Today's recipe, probably will hardly get any page views because, it's homemade pasta (ain't nobody got time for that!), and it contains goat cheese. My fans are not huge on goat cheese..... and given the results of a recent poll on facebook. Many people detest beets!

But I just don't care.... facebook followers be darned. I want to share some beets, homemade pasta AND goat cheese. I will still mix it up from time to time and blog something fun and easy..... but for today I'm blogging for my enjoyment.




Try this recipe, you may surprise yourself and find something new that you enjoy eating. Most of all you may learn a new skill. Pasta making is time consuming, but it is so fun. I put music on and get to rolling and shaping and am able to tune out the chaos of everything around me.




Roasted Beet Ravioli with Goat Cheese and Herbs
Recipe adapted from my Pumpkin Ravioli

Ingredients:
For the pasta:
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup semolina flour (if you don't have it, sub for all purpose)
1/2 cup beet puree ( I roast my beets first, directions to follow)
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp  salt

For the filling:
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup chevre (goat cheese)
1 tbs fresh thyme (stems removed)
1 tbs diced chives
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt

For the topping:
1/2 cup of unsalted butter, browned (directions to follow)
salt and pepper to taste
garnish with fresh herbs

Directions:
  
  1. In the bowl of your electric mixer, using your dough hook attachment mix both types of flour, salt, eggs and beet puree together on medium speed until a dough forms and is barely sticky. If you have to you can add 1 tbs of semolina flour in at a time if it is too sticky. 
  2. Knead dough by hand a couple of times to just to ensure is the right consistency. Cover and allow to rest for about 15-20 minutes.
  3. While the dough is resting prepare your filling.
  4. In a mixing bowl, using a fork mix all of the filling ingredients together, set aside until ready to fill ravioli. 
  5. Break off 2 inch balls of dough and flatten with your hands into a disk. Feed through your pasta roller. I use my KitchenAid attachment. You can also roll it out by hand using a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface.
  6.  Once dough has gone through the roller, fold in half and feed through the roller again. Repeat the fold and roll process 5 or 6 times or until the dough is smooth. 
  7.  Once dough is rolled, lay on a lightly floured surface using a sharp knife, cut into 1 1/2-2 inch wide rectangles OR use a ravioli press (I happen to own one)
  8.  Fill  the center of one end of pasta with about 1/2 tbs of your filling. Fold the opposite end up and seal ravioli with a fork.(or again use the press)
  9. Drop into a pot of boiling water, and boil for about 3 minutes or until they float to the top. Strain and place into your serving dish.
  10.  Serve with brown butter, fresh herbs, salt and pepper to taste. 
*To roast your beets, preheat oven to 400 degrees, place beets in a baking dish (skin on, greens removed) drizzle with olive oil, and roast until fork tender. Depending on the size of your beets baking times may vary. Mine took 20 minutes. After the beets are fork tender, remove from oven and cool until they are safe to handle. Run under cold water, and using your thumb rub the skin off. Puree in a food processor, or potato ricer.*
*To prepare brown butter, heat butter in a small sauce pan over medium/low heat. Melt and allow it to slightly brown until it starts to get a nutty/toffee scent. Remove from heat and use as directed.*
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3.12.2014

Dansk Cookware Giveaway

Woohoo! March is full of fun giveaways here on my blog. Today a group of friends and I have teamed up to giveaway this gorgeous Dansk Cookware. To enter, follow the directions on the widget below. Be sure to comment so I know you entered, and then go check out some of the other bloggers who have helped sponsor this event!

The Old Fashioned Vermonter Cocktail





The Old Fashioned Vermonter was created with my husband’s grandfather in mind. Charlie Brown (yes that is really his name) is exactly what you would picture an old Vermonter to look like. He is a lifelong dairy farmer, decked out in red and black plaid, suspenders, straw hat and complete with a thick New England accent. 


This time of year we often visit the family farm and get the tour of the barns, visit the animals, check out the sugar house and always a trip back to milk house for a nip of whiskey. Charlie has a bottle hidden in the milk house(no drinking allowed in their home), as well as some of his famous Maple Thunder... aka knock you on your butt moonshine. 

Though my cocktail may not pack the punch that Charlie’s Maple Thunder does, it is the perfect way to kick back after a hard day’s work. 




The Old Fashioned Vermonter
Yields 1 cocktail

Ingredients:

2 oz whiskey
1 tbs maple syrup
1 tbs lemon juice
Ginger beer

Directions:
Shake whiskey, maple syrup and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker, pour over ice.

Top off with ginger beer. 

~ALSO BE SURE TO ENTER IN MY DANSK GIVEAWAY~ 

3.10.2014

Knock Your Socks Off Slow Cooker Chicken and Sausage





I made this chicken months and months ago, and I keep forgetting to publish the recipe on my blog. It might not be the prettiest dish on the planet, but it's filled with so much big flavor, I can assure you it will be a hit!

It's easy to prepare, creamy, comforting, and family friendly.

3.07.2014

Maple Roasted Parsnip Fries


Do you ever run in to people you deleted off Facebook? Was it totally awkward? Did you play it off like "Oh hiiiiii... it's been so long. How are YOU?" Because that's what I do. I delete people.

Not because they are bad people (well ok, there have been a couple who I think are kinda sketchy). But then there are the ones... Oh we attended preschool together 30 years ago, friend request accepted! And then you realize you do not know them at all. Delete.