Tuesday, December 30, 2014
Sunday, December 28, 2014
From where I was, it looked like the rainbow ended at the Ravens Practice Facility - right where I was heading! Since today's game determined the fate of the Ravens and their chances of going to the Playoffs, I thought it was quite an omen.
As usual, the performance of the Ravens wasn't stellar. With such an important game on the line, they were losing going into the fourth quarter, and then, wouldn't you know it, they started scoring, and eventually beat Cleveland, 20-10. As luck would have it, San Diego wasn't playing at their best against Kansas City, and with their loss and our win, we were able to get a Wild Card berth.
As for the band, we only did pre-game, where we performed the half-time show that we had planned for today's game. It was a medley of #1 songs, which included "Black Widow," "Shake it Off," "Blame," "Take Me to Church" and "Animals." Half-time was Frisbee Dogs. They were cute.
And here's the flute section after our last home game this season!
Saturday, December 27, 2014
Friday, December 26, 2014
Applesauce cakeTom said it was good, but a little dry. He recommended either adding more applesauce, or baking it for less time. He also noted that the raisins kind of sunk to the bottom. I think that's because I didn't chop them up. I tried it and thought it was good, but I didn't have any expectations.
- 2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1 15-ounce can unsweetened applesauce (1 3/4 cups)
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup seedless raisins, chopped
- 1 cup walnuts, finely chopped (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Grease well and flour 13-by-9-inch baking pan.
- Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices into a large mixing bowl of electric mixer. Add shortening and applesauce; beat 1 minute at low speed, just to combine.
- At medium speed, beat 2 minutes, constantly cleaning side of bowl with rubber scraper and guiding batter into beaters. Add eggs and beat 2 minutes more.
- Combine raisins and walnuts (if using) and gently fold into batter.
- Turn batter into prepared pan; bake for 45 minutes, or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.
- Let cake cool completely in pan on wire rack.
- Frost as desired.
Thursday, December 18, 2014
Eggnog-Frosted Nutmeg Sugar CookiesAs expected, these turned out really well. They went pretty fast, and got lots of compliments.
- 1/2 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise, or 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 1/4 cups butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 freshly grated nutmeg or 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon dairy or canned eggnog
- 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- Eggnog Icing
- Coarse sugar (optional)
- Using the tip of a sharp knife, scrape pulp from vanilla bean; set aside. In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt. Beat until combined, scraping bowl occasionally. Beat in egg, eggnog, and vanilla pulp or vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour. Divide dough in half. Cover and chill 1 hour or until dough is easy to handle.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one of the dough portions to 1/4 inch thick. Using a fluted round 3-inch cookie cutter, cut out dough. Place dough rounds 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are firm and bottoms are just lightly browned. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; let cool. Repeat with other dough portion. Spread cookies with Eggnog Icing. If desired, sprinkle with coarse sugar. Let icing dry. Makes about 24 cookies.
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 tablespoons dairy or canned eggnog or milk
- In a medium bowl, stir together powdered sugar and vanilla. Stir in enough dairy or canned eggnog or milk to make an icing of spreading consistency.
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
I think I'll get some good use out of this gift!
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Compared to the Fleece Fringe Scarves, these were pretty labor intensive, needing the sewing machine a LOT more. I DO love them, though, they just look sew classy! Ha, ha, pun intended!
Red Velvet Oreo Truffle Chocolate Cake
- 1 box Duncan Hines Red Velvet Cake Mix
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 1/3 cup oil
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 3.4 oz package Jell-O Instant Pudding (White Chocolate)
- 1 package Oreo cookies
- 1 8-ounce package cream cheese
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/3 cup evaporated milk
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips (extra for garnish)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Grease sides and bottom of pans.
- Blend together cake mix, oil, water, eggs, sour cream, and pudding mix. Beat at low speed (for 30 seconds).
- Bake for 30-35 minutes (or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean). Baking time may vary based on size of pan.
- Crush Oreo cookies (best with food processor) and stir in cream cheese until fully blended. This will be a very thick "filling".
- After cake has cooled, spread Oreo filling between layers as you stack. Again, it's very thick so you might have to use your hands to help spread it onto cake.
- In a saucepan over medium heat, melt together butter, sugar, and evaporated milk.
- Bring to a rolling boil for 1 minute and stir in chocolate chips.
- Remove from heat and pour over cake (fudge sets up quickly) and garnish with chocolate chips!
It was delicious, but very rich! While the cake cooled overnight, I tried to make the middle layer easy to work with by putting it in a cake pan and pressing it out, rather than doing it on the cake, where I surely would have messed it up. I think it turned out to be a good idea, but perhaps some wax paper in the bottom of the pan would have helped it be an excellent idea.
Monday, December 15, 2014
4 Cheese Spinach DipThis dish was easy to make and was delicious.
- 8 Ounce of cream cheese (room temp)
- 1 Teaspoon of garlic powder
- 1/3 Cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 Tablespoon freshly grated Romano cheese
- 2 Tablespoon very finely chopped red bell pepper
- 2 green onion (scallion) white and green finely chopped
- 1 Cup of wilted fresh baby spinach, squeezed dry and chopped (or frozen and thawed)
- 1/2 Cup grated medium Cheddar cheese
- a pinch of cayenne and paprika
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Mix cream cheese, garlic powder, parmesan, romano, cayenne and paprika with hand or stand mixer on medium until softened and well mixed.
- Add the red peppers and the scallions and mix on med-low until just incorporated.
- Add spinach and mix on low until just incorporated.
- Transfer mixture to a small ovenproof dish and top with cheddar. Bake for 15 - 18 minutes or until bubbling around the edges.
- Remove from oven and allow to set for 5 - 7 minutes before serving. Serve with fried or baked pita wedges and tortilla chips (nachos).
Easy Three-Ingredient Jalapeno PoppersAt first bite, I was afraid that I was going to be disappointed in the spicy arena. But, after a few more bites, whew! Quite successful, and tasty.
- 1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury™ refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
- 8 small jalapeño chiles
- 1 container (8 oz) garden vegetable cream cheese spread
- Heat oven to 375°F. Separate dough into 8 triangles. Cut each triangle lengthwise into 2 narrow triangles.
- Cut jalapeño chiles in half lengthwise; remove seeds. Spoon cream cheese mixture into chile halves.
- Place 1 stuffed chile half on shortest side of each triangle. Roll up, starting at shortest side of triangle and rolling to opposite point; place point side down on ungreased cookie sheet.
- Bake 14 to 18 minutes or until crescents are deep golden brown.
Jalapeno Popper Deviled EggsThese turned out well, but not as spicy as I'd hoped. If I try these again, I'll use the pickled jalapenos, which are a little spicier.
- 6 hard boiled eggs, peeled
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise or Greek yogurt
- 3 tablespoons cream cheese, whipped
- 3 tablespoons cheddar, shredded finely
- 1/4 cup jalapenos (pickled, fresh or roasted), diced finely
- 1/4 cup bacon, cooked and crumbled finely
- 6 tablespoons cheddar, shredded finely
- Cut the eggs in half, scoop the yolks out, mash the yolks and mix with the mayonnaise, cream cheese, cheddar, jalapenos and bacon and place a tablespoon of the mixture back into the holes left by the yolks in the eggs.
- Sprinkle on remaining cheddar, place on a baking sheet and broil until the cheese has melted.
Bacon Jalapeno Popper QuicheIt was delicious. I got a lot of compliments, and one person wanted the recipe (the ultimate compliment).
- 9 inch frozen pie crust
- ½ cup cream cheese, room temperature
- 2 jalapenos, diced (deseed for less heat)
- 1 jalapeno, sliced into rounds (for top) (I mostly deseeded these as well)
- 3 slices bacon, cooked crisp and coarsely chopped
- ½ cup whipping cream
- ½ cup half-and-half
- 5 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- optional-light sour cream
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
- Thaw the frozen crust for 10 minutes, then prick the crust all over the bottom and sides with a fork to make tiny holes
- Bake it for 10 minutes
- Remove the crust and lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees
- While the crust is hot, spread the cream cheese all over the bottom as evenly as possible
- Sprinkle the diced jalapenos over the cream cheese (the rounds are for garnish later on)
- Put the cream and half-and-half into a small pot and put it over medium heat about 5 minutes or until tiny bubbles appear around the edges. Scald (where you bring it to just under the boiling point) until very hot, but not boiling
- Beat the eggs together in a bowl
- Add the hot cream mixture to the eggs, whisking constantly to combine
- Add the paprika, salt and bacon
- Pour into the crust and bake for 30 minutes
- Remove from oven, arrange the jalapeno slices on top, sprinkle with cheese and bake until the cheese has melted and turned golden brown, about 15-20 minutes (the original recipe said 12-15 minutes, but I did closer to 20. Check at 12 minutes, every couple of minutes)
- Cool slightly before serving
- Optional-serve with light sour cream
Sausage Breakfast CupsI thought these turned out really well. They were super easy, and in order to get the ingredients, there was enough excess to make it again.
- 1/3 lb bulk pork sausage
- 1 tablespoon Pillsbury BEST® all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 2 LAND O LAKES® Eggs
- 1 tablespoon half-and-half
- 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
- 1/8 teaspoon California-style garlic salt or garlic salt
- 1 tablespoon LAND O LAKES® Butter
- 1/2 cup frozen southern-style cubed hash-brown potatoes (from 32-oz bag)
- 1 can (16.3 oz) Pillsbury® Grands!® Homestyle refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
- Fresh parsley, if desired
- Heat oven to 375°F. In 10-inch nonstick skillet, cook sausage over medium heat, stirring frequently, until thoroughly cooked. Drain; return sausage to skillet. Stir flour into sausage. Over medium heat, gradually add milk, cooking and stirring until bubbly and thickened. Stir in salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. Remove from heat; set aside.
- In small bowl, beat eggs, half-and-half, parsley flakes, garlic salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper with wire whisk until well blended; set aside.
- In another 10-inch nonstick skillet, melt 1/2 tablespoon of the butter over medium-high heat. Stir in potatoes. Cook about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until lightly browned and almost fork-tender. Reduce heat to medium-low; stir remaining 1/2 tablespoon butter into potatoes. Pour egg mixture over potatoes; cook, folding potatoes into egg mixture, just until firm and moist. Remove from heat; set aside.
- Separate dough into 8 biscuits; place each biscuit in ungreased 2 3/4x1 1/4-inch muffin cup. Firmly press dough in bottom and up side of each cup, forming 1/2-inch rim. Spoon potato mixture evenly into dough-lined cups. Spoon sausage mixture evenly over potato mixture (cups will be very full).
- Bake 17 to 22 minutes or until edges of biscuits are deep golden brown. Cool 5 minutes. Remove from muffin cups. If desired, garnish each with fresh parsley.
Sunday, December 14, 2014
Chocolate Eclair CakeWhen I attended Tonya's bridal shower, I tried this cake. Having been a fan of eclairs for as long as I can remember, I thought it was heavenly! Part of the shower was bringing recipes, and as luck would have it, Aunt Diane brought her recipe for this cake - so I "stole" a copy.
- 3 cups milk
- 1 16-oz box graham crackers
- 2 4-oz boxes Instant vanilla pudding
- 1 8-oz container Cool Whip
- 1 can fudge frosting
- Mix pudding with milk, fold in Cool Whip.
- Layer 9x13 pan with layer of golden grahams, pour in half of pudding mixture, layer of crackers, rest of pudding mixture, layer of crackers.
- Melt frosting 30 seconds in microwave and pour over cake.
- Refrigerate for about 3 hours before serving.
Unfortunately, I made a pretty big mistake. I think the problem was that the pudding was "Cook and Serve," and not "Instant." The pudding/milk/Cool Whip mixture was pretty liquidy. Otherwise, it tasted pretty good.
For the half-time entertainment, the band played a medley of holiday songs. About two-thirds of the way through the show, we had some serious phasing problems, and the show started to fall apart. The only thing that kept it from being incredibly embarrassing, was that we can pretty much count on the spectators not knowing what we were supposed to be doing. You can watch the video here.
Last of all, we had our flute section cookie exchange today.
It was relatively successful. We had one no-show, but an extra flute player (she left to go to college, but is back for the holiday), so I gave her my cookies. It's sad, but the best solution for my waistline.
Saturday, December 13, 2014
5-Ingredient Pumpkin CookiesSo, Tom liked the cookie - pre-frosting. I thought it was good both ways. It does make more cookies than I thought it would, and I have extra canned pumpkin and frosting - a good reason to make more cookies!
- 1 roll Pillsbury™ refrigerated sugar cookie dough
- 2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
- 1 package (8 oz) cream cheese
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, break cookie dough into small chunks. Add pumpkin pie spice and pumpkin. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended.
- Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart on 2 ungreased cookie sheets.
- Bake 14 to 16 minutes. Cool on pan 5 minutes; remove to cooling rack to cool completely, about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, unwrap cream cheese. Place in medium microwavable bowl. Microwave uncovered on High 1 to 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until softened. Stir in powdered sugar until smooth. Spread on cookies.
Peppermint BlossomsI was quite surprised to see that the Kisses were melting, so I would advise to ammend the directions in one of these ways:
- 1 roll (30 oz) Pillsbury™ refrigerated peppermint cookies
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 72 Hershey®’s Kisses® Brand candy cane flavored candies, unwrapped
- Heat oven to 350°F.
- In bowl, break up cookie dough. Stir or knead in 1/2 cup all-purpose flour until well blended. Shape dough into 72 (1-inch) balls. Roll balls in sugar in shallow bowl. On ungreased cookie sheets, place balls 2 inches apart. Bake 10 to 14 minutes or until edges are golden brown.
- After removing from oven, immediately top each cookie with 1 candy, pressing down firmly so cookie cracks around edge. Remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks. Cool completely before storing.
- Allow the cookies to cool a little before inserting Kisses
- Use refrigerated, or even frozen, Kisses, to help them keep their shape
- Refrigerate immediately after inserting Kisses
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Okay, just in case you don't get it (and it seems like about half of my co-workers don't get it, either), it's the back of an AirStream camper or VW bus. I saw a similar idea on the internet, and thought that with the window and vent that needed to stay uncovered, it would be super fun! Just in case you can't read the bumper stickers, they say "I Brake for Reindeer," "North Pole or Bust," and "My Other Car is a Sleigh." And the license plate reads "3HOS" - for Ho! Ho! Ho! (get your minds out of the gutter).
Tuesday, December 9, 2014
The idea started with a link that Wanda sent me about how to make fir trees. They were so cute, I looked up origami patterns for reindeer and Santa. So, the idea of a winter scene was born.
I used shiny wrapping paper for the origami, and blue wrapping paper with stars for the background. I think it turned out well.
Sunday, December 7, 2014
I did not have a scallop-edged ruler, so I made a template using a pint glass and a piece of paper. I was surprised how important the double-knot tension is. If you don't tighten the knots enough, you don't get the ruffle effect and the scarf lies kind of flat, but if you tighten them too much, the ruffles flair out like butterfly wings, making the scarf awkward to wear. I had to take the knots out of one of the scarves, and reknot it, since the it was so flat. Another point to consider, the scarves lost a lot of length with the knots - they started around 60 inches long, but ended up closer to 48 inches.
Thursday, December 4, 2014
Jalapeno Popper Chicken SoupI made a slight variation (as is evident from the title of my blog post), I used turkey and turkey broth - leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner. It was delicious! Tom won't be able to touch the bowl it's in, it's that spicy. For slow cooker directions and other options, check out the link above.
- 4 slices bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 jalapeno peppers, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 4 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
- 2 cups chicken, cooked and diced or shredded
- 1 (15 ounce) can white beans
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup corn
- 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup aged cheddar cheese, shredded
- Cook the bacon in a large sauce pan until crispy, set aside on paper towels to drain and pour off the excess grease.
- Heat the oil in the pan over medium heat, add onion and jalapeno peppers and cook until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute.
- Add the broth, bacon, chicken and beans and simmer for 15 minutes, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add the corn, cream cheese and cheddar cheese and stir it in until the cheeses melt.
I only did half of the tree because our safety regulations prohibit us from covering the window or vent on the door, and stuff doesn't stick well to the walls. I like how it turned out.
Monday, December 1, 2014
We had twelve participants, and there were so many delicious cookies to sample, that I think I went into sugar shock for a short period of time! Each participant went home with a fabulous bag of goodies.
Now, it's time to move on the phase two of this project - which is kind of a surprise. I threw the idea out to Mel about taking pictures of the cookies and getting their recipes, then putting together a photo book for each of the participants as a Christmas (or soon thereafter) gift. She's all for it, so we're going to get together and work on that next.