Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My NEW Hobby....and Milk and Cookies!!!

Yes, I have added another hobby to my life.....saving money!!!! That's right I'm now having loads of fun with coupons! Who knew saving money would be SO MUCH FUN!! Well, it is especially FUN when you have a fabulous friend like I do that is SUPER good at it.  That friend of mine, Kylah is an expert at it!  She has totally mastered the whole concept of couponing.   She is guiding me and showing me the "in's and out's" of it all.  My goodness there is a whole world of couponing that I had no idea existed.  I'm sure many of you  are already are involved in this hobby.  For those of you that are not and want to get a better idea of what it all means to SAVE $$$ go on over to Kylah's lovely coupon blog called, Crazy'Bout Couponz and check it out.  

Now onto one of my other hobbies....baking!!!


There is something so good about cookies and milk.  They go together so well!  I'm sure many of you like to dip your cookies right into your glass of milk right? Well, these cookies that I am about to share with you are just PERFECT for such a thing.  So go ahead and take a few minutes out of your day to make these cookies.  Then set aside some time to sit down with these yummy cookies and a nice glass of milk and dip away!

The best part about this great recipe is that it is whipped together super fast!  I made it an hour before I had to leave the house for a playdate.  I left the house with a plate full of fun cookies and came home with an empty plate as both the kiddos and the mommy's enjoyed them to the fullest!   :-)

Cookie Sticks

Ingredients:

1/2 cup of canola oil (yes, oil NOT butter is used in these cookie recipe)

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 cup flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 cup semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Combine oil, white and brown sugar, egg and vanilla extract in a large bowl. 

3. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking soda and salt.  Add this to the oil/sugar mixture.  Divide dough in half.

4. Grease a cookie sheet and place the two 1/2 doughs on the sheet - shape into long rectangles...about 15"x3" in size.  Sprinkle chocolate chips over cookie dough rectangles...


Gently press chips into cookie rectangles so you don't risk loosing them....



5.  Place in oven and bake for 7-8 minutes (9-10 minutes if you wish your cookies to be crispier).  Cool for 5 minutes.

6. With a pizza cutter cut baked cookie rectangles into 4 large pieces - this makes it easier to transfer onto cooling racks.



 
Cool completely and then cut previously cut sections into 1" strips...


Don't these little cookie sticks just scream for a glass of milk or even a HOT cup of tea to go along side them? :-)



Enjoy!!!

Happy Cookie Sticks Baking!  

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Coffee Chocolate Chunk Muffins



Love muffins?  How about the flavor of coffee?  Or chocolate?  Even better how about coffee and chocolate together IN a muffin?  YUM right!? Here is a muffin recipe with all that coffee and chocolate yumminess in one place.

In the original recipe for these muffins two sources of coffee flavorings were used - instant coffee granules and coffee flavored liqueur.  Because I did not have the instant coffee I used freshly brewed Starbucks coffee along with Kaluha (YUM!) and coffee extract (which I decided to add to the recipe in an extra effort to give the muffins a nice coffee flavoring paired with the chocolate chunks).   The coffee flavor in the muffins was good (especially after the muffins sat for day and the flavor was able to really set in) but next time I think I will tweek the recipe further with more coffee flavoring so that the essence of coffee is more pronounced.

Over all this recipe was a hit and I wouldn't be sharing it with all of you Sweetie Pies if I didn't LOVE it myself.  You get my drift right?

Coffee Chocolate Chunk Muffins
(recipe was adapted from a food blog called, Diana's Desserts.  I have been delighted to find her blog!)

Ingredients:



6 Tbsp butter, softened

2/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup milk

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 3/4 cup flour

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 large egg

1 Tbsp instant coffee dissolved in 2 Tbsp boiling water

1 Tbsp Kahlua (or another kind of coffee liqueur)

1 tsp coffee flavoring (optional - I had this in my pantry and added it into the batter in attempt to give a full flavor of coffee..which basically worked but next time I think I will add about a 1/2 tsp more of this flavoring)

3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks ("chips" would be just fine if you don't have "chunks" on hand


Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 6-cup jumbo muffin tin with jumbo cupcake liners.

2. In a large bowl beat together butter and sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy.  Beat in egg, vanilla, dissolved coffee, coffee flavoring and coffee liqueur until well blended.

3. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt.  Add to butter mixture alternately with milk, beating until just combined.  Fold in chocolate chunks.

4. Scoop batter into lined muffin pan cups.  I used an ice cream scoop to do this which worked great!


5. Bake in preheated oven for 22-25 minutes or until centers spring back when lightly pressed.  Just look at these lovely muffins!  Man, do they make me happy!


Serve warm or at room temperature with a nice hot beverage of your choice.  Enjoy!



Happy Coffee Chocolate Chunk Muffins Baking!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A Goodbye Pie.....A Raspberry Cream Pie at that!

I hate, HATE, hate goodbyes.  There is nothing fun about them. AT ALL.  I prefer hellos over goodbyes....don't you?

A couple of weeks ago I had to say goodbye to not one, not two, not three but FOUR people that I adore - my parents, my sister and her sweetie pie. Before I said "goodbye" I invited all of them over for some dinner and dessert.  I figured I would be better off doing the deed of saying goodbye on a full tummy.  I made a chicken casserole for dinner and then to finish off the meal I served pie.  A fabulously EASY and super YUMMY pie.  Yes, I made PW's Raspberry Cream Pie

It was over the top D'LISH!  Simple ingredients along with a speedy assembly make this pie a lovely dessert. You can easily make this pie even faster than PW by using a pre-made crust or you can go right ahead and follow her recipe to the "T" and make your own cookie crust.

Want the recipe? Of course you do! :-)


Raspberry Cream Pie
(recipe from The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond at the Tasty Kitchen)

Ingredients:



25 whole Oreo cookies

4 Tbsp butter, melted

1 generous cup fresh raspberries

3 Tbsp sugar

2 containers (6oz. each) raspberry yogurt

1 package (3.4 oz.) instant vanilla pudding mix

1 cup heavy cream or whipping cream

extra raspberries for garnishing

Directions:

1. Make crust....(or purchase a pre-made Oreo crust)....preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Place cookies in a food processor and "crush" or place cookies in a Ziploc bag and smash with a rolling pin.  Stir in melted butter until well combined.  Pour crushed cookie mixture into a regular pie pan and press down all over the pan and up the sides.  Bake for 3-4 minutes - just long enough to set.  Cool crust completely after baking to set.

2. Make pie filling....pour fresh raspberries into a medium size bowl.  Smash them with a fork, then sprinkle with 3 Tbsp of sugar.  Stir smashed raspberries and sugar together and then let sit for 15 minutes.

3. In a bowl of a mixer combine raspberry yogurt with the instant vanilla pudding powder.   Beat on low for 1 minute.  Pour in heavy cream and whip on low for 30 seconds. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula.  Turn mixer on medium-high speed and beat for 2 minutes, or until mixture is thick.

4. Turn off mixer, then fold in fresh raspberries until just combined.  Pour this lovely creamy raspberry mixture into COOLED pie pan and spread evenly. 

5. Place pie in freezer and freeze for 2 hours, or until very firm.  Cut into slices and garnish with fresh raspberries if you wish.  ENJOY!.....I know you will. :-)




Happy Raspberry Cream Pie Making!

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