Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Top 10 Recipes of 2013

While I have been blogging recipes for a while now I only got serious this year by adding a Facebook page and offering more recipes.  I've added about 100 recipes this year and thought maybe we could take a look back at some of the fan favorites and toss in a couple of our family favorites. I hope you enjoy the look back with me.  

Pretty tasty BBQ sauce and how to cook the ribs so they are oh so tender!

Easiest roast to make

My husband's favorite

and #1!!
The cookies heard and made all over the world!
Pn it:  http://www.pinterest.com/pin/273593746086323339/

Please join me in 2014!

I'm looking forward to more cooking and new recipes!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Foodie Friends Friday Linky Party #76

Welcome to the Foodie Friends Friday 

BEST OF 2013 Party!!

Last week's recipes that received the MOST CLICKS!!  Thanks for clicking on my DIY GINGERBREAD HOUSES and ULTIMATE CHEESEBALL!

Baked Eggnog Mini Donuts with Eggnog Glaze

Even if you don't like or drink egg nog you need to try these little goodies.  There is eggnog in the donut as well as the glaze.  What a wonderful treat for your family!

Eggnog Mini Donuts with Eggnog Glaze (Makes 18)

2-1/2 Tablespoons canola oil
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
scant 2/3 cup eggnog
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
couple dashes salt
ground nutmeg*

1 cup powdered sugar
2-4 Tablespoons eggnog

Sausage Cheese Balls

Sausage Cheese Balls (Makes about 25 balls)                                  Printable Recipe

3 cups flour 
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (4 Tablespoons) cold butter
1 pound pork sausage (I used Jimmy Dean regular) 
8 ounces (2 cups) shredded cheddar cheese
1-1/2 cups buttermilk

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Hot Beef and Bean Dip

Hot Beef and Bean Dip

2 pounds hamburger
1 small onion, chopped
16 ounce jar salsa
1-1/2 teaspoons taco seasoning
2 cups shredded cheddar or 12 ounces Velveeta
1 can refried beans

Cook hamburger and onion. Drain. 
Add salsa, taco seasoning*, cheese, and beans.  If you are using shredded cheese you can dump it into the crock now.  If not melt the Velveeta and then put it the crock. 

This can be made the day ahead and then heated back up in the crock pot.  Serve with tortilla chips. 

*The refried beans and salsa already have seasoning so you may want more or less of thee taco seasoning.

Friday, December 20, 2013

DIY Gingerbread Houses

Gingerbread Houses

Some years back I started a tradition with my niece, nephew, and oldest daughter decorating gingerbread houses. I bought $5 kits and we each had our own. The next year I couldn't find any that price they were all at least $10 so I decided to figure out what we could do to have the fun without paying an arm and a leg.

My dad is handy so I had him build some houses based on graham cracker dimensions. He purchased enough plywood for 4 houses (1 for each grandkid - by then I had another child) and began building. They are very sturdy and so are the bases, unlike those plastic ones the kits come with.  You could also use milk cartons or boxes glued down to a heavy cardboard base.

I purchased cheap gum drops, fruit slices, candy canes, hard candies, etc and we use those to decorate with. Any leftovers hit the freezer til the next year. Many times you can find sales of Christmas colored goodies after Christmas.  You can also buy those cute little realistic trees that they use for those Victorian villages.  

Here is the house and base before I get started.
I cover them with freezer paper.  I put the shiny side out so the frosting doesn't leech into the paper.
Royal icing (makes about 6 cups)
6 tablespoons Meringue Powder 
2 pounds powdered sugar
3/4 cup warm water (don't add all at first)

Beat all ingredients until icing forms peaks (7-10 minutes on medium.)  You want your frosting thick but not so thick the kiddos can't squeeze it through a piping bag. Use disposable decorating bags, add the frosting and then use a rubberband to keep it closed.  It will prevent the frosting from getting squeezed out the wrong end and getting all over the place. 

With a frosting spatula or flat knife spread some frosting glue onto the roof and sides and attach graham crackers.  You will need to cut some of your graham crackers for the ends that are angled.  Used a serrated knife like you would a saw.

Start decorating!!
 I let the kids decorate however they want.  It's their house!
My daughter always asks me to do the icicles.  I use a #18 star tip here and make something like shells and drag them down.  Takes a little practice but remember that real icicles aren't perfect.
Don't want to buy the Victorian style trees?  Use ice cream cones covered in green royal frosting.
For added snow effect.  When the house is done I add snow to cover the base.  Use your spatula to make it all bumpy.  It really does look like snow.
I bought each of the kids these cute little penguin ornaments and took off the hardware. They put the on their bases as added decoration.
 Final product for this year.

My youngest, so proud of her work.


Here are a few other years we made them.



Thursday, December 19, 2013

Foodie Friends Friday Linky Party #75

Welcome to the Foodie Friends Friday 

Anything Goes Christmas Party!!

Last week's recipes that received the MOST CLICKS!!  Thanks for clicking on my MEXICAN WEDDING CAKES!!

Please take a moment to read through the rules before getting started, Thank You!

*By linking up you agree that you read these rules and all photos/recipes are original and belong to you. You agree to allow Foodie Friends Friday and any of it's affiliated websites or publications (Social Girls Media, LLC) to use photos, links, and recipes for reprint and/or republishing and distribution without monetary compensation to you. If photos & recipes are used, proper link backs to you will be included.

Adding Links back to Foodie Friends Friday and our Button is our only form of advertising to bring in more people to see YOUR recipes.
Please remember to do this. It benefits you! To thank you, we will continue to feature those with links throughout the year on various outlets.

Foodie Friends Friday
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Thank you to everyone for making last week's Foodie Friends Friday Party a huge success. Did you see all the recipes that caught OUR attention last week? Check out the Host Favorites on the Daily Dish for links to all the recipes.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Maple Cinnamon Rolls

Who doesn't love a soft fluffy cinnamon roll?  I use my grilled pizza dough  recipe as a starter.  Did she just say, "pizza dough?"  Yes, yes I did!  It's the same exact dough!  I use pure maple syrup and no butter in the center of these delicious rolls.  It's a nice flavor change and I am sure there are some calories saved.

Maple Cinnamon Rolls (makes approximately 24 large rolls plus some leftover ends)  

                                                                                                                        Printable Recipe

2-1/2 cups warm water
3/4 cup shortening
3/4 cup sugar
2-1/2 teaspoons salt
2 eggs
2 Tablespoons active dry yeast
8-1/2 cups flour (I use 6 cups bread flour and 2-1/2 cups fine ground wheat)

3/4 cup pure maple syrup

5-6 Tablespoons corn starch

favorite frosting recipe (mine has butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk or you can use cooled coffee and I don't measure anything when I make it for rolls)

Add eggs, water, shortening, sugar, salt, eggs, and yeast in large bowl.
Mix with whisk until shortening is pulverized.
Add wheat flour and whisk.
Add rest of flour and mix. You will have "Hulk" fingers but soon it will....
all blend into a nice ball with a little bit of kneading. You can also use your mixer if it has a dough hook. Place in greased bowl and cover.
Let rise for one hour. It will almost double in size.

Cut dough in half.  On large floured area roll out to 24" long and about 15" or so inches wide.
Drizzle on half of the maple syrup. 
Sprinkle on some cinnamon.  Use as much as you like.  They are called CINNAMON rolls, right?!
Using a sieve, sprinkle on half of the cornstarch.  You don't have to use a sieve but it will go on a little more evenly. The cornstarch will help thicken the syrup so it doesn't all run out when it is baking.
Using a spoon, mix it all together and spread all over but not quite to edge on the far side.
If you are adding nuts, sprinkle them on now. 
Roll it up. As you roll, since this is a stretchy soft dough, you can pull on it a little bit.  This will help you get many rings in your cinnamon roll and keep your rolls tight.  When you get to the edge pinch it shut. It will be longer than the 24" you need but that is OK.  I'll tell you what to do with the extra.

Now you are ready to cut your cinnamon rolls.  I found the center and started from there.  That way I had nice pieces and only the ends would be odd shaped.  Using a piece of thread, scootch it under the dough, pull up, criss-cross, pull and it will cut your rolls without smashing them like a knife would.  Move over 2" and do the same.  You should have 12 nice pieces total.  6 on each side of center. When you get to the ends they will be a little thinner so you can go  a little shorter.  Since they aren't as nice you can either toss them or do what I did.  I put all these goodies in their own baking dish, baked them, and we ate them anyway! They still taste as good.
Stand the rolls face up on a greased baking dish/pan. I used a 9 x 13" pan and put 12 in each. I could have put them closer but I know these really expand and I wanted to let them have their full potential! Cover and let rise for 45 minutes.  Turn oven on to 350 degrees.  (Allowing them to rise while the oven preheats.)
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and only slightly give when you press on them. If they have a bit of flour on it you can use a pastry brush and dust them off or leave it and the frosting will cover it.
You can frost while warm and the frosting will run down the sides or wait until they are cool to frost.  Your choice! For the ones with pecans I sprinkled a few on top of the frosting so I knew which pan was which. 
We love these fresh but if you are eating them another day you can pop them in the microwave to warm them up.  They'll taste like they are fresh out of the oven!