Tag Archives: holiday

Cookie Dough Fudge

19 Dec

Cookie Dough Fudge

I am getting awfully excited for Christmas. It’s less than a week away—pretty hard to believe it snuck up on me this fast! I love to give treats away for Christmas. They’re obviously the perfect gift because they’re from the heart, homemade, rather inexpensive, and for the stomach. What more could you want?

This fudge is ridiculously easy. You don’t need to use a candy thermometer or worry about exact times to get the right consistency here. It’s all in the sugar! (No, really, it really does depend on how much powdered sugar you use.)

I whipped up a batch of this for a holiday potluck and have leftovers in my fridge to give away to any holiday visitors. I always feel the need to have a homemade treat on hand–you never know who you might need to give it to!

Cookie Dough Fudge

Start by making your cookie dough.

Cookie Dough Fudge

Now start the fudge base by combining butter, brown sugar, and half-and-half in a pan.

Cookie Dough Fudge

Heat on medium-low until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves.

Cookie Dough Fudge

Remove from heat and add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time. Stir until smooth after each addition.

Cookie Dough Fudge

 

Keep stirring until smooth and very thick.

Cookie Dough Fudge

After the last cup of powdered sugar is added, stir well until very, very smooth.

Cookie Dough Fudge

Toss in the cookie dough and stir to incorporate evenly.

Cookie Dough Fudge

Sprinkle in the chocolate chips and stir to combine.

Cookie Dough Fudge

Spread in a parchment-lined pan, and refrigerate until set.

Cookie Dough Fudge

Cut into bite-sized, 1-inch pieces. (more…)

Molasses Cookies and The Second Annual Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap

12 Dec

This year I had the pleasure of participating in the Second Annual Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. Basically, a long, fancy name for a good, ol’ fashioned cookie exchange. Don’t mind if I do.

Here’s how it worked: Lots of food bloggers signed up to participate in this cookie swap, which was organized by Love & Olive Oil and The Little Kitchen (two absolutely amaaaazing food blogs, drool drool yum yum hungry hungry). Once everyone signed up, you receive 3 matches who you will send cookies to, and 3 other people are assigned to send cookies to me. These 3 matches are kept secret until cookie time. When it came time (last week), I baked 3 dozen cookies–1 dozen for each of my secret matches–and sent them on their merry way.

It was fun to check out my secret matches’ food blogs, too. I can never have too many food blogs to read, I tell ya. If you want to see the wonderful ladies who I sent cookies to, check out Lacey from Small Town Cookie, Fran at Fran’s Favs, and Lauren at A Picture Journey. They are talented, talented bakers!

I also got some cookies of my own! Many many thanks to Rosie at ForkPenMouth for Buckwheat Cocoa Nib Shortbread Cookies, Amanda at Culinary Quirks for the most incredible Strawberry Cheesecake Sandwich Cookies (my husband devoured these in minutes), and Tina at The Daily Bite for melt-in-your-mouth Italian lemon cookies!

Here’s the recipe I made for the cookie swap. These are classic, thin, chewy molasses cookies. My husband calls them Christmas cookies because they seriously do taste JUST LIKE CHRISTMAS. I used to call them brain cookies because I would just plop the dough dough on the cookie sheet and after they baked, I thought they looked like brains. (I know, really mature.)

This cookie swap has really gotten me in the Christmas spirit. Happy Christmas cookies to all!

Beat together the melted butter and brown sugar until light and smooth in texture, about 3 minutes.

Add your egg, and beat a little more.

Pour in that rich, thick molasses.

In another bowl, toss together the flour, baking soda, salt, and all those Christmassy spices.

Add the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar mixture, and stir by hand just until combined. Refrigerate dough for an hour or two.

Form little balls and roll into the white sugar.

Bake for 8-10 minutes until crackly on top. (more…)

Thanksgiving Recipe Roundup

21 Nov

Still not sure what to make for Thanksgiving TOMORROW??? Freak out!! No need to stress, just take a look at some of my favorite dishes that are perfect for holidays.

If you’re looking for an alternative to the ol’ mashed potatoes and gravy, why not try my rich Scalloped Potatoes? Even though these are 100 percent savory and main-dish-worthy, I tend to think of this dish as an almost dessert. Why, you ask? They’re that good! I just want more and more of them after I’ve cleaned my plate.

OK, so I don’t have any classic turkey recipes, but let’s say you’re shunning that whole tradition and want pork instead. And why  not? (And maybe all of the turkeys are sold out at this point, anyway.) Why not try my favorite Roast Pork recipe? The pork is tender, flavorful, and, best of all, simple!

As far as sides go, look no further than my past post of Baked Pineapple Stuffing. It’s a classic for my in-laws, and once you’ve tried it, you won’t regret it!

If you’re like me and hoard as many carbs as possible on holidays, check out my White Sandwich Bread. It’s classic carbs all the way.

And now for desserts. You might be running out of steam by the time dessert baking rolls around. If that’s the case, I won’t blame you for one second if you whip up a batch of easy Chocolate Chip Cookies.

And there you have it, folks. A few more ideas to stress you out ease your holiday cooking load. Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Broccoli Casserole

14 Nov

Food has a sentimental effect on me. I just celebrated my wedding anniversary this week, and you better believe I can’t think of my wedding day without thinking about food.

The night before my wedding day, I stayed up late making batch after bath of homemade butter caramels to give out as favors to my wedding guests. Thankfully I had a troupe of workers (a.k.a. select family and friends) to cut and individually wrap them in parchment paper and fold cute, little favor boxes. Needless to say, it was stressful.

And yet, I look back with so much pride and the utmost sentimentality when I think of all those caramels that I made with love.

What do you make that’s chock-full of memories and love?

This is a casserole recipe, and, by golly, casseroles always feel sentimental and homey to me. In honor of Thanksgiving coming up next week, I wanted to share an alternative to that green bean casserole. It’s very similar—but made with broccoli instead of green beans and incredibly easy. It even has those tasty french fried onions on top! Happy casserole baking!

Start by gently steaming or cooking your broccoli.

Mix together the soup, milk, soy sauce, pepper, 2/3-cup onions, and 1/2 cup cheese. OK, so it doesn’t look the most appetizing yet. Just give it time!

Combine the cooked broccoli and soup mixture in a casserole dish.

Bake for 25 minutes, then top with remaining cheese and french fried onions. Bake for another 5 minutes, or until the cheese melts. (more…)

Roast Pork

22 Aug

Somehow I keep reading articles that point to my imminent, impending death. For example, I stumbled upon “5 Foods That Can Trigger a Stroke” and before realizing what the article was really about, I was getting hungry for some of my all-time favorite foods: bacon, doughnuts, red meat, chips, you get the idea. (You’re welcome for adding the link for your fearful viewing pleasure.)

Health concerns freak me out. It seems like no matter how healthy you try to be, you will die  YOU WILL DIE because of something you could’ve done better. (My original intention was not to turn this post into a morbid one, but, alas.)

One of my absolute weaknesses is steak. I love me a hunk-a-good steak done medium, thankyouverymuch. I especially love it because I can’t seem to make it at home as delicious as restaurants can, so it feels extra special to order it when I’m eating out.

This recipe for roast pork is a fantastic alternative to the red meat dilemma. It’s just as delicious and tender as a good steak, and it makes a large enough portion to serve at a holiday dinner or to save some leftovers.

I’ve been eating this roast pork since I was a kid at my abuelita’s house. It’s a classic meat served with Puerto Rican holiday meals. So enjoy, from my family to yours.

The day before cooking, mix together your marinade of vinegar, oil, garlic, oregano, and salt.

Score the meat in diagonal diamond shapes.

Rub the marinade onto the pork and into the grooves. Marinate in the refrigerator overnight or at least for a few hours before cooking.

Cook on low heat for a few hours, testing the doneness with a meat thermometer. (more…)

Creamed Spinach

26 Jul

We have two adorable kittens. (OK, I guess they’re officially cats because they’re a year old, but I still think of them as my baby kittens.)

One of the cats is good and one is bad. One of them is mine and one of them is my husband’s. Can you guess which is which?

The best part about having two cats rather than one is that they are sisters and are incredibly affectionate with each other. Even though I love my good kitty more than my husband’s naughty one, it just fits having both of them.

Sometimes it’s genius to combine good and bad (a.k.a. in food-speak to combine “healthy” and “unhealthy”). Creamed spinach is one of those combinations. Obviously spinach is healthy and desirable, but what’s up with the delicious creamed part? Probably not so healthy.

Here’s my adapted version of creamed spinach. It’s not as unhealthy as you might guess—in fact, there’s no actual cream in this recipe (just whole milk). The onion, shallot, and garlic add some subtle flavor that take this up a notch.

Because spinach shrinks so much when cooked, don’t expect this to feed a crowd of people; plan on it feeding about two.

Wilt spinach in batches and cook until tender.

Heat milk just until it simmers.

Get your chopped onion, shallot, and garlic ready. Then add it to the pan with the melted butter.

Whisk in your flour.

Gradually pour in the heated milk and cook until thick and creamy.

Stir in the spinach and cook just until heated through.

Top with salt and pepper. (more…)

Red Velvet Cupcakes for Independence Day

2 Jul

What is it about bad fashion that I find so darn enticing? Don’t get me wrong, I love me some trendy styles, but I can’t help myself when it comes to the cheesiest, outdated fads.

One of my all-time favorite wardrobe pieces are jean overalls. Overalls, you’re thinking. You must be joking. Nope, not joking.

I think overalls are adorable. You can get them all dirty, you can wear them over anything, and they look cute on everybody. OK, that last part might be stretching it a teeny bit. Nevertheless, they won’t go out of style in my book.

Here’s something else timeless: a little, old recipe for red velvet cupcakes. This recipe comes from Ryan’s grandmother, loving known as “MomMom” to the grandkids. You know you can’t go wrong when you’re using a trusty grandma recipe. Thanks, MomMom.

This makes a rich, thick batter. The cupcakes themselves are nowhere too dense, though—they are the perfect balance of crumb and density. The frosting is light and airy. A perfect topper to contrast the indulgent cupcakes. See for yourself.

Ooh la la! (And not even frosted yet!)

Stir together flour and salt. Set aside.

Cream together sugar and shortening.

Crack in an egg.

Beat until smooth.

Combine cocoa and red food coloring.

Whisk away.

Add cocoa/food coloring mix to creamed mixture. Beat until smooth.

In 3 additions, add in flour mixture.

Alternating, of course, with your buttermilk in 2 additions.

 

Be a scientist and combine vinegar and baking soda. Watch it bubble.

Add baking soda/vinegar mixture to batter. Then add your vanilla. Beat until smooth.

Fill your cups 2/3-way full. (I love how red these are!)

Bake 20-25 minutes. Let cool while making your frosting.

For the frosting, start by combining milk and flour in a small saucepan.

Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes until it thickens

Set aside to cool and cover with plastic wrap.

In another bowl, combine shortening, butter, sugar, and vanilla.

Beat until light and fluffy.

Add cooled milk mixture.

Beat until it’s the consistency of whipped cream.

Divide the frosting into half white, half blue, and frost away. Happy Independence Day! (more…)

Scalloped Potatoes

23 May

Karma. You never really think much about it until you want to believe in it.

About a month ago, a girl left a note on my car saying that she accidentally hit the back bumper when she was pulling out. She said she saw a scratch but didn’t think it was very noticeable. (The paint is peeling quite a bit already on my old beauty.) She left her phone number and name. When I got the note, I just smiled. My car is old. We were planning on listing it on Craigslist to sell it anyway. One more scratch wasn’t going to do much damage. I decided to send her a text message telling her not to worry about the scratch, and I thanked her for leaving a note. She was obviously relieved. I felt nice and sunshiney.

Now to the karma part.

Last week I scored two great deals at a coffee shop’s going-out-of-business sale. They were selling furniture, wall art, machinery, the whole bit. I was pleased to get a three-tier glass cake stand and a huge corkboard for $10 each (after some negotiations). I was feeling great as I walked outside with my treasures. I fleetingly admired a shiny black Mercedes-Benz parked beside me in the parking lot then went on with my life. I gingerly set the corkboard against my car as I loaded the cake stand in my trunk. Then came a gust of wind, and have you guessed yet? The corkboard went scraaaaaaaatch against the side of that previously admired Mercedes-Benz. My heart dropped. The good deal I just got on the corkboard was forever stained.

I knew what I had to do. I left a note very similar to the one I received a month ago. I left my name and number and my biggest apologies. Then came the waiting game. My day was ruined, and I felt terrified. Paint jobs on luxury cars? Not cheap.

I kept hoping that the karma wind would blow in my favor. Didn’t I just do a good deed on this same scale a month ago? (Granted, my car is junk and this car is a work of art.) But still, I hoped for that good karma. A day went by, no call. Two days, three days, four days, no call. One week, no call. I am slowly exhaling a tentative sigh of relief.

So far, karma is on my side.

Here’s a dish celebrating my (fingers-crossed) good karma. It’s so rich and creamy, I almost feel like it’s a decadent, savory dessert. This is a great side for the holidays. People feel better about indulging then. And this is an indulgent potato dish.

Chop leeks and throw them in a pan to cook until tender.

Slice your potatoes into thin rounds.

Spread potatoes, leeks, and cheese on the first and second layers.

Pour hot cream over the third and final layer.

Bake until bubbly and golden brown. (more…)

Baked Pineapple Stuffing

11 Apr

There are a few perks to being newly married. You stick your dirty laundry somewhere in the middle of your husband’s laundry pile, chances are he’ll wash your clothes, no questions asked, no harm done. (Of course, that only applies if he does his own laundry.) You automatically have a cool friend to hang out with every Friday night (and Saturday night and Sunday night and Monday night and Tuesday night and Wednesday night and Thursday night). (more…)