A Skinnier Version of Creamy Stove Top Rice Pudding

My mother always made a mean batch of rice pudding – the stove top version of course.   In fact, I would ask for it every year for my birthday in lieu of a cake – even though she filled the pudding with raisins that I would inevitably pick out one by one.

In my later years, I have come to two conclusions where rice pudding is concerned.  One, the raisins really do give it a unique flavor even if you have to pick them out like I do, and two, making rice pudding takes more patience than I sometimes have.  Why patience you ask?  Because if you don’t temper the eggs into the hot milk mixture you will end up with a disaster like I have done a few times before.  I almost had given up on making stove top rice pudding but after one more sigh, and a small self pep talk, I gave it one more shot.  And this my folks is what sweet victory tastes like.

If you are at all like me and patience aren’t your virtue on some God given days then maybe you’ll wait like I did – until a day when you feel invincible and time is on your side.

This a skinnier and lower sugar version of my mom’s original rice pudding.

Skinnier Creamy Stove Top Rice Pudding

1 1/2 c. skim milk

1/4 c. granulated sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/2 c. prepared instant rice (follow the directions on the package for two servings)

1 egg, beaten (in a separate bowl)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/8 tsp. nutmeg

1 c.  light whipped topping (Cool Whip or the like)

Prepare the rice in advance by following the directions on the box of any instant rice (cooks in the microwave in 5 minutes).  In a medium sized saucepan, add milk, sugar, and salt.  Bring to a boil; stirring constantly.  Add cooked rice and remove from heat and cool for a ten minutes.  Slowly ladle about 1 cup of the  milk mixture into the beaten egg until completely mixed.  Place milk mixture back on the stove and on the lowest heat possible add egg mixture to it; mixing as you pour.  Stir constantly until pudding thickens.  The starch in the rice will help achieve this.  Once thickened, remove from heat and add vanilla and nutmeg.  Refrigerate until cool.  Once pudding has cooled fold in one cup of whipped topping before serving.

I took pictures of this pudding while it was still fairly warm.  That’s why you see the whipped cream melting.  Again, it’s a patience thing…  And I was losing  the optimal natural light I had to take pictures of my creation.

A while ago Libbey Glass sent me these cute little glasses/dishes that are perfect for  watching for portion control or feeding a crowd where you want to serve small tastes of everything sinful!

I shared this recipe over at the blog The Country Cook – Weekend Potluck #162.  Check out all of the other great links that shared there with me.

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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.

Pineapple Coconut Cupcakes

 

Watching the snow fall yesterday made me long for tropical.  A bright sunny beach, a cozy hammock nestled under a row of palm trees, a warm tropical breeze, and of course a fruity cocktail in hand.  And once my daydream ended, I realized that a tropical flavored cupcake would be the closest I’d get to anything tropical for quite some time.

Pineapple Coconut Cupcakes

With some leftover pineapple slices in the fridge, and a box of coconut pudding in the cupboard, a new cupcake recipe was born 

These cupcakes are super moist and they don’t need a thick buttery frosting to make them shine.  The combined flavors do that all on their own.

Pineapple Coconut Cupcakes

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line 12 cupcake tins with papers.

1 egg

1/2 c. sugar

1/4 c. olive oil

1 3.4 oz. package of Jell-O Instant Coconut Pudding/Pie Filling

1/2 c. diced pineapple

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. vanilla

1 c. all-purpose flour

1/4 c. skim milk

In a large bowl, add egg, sugar, oil, pudding and pineapple; beat briefly with electric mixer.  Mix in baking soda, baking powder, salt, and vanilla.  Add flour and skim milk and beat until all ingredients are combined.

Fill cupcake papers 2/3 full and bake for 16-18 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center.  Allow to cool in tins before transferring to a baking rack. 

When ready to serve, sift confectioners sugar on top of each cupcake.

What are you doing to help you get through the long winter?  Are you daydreaming like me? Or are you planning a sunny vacation?

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.

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Happy baking, and Merry Christmas!

Soft Glazed Pumpkin Sugar Cookies

How many times do you pin a recipe in hopes that some day you will get around to making it?  Yes, yes, I do it all the time too.  But this time, I decided to pick a recipe that I pinned and actually make it.  I also decided to follow the recipe to the letter.  Well, almost to the letter.  But I’ll get to that in a minute. 

This recipe came from the blog Lauren’s Latest.   I’m going to send you directly to her blog to pick up her recipe because I know you are going want it.  I do have to agree with Lauren, these cookies really need the icing on top to WOW you.  Alone they are just kind of ho hum, but with it they are amazing. 

Okay, now back to the minor recipe changes. When I made these cookies I added 2 teaspoons of apple cider to the batter and I eliminated the 1/2 c. of confectioners sugar.  If you compare Lauren’s photo’s to mine you will notice a slight difference in the texture but I’d say they are moist and delicious either way you make them.

What is your favorite recipe that calls for pumpkin?

Double Chip Vanilla Cookie Bars and Mercantile Reminder

When I decided to make these cookies I had biscotti on my mind.  But as you know, biscotti is a bit more time consuming to make since it has to be baked twice. I wanted a cookie that was comparable, but with less work.   I think I’ve created a solid cookie bar that has some of the characteristics of biscotti, but tastes much more like a yummy shortbread cookie!

Double Chip Vanilla Cookie Bars

1/2 c. margarine

1 egg

2/3 c. granulated sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. baking powder

3 tsp. pure vanilla extract

2 c. all-purpose flour

3 tbsp. mini dark chocolate chips, plus more for the tops

Sprinkles (optional)

In a large bowl, cream margarine, egg, and sugar.  Beat in salt, baking powder, vanilla, and flour until completely mixed.  Fold in chocolate chips.  Using your hands, form dough into a rectangular shape (approximately 8” long x 4” wide x 1 1/2” thick. Place shaped dough onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Wrap the parchment paper over the dough and place in the freezer for about 30 minutes.

While cookie dough is in freezer, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a separate cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Remove dough from freezer and slice cookies about 1/2” apart.  I used my Pampered Chef Crinkle Cutter and it worked like a charm.  Place cookies on prepared cookie sheet and bake for approximately 13 minutes, or until cookie has set.  *You may need to adjust baking time if your cookies are thinner or fatter than mine – I got 16 cookies from this batch.  I suggest setting your baking timer a little early to make sure you don’t over-bake your cookies.

Remove baked cookies from the oven and sprinkle mini chips on top, also colorful sprinkles if desired.  Return cookies to your warm oven and leave them just long enough to let chips melt slightly.  Remove from oven and move to cooling rack.  Store in airtight container.

I thought about drizzling some chocolate on top of these but amazingly, I did use some restraint!  These cookies go perfect with a nice cup of tea or coffee.  They are also hearty enough to transport without crumbling into pieces.   I’ve decided I will be making these and adding them to my Christmas cookie gift baskets that I share each holiday season.  Try making them yourselves, I think you’ll agree!

Just a reminder that the Antique Flatware auction is going to end this week on the 31st.  Don’t forget to place your bid!

 

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Cake and October

Today is the 1st of October and I’m excited.  September was a crazy month for me, I didn’t get to spend much time with my blog, and I plan to make up for that this month.

First, something new will be added to the Mercantile because the auction for the craft/sewing notion jar has officially ended.  Thanks for all your bids!  It’s been so much fun watching the bids come in and reading your comments.  I hope the lucky winner (who is being notified by email) will enjoy their jar of notions.

Also this month, I’ve conspired with a bunch of GREAT BLOGGERS and we will be hosting a virtual fall harvest dinner party that is bound to help jump start your Thanksgiving Day menu planning.

Sandra from Sweet Sensations will be setting our table for this event.  Terra from Café Terra will be mixing up one of her amazing cocktails for us.  Monet from Anecdotes and Applecores and Dionne from Try Anything Once Culinary will be whipping up tasty appetizers that anyone would gladly sample.  Amy from Ms. Toody Goo Shoes will be making us a beautiful and delicious fall inspired salad that sounds like a meal in itself.  Jeanne from Inside NanaBread’s Head will be sharing one of her scrumptious side dishes – and hint, she grows at least one of the ingredients  that she will be using in her dish.  Sharon and Denise from BeBetsy, and Liz from That Skinny Chick Can Bake,  will be surprising us with something yummy from their bread baskets.  And last but not least, Anne From My Sweet Heart will complete our meal with one of her insanely enticing desserts.  I don’t know about all of you, but I can’t wait!

So, let’s get this month started with a great recipe for Homemade Pumpkin Spice Cake.

This recipe was adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Pies and Cakes cookbook.  It’s super moist and perfectly spiced.  If you’re a raisin or nut fan, throw in a few of each.  They can only make the cake that much better.

1/2 c. margarine, softened

1 1/3 c. sugar

2 eggs

1 c. canned pumpkin

2/3 c. sour milk

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour

Generously grease a 10”x14” cake pan with margarine.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, cream margarine and sugar until fluffy.  Add eggs; beat well.  Mix in pumpkin, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla.  Alternate adding flour with milk and beat thoroughly.   Pour batter into prepared pan and bake approximately 20 minutes, or until toothpick comes clean when inserted into the center.  Cool slightly and cover with plastic wrap.  Once cake has completely cooled, frost with your favorite cream cheese icing.

Happy October!

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