Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Almond lace cookies

Whoa Momma! I made these cookies on Saturday and, using a teaspoon measure this recipe made about 6 dozen cookies (and I think when my cousin April and her hubby were over they ate half of them, ROFL!!) they're really, really good!

Almond Lace Cookies


1 1/2 cups oatmeal
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup chopped Almonds
1 egg
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Place half the oatmeal and almonds in bowl of food processor and grind until almonds are finely ground, pour into mixing bowl.
  2. Melt margarine and pour over oat and almond mixture.
  3. Sift dry ingredients together.
  4. Mix dry ingredients in with margarine and oats.
  5. Beat eggs and vanilla together.
  6. Blend this in the oats mixture.
  7. Cover cookie sheets with foil.
  8. Drop by teaspoons onto cookie sheet.
  9. Do not preheat oven.
  10. Bake at 325 F.
  11. for 8-11 minutes.
  12. Allow to cool before removing from foil.
I didn't get a camera for Christmas, but I will get one soon.. I promise :D

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

And now, my #1 favorite cookie.. EVER

Rainbow cookies (or Venetians as they are sometimes called) are my #1 favorite cookie Ever.. and after the first time I made them I understood why they are $7.99 a pound at the bakery. They are a LOT of work.. but the results are always so amazing that it is so worth the effort :)

Rainbow cookies

7 ounces almond paste
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup margarine or butter, room temp
3 eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour, Sifted
1/4 teaspoon salt
15 drops green food coloring
15 drops red food coloring
2/3 cup apricot preserves (pressed into a coarse sieve to remove any large pieces of fruit)
3 ounces semisweet chocolate
1 teaspoon vegetable shortening


1. Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.

2. Grease 3 8"x8" metal baking pans. After greasing, line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper, smoothing the paper down onto the pan. Grease the tops of the parchment paper and then flour the pans. Put aside.

3. In a large mixing bowl, Beat together on medium-high speed the Almond Paste, Sugar, Almond Extract and butter until well blended. (there might be some small lumps of Almond Paste remaining and that's fine.).

4. Reduce speed to medium and beat in the eggs one at a time until blended.

5. Reduce speed to low and then add the flour and salt slowly to the mixture until combined.

6. Take two small bowls and add 1 rounded cup of batter into each bowl. (there should be another rounded cup of batter still in the original mixing bowl.).

7. Add 15 drops of red food color to one bowl and 15 drops of green food color to the other. Stir each bowl until evenly blended with color.

8. Spoon the untinted batter into one pan. With metal spatula spread batter evenly (layer will be about 1/4 inch thick). Repeat with red batter in second pan and green batter in remaining pan.

9. Bake until set and toothpick inserted in center of layers comes out clean. 10-12 minutes.

10. Cool in pans on wire rack about ½ hour. Cake should be cool to the touch.

11. Run tip of knife around side of pans to loosen layers.

12. Lay a piece of parchment paper on a flat surface that will be able to fit in refrigerator.

13. Take the green layer and flip over pan onto parchment paper. Gently pull off the parchment paper. Spread 1/3 cup of apricot preserves onto the green layer.

14. Take the untinted layer and remove from pan. Place it onto the green layer with the wax paper side up. Press down gently and then remove the parchment paper.

15. Spread remaining 1/3 cup of Apricot preserves onto the untinted layer.

16. take the remaining red layer and remove from pan and place upon the white layer again with the parchment side up. Press down gently and remove the parchment.

17. In a 1 quart saucepan, heat chocolate and shortening over low heat, stirring frequently, until melted.

18. Spread melted chocolate mixture on top of the red layer evenly. Do not put mixture on sides.

19. refrigerate until chocolate is firm, at least 1 hour. (at this point, if you want, you can cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days before serving).

To serve, with a large sharp knife, trim about 1/4 inch from the edges. Cut the stacked layers into 6 strips. Cut each strip crosswise into 6 pieces. You will get 36 square cookies from this.

Place the cookies in a single layer in a waxed paper lined container. They can be refrigerated for up to one week or freeze up to 3 months. These cookies must be kept in the fridge.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

We’ll start with the Appetizers

The first cookbook I ever got was from my mom, she knew that I loved to experiment in the kitchen and I was always going over to cook with my Gram. I absolutely love this cookbook and in it is the most amazing recipe for stuffed mushrooms and whenever I make then everyone raves about how amazing they are. The second appetizer that I make is one that is The Kid’s absolute favorite! They are Salami cornucopia’s with a horseradish and cream cheese filling. I got this recipe in a packet when I was in college from one of the Chef’s and I’ve made it every year since. It’s very simple, but it makes a really nice presentation on a platter with other things and people always ask what it is. The horseradish and cream cheese mixture is very pleasant and the creaminess of the cream cheese takes a lot of the bite out of the horseradish and you can use store bought or fresh horseradish for this one (of course in school we used the fresh one)

Salami Cornucopia’s with Horseradish cream cheese


1 lb. Genoa Salami, thinly sliced, cut into halves
1 8oz package cream cheese (whatever kind you like), softened
1 Tbs. Fresh lemon juice
2-3 Tbs Horseradish
1Tbs dried parsley (for this I prefer dried, if you use fresh you have to wash it and squeeze it out in a piece of cheesecloth to remove some of the green color, otherwise it will turn your cream cheese green *yuck*)

  1. Stack your salami nice and neat and cut the circles in half, place in a piece of plastic wrap or a zipper bag and put back in to the refrigerator for now.
  2. In a bowl mix together Cream cheese and lemon juice until creamy.
  3. Add horseradish, being careful not to add too much of the liquid if you are using jarred.
  4. Once it is all combined stir in the parsley.
  5. Cover and let sit in the refrigerator about 30 minutes or until firm.
  6. Take the salami out of the fridge and on a platter or a piece of parchment paper start rolling up the salami half-circles by taking one corner and turning it towards the center and wrapping the other end around, like a paper cone, setting them seam side down.
  7. Remove the cream cheese mixture from the fridge and with a rubber spatula carefully put into a pastry bag fitted with a small star tip. I usually squeeze about a tablespoon of the mix into each salami and it’s perfect.

The Kid will happily eat this spread with salami on bread as a sandwich (Like I’ve said before, he’s not like any other 12 year old I’ve ever known, he is not picky about what he eats and likes things pretty much no other kid I knows likes to eat.)

Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

These are, in my opinion The best Stuffed mushrooms in the world!

1 lb medium mushrooms
1/4 cup Finely chopped green onions
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbs. parsley
1/2 tsp. dried basil leaves
1/4 tsp. pepper

Preheat oven to 350°f

Remove stems from mushrooms and chop finely. Cook and stir mushroom stems, green onions and garlic in margarine over medium heat until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat & stir in remaining ingredients.

Fill mushroom caps with stuffing mixture. Place mushrooms, stuffing side up, in greased baking dish.

Bake for 15 minutes, serve hot.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

And today.. Cookies

So I finally got around to baking some cookies today. I made some almond cookies and a HUGE batch of Mexican chocolate cherry cookies (which are my #2 favorite cookies in the world!) This makes 5 dozen cookies alone, but I just made one batch of these guys today (cause I've been craving them for Weeks!)

Mexican Chocolate Cherry Rounds

2¾ hours | 2½ hours prep

SERVES 30 , 2 cookies


6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup powdered sugar
60 candied cherries, halved

  1. Stir chocolate in top of double boiler over simmering water until smooth; cool.
  2. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients in medium bowl.
  3. Using electric mixer, beat 1 3/4 cups sugar and butter in large bowl until light.
  4. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, then vanilla and chocolate.
  5. Gradually add dry ingredients, beating just until combined.
  6. Chill dough until firm, about 2 hours.
  7. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  8. Lightly butter 2 large baking sheets.
  9. Place powdered sugar in shallow pan.
  10. Form dough into 1-inch balls.
  11. Roll each ball in sugar to coat; shake off excess sugar.
  12. Arrange cookies on prepared baking sheets, spacing 1 1/2 inches apart.
  13. Press 1 cherry half into center of each cookie.
  14. Bake until cookies puff and crack but are still soft, about 10 minutes.
  15. Transfer cookies to rack and cool completely.
  16. (Cookies can be prepared ahead. Store in airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week, or freeze up to 1 month.).
I'll be doing more baking on Wednesday, and I'll be sure to post some about that. In the meantime I've gotta get these cookies put away and find some time to wrap some presents.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Well, the good news is that the tree is up...

The bad news.. (okay, not really bad, but still..) I haven't had time to make any cookies yet.

Getting the tree was a total fiasco.. I didn't want to wait for The Boyfriend to be done with work today because the weather was crummy already and getting worse by the hour (I'm stubborn you say? No, I'm not stubborn.. I'm 3 steps past it, lol), so The Kid and I took a walk to Home Depot.. only to find they didn't have one tree left, not even a Charlie Brown tree.. and the only other place around here was half a mile away, so I figured if need be we'd get the tree and take a taxi home... I stopped and grabbed some cash and off we went to go and get a tree...

$40 for a Christmas tree!?! I wanted to pass out... but in the Spirit of Christmas and not to let my child down I plunked down all the cash I had on me and we carried this monstrosity of a tree home.. (the guy could have tied it up a little better) with myself on one side and The Kid (who is, respectively at least 3 inches taller than me now) we've each got our share of bruises on our legs from the tree carrying journey. We got home just as it started to snow (again) secured the tree onto the stand and strung on the lights and added the ornaments and now there is this beautiful tree standing in between the kitchen and living room.

Now, it's officially Christmas..

Tomorrow, Cookies.

Friday, December 19, 2008

It’s crunch time

I am so unbelievably behind in everything this year I’m really ashamed of myself.. I don’t have my Christmas tree up yet, my first batch of sugar cookies has come and gone (and half of it baked into one giant glob thanks to The Kid, they were edible though, lol) Close to nothing has been wrapped yet and It’s a Freaking Snowstorm here in NY today!

I’m on a mission to get my Christmas tree tomorrow, come Hell or high water that tree will be up and decorated tomorrow and I’m determined to either get some cookie dough made tonight (and bake it tomorrow) OR get some of these presents wrapped tonight.. All my Christmas shopping is done (so that’s one thing that I don’t have to worry about anymore) Gifts have been shipped to my sister and a few friends who I won’t be seeing.

I have a few tried and true Christmas cookie recipes that I always make and if I get the time I really want to try a few new ones.. But since going out to the grocery store is out of the question today (and possibly tomorrow) Whatever I need I’m going to have to add to my peapod order that I have scheduled for Sunday (they had already blacked out today and tomorrow yesterday for the oncoming storm) It's not really Christmas in my book until the cookies are baked.. so Bring it on!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Yee Haw.. Cowgirl Chocolates.. Mmmmmm!!!

I love surprises, really.

Packages have been coming to my door on an almost daily basis.. I hate shopping (really) I don't want to stand on line, I don't want to deal with crowds or nasty sales people.. or worse, trek all the way to the store only to find they don't have what I'm looking for.. so to avoid all that nonsense I do most of my shopping online.. and thanks to Wonderful sites like Smoking Hot Deals and My Bargain Buddy where I find the hot deals and coupon codes that I need to bag just what I'm looking for at the prices that I'm looking for too.

After one minor box opening incident by The Kid early on in the season he has managed to keep his grubby paws off unless he has the go ahead, so when an unexpected box came in the mail yesterday I asked him to open it.. I had no idea what in the world could be inside.. there was only one package that was planned, so while we were on our after school phone call I asked him to open the box, and with all the ooh's and ahh's I was wishing I was there... so when I finally asked him.. Well, what's in the box? He said to me.. a little red box from Cowgirl Chocolates.. so I thought back to myself... did I ever order a freebie from them? No.. Hmm.. I had no clue.. so my only instructions to the kid were to NOT open the box of chocolates and please put them in the Fridge... and then I had to find out what this Cowgirl chocolate was all about.. so to Google I went... and there was One lone blogger that had already blogged about these mysterious chocolates that had found there way to my door.

Well, once I got home I was prepared to start sampling the chocolates in the box.. not your average chocolates either, these are chocolates with a kick.. each one is wrapped in a different colored foil wrapper and it comes with a little guide as to what's what.. Being the sharing, caring mommy that I am, The Kid and I have split each one that has been tried.. and every one has been absolutely outstanding. I have been eyeballing that Habanero Caramel, but something inside me is telling me not to go there.. at least.. not yet. We have tried the Raspberry Dark Chocolate, which was so amazing and even though in the Spicy category, it had a nick kick but was very pleasant. Double Dark chocolate, which was absolutely delicious, creamy and smooth and just tonight we sampled the Raspberry Lemon, which popped when I bit into it and had a lovely, creamy almost liquid center and a very true to life raspberry lemon flavor.

I'm taking it one day at a time with these chocolates, slowly savor my tiny package of unexpected chocolates.. and I will let y'all know what I think of the rest as they are tried..

Ciao :)


PS.. we've tried them all.. and they're all unbelievably amazing!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Apple Cinnamon Ornaments (non-food post)

My mom had a box of Christmas ornaments that always made their way onto the tree no matter what (and I would give my right arm to have them today) but the one ornament that I remember the most is the little Gingerbread man ornament that my sister made when she was in Kindergarten, he was a little cinnamon scented guy with pink and white trim. Even after 14 years of hanging on the Christmas tree he never lost that scent.

I came across this recipe a few years ago when I wanted to make these ornaments with The Kid but for some reason I never got around to making them.. at least, not until now.

Makes 10 -14 decorations


  • 1 cup ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 cup applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon fragrance oil (apple, cinnamon,range or your own choice)
  • 2 tablespoons white craft glue
  1. Mix in a bowl the cinnamon and cloves.
  2. Add to this applesauce, oil and the glue.
  3. Knead this mixture for a few minutes til you have a firm but pliable dough.
  4. Too wet, add more cinnamon--too dry, add more applesauce.
  5. Roll the dough out on a surface dusted with cinnamon, 1/4 inch thick.
  6. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters [x-mas tree, hearts, stars, etc].
  7. Make a hole in the top with a wooden or metal skewer, this must be large enough for ribbon if you want them for hanging.
  8. Air dry them for several days on paper kitchen towel, turning them over several times so they don't warp.

Impatient, try the quick dry method:

  1. A low oven [200°F] for a few hours will also do the trick, don't forget to turn them over.
  2. When dry, decorate with a ribbon.
  3. You can also use shallow plaster, cookie and candy molds, press the dough in the cavity, smooth with a rolling pin, ease out of the mold and cut away the excess dough.
  4. Or roll out the dough, place a piece of decorative lace on the top, using the rolling pin go over it until it has left an impression of the lace, then cut out using the cookie cutters.
  5. You also get a nice result using cookie stamps.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Spaghetti Carbonara

I am truly blessed with a child who will eat just about anything (really, the only thing he won't eat is avocados and pepperoni cheese) He's never been a picky eater so it was no surprise to me when I was in college he ate everything I would bring home and for the longest time salmon was his favorite food (yea, that was a strange thing coming from a 4 year old, lol)

After seeing a post on foodgawker yesterday I had Spaghetti Carbonara on the brain.. I wanted it.. but I had to make a run to the store to get a few things, and being the high yesterday was 27°F that was not going to happen, so I had to settle for leftover lasagna last night... sigh, lol.

Today though it was nearly 50°F, so making a run to the supermarket at lunchtime was no biggie, I made my list, stashed my reusable shopping bag into my purse this morning on my way out the door and when noon rolled around I was out the door like a bat outta hell. I got everything I needed and shoved it into the tiny fridge at work and even through the mediocre gyro I had for lunch (from a local diner that delivered a freakin' hour later!) I couldn't wait to get home and make dinner.

As soon as I got home I got cracking on dinner.. mmmmmmmmmmmm.. nothing like hearty And quick.. yay!

Spaghetti Carbonara
makes 3 generous servings

1 12 oz. box spaghetti
5-6 pieces bacon, cubed (I used turkey bacon)
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs. olive oil
freshly ground pepper
2 eggs
1/4 C grated parmesano reggiano cheese

  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook spaghetti pasta until al dente. Drain well. Toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile in a large skillet,add diced bacon and cook for 1-2 minutes, Add chopped onion, and cook over medium heat until onion is translucent. Add minced garlic, and cook 1 minute more.
  3. Toss the cooked and drained spaghetti into the pan. Toss to coat and heat through, adding more olive oil if it seems dry or is sticking together. Add beaten eggs and stir it until eggs are barely set (Stir, stir, stir, for at least a full minute). Quickly add 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, and toss again. Add salt and pepper to taste (remember that bacon and Parmesan are very salty) and cover for 2 minutes to let the flavors meld together
  4. Serve immediately with salad on the side (or your veggie of choice)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Today's Christmas cookie lesson

I wanted to start making my Christmas cookies today, so I asked The Kid if he wanted to help and he eagerly accepted my offer, so we went about just making sugar cookies today, I wanted to try out a recipe a little different from the usual recipe that I use and try making candy cane cookies by dyeing, flavoring and molding the cookies into candy cane shapes.

my dough came out too soft and I didn't want to add too much more flour so I just rolled them into balls and dropped them into some red and green sugar and let them be.. The Kid on the other hand, he wanted to try..

after several failed attempts ( like I said, the dough was quite soft) I told him to just roll them into balls like I did and they'd be alright..

well, apparently my son with the short attention span made SOFTBALL sized balls instead of golf ball sized, tried to pipe his name using a large round pastry tip (which came out alright) and made a snowman, who (funny enough) was smiling when he went into the oven, came out looking very indifferent (ROFL!!) Into the oven for 15 minutes and when the timer beeped I ran into the kitchen when he exclaimed "MOM.. OH MY GOD!" his cookie sheet was overrun with gigantic cookie blobs (see, this is what I get for not checking first and folding laundry) I was going to take a picture, but he's already pulled most of it apart.

Next week it's back to the old roll out sugar cookie recipe with the good old cookie cutters ;)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

YES!! It has arrived!

The Lemmings are here, the Lemmings are here... No, really.. My Lemming Central box arrived today and OMG.. Seriously people.. If you’re missing out on this, you have no idea what you’re missing out on.. Because for $20 you get SO MUCH STUFF.. Really.. I will try to get this ancient camera of mine up and running or y’all are going to have to suffer through cell phone pictures, lol..
Now, in all fairness every package (or stocking in the case this month, they usually come packaged in cellophane bags) is different, with samples from so many different companies you can’t put the same stuff in every one.. But for Christmas I ordered 2, one (of course) for myself and one to share amongst my friends to put in with their Christmas presents or stocking stuffers.. However I deem fit :)

Everything smells so amazing I can’t wait to start tearing into this stuff! I already have a Tart in my tart warmer and wow!

Monday, December 1, 2008

It's that time again....Lemming Central Holiday Boxes are On Sale NOW!

I get almost Giddy when these boxes go on sale.. they're like the Ultimate goodie box and in my honest opinion So worth the $20. I've been lucky enough to snag one for the past 4 sales (Every 2 months a new sampler box goes on sale) and I'm still using a lot of this stuff.. I've got bottles of lotion in my desk at work, in my bathroom, in my desk at home, in my purse, I pass them on to friends.. soap samples, bath bombs, candle tarts.. it's amazing at all the things (perfectly packaged, mind you) that goes into these boxes.

The Lemming Central Holiday boxes are on sale as of 11am this morning.. but by the looks of it they're going fast (I snagged 2 myself for gifts) so Hurry up and grab one while they're still available.. here's all the info that you need:

Holiday Sample Boxes On Sale Now

LC Holiday Sample Box sponsored by Soy Lovely is on sale right now! Don't miss out! Treat yourself or a friend to one, they make a great gift!
Be sure to look for your raffle ticket which will be stapled to the red flyer in each box. One lucky person with the winning raffle ticket will win a $100 Visa Gift Card!

The winning number will be posted on the LC Home page on Dec. 3rd.

Buy Your Holiday Box!