Thursday, July 29, 2010

Easy And Fast Cresent Roll Snacks

Last night, when we were running around with errands and Karate classes, everyone was hungry for a snack. I usually let the kids forge for themselves, eating whatever they like. But I recently discovered how easy it is to throw together some really yummy snacks with a couple of tubes of cresent rolls and a few extra ingredients. Last night, I made pepperoni rolls and chocolate filled rolls. I had already made the chocolate rolls at the beginning of last year for an after school snack, but I'd never made the pepperoni rolls. As I suspected, it was so easy! I imagine you could come up with your own ideas of what would work as a filling. Ground beef/turkey, a little cheese and some taco seasoning would make great taco rolls. Juliened carrots and zucchini and some dressing would make a great veggie roll. The ideas are endless. Please share any ideas you might have. I'd love to hear them!

Pepperoni Rolls

1 can reduced fat cresent rolls
1/2 cup pepperoni, small pizza sized
1/2 cup reduced fat finely shredded cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with Pam. Set aside.

Spread out the cresent roll dough, separating the individual rolls. On each section of dough, place about 1 tablespoon of cheese. Layer pepperoni over the cheese, using about 4 to 5 pepperonis. Carefully roll the cresent dough, starting with the wider side. When completely rolled, tuck sides over so no cheese leaks out. Place in rows on cookie sheet and bake about 10 to 15 minutes, or until browned on top. Serve.

Chocolate Filled Rolls

1 can reduced fat cresent rolls
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips, if desired

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a cookie with Pam and set aside.

Spread cresent dough out, separating the individual rolls. On each section of dough, place about 1 tablespoon of semi sweet chocolate and one tablespoon of white chocolate chips. Roll dough over chips, starting at the wider end. Tuck sides in to prevent chocolate from melting out. Bake for about 10 to 15 minutes or until browned. Serve.

“I like vending machines, because snacks are better when they fall. If I buy a candy bar at the store, oftentimes I will drop it so that is achieves its maximum flavor potential.”
-Mitch Hedberg

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Twenty Questions

Twenty Questions
1. When you looked at yourself in the mirror today, what was the first thing that you thought? ---I'm tired!

2. Do you miss anyone right now? ---my brother in the Navy stationed at Gitmo

3. If you could move anywhere else, would you? ---oh, yeah!

4. If you could choose, what would your last meal be? ---I would eat at my favorite restaurant, Hyeholde, and include every dessert they have!

5. What famous person, dead or alive, would you want to have lunch with? --Jesus. I'm not sure I would be able to speak, though!

6. What was the last book you read? ---A Matter Of Class- Mary Balogh. Gotta get that romance in sometimes :)

7. What was the last movie you watched?---Green Zone. What a bad movie! The entire story was about Hollywood's liberal point of view about WMD's in Iraq. It would be nice if they would just stick to acting and not political agendas. We couldn't even finish the movie.

8. What was the last song you heard? ---I don't what it was. I was on hold so something like elevator music.

9. What's your dream vacation?---A week in Williamsburg, VA and a week at the beach. That was my honeymoon, actually!
I would love to see France and England too.

10. What is the next trip you'll take? ---to the grocery store! Nah, we aren't going on vacation this year because of lack of funds.

11. Did you ever go to camp? --no

12. Have you ever been in love? --yes!

13. What do you want to know about the future?---if my children will grow up happy and healthy and if we will be together as a family. I pray for it everyday.

14. Where is your best friend?--- at work. He'll be home for dinner then off to teach school tonight.

15. How is your best friend? ---he is tired too! We both are struggling to keep things going but we are ever so grateful for our jobs and family.

16. Who is the biggest gossiper you know? ---some of my friends at my gym

17. What does your last text message say? ---I don't text too often (cheap phone) but probably something in response to my daughter asking to do something.

18. What are 3 things you've always wanted to do, that you still plan to accomplish? ---move back home to VA, own my own successful business, be there for my kids whenever they need me.

19. What is one thing you've learned from your parents? ---how not to parent.
20. What is one thing you hope to teach your own children? ---to put God first always in their lives, use their manners in all situations, treat others as you want to be treated. Ok that is three things, but they are all so important!

If you want to do this meme, just copy and paste then erase my answers and write your own. Let me know if you do, I'd like to see it!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Chocolate Raspberry Brownies

Finding time to do anything with the kids home for the summer is tough. Don't get me wrong, I love having them home. But it is a challange some days (one I signed up for, so I shouldn't complain, I know!). Along with breaking up fights, getting house work done, outside activities and the "I'm bored" comments, getting time to bake is near impossible. But since all my raspberries came in this week, I really needed to do something with them and I was itching to bake again. I decided to make Chocolate Raspberry Brownies. Something simple yet fancy enough to be a bit challanging. Rich and moist, the kids love them and I'm happy!

Chocolate Raspberry Brownies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
First layer:
1/2 cup butter, divided
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
1/2 tsp. instant coffee
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup flour

Combine 1/4 cup butter, chocolate and coffee in a small saucepan and melt over low heat, stirring. Once melted, set aside.

With an electric mixer, beat 1/4 cup butter and sugar together. Add the egg and vanilla until incorporated. Add the melted chocolate mixture and the flour. Mix well.

Pour into an 9 inch square pan sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 15 minutes or until top springs back when touched.

Second Layer:

1 cup fresh raspberries
1/2 walnuts, chopped and toasted (I didn't toast mine)
1 Tblsp. flour

In a small bowl, combine the raspberries, walnuts and flour. Stir until combined. Set aside.

Third Layer:

6 Tblsp. flour
3 Tblsp. butter, melted
3 Tblsp. cocoa powder
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
3/4 cup brown sugar

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Mix until blended. Set aside.

Remove the brownie layer from the oven and sprinkle the second layer raspberry mixture over the brownie. Spoon the third chocolate mixture over the raspberry layer, carefully smoothing it out to touch the sides of the baking pan.

Return the pan to the oven and bake another 25 to 30 minutes.

Garnish with Raspberry sauce

Raspberry Sauce:

1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
2 Tablespoons water
2 Tablespoons sugar

Mix all ingredients in a small pan and bring to boil, stirring. Stir until mixture becomes thickened slightly. Cool and use over brownies.

"There is something in the red of a raspberry pie that looks as good to a man as the red in a sheep looks to a wolf."
-E. W. Howe

Monday, July 12, 2010

Garden Pesto

Basil is one of my favorite spices. You can use it in so many dishes, or you can just leave it plain, adding it to tomatoes, mozzarella, whatever. I have two basil plants in the garden and both have produced lots of basil this year, something I'm really pleased about. The last few years, the bugs got to my basil before I did and I was so disappointed! But this year, I've found myself looking for ways to use my basil and pesto won out as the quickest, tastest way to eat it. I made two batches already and I'm freezing it to keep it fresh, as it does go bad fast in the refrigerator. Tonight, I tossed whole wheat thin spaghetti with the pesto, added fresh twisted bread from a local bakery, and threw together a salad from the garden. All that healthy food helps me compensate for the big bowl of chocolate ice cream I plan to eat later!

Garden Pesto

1/2 cup walnuts or pine nuts

2 cups firmly packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
4 gloves garlic, peeled and quartered (I used bottled chopped garlic)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 to 1/2 cup good olive oil

In a food processor, combine basil leaves, Parmesan cheese, garlic, and salt. Cover and process, adding the oil through the top until smooth. Stop processor and scrape down pesto as needed. Add more cheese and/or salt to taste.
Toss with hot pasta. If not using right away, pesto will store in the refrigerator for up to three days. Store in freezer if not using within that time frame.
Recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

"Why do I get pesto? Why do I think I'll like it? I keep trying to like it, like I have to like it. Everybody likes pesto. You walk into a restaurant, that's all you hear: pesto, pesto, pesto. Where was pesto ten years ago?"
-George Costanza, Seinfeld

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

No Bake Trash Cake

I hope everyone had a great holiday! We kept very busy, visiting the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and having a picnic at home. We also met my sister and her husband for fireworks, in our usual spot in a local church parking lot.

While planning the meal for our picnic, my husband said he wanted to make the dessert. Huh? My husband make a dessert? I thought he was joking! He's cooked before but he's never been interested in making desserts. He said he is quite happy letting me do that duty (like it's a duty- Ha!). But this time, he said leave it all to him. Now, you can imagine that my curiosity was super high about what he was going to make, especially when he came back from the store with pineapple and Twinkies. He said he overheard some of his co-workers talking about this "Trash Cake" they made and he heard the ingredients and wanted to try it. So I stayed out of the way. The results were a cool, refreshing and very good dessert that I have to say was a great first effort we all enjoyed :)

No Bake Trash Cake

1 large box of Twinkies
1 15 oz can of crushed pineapple
1 half gallon vanilla ice cream, softened
1 large tub Cool whip, softened
maraschino cherries

In a 9 x 11 glass pan, line the Twinkies next to one another in rows, placing them as close as you can to completely fill the bottom. Spread the vanilla ice cream over the Twinkies out to the edges of the pan. Drain most of the juice from the pineapple then spread over the ice cream. Top with the Cool whip and cherries. Freeze until served.

"If it can't be fixed with duct tape or WD-40, it's a female problem."
-Jason Love

Friday, July 2, 2010

Greens N' Beans

Speaking of Southern foods, my husband comes home the other week and says that a nurse he works with heard I grew up in the South and asked if I'd make her Greens and Beans. Now I send sweets with my husband all the time for his co-workers, but I've never made a regular meal for anyone. Plus, even though I'd consider myself a Southerner through and through, I'd never heard of Greens and Beans, nor am I known for my cooking! Since I couldn't find the recipe in any of my Southern cookbooks, I looked it up online. Good thing there is the internet! I found a recipe from Bon Appetit. While I was making it, I tested it on my eldest daughter and my husband. It got rave reviews so I felt a bit more confident sending it to work the next day to pass on to my husband's co-worker. The next day she told my husband that she had planned on eating half the bowl but ended up eating the whole container! She sent me a sweet thank you note too. I was surprised and thrilled at the same time that it all came out so well. Now the family is bugging me to make this for dinner!

Greens N' Beans

5 tablespoons of olive oil, divided
3 gloves of garlic, chopped fine (I used the bottled garlic)
1/4 to 1/2 crushed red pepper (add more if you like spicy)
1 large bunch of greens about 1 pound (I used bagged Collards and Turnip greens)
1 cup or more of chicken broth
1 15 oz can of white cannellini beans (white kidney beans) drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon of Sherry cooking wine

In a large pan, add 4 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add garlic and red pepper. Stir until garlic is pale golden, about 1 minute. Add greens a handful at a time, using tongs to turn and coat with oil. Cook until greens begin to wilt. Add 1 cup of broth, cover and simmer until greens are just tender. Add more broth as needed, if dry. Add the beans and cook uncovered until heated through and liquid is evaporated. Add sherry and drizzle with last tablespoon of oil. Serve.

"Growing up Southern is a priviledge, really. It's more than where you were born, it's an idea and a state of mind that seems imparted at birth. It's more than loving fried chicken, sweet tea, football and country music. It's being hospitable, devoted to front porches, magnolias, moon pies, and coca cola.....and each other. We don't become Southern, we are born that way."