Category: baking

Movie Munchies: Ratatouille

Today I get to present to you the 2nd episode in my Movie Munchies series.  Just in time for Valentines Day Jacqueline and I make the french dish ratatouille and talk about- you guessed it- Pixar’s Ratatouille!  These videos were a huge challenge for me so I would love your feedback.  We plan to do a couple a month so if you have ideas for good movie/recipe combinations please put in the comments sections.

Also if you try the recipe let me know what you think.  It’s a very versatile dish that you can use as a main dish or side.  Very tasty.

Thanks so much for your feedback and help!

Recipe:
1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes
1 large eggplant (1 pound), cut into 1-inch pieces
2 large yellow onions (1 pound total), diced large
1 head garlic, cloves smashed and peeled
2 bell peppers (any color), seeded and diced large
2 large zucchini (1 pound total), diced large
1 lb mushrooms
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon oregano leaves
2 to 3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper

Salt the eggplant and squeeze out as much moisture as you can. Saute peppers, onions and garlic till translucent.  Add eggplant, zucchini and mushrooms and get some color.  Add tomatoes and then let stew on medium low heat as long as you can.  Serve as a topping for pasta or a side with meat.

2014 Cookie Swap

Last year was my first time doing a cookie swap put on by Veronica’s Cornucopia and I had such a good time I decided to do it again this year.  I focused on 3 variations on a shortbread because I thought they would ship well and then threw in some chocolate covered marshmallows for some fun and color.

cookies2Here are the recipes- all of them came from The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays

Book by Ree Drummond
cookies3Christmas Cherry Cookies-
  • 2 sticks Butter, Softened
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 2 whole Egg Yolks, Stirred
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • Zest Of 1 Lemon
  • Zest Of 1 Orange
  • Juice Of 1 Lemon
  • 2 cups All-purpose Flour, Sifted Twice
  • Candied Green And Red Cherries (sold Around The Holidays)

Preparation Instructions

Cream butter and sugar until fluffy.

Add egg yolks, vanilla, orange peel, lemon peel, and lemon juice, and mix until combined. Use rubber spatula to scrape bowl, then mix again.

Add sifted flour and mix until combined. Place dough in a ziploc bag and refrigerate for at least one hour, or until firm.

When ready to make the cookies, preheat oven to 300 degrees. Cut candied cherries in half.

Roll dough into small balls and set on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a baking mat. Gently press the cherry halves, cut side down, into each ball.

Bake for 20 minutes, removing from oven before they start to brown. Cool on a wire rack.

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peppermint cookiesChocolate Candy Cane Cookies-

  • 2 sticks Salted Butter, Slightly Softened
  • 1 cup Powdered (Confectioners) Sugar
  • 1 whole Egg
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla
  • 2-1/2 cups Flour
  • 1/2 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 4 ounces, weight (4 Squares) Almond Bark Or White Baking Chocolate (almond Bark Works Best And Is Cheaper)
  • Large Handful Of Red Or Green Peppermints

Preparation Instructions

Cream softened butter with powdered sugar. Add egg and vanilla and mix to combine. Add dry ingredients and mix together until dough comes together. Place plastic wrap on surface of dough and refrigerate for 2 hours.

In the meantime, unwrap candies and place them in a plastic bag. Beat with a mallet until finely crushed, leaving larger chunks if desired.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Roll cookie dough in walnut-sized pieces and place on a cookie sheet. Gently press balls flat with a plain, smooth surface. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes, being careful not to burn. Cookies will remain the same general size and shape after they bake. Remove from oven and place cookies on a cooling rack. Allow them to cool completely.

Place crushed candies in bowl. Melt almond bark in the microwave. Dip cooled cookies into almond bark, coating half the cookie. Immediately sprinkle crushed peppermints over both sides of the almond bark. Gently set on parchment paper or other nonstick surface and allow to cool before serving.

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marshmellows2 marshmellowsChocolate Covered Marshmallows-

  • Regular Marshmallows
  • 1 package Almond Bark (white Or Chocolate) Or Meltable Candy Wafers
  • Sprinkles, Chopped Nuts, Chopped Pretzels, Chopped Candy, Etc.
  • Equipment: Lolipop Sticks (sold In Craft Stores)

Preparation Instructions

Melt the chocolate or white (or both) almond bark in a double boiler.

One by one, dip the very tip of the lollipop stick into the melted chocolate, then stick that end of the stick into the marshmallow until it’s not quite all the way through. Repeat with the rest of the marshmallows, standing them up as you go.

Next, roll the marshmallow in the chocolate to coat it, then tap the stick gently on the side of the double boiler to get rid of the excess. Using your fingers, sprinkle the topping of your choice all over the chocolate. Set them stick side up on a piece of waxed paper OR stick them into that crazy florist stuff that makes flowers stand up.

Have fun with the toppings and make no two marshmallow pops the same!

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spreads

  • 1 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 cup Margarine
  • 1 whole Egg
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 6 ounces, weight ( To 8 Ounces) Chocolate Chips

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together brown sugar and margarine. Add egg and mix together. Add flour, salt, and vanilla, and mix together well.
Spread dough onto cookie sheet to a thickness of 1/4 to 1/2-inch.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until slightly brown. At this point, pull out of the oven and sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over the top. Return to oven for 1 minute. Remove and spread melted chips over the top. Cut into squares.

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So I hope you all have fun making some of these cookies!  They are very yummy! Merry Christmas!

Speedy Rolls and #LDSConf

This weekend I had the great experience of listening to my church’s General Conference where the prophet and other leadership speak words of wisdom and counsel to all of us. The interesting thing about this weekend is there wasn’t one stand out talk.

They all were great and impacted me.  It all made me want to be a better person and strengthened my faith.  I am so excited to dive into them for the next 6 months and make them part of my life.

In the last 2 years I became more involved in the Church’s twitter movement known as #twitterstake.  This isn’t officially part of the church but they have embraced social networking and have established #ldsconf as the General Conference hashtag as well as tags for every speaker.

#ldsconf

Older members may be surprised by the embrace of such social media and wonder if it distracts viewers to be on twitter at the same time they are listening to the prophet and apostles?  If I had not participated myself I might wonder the same thing.

In fact, it is the reverse.  For a multisensory learner like myself being able to interact with a community of worldwide saints while watching General Conference only adds to my understanding and faith.

Not only do other viewers pick up on talk aspects that I don’t, but I am also using reading, writing, listening and viewing to process ideas instead of merely viewing.  I can’t understate how much it has helped me to get the most out of General Conference since I started in 2012.

It has also helped me to feel a part of a worldwide movement.  To literally bare my testimony to others all around the world.  I have made friends that are truly cherished, some that I have met and others that I communicate with frequently.

conference-1

One of my twitter friends @Stan_Way  described it well:

Fullscreen capture 462014 52127 PM.bmp

Indeed, who reading my blog or tweet will become a lasting friend?  What a great world we live in.  Never any other time in the history of the world could a single woman have such a voice.  It’s just wonderful.

For some reason this conference everyone was making cinnamon rolls on twitter.  After about the 300th tweet I broke down and made my own.  I’m not the hugest baker in the world, but I have a recipe for ‘Speedy Rolls’ in my cookbook (see post for more on the cookbook)  for many years. For all of you that aren’t bakers it is the easiest recipe.  Fail proof!

It can also be used as cinnamon rolls and works great.

cinnamonrolls

Speedy Rolls/Cinnamon Rolls

Place in mixing bowl and let disolve

2 cups warm water

2 tbsp yeast (2 packages)

1/3 cup sugar

Add and beat for 2 minutes

1 tbsp salt

2 cups flour

Add and beat for 1 minute

2 eggs

1/3 cup melted shortening or butter

Gradually add until dough forms

4 1/2 cups flour

Let stand for 20 minutes.  Then shape and let rise for another 20 minutes.

Put lots of cooking spray on the pan.

Bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes depending on size. Until godlen brown

If making cinnamon rolls using rolling pin to make dough about 1/4 inch thick.  Then spread cinnamon, sugar, butter and brown sugar very liberally.  Roll up into one large log then cut into 1 inch slices.

Let rise and it took me around 25 minutes to cook because they are so big.

Top with glaze made from butter, powdered sugar and a little milk.

 

The cinnamon rolls also gave me an excuse to meet my neighbors.  Win-win!