Thursday, June 24, 2010

Royal Icing Recipe

This is the royal icing recipe I always use to decorate all of my sugar cookies. It came from my favorite cookie gal's site: Sweetopia. I found it in this post and it's been wonderful to work with.

3/4 c. warm water
5 TBSP. meringue powder
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp. vanilla extract (only if your meringue doesn't contain vanillin powder)
2 lbs. powdered sugar

In mixer bowl, pour in the warm water and the meringue powder. Although the original recipe suggests mixing it with a whisk by hand until it is frothy and thickened...about 30 seconds, i've had great results just using the whisk attachment on my electric mixer.

Add the cream of tartar & vanilla (if applicable) and mix for 30 seconds more.
Pour in all the powdered sugar at once and mix with the paddle attachment on the lowest speed. Mix slowly for a full 10 minutes.
Icing will get thick and creamy.
Cover the bowl with a dampened tea towel to prevent crusting and drying.
Thin the icing with small amounts of warm water until you reach the desired consistency.
(I've determined this to be about 7 TBSP + 1 tsp. for piping).
Add food gels for tinting the frosting.
And then check out for tips on piping...

Now you need some sugar cookies to put this's my favorite recipe.

Annie's Sugar Cookies

This is my FAVORITE sugar cookie recipe EVER. My sweet friend, Annie McDaniel, is the one who shared it with me years ago. It's my go-to recipe because it's not only EASY but there's no need to chill the dough prior to rolling out. actually produces a nice tasting cookie! *wink*

1 large egg
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 3/4 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder

Using an electric mixer, mix wet ingredients: egg, butter, sugar & vanilla
Add dry ingredients...mix well.

Roll out dough on floured surface and cut with cookie cutters.
Bake at 400 degrees for 6-7 minutes

yields: approx. 24 - 3" cookies OR 150 - 1.5" cookies

Now all you need is some royal icing to decorate your's my all-time favorite!

Thursday, December 31, 2009

hearty bacon potato chowder

this is clara's request for dinner almost EVERY time she's asked...
very easy. but not very high on the "healthy scale"...*wink*

Thursday, October 15, 2009

chicken-pecan quiche

NOT a healthy recipe by any means...but oh. so. good. this is a "comfort food" meal - in my opinion. everyone in my little family LOVED this.
(although clara thinks the amount of pecans could be cut back).

this is a great meal served with your favorite steamed veggie and a fresh salad...mmmm...delish!

Friday, June 12, 2009

veggie lasagna

this lovely dish originated from gail lowry's kitchen. the original recipe calls for ground beef but i easily turned it into a meatless dish by using "veggie crumble". (this can be found in the frozen food section of any grocery store). this is the lasagna clara has made for us on several occasions. she's done a fabulous job & it's a fabulous lasagna. (use brown rice lasagna noodles instead of traditional noodles and you're even closer to a healthy, wholesome meal). 

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

spinach fettucine w/artichokes & sun-dried tomatoes

 this is scrumptious & clean, great flavor and super easy!  it's barely enough to serve 2 "hungry" people so i will be doubling/tripling the recipe the next go-around. you could add chicken to make it the "main dish". (clara & ema were not here the night i made this so i'm not sure if they'll like it or not - i'll update once i've tried it out on them). 

1 TBSP olive oil
1 med. yellow onion, thinly sliced
3 med. artichokes, trimmed & hearts sliced OR 1 - 4oz. can artichoke hearts, drained & halved.
(i just used a 4oz. jar of quartered artichokes)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp. lemon juice
salt & pepper to taste
1/4 cup dry white wine (i used white cooking wine)
1/2 lb. fresh spinach fettucine, cooked until tender, drained (1/4 cup pasta water reserved)
(i used brown rice penne pasta for my portion & dry fettucine for j's portion)
6 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
2 tsp. chopped thyme (i used ground thyme because that's all i had on-hand - fresh would be deliciously delightful).
grated parmesan cheese (i actually forgot about this part & didn't miss it at all - which is good because as much as i love parm, it has lots of sodium in it).

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook until tender. Add artichokes, garlic, lemon juice, salt & pepper and cook until artichokes are tender, 7-8 minutes. Add wine and simmer until just thickened. (didn't really "thicken", i just made sure it's mixed well). Stir in reserved 1/4 cup pasta water, tomatoes and thyme. Add pasta, salt & pepper and toss well. Transfer pasta to bowls, garnish with cheese (i left this part out & it's still scrumptious), & serve.  That's it...SUPER easy!

this recipe came from the "whole foods" site.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

peanut butter n' chocolate extravaganza

This is a recipe straight from "The Complete Book of Baking" by Pillsbury. This recipe won $15,000 in one of Pillbury's BAKE-OFF contests. I have to be honest. I've never sampled it because I've given the entire dish away after having made it.  I've made it on two separate occasions within the span of 1 year. I made it in December of 2008 and then yesterday, May 2009.  (both of those times on behalf of Nate Oshman - "Uncle Nate"). He and I share a passion for peanut butter and when I came across this recipe I figured it would be a "hit"....and Nate says it's "incredible". This is NOT healthy in any's completely indulgent. The original name from Pillsbury is: Peanut Chocolate Parfait Dessert but Nate coined the descriptive "Extravaganza" and so we are sticking with it....*wink*.  

1 (18.25oz) pkg. pudding-included devil's food cake mix
1/2 c. butter, melted
1/4 c. milk
1 egg
3/4 c. peanuts

3/4 c. peanut butter
1-1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 (8oz.) cream cheese, softened
2-1/2 c. milk
1 (8oz.) cool whip
1 (5.25oz) pkg. instant vanilla pudding & pie filling mix

1/2 c. peanuts
1 (1.45oz) hershey milk chocolate bar

Heat oven to 350.
Grease and flour bottom only of 13x9 pan.
In large bowl, combine all crust ingredients until well blended. (I used a hand mixer on med.)
Spread in greased & floured 13x9 pan.
Bake @ 350 for 20-25 minutes. (insert knife in middle - if's done)
Cool. (at least one hour)

(I don't do these remaining steps until the crust is cool to the touch)
In small bowl, combine peanut butter and powdered sugar at low speed until crumbly; set aside.

In large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth.
Add milk, cool whip and pudding mix.
Beat at low speed 2 minutes until well blended.

Pour half of cream cheese mixture over cooled, baked crust. Sprinkle with half of peanut butter crumble mixture. Repeat with remaining cream cheese and peanut butter mixtures. 
Sprinkle with 1/2 c. peanuts; gently press into filling. 
Sprinkle with grated chocolate. (I used chocolate curls instead of grating - just use a veggie peeler).
Cover, refrigerate or freeze until serving time. Store in refrigerator or freezer.

I've not tried this frozen but I imagine it would be JUST as if not more incredible.

Servings:  16
start to finish:  2 hours