Monday, February 27, 2012

Party Food: Cucumber Sandwiches

I love to make party food.  I think I get it from my mom.  My mom throws parties, just to make party food.  I have started doing the same.

This party was especially awesome, however, because I didn't throw the party.  I just got to make food...score!  So, I went with the oldies but the goodies:  Cucumber Sandwiches & Homeade Oreos.  Both recipes only have a few ingredients, LOVE RECIPES WITH ONLY A FEW INGREDIENTS!

Here is the recipe for.....


Here's what you need:

1.  Cucumbers - I like English, but get what you like.  I cut them  about 1/4 inch thick and at a slight angle to make them a little larger. 
2.  Baguettes - Sam's Club has the best!  (I feel)  They have to be fresh though.  So if you need to get them days before you use them, I suggest buying them frozen.  Ask at the bakery.  The cream cheese mixture can cover about 4 baguettes.  That makes a ton though, so I usually just buy 2 baguettes.
3.  Turkey - This is optional.  Get thinly sliced and I only use about 1/2 a slice to make it last.
4.  The Mixture - 1 packet of dry Italian dressing mix, 1 c. mayo, and 1 8 oz. cube of cream cheese, softened.  Make sure your cream cheese is soft and use a hand mixture to blend it together.  Then add in the italian seasoning and mayo.  If you end up only using 1/2 the mixture, this is an AWESOME spread on sandwiches later on. 

-Cut your baguettes into 1 inch circles. 
-Spread on the spread.
-Stack on the turkey. 
-And top it off with the cucumber.

People love these and they are such a simple little sandwich. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Ebelskivers a.k.a Pancake Balls


This is my kid's personal favorite.  I'm not going to's a little bit of work, but they are SO good and the kids think they are the best things ever. 

My good friend gave me an ebelskiver pan a few years ago and since then we have been in love.  You can get them at Bed Bath & Beyond, online, etc. if you end up thinking you want one.  There are lots of cool recipes you can make with the pan too.  I am just going to give you the recipe for the ebelskivers.

So you start by separating your 3 eggs.  One bowl put your whites, one bowl put your yolks.  Use a bigger bowl for your egg yolks because you are going to be adding 2 cups of buttermilk to it. 

Beat your three egg whites until stiff.  This takes some time, so be patient. 

Measure out your dry ingredients into another bowl and stir:  2 cups of flour, 1 tsp of each baking powder and baking soda, a 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 2 teaspoons of sugar. 

In your bowl with the egg yolks, add in 2 cups of buttermilk and beat.  Add this to your dry ingredients and mix again. 

 Lastly, fold in your egg whites.
 Place pan over medium-low heat.  Add a small chunk of butter to each hole in the pan and then fill each hole about 3/4 full. 

Just like pancakes, they will bubble and that's when you know you're ready to turn.  I just use toothpicks to turn them, but I know that there are specific tools just for this purpose....I'm just too cheap to buy them and instead use about 20 toothpicks. :) 

Double check and make sure they are thoroughly cooked by sticking your toothpick in the middle.  If it comes out clean or flaky, they are ready.  You may need to turn them another time or two if it's not. 

 Here is the recipe of the best buttermilk syrup to serve with it. yummy.  I think I now know what I am having for dinner.  I LOVE breakfast for dinner.  The best!   Also, if you are feeling up for it, you can always add stuff in the middle of the ebelskivers.  For example, one time I added a little bit of homemade strawberry jam in the middle (pour a little bit of batter, added the jam, and then added the rest of the batter).  You could add berries, chocolate, nuts, really whatever you want.  My kids prefer them plain, but if there is something you love....add it!!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Spinach Soup & Making a Roux

Before I left the "nest," my mom taught me to make a roux.  My mom's Broccoli/Spinach Soup and Clam Chowder is my favorite and they both involve making a roux.  She probably said "roux" 20 times and I had never heard that word before that time.  It sounded scary.  It sounded hard. wasn't!  Woot woot!  I LOVE taking this soup to someone on a cold day.'s how to make it.

First off, if you have freezer space you and you love creamed soups....I have some great advice.  Make a bunch of rouxs and freeze them.   Then, whenever you want to make one, it will take  you a fraction of the time.  My mom made a bunch about a year ago and she let me borrow one when I was running behind one day and it was awesome.  I think I am going to take a day this next week and make a bunch of them.  Then I will feel even more like a super mom.  (Something about doing something ahead of time to make things faster makes me feel like a super mom.)

If you want to make a roux ahead of time, here is the recipe:

1 onion, chopped
1 cube butter
1 quart half & half
1 cup flour

This roux is slightly different than the ones in my recipes, but it works still the same and will work with really any creamed soup you want to do. Just add in your "likings" and your good to go.

As for the Broccoli/Spinach Soup we go.

1.  Start by cooking your chopped broccoli or spinach and onion in water.  I always like to add in a handful of chopped carrots too, but that's up to you.  If you are making spinach soup, thaw your spinach and drain it the best you can.  For the broccoli, I like to chop in my food processor and I like it fine but also some small chunks too.  Some people like larger pieces.  Which are you???  Let your heart....or stomach guide you.

2.  When your veggies are soft, you are ready to add in your chicken soup base and water.  I've had people ask me what chicken soup base is.  You can find it in the soup aisle and is right by the boullion cubes.  It's in a tub and is paste like consistency.  As for the water, I usually add about 5 cups (just over a quart).  If you like a thicker soup, do a quart.  If you like a thinner soup, do more.  Keep your heat on and bring to a boil while you start on the next step....making the roux.

3.  Melt a cube of margarine (or butter) in a saucepan and then add in a heaping 3/4 cup of flour.[Please note that if you are making the rouxs to freeze, melt your butter and onion together until the onion is soft.]  You are going to start beating it like crazy.  It's going to look like hundreds of little balls. 

Keep stirring while you add in your evaporated milk and half & half.  Now I'm lazy and I don't like to beat it for so long, so I put the milks in a glass dish and throw it in the microwave for about 2 minutes to speed up the process.  Not necessary but does make it quicker.  Keep beating with the heat on making it smooth and thick.  The heat will continue to make it thicker.  When it is good and thick and pulls away from your pan, it's good to go.

4.  Go ahead and dump your roux in your veggies and stir in until smooth and combined.  When it heated through, take off heat and add 1 cup sour cream (not necessary, but makes it even creamier) and cheese, optional. 

My personal favorite is the spinach (even though normally I am a broccoli eater).  When I first told my kids that it was spinach soup it took me a little while to get them to try a bite.  But as soon as I did, they were asking for seconds and now ask me to make it for dinner.  It's good stuff. 


Saturday, February 11, 2012


I've been cooking like crazy lately (I hope to be posting some awesome new recipes I've been trying...soon), but the last few days I have been busy working on Valentines.

So my family has a little thing with mustaches lately.  My dad sells these awesome mustaches that cost a quarter and we have been a little obsessed.  It's amazing how entertaining they can be to my little guys.  So, with Valentines coming up I wanted a way to use them and share the love of the "stache."

Here's what I just finished making for all their classmates, friends, and relatives:

I packaged them up with their very own mustache.  I'm hoping my son's little 1st grade class has a blast with them and somebody takes a picture.

So excited to have those all done and they are done a WHOLE 4 DAYS EARLY.   So proud of myself for not procrastinating I can't even tell you.  I even got the dreaded (at least for me) Valentines box done too.  CHECK, CHECK.  Woot woot!  We made a great little robot wrapped in duct tape with slinkies for arms.  My son was so creative.  Super proud.

Well....for Valentines day I am offering 15% off your order through Valentines day at my Etsy store.  Just enter VALENTINES as the coupon code.  Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

3 Lettuce Salad with Sweet Red Onion Dressing

I completely forgot to post this on I decided to give you one of my my all time favorite recipes. 

This is my FAVORITE salad and one of my most requested items to bring to a party.  I had it the first time at my bridal shower over 10 years ago.  I didn't cook much back then, but I had to have the recipe and it became my staple for every get together from that point on. 

It's kind of one of those throw whatever you like and pour that yummy dressing over it and you have a delicious salad.  Here's the recipe and then I will give you the commentary about it. 

As I mention in the recipe, I usually used bagged lettuce.  For me, it's easier.  Costco and Sam's have tubs of salad that makes it really easy to put this together.  If possible, it's great to use a mixed green salad mix and then add in some romaine and spinach leaves.  Whatever you have will be great though.

I love to add strawberries, but any kind of fruit....pears, raspberries, blueberries, even craisins are great. 

Sugared nuts are always amazing in a salad.  Don't you agree?  Mmmm.  Get your almonds (or favorite) put them in a skillet and pour your sugar over them.  The sugar will melt over them and after it has all dissolved I like to pour them on a sheet of wax paper or a cookie sheet in a single layer to cool. 

Bacon.  Do I need to say more?  To make this salad easy, I usually have nuts already made up in the freezer (when I run out I make a lot), and I always have the frozen bacon in the freezer too.  The kind you can buy at Costco or Sam's.  I throw it in the microwave for a minute until it's pretty crispy and after it cools it crumbles really easily. 

Parmesan cheese.  Ok, the powdered kind does not work in this salad.  However, if you don't have shredded Parmesan cheese, mozzarella is great too!  Sometimes I do both.

Chicken.  Honestly, I rarely ever put chicken in this salad anymore.  Mainly because I make it as a side and not a main dish.  However, if you were serving this with soup, for example, I might add chicken just to give it some protein.  I think I'm cheap and lazy though and adding chicken drives up the price and the time on the salad.

The dressing is great.  I like just a 1/4 c. chopped red onion, but if you feel like the onion taste is too light, add more.  Add in all the ingredients in your blender, except the oil, and blend it up for a few minutes (you don't want to have any chunks of onion).  Your dressing will be a beautiful pink color.  After it's blended really well, keep the blender going and slowly add in your oil.  Wait to pour your dressing over your salad until you're ready to serve.  Don't pour the entire salad dressing over your salad...add about 1/2 or so and mix it and then see if you need more.  You don't want it dripping (ok maybe you do...I'm just not a fan).. 

So there it is.  This recipe is a winner.  Hope you all like it!