Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Lime Sheetcake with Cream Cheese Frosting

So, this may very well be my new favorite cake. In the entire world. I think I may love it even more than lemon cheesecake and I really love lemon cheesecake. I LOVE this cake. It is incredibly moist and just bursting with lime flavor. But not in an overpowering way. It's just right. I wanted to eat the whole darn cake.

I found the recipe via Pinterest and her original frosting was a white chocolate frosting. But after ruining two batches of white chocolate (seriously!?) I decided to ditch the white chocolate and use my favorite cream cheese frosting instead. And I'm so glad I did! I like white chocolate but it often makes things too sweet for my taste and this frosting was the perfect accompaniment to this most perfect cake. Another bonus... it's just a doctored cake mix! Meaning no fail! And I've never tried baking a cake mix in a sheet cake pan (I figured it wasn't enough batter... I'm a little slow sometimes) but it's great in a sheet pan.  It bakes in almost less than half the time and makes twice as much.  It's great for when you're making cake for a crowd.

My husband asked if he could take the rest of it to work and then he offered to charge people for it. Seriously, guys. Go make this cake NOW.

Source: Adapted from Lauren's Latest
Feeds: 32 (although you could easily double that by cutting the pieces smaller)
1 Serving: 253 Calories

18.25 oz. box French Vanilla Cake Mix
1 sm. instant vanilla pudding mix
1/2 cup sour cream
4 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup oil
zest from 2-3 limes (depending on the size of your limes)
Juice from 2-3 limes

Lime Syrup:
1/2 cup Limeade concentrate, defrosted
1/3 + cup powdered sugar

10 oz. cream cheese, softened (NOT TOO SOFT!)
1 cup butter, softened (again, NOT TOO SOFT!)
1 lb. powdered sugar
 pinch of salt (omit if using salted butter)
1 tsp. vanilla
2-3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice

1.  Preheat oven to 350.  Lightly grease/spray a sheet pan.  Set aside.

2.  In a large bowl, combine all the cake ingredients and mix on low for about 30 seconds.  Continue to mix on medium for about 2 minutes, until well mixed. 

3.  Pour into the sheet cake pan and bake for 15-23 minutes.  Cake is done when it springs back when lightly touched.  Set aside to cool for about 30 minutes.

4.  Meanwhile, combine the syrup ingredients and whisk until incorporated and there are no lumps.  Using a skewer, poke holes all over the now slightly cooled cake.  Using a pastry brush, brush the syrup over the top of the cake, being sure to cover every square inch of the cake!  I let it sit for a few minutes and then brushed it several more times.  I ended up brushing it about 3 times.  You'll have leftover lime syrup.  Set the cake aside.

5.  In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese and butter.  Mix until well incorporated.  (Sidenote:  I find frosting tricky.  You have to mix it long enough to mix it well, but if you mix cream cheese too long, it starts to break down and you'll get runny frosting.  Same thing will happen if your cream cheese or butter are too soft.  When you touch the butter, it should leave a slight indentation on top, but your finger shouldn't be able to sink in.)  Add the powdered sugar, salt, vanilla and lime juice and continue to mix until well incorporated.

6. Using a long, offset spatula, frost your cake.  How much frosting you use is up to you.  I actually found that I only used about 2/3 of the frosting, but I haven't found a great way to halve the frosting recipe.  Anyways, frost the cake and store it in the fridge.  Enjoy!


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Cheesy Chicken Potato Skillet

I'm just a little bit addicted to Pinterest at the moment (no, it doesn't take all my time...just most it). The good thing about it though, is that I've tried so many different recipes that I've found on there. I'm actually quite proud of myself for trying new things- it's not like me to try something until after Emily tries it and promises it's edible.

This recipe is one of the ones I found on there. And I even found it on a new food blog to follow! This was not only good, but pretty easy. I have made a few changes though to make it even simpler.

So here you go- enjoy this cheesy, potato-y, chicken-y goodness. Oh and if that wasn't enough- it also has bacon in it! Anything is good with bacon.

As a funny side note- while eating this, my daughter informed me, "I wuuuv bacon!" I've raised her right. :)

Recipe Source: Here

What you'll need:
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed (or 3-4 c. frozen, diced hashbrowns)
4-6 strips of bacon, cooked & crumbled
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1 T. olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
2 c. shredded cheese
Garlic Salt
Cajun seasoning

If peeling and dicing your potatoes- cut them up and boil them until soft. (If using hash browns, wait to add them until later.)

Cook your bacon in a large frying pan (or if you'd prefer, you can bake it as well- bake at 400 F for 17 minutes). Once crispy, remove from heat and allow to cool.  Once cooled, crumble it.

Remove most of the grease from the pan and add your cubed chicken. Season with garlic salt, pepper and cajun seasoning. Heat until cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside with bacon.

If using hash browns, add your hash browns to the pan and heat until almost cooked through. Add your green pepper and onion. If necessary, add some extra oil to saute it. Cook until heated through.

If you boiled your potatoes, add them here once the green pepper and onion have been cooked through.

Once warmed, add your chicken and bacon back in and mix to combine.

Top with 2 c. shredded cheese and wait for the cheese to melt.

Serve warm.

This is really good and with the hash browns- it makes the recipe much faster and you have one less pot to clean.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Peach Crisp with a Maple Cream Sauce

I had a bunch of fresh peaches that needed to be used and I searched and searched the web for a yummy recipe to make something warm and peachy. Everything was cobbler. I didn't want a cobbler. So I gave up and went to my Pioneer Woman cookbook to see if she had anything in there. And Voila! She did not disappoint!

The only problem was that it called for maple syrup- the real maple syrup. I really, really don't like maple syrup. So I almost gave up and kept looking, but I decided to try it anyways. I even went out and bought the real maple syrup stuff- you know the expensive stuff that is like NINE BUCKS A BOTTLE! Ya, ridiculous. was worth it. Mmmm, was it ever! Oh- and I even got to use my new pastry blender- very exciting indeed (now I can tell my hubby that it isn't a useless kitchen tool taking up space!)

What you'll need:

5 to 6 whole fresh peaches
1 c. flour
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. light brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 t. ground cinnamon (I always use a bit more...I heart cinnamon)
1/2 t. ground nutmeg
1/4 t. salt
1 stick butter
1/2 whole lemon
7 T. real maple syrup, divided (not just regular syrup, remember- the expensive stuff!)
1-1/2 c. whipping cream
3 T. light corn syrup


In a medium bowl, mix flour, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt using a fancy-schmany pastry blender (or if you aren't cool like that and your husband also gives you guff about useless kitchen tools, use a fork). Cut the butter into small pieces first and gradually blend into the flour mixture.

Peel and slice your peaches into a bowl. Add the zest from half of a lemon. Squeeze the juice from that half and stir in with the peaches and the zest. Add 2 T. maple syrup to the peaches and stir well.

Pour your peach mixture into a small pan (8x8 or so) and cover evenly with the crumb topping. Cover with foil and bake at 350 F for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 20 to 30 minutes or until crisp and brown on top.

Then, just let it sit while you smell it's goodness. This stuff smells heavenly. I almost didn't want to wait for the maple cream sauce to cool and just about at the entire thing without it!

But if you can wait that long- here are the directions for the Maple Cream Sauce:

Pour your whipping cream into a saucepan. Add 5 T. maple syrup, 3 T corn syrup and stir over moderate heat until thickened and reduced by about one-third (about 15 minutes).

Well, if you are like me, your sauce will have reduced by one-third, not because you cooked it long enough, but because you cooked it hot enough that it boiled all over your stove! Whoops! That was NOT fun to clean up. So, don't be like me, and pay attention to this sauce and don't let it boil all over your stove and create a giant, sticky mess.

Refrigerate your mixture until cold and thick and then drizzle on your warm, peachy goodness. Then devour, but don't forget to share.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Peanut Butter Toffee Cheesecake Brownies

So, I was cleaning out my bookcase a couple weeks ago and this recipe fell out of one of my books. My mom had clipped it from a newspaper for me several years ago, thinking that I would probably love to try it. Peanut butter, cream cheese, and brownies? Yeah, she knows me pretty well! Anyways, I had tucked it away and forgotten all about it but once I found it, I wasn't going to risk losing it again. I decided to make them immediately.

They were, of course, delicious, but with those ingredients, how could they not be? What makes them so great, is that you start with a simple brownie mix as your base and then just dress it up with a delicious peanut butter cream cheese topping. I could have eaten the cream cheese filling with a spoon it was so good.

Recipe Source: Unknown Newspaper article
Yield: 9x13 pan (about 20 generous brownies)

1 (19.5 oz) package fudge brownie mix (I used Betty Crocker)
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup water
2 eggs
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup milk chocolate baking chips
3 Tbsp. whipping cream
3-4 Skor bars (or about 1 1/2 cups of chopped chocolate covered toffee bits... you can buy them in a bag)

1. Heat oven to 350. Lightly coat a 9x13 pan with cooking spray and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, stir brownie mix, oil, water, and eggs about 50 strokes, until well combined. Spread batter into greased pan.

3. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese on medium until nice and fluffy. Add milk and peanut butter; beat until smooth. Now do your very best to spoon the mixture over the brownie batter in the pan. I'm not gonna lie... it's not easy. I was not able to spread it evenly AT ALL. Just do your best and try to get it to cover the majority of the brownie base. It's OK that it's uneven. We cover it with chocolate later!

4. Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until cheesecake layer is set and the edges are light golden brown. I inserted a toothpick all the way down to my brownie layer and had to bake it a little longer so the brownies were a bit more down. Cool for at least 30 minutes and then refrigerate it for another 30-40 minutes.

5. In a small microwaveable bowl, microwave chocolate chips and cream uncovered 40 to 60 seconds or until melted; Stir until smooth. Spread over cooled cream cheese layer. Again it won't be perfectly smooth because your peanut butter layer probably wasn't smooth. That's OK because we're still going to top it with toffee bits!

6. Roughly chop the Skor bars (Or just grab your toffee bits) and sprinkle over the melted chocolate. Cool completely before cutting. Enjoy!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Oreo Cheesecake Cookies

OK, so these may just be one of my new favorite cookies. They are delicious! I made them for my husband and he liked them so much that he asked if he could take the leftovers to work. He NEVER does that! It was the nicest and best compliment!

They're soft and chewy with the perfect texture... they remind me a lot of a sugar cookie recipe I've tried with cream cheese but these are far less work and oh so good. The cream cheese is really pretty subtle and you can eat all the cookie dough you want (without any guilt) because there's no eggs!  Plus, now that I've got the cream cheese cookie base down, I can't wait to try them again with lemon zest and lemon extract for a lemon cheesecake cookie. But these Oreo ones sure are good!

Recipe Source: Collecting the Moments
Yield: The recipe says 1 1/2 dozen, but I doubled it and got 4 1/2 dozen, so it must depend on how big you scoop them.

½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature (I used salted with no problem)
3 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup mini chocolate chips (I didn't have minis so I used regular sized, but I don't think they need any at all)
1 cup Oreo cookie crumbs

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (Don't skip the parchment paper of your bottoms may burn more) and set aside.

2. In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and cream cheese on medium speed until smooth and well-combined.

3. Add the sugar and vanilla extract and mix until the ingredients are well-combined. (I mixed my batter for awhile here and my dough got really nice and fluffy... that may be why I was able to get so many cookies from the recipe.)  Add the flour and mix on low until the flour is incorporated. Stir in the mini chocolate chips with a rubber spatula.

4. Place the Oreo cookie crumbs in a small bowl. Scoop the cookies into about 1½ to 2″ balls (the dough will be very soft but it's not nearly as sticky as I expected and the crumbs hold everything together) and then roll in the cookie crumbs. Place the cookie balls on the baking sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the edges are golden and the tops are slightly puffed.  It's very hard to tell if the edges are golden, so I looked for a "puffed" cookie that had started to "crackle."  Once there were some good cracks along the top, I knew they were done.  Don't overbake!

5. Cool on the pan for 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Glass Block Jell-o

This is the coolest looking jell-o ever! I love it! And not only does it look super cool, it tastes pretty darn good too!

Emily introduced me to this recipe a while back and I just kept forgetting to post it. Once I made it, everyone said they'd heard of it before, but his particular recipe is from Our Best Bites. I'm going to make it again and figured I best post it before I forget where I got the recipe from.  

Here's what you'll need:
4 3-oz. packages assorted Jello (in coordinating colors)

2 packets unflavored gelatin
1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
Spray 4 small food storage containers (like Tupperware/Gladware/Rubbermaid) with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
Bring 5+ cups of water to a boil. Combine 1 c. boiling water with 1 package of Jello, stirring until dissolved. Place the dissolved Jello in one of the prepared containers. Repeat with the remaining packages of Jello. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferable overnight.
When the Jello has set, bring another 1 1/2 c. of water to a boil. While the water is heating, sprinkle 2 packets of unflavored gelatin over 1/2 c. of cold water. Allow to stand for about 4 minutes. When the water is boiling, pour 1 1/2 c. boiling water over the dissolved gelatin and stir to combine. Add the sweetened condensed milk and mix well. Allow to come to room temperature.
Lightly spray a 9×13″ pan with non-stick cooking spray. Carefully cut the colored Jello into cubes and gently toss to combine in the 9×13″ pan. Pour the cooled milk mixture over the colored Jello and, if necessary, rearrange some of the colored Jello to make sure it is evenly distributed and not sticking out of the white mixture too far.
Place the 9×13″ pan in the refrigerator and chill overnight. Cut into squares, rectangles, or various shapes with cookie cutters and serve.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Summer Strawberry Pie

I purchased a Taste of Home pie booklet a little while ago because every pie in there looked absolutely delicious! I've now had that booklet for about 3 months and still haven't tried anything. Story of my life- see yummy cooking magazines, buy them, and then never try anything in them because I'm too lazy to cook. Well not today, my friend!

I finally looked through it, picked a recipe and even bought all the ingredients...and then...get this...I actually made it before all my ingredients rotted in the fridge!! WOHOO!

This pie was not only really yummy, but really easy too. And it even looks pretty! It doesn't get any better than that. It's the perfect combination of a bit sweet (the gelatin mixture) and tart (with the strawberries).

Oh, and be sure to read the recipe correctly and buy enough strawberries for 4 cups, not 4 pounds. We'll be eating strawberries for a while now...

What you'll need:

1 unbaked pastry shell (9 in.)
3/4 c. sugar
2 T. cornstarch
1 c. water
1 pkg. strawberry gelatin (3 oz.)
4 c. sliced strawberries

Unroll your pastry shell in a round pie dish. Cover with two layers of foil and bake at 450 for 8 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

In a saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch and water until smooth. Bring mixture to a boil and stir for 2 minutes or until the mixture has thickened. Remove from heat and stir in the gelatin. Let cool for 15-20 minutes.

Arrange strawberries in your cooked pastry shell. Pour the cooled gelatin mixture over the strawberries and allow to cool in fridge until set.

Slice and enjoy with some whipped cream...or if you are my daughter, just eat the whipped cream by the handful. :)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Waffles of Insane Greatness

They are called this because, 1- they are incredibly good and 2-that's what everyone else calls them in the blogosphere. But let me just tell you...they are mmm, mmm good. These are my hubby's absolute favorite waffles in the world. They are crispy on the outside and fluffy goodness on the inside. They are pretty easy to put together, but just know- they do have to sit for 30 minutes before you can cook them. So plan accordingly. I doubled the recipe below- so it will make about 10 waffles.

Here's what you'll need:
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup cornstarch
1 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
3 tsp. sugar
1 cup milk
1 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

½ tsp. vanilla extract

In a medium sized bowl, mix the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix the milk, buttermilk, oil, egg and vanilla. *Note* If you don't have buttermilk, a little lemon juice mixed with milk will work- just be sure that you let the two sit together for a few minutes to make it buttermilk.

Combine the flour mixture and the liquid mixture until just combined (there may still be a few lumps) and let sit for 30 minutes.

Pour into your waffle maker, wait until they are golden brown and enjoy!


Monday, August 22, 2011

German Keks Kuchen

At long last, here it is, the thing you have been waiting for ever since we left Germany...
The highlight of every German birthday party, the classig Keks Kuchen, or Cookie Cake. The problems in producing it over here were 2 of the main ingredients, the Palmin, and the Cookies. I finally found both. The Palmin is a very hard coconut oil, and using the coconut oil we can get here and making one alteration to the recipe takes care of that problem. The cookies were quite another story. I found these at Honk's and bought 3 packages. But that is not a reliable source, since they buy bulk items and you get the luck of the draw. So if you can't find these, use anything like them, or in a pinch, use clubcrackers and leave out the pinch of salt. It should work.

(One issue of this recipe however is, that it contains raw eggs, three of them in fact, so, if that is a problem, this cake is not for you. Otherwise, generations of Germans have enjoyed it, and it hasn't killed me... so far) So, here is the Recipe:

German Cookie Cake Ingredients

About 54 tea biscuits
7 oz (200gr) coconut oil, melted and cooled
14 T (200gr) sugar
3 T Cocoa
3 T Nesquick chocolate drink powder
1 cup ganache (about 1/3c heavy cream with 1c semisweet chocolate chips, melted together in the microwave (2min) and stirred until smooth, slightly cooled)
a pinch of salt (leave that out if you are using club crackers)
3 eggs


Prepare ganache in the microwave, melt the coconut oil on low on the stove.

Cream the eggs and the sugar until light and creamy. Add the cocoa , salt and Nesquick. Slowly pour the melted coconut oil into mixture, in a fine stream, while beating, then add the ganache in the same way.

Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap. Have the plastic wrap piece big enough to have some hang over the sides. Now spread some of the chocolate filling in the bottom, covering it well (this will be the top of your cake, so don't be stingy, you don't want to have cookies poking thru). 3-4 T of the filling should do.

Next layer in the cookies. Cut them to fit.

Alternate filling and cookies, making sure you cover the entire layer each time.

The next layer would be cookies
Your last layer should be cookies.
Now fold the plastic wrap over the cookies and refrigerate over night. To get the cake out of the pan , if it doesn't come willingly, dip the pan briefly in hot water. Invert it onto a long serving platter, peel the plastic wrap off and smooth the chocolate to cover any cookies that might poke out. I had made way too much ganache, and melted my leftovers and used that to cover any unruely cookies.

The cake tastes best if you let it sit a day or so, because then the cookies get a bit softer. But who can possibly resist this and not cut into it right away?
Oh my goodness! I am 8 again! If I close my eyes, I am back in my mom's kitchen, reliving a cherished moment of my childhood.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Chips

I've been meaning to post this recipe for over a year now. It's one of my very favorite things to eat and I usually have to fight my husband for any since he loves it just as much. The presentation is beautiful, it's delicious, refreshing, and something a little unique. I first saw it on allrecipes several years ago, but I've since seen several versions of it all over the internet so maybe it's not all that unique. It makes a great appetizer or dessert, plus my family loves to snack on the chips plain. I also think the fruit salsa would be great on ice cream. Next time you're looking for something special to bring to a function, give this a try. You won't regret it. It's yummy and delightful! (Scroll down for the recipe for the Cinnamon Chips, too)

As far as an actual "recipe" goes, there is lots of room to play. I'll post what I "usually" use in mine, but feel free to substitute whatever fruit is in season or what you have on hand. I usually try to incorporate as many colors as possible, but once you add any berries, it all turns red anyways, so I guess that's not as important. I always use apples and I always use strawberries. Everything else I use is based on what's available and what's on sale at the grocery store! Also, the added sugar can vary from batch to batch depending on how sweet your fruit is and what fruit you add.

Fruit Salsa
Serves 10-12

2 apples, diced (Sometimes I peel them, sometimes I don't... it's a personal preference)
1 lb. strawberries, diced
1-2 peaches, peeled, and diced
2-3 kiwis, diced
8 oz. blackberries (or raspberries or blueberries, etc.)
1-3 Tbsp. white sugar (add 1/2 Tbsp. at a time, so it doesn't get too sweet)
2-3 Tbsp. Jelly or runny Jam
Juice from 1/2 a lime

Other fruit that works well: Mangoes, Pineapple, Oranges, Plums, etc.  Simply substitute one of these for one of the amounts up above.

Not much by way of instructions here.  Simply chop your fruit as finely as you like... I prefer mine diced pretty finely to get more of a salsa consistency but I've seen it chopped in large pieces, too.  Once the fruit has been diced, toss it together gently.

Add lime juice, sugar and jelly at the end to achive desired sweetness and consistency.  Keep in mind that the sugar will draw out the juices from the fruit making it juicier and runnier, so the longer it sits, the runnier it will get.  Keep that in mind when deciding how much jelly to add.

Also, if color is a concern, then remember to add your berries last, right before serving.  They'll stain all the other fruit and make everything appear simply red.  The lime juice, however, will keep your fruit from browning.

Cinnamon Chips

Cinnamon Sugar (Mixture of 3/4 cup white sugar and 4 Tbsp. Cinnamon)
Butter or Cooking Spray
Flour Tortillas  (I usually use about 6-8 large tortillas or at least 10 of the mini sized tortillas)
Pastry Brush

1.  Preheat your oven to 350.  Line a large cookie sheet with tin foil.

2.  Brush one side of a tortilla with softened/melted butter or simply spray with cooking spray.

3.  Liberally sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

4.  Cut into triangles using a pizza cutter.

4.  Place on cookie sheet and bake until crisp, about 8-10 minutes.  You'll know they're done once the edges start to curl slightly and they're lightly browned.  They will continue to crisp up once they're removed from the oven.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Pepper Encrusted Salmon

This continues to be one of my favorite ways to prepare salmon.  It's simple, quick, and full of flavor.  The ground pepper does tend to give it some kick, so if you have eaters sensitive to spicy food, you may want to cut back on the amount of pepper you use.  In my house, I don't really care so much about the feelings' of my spicy eaters, so I coat the salmon in ground pepper!

This is best on the grill, so the pepper coating creates a bit of a "crust."  I  usually just use my counter top grill, but it also works great on an outdoor grill.  However, make sure to grease your grill grates because fish does tend to stick and makes a mess to get off.

4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, crushed
4 tablespoons lemon juice
24 ounces salmon
1/2 tablespoon pepper or have a peppermill handy
4 tablespoons olive oil

1.  Combine soy sauce, crushed garlic cloves, and lemon juice in a plastic bag. Add skinned salmon and marinate, refrigerated, for about 30 minutes.

2.  Pat the salmon dry with paper towels and coat salmon, both sides, with ground pepper--you will use a lot of pepper, but don't worry! I just cover both sides liberally with freshly ground pepper.
3.  Grill the salmon, turning once about halfway. Fish is done when it flakes easily with a fork.  It doesn't take long, so watch carefully that you don't overcook it, or you'll end up with tough fish.  Serve with some fresh lemon wedges.  

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Sopapilla Chessecake Squares

  • Emily told me that she made these awhile ago, but I thought they sounded kinda weird, so didn't even considering trying them. Then she planned to make them at our family reunion a few weeks ago and I still thought she was weird (especially since she accidentally bought garlic crescent rolls...) 

  • But then I tried them. 

  • Ooooh, these are so dang good!! Let's just say I was very pleasantly surprised by how delicious they were and quickly tried to eat as many as I could before the rest of my family tried to! The crispy cinnamon-sugar layer on top is simple divine and the cheesecake part is so good! And the best part about them? They couldn't be easier to make!

What you need:

  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican vanilla extract
  • 2 (8 ounce) cans refrigerated crescent rolls
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup butter - 1/3 cup butter, softened or melted

Preheat the oven to 350.

Lightly grease a 9x13 pan. Unroll one can of crescent rolls and press all the edges together so that you have a large 9x13 rectangle. Lay it in the bottom of the 9x13 pan.

Mix the cream cheese, 1 c. sugar and vanilla together until smooth. Spread evenly over your bottom layer of cresent rolls. 

Unroll your next crescent roll package and do the same as before, and lay on top of your cream cheese mixture.

Melt your  butter and spread evenly over the top crescent roll layer. Use enough butter to cover the top generously but I try not to let it pool too much.

In a small bowl. combine the 3/4 c. sugar and cinnamon. This might seem like a lot of cinnamon-sugar, but it's so yummy on top. Sprinkle it very generously over the butter (you may not use all of it.... but use it generously) and bake it for 30-35 minutes (until the top is golden brown).

Let cool completely and cut into squares. They actually taste better once they've been refrigerated for a while.

These are sooooooo good! Enjoy!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Austrian Yoghurt Creme

This is a dessert we enjoyed when we visited with Aunt Rosi in Salzburg. I tried it for the first time today, and yes indeed, it was worth getting the recipe.

For 4 very large or 8 smaller servings you will need:

250 gr (a little more than 1cup) plain yoghurt
100 gr (1/2 cup) sugar
1 package gelatine
200gr (about 1 cup) of heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup liquid ( I used berry juice)
1/2 t vanilla

Beat the cream until stiff, add the vanilla. Mix the sugar with the yoghurt. In a small pot sprinkle the gelatine over the liquid. Once the gelatine has absorbed most of the liquid, heat it gently until it dissolves, let it cool a few minutes and then add to the yoghurt in a small stream with the beaters running. When it is well mixed in, lift in the whipped cream with a wire wisk.

Pour into 4-8 dessert bowls and chill for a few hours until firm.

Serve with Naked juice (I loved it with the Mango one) poured over, or try a berry topping, by pureeing different kinds of berries with a little sugar in the blender.

Take a big bite, close your eyes and feel yourself transported to Salzburg.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Homemade White Bread

My hubby and I were talking yesterday about childhood memories. Both of us mentioned that our Moms would make homemade bread and that that was a really fond memory for both of us. We each loved coming home from school to the smell of freshly baked bread. After sharing this with each other, Topher looked at me expectantly. "So, do you ever want to make homemade
bread?" Ha! And here I had thought we were just reminiscing. Nope. He was trying to hint to me that I wasn't fulfilling my wifely duties of baking him fresh bread! So. This morning, I decided to remind him that I'm good for something. :) So I looked online and found this recipe that had some pretty good reviews. I had been so nervous about making homemade bread. "It's homemade! And it's bread! That means it uses yeast! " But, I soon realized I was worried for no reason. The recipe I used ended up being easy to put together and tasted great. I hope your
results are positive too!

2 pkg. Yeast
2 C. warm water
1/3 C. sugar
2 tsp. salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 C. melted butter
6 1/2- 7 C. flour

In a large bowl dissolve yeast in the warm water. Add the sugar, salt, eggs, butter and 3 cups of flour. Beat this until smooth. Stir
in enough remaining flour (for me this was 3 1/2 more cups) to form a soft dough. You don't want the dough to be too sticky, or too tough. If it is sticking all over your fingers, add more flour. If there's a little bit of stick, that's just fine.
Now put the dough on a floured countertop. Begin to knead it. Really just pushing, punching, massaging, and folding it over itself. Knead for about 6-8 minutes, adding flour as you go to make it less sticky, and eventually getting the soft, smooth feel of a baby's bottom. :)
Grease a large bowl, place the dough inside, cover with a dish towel and place somewhere
warm to rise. I like to turn on the surface light on my microwave. You know, that light that shines on your stovetop from the bottom of your microwave? That warms the inside bottom of your microwave just enough to make it a warm place for happy rising to happen. :)
Let it rise for about 45 minutes to an hour. It just needs to double in size.
Once that has happened, punch it down, and separate it into two equal parts. Grease the bottom and sides of 2 loaf pans with butter, crisco or Pam, then cover and let rise for another 45 minutes to an hour.
Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes, or until a very light golden brown. When it's done, remove it from the loaf pans and let it cool on a cooling rack. Take a stick of butter and slick the top of the loaves with it, that will give it a nice sheen and that's what Topher's mom always did and it made him happy. :)
Eat with butter and jam, turkey and cheese, or tomatoes
basil and mozzarella! We tried all of the above and they all tasted great!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Blueberry Muffins

My little girl and I went blueberry picking the other day and came home with a couple pounds of big, fresh blueberries. I decided I wanted to make blueberry muffins, blueberry pancakes and a chicken salad with blueberries. As of this morning I can check off the muffins! I had wanted to make my sister's Lemon Blueberry Muffins, but I didn't have all the necessary ingredients. So I found this one on Taste of Home and was really happy with it. It wasn't as "light and fluffy" as I usually love my muffins to be, but it was still a darn good muffin. Throw in the fact that it was
easy, and tasted as good if not better than a muffin mix, and the recipe
definitely gets my vote.

1/2 C. butter, softened
1 C. sugar
2 eggs
1/2 C. milk
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. grated lemon peel
2 C. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
Dash of Salt
2 C. fresh or frozen blueberries

1 1/2 C. Powdered Sugar
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. butter melted
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time mixing well after each
addition. Toss in your milk, lemon juice and lemon peel, mix well. Co
mbine the flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl and add into liquid mixture. Fold in the berries.
Put into paper muffin cups and bake at 400 for 25-30 minutes.

For the Glaze:
Combine all the ingredients! Beat well. :)
Once your muffins are out of the oven, remove them to a cooling rack. I put the glaze in a little ziploc bag, cut off a tiny corner and drizzled it over the muffins that way, but I'm sure you could just use a spoon and drizzle it that way as well. I just found the baggy worked great for me because the glaze isn't very runny and I didn't want clumps of glaze on the muffins.