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Mar 14 13

Lego Marshmallow Pops and Lego Water Bottles

by KellysCravings

Lego Marshmallow Pops
Happy 2nd Blogoversary to me!

Two years ago I started this blog to share my love of food. Some recipes and restaurants have not made it on because we ate the food so fast I forgot to photograph it!

Last year’s Blogoversary talked about my love of Pinterest. My youngest child recently had a birthday party. A Lego theme was requested so I scoured Pinterest for some goodie bag ideas. While I’ve always wanted to make my own cake pops, I wasn’t really sure how. I thought big marshmallows would do just fine. I affixed an M & M with frosting on top before dipping them in yellow candy melts I bought at Michaels. The problem with that was the M & M started to melt. Next time I will try a small marshmallow. Then I melted chocolate chips to make their little faces.

Lego Water Bottles
For the water bottles, my hubby created these on Photoshop and I had copies made at Office Max. I removed the water bottle label and taped our own on.

Feb 1 13

Strawberry Raspberry Jam

by KellysCravings

Strawberry Raspberry Jam
Last Valentine’s Day I sent my kids to school with some fabulous treats. This year will be a different treat. Over the summer I went on a jam making kick. I previously wrote about my Orange Marmalade and Plum Jam. My kids and I wanted to take full advantage of the fresh summer fruits. Not only did we make Strawberry Jam and Raspberry Jam, but also Cherry Jam with Rainier Washington Cherries. I had a little bit of strawberries and raspberries left over, but not enough to make a whole batch of jam so I combined the two into one flavorful jam! It is the perfect color for a Valentine’s Day treat!

Strawberry Raspberry Jam
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2 cups prepared strawberries (buy about 2 qt. fully ripe berries total)
2 cups raspberries
7 cups sugar, measured into separate bowl
1/2 tsp. butter or margarine (optional)
1 pouch Sure Jell or CERTO Fruit Pectin

Bring boiling-water canner, half-full with water, to simmer. Wash jars and screw bands in hot, soapy water; rinse with warm water. Pour boiling water over flat lids in saucepan off the heat. Let stand in hot water until ready to use. Drain well before filling.

Stem and crush strawberries and raspberries thoroughly, one layer at a time. Measure exactly 4 cups crushed strawberries into 6- or 8-quart saucepot.

Add sugar; stir. Add butter to reduce foaming. Bring to full rolling boil (a boil that doesn’t stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in pectin. Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam with metal spoon.

Ladle immediately into prepared jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with 2-piece lids. Screw bands tightly. Place jars on elevated rack in canner. Lower rack into canner. (Water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches. Add boiling water, if necessary.) Cover; bring water to gentle boil. Process 10 minutes. Remove jars and place upright on towel to cool completely. After jars cool, check seals by pressing middle of lid with finger. (If lid springs back, lid is not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.)

If berries are extra ripe, use 3-3/4 cups prepared fruit and add 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice.

Adapted from: Sure Jell

Dec 26 12

Cyclops Cookies

by KellysCravings

Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies
Since I met my husband, my mother-in-law has been saying how Dylan’s favorite cookies are the Cyclops Cookies (aka Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies). She has pointed them out in magazines over the years but I have just never made them. Frankly, I had never even eaten one! Last weekend she was staying with us so we could celebrate Christmas early with her. Most years we make her Gingerbread cookies. She and the kids not only made the gingerbread cookies, but they also made the Cyclops cookies! I got to eat one straight out of the oven – melted chocolate in the center of a warm peanut butter cookie. Peanut butter and chocolate have always been the perfect pairing to me!

Cyclops Cookes
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½ cup butter
½ cup peanut butter
½ cup sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
2 Tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
48 Hershey Kisses, unwrapped

In a large mixer bowl beat the butter or margarine and peanut butter with an electric mixer on medium speed for about 30 seconds. Add 1/2 cup of the white sugar and the brown sugar and beat until fluffy. Add the egg, milk and vanilla and beat well.

In a medium mixing bowl stir together the flour baking powder, salt and baking soda. With the mixer on low speed gradually add the flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture. Beat until well combined. Cover and chill dough for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (205 degrees C).

Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Roll balls in additional sugar. Place about 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake at 375 degrees F (205 degrees C) for 10 to 12 minutes or until the edges are firm. Immediately press a chocolate kiss atop each cookie. Transfer cookies to a cooling rack and let cool.

Yields: 4 dozen cookies

Adapted from: All Recipes

Oct 29 12

Tangy Pepper-Pecan Brie

by KellysCravings

Tangy Pepper-Pecan Brie
Last year I talked about our Halloween traditions. This year I’m going to talk about my good friend, Christina. October is breast cancer awareness month. Christina, or CP as I like to call her, has been battling breast cancer all year. She found out early this year that she had breast cancer through her mammogram. She also tested positive for the gene. After undergoing chemotherapy, she had her double mastectomy in August and just five short weeks later, she had a hysterectomy. She is one of the strongest and most resilient people I know.

About five years ago, CP and I were at a friend’s house for a Pampered Chef party. They made this recipe for Tangy Pepper Pecan Brie. It was delicious. I love the sweetness of the preserves and the spiciness of the jalapeno. CP made this at my house last year for some of our girlfriends.

I made a Sundried Tomato Pesto version earlier this year. Lately I have substituted the apricot preserves for my homemade orange marmalade. It is just as fantastic.

1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer
Every 2 minutes, there is a new diagnosis
Every 14 minutes a life is lost to the disease
85% of all diagnoses have no family history
In honor of CP (who is 45), my cousin, Grace who died of breast cancer at 33 and Nonna, my grandma-in-law, who beat breast cancer last year…PLEASE go get your mammogram!

Tangy Pepper-Pecan Brie
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1 loaf (16 ounces) French baguette
1 4-inch round (8 ounces) Brie cheese with rind, room temperature
½ cup pecans, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed and seeded
¼ cup apricot preserves or orange marmalade

Preheat oven to 425°F. Chop jalapeno and combine with the preserves; mix well.

Cut Brie in half horizontally. Place one half of Brie, cut side up, onto center of Stoneware. Spread half of the preserve mixture evenly over bottom half of Brie. Top with half of the pecans and remaining half of Brie, cut side up. Spread remaining preserve mixture over Brie; sprinkle with remaining pecans.

Using a bread knife, cut baguette on a bias into twenty-four 1/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange baguette slices around Brie. Bake 8-10 minutes or until baguette slices are golden brown and Brie begins to soften. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Yield: 12 servings

Camembert cheese can be substituted for the Brie, if desired.

Jun 30 12

Bread and Butter Pickles

by KellysCravings

Bread and Butter Pickles
In our garden we usually have an abundance of zucchini which I have mentioned before…Zucchini Parmesan Crisps, Spring Fling Cake and Chocolate Zucchini Cake. This year I am getting a bumper crop of cucumber. I have already made three batches of bread and butter pickles with our homegrown cucumbers and onions. Last year I tried a new bread and butter pickle recipe because it was much easier but I won’t do that again. Everyone said they were not as good. In the long run, it is certainly worth putting a little extra effort into a recipe. I love these pickles because they are tangy and sweet in one little bite. Plus, I love the addition of the onions. Ten years ago my hubby won first place for sweet pickles at the fair with this recipe! He loves to layer the bread and butter pickles in his turkey sandwich. I must admit, it is a bit tasty!

Bread and Butter Pickles
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4 quarts sliced medium cucumbers
8 medium white onions, sliced
⅓ cup pickling salt
3 cloves garlic, halved
Cracked ice
4 cups sugar
3 cups cider vinegar
2 tablespoons mustard seed
1 ½ teaspoons turmeric
1 ½ teaspoons celery seed

Combine cucumbers, onions, pickling salt, and garlic. Add 2 inches of cracked ice. Refrigerate for 3 hours; drain well. Remove garlic.

In a large kettle combine sugar, vinegar, mustard seed, turmeric, and celery seed. Heat to boiling. Add cucumber mixture. Return to boiling. Pack cucumber mixture and liquid into hot, sterilized pint jars, leaving a 1/2-inch headspace. Wipe jar rims; adjust lids.

Process in a boiling-water canner 10 minutes (start timing when water begins to boil).

Adapted from: Better Homes and Gardens

May 21 12

Strawberry Sour Cream Ice Cream

by KellysCravings

Strawberry Sour Cream Ice Cream
Since yesterday was National Pick Strawberries Day, I have the perfect ice cream. When we go out for ice cream, Dylan will usually get strawberry. I thought he would be thrilled when I told him what flavor of ice cream I had made. He was skeptical about adding sour cream and vodka to the strawberry mixture. What I have realized about adding alcohol to the ice cream mixture is it will prevent the ice cream from becoming icy. The sour cream gives it a mildly sour flavor which helps balance the sweetness of the strawberries, plus it adds a creamy texture.

Strawberry Sour Cream Ice Cream
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1 lb. fresh strawberries, rinsed, hulled and sliced
¾ cup sugar
1 tbsp. vodka (optional)
1 cup sour cream
1 cup heavy cream
½ tsp. freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice

Combine the sliced strawberries in a medium bowl with the sugar and vodka. Stir until the sugar begins to dissolve. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a blender or food processor and add the sour cream, heavy cream and lemon juice. Pulse briefly until almost smooth but still slightly chunky. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Adapted from: The Perfect Scoop

May 1 12

Plum Jam

by KellysCravings

Plum Jam
One year ago today I posted about making Orange Marmalade for the first time. A jam I have made many times is Plum Jam. The difference between jam and jelly is that jam is made with cooked fruit and jelly is made with the juice of the fruit.

Just as I got the oranges from my parents’ backyard tree, I got these plums from their backyard too. When it comes to plums, I’m a little partial to plums with the red insides. I’m always disappointed when I bite into a plum with the yellow inside. When I was very young, my maternal grandparents had two Satsuma Plum trees in their backyard. Even as a small child, I remember those dark red skinned and red fleshy plums. While my parents’ Satsuma tree produces smaller firm fruit, they are just as juicy and delicious. I remember my grandma making plum jam with her plums too. She always had the wax inside the jars which was always fun to peel off.

The other day I bought Aebleskivers from Trader Joe’s, which are Danish pancakes. Since I had never seen them in a store before, I thought it would be fun to have them at home. Aebleskivers are typically topped with jam and powdered sugar. It was perfect with our Plum Jam!

Adapted from: Sure Jell

Plum Jam
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6 cups prepared fruit (about 4 lbs. fully ripe plums)
1/2 cup water
1 box Fruit Pectin
1/2 tsp. butter or margarine
8 cups sugar, measured into separate bowl

Fill a large pot (at least 12-quart) 3/4 full with water, set over high heat and bring to a boil. Place 10 (8-ounce) jars and rings, canning funnel, ladle, and tongs into the boiling water and make sure the water covers the jars by at least an inch. Boil for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, add the lids and leave everything in the pot until the marmalade is ready.

Pit plums. Do not peel. Finely chop or grind fruit. Place fruit in saucepan; add water. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 5 min. Measure exactly 6 cups prepared fruit into 6- or 8-qt. saucepot.

Stir pectin into fruit in saucepot. Add butter to reduce foaming. Bring mixture to full rolling boil (a boil that doesn’t stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in sugar. Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 min., stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam with metal spoon.

Ladle immediately into prepared jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with two piece lids. Screw bands tightly. Place jars in stockpot. (Water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches; add boiling water if needed.) Cover; bring water to gentle boil. Process 10 min. Remove jars and place upright on a towel to cool completely. After jars cool, check seals by pressing middles of lids with finger. (If lid springs back, lid is not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.)

Apr 19 12

Sour Cream Pound Cake

by KellysCravings

Sour Cream Pound Cake
This time of year is all about strawberries. Who doesn’t love a fantastic Strawberry Shortcake? For me, it isn’t just about finding perfect juicy, red strawberries. It is having a great “shortcake” or pound cake that makes the whole dessert. I came across the easiest recipe from Paula Deen. This time I baked it in loaf pans and I love how the top will form a slight “crust”. It is not only moist, but slightly dense and delicious.

Sour Cream Pound Cake
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1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter
3 cups sugar
1 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups all-purpose flour
6 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together. Add the sour cream and mix until incorporated. Sift the baking soda and flour together. Add to the creamed mixture alternating with eggs, beating each egg 1 at a time. Add the vanilla and pour the mixture into a greased and floured 10-inch tube pan or 3 loaf pans.

Bake for 1 hour 20 minutes.

Adapted from: Paula Deen

Apr 11 12

Malted Milk Ice Cream

by KellysCravings

Malted Milk Ice Cream
Since my first ice cream post I have made almost a dozen different flavors. My friend gave me her extra copy of the cookbook The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz. There is a flavor called Malted Milk Ice Cream. When I saw the recipe, I knew immediately I HAD to make it. The malted milk powder is a sweetener made from natural barley and it gives a distinctive malt taste which I enjoy. I am a malt kind of person. My favorite ice cream flavor is Thrifty’s (Rite-Aid) Chocolate Malted Crunch. I prefer a Chocolate Malt over a Chocolate Shake and I especially LOVE Easter time when the Robin Egg Malt Balls (Whoppers with a crunchy shell) are in the candy aisle in most stores.

On Easter Sunday, I was assigned to take dessert. I of course decided to make this recipe using the Robin Eggs to give the ice cream a crunchy texture and a colorful spin.

Malted Milk Ice Cream
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1 cup half and half
¾ cup sugar
pinch of salt
2 cups heavy cream
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
⅔ cup malt powder
6 large egg yolks
2 cups malted milk balls, coarsely chopped

Warm the half and half, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan. In a large bowl, whisk together the heavy cream, vanilla and malt powder and set a mesh strainer on top.

In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and whisk it into the malted milk mixture. Stir until cool over an ice bath.

Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. As you remove the ice cream from the machine, fold in the chopped malted milk balls.

Apr 1 12

Homemade Peanut Butter

by KellysCravings

Homemade Peanut Butter
As I mentioned before, we bought a handy dandy VitaMix blender. We use it to make all sorts of things. One of our family favorites is Peanut Butter. The ONLY ingredient…peanuts! There is no recipe needed, just blend roasted and salted peanuts 3 cups at a time in your food processor or blender. Blend it for several minutes, first it will become crumbly, then it will start to liquify. We use it for pb & j’s, we smear it on celery (ants on a log) and the kids’ favorite is to dip sliced apples into peanut butter!