Thursday, December 24, 2009

Chocolate Chip Cookies

This chocolate chip recipe is our absolutely favorite, so far (I'm always up for trying new recipes), and trust me, I've tried many recipes. It comes from one of the Lion House cookbooks. I've tried adjusting it to make it better and nothing I've done surpasses the original recipe other than adding more chocolate than it calls for.

This recipe makes a BIG batch, about 6 dozen regular-sized cookies. But I like to use my big cookie scoop and with that I usually get about 4 dozen.

We made these today for Santa to enjoy tonight. And I KNOW he will!

Here's what you'll need:

1 3/4 C. softened butter (not melted at all)
1 3/4 C. brown sugar
1 1/4 C. granulated sugar
4 eggs
5 1/2 T. water (strange, I know, but don't leave it out or substitute it with anything else)
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
6 C. flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
4 C. chocolate chips (2-12 oz. bags)

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars. Add eggs, water, and vanilla; mix until creamy. Add flour, salt, and baking soda; mix well. Gently fold in chocolate chips, mixing only until chips are evenly distributed.
In these pictures I used a combiniation of semi-sweet, milk, and white chocolate chips.

Drop by spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. If using the large cookie scoop you'll need to cook them for about 12 or 13 minutes. If using a convection oven, take two minutes off of the cooking time.

So, so very good!
I hope you all have a very merry Christmas!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Cookie Exchange

Today I hosted my fifth annual cookie exchange. It was so much fun and the goodies were amazing!! I'm sharing some of them with you. Enjoy!

Read on...

Oreo Truffles

This is what I made for the cookie exchange. It's from Kraft Foods, but altered by my brother, Kevin. From what I hear, these are way better than what Kraft has published.

Here's what you'll need:

1 (1 lb. 2 oz.) pkg. Oreo cookies, crushed and divided
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese
1/4 C. chocolate syrup
16 oz milk or semi-sweet chocolate, melted

Mix 3 cups of the cookie crumbs and the cream cheese until well blended. Add chocolate syrup and mix well. Shape into 42 (1-inch) balls. Freeze for at least 30 minutes to firm.  Dip balls in melted chocolate; place on waxed paper-covered baking sheet. Sprinkle with remaining cookie crumbs. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm. Store any leftover truffles in a tightly covered container in the fridge.

One of my friends said that these truffles are the kind of things that you would roll over and die for. They're pretty darn good!! Try them and you'll see!

Hershey Bar Candy

Jacque brought these little balls of HEAVEN! And I just noticed that they aren't on the picture of the plate of goodies. We ate them all. Hee hee. Oops!

Here's what you'll need:

3 large (4.4 oz.) Hershey bars
2 (8 oz) cartons of cool whip, room temp.
1 box vanilla wafers

Melt the Hershey bars in a double boiler. Let completely cool. Add the cool whip. Let sit in fridge for a while. Make into walnut-sized balls. Roll in crushed vanilla wafers.

You can try using Hershey bars with almonds or Symphony bars. You can also substitute crushed almonds for the vanilla wafers.

Super easy and super yummy - LOVE IT!!!

Pistachio Cookies

My friend, Shanna, brought these amazing cookies. I'd never tried them, nor heard of them before, but absolutely LOVED them! These are the little green cookies with white frosting and chocolate drizzled on top.

Here's what you'll need:

1/3 C. powdered sugar
1 C. butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
3 pkgs. pistachio pudding
1 egg
2 C. flour
1 C. milk chocolate

Beat ingredients together and bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes.

1 1/2 C. powdered sugar
1 T. butter
1 tsp. almond extract
1 pkg. cream cheese
1-3 T. milk

Caramel & Chocolate Dipped Pretzels

A couple of weeks ago, a bunch of my friends came over to learn how to make these SUPER yummy pretzels. My friend, Robyn, is the pro at it and she taught us all how to do it. Here's what I learned...

Make the caramel.

1 C. butter
2 C. packed brown sugar
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 C. light corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla

In a heavy 3-quart saucepan, combine butter, brown sugar, milk and corn syrup; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook and stir until mixture reaches 248 degrees (firm ball stage) on candy thermometer, about 30-40 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla.

Use a spoon to cover long pretzel rods with caramel.

Place on a well greased cookie sheet.

When you are done covering your pretzels, let the caramel mostly cool. Then mold the caramel to make the flat side rounded.

Chop nuts and crush Oreos.
Melt milk chocolate chips in a tall microwavable glass. In another glass, melt white chocolate. Cover caramel with chocolate.

Then roll in nuts or Oreos (or anything you want).

Lay on wax paper or parchment paper to let the chocolate set up.

You can drizzle pretzels with a contrasting chocolate.

Put the finished pretzel rods into clear, tall goodie bags. Tie with ribbon and raffia for WONDERFUL neighbor gifts for Christmas!

We had some extra caramel that we poured into a shallow plastic container, let cool, then cut into pieces.

Try this recipe. It takes some time, but these are soooooooooooooo worth it!!!! Thank you, Robyn, for teaching me!!

Monday, December 7, 2009


Several months ago I put together a community cookbook and this recipe comes from it. It's actually my friend, Shanna's recipe. We made them Saturday morning for breakfast with scrambled eggs and smoked sausage and everyone loved them!

Here's what you'll need:

3 C. flour
1/4 C. sugar
1 1/2 T. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
3/4 C. shortening (we like butter-flavored shortening)
1 egg, beaten
1 C. milk

Mix dry ingredients together. Cut in shortening. In a seperate bowl, mix beaten egg and milk. Add to dry mixture. Roll out to about 3/4 inch thickness. Cut with a 2-inch round cutter. Place about 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 450 degrees for about 15 minutes.

Sooooooo good breakfast!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

I'm finally posting! Yay!! My kids are all napping, except for the one that's in school, and instead of me laying down too, I'm posting. I am so proud of myself!!!!

The reason why I have to post rather than sleep (and I do value sleep) is because I just made these super yummy cookies and I HAVE to share them with you!!

These are super easy to make and super yummy to eat and so perfect for the season! Try them, you might like them too.

Here's what you'll need:

1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
2 eggs
3/4 C. oil
2 C. sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. ginger
4 C. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 T. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 (12 oz) pkg. semi sweet chocolate chips

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Mix the pumpkin, eggs, oil, sugar, and spices until well blended. In another bowl, mix the dry ingredients. Combine with the wet; fold in chocolate chips. Drop onto a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake for 11 minutes with a regular oven or 9 minutes with a convection oven. Remove immediately from pan and cool on a wire cooling rack.

You see - super easy! You can even add several drops of red food coloring to give them a brighter pumpkin color (that's what the bakeries do). Mmmmmmmmmm!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Thank You!

I just wanted to say a big "THANK YOU" to all of you who came out to see me at the craft fair on Saturday. It was so fun to meet some of you and learn what a small world it is. Thank you so much for your support in what I love to do. I had a really great time and am already looking forward to future craft fairs!

Me at my little booth

I'll be getting back to recipe posts this week, so keep an eye out for them!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Need I Say More?

Come see me at the craft fair tomorrow!
(Details in the previous post.)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Craft Fair

I just wanted to let everyone know that I won't be posting this week. Instead, I'll be getting ready for a craft fair this weekend!

Come visit my booth - Sweet Treats - where I'll be selling my mini cheesecakes that are seriously to die for!!

Here are the details:

Saturday, Nov. 14th
10 am - 5 pm
Rigby High School in Rigby, Idaho

I hope to see you there!!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Citrus Jello Salad

This recipe comes from a neighbor who is a very good cook, Virginia. She's like a legend around here. If you try any of her recipes, you know they'll be good!

In my hubby's family, there are two Jello salads that we all adore - this Citrus Jello Salad and Pistachio Pudding Salad (I'll have to get that one posted sometime). We lovingly refer to them now as Orange Fluff and Green Fluff.

So enjoy today's Orange Fluff (Citrus Jello Salad)! We do!!

Here's what you'll need:

2 C. boiling water
1 small box orange Jello
1 small box instant vanilla pudding
2 small cans mandarin oranges
1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapple
1 (12 oz) container Cool Whip, thawed

Stir Jello into the boiling water, off the heat, until completely dissolved. Add pudding and stir until it starts to thicken slightly.

Let mixture cool (I put it into the fridge to speed up the process). Spoon mixture into a large serving bowl and fold in drained oranges and drained pineapple.

Or you can add the fruit when it's still in the saucepan, like I did here, and then put it into the large serving bowl.

Fold in Cool Whip. Cover and refrigerate until set.

Yum, yum, yum!!!

Yummy St. Louis Potatoes

Several years ago, I flew out to visit my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Marc and Shannon, in St. Louis. They are both very good cooks, but each in their own way. Marc can whip up anything with no recipe at all and have it turn out amazing. Shannon is more like me. We're good cooks when we find good recipes to follow. (I hope I'm not offending you by saying this, Shan!)

Well, she came up with this recipe all on her own. And I think it's pretty safe to say that this is my all-time FAVORITE potato recipe! It is sooooooo very good and very easy to make. So bless Shannon for coming up with this terrific recipe!!!

Here's what you'll need:

2 potatoes, sliced thin
1 onion, sliced into circles
3 T. butter, melted
galic powder
1 C. Parmesan cheese, shredded

Place thinly sliced potatoes into a greased 15x18x1 inch pan. Drizzle butter over potatoes. Top with onion rings and GENEROUSLY sprinkle with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Finish with Parmesan cheese and bake at 450 degrees for 25 minutes.


Raspberry Pretzel Salad

My sister-in-law, Valerie, is the wonderful saint who introduced me to this salad. And, yes, I consider this a salad - a side dish. Some people consider it a dessert. But no, no, not me. I happily eat this right along with my main dish. FAB-U-LOUS!!!

This recipe takes some time to set up. So either make this the night before you'll need it or the morning of.

It is sweet and salty, crunchy and creamy. A truly fantastic recipe!!

Here's what you'll need:

Crust -
2 C. crushed small twisted pretzels (that's a little more than half a 1lb. bag)
3 T. sugar
3/4 C. melted butter

Combine and press into a 9x13 inch pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 4 minutes. DO NOT OVERBAKE! Let cool.

While the crust is cooling, start on the second layer -
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 C. sugar
1 (8 oz) container Cool Whip, thawed

Cream these ingredients together until nice and smooth. Spread over the cooled crust, completely covering the crust. Leave NO holes or else you'll have a soggy crust.

Now for the third layer -
1 (6 oz) pkg. raspberry Jello
2 C. boiling water
1 1/2 (12 oz) bags frozen raspberries

Dissolve Jello in boiling water off of the heat. Add the frozen raspberries. Stir until Jello starts to set slightly (a couple of minutes). Then spread over cream cheese layer. Cover and refrigerate until completely set.

You can use strawberry Jello and the sliced frozen strawberries, or you can do raspberry Jello with huckleberries. They are all VERY good!! You have to try this if you have never had this before. And if you have, you'll just have to make it again!

Garlic Smashed Potatoes

Out here in potato country, I'm always trying to come up with yummy ways to use potatoes. When I came across a recipe from Martha Stewart for Garlic Mashed Potatoes, I tried it and liked it, but decided I could make it better. This is what I came up with...

Here's what you'll need:

3-4 lbs. red potatoes
1/2 C. milk
1/2 C. sour cream
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 C. butter or margarine

Dice your potates into cubes, leaving the skins on, just scrubbed clean. Put them into a large pot and cover them with water. Bring to a boil and let cook for approximately 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Drain the water. With the cooked potatoes in the pot, stir in the remaining ingredients and slightly mash. You don't want all of the potatoes totally smashed smooth, otherwise the skins will be weird in there with the smooth potatoes. You should still have some chunks in there.

You can alter the amount of salt and garlic powder to make these potatoes not quite as strong if you'd like. But this is how I like them!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Indoor S'mores

Now we need a quick and easy treat! I used to make these years ago when they were popular. But the trend died out and I moved on, forgetting how much I like them.

Recently, when I needed a treat for a gathering, I decided to make these and was reminded of how yummy they are. Oh, how I love s'mores!

Here's what you'll need:

8 cups Golden Graham cereal
5 C. mini marshmallows
1 (12 oz) bag chocolate chips
1/4 C. light corn syrup
5 T. butter or margarine
1 tsp. vanilla

In a large bowl, measure the cereal. Butter a 9x13 inch pan. In a large pot, melt the butter, marshmallows, chocolate chips, and corn syrup over medium-low heat. When just melted, take off the heat and stir in the vanilla. Mix well. Then add the cereal, and if you want, more mini marshmallows. Press into the prepared pan and let cool.

You can use semi-sweet chocolate chips, like I did here. Or you can use milk chocolate. Either way, they're DELICIOUS!

BBQ Cups

And yet another quick and easy recipe! (Are you beginning to notice the trend in my life right now?) This idea came from a good friend of mine. It's very kid friendly.

Here's what you'll need:

Sloppy Joe mix
2 (10 oz) tubes refrigerated biscuits
cheddar cheese, shredded

Separate dough into 10 biscuits. Flatten and press into bottoms of 2 greased muffin tins. Fill each muffin cup with about 3-4 Tablespoons of sloppy joe mixture. Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese and return to oven just until cheese is melted. (I forgot about these. Don't do that.)

If you have any muffin cups not filled, just partly fill the empty cup with water to keep it from warping.

Tater Tot Casserole

The second recipe for today is another super quick and easy one. This time for dinner. My mom made this same recipe, but she topped it with mashed potatoes (some people call it Shepherd's Pie). When I came across this variation, I liked the idea of faster and easier, and the kids thought the tater tots where fun to eat. Win-win!!

Here's what you'll need:

1 lb. ground beef, cooked
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
2 cans green beans
frozen tater tots
cheddar cheese, shredded

Combine the cooked ground beef, cream of mushroom soup, and green beans. Pour into a 9x13 inch baking pan. Top with frozen tater tots and bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Top with shredded cheese and bake for another 5 minutes.

Sorry, I did't get a picture to show you the finished product. We all snarfed it down too fast!
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