Cookies and bagels

 I tried out two new recipes this weekend, and both had great results so I wanted to share! I usually make a special dessert for dinner on Saturday and was thinking about M&M cookies for some reason. I found this great recipe from Baked Bree and just substituted a bag of mini M&M’s for the chocolate chips. They turned out great!

Cupcakes and Commentary/ bagels and cookiesI spaced them about an inch and a half to two inches apart because I wasn’t sure how far they would spread.

IMG_1712 Which turned out to be a good choice of spacing as they came out perfect!

IMG_1713When they come out of the oven they are, of course, fabulous, and once they have cooled they take on the consistency of a Chips Ahoy chocolate chip cookie, which is what I was looking for. They were tasty and it makes a ton of cookies. They only issue I had was the stirring part because the recipe directs you to stir by hand (next time I may try to use my mixer and see what happens).

On a whim on Monday I decided to make bagels from scratch (well not entirely a whim, I had bought bread flour this weekend to make them). Anyway, I had pinned the recipe a few weeks ago from A Beautiful Mess and was enticed to try it because of A’s love of bagels. OH MY GOSH, ya’ll. Seriously. I am using ya’ll here. I am not a great baker andwent into the dough making of these thinking I had already failed. They were so good. Observe:

I made bagels:

IMG_1723

They came out of the oven, looking tasty…if not a bit free form in nature and size…

I cut one open and put a bit of cream cheese on it and took a bite to make sure they tasted decent:

IMG_1727

And then the boys smell fresh baked goods and came running:

IMG_1729 IMG_1730And not a single crumb was dropped, just a bit o’ cream cheese on J’s face to mark that they had been eaten. IMG_1732I did half plain and half with the seeds on it per the recipe. They were both great and I will definitely make them again…I will have to:

More bagel, lady!J demands it. “More bagel, lady!” he cried. Oh and follow this link for the recipe.

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Hail to the chicken

So in honor of President’s Day weekend, we cooked a weekend full of chicken dinners. It wasn’t meant to happen, but it ended up being that way and we were interested to see if we would be completely burned out on chicken by Monday (which we were….we ordered Steak Out…ha!). So here are our weekend recipes.

First up, Friday. Pioneer Woman’s Chicken Florentine Pasta.

Chicken FlorentineThis recipe is everything she claims it be. Quick, easy, and sooo good! I am adding it to our staples.

Next, Pioneer Woman’s Chicken Enchiladas:

Chicken EnchiladasI made the enchiladas in advance (except for the sauce) and with flour tortillas instead of corn. I have gotten really frustrated with corn tortillas breaking lately…most likely user error. I then made the sauce right before dinner, topped the enchiladas with the sauce and baked them off in the oven. They were obviously good since I ate the leftovers…cue my fancy paper plates.

And on Sunday…smoked chicken thighs and roasted vegetables.

IMG_1636I halved radishes, small red potatoes, and sliced a yellow pepper. Then I tossed them with olive oil, a bit of kosher salt, and rosemary, and put them on a foil lined high sided baking sheet. Then I roasted them at 425 degrees for 30 minutes.  Smoked Chicken ThighsAnd my husband smoked chicken thighs in his fancy smoker that is now upgraded with some special smoking grates thanks to my Dad’s handy tools.

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Fish tacos

So I tried fish tacos this week. For my family this is taking a huge leap out of the ordinary. I used cod and I followed this recipe from Cup of Jo for the seasoning and baking. Overall it was pretty good! My only issue was that our house still smells like fish, bleh. Oh and I topped it with The Pioneer Woman’s restaurant style salsa. Make it. Eat it. My husband has estimated that it has saved us over ten dollars a month in salsa.

Fish tacos IMG_1571This is A’s “I am trying new things” smiley face. I think he was most excited about the avocado.

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For the love of bread

My Mom always tells the story that when I was little they had to hide the rolls on the table because if I saw them that was all I would want to eat. I apparently have passed that love of bread on to A as he always asks with every meal “will we have rolls with dinner?”

About a year ago I started attempting to make my own bread at different times. I have said it before, and I will say it again, I am not a great baker. However, that hasn’t stopped me from trying! After many failed, half success, eh it was okay, attempts to make The Pioneer Woman’s Buttered Rosemary Rolls (using her cinnamon roll dough…I halved the recipe and then used half of the dough), last night I finally found perfection. Here is my success:

Buttered rosemary rolls IMG_1247Light, fluffy, perfection. Delicious!

I have to say I was really inspired by this post from my friend and fellow blogger Travels with Children. Go read it! It will inspire you to order some of the fabulous bread she talks about, fly to Paris, or go make some bread of your own. 🙂

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Spiced apple cake and soup pong

For our viewing of the national championship game (and a bit of a celebration for me at the end of viewing all the bowl games), I made this spiced apple cake. I found it by way of Cup of Jo and the blog that it is from La Buena Vida has really fabulous recipes; elegant and delicious. This cake was no exception. It was delicious, perfect with a bit of whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream.

The specific recipe is not kid friendly (it has rum), but you can take out the rum if you want to serve it to children. I would add a half teaspoon to a teaspoon of cinnamon if you take out the rum just to add a bit of kid friendly spice.

So on to a few pictures of putting it together (and why soup pong is mentioned).

So the very first thing you do is whisk two room temperature eggs until frothy:

IMG_1187And then you give you watch as your helper plays soup pong. How do you play this game? You need a pot and magnetic fridge letters.  IMG_1188And J bounces them from the floor into the little pot. Seriously. He taught himself this game…it is pretty funny to watch!

So back to the making of the cake. You then whisk in all of the rest of the ingredients:IMG_1189And then check and see how the game is going: IMG_1190The score is one, I believe.

You mix the diced apples in with the whisked mixture (beware it is going to seem like there are WAY too many diced apples for the amount of mixture, but that is what it is supposed to be):IMG_1191Then you bake it until it is golden brown and a knife comes out clean in the center: IMG_1193And then you cut a lovely slice and enjoy: IMG_1195Delicious!

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Happy New Year’s Eve!

After a little break for some family time, we are (in the words of A) “skeetering” out of this year….

A and his scooterAnd looking forward to a happy 2013.

And if you are planning on making some treats for a New Year’s Eve Party (we are having our annual shindig with my sister’s family, which will probably be louder than any party you attend…HA!), may I suggest these cookies?

White Chocolate Oreo Pudding CookiesThese cookies were devoured the fastest at Christmas. Hop on over to Two Peas and their Pod for the recipe.

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The Christmas Countdown Extra: Desserts in a Jar

While doing my nightly blog surfing and reading I came upon this recipe from Kevin and Amanda. It is from Shaina Olmanson’s new book Desserts in a Jar and I thought, what a terrific teacher present! So I whipped up four of them for A’s teachers and helpers to go along with their other Christmas gifts.

IMG_0830 IMG_0831 IMG_0832They turned out really cute! I always make homemade (food) gifts with the guarantee that I made it in a clean environment and my child did NOT help in anyway. As much as I love cooking with A I know that others wouldn’t love getting his germs.

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Super A = Super Picky Eater

“Back in the day” A was a pretty good eater. He would try various foods, eat pretty much what I cooked, and had a wide range of liked foods. Then he hit three and a half. Somehow around this time he became a picky eater. I don’t know how or why it changed, but now dinner for us has become a constant hassle. He doesn’t like/want to try anything I make unless it is one of the following:

chicken nuggets

lasagna

turkey sandwich

peanut butter sandwich

cheese quesadilla (which I HATE making now because he asks for it and never ends up eating it)

cheeseburgers (he doesn’t eat much of these either. Again I think he likes the idea more than the actual food itself)

pizza

Each of these items are typical, kid liked foods. And we definitely make one or more of them once a week. However, as someone who cooks a lot, I am on a mission to get A to expand his spectrum of food likes. So I have been blog and pinterest searching and am coming up with lists of kid friendly meals for us to try. Here is what I selected for this past week and our results.

Jenna’s Journey French Bread Pizza

  French Bread Pizza

So of course this was a hit with A. I sometimes think that if I just start calling any food I serve him “pizza ____” he would eat it. I served it with zucchini sticks and yogurt for dipping (he likes yogurt), and oddly enough he wouldn’t eat the yogurt, but he did eat some of the zucchini sticks.

Kevin and Amanda’s Peas, Ham, and Creamy Noodles

Peas, Ham, Creamy

I picked this dish because it has egg noodles in it and A likes egg noodles. He ate it pretty well, but mainly picked out the noodles and only ate the peas and ham with us telling him he had to eat at least some of it.

My Own Cheesy Beefy Burros

 Cheesy Beefy Burros

Sometimes he eats this great, sometimes he doesn’t. I served it with corn, and he ate pretty well.

Picky Palate’s Turkey Pumpkin Chili

Chicken Pumpkin Chili

I knew I was throwing a long shot by attempting to get him to eat chili (I don’t think I really cared for chili as a kid), I encouraged him by adding cheese and let him put ketchup on it. He ate okay, but it took quite a bit of encouragement from us to get him to eat.

The Pioneer Woman’s Twice Baked Potatoes and Turkey Sandwiches

 Twice Baked PotatoesA ate the turkey sandwich well, of course, and he ate several bites of potato because he was required to eat several bites of potato.

Overall, these are all meals I would try again. My personal favorite of the new ones was the chili dish and the noodles dish. You have to really keep an eye on the noodles dish if you have an electric stove top…mine boiled over! Happy Eating!

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Cookie Fail and Cookie Success

During our Cousin’s Day on Saturday we made chocolate snickerdoodles while J napped and the boys watched Lego Star Wars and Duck Tales. Here is how our cookies turned out:

Chocolate Snickerdoodles

They look pretty good right?

Somewhere between baking and cooling, something went wrong. When we first took them out of the oven they were perfect, a bit crispy on the edges with a chewy center. However, two hours later, they were as hard as a rock. Have you ever had this happen? I still can’t figure out exactly what I did, but they were not good.

I thought about trying the recipe again, but I have made quite a few chocolate cookie recipes lately, so I decided to look elsewhere. I came upon a Giada DeLaurentiis Lemon Ricotta Cookie recipe and decided to give it a try. Mainly because the cookie A always wants to make is lemon blueberry. I didn’t have blueberries, but I thought this was a good compromise. A agreed.

I had to include this picture…this is A saying “Carefully pull the handle to the 1, to stir.” CupcakesandCommentary

And this is J saying “Stir you say? Interesting. Why don’t you stir me up another puff to eat while I sit here”IMG_0690

Moving on. After you get all of your ingredients mixed together this is how you space them on the cookie sheet:IMG_0691

And this is how they will look after they cool and you put the glaze on them:IMG_0695

And this is how they look finished! IMG_0740Overall the lemon ricotta cookies turned out really well. The only thing about these is that they are a bit more time consuming (they have to sit for two hours with the glaze), and you have to watch them to make sure the bottom doesn’t get too brown. It is a softer more cake-like cookie, but my husband and A (and myself) have eaten them up! Here is a link to the full recipe: Lemon Ricotta Cookies.

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Two Peas and Their Pod: Chocolate Mint Cookies

I made a batch of these for our dear friends that just had a baby boy. What I love most about these cookies is that you can make them up refrigerate the dough and then make more later. I made a batch to bring to them, and then a batch the next night for B and A. I couldn’t find the mint chips the recipe called for, so I used a bag of Andes chopped mints (you can find them in the bakery section). They were sooo yummy! Here is the recipe link: Chocolate Mint Cookies.

My picture as my husband is snatching a cookie off the hot pan.

This is what happens when I take a picture while they are eating cookies.

And just so you don’t think all we are doing is eating cookies around here (well we might be):

I whipped up The Pioneer Woman’s White Chicken Enchiladas to go with the cookies. You know. As a side item.

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