Thursday, December 31, 2009

Caramel Cereal Snack Mix

This is super yummy and addictive! A new family favorite!

-Taste of Home

8 cups Corn Pops cereal
1 cup salted peanuts
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup butter, cubed
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

In a large bowl, combine cereal and peanuts; set aside. In a large heavy saucepan, combine the brown sugar, butter and corn syrup; bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. (Mine came to about 165 degrees)

Remove from the heat. Stir in vanilla and baking soda (mixture will foam). Immediately pour over cereal mixture and toss to coat.

Spread into two greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pans (I used my roasting pan). Bake at 250° for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes. Cool completely on wire racks. Store in airtight containers. Yield: 14 cups.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Fruit Turkeys

It's a little late to use this idea for Thanksgiving, but these turkeys still provide a fun way to get some healthy fruit into little bodies!

-Family Fun?

Mini Marshmallows
Chocolate Chips

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Perky Olive Penguins

How cute are these?! I come from an olive-loving family, and family functions wouldn't be the same without kids and their olive-topped fingers. We don't often have olives at our house, since Paige and I are the only ones that like them, but I recently came across this cute appetizer recipe, and she and I had a fun time today making them together!

I swapped out the horseradish and seasonings for some ranch dip mix, and recommend drying the pimentos with a paper towel before trying to assemble the penguins.

-Adapted from Taste of Home

Jumbo pitted olives, drained
1 package (3 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/2 tsp. powdered ranch dressing mix
1 medium carrot, cut into 1/4 inch slices
Small pitted olives, drained
12 toothpicks with cellophane frilled tops
1 jar (2 oz) sliced pimentos

Cut a slit from the top to bottom of 12 jumbo olives; set aside. In a bowl, combine the next six ingredients; mix well. Fill a small heavy-duty plastic bag with cream cheese mixture. Cut a small hole in the corner of the bag; carefully pipe mixture into jumbo olives. Set aside.

Cut a small triangle out of each carrot slice; press triangles into small olives for a beak. On a each notched carrot slice, position a jumbo olive so the white chest is lined up with the notch. Place the small olive, hole side down, over the jumbo olive so the beak, chest and feet are aligned. Carefully insert a toothpick through the top of head into body and carrot base. Wrap a pimiento around neck for a scarf. Yield: 1 dozen.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Layered Holiday Jigglers

Have you ever made Jello pinwheels? They were my culinary masterpieces in middle school! :) These festive jigglers are my own spin off of the pinwheel recipe and reminiscent of my mom's layered jello. My kids love these!

1 (6 oz.) pkg lime Jello (or flavor/color of choice)
1 cup warm water
3 cups mini marshmallows
1 (6 oz.) pkg cherry Jello (or flavor/color of choice)
1 cup boiling water

Lightly spray 11x17 or 9x13 inch pan with non-stick cooking spray. Mix lime Jello and 1 cup warm water in 2 quart micro-waveable bowl. Microwave on high 1 1/2 minutes. Stir to dissolve completely. Add marshmallows to Jello. Microwave 1 more minute or until marshmallows are almost melted. Stir until completely melted and mixture is smooth (creamy layer will float to top).Pour into prepared pan. Refrigerate 45 minute or until set.

After lime layer has set, mix cherry Jello and 1 cup boiling water, and stir to dissolve completely. Gently pour of over lime/marshmallow layers. Chill until set and cut out shapes with cookie cutters.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Cherry & Orange Filled Cookies

I wanted to do something different for the recipe/cookie exchange last week, so I decided to do some experimenting and came up with this variation on my Grandma's raisin-filled cookies.

1 cup dried cherries, ground (I use my food processor)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/8 tsp. orange zest

In a saucepan, mix sugar and cornstarch together, then add cherries, orange juice, water and zest. Bring mixture to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer and stir until thickened and is the consistency of a soft jam. Remove from heat and cool.

SUGAR COOKIES (Mom Pulsipher):
1 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 Tbsp. cream
2 tsp. vanilla
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
4 1/2 cups flour

Cream sugar and shortening. Add eggs, cream, and vanilla. Mix well. Add dry ingredients. Roll dough out to about 1/8" and cut into circles the size cookie you want, using a slightly larger-sized circle for the top (2 1/8" for bottom and 2 3/8" for top). Place approximately 1 Tablespoon of filling in the center of each cookie and top with the larger circle. Seal around the edges with the tines of a fork. Cut a slit in the top to let the steam escape. Bake at 350 until light brown, 11-12 minutes depending on the size of your cookies. Makes approximately 3 dozen cookies.

Fluffy Fruit Dip

Fruit has all it's own yummy sweetness, but special functions often necessitate some additional goodness!

1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 (8 oz) container Cool Whip, thawed
1 small jar Marshmallow Fluff
1/8 tsp lemon extract (or flavor of choice)

Beat cream cheese and Marshmallow Fluff until smooth, fold in Cool Whip and lemon extract.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Caramel Brownies

I love brownies - thick and chewy ones. Add in caramel and chocolate chips and you've got major delicious. This recipe uses a cake mix, so they are quick and easy too! Ours took a long time to cool and even longer for the caramel to set. Make these several hours in advance to allow for cooling time.

14 oz package Kraft caramels (about 50) or 1 bag of Caramel Bits (found them at Walmart)
2/3 C evaporated milk, divided
1 box of German Chocolate cake mix (I used Triple Chocolate Fudge - yum)
3/4 C butter, melted
1 C semi sweet chocolate chips ( I used 3/4 cup)
1 C chopped nuts, optional

Over medium low heat, melt 1/3 C evaporated milk and caramels in a saucepan (or melt in microwave). Grease a 9 x 13 pan. Mix cake mix, butter, 1/3 C evaporated milk and nuts (optional). Mix together well. Press 1/2 of the dough into bottom of pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 6 minutes.

Sprinkle chocolate chips over the top and spread caramel on top of that. Sprinkle remaining dough on top (will not completely cover) Bake 15-18 minutes. Can refrigerate to set caramel.