Saturday, November 29, 2008

Chocolate Chunk Cookies & Snowboarding....

Hello everyone & happy Saturday! Hope you and your family had a great Thanksgiving and ate lots of yummy food. I'm sure most of you guys had Pumpkin Pie during this week/weekend, but believe it or not, I don't like Pumpkin Pie. I know, it sounds really weird - but, for as long as I can remember I've never been really able to eat it.

Here are some delicious cookies that I got from my 10 year old reader, Miss Alex. What really was interesting to me about this recipe was that you use butter flavored shortening. My Dad described these accurately...."just a good ol' Chocolate Chip Cookie".

"Chocolate Chip Cookies"

½ cup unrefined sugar (you could use regular sugar, this just gives it a great texture)
½ cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup butter flavored shortening
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 ½ cups unbleached flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ cup chopped nuts (optional)
1 package milk chocolate chunks or chips
Cream eggs, butter, shortening and sugars. Add vanilla and dry ingredients. Stir in chocolate chips. Bake at 375 for 8 – 10 minutes or until golden brown.
My Mom took my brothers, my sister, and I snowboarding yesterday, which was also the first day they were open for the season. It was so good to be out snowboarding after not having done it for almost 8 months. I love going fast down a hill with the wind blowing your hair and in your face. Here are some pictures!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Fabulous Cookies & Awards!

Good Wednesday morning everyone! Thanks everyone for participating in another contest. These are too much fun for me, so look for another giveaway next week. Okay, here is the winner of the last basket:
Alex and Pam. Who said: We ate at Siam Cuisine last weekend in Wichita, KS and it was the best Thai food we've had. YUMMY. Our new favorite. And, hi Alex! I am glad to have a 10 year old reader! E-mail me at so I can get your prize out to you.

In case you were wondering, Olive Garden is my favorite restaurant. And, here is a recipe for some amazingly delicious sugar cookies we love. They are light, fluffy, & not hard at all. Hope you enjoy them!

"Sour Cream Sugar Cookies"

1 cup butter softened
1 cup sour cream
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla (I use almond instead)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. soda
4 tsp. baking powder
5 cups flour

Cream butter and sugar. Add sour cream and mix, Add eggs and vanilla. Sift dry ingredients together and add gradually. Mix well. Refrigerate for about 1 hour. Roll dough out 1/2 inch thick on well floured surface (may be a bit sticky so flour well). Cut out round cookies (I used the top of a glass). Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Frost when cool. Makes 4 dozen.
Cream Cheese Frosting:
3 tsp. vanilla (or almond)
6 cups powdered sugar
12 oz cup cream cheese, softened
A few tbsp. of milk (may need more depending on consistency)

Mix all together.
Onto the awards. Jodi over at Live Today, Cherish Yesterday, Dream Tomorrow gave me this "your blog is fabulous" award. Thanks so much Jodi! I am going to pass this onto:
  • Cristine at Cristine Cooks. I love Cristine's blog, and I love how she posts delicious recipes every day.
  • Mel at Made By Melissa. Melissa has a great blog and her pictures of her food are super!
  • Pam at For The Love Of Cooking. Pam has one of the best food blogs around. Her recipes are so yummy!
  • Lisa at Jersey Girl Cooks. I enjoy reading each of Lisa's posts and her food looks delicious!

Joan over at 3 Girls, Me, And A Recipe gave me this "butterfly award". Thank you so much Joan, getting awards are the best! I am going to pass this onto:
  • Sarah at Mrs. JY Cooking. I recently found Sarah's blog and I am enjoying it. She recently had a bridal shower and her menu looks super delicious!
  • Jessica at Turkey Cookies. I love reading each of Jessica's posts - her writing is fabulous!
  • Cristine at Cristine Cooks. Can you tell I love her blog??
  • Nicole at Test Kitchen Recipes. Nicole has delicious looking recipes and I look forward to each of her posts.
  • Teresa at A Blog About Food. Not long ago I discovered Teresa's blog and I am enjoying reading each post.

See you next with a easy but utterly delicious recipe & snowboarding pics! Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Hurry! Another Giveaway!

I have one more basket to giveaway!! 1 more winner will receive a gift basket that includes a free coupon for Progresso Broth, a sample of Progresso broth, a recipe card holder, recipe box and wicker basket, as well as a set of serving spoons and a spoon rest.

To enter, leave me a comment telling me your favorite restaurant. But, hurry! Tuesday the 25th at 12 o'clock midnight is the deadline.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Winners & My Guitar Recital!

Happy late Sunday evening everyone! Thanks to everyone for entering the contest. Reading your favorite movies was a blast! So, here are the winners:

#1) Winner of the Pomegranate Juice coupons: Topher (Chris)

#2) Winner of the basket: Lsjaeger

#3) Winner of the basket: Brunettebaker

#4) Winner of the basket: Cold Cocoa

#5) Winner of the Yoplait Kids Package: Laura Allmon

If you are any of the above winners, e-mail me at, so I can get your prizes out to you.

Wish I had more prizes to give out to you guys but, if you didn't win stay tuned, there will be more contests coming up!

Thanks to everyone for your well-wishes on my guitar recital! It went better than I could have expected. I played "He's A Pirate" off Pirates Of The Caribbean. I love that song! My favorite music to play is worship music, the chording is something I really enjoy. (Hope that answers your questions Jodi)! :)

Here are some pics from the day - enjoy!

My sister Lisa, who was also in the recital. The ones below are of me.

Amazing cookie recipe coming next! Stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Giveaway Time!

Happy late Wednesday night everyone! I am sure you guys are looking forward to the weekend. I am! I have a guitar recital coming up on Sunday and am nervous about it. Butterflies in my stomach is not something I enjoy. But, once, my playing time is done I feel so much better and like I can enjoy the rest of the recital. Enough rambling, onto the giveaways!
#1. POM is having a contest for *YOU* to enter. You can possibly win $5000 by submitting a Pomegranate recipe. Check it out HERE. I'm thinking a salad with Pomegranates in it of some sorts. Yummy.
POM also gave me 10 coupons to giveaway to my readers. 5 Pomegranate Juice & 5 Pomegranate Tea coupons.

#2. 3 winners will each receive a gift basket that includes a free coupon for Progresso Broth, a recipe card holder, recipe box and wicker basket, as well as a set of serving spoons and a spoon rest.

To get a free coupon for NEW Progresso Broth, click HERE. Valid thru March 23rd.

#3. The guys over at MyBlogSpark gave me this to giveaway to my readers. A travel cooler, a Brain Quest Game, and a coupon for a free 6-pack of yogurt.

To be one of the five winners, leave me a comment telling me what your favorite movie is. Maybe you like the ever famous Indy? Or maybe you like the classic Little Women? I'll go first. My favorite would be "We Are Marshall". Deadline is Sunday at 12 o'clock p.m. CST.

And, if you blog about this giveaway I will enter your name twice for these prizes. Let me know if you blogged about this in your comment, so I can enter you twice.
Can't wait to read your favorites!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Ooey Gooey Cookies, That Are Made Easy!

Already Tuesday? How did that happen so quick? I remember posting on Saturday....that went by fast! Anyway, it is getting colder over here every day - this morning it was 20 degrees. Uh, yeah, that's cold. Very cold. It was snowing a couple days ago too, but that's all gone now. I can't believe it is almost winter. I can't wait for it to get colder so I can go snowboarding with my brothers, that is the highlight of my winter every year. Don't worry, there will be some pictures of us snowboarding on here in a couple months.
Here are some cookies that are so soft and gooey in the middle - yummy! The sprinkled powdered sugar on top makes them look so pretty.

"Gooey Butter Cookies"

1 8oz. pkg. cream cheese
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 egg
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1 yellow cake mix
1/2 c. powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter. Stir in egg and vanilla. Add cake mix & stir until well blended. Powder sugar your hands well. Roll balls into 1" or 2" and roll balls thoroughly in powdered sugar. Place 1" apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10 minutes. Leave on cookie sheet for 3 minutes or more before removing to cool on wire rakcs.
My brother and his "peace" signs....
A friend of mine, Miss Helena, with my puppy Lewis. I so want my puppy baby back!
Next post will be my giveaway!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A Tasty Lunch & The Winner!

First off, thanks everyone for entering my contest. It was interesting to see where my readers live. Okay, using the winner of the coupons is - Karin. Who said:
Minnesota....The cupcakes look good! Yum! Please e-mail me Karin at, and I will be getting them out to you.
Now, onto a yummy and easy lunch or snack. These little English Muffin treats are so good. I am not a big fan of tuna, but these made me love it. The melted cheese on top combined with the tuna - makes it absolutely delicious.

"Tuna Cheese Melts"
3 cans (6 ounces) tuna, drained
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 - 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3/4 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tsp. hot pepper sauce
3 cups (4 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese, divided
5 English muffins, split and toasted
Dash paprika
In a small bowl, combine the first five ingredients; stir in 1 cup cheese. Spread over each muffin half; sprinkle with remaining cheese and paprika. Place on a baking sheet. Broil 3-4 in. from the heat for 2-4 minutes or until lightly browned and cheese is melted. Yield: 5 servings
I thought this was so neat - except Lewis is not paying attention.

Come back for a super giveaway next week!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Some Yummy Cupcakes & A Giveaway!

So, I decided to do my next countdown starting in December on my "Top 10 Appetizers". That's the majority of what you guys voted for and it makes sense with Christmas and New Years coming up.
Anyway, here are some delicious cupcakes that are so easy to make! Even without the frosting, they are moist and yummy.
**Giveaway at the bottom**

"Jeweled Pumpkin Gems"
1 package (18-1/4 ounces) yellow cake mix
1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
3 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 to 2 cans (12 ounces each) whipped cream cheese frosting

In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, pumpkin, eggs, oil, cinnamon and baking soda; beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Beat on medium for 2 minutes. Fill paper-lined miniature muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 350° for 12-16 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely. Spread with frosting. Yield: 7 dozen. **I made regular sized muffins and jumbo size muffins, about 1 dozen from each.** GIVEAWAY:
Okay, one winner will be receiving "6" different coupons including Yoplait Kids Yogurt, Pillsbury Savorings Flaky Pastry Bites, & Cocoa Puffs Combos. To enter leave me a comment telling me what state you live in. Deadline is Saturday at 4'clock p.m. CST. Enjoy!

-Picture simply a example-

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

#1 Is Up, Can You Believe It?

I can't believe my countdown is already over. I had so much fun doing it and I hope you guys enjoyed it too. I am going to start another one the beginning of December. But you guys tell me.....would you rather have a countdown of my Top 10 Appetizers or my Top 10 Meals? Let me know, and we'll go from there.

Okay, this is my all-time favorite dessert. Paklava as I know it or Baklava as you may know it. We don't make it that often, usually around Christmas time. And we can't wait every time it is made. It is time consuming but worth it. I hope this holiday season you will give it a try!


2 pkgs. (16 oz./each) Fillo(Phyllo) Dough
6 cups finely chopped walnuts
3/4 cup sugar
5 sticks unsalted butter
2-3 cups honey
Vanilla Sugar
Crush nuts in food processor as finely as possible. Empty into a bowl and add sugar (the sugar is added to eliminate the bitter taste of the nuts - add more if you need to). Mix well and set aside. Next, melt 5 sticks of the butter in a saucepan. Meanwhile, unwrap the Fillo dough and unroll flat - cover with a slightly damp dish towel to keep sheets of dough from drying out. Generously brush the melted butter on the bottom of a 10x15 inch jelly roll pan. Begin by placing two sheets of fillo dough on one side of the jelly roll pan (width wise). Fold up the edge that overlaps at the bottom of the pan, then carefully set two more sheets on the other side and fold up that edge also so that the fillo dough sheets are flat on the bottom of the pan - the sheets will overlap in the center - that's OK. Now generously butter these two sheets of dough as you will for each layer. Then add two more sheets of dough. When you add your next row of fillo dough, fold up the overlapping dough at the top of the pan and rotate each row after that (the next row would be folded over at the bottom again - this keeps the layers even. Continue this process until you have 14 sheets of fillo dough on each side (total of 28 sheets). Make sure to generously butter those last sheets of fillo dough before adding the nut filling. Next, pour the nuts on top of the fillo dough and spread evenly (you may use less nuts if you prefer - you can make the nut filling as thick or thin as you like). Now take 2 more sheets of dough and butter the bottom side that you will put down on the nuts. These sheets that overlap will be rolled under instead of over - rotate the overlapping from bottom to top also. Then continue to brush each double layer with a good amount of butter until you have 12 sheets of fillo dough on each side (total of 24 sheets). Brush the last layer of dough very generously with butter. Now preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Now it's time to cut the Paklava. Now you are going to cut lines to form the diamond shapes. Cut one line down the center - make sure the cut goes to the bottom of the pan - remember you are cutting through 26 layers of fillo dough along with the thickness of the nut filling. (This is much easier than it sounds). Next, evenly cut down the center of both sides from the center cut and then again evenly cut down the center of those sides until you have eight even columns or rows. Now, you are going to cut diagonally, starting with first row (on the left side of your pan) cut a diagonal line at the bottom of the first row. Then go up a bit in the first row and cut another diagonal line that will extend to the second row (you will always be moving to the right as you make diagonal lines). Then, go up a bit more in the first row and cut a diagonal line that will extend to the third line. Continue this pattern until all the diagonal have been cut. You should have 8-9 diamonds in each row. After all the diamonds are cut, warm up remaining butter and carefully drizzle the outer edges of the pan and then down each row of cut lines. Bake on third rack from bottom of oven for 15-20 minutes (until dough is puffy and slightly showing a pinkish/light brown color). Now move the oven rack up a couple of slots and bake another 10-15 minutes until golden brown (watch baking carefully). Remove from oven and completely cool. Next, slightly warm up honey on stove top. Spoon warm honey all around perimeter of jelly roll pan and down each row and diagonal cuts - the honey will soak in after a few minutes. After 10-15 minutes, check to see if it looks like there is enough honey, add more to your taste. Lastly, sprinkle vanilla sugar generously all over the top of the Paklava (the more the better). The vanilla sugar can be purchased from the market or make your own - take a vanilla bean root (stem) and stick it inside a container filled with white sugar and let sit for many days. The vanilla flavor will saturate the sugar and give you homemade vanilla sugar that can be used in many other recipes or in your favorite coffee or tea. ENJOY!!!
Top: Me & Steven. Bottom: Joe & Anna.
E-mail me with any questions about the Paklava - it sounds harder than it is!