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S’mores Tart-sicles

Originally posted on a cup of that:

S'mores Tarts

S’mores Tarts

I was pretty excited to get this S’mores inspired dessert started today.  The S’mores Pop-Tart is among our favorites in this household, so I decided it was time to create something similar at home.  This homemade pastry is screaming S’mores.

I had no idea how it was going to taste.  Was it really going to taste like a S’more?, I wondered.  There’s only one way to find out.  I got started on the dough for the tart and entertained my toddler while attempted to clean up around this place while it chilled for an hour in the refrigerator (I like to mult-task).

I just chuckled thinking of how I must have looked earlier…a flour-covered cupcake themed apron on, attempting to vacuum with one hand as I’m reaching down to pick up the toys my son was tossing around at the vacuum.

S'mores Tart-sicles

S’mores Tart-sicles

By the time the dough…

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S'mores Tarts


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S’mores Tart-sicles

S'mores Tarts

S’mores Tarts

I was pretty excited to get this S’mores inspired dessert started today.  The S’mores Pop-Tart is among our favorites in this household, so I decided it was time to create something similar at home.  This homemade pastry is screaming S’mores.

I had no idea how it was going to taste.  Was it really going to taste like a S’more?, I wondered.  There’s only one way to find out.  I got started on the dough for the tart and entertained my toddler while attempted to clean up around this place while it chilled for an hour in the refrigerator (I like to mult-task).

I just chuckled thinking of how I must have looked earlier…a flour-covered cupcake themed apron on, attempting to vacuum with one hand as I’m reaching down to pick up the toys my son was tossing around at the vacuum.

S'mores Tart-sicles

S’mores Tart-sicles

By the time the dough was ready to be rolled out my son had made his way up to the bedroom to play with toys so I worked fast.  I laid out a piece of parchment paper on the counter top, sprinkled on some flour to prevent the dough from sticking, threw that cold dough down and started rolling.

After a few rolls, I realized I had forgotten to sprinkle some flour on the rolling-pin.  I peeled the sticky bits of dough off of the rolling-pin, slapped it back where it belonged (with the rest of the dough, of course), and sprinkled that rolling-pin with flour.  That was better.

S'mores Tart-sicles

S’mores Tart-sicles

I decided to shape these tarts into hearts because I absolutely adore the heart-shape, period.  There for a while heart-shaped things were common gifts for my birthday or Christmas, but at some point it tapered off and I just realized that I have no idea what ever happened to all my heart-shaped “things”. Sigh.

The heart-shaped cookie cutter I used was the PERFECT size for this pastry and it even had those cute little doily type ridges around it so I didn’t have to do anything special to shape that like so.  I did take a fork to make the inner dots to complete the design though.  That is optional, but I think it’s cute.

S'mores Tart-sicles

S’mores Tart-sicles

Lay each heart out on a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. So after cutting these out I went ahead and pressed a white sucker stick (you can buy this almost anywhere that sells cake-making/baking things) in the bottom, center of the heart-shape and I’d say it was just shy of halfway up the tart.  You’re going to need to put these in the refrigerator for another 15 minutes before completing the rest.

Go ahead and catch up on some reading while you wait…or clean up the mess you just made in the kitchen in the meantime.  There are always one hundred other things you can do to pass the time and before you know it, they’ll be ready to go.

S'mores Tart-sicles

S’mores Tart-sicles

So now that the tarts were re-chilled I went ahead and preheated the oven to 375 degrees F.  In the meantime I filled the tarts with marshmallow cream puff and pieces of Hershey chocolate bars. Yummy!  All of the technical stuff will be in the recipe directions so have fun with that!

I spooned on that marshmallow cream puff with a spoon and still managed to end up with sticky marshmallow fingers, so keep in mind that this process could get sticky. =)

S'mores Tart-sicles

S’mores Tart-sicles

Ingredients (makes 10):

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons shortening, cut into small pieces
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup ice-cold water
  • 1/2 cup finely crushed graham crackers
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 12 oz container of marshmallow creme
  • 6 Hershey Bars + 1 for Glaze

Glaze Ingredients and Directions (Classic Hershey Recipe for Glaze):

1 Hershey Bar + 1 tablespoon shortening – Microwave for 30 seconds, stir and microwave in 10 second increments until it’s completely melted.  Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t get too hot and don’t burn yourself!  Also, make the Glaze last, after the tarts have baked and cooled.  Drizzle it on.

Directions:

In a medium bowl add flour, butter, sugar, salt, crushed graham crackers and shortening and stir with a fork to cover bits of butter and shortening with flour.  Next, using clean hands, reach in the bowl and blend ingredients manually (I think it’s more fun than a food processor but you could do that too).  Be sure to clump flour with bits of butter and shortening, release and repeat until the dough appears as if there are pea-size clumps throughout.  You’ll notice it getting smoother as you go as the flour gets incorporated.  Next add 1/2 cup ice water and continue blending it all together.  It’s going to get pretty sticky for a moment during this process. Keep working that water in until you notice that all of a sudden, you have pastry dough =).  Shape into ball and cover tightly with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Prepare clean surface by sprinkling it with flour.  Also prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper.  Roll dough out with floured rolling-pin until it’s about 1/8 inch thick or so.  Cut shapes out and lay each piece on baking sheet.  Wad up dough into ball shape and repeat rolling process until you have used up all the dough – you should get enough for 10 heart-shaped tarts out of the dough.  Press Popsicle stick into half of the dough hearts (the other half will go on top of these). Place cookie sheets in refrigerator for 15 minutes after covering with plastic wrap.

Spoon marshmallow creme on half of the tarts. Next add pieces of chocolate bars and press into marshmallow.  Take your finger and dip into bowl with beaten egg and line the outer rim of your tart with egg (this will help seal it).  Take the other half of the tart and lay it over the half with the filling.  Press rim of top-layer heart down to seal.  Take a fork if you would like and press in dough around edge of heart to create the dotted lines around the heart.

Bake for 26 minutes or until golden brown and flaky.  Allow to cool before adding chocolate glaze.

S'mores Tart-sicles

S’mores Tart-sicles

 

Really, there’s nothing that beats a homemade pastry…in my opinion.  The crust has that great, homemade buttery flavor and the texture is perfectly flaky, yet somewhat chewy.  Some of the marshmallow seeped around the edges as it baked which was actually great because it created that campfire roasted marshmallow taste.

I didn’t go nuts with the chocolate inside this tart since I added the drizzle of Hershey Chocolate Glaze, but you can always add more than three pieces of chocolate in the filling.  I felt it was perfect as is!

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you had a nice long weekend. I’ll see you next time!

 

Simple Homemade Soft Pretzels


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Simple & Delicious Soft Pretzels

Simple Homemade Soft Pretzels

Simple Homemade Soft Pretzels

I’m a sucker for those big soft pretzels they sell in those pretzel specialty shops in the mall.  The thing is though, I don’t get to the mall much these days and when I do I usually have my kids in tow who end up trotting from store to store grabbing anything that catches their fancy.

“Mommy, can I have this?  I wasn’t running, I was skipping.  You said it’s almost my birthday so can I just have this now?”

Simple Homemade Soft Pretzels

Simple Homemade Soft Pretzels

It doesn’t matter that you told them before going that we were on a mission for something specific and that they are to behave, walk along with mommy and not to beg and plead for something new.  The last thing we need in this place is more “things” to toss into bins that are shoved in closets for the sole purpose of being able to walk through a room without tripping.

I get it though…kids loves toys, but mainly just “new” toys.  The hundreds of gifted toys and toys that were acquired through begging and pleading are now in those bins and put away because well, they’re old news.

Simple Soft Pretzels

Simple Soft Pretzels

Somehow, they have even resorted to turning the kitchen into a play area at times…usually the times when I’m in there trying to clean up or cook.  I am flattered, children, that you love me so much that you refuse to let me out of your site, but I can assure you that I’m only a few feet away and you will be just fine at that distance.

“The sooner you allow me to finish what I’m doing babies, the sooner I’ll be back in there with you.  I’m right here”, I say.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

One thing I’ve learned though is that the little one follows the older one most of the time so if I can get her to stay out of the kitchen when I’m busy, he’ll usually stay where she goes.  I’m thankful to have such a helpful little girl.  She really looks out for her little brother. =)

Soft Pretzels (1)

Simple Homemade Soft Pretzels

My kids love pretzels.  I’m pretty excited for my daughter to get home because I know she’ll be so excited to see a big, soft pretzel waiting for her.  I’m positive her dip of choice will be cheese.  I prefer cream cheese, which she likes too, but I’m certain she’ll prefer some time type of nacho cheese.

Ingredients (makes 4):

  • 1 packet dry, active yeast
  • 1 1/2 cup warm water
  • coarse sea salt to top pretzels
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (and some for counter-top kneading)
  • 3 1/2 cup bread flour

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Fill a big pot with 9 cups of water and 2/3 cup of baking soda and bring to a boil.  Beat egg in separate container and set aside. In a medium bowl, add warm water and yeast and stir.  Add salt, sugar and stir again.  Add cup of all-purpose flour and stir to combine.  Next add bread flour, one cup at a time, kneading into mixture (this will be sticky).  Continue to add additional sprinkles of flour over dough as you stir it until it’s no longer sticky to touch.  Move dough to clean, floured surface and knead.  Continue adding sprinkles of flour to reduce stickiness to make dough handling easier.  Shape dough into ball and cut dough into 3-5 sections, depending on how large or small you want your pretzels.  Take each section and use the palms of you hands to roll section out into a long rope that is even in diameter lengthwise.  Take ends of dough rope and lift upward on surface to create heart-shape, then wrap the ends around each other 2-3 times, pulling downward and lay pretzel dough ends atop bottom of pretzel ring.  In other words, create the traditional pretzel shape with this dough.  Drop dough pretzel (one at a time) into pot of boiling water/baking soda pot and cook for 3-5 minutes each.  After quick boil, place pretzel on baking sheet and baste with egg on both sides (or dip into egg).  Bake for 15-25 minutes or until cooked throughout and golden brown, depending on pretzel size it may take longer.

Simple Homemade Soft Pretzels

Simple Homemade Soft Pretzels

It’s finally Friday.  Try your hand at making these soft pretzels if you find the time.  Kids absolutely love them…of course I shook off some of that sea salt for the kids.  I caked it on the dough before baking to make sure much of it would stick, but it’s pretty simple to get off once it’s baked if you find it’s too salty.

I’m not sure what I’ll have cooking up for the weekend but I’m looking forward to the family time.  Thanks for stopping by and don’t forget to cook, bake and eat life up!  See you next time. =)

Garlic Butter Sauce (5)


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Garlic Lime & Herb Butter Sauce

Garlic Butter Sauce (7)

Garlic Lime & Herb Butter Sauce

It’s pretty humorous the random things Ryan comes home with.  While stopping by the store on his way home from work for milk and baby wipes he noticed that the Alaskan King Crab legs were on sale and just had to pick some up.  Of course, I didn’t complain.  Crab legs are awesome and always welcome on our dinner plates!

Luckily, my son decided to nap late afternoon which gave me the chance to prepare this meal, undisturbed, as he slumbered peacefully on the sofa.  Unfortunately, he fell asleep about 20 minutes before the time we have to get to the bus stop to walk my daughter home from school.  I kept playing the scenario out in my head as I filled a pot of water and set it on the stove to boil.

When I wake him up for anything, he is incredibly crabby (pun intended).  I’m not exaggerating either, the kid will scream and fuss for a good hour.  I try to allow him to wake up on his own as much as possible to make sure he gets all the rest his needs and to avoid the crab and fuss.

Fortunately, one of my neighbors has a son in my daughter’s class who also rides the same bus and she happily walked her home for me.  Crisis averted!  Thanks neighbor!  It was more helpful that she even knows.

Garlic Butter Sauce (12)

Garlic Lime & Herb Butter Sauce

I’ve experimented a bit with butter sauce before.  It’s really simple to make, doesn’t take much time at all to make, and is the perfect dipping sauce for crab legs.  Of course, an all butter sauce with a splash of olive oil is great, but the addition of freshly minced garlic is always better.

I’ve also tried the splash of lemon in addition to the garlic, which is pretty incredible too (even for scampi or pasta).  This time around though, I used a smidge of lime juice instead and added a pinch of dill weed for a hint of herb flavor.

Perhaps you wouldn’t think of adding dill weed or lime, but it was superb!  The garlic butter pairs well with the hint of lime and dill.  Trust me.  I don’t think you’ll be disappointed if you give it a try.  Ryan asked me several times as he ate about what it was I put in that sauce this time around because he couldn’t believe how amazing it was.

Garlic Butter Sauce (10)

Garlic Lime & Herb Butter Sauce in Cornbread

Unless you were to consume several pounds of crab legs you won’t have a full stomach.  It’s a chore in itself to crack that shell and get that delicious crab meat out, so it’s always wise to make a little something to go with this meal that’s a bit more substantial.  I paired it with a simple cornbread, Jiffy to be exact, and that cornbread served well for two reasons.

The first reason being that it’s filling.  The second reason being that you can cut the center out of the cornbread muffin and fill it with that delicious butter sauce.  I plated it on a separate little saucer on the plate of crab legs, filled it with some butter sauce and voila! Once the dipping sauce has been used you are left with a cornbread muffin saturated with that flavorful butter sauce. Yum!

Garlic Butter Sauce (8)

Garlic Lime & Herb Butter Sauce

Ingredients (makes 1 cup):

  • 1/2 cup butter (salted)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp dill weed
  • 1 tsp lime juice

Directions:

Heat butter in saucepan over medium heat.  Add garlic and allow to cook with butter for 1-2 minutes to infuse flavor.  Add olive oil, dill weed and lime juice.  Reduce heat, stir and simmer for an additional five minutes. Pour into a dipping dish and serve warm with crab legs.

So, it’s simple and quick.  If you want to make the cornbread to use as a side and/or dipping dish just make it according to package instructions.  I believe it only takes 1 egg and a little milk.  As far as the crab legs go you can bring a pot of boiling water with a bit of salt in it to a rolling boil, add your crab legs that have been thawed (immersing in water entirely) and boil for 5-7 minutes.

Garlic Butter Sauce (11)

King Crab Legs, Garlic Butter Sauce

Thanks for stopping by to visit me and I hope to see you again soon.  I think it’s about time for some baked goodies!  Look forward to sharing that with you next time I hope. =)

Chicken Alfredo (2)


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Fettuccine with Chicken Parmesan Alfredo

Chicken Alfredo (5)

Fettuccine With Chicken Parmesan Alfredo

This wasn’t the simplest of dishes to photograph.  We were craving pasta, Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo to be exact, but by the time I finished this dinner yesterday I was so hungry that I wanted to eat first….the pictures could wait, but my hunger had waited long enough.

I saved a small portion for lunch today and that’s what I snapped a few pics of before I ate it up with my son.  The sauce thickens as it sits so if you do decide to save some for later keep in mind that it heats up tastier than ever the second time around, but the sauce will be thicker.

Can I just say this was some of the best Fettuccine Alfredo I have ever had?  You can add chicken like I did, or just leave it out and I can assure you it’s excellent either way.  The taste is all about the Alfredo Sauce.  The addition of simple garlic bread completed the meal for my family, but is completely unnecessary if you’re watching your carbs (I’m not).

 

Ingredients (Serves 4-6):

  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 12 oz box fettuccine pasta noodles (cook according to box instructions)
  • 1/2 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup or 1 stick of butter (I love Land ‘O Lakes)
  • 2-3 cups of heavy cream (1 small/short carton whole)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 3 chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions:

Cook pasta according to box instructions as you prepare the sauce.  In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium and cook chicken.  Reduce heat to medium low.  Add butter and stir to melt, followed by minced garlic. Allow to simmer with chicken for 2 minutes or so.  Add heavy cream, sea salt, pepper and Parmesan Cheese.  Let simmer for an additional 10 minutes, stirring on occasion.  Add 2 tablespoons of flour and stir to blend (this helps thicken the sauce).  Reduce heat to low/warm and let stand about 5-7 minutes to allow sauce to thicken a bit. Pour over plated dish of fettuccine noodles and serve hot.

Chicken Alfredo (1)

Fettuccine Chicken Parmesan Alfredo

I have a lot of random work to finish up so my time has been spread thin lately.  It’s been nice being able to cook again and everyone enjoyed this pasta.

My daughter, who has become pickier with age absolutely loved this pasta.  She usually adds a lot of Parmesan but it wasn’t necessary for this pasta.

The sauce is creamy and so full of Parmesan flavor that adding additional salt or Parmesan after it’s plated isn’t required.

If you need a good Alfredo recipe, try this sauce!  Thanks for stopping by and I’ll see you soon. =)

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