Thursday, December 30, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip

I'm sure you are all sugared out from the holidays by now.  I know I am.  Starting Monday, no sugar!  Maybe it will last longer than half a day.  Probably not.  Let's be real folks.  So before you make any rash decisions about not eating sugar and such, PLEASE make this dip!!  It is a dream come true.  And it will change your life.  Need I say more?  This would be perfect for a New Year's Eve party.  We ate it with graham crackers and apple slices.  Simply delish!  I got this recipe from a blog called How Sweet It Is

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip

1/2 stick butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat.  Add brown sugar and stir until sugar dissolves and mixture starts to bubble.  Remove from heat and add vanilla.  In another bowl, mix cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth.  Pour in brown sugar mixture and mix until combined.  Add chocolate chips.  Chill in fridge until ready to serve.

Serve with:  graham crackers, apple slices, animal crackers, pretzels

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Biscuits and Sausage Gravy

Every year on Christmas we go to my parents' house for brunch and Brett's parents' house for dinner.
This year was different because Nat and Dave are coming tomorrow, so we are having Christmas with my family on Tuesday the 28th.  Ask me how excited my kids are that we are doing Christmas all over again.  So excited.
So my parents came to our house for a big Christmas breakfast.
We had waffles, sausage, scrambled eggs, orange slices and biscuits and gravy.
As much as I love biscuits and gravy, I don't make it very often because it just isn't a very healthy way to start out the day.
But on Christmas we aren't concerned with healthy.
I decided it was time that I made real biscuits from scratch, so I got out my Cunningham family cookbook and used one of Brett's grandma's recipes.  You can't go wrong with her recipes.

2 cups flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 cup shortening (I used butter)
2/3 cup milk

*Put dry ingredients together in a bowl and mix really well.  Cut in cold butter with a fork until mixture is fine and crumbly.  Stir in milk and turn dough onto a floured surface and knead gently 10-12 times.  Roll out to 1/2 inch thickness and cut out biscuits (I used a glass).  Place on cookie sheet and bake at 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  Makes about 16 biscuits.

Sausage gravy:
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
half and half
1 lb. sausage, browned

*Melt butter on stove.  Mix in flour and stir for a minute or so.  Add about a cup of half and half, and then as much milk and as you need.  I think I added about 3 cups.  Season with salt and pepper and then add sausage.  Stir on heat until thickened.  Serve over biscuits.

Friday, December 24, 2010

White Velvet Sugar Cookies

Would you believe that Holly and I both tried a new sugar cookie recipe in the same week and we got both recipes off of "My Kitchen Cafe." 
Betty minds think alike.
I have always used the sour cream recipe and I love it, but I was so curious about this recipe since it has cream cheese in it.
I thought they were really yummy and I loved the texture.  Not as puffy as the sour cream cookies, but just as tasty for sure.

2 cups butter, softened
1 (8oz.) package cream cheese, softened
2 cups sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla
4 3/4 cups flour

*Cream butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy.  Add sugar, yolks and vanilla.  Mix well.  Gradually add flour.  The dough will be very soft.  Don't worry, it firms up after chilling.  Cover in plastic wrap and chill for a few hours.  Roll out onto a floured surface and cute into desired shapes.  Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.  Cool 5 minutes on pan before placing on cooling rack.  Frost with your favorite frosting when cooled.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Sugar Cookies

One of my favorite things to do during the holidays is bake.  Bake, bake, bake.  I just can't get enough of it!  One of the things I love to bake are sugar cookies.  Since they are a bit time consuming, I usually only make them for special occasions or holidays.  And I always make the sour cream sugar cookie recipe.  Our favorite!  But this year, I was feeling adventurous and decided to try a recipe from one of my favorite blogs - My Kitchen Cafe.  She's got some great recipes!  This is her favorite sugar cookie recipe, so I knew I couldn't go wrong.  I loved how they turned out.  Soft and sweet with a hint of almond flavoring.  We invited some friends over to decorate them and have been munching on these ever since!  Cheers to holiday baking!

Sugar Cookies

1 1/2 cups butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 Tbs. lemon zest
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
5 cups flour

Cream butter and sugars until fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time.  Mix then add vanilla, almond and lemon zest.  Pour in baking powder and salt.  Add flour one cup at a time and mix until dough is smooth.  Chill in fridge overnight or 2 hours.  Roll out dough on floured surface.  Roll about 1/4 inch thick.  Cut into shapes and place on cookie sheet.  Bake at 400 degrees for 7-8 minutes.  When done, place on cooling rack to cool then frost.


1 box powdered sugar
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
little bit of milk

Beat cream cheese and powdered sugar with mixer until smooth.  Add vanilla.  If frosting is too thick, add a little bit of milk until desired consistency. 

Friday, December 17, 2010

Blonde Brownies

I'm always looking for new treat recipes around the holidays.
I found this one in one of my favorite cookbooks, which coincidentally, is called "Favorites."

3/4 cup butter, melted
2 cups brown sugar (I used dark brown)
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 3/4 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 package chocolate chips

*Mix melted butter and brown sugar.  Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.  Add dry ingredients, mixing just to combine.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Pour into a greased 9x13 baking pan and bake for 30 minutes at 350.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Spinach and Penne

Last week, I bought a big bag of spinach leaves to make a salad for our Branch Christmas Party.  I mean Sam's Club big.  I used about half of it for the salad and wondered what I would do with the other half.  Tuesday night came around and I had nothing planned for dinner.  I hate when that happens.  So, I scoured the pantry and fridge and came up with this concoction.  I loved it!  Even my 3 year-old liked it.  It was a tasty dinner that was easy and healthy.  I love when that happens.

1/2  box whole wheat penne pasta
1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbs. butter
4 cups fresh spinach
3 cloves garlic
salt and pepper
garlic salt
Parmesan cheese

Make pasta according to directions on box.  In a skillet, melt butter and olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic and cook for about 2 minutes.  Add spinach and seasonings.  Cook until spinach welts.  Add pasta to skillet and stir.  Sprinkle with cheese and serve.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Bajio Enchiladas

When Holly was here visiting, I told her one day that I was making Bajio chicken in my crockpot for dinner.
She mentioned how tasty it would be to make enchiladas using the Bajio chicken meat.  I didn't have time that night but I had lots of leftovers, so a couple nights later I tried it and it was a winning combination for sure.  We licked the casserole dish clean.
Bajio Chicken recipe here.
Enchilada recipe here.
(Just substitute the Bajio chicken for the honey/lime chicken).

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Pumpkin pancakes

A friend was telling me that their family tradition on Thanksgiving morning was to have pumpkin pancakes with buttermilk syrup. I thought that sounded so good so I looked up a pumpkin pancake recipe and found this one on allrecipies. They we so good and it was a little bit of heaven with the buttermilk syrup. I did add quite a bit more milk because I like it a little thinner.

Pumpkin Pancakes Recipe

  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. In a bowl, mix together the milk, pumpkin, egg, oil and vinegar. Combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, ginger and salt in a separate bowl. Stir into the pumpkin mixture just enough to combine.
  2. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Blender Salsa

I got this salsa recipe from my Mother-in-law.
It is super easy and super tasty.
A perfect neighbor gift for Christmas.

1 jar picante sauce
1 can diced tomatoes
1 small can chopped olives
1 green bell pepper, seeded
A bunch of cilantro

*Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until it's all mixed up.  You can add as much or as little cilantro as you like.  I add a lot.  Plus, you cannot taste the olives so don't worry if you are not an olive lover.  I was skeptical but now I'm a believer.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Caramel Pretzel Bites

I stole this cute idea from Book Club last week.
April was hostessing (real word?) and made some fabulous food for us to enjoy.
I love book club for a number of reasons and the food is at the top of the list.
It's like going to a bridal shower every month and eating girl food that you don't normally make for husbands and kids.
You've probably had something similar to this using Rolos and pretzel squares, but April kicked it up a notch by using Dove chocolates filled with caramel and flat pretzel chips. (Which I couldn't find so I used Ritz pretzel chips).

Pretzel chips
Dove milk chocolate caramel squares

*Spread out pretzel chips on a cookie sheet.  Place one Dove chocolate on each chip.  Bake at 200 for about 5-7 minutes, or until the chocolates look shiny.  Remove from oven and immediately press an M&M into each square.  Let cool and then serve.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Bianco Recap

Was it worth the time it took to get in?
Was it as good as Oprah and Rachael Ray said it was?
Was it everything we hoped it would be and more?
Did we see any celebs?

Yes.  Yes.  Yes.  No.

But...we did talk to the hostess (she used to work at LGO) and she said that since she started working there (a month ago) she had seen Vince Vaughn and Kevin James come in.  Love it.

We ordered the Farmers Market salads and three kinds of pizza.
The Rosa, the Biancoverde and the Wiseguy.
It was all so good and we finished off every last crumb.

Check out the website and the menu
Check out Gayle King's review

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Pizzeria Bianco

The girls are in town.
Two birthdays are this week.  Yours truly and Momma Lana.
Called for four days a month ago to make this happen.
We're going tonight!!!
Might be more excited about this than Christmas day.
Stay tuned for a play-by-play.
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