Friday, June 28, 2013

Avocado Salad

Another beautiful day, another reason to enjoy a great salad.  This recipe is slightly adapted from Cook's Country Guacamole Salad.  I slightly modified it to make it work for my family's tastes.  This goes great with a nice juicy steak or along side grilled chicken.  

Avocado Salad

2 Roma Tomatoes, diced
4 Green Onions, sliced
1 Teaspoon Chopped Garlic
1/4 Cup Lime Juice
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1 Poblano Chili, seeded and sliced into matchsticks
2 or 3 Avacados, pitted, skinned and cubed
1 Tablespoon Dried Cilantro or 1/4 Cup Finely Chopped Fresh Cilantro
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon White Pepper 

Step 1:  Make the Dressing.  Combine the garlic, lime juice, cilantro, salt and pepper in a large bowl.  Let stand for 5 minutes and then whisk in the oil until well blended.

Step 2:  Toss the Salad.  Add chiles, avocados, tomatoes and green onion to the bowl.  Toss gently to combine.  Season with additional salt and pepper as needed.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Sugar Cookie Bars

Oh my, my . . .these bars are simply divine.  And cute.  And easy.  I found the recipe via Pinterest . . it was the first recipe I had ever tried from Pinterest. . . .and I've since made it multiple times.  They are that good.  The recipe was via a blog called A Little Bit Crunchy  A Little Bit Rock and Roll. When I had done a quick Pinterest search, a bazillion hits came up with these sugar cookie bars . . .and not all from the same source.  So, I looked at a quite a few - and they were all the same.  Usually, it was just the frosting recipe that varied.  Could all these people be wrong?  

Be sure to bust out your fat pants - because these are (in the words of the dearly departed Robert Palmer) SIMPLY IRRESISTIBLE!  

Sugar Cookie Bars

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
5 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1. Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. 

2. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. 

3. Meanwhile, mix the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. 

4. Add the vanilla to the creamed mixture and then slowly add the dry ingredients.

5. Press into a greased 13 x 18 inch pan (jelly roll pan) and bake at 375F for 10-15 minutes.


6. Cool and frost (see directions below).

Frosting Ingredients:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt
4 cups powdered sugar
5 tablespoons of milk
food coloring (optional)
sprinkles (optional)

1. In a mixing bowl, beat the shortening and butter until creamy. 

2. Add the vanilla and powdered sugar. 

3. Gradually add the 5 tablespoons of milk until you reach your desired constancy.

4. Frost the bars and decorate at own will.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Dulce de Leche Chocolate Truffles

The son of a friend of ours recently graduated high school.  And guess where he is going to college . . . .to my Alma mater!  I'll give you a hint . . . 

"Hail the Bison, Hail the Bison .. . ."

Still no clue?  Well, it's North Dakota State University.  And I'm pretty excited that he is going there.  Well, I'm excited when anyone I know decides to go to school there - not just him.

To celebrate, I made some truffles in school colors:  Green and Gold.  

How could I resist?  

I've made thousands of truffles . . .I've been rolling them now for almost 20 years.  I certainly have my favorite recipes.  however, whenever it comes to summertime - I get a little nervous about the weather:  specifically the heat and the humidity.  

And then I had a thought.  I love this blog - Hungry Happenings - this lady is my hero.  She makes such cool stuff .. .and is so incredibly creative!  I've had my eye on this recipe for a while.  I was intrigued by using the dulce de leche . . .and wondered if it could double as a filling for a truffle.  And so I tried it.  And it was wonderful.  

And don't be intimidated by these tasty morsels - they are very easy to make!  

Dulce de Leche Chocolate Truffles
Yield:  approx. 40 truffles using a 1-inch scoop

Ingredients for the Truffle Centers:
1 (13.4 oz) can of Dulce de Leche (I found it in the Hispanic section of our grocery store)
14 oz Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Ingredients for Coating:
1 lb and 4 oz of Vanilla Candy Coating
Optional:  Colored Candy Coating for decorating

To make the truffle centers:  
Step 1:  In a double-boiler, melt the the chocolate chips.  
Step 2:  Once the chocolate is melted and smooth, add in the Dulce de Leche.  Keep stirring until it is completely blended.  This may take a little work, but it will come together. Cover and let rest for about a 1/2 hour.
Step 3:  Line two baking sheets with wax paper.
Step 4:  Pinch off small pieces of the chocolate dough or use a small scoop.  Roll it into a ball.  Experiment with a variety of sizes to decide what size you like best.  I have a small, 1-inch scoop that I've used for years.   With your hands, roll the dough into a smooth ball and the place on the wax paper.  Repeat until all dough is rolled into balls.

To Dip:
Step 1:  In a double-boiler, melt the vanilla candy coating until smooth.  Let it cool down until you can easily touch it without it being too hot.   You want it to be fluid and warm, not hot.  

Step 2:  Dip each chocolate ball into the white coating (one at a time).  I like to do so by tipping the bowl slightly side-ways, tossing the ball in it, retrieving it with a fork and then tapping the fork to remove any excess coating.  Place on wax paper to set.  Repeat until are truffle centers are coated.

Step 3:  Decorate at own will :)  I melted a little green candy coating and also gold candy coating to drizzle atop the candies.  

Friday, June 7, 2013

Brownie Sundaes in a Mug

BEWARE:  Addictive Recipe Below . . .And Not-Very-Good Photos!  EVIL and ADDICTING!

Okay.  That's my PSA for the week.

We've all seen them:  recipes in a mug / single serve recipes / cooked in the microwave.  Yeah yeah yeah.  So, I finally gave in and tried one out.   I always thought that I never would.  I have a family.  Why would I need a single-serve ANYTHING??  Especially a brownie!  The fam would kill me if I didn't make a whole pan for them to devour.

And then opportunity knocked.  Or perhaps just shut the door.  As in, the teenager was gone for a few days and the little was already asleep for the night.  And hubby wanted something sweet to eat.


I warned you.  But if you still want to move forward . . .here is the recipe with very little tweeks.  All credit really goes to the blog above.  I didn't really change much.

Brownie Sundae in a Mug

4 Tablespoons Flour
2 Tablespoons Sugar
Pinch Of Salt
1/8 teaspoon Baking Powder
2 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder
1 Tablespoon Melted Butter
1.5 Tablespoons Oil (such as vegetable, canola or coconut)
1 Tablespoon Water
1/4 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 Tablespoon Chocolate Chips

Melt the butter in your favorite mug via the microwave (took mine about 20 seconds).  Add the remaining ingredients and stir well.  

Scrap the sides down and press firmly into the mug.  Microwave for about 1 minute.  Then check for your desired done-ness.  I nuked mine in-total for 90 seconds.  Please note, it will be very hot!!!  Let cool for 5 minutes.   Not too pretty .. . but I warned you!

To serve, top with HUGE scoop of ice cream.  Eat slowly . . .it's delicous.  So delicious, we had them not just one night . . .but two nights in a row.  SHHHHHHHHHHHHhh . . .don't tell the kids!!!