A Simple Holiday Dessert

 

Are you planning your holiday festivities yet?  Or are you playing the role of the Grinch this season?  I’ve been thinking ahead and I’ve come up with a few delicious dessert ideas.  The tough part is picking just one sinful dessert to make and share on Christmas.

For those of you that are pressed for time, or don’t consider yourself very proficient at baking from scratch, I have a great alternative for you. 

This cake is made from a box mix but know one will ever know – unless you tell them!  And when it’s topped with peppermint ice cream it can only get better. 

Chocolate Bundt Cake

1 chocolate cake mix

4 large eggs

1/2 c. plain Greek yogurt

1/4 c. warm water

1/2 c. hot coffee

1/4 c. olive oil

1 package of instant chocolate pudding/pie filling

1/2 c. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Heavily grease a Bundt cake pan.

In a large bowl, add all ingredients except chocolate chips and beat with electric mixer until all ingredients are completely blended.  Fold in chocolate chips.  Pour batter into prepared Bundt pan and bake for about 50 minutes.  Check for to make sure the cake is done by inserting a toothpick into it in several places before removing from the oven.  Allow cake to cool for 30 minutes before removing it from the pan.

Once cooled, store in an airtight container.  When ready to serve, top with your favorite ice cream, whipped cream, toppings, etc.

Oh, and did I forget to mention that there are only 17 days left until Christmas?  I thought so…

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Simple Sunday Morning Breakfast–Fill Your Bellies; Warm Your House

 

I suppose it was to be expected.  Cold temperatures and snow flurries have intruded upon those of us that live in the Finger Lakes Region of New York State.  I’ve switched to wearing boots and a warmer jacket when I venture out.

But what about inside?  This morning our house was cooler than it has been and I was eager to get a fresh pot of coffee brewing.  And while the coffee warmed my soul and awakened me, it didn’t help warm the house.   Yes, I could have turned up the heat, but I had a much better idea like making breakfast in the oven.

With a plan in mind, I turned on the oven and started by raiding the fridge.  I came up with lot’s of healthy veggies, my favorite cheese -Jarlsberg Lite, low-fat ham, and of course our farm fresh eggs.  You can see where this is going can’t you?  All the fixings for a delicious frittata!

Making a frittata does not require a recipe or an exact science.  It’s more about adding a variety of your favorite ingredients. or those ingredients that you happen to have on hand at the time.

Here is how simple it is:

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  • Grease a pie pan with non-stick cooking spray
  • Beat (4) large eggs in a large mixing bowl
  • Add 1 cup of milk to the eggs (I used skim)
  • Add diced veggies, grated cheese, and cooked meat to the egg and milk mixture (I added onion, red pepper, spinach, ham, mushrooms, and Jarlsberg to mine frittata)
  • Salt & pepper
  • Top with a little more grated cheese
  • Bake until the frittata is firm and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool about 10 minutes before cutting

I opted to go for a crust less quiche for a couple simple reasons.  Less calories and  less fat.

This is a perfect dish to prepare in advance if you are having overnight guests. Think about the holidays that are fast approaching.  

What ingredients would go in your favorite frittata?

Simple & Sweet Shortbread Cookies

Somehow, January has nearly slipped right by me.  It wasn’t until today that I realized we will soon be entering the ever so cold month of February, (as if it hasn’t been ever so cold already) and soon Cupid will arrive with his love potion filled arrows.

Last year, in honor of what is suppose to be one of the most romantic days of the year, I made several delicious treats leading up to the big day.  I kicked off the celebration with Strawberry Kiss Cheesecakes.   Then came the Chocoholic Cupcake, the Marshmallow, Peanut Butter, and Cake Truffles, and let’s not forget the Valentine Cream Wafer (Heart) Cookies.  

I decided to start this years celebration off with one of my most favorite cookies ever.  The Simple & Sweet Shortbread Cookie.  These cookies are melt in your mouth perfect.  Butter, sugar, flour, a pinch of salt and a touch of vanilla.  That’s it – so simple, so sweet!

SIMPLE & SWEET SHORTBREAD COOKIES

2 sticks of butter, room temperature

1/2 c. granulated sugar

a pinch of salt

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 c. all-purpose flour

Powdered sugar for rolling

Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a large bowl, add butter, sugar, salt, and vanilla.  Cream ingredients together; add flour.  Continue to mix ingredients until everything is blended.  Form dough into a ball. 

Place a dough on a piece of parchment paper that is coated with a light coating of powdered sugar.  Roll dough out until it is about 1/4” thick. Use more powdered sugar if needed.  Cut out cookies using a cookie cutter.  Place cookies on prepared cookie sheet about 1 1/2” apart.  Bake for about 8 minutes.  Do not over bake.  They will firm up after removing them from the oven.  Allow cookies to cool completely on cookie sheet before moving them.

If you want to spruce your cookies up, roll the edges in a thin butter cream icing and then coat the edges with some colored sugar.   

I couldn’t resist sneaking this cute little (like new) tea cup from Teavana into this picture.  I found it at a local thrift store for 30 cents.  That’s my kind of bargain!

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be all about romance.  It can simply be about kindness.  Make a batch of these delicious cookies, pair them with a pretty tea cup or coffee mug, and give them to someone that’s deserving this Valentine’s Day.

I’m planning on sharing my cookies at one of my favorite hangouts – BeBetsy.  Make sure you check out their great site because there is something there for everyone.

Peppermint Meltaway Cookies and Merry Christmas!

My daughter just  introduced me to a cookie that I’ve never had before.  I can’t imagine how this one slipped past me in all the years that I’ve been baking!  This little shortbread cookie has now made it’s way to the top of my “favorites” list .

These cookies have probably garnered their name from the fact that they are so tender and will melt in your mouth.  Yep, one right after another!

We got the recipe from Taste of Home’s website.  If you’d like the recipe to these delicious little gems please follow the link I just provided.

mint cookies 013

Happy baking, and Merry Christmas!

Retro Christmas Cards–DIY

I’m not a big Christmas card sender.  Yes, I like receiving them, and chances are, if you send me one you will get one back – but don’t bank on it.  This last weekend I was in one of my retro moods and decided to make a few cards to send out.

When I started this project I knew how I wanted my cards to look but I wasn’t sure if I could find the type of images I had in mind.  After searching on-line for a few minutes I found just what I was looking for.

For this project you will need:  printed images you wish to use, some blank cards, scissors, a glue stick, and a little rick rack.  Easy peasy!

 

So, my cards are made and sent out and I still have a lot to do before I’m ready for Christmas – eek!

Are you ready for the Christmas?  What’s left on your list of things to do?

Great Cookies For Your Cookie Boxes and Sharing This Holiday Season

Some of you may be scurrying around looking cookie recipes that you can make to help fill your cookie boxes this holiday season.  If so, I’ve got a few suggestions.  All of these cookies are yummy, easy to make, and will give you a nice variety.  There is practically a cookie for every taste here.

Brown Sugar Double Chip Cookies

Hershey’s Peanut Butter Blossoms

Chocolate Cookies

Soft Glazed Pumpkin Sugar Cookies

Old-Fashioned Molasses Cookies

Pecan (or Walnut) Cookies

Do you make cookies to share with your neighbors, family, friends, work, or elsewhere?

Holiday Ornaments – Personalize Your Gifts

I love making my own ornaments to use on packages and boxes of cookies that I share each holiday season.  This year I was looking for a new idea and I decided that these little glitter deer were the perfect answer.

I found a couple deer patterns and morphed them into a deer figure that I liked.  Then I drew and cut out my template, traced them onto a  thin piece of 1/4” Luan plywood, and had hubby cut them out on his jigsaw.  After he cut them out I took back over.  I painted them white, sprinkled a multi-colored gold, white and silver glitter on top, and I finished them off with cute little gingham bows and hangers.

If you make these ornaments and don’t want to share, I can relate!  Just go ahead and decorate your tree with them.

Are you gearing up for the holidays?  What is your favorite thing to do to prepare for them?  Are you most happy shopping, baking, decorating your house, crafting, or none of the above.