Friday, November 30, 2012

Cold Medicine and Broiled Cinnamon-Sugar Toast

I was sick, I was sick bad.  Something was going around town and everyone had it.  Dave went to the store to get me some cold medicine.  The problem was that everyone in Fairbanks was sick and the stores were sold out of cold meds.  He went to three different stores and at the third store the only thing he found was the store brand of cold medicine that was sugar free.  He grabbed it and brought it home.

There I lay on the sofa, sniffling and aching in every joint.  He sweetly poured the cold medicine into the measuring cap and handed it to me.  I tipped my head back and swallowed the whole thing.  Now, no one in their right mind expects cold medicine to taste good, but this was like swallowing poison, and that is exactly what I told him.

"Are you trying to kill me?" I spat.
"What are you talking bout?" he innocently asked.
"That medicine, what is it?  It burned all the way down and I can't even begin to describe how awful it is."
"Oh, you're exaggerating." He scoffed.

Well, I didn't take another dose, I managed to get well on my own...and the next week guess who was sick on the sofa?  Yes, Dave.  I sweetly poured him a dose of the cold medicine and handed it to him.
"Bottoms up!" I sweetly cooed.
"Holy Sh**" he yelled. "What are you trying to do, poison me?"

Yep, we threw the rest away.  So now, around the first of October, I stock up on supplies to get us through the cold and flu season just so we aren't in that same position.  And I make broiled cinnamon-sugar toast.

This isn't really a recipe.  Everyone knows how to make sugar toast, but when you put it under the broiler, things change.  The sugar caramelizes, the cinnamon toasts, the butter melts into the is heaven.  I never made sugar toast this way, my husband first made it for me.  I would just butter a piece of toast and throw the cinnamon-sugar on it.

"You eat it raw?" he exclaimed the first time I made it for him.  "Here, let me show you how it is really done."

And, boy, was he right.  My husband has very good taste, he did marry me after all!

Broiled Cinnamon-Sugar Toast

2 pieces toast
cinnamon-sugar mixture

Toast bread, spread with butter, cover generously with cinnamon-sugar mixture.  Place under broiler until cinnamon-sugar melts and begins to bubble, being careful not to burn.

I guarantee this toast will make you feel better, no matter what you are suffering from.

November 30, 2012   Daylight  4 hours, 43 minutes, 13 seconds   Temp. H -22/L -33 ºF

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Warm Salad of Savoy Cabbage, Bacon, Blue Cheese, and Apples

Mmmm, blue cheese and  bacon.  How can you go wrong?

It is cold here.  Today I woke up to -28°F, and the high is supposed to be around -13°F.  There is really something wrong when the high is still below zero.

Dinners need to be warm, filling, and not too full of calories.  We did just have a week of eating with the blond boy and the DIL, and, we have two more weeks of eating coming up with the curly haired boy and the baby boy and the chicks.  This is a great addition to dinner.

Everything is better with the Bs; bacon, blue cheese, and butter, and we have two of those in this one healthy dish.  The key is to keep the bacon and the blue cheese in amounts that add flavor but not too many calories.

I love my cast iron pan.

So I whip this up and add it to a moose steak and we've got dinner.  I could eat just this for dinner, but Dave needs meat and we have a freezer full, again, easy!

Would someone please teach me how to adjust my white balance?
I love this for dinner and make if often when I want to feel full and satisfied, but don't need the extra calories.  The bit of bacon and the blue cheese really make this taste like an indulgence.

Warm Salad of Savoy Cabbage, Bacon, and Blue Cheese

2 sliced bacon, chopped
1 med. savoy cabbage, chopped, about 6 cups
1 med. sweet onion, sliced
1 granny smith apple, peeled and sliced thinly
2 oz. blue cheese, crumbled

Fry bacon over medium heat until cooked completely.  Remove from pan to a paper towel lined plate.  Remove all the bacon fat except for 1 Tbsp.  Add onions, cook for 2 minutes, add cabbage, cook for about 4 minutes more, or until cabbage begins to wilt.  Add sliced apple and cook about 2 more minutes.  Top with blue cheese crumbles and bacon.  Serve warm.

November 28, 2012   Daylight 4 hours, 53 minutes, 59 seconds   Temp: H -13/ L -28 °F

Monday, November 26, 2012

Baked Eggs in Potatoes

The day after Thanksgiving I stay home.  You can stand in line at 3:00 a.m. to buy socks 1/2 off, I'll be cozy in my bed.  I am an early riser though, and about 5:30-6:00 (if I can sleep in), I'll get up and put a batch of sticky buns in the oven.  Anyone can stop by for coffee and a caramel roll (or sticky bun) when they need a break, an opportunity to refuel and head back out for more "sales"(or combat shopping).

This year I also made baked eggs and potatoes.  My beautiful niece and her husband came over and we had a lovely brunch.  Michelle and the boys from across the street joined us for a nice visit.  Michelle went home for a nap (she is a combat shopper) and Nichole and Dain left for some shopping and a movie.

I saw this on Pinterest, I would like to cite the blog, but when I decided to make it, of course, I couldn't find it again and I hadn't put it on my board like I thought I had.  So, whoever pinned it, it is brilliant! If you find it on Pinterest, read their directions, I'm sure they are more efficient than mine (and let me know so I can give credit where it is due). I baked the potatoes the day before, scooped them out and they were ready to go in the morning.
The blond boy and the DIL the day after Thanksgiving.
I'll be making these when the curly haired boy and his chick comes home for Christmas, and probably for New Year's Day breakfast when the baby boy and his chick come home.  You can change it up by what you add to the potato skin with the egg, a little creamed spinach, cheese, bacon (everything's better with bacon), salsa...
I like one whole egg and one egg white and my yolks hard.

Baked Potatoes and Eggs

4 medium russet potatoes, scrubbed well
salt and pepper
sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (I didn't measure here, just use as much as you want), divided
4-8 eggs
4 Tbsp. heavy cream

Preheat oven to 450ºF.  Wash potatoes and poke with a fork to release steam, bake  45-60 minutes until cooked through.  (No, I do not wrap them in foil or oil the skin, you can do it if you want) Remove from oven and let cool.

When cool enough to handle, cut of top third and scoop out insides, save for another use.  Salt and pepper the interiors of the potato skins. This can be done the night before to save you time. Place potato skins in a 8x8 pan. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Reduce oven temp. to 350ºF

Line the inside of the potato skin with shredded cheddar cheese and/or any other filling you like.  Top with one or two eggs, depending on who you are serving and how big the potato skin is.  Top with 1 tbsp. heavy cream.  Bake for 15-30 minutes, depending on how you like your yolk.  During the last 5 minutes, top with cheddar cheese and return to oven to melt.

Serves 4

November 26, 2012   Daylight 5 hours, 5 minutes, 14 sec.   Temp. H -6/L -8 ºF

UPDATE:  I found the blog!  Of course it was months after I first posted this.  If you want to see the original recipe you can find it here at Our Best Bites.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Ranch Pretzels

My friend, Heather, had this great idea to invite the workout friends to her house before the holidays and share some healthy recipes.  It was a fun evening of friends, food, and laughter and we all got a tour of Heather's beautiful new house.  We had some delicious chili with pumpkin, roasted green beans, Paleo meatballs with a bit of a kick, no fat added chocolate-peanut butter no bake cookies, and these ranch seasoned pretzels.

With the kids coming over the holidays, I've been looking for some snacks to make and have around while we visit, play games and watch football.  These are addictive.  They will make good additions to goodie bags, and I think these will be what I take for November's Girl's Night.

The original recipe called for 1 cup olive oil, I cut that to 1/2 cup and it seemed to be plenty.  Be sure to mix the pretzels well before laying them on the pans, you want them all coated.  They are simple as can be, delicious warm from the oven, or cooled, and they store well.  My first batch was made with gluten free pretzels for the DIL, and everyone ate them.  No one knew they were GF.

Ranch Pretzels
adapted from Sonia's recipe

1 lb. bag of pretzels, I used gluten free for the DIL
1/2 cup olive oil
1 pkg. Ranch dressing & seasoning mix
2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 200ºF.  Pour pretzels into a large mixing bowl.  In a measuring cup mix together the rest of the ingredients an pour over top of the pretzels.  Mix well to cover all the pretzels with the oil/seasoning mixture.  Place pretzels in a single layer on cookie sheets and bake for 2 hours.  After 1 hour, mix pretzels to ensure they are coated evenly.  After the 2 hour mark, remove from oven and let cool.  Store in covered container, if they last that long!

These are so good, everyone kept snitching them from the plate while I tried to take pictures!
November 23, 2012   Daylight 5 hours, 22 minutes, 52 seconds   Temp: H -8 /L -13  ºF

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Barbeque Ribs and a Big Surprise

The plan was simple, Joe would tell his dad he was coming over for breakfast and to watch football.  Joe would pick up the blond boy and the DIL from the airport at 1:30 a.m., bring them to our house in the next morning, and Dave would be surprised.  It was a good plan, and then Dave got in the way.

I have been planning with the blond boy and the DIL since July to bring them home over the holidays.  Because of work schedules, they couldn't come home over Christmas, but they could over Thanksgiving.  We set the plan in motion and I worked very hard not to give it away.

The arrival morning finally arrived.  The blond boy and I were texting each other, Dave had come downstairs to build a fire and was dozing on the sofa.  It was a quiet, lazy morning.  But then it was getting close to the time the kids would walk in.  I wanted Dave awake so I started with, "Can I get you some coffee?" I think I asked that about 19 times, hoping he would sit up and start to wake up.  That didn't work.

Then I tried, "The fire needs more wood." nothing, then "which packages are the moose breakfast sausage and which are the Italian sausage?" (I wanted sausage for the kids for breakfast, he had pulled out ham the night before).  He told me which was which when I told him we were going to have spaghetti for dinner, and I went out and grabbed the breakfast sausage for the kids and plopped it in a bowl of warm water in the sink to start to thaw.  After I unloaded the dishwasher REALLY LOUDLY, he finally got up to get a cup of coffee.  I was in the other room texting the blond boy.

"Toni, you got the wrong sausage, this is breakfast sausage." he grumbled.
"Oh, O.K., I'll switch it out." I replied, hurrying to the kitchen and hiding my phone.
"I've got it." he said half way to the freezer in the garage.

And then he wasn't coming back.

The blond boy and the DIL were parked at the side of the house in my brother-in-law's truck.  Dave saw the truck through the window and wondered why it was there. (My brother-in-law is in Hawaii right now)  He walked outside to see who was in the truck so the kids jumped out and said, "Surprise, Merry Christmas!"

  His actual response was, "What are you doing here?"  He wasn't quite awake yet.  We had to explain to him, several times, we were surprising him for the holiday and this was his Christmas present.  About 1 1/2 hours later and several cups of coffee, he was finally awake enough to fully appreciate what was going on. Not the tearful reunion we had been hoping for.

So after months of planning, hiding, lying, and plotting, we did surprise him.  Feel very sorry for all the people who have to work with me ( and I do apologize, I just couldn't help talking about it at work, I couldn't talk about it at home).

At one point, about two weeks ago, Dave asked if I was getting a headache I was just too quiet!  I was quiet because I had all these things to get done before the kids came and I didn't want to blurt and blow it.  Oh, it was painful.

So, they are here, it was a surprise, and we had a wonderful day visiting and ended the evening with a delicious meal and a family favorite, Barbeque Ribs.  During dinner, looking around the table at the blond boy, the DIL and two of their friends that stopped by, we did get the waterworks from Dave we were hoping for earlier in the day.

These ribs are one of the most highly requested meal from the boys.  We will be having these while the curly haired boy and the baby boy are home too.  They are baked slowly to make them tender, then finished with smoke and this homemade barbeque sauce.  Even at -20, these are worth heating up the grill.

Baby Back Ribs
I figure 1 rack of ribs per 2 people

3 racks of baby back ribs
3 Tbsp. executive chef meat seasoning, or your favorite steak rub

 Preheat oven to 300°F.
Pull the membrane off the back side of the ribs. Place the rack of ribs on a double layer of aluminum foil.  Sprinkle 1 Tbsp. steak seasoning on meat side of ribs.  Wrap tightly in foil. Repeat with all racks.
Place foil wrapped ribs on a large cookie sheet to catch any drips (this is the most important step, trust me on this).
Bake for 3 hours.
Remove foil wrapped ribs, cut into sections of 2 or 3 bones each.  Place on heated grill with smoking wood chip box if desired.  Grill for 30 minutes with smoke and layer on favorite sauce over indirect heat. Repeat saucing every 10-15 minutes while smoking.

Serves 6

November 20, 2012   Daylight 5 hours, 41 minutes, 14 seconds   Temp. H -8/L -26 °F

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Gingerbread Biscotti

I love the smell of gingerbread and spice cookies.  I love the way the house fills with the warm smell of the spices and vanilla.  I always make molasses spice cookies, I love the chewy-crispy-spicy cookies and the memories of my grandma.  This year I wanted to try something different.  I wanted to keep that spicy flavor and aroma, but put a twist on it.  Enter, Gingerbread Biscotti.

These biscotti are filled with warm spices; ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and studded with pecans and dried apricots.  During the second bake, you can bake about 10 minutes and leave the centers a little soft, or bake for 15-20 minutes like I did and they are great for dunking in your coffee or tea, with out falling apart and leaving pieces in your mug.

The other nice thing about biscotti is that they are a very lean cookie, no oil and only the fat from the egg yolk.  You can enjoy two without overdoing the calorie thing...or at least that is what I'm telling myself.

Gingerbread Biscotti
The best of Fine Cooking Cookies, #23

10 oz. (about 2 1/4 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour; plus more for shaping
1-1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar 
2 tsp. ground ginger 
1-1/4 tsp. baking powder 
1 tsp. ground cinnamon 
1/2 tsp. table salt 
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg 
1/4 tsp. baking soda 
4 oz. (1 cup) pecans, coarsely chopped 
4 oz. (1/2 cup) lightly packed dried apricots, coarsely chopped 
1/4 cup molasses 
2 large eggs 
2 tsp. finely grated orange zest (from about 1 medium navel orange) 

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, brown sugar, ginger, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, and baking soda on medium-low speed until well blended. On low speed, briefly mix in the pecans and apricots. In a measuring cup, lightly whisk the molasses, eggs, and orange zest. With the mixer on low, slowly pour in the egg mixture. Continue mixing until the dough is well blended and comes together in large, moist clumps, 1 to 2 minutes.

Dump the dough onto an unfloured work surface. Divide into two equal piles (about 1 lb. each). Shape each pile into a log that's 10 inches long and about 1-1/2 inches in diameter, lightly flouring your hands as needed (the dough is a bit sticky).
Position the logs on the lined cookie sheet about 4 inches apart. Bake until the tops are cracked and spring back slightly when gently pressed, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer the sheet to a rack and let cool until the logs are cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes.

Carefully peel the biscotti logs from the parchment and transfer to a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, saw each log into diagonal slices 3/4 inch wide. Return the slices to the cookie sheet (no need for fresh parchment) and arrange them cut side down. It's all right if they touch because they won't spread.

Bake until the biscotti are dried to your taste, about 10 minutes (for slightly moist and chewy) to 20 minutes (for super-dry and crunchy). Transfer the cookie sheet to a rack and let the biscotti cool completely. The biscotti will still give slightly when pressed, but will harden as they cool. When cool, store in airtight containers.

November 15, 2012   Daylight  6 hours,  13 minutes, 2 seconds     Temp. -1/-22

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Lemon Pepper Shrimp Scampi with Bacon

Since the season of eating is upon us, and I am taking full advantage of it, I decided I needed to kick up my work-outs a little.  I began walking/running on my quilt-hanger treadmill the mornings I don't go to the gym.

I do feel a little bad about it since I am a morning person and get up about 5:00, and Dave goes to bed about 1:00 a.m., and the treadmill is in the family room right next to our bedroom.  I kinda sound like a herd of elephants running on the noisy treadmill, early in the morning.  I try to be considerate and I don't turn the t.v. on, I listen to my iPod and I don't sing out-loud (I know, thoughtful on a couple of counts there.

So, there I was about 15 minutes into a good walk/run, I had peeled off my sweatshirt and hung it over the banister, was running at a good pace and a new song came on my iPod.  Suddenly I hear this voice in my left ear, I turned slightly to the left and caught sight of my sweatshirt and thought someone was coming up the stairs!  At 5:00 in the morning!  I literally jumped and tripped a little.  I realized what happened, harmony in the song and the sweatshirt and I laughed quietly to myself at how foolish I had been.  I finished up my run and started to walk to cool down.  About that time, Dave came out of the bedroom.  I pulled out an ear bud, and asked if the treadmill woke him up.

"The treadmill didn't wake me up, you did, when you yelled, Oh sh**."
"I yelled, Oh sh**?" I asked in amazement.
"Yep, and I can't get back to sleep now."

I had no idea I yelled when I startled myself, I never heard it (I was listening to Christian Rock at the time, with ear buds in, over a loud treadmill).  I told Dave we should move the treadmill downstairs so I wouldn't wake him up.  He just grunted and went back to bed.

I felt I needed to make it up to him a little.  I am going to get back on that treadmill Thursday for another round, and I did wake him up after about 4 hours of sleep for him.  He isn't a sweet eater but he loves shrimp, butter, bacon and pasta.  I decided to put them all together for dinner and see if I could make up a little for the early wake up. (I do want to comment he said he heard me stumble and laid in bed to see if I fell off the treadmill or if I was o.k., sweet until you realize HE LAID IN BED, I could have been in a pile on the floor).  If you need a make-up dinner, this one is wonderful.  The best part about it is, you also get to eat it.  Yum!

Lemon Pepper Shrimp Scampi with Bacon
adapted from (and apologies to) Cooking Light Magazine, November 2012

  • 8 oz. fettuccine noodles
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 4 slices thick cut bacon 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  •  7 teaspoons unsalted butter, divided 
  • 1 1/2 pounds peeled and deveined jumbo shrimp
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
  • juice of one whole fresh lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. 1. Cook fettuccine according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain. Place fettuccine in a medium bowl. Stir in parsley and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cover and keep warm.
  2. While fettuccine cooks fry 4 pieces of bacon until very crisp.  Drain on paper towel.  Cool and coarsely chop.   Discard bacon fat and wipe out pan.
  3. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in same skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle shrimp with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add half of shrimp to pan; sauté 2 minutes or until almost done. Transfer shrimp to a plate. Melt 1 teaspoon butter in pan. Add remaining shrimp to pan; sauté 2 minutes or until almost done. Transfer to plate.
  4. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in pan. Add garlic to pan; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in shrimp, juice, and pepper; cook 1 minute or until shrimp are done.
  5. Plate fettuccine, top with shrimp and pan sauce, top with chopped bacon.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Brown Sugar-Walnut Buttons

My grandma Stejer was a sewer.  She also was a saver.  I remember the big button box she had.  She would save buttons from old clothes before she made them into cleaning rags and she put all the buttons into her button box. The big buttons in one bag, the white buttons in a different bag, and the small colored buttons in yet another bag.  When she needed a button for something, she always had a large supply.  I loved to play with those buttons, sort them, make designs with them and scoop big handfuls of them, just to hear the little sound they made.  When my grandma moved out of her house and into my mom's, the button box went with her.  When grandma left us, I inherited the button box.
This is part of the quilt Donna made me.  My gradma's button is part of it.

I use the buttons for quilts.  One time my friend Donna asked for one of the big buttons, I was a good friend and shared.  Turns out, she put it on a quilt she made for me for my birthday.  It is that much more special.

These buttons aren't good for sewing with, but they are good!  The maple flavor with the walnut is delicious, and a nice addition to your morning tea, cookie plate (yes, I am getting ready for the boys at Christmas) ((I know, you think this is bad, imagine having to live or work with me, I've been announcing the days at morning workouts for almost a month now and we have 43 days left before the curly haired boy and his chick show up!))

Brown Sugar-Walnut Buttons
adapted from Perfect Cookies, 2008

1 cup walnuts, plus about 36 halves for decorating
3/4 cup golden brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 tsp. maple extract
1/4 tsp. salt
2 cups all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 250°F.  Have ready 2 ungreased cookies sheets.

In a food processore, process the 1 cup walnuts until coarsely chopped; take care not to overprocess them.  Add 1/4 cup of the brown sugar and process until the nuts are finely chopped; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the butter, the remaining 1/2 cup brown sugar, maple extract and salt.  Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat until light and fluffy.  Add the flour and the nut mixture to the butter mixture and mix on low speed until just incorporated.

Scoop up spoonfuls of the dough, then roll them into 1-inch balls.  Arrange the balls on the cookie sheets, spacing them 1 1/2 inches apart.  Press a walnut half into the center of each ball.

Bake until the cookies are brown around the edges, about 20 minutes.  Using a metal spatula, transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool.  Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

November 9, 2012     Daylight 6 hours, 52 minutes, 29 seconds     Temp. 10°F

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Ice Breaker- Drink of the Week

I'm working really hard to bond with my new sewing machine.  You would think it wouldn't be that hard...a new toy, who wouldn't want to play with that?  But, I am still not over the fact that my old machine died and I have to learn how to use a new piece of equipment.  (The whole sad story is here, and yes, I was drinking then too.)

So, Saturday night I stayed home while Dave and his brother went to the UAF hockey game, poured myself a little drink and worked hard to become one with my new least the drink is good.

Ice Breaker has a secret, the longer you let it sit, the better it gets.  That is because the ice cubes are made from really strong coffee, and as they melt into the chocolate liquor a rich coffee flavor is added to the chocolate.  The ingredients will look familiar, vanilla vodka and Godiva Chocolate liquor, but the addition of the coffee ice-cubes brings in a whole different note.  And when trying to bond with my new machine, I think I needed that little bit of caffeine to keep me going.

Ice Breaker
makes one drink

One cup strong coffee, poured into ice cube tray and frozen

1 oz. vanilla vodka
2 oz. Godiva Chocolate liquor

Mix vodka and chocolate liquor, stirring well.  Add ice cubes, stir. 
Let this sit about 10 minutes before serving, stir and enjoy.

November 7, 2012     Daylight   7 hours, 5 minutes, 49 seconds     Temp. 8°F

Monday, November 5, 2012

Pretzel Turtles

Halloween has come and gone and the season of eating is upon us.  I like to start this holiday season with using up the left-over candy from Halloween.  Unfortunately, (or fortunately, depends on how you look at it), we didn't have as many trick-or-treaters as we usually do so I have a lot of left-over candy.

Our neighborhood is a great place to trick-or-treat.  We have a lot of families, the houses are close together, especially for Fairbanks, and we have generous neighbors.  We usually get anywhere from 350-400 kids stopping by for trick-or-treating.  I make homemade treats for the kids we know well, and lots of candy for everyone else.  Well, this year we had about 75!  I don't know if it was a little too cold with the wind blowing or because we are the last street kids just didn't make it this far, but I have a ton of left over candy now, and what to do with it?  I took some to work for my candy jar, I have a couple of recipes for candy, like this one, and we'll take the rest to the food bank.

This is really a cheater "recipe."  I can't even call it a recipe because it is really just squishing together a couple of things.  This uses Rollos, small pretzels, and pecans.  They are a really delicious treat and they look nice on a cookies plate. The sweet-salty, crunchy-creamy combination is really addictive.

 I used up all the Rollos I had, so I made about 75 of these. I don't know where I got the recipe, but I've been making these for years.  You can see all kinds of variations on Pinterest.  I've seen the same kind of thing with kisses and m&ms.   I'll keep these in the fridge and have some for giving and some for snacking on when ever the mood hits.

What are some of your favorite ways to use your left-over candy? 

Pretzel Turtles

30 small round or square pretzels
30 Rollos candies, unwrapped
30 pecan halves

Preheat oven to 250°F.  Lay pretzels in a single layer on a sheet pan, top each pretzel with one Rollo candy.  Warm in oven for 5 minutes.  Remove from oven and push one pecan half on top of each Rollo.  Cool completely.  Store in refrigerator.  Makes 30 candies.

The chocolate stays a little melty so keeping these in the fridge keeps the shape intact and the mess down.

Don't cook the Rollos too much, you want them warm enough to squish the pecan on top, but you don't want them to melt all over the place.

November 5, 2012     Daylight  7 hours, 19 minutes, 12 seconds     Temp.  6°F

Friday, November 2, 2012

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Nutella Buttercream

Dinner with good friends is always a wonderful event.  There is just something about eating, laughing, sharing stories and laughing with people who get you.  I love my monthly date with my friends.

We always bring a little gift or treat for each other.  This month  we received a shower aromatherapy ball (mine was grapefruit and lavender and I'm headed to the store for more), a chocolate hazelnut bar (YUM!), peppermint chap stick (perfect for this time of year), I took caramel corn, and Linda brought a flourless chocolate cake with Nutella buttercream.  Oh my, it was so good.  We sat right in the restaurant and ate it.  It was that good.

It is one of those treats that you don't need much to satisfy.  But boy, it is good (have I said that already?).  The fact that Nutella is one of the ingredients guarantees success.  So, if you are gluten free or not, this is the perfect dessert for something special or just something.  Make it.  I dare you not to dream about it, like I have been doing.

I had to make this cake this week.  It is the perfect cake to celebrate my one year blog birthday.  Who would have thought that I could ramble on for a whole year? (Well, anyone who knows me, knows I can go on and on and on...)  So, happy birthday to me and my little blog.  I hope you try this cake and have a piece to help me celebrate.  Let me know what you think about this little piece of deliciousness.  By the way, you're welcome.

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Nutella Buttercream
from my friend Linda

 - 1 pound bittersweet chocolate (I used Lindt 70% dark chocolate)
- 1/2 pound sweet butter
- 1/4 cup hazelnut liqueur
- 8 eggs
Preheat oven to 325 degrees
 Line 9" cake pan with parchment circle.  (I used a spring form pan)
Break chocolate into smaller pieces and put into microwave safe bowl with butter.  Melt in microwave on defrost level to prevent scorching, stirring every 2 or 3 minutes until completely melted and combined.  Add liqueur.
Whip eggs until doubled in volume.  Fold 1/3 eggs into chocolate until just streaks remain.  Repeat with next 1/3 and final third.
Pour into cake pan.  Insert pan into larger pan and place in oven.  Pour boiling water into larger pan until it reaches 1/2 up side of cake.
Bake for 22 - 25 minutes until cake has a thin glazed crust on top but remains jiggly.  (Should look like the film on cook and serve pudding)
Cool to room temperature.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerage overnight before frosting.
Nutella Buttercream:) happy
2 small jars or 1 large jar Nutella (approx. 26 oz.)
3 sticks sweet butter at room temperature
Mix well in blender, food processor or with mixer.
Decorate flourless cake with frosting.
**1/2 of recipe is plenty for the cake.  Even after decorating each of your pieces individually, I still have a good amount in a container in the freezer.**

Ahh, what to do with extra Nutella Buttercream you ask...what extra Nutella buttercream.

November 2, 2012     Daylight  7 hours, 39 minutes, 21 seconds     Temp. 8°F