Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Blueberry bread and a snow day

Why is it that I'm always "surprised" when it gets cold, and then even more surprised when it snows? Like it's an oddity for that to happen in NY? I woke up this morning to snow on the ground, and Em having a 2 hour delay, which turned into a school closing shortly after. Now it's been snowing for hours, and I know that I need to go shovel the driveway before Ad gets home. How did that happen?!

I have been noticing more and more that I am unable to go a day without baking something. Usually I don't have anywhere for it to actually go...so why am I baking? I think I might be starting an obsession with taking food pics. Yes, I am a dork...but I already knew that.

Last night I had some blueberries that I wanted to use up, so I made some blueberry bread. The recipe I was using had good reviews, so I was expecting positive results. It ended up looking nice, but tasted a little bland for me. The recipe didn't actually call for vanilla extract, and I was out of it anyway, so I added almond and some cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. It smelled like eggnog while I was mixing it, so I think that is what I was expecting. It wasn't horrible, but not a recipe I'd use again.

These blondies, however turned out great. I figured since I was home today, I might as well get started for the next round of Operation Baking Gals. Here is the recipe...

M&M Blondies

3/4 c. butter, softened 1 c. sugar

1 c. packed brown sugar 2 1/2 c. flour

3 eggs 1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. vanilla 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 pkg. baking M&M's

Cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy, then mix in eggs and vanilla. Add flour, salt, and baking powder and blend. Stir in a little more than 1/2 of the M&M's.

Spread batter evenly into a greased 13" x 9" baking dish. Sprinkle remaining M&M's on top. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 25-30 minutes.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Last day of soccer

Today was Emily's last soccer game. I must admit, at first I didn't think I would like sitting the sidelines, being the soccer mom, but it turned out to be a huge highlight of my week. It's amazing how good the kids on her team are; they had an undefeated season, even. Ad was the coach of the team; I am really proud of how great he did and how good of a coach he was. =) After the game today we had a little pizza party, and I made some cupcakes too. I thought they were cute.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Peanut Butter Bars

I have been trying to think of a new bar to put out at the cafe, and this is one recipe I came across that I thought I'd try out at home. I'm not sure if it's a winner for the cafe (more candy like than bar like) but it is really yummy either way.
Peanut Butter Bars
1 c. (2 sticks) butter
3 c. confectioner's sugar
1 c. peanut butter
1 1/2 c. crushed graham crackers

Combine all ingredients and mix completely.
Line a baking dish (8 x 11 would work; I actually doubled the recipe and used a 1/2 sheet pan) with foil, folding the it over the sides of the pan to form "handles." Press peanut butter mixture into pan.
For topping, I melted a little more than 1 bag of milk chocolate chips and spread it over the peanut butter mix. For the lines, I melted together peanut butter and white chocolate, then striped the milk chocolate, and went back over it with a toothpick.
This recipe was very, very easy...the bars taste just like a peanut butter cup. Yum! I think I will go back and cut the pieces in half though...they are very heavy! =)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Triple Chocolate Cookies

On Wednesday, Em went into the cookie jar and sadly found it empty, so I promised the girls we'd fill it back up this past weekend. Saturday was a lazy, stay at home day, so I baked some chocolate chip cookies and some of these triple chocolate cookies with them. I was a little surprised at how good the triple chocolate cookies came out; they definitely got rave reviews from Ad and the girls. I think I will add them to my Christmas cookie list, as well as make them for the next round of Operation Baking Gals.

Triple Chocolate Cookies
1/2 c. butter
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 tbsp milk
2 1/4 c. flour
1/3 c. cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 c. milk chocolate chips
mini Hershey's Kisses

Beat butter, sugars, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add eggs and milk. Add flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt to the mixture and mix well. Stir in chocolate chips.

Refrigerate for at least a few hours, or until the dough is hard enough to shape into balls. Place balls on ungreased baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

As soon as the cookies come out of the oven (before you take them off of the baking sheet) place three mini Hershey's Kisses on each cookie. Remove cookies from baking sheet and let them cool.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Operation Baking Gals and "Old Food"

So I guess I have a lot of updating to do for my first foodie post. I keep taking pictures and thinking that I'm going to come on and post them, then I never get to it. So I guess I have a lot of "old food" to blog about today! =)

This soup rocked! I say that I'm not much of a cook (although sometimes that might just be to get Ad to cook) but I guess I don't mind too much. This soup I made on a chilly pre-fall day; I remember it being one of those days where you know you need to be "good" but all you really want to do is eat. So I threw this soup together...pretty easy; a ton of veggies, a (measured!) serving of pasta, chicken broth, and a little rue to thicken it up. I had some homemade pita chips that I brought home from work, so I threw those on, too. This probably made 3-4 bowls and really hit the spot.

I really hate those days where you change a recipe and it doesn't turn out how you planned. That was these Apple Cream Bars. These originally were a recipe for caramel bars, using packaged caramels. I'm not one for using packages items, so I decided to use sweetened condensed milk and slowly heat it on the stove top, to make a caramel. Yeah, that didn't work. Maybe if I had used a double boiler? I didn't want to do the "boil-the-can" method, basically....which, on a side note, WOULD of worked. So I went with the sort-of-caramel-but-not-really anyway, and added chopped apple. The bars came out ok, but I definitely got a cream flavor and not the caramel flavor I was looking for. Oh well, they still looked pretty.


In August I came across this great group, and immediately signed up. I had been wanting to do SOMETHING for our troops, but just didn't know what or how. This group was just what I had been looking for. Every month, there are several teams, and each team has a different solider to send their items to. You can find the Operation Baking Gals site here.

Some baked goods that I sent this last month:

Pumpkin Bread

Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pumpkin Chip Muffins

I also sent puppy chow (which I LOVE!) and some packaged Halloween candy. I'm already looking through my cookbooks to figure out what I will send the next round. Very exciting! =)