I had so much fun making these Disney Frozen cookies for my niece’s birthday party. They were a hit. This Olaf cookie just makes me happy! I also had success with a new icing recipe. It dried soft! No aching teeth like you sometimes get from rock hard royal icing. I would highly suggest giving royal glaze icing a try.
Keep reading for details on how to make Disney Frozen Cookies and How to make Olaf Cookies. Continue reading
I decided heart shaped pizza just looks like a big amorphous blog so this year I used an idea from my sister Cathy and simply cut the pepperonis into heart shapes. The pizza turned out great! Maybe next year I will cut veggies into heart shapes for our Valentine’s Day dinner.
The pizza dough recipe can be found here.
The pizza sauce recipe can be found here.
This is a recipe in progress. Call me crazy but I LOVE Little Caesars pizza sauce and I am on a mission to get something close. For now, this is what I am using for pizza sauce at home. We have a Winco grocery store and they sell a spice blend called “pizza seasoning.” So far I have been happy with the results. Making homemade pizza is a lot of work so adding just the pizza seasoning instead of 7 or 8 different spices makes the job easier. I also start with tomato sauce so I don’t have to take out the blender. Here is how I made pizza sauce this week…
- One 33.5 oz container tomato sauce
- 3 Tablespoons corn syrup
- 3 Tablespoons sugar
- 2 Tablespoons pizza seasoning
Simply mix tomato sauce with sweetners and spices. Use about 1/2 cup pizza sauce for a 14 inch pizza.
There is something so magical about making beautiful treats from what seems like nothing! One of our Valentine’s Day treats this year is an assortment of homemade lollipops. We dyed these lollipops red and flavored them with cinnamon – yum! With the right kitchen tool this takes very little time.
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon oil flavoring
- food coloring
Combine sugar, water, and corn syrup over medium heat in a heavy duty pan. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Use a heat resistant brush dipped in water to clean sugar crystals off the side of the pan. Cook to hard crack, 300 F.* Remove from heat, add flavoring and food color. Pour into metal molds arranged on a cookie sheet or marble slab. Molds and cookie sheet would be greased with spray shortening. Makes approximately 30 small heart shaped lollipops.
Keep reading for details on how to make lollipops Continue reading
Matilda turned 8 this Fall! I can’t believe it. All she wanted to eat on her birthday was a minion cake! With a two-month old at this was quite the challenge! After lots and lots of thought and tedious calculation I finally created a template for a 3-D minion cake. I took plenty of notes back in September and finally have a free moment (baby is sleeping zzz…) to share the instructions. I hope this tutorial helps to make someone else’s birthday special! Besides, who doesn’t love Minions?
Matilda you are the sweetest little girl! Please please don’t grow up! xoxo -Mom
Keep reading for a detailed tutorial with lots of photos! Continue reading
I learned how to make this dish while living in Mexico City. It is a staple in our home and is great as a side dish for any Mexican themed dinner. In Mexico fresh roma tomatoes are flavorful, plentiful and inexpensive, so they were always used in place of the tomato sauce listed in this recipe. One pound of fresh tomatoes blended whole with about a quarter cup of water can be used instead of the canned tomato sauce. If desired reduce the amount of olive oil. If you plan on using less oil it is best to cook the rice in a large nonstick pot. This can also be cooked with sauteed and diced carrots, onions or potatoes. In all cases, do not change the water/rice ratio when adding vegetables. I use whatever long-grain rice I have on hand. When I prepared Spanish rice this week I used basmati rice. For convenience I am preparing my Spanish rice this week with water and knorr chicken bouillon. If available I used homemade chicken broth to boost the nutritional value of this dish. This is a large family size recipe, feel free to half the quantities listed. Preguntas? Enjoy!
- 2 cups long-grain rice (rinsed to remove excess starch)
- 4 cups water
- 4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 4 teaspoons Knorr chicken bouillon powder
- 8 ounces canned tomato sauce
- cilantro, as a garnish
Rinse uncooked rice in cool water to remove excess starch. Warm olive oil in a large pot. Carefully add the rice and saute in the oil. When the rice is slightly golden add the water, chicken bouillon powder and can of tomato sauce to the saucepan. Bring to a rapid boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot and cook on low for 10-15 minutes or as long as directed on the bag of rice. After 10 minutes I usually stir the dish gently and check to see if the rice needs more water for cooking. If the rice is undercooked and has very little cooking liquid add a quarter cup more water. If the rice is cooked sufficiently but there is excess liquid remove the lid and stir on very low heat allowing the water to evaporate. Garnish with chopped cilantro before stirring.
Keep reading for more photos and details as to how to cook Spanish rice Continue reading
We love when Grammy Paylor comes to town because she makes us a huge batch of hearty spaghetti sauce. She usually starts this mid-day and allows the sauce to simmer on low throughout the afternoon and early evening. By dinner the flavors have combined and the sauce has thickened quite a bit. She then leaves it in the refrigerator overnight so that most of the fat rises to the surface and hardens so that it is easy to remove before freezing extra sauce. This recipe fills 4-5 Quart-sized Zip-lock bags and freezes well. A day before using the frozen sauce I place it in a container to thaw slowly in the refrigerator. This is like gold as the kids look so forward to Grammy’s spaghetti sauce weeks after she has gone home. I sometimes ‘dilute’ the sauce with plain tomato sauce or even Prego to make it stretch even further. This sauce served over spaghetti is a favorite weeknight dinner. This is what I like to call a “whatever” recipe. There is no exact recipe to follow, just taste as you go and make sure the amount of Italian seasoning, brown sugar and salt are to your liking. Mushrooms are optional, although Grammy always lovingly adds them to the her sauce.
Grammy Paylor’s Hearty Spaghetti Sauce
- 4 pounds lean ground beef
- 2 pounds mild Italian sausage
- 2 large onions
- 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 30 large mushrooms, sliced – (2 small 8 oz. containers) – optional
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 4-6 Tablespoons Italian seasoning (or to taste)
- 4-5 bay leaves
- 2 large (29 oz) cans stewed tomatoes*
- 2 large (29 oz) cans tomato sauce
- 2 small cans tomato paste
- garlic salt, to taste
In a large stock pot saute onions and garlic in olive oil. Add the sliced mushrooms to cook with the onion and garlic. Next brown the ground beef with the garlic, onion, and mushroom. Cook the Italian sausage in a separate frying pan and drain excess fat from the cooked sausage. Pour prepared sausage into the pot with the ground beef. Add the stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato paste. Season with Italian seasoning, brown sugar, and bay leaves. Simmer on low several hours to allow the sauce to thicken and the flavors to combine. Taste and add garlic salt as needed. Serve immediately.
If time permits, chill the sauce overnight. Remove hardened fat. Place extra sauce in quart sized Ziploc bags and freeze for easy weeknight dinners. It is rather meaty so sometimes I dilute it with some prego sauce (or plain tomato sauce), especially if I am making lasagna or a dish that is a bit lighter.
*if desired substitute diced tomatoes for stewed tomatoes
I realized this week I am out of pinto beans! Calamity! I felt like my Taco Tuesday night and entire week would fall apart without beans. Fortunately, my sister Becca was able to spend the weekend in Cancun (so jealous!!) and was reminded that black refried beans are more common in most parts of Mexico. Duh!! I forgot!! Adriana always made us black refried beans to go with quesadillas, tamales, tacos, huevos rancheros, chilaquiles, sopes… So for the next several weeks we will be chipping away at the 50lb bag of beautiful Idaho-grown black beans. Traditional refried beans are cooked with a bit of lard and seasoned with epazote, avacado leaves and dry chiles. I will keep this recipe “pantry friendly.” Garnish with fresh cilantro and Cotija, Mexican crumbling cheese. Provecho! P.S. this side dish #looksgrosstastesgreat
Refried Black Beans
- 4 cups cooked blacked beans in cooking liquid
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil (or other fat)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon knorr powdered chicken bouillon (optional)
- 1 Tablespoon Valentina brand hot sauce (optional)
- 1/8 teaspoon chipotle powder
Carefully remove cooked black beans from the pressure cooker and add to the blender with the cooking liquid. For information on how to cook black beans in the pressure cooker please refer to this post. Blend the beans and the cooking liquid. Heat oil or fat in a heavy duty saucepan on medium heat. Carefully add the pureed beans to the hot oil. Use caution as the oil will splatter if it is too hot. Bring to a gentle boil and decrease heat to low. Allow mixture to reduce for 10-15 minutes. When the beans are a little runnier than you like them served turn off the heat. They will continue to reduce upon standing. If you boil the beans too long you will have dehydrated bean paste. Season the beans with salt, knorr chicken bouillon (optional), hot sauce of your liking (optional), chipotle or other chili powder. Garnish with fresh cilantro, and Mexican crumbling cheese, cotija. For refried beans using pinto beans please refer to this post.
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We had a little too much fun with cousins over the holiday break. Poor baby Lizzie ended up sick with a high fever and cold right around New Years this year so I was unable to make my usual New Years’ Eve spread. In keeping with our little family tradition I made Scott’s favorite appetizer. Shrimp on a Ritz cracker with cream cheese and cocktail sauce. This may go under the #looksgrosstastesgreat category… maybe not. I used a fancy font for my site name so I think we will be okay. Anyhow, with a sick baby and no time to cook I made this at the last second for Oma’s New Years’ Eve party. They were of course a hit! I think we will make them again for Superbowl Sunday.
Ritz Cracker Shrimp Appetizers
- Ritz crackers
- cream cheese, softened
- cooked, peeled shrimp
- cocktail sauce
Spread a bit of softened cream cheese over Ritz crackers. Place prepared shrimp on top of cream cheese. Top with cocktail sauce. Make lots of extra – these disappear quickly!
Maybe it was all the snow… or my recent aversion to food dye… or my lack of free time? All of the above? This year’s Christmas cookies were simple, yet beautiful. I outlined and flooded the scalloped sugar cookies in royal icing then decorated them with a touch of edible glitter and a single silver dragee. If only I had time to take a decent photo! Next year, I promise!! The shadows produced by white on white decorations are surprisingly beautiful. The picture above was snapped just as my kids took them out the door to give to their teachers. I actually LOVE my kids teachers this year so I decided to make them each a small box of cookies to go with a Starbuck’s giftcard. I have to thank the ever so talented cookie queen Georganne from lilaloa.com for meeting me at Target on a freezing December night to share cookie boxes with me. Such a lifesavor. If you haven’t been to lilaloa.com you are missing out! The fact that I was able to make just one batch of simple cookies this year is a miracle. Merry Christmas!!
For my favorite sugar cookie recipe click here.
For the royal icing recipe click here.
More photos if you need some white on white Christmas cookie inspiration…