Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Tropical Fruit Dip

This dip is so easy; you won't feel like you need a tropical vacation after making it. I love the light texture and the coconut taste.

I have used the cream of coconut in the can before, however I am now a fan of this kind because it seems to keep better after using just the 3 T of it. It has some fun recipes on the back as well. 

Tropical Fruit Dip

1 sm. box of vanilla pudding mixed according to directions

12 oz. tub of cool whip
3 Tb. cream of coconut (found in the drink mixers isle of the grocery store -- see picture above)

2 tsp. coconut extract

Combine the pudding and the cool whip in a bowl and mix with a blender for a minute or so. Then add the cream of coconut and the coconut extract.

I like it to chill for at least a couple of hours before serving. 

That's it! Go find your cabana. 

Monday, July 18, 2016

Homemade Taco Seasoning

Did you know you can make the same seasoning packets you can buy in the store from ingredients in your spice drawer? My amazing mother gave me a great recipe years ago to use to season the ground beef for tacos. I personally think it tastes better than the packaged seasonings.

Taco Seasoning Mix (equivalent to one package of taco seasoning mix)

2 tsp. instant mixed onion
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp. crushed, dried red pepper
1/4 tsp. oregano

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl until evenly distributed. Use when recipes call for a seasoning packet. 

When adding to 1 lb. of cooked ground beef, add 1/2 cup of water and simmer of 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Makes filling for approximately 8 tacos.

Cookie Butter Peanut Butter Cookies

It's a mouthful to say the name of this cookie. I feel like Cookie Monster from Sesame Street.

However you want to name this cookie, it will attract all cookie butter or peanut butter lovers; don't forget fans of Trader Joe's. So, that should cover everyone, right?

This is an easy recipe. I'm going to be posting it on The Best Dessert Recipes site where they have featured a few of my dessert recipes.

Cookie Butter Peanut Butter Cookies

½ cup butter

½ cup peanut butter

¼ - ½ cup cookie butter

1 ¼ cup flour

½ cup sugar

½ cup packed brown sugar

1 egg

½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. vanilla

Coarse Sugar

In a mixing bowl beat margarine, peanut butter and cookie butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add ½ cup of the flour, the sugars, egg, baking soda, baking powder, and vanilla. Beat until thoroughly combined. Beat in remaining flour. If necessary, cover and chill until easy to handle.

Roll dough into small balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten with the bottom of a ladle or spoon. Sprinkle each cookie with the coarse sugar.

Bake in a 375-degree oven for 7 to 9 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned. Cool cookie on a wire rack. Yields about 2 dozen cookies – depending on the size of the cookie. They could be made into smaller balls to make more as they tend to expand.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Fluffy White Rolls

Well, I have realized you can't rush great rolls. Find yourself a good task to keep you at home and start the oven (well, not immediately -- they have to rise). That's what I did today. I purged out two boys' bedrooms --whew -- and made rolls for an army (it seemed).

So, today I am sharing a family recipe given to me from my mother-in-law who I think got it from her neighbor. Anyway, it's proven to be a winner by many families.

Best Rolls
1 c. warm water
2 T yeast

2 1/2 c. warm water
1 c. vegetable oil
3/4 c. sugar
1 T salt
3 eggs, beaten
10 1/2 c. flour

Start yeast mixture by sprinkling yeast in the one cup of water. Sprinkle with sugar. Add the second group of ingredients (except flour and eggs) in your mixer with a dough hook. Add to it the yeast mixture then some of the flour and the eggs. Continue flour additions until a soft dough forms.

Let rise in bowl with a warm, damp cloth over it until double in bulk -- or until the dough starts spilling over the bowl.

Roll out dough onto lightly floured surface. I usually only roll out half of the dough mixture at a time. Using a circular cutter or an upside-down cup, cut out circles in the dough and place them on a sprayed cookie sheet.

Again, let rise until double in bulk. This rising tends to be only about half as long as the first.
Bake for 15 minutes in a preheat

ed oven at 375 degrees.

Make sure you have plenty of butter and jam on hand!
This made two cookie sheets full of rolls. And in no time, some are gone already.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Home Decor Change

I've been on a decorating hiatus. However, I came out of it this week when I found some inspiration at Rodworks. For those of you living in Utah (or parts of California, Nevada or Arizona) you may or may not be familiar with this store. It's usually my go-to store for Christmas ornaments every holiday season. I find great teacher gifts there. But, given it is July I was glad to go into the store looking for year-round home decor.

I am embracing the tray trend right now, and they have several to choose from.
I fell in love with this circular, natural wood, raised tray -- it adds some dimension to my dresser since I already have a few flat square or rectangular ones.
And who isn't aboard the succulent bandwagon? They have the most adorable little jars to contain any small plant. This is just one of them.

I noticed a few magnifying glasses in the Parade of Homes this year, and I have been wanting to get one but haven't been able to find them. RodWorks had several. In fact, the lady working there took me back and showed me the huge stash they were just sent. So after sifting through so many different styles, I finally chose the one I wanted.

 However, I believe I heard angels singing when I found this grey vase. I had been searching high and low for the ideal vase to display seasonal branches or flowers. And there it was.

The funny thing is, I can't figure out where I want this vase to end up in my house. I had it in my bathroom for a while, then I tried it in my laundry room.

There are so many hidden treasures in RodWorks that you may want to allow some extra time to peruse the store. I certainly took my time. The ladies there are so helpful, too.

Make sure you head over to my Instagram page this week where I am giving away a $25 gift card to one lucky follower.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Flag Cake

Who doesn't love to keep the patriotic theme all summer long? At least all July. We do for sure. My youngest has a birthday on July 5th. It has been tradition for some time now to have "Flag Cake" for his birthday dessert.

This cake feeds a crowd -- as much as 36 -- depending on how you cut it. It's pretty rich, so small pieces will be plenty. Inspired by Ina Garten, this cake is a crowd pleaser and not easy on the waistline. But hey. It's summer.

Flag Cake

  • 2-1/4 sticks Unsalted Butter
  • 3 cups Sugar
  • 6 whole Eggs
  • 1 cup Sour Cream (Not Low Fat)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 3 cups Flour, Sifted
  • 1/3 cup Cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt (Use 3/4 Teaspoon Regular Salt If Kosher Salt Is Not Available)
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • _____
  • 1-1/2 pound Cream Cheese (3 - 8oz. Packages, Not Low Fat)
  • 1 pound Unsalted Butter (4 Sticks)
  • 1 pound Powdered Sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1/2 pint Blackberries
  • 2 pints Strawberries (Wash And Pat Dry)

In a mixing bowl, mix unsalted butter and sugar together on high until light and fluffy, about a minute or so. Add eggs, two at a time. Mix after each addition. Add sour cream and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, mix together flour, cornstarch, kosher salt and baking soda. Turn mixer to low and gradually add flour mixture to butter/sugar mixture, one scoop at a time. Mix after every addition. Keep adding the flour mixture, mix until just combined. Do not overmix!

Grease and flour a 17 x 12 1/2-inch sheet cake pan. (Note: this recipe may be halved for a smaller pan.)

Pour the thick cake batter into the pan. (It’s much thicker than regular cake batters.) With a knife or offset spatula, spread the cake batter evenly over the pan.

Place the pan into a preheated 350-degree oven and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Start checking at 20 minutes.

To make the cream cheese frosting, in a mixing bowl, add cream cheese and butter. Whip to combine. Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Mix until thoroughly combined, scraping the sides once during mixing.

Put about 1/2 the frosting on the cake. Mark off the area of the stars with a toothpick. (No need to be proportionately accurate; just guesstimate.) Prepare a gallon-size ziplock bag for the frosting. I cut an opening at the end and use it as a pastry bag. Fill the bag with frosting before snipping the opening. 

Gripping the folded-down end tightly under fingertips and start squeezing lines of frosting across the cake. Make rows of strawberries in between the lines. You can use whichever fruit you'd like. Blueberries in place of the blackberries; raspberries in place of the strawberries.

Fill the square in the corner with a nice layer of blackberries. With the star tip, squeeze little dollops of frosting all over the blueberries.

Variation: Simply frost the cake with all the icing and sprinkle strawberries and blackberries randomly and generously all over the cake.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Trisha Yearwood's Cookbook is on sale

Are y'all fans of southern cooking? Or a fan of Trisha Yearwood? Her New York Times Bestseller is only $2.99 digitally on Amazonright now. The reviews look fantastic on this book. It makes you hungry just reading about what people have made out of this book.
Do you have it? What do you want to try?