Thursday, May 31, 2012

Strawberry Freezer Jam

Welcome to jam making! I love homemade jam.  It is delicious! You can't even compare homemade jam to store bought jam.  They're in two different classes.  Like chocolate and vegetables.  No comparison.  Chocolate obviously being the winner.

My mother-in-law came to visit and she makes the best jam.  So I asked her if she wouldn't mind showing me how to make strawberry freezer jam.  She was so nice to help me and it was so easy that now I want to make all kinds of freezer jam like blueberry, mango and raspberry.

First, you want to get 4 cups of mashed strawberries.  Don't make strawberry soup though! Mash 'em good but leave a little chunkiness to it.  You could use a potato masher but I didn't have one so I used the bottom of a cup.

Put those strawberries in a big bowl and add 8 cups white sugar.  Mix well.  Let stand for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While your strawberry mixture is working it's magic, stir together 2 pouches liquid pectin and 4 T. of lemon juice.

This is the liquid pectin I used but you can use the powdered stuff too.  You just may have to follow the instructions for the recipe off of their box instead.

Stir the pectin mixture into the strawberries and mix for 3 minutes.

Put jam into any size or kind of jar.  You could use glass jars but I just re-used plastic cups I had from cottage cheese. Yeah, I love the planet like that.  Keep in mind that the Certo recipe says that once jam is spooned into jars to let it stand at room temperature for 24 hours, but we didn't do that.  And it tastes fabulous! This recipe yields 8 cups of jam.  Freeze what you are not using for up to 1 year and keep in mind that once in the fridge it lasts for 3 weeks.  Honestly, it won't last 3 weeks though.  Who are we kidding?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I felt like baking tonight.  I have always baked and tried new things but tonight all I had on hand was chocolate chip cookie ingredients.  So I went online and found this recipe from All Recipes.  So delicious! They are extra large, soft and chewy.  Ya gotta try 'em. They will become your new favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe.

Chocolate Chip Cookies:
2 c. flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
3/4 c. unsalted butter, melted
1 c. brown sugar, packed
1/2 c. white sugar
1 T. vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 c. chocolate chips
walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Put parchment paper on cookie sheets.  Sift together flour, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.  In a mixer cream together butter, brown sugar and white sugar.  Beat in vanilla, egg and egg yolk.  Mix until light and creamy.  Mix in dry ingredients.  Stir in chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips because they are the BEST but you could use any kind of chocolate).  You could also add some walnuts.  Yum! I didn't add walnuts this time but next time I would.  Drop cookie dough on cookie sheets by measuring out 1/4 c. portions.  Only place 4 cookies on a sheet.  Bake 15 minutes.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Like I said in the last post, I am trying to lose weight.  And I have been able to find sooo many great recipes from Skinny Taste to help me with it.  I found this recipe on there.  SO GOOD! I love buffalo wings, it is one of my guilty pleasures.  This is just as good and sooo much better for you.  Low in calories and fat and it is crunchy, hot and creamy.  How much better can you get?

Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps:
24 oz chicken
1/2 onion
1 large stalk of celery
1 clove garlic
1 16 oz can chicken broth
1/2 c. Frank's Hot Cayenne Pepper Sauce
1 head of iceberg lettuce
shredded carrots
light ranch

Put chicken, onion (I used more like 3/4 of an onion), celery, garlic (I used the kind from a can) and chicken broth (I only used a 14 oz can) in crock pot.  Cook on high for 4 hours.  Take chicken out of crock pot.  Reserve 1/2 c. of broth and discard the rest.  Put chicken back in crock pot and add hot sauce.  Cook on high for another 1/2 hour.  Wash and separate lettuce into little cups. Cut celery into little matchstick size pieces.  Assemble your buffalo chicken lettuce wraps! Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Low Fat Pineapple Cupcakes

I am trying to lose weight.  So I am trying to cook healthier.  I found a website I am in LOVE with.  It's called Skinny Taste.  It has tons of recipes that are low fat/low calorie and have all the nutrition and Weight Watcher points listed right on it.  I found these cupcakes and thought they looked delicious.  I was right.  They were.  Very moist and sweet.  The only thing I changed was that I added more marshmallow fluff.

Pineapple Cupcakes:
1 yellow cake mix
2 20 oz. cans crushed pineapple
1 c. marshmallow fluff
1 8 oz. package 1/3 less fat cream cheese

Mix cake mix and 1 can of crushed pineapple together.  Spoon into 24 cupcake liners.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  Let cool completely.  Mix together other can of crushed pineapple, cream cheese and marshmellow fluff with a hand held mixer.  Spread over cooled cupcakes.  Enjoy!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Strawberry Chocolate Crepes

One thing you need to know about me is that I LOVE anything French.  Have I ever been to France? No.  Do I plan on going someday? Heck yes! Crepes just feel French to me.  Elegant and rustic yet so easy and cheap to make.  I had some strawberries going bad in my fridge and decided to make some strawberry chocolate crepes! I found the recipe for the crepes and whipped cream filling on  Someday I would like to make savory crepes but this is a great and easy recipe for those just starting out on making them.

1 c. flour
2 eggs
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. water
1/4 t. salt
2 T. butter, melted

In mixing bowl, whisk together flour and eggs.  Gradually add in milk and water, whisking to combine.  Add the salt and butter.  Whisk until smooth.  Spray skillet generally with cooking spray.  Turn to medium heat.  Measure out a little less then 1/2 c. batter and pour in middle of skillet, rotating quickly so that crepe covers entire surface.  Cook until done then flip to cook other side.  Once cooked through set aside and continue cooking other crepes.  Yields 4.

Whipped Cream:
1 c. heavy cream (half a pint)
1 t. vanilla
1 T. confectioners sugar

In chilled bowl, whip cream until stiff peaks are just about to form.  Beat in vanilla and sugar until peaks form. Make sure not to over beat.

Strawberry Sauce:
8 strawberries
1 t. sugar
1 t. water

Roughly chop up strawberries.  Pour into small skillet.  Add sugar and water.  Heat to medium heat until hot and then turn down to low.  Slightly mash up strawberries.  Heat 10-15 minutes until resembles strawberry sauce.

To assemble crepes spoon desired whipped cream mixture down the middle of crepe.  Roll up.  Spoon strawberry sauce on top.  For chocolate drizzle I used Bakers Dipping Chocolate.  It comes in a little plastic tub and you just microwave it and you have beautifully melted chocolate.  You could simple add a little butter to some chocolate chips and then microwave those too.  Put a little confectioners sugar in a small sifter and lightly tap over crepes.  And voila!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

California Pizza Kitchen Taco Pizza

Doesn't this look YUMMY? I found this recipe on The Pioneer Woman and just had to try it.  And I am so glad I did.  It was so delicious!!

Another picture.

And yet another.

And a little closer. Look at the yumminess goin' on!

California Pizza Kitchen Taco Pizza:
1 t. yeast
1 1/4 c. warm water
4 c. flour
1 t. kosher salt
1/3 c. olive oil
1 can (14 ounce) black beans
1 t. taco seasoning
4 corn tortillas, sliced into thin strips
1/2 c. canola oil, for frying
1 c. grated cheddar cheese
1 c. grated monterey jack cheese
1 head green leaf lettuce, sliced into thin strips
2 tomatoes, diced
1/2 c. cilantro leaves
1/4  c. sour cream
3 T. hot sauce

Mix yeast with warm water and set aside for 8-10 minutes.  Mix flour, salt and olive oil in mixer with dough hook.  On lowest speed slowly drizzle in yeast mixture.  Allow to knead for 6 minutes.  Put dough in greased bowl and let rise 1-2 hours (you can also heat your oven to the lowest temperature it can go and then turn it off and stick your bowl in with the door slightly cracked).

Pour black beans and taco seasoning into a saucepan.  Heat over medium-low heat.  Mash with fork till most of it is mashed up.  Continue heating until mixture looks like refried beans.  Set aside.

In skillet, heat oil over medium heat.  When hot enough to fry, drop tortilla strips in small batches, frying for about 30-45 seconds.  Transfer to paper towel lined plate.  Set aside.

Place oven rack in bottom position in oven.  Preheat oven to 500 degrees.  Remove half the pizza dough from the bowl.  Place remaining half in a plastic bag and refrigerate or freeze, saving for another use.  Spread pizza dough on greased cookie sheet, making sure it's relatively thin.  Spread layer of beans over crust.  Sprinkle mixed grated cheeses on top.  Place in oven and bake 10-12 minutes (I did mine 10 minutes and it was great) making sure to not let it burn.  Remove pizza from oven.

Sprinkle on chopped lettuce, tomatoes and cilantro leaves.  Mix together sour cream and hot sauce.  Put in plastic bag with corner cut off.  Pipe one way and then the other to make a pretty pattern.  Sprinkle tortilla strips on top, crushing slightly as you go.  Enjoy!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Red Lobster Cheddar Cheese Biscuits

I remember my parents going on date nights to Red Lobster and my siblings and I always asking them to BRING HOME THE CHEESE BISCUITS! It was always a treat when they brought them home.  I found a recipe for the biscuits but I accidentally did it wrong, and they turned out GREAT! It was from this website, but this is my adaption of it.

Closer look.  Look at all da cheese!

And a little bit closer.  So yummy yummy in my tummy.

Red Lobster Cheddar Cheese Biscuits:
2 c. Bisquick
1/4 c. softened butter
1 c. grated cheddar cheese
3/4 t. garlic powder
2/3 c. 2% milk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Combine everything.  Drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto 2 cookie sheets lined with parchment paper with a cookie scoop.   Bake 8-9 minutes.  Eat warm.  Trust me, they are SO much better warm.  Yields 18.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Easy Hair Flowers

My mom came to visit recently and we went to Michaels.  I saw these bad boys and freaked out! I knew that they said they were "dimensional stickers" but all I could see were really cute flowers for my hair.  I didn't buy them then because they weren't on sale but the next time I went they were 50% off! Score! Which made the white package $1.99 and the yellow one $2.49.

When I opened the package the yellow one looked like this.

And the white one looked like this (Please excuse the fuzziness of the picture.  Once again, I do NOT have the best camera.)

I took the the tie out of the yellow one and inserted a hair clip into a pocket that was already built into the flower.  So easy!

For the white one I had difficulty getting the tie out of the pocket so I just cut off the excess amount and then inserted my hair clip.

All done! I will post a picture today or tomorrow with them in my hair.  So ridiculously cute and only $1.20 per flower plus hair clips.  I am never making flowers again!