Monday, December 17, 2012

Big New Things Happening! Moving to My New Site

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It's Moving Time!!

Hi!  I am so excited to announce that I have moved over to my new blogging platform over at wordpress, with my very own domain name and everything.  I hope you will follow me on over and join me there so you can keep up to date with all the new recipes and posts.  You can now find me over at:

All my social media contact information has remained the same.

Once again, I can not wait to see you over at my new site, so please come join me for lots more food, fun, and confessions.  See you there!



Thursday, December 13, 2012

34 Slow Cooker Soups, Stews, and Chilis

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This time of year screams soups, stews, and chilis.  Here is a collection of crock pot comfort foods that are sure to fill your belly, warm your soul, and be nice and easy!  I love set it and forget it meals, and these look like the reward at the end will be quite impressive.  I hope that there is something here for everyone.

Don't forget to pin it if you like it :)

 Mommy's Sweet Confessions' Hearty Crock Pot Chicken Noodle Soup

Crockpot French Onion Soup

Chicken Enchilada Soup

Nicole’s Corn Chowder


Crockpot Beef Stew-2 

Jimmy Fallon's Crock-Pot Chili 

black bean soup with toasted cumin cream

Beans and Turkey Chili


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Graham Cracker Pretzel Salted Toffee

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I don't have a lot to say other than "MAKE THIS!!  And make A LOT!" because it will be gone before it even sets up all the way, I guarantee it.  I am a die-hard toffee fan, second only to my love of chocolate truffles, and this stuff has blown my idea of toffee out of the water.  It is the perfect blend of sweet, caramel goodness, and salty blissful savoriness.  Really, match made in heaven.  I really ate probably a tenth of the tray before the chocolate even solidified.  I must get this out of the house, lest I gain ten pounds because I ate it all by tomorrow.  I know the pictures are not great, but I was afraid if I waited until tomorrow, there may be nothing left to take a picture of.

I know it may seem a little weird, the graham crackers and all, but I promise, on my crock pot and my hand mixer, that you will love it.  I implore you to pin this, make this, and share this with those you will make the world a brighter place.  Ok, maybe it won't, but you will have a smile on your face!

(Adapted from Six Sister's Stuff's Saltine Cracker English Toffee)


  • 15 graham cracker sheets
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  •  2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1-1/2 cups crushed pretzels

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  3. Lay the graham cracker sheets side by side in the pan, it should end up being five across and three rows long.
  4. In a saucepan, melt the butter, salt, and brown sugar over medium heat. Bring it to a boil and let it boil for three minutes without stirring. After three minutes, remove from heat, add the vanilla and stir in quickly, then pour the hot brown sugar mixture evenly over the graham crackers.  Use the spoon to spread it out a bit if needed.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 5-7 minutes, until bubbly.
  6. Remove from oven and sprinkle with the chocolate chips.  Let them melt for a few minutes and then use a knife or spatula to carefully spread the chocolate out evenly over the toffee.
  7. Sprinkle with the crushed pretzels and press them in to the chocolate slightly.
  8. Let it cool completely on the counter or in the fridge.  When set, break the toffee into two-bite pieces and enjoy!
  9. Store in an air tight container for 1-2 weeks or in the freezer for a few months (HA!  Like there will be any left to store....).

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Gingerbread Cookies Two Ways

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Deep down, I wanted to make some glorious Christmas cookies with beautiful royal icing decorations, that would just impress the heck out of my friends and family.  And then I tried.  And there was a disconnect the size of the Grand Canyon between what I was hoping it would look like, and what it actually did. I had initially made some for me to decorate and for my son to decorate.  My son and his cousin had a blast decorating their gingerbread men cookies (center bottom picture), and that was worth the tedium of cutting out the shapes.  I tried a simple cookie glaze from King Arthur Flour on the ones in the bottom left because I had neither meringue powder, nor a desire to use raw eggs, and I thought they came out pretty cute, but the glaze was tricky to pipe.  Then, my wonderful brother and his girlfriend bought me meringue powder in exchange for a lesson on macaron making, so I tried my hand at royal icing (bottom right).  That was where my desire to make beautiful, royal icing cut out cookies ended in a ball of flames.  The icing colors, in spite of using lots of gel food color, came out pastel, it was still too runny, it took every bowl in my kitchen I had, I didn't have good tips that were small enough, the bottles I bought to ice with were too narrow of a neck, and I just completely lack creativity and patience.

I do not have the patience, or the creativity, or the time, or the money to put in to what can only be described as a labor of love.  So what to do with the 1-1/2 recipes of gingerbread cookie dough sitting in my fridge?  I took it out, shaped it in to a log, and made gingerbread slice cookies (like the shortbread and sugar cookies).  It took 5 minutes, one pan, almost no mess.  Then I made the simple cookie glaze, and just slathered it on them haphazardly and called it good (picture top center).  Much more my speed.  So, now that I have given an explanation to my cookie cutting and icing experience, I am giving you two ways to tackle these cookies, cut out or slice.  Do whatever floats your boat :)

One last word on these cookies:  They are good!  As in the best gingerbread cookies I have ever had, good.  If you roll them or cut them a bit on the thicker side, I think they come out even better, because then they have a little chew and substance.  They are bursting with flavor, and I have yet to give them to someone to try who has not loved them.  So whatever way you choose, I hope they find a wonderful place in your Christmas traditions.

(Adapted from King Arthur Flour's Gingerbread Cookies)

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cup molasses
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice (or cloves)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
Eggnog Icing 
(Adapted from King Arthur Flour's Simple Cookie Glaze)
  • 2-1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 to 2-1/2  tablespoons eggnog, as need for desired consistency  (use milk if you want plain vanilla icing)
  • Food coloring if desired

1. Dough: In a medium microwave safe bowl, melt butter.
2. Transfer the butter to a medium-sized mixing bowl, then stir in the brown sugar, molasses, salt, and spices. let it cool to lukewarm, and beat in the egg.
3.In a small bow mix the baking powder, soda, and flour, and then stir these dry ingredients into the molasses mixture.
4. Divide the dough in half, and wrap well in parchment paper or saran wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour or longer.
5. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Get out several baking sheets and line with parchment paper (for easy cleaning)
6. For Shaped Cookies: Once the dough has chilled, take one piece of dough out of the refrigerator, and flour a clean work surface, and the dough. Roll it out as thin or thick as you like; for slightly less crisp cookies, roll it out more thickly. 
7. Use flour under and on top of the dough to keep it from sticking to the table or rolling pin. Alternatively, place the dough on parchment, and put a sheet of plastic wrap over it as you roll, pulling the plastic to eliminate wrinkles as necessary when rolling; this will keep dough from sticking without the need for additional flour. For soft dough, or dough to be rolled extra-thin, you may choose to roll right onto the ungreased back of a baking sheet.
8. Cut out shapes with a cookie cutter, cutting them as close to one another as possible to minimize waste.
9. Transfer the cookies to ungreased cookie sheets (or, if you've rolled right onto the parchment, remove the dough scraps between the cookies). Bake the cookies just until they're slightly brown around the edges 8 to 12 minutes, or until they feel firm. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for several minutes, or until they're set. Transfer them to a rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough. 
10.  For Sliced Cookies: Once dough has chilled, take one piece of dough out of the refrigerator and roll it in to a log with your hands, about 6-8 inches long and 1-1/2 to 2 inches in diameter.  Using a sharp knife, cut 1/6 to 1/4 inch thick slices and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake until they are just slightly browned and firm around the edges, 8-10 minutes.  Cool for several minutes on the baking sheet and then transfer them to a baking rack to finish cooling.  Repeat with remaining dough.
11.  For Glaze: Mix the sugar, vanilla, and corn syrup in a bowl.  Mix in 1-1/2 tablespoons eggnog and stir well.  Add more 1 teaspoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.
12.  For Royal Icing: If you want to do royal icing instead, check out this tutorial from Chocolate, Chocolate, and More here.
13. Decorate the cookies as desired.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Caffè Eggnog Cupcakes

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I have been on a quest to find eggnog goodies to make for my husband, because he loves eggnog.  This was my second attempt at it.  Thanks to Inside BruCrew Life's Eggnog Latte Cupcakes, I was able to give him a treat that made him go back for seconds!  I made very few changes to their recipe, because it was just so good to begin with, not much room for change.  They have a wonderful, subtle eggnog flavor in the cupcake, and the frosting has so much coffee deliciousness in it, my husband and I were eating it with a spoon.  Yep, that good!  Perfect combo for those that love their eggnog coffee drinks.

Caffè Eggnog Cupcakes

(Slightly adapted from Inside BruCrew Life's Eggnog Latte Cupcakes)

Makes 18-24 cupcakes, depending on how full they are filled

    For the Cupcakes
  • 1 vanilla cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 c. eggnog
  • 1/3 c. oil
  • 1/4 c. fat free Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp. rum extract
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
    For the Coffee Cream Butter Cream 
  • 1/2 c. butter, softened
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 Tbsp. hot water
  • 2 Tbsp. instant coffee
  • 1/2 tsp. rum extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. eggnog
    For the Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line pan with cupcake liners. Beat the cake mix, eggs, eggnog, oil, yogurt, extract, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and nutmeg on low for 1 minute and then on medium for 2 minutes. 
  2. Fill liners 2/3 of the way full. Bake 22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean
  3. Cool on a wire rack completely before frosting with coffee buttercream. Dust with nutmeg. Keep cupcakes refrigerated. 
    For the Butter Cream 
  1. Dissolve the coffee in hot water and set aside. 
  2. Beat butter and cream cheese until fluffy. 
  3. Add coffee water, extract, and salt. Beat in sugar slowly. After all the sugar has been mixed in, beat in eggnog to thin it slightly. 
  4. Keep refrigerated.
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