Saturday, December 31, 2011

Crab Bruschetta...



Appetizers are... among many... of my favorite foods to eat.

I'm a grazer. Big time.

I like having choices. Lot's of them. Appetizers allow for that.

Don't even get me started on bread...... love the stuff.

So, that being said, I knew I wanted to make a bruschetta.



I mean it even sounds wonderful...... bruuussschetta. Say it with me. Come on...

Bruuussschetta.

In your best Giada DeLaurentiis Italian accent. Luvs her!

Anyway, if you heart bread... like I do... and heart crab, this is the appetizer for you.


Crab Bruschetta
Adapted from Crab and Lemon Bruschetta by Giada DeLaurentiis

  • 1 French Bread Baguette, Cut into 30 (1/2- inch Thick) Slices 
  • 3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
  • 1 Whole Garlic Clove, Cut In Half
  • 18 Oz. Lump Crab, Drained
  • 1/3 Cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 Tablespoon Sour Cream
  • 1 Tablespoon Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Or Freeze Dried Chives, Plus Some for Garnish
  • 2 Dashes Hot Sauce
  • 30 Slices Of Cherry Tomatoes, For Garnish
Preheat oven to 400 degrees (F).

Place the bread on cookie sheets and brush with olive oil. Place in the center of the oven and bake for 5-8 minutes. 

Meanwhile, place the crab in a large bowl; set aside. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, parmesan, salt and pepper, chives, and hot sauce. Pour over the crab and gently fold to combine. Place the crab mixture into the refrigerator to chill until the bread is done. 

Remove the bread from the oven and transfer to parchment paper. Carefully rub the cut side of the garlic onto the baguette pieces; they will be very hot. Top each piece with a heaping teaspoon of the chilled crab mixture. Garnish with a slice of cherry tomato and chives. Makes 30 bruschetta. 

If you have any left-over crab, it should keep a day or two at the most. Use it to top your salads with. 

Enjoy!

I'm linking this post up to Tidy Mom's I'm Lovin' It.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Year's Spritzer...



I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!

I can't believe it has come and gone so quickly...... I feel this way at the end of every holiday season.

Alas, a New Year is approaching and it's always exciting. That's if you don't buy into the whole Mayan doomsday thing.

Which I don't..... although I did approach my husband about starting a food storage recently in case anything should occur. It's good to be prepared anyway, right?

Every year I make a resolution to eat better...... shed some weight. Does it ever happen?

Um, usually not. I mean, it starts off great, but goes downhill after about a month or so. This year's going to be different though (that's what I say every year).  But really.... I mean it this time....... I MEAN IT!!!

Once I get that whole "eating in moderation" thing down, I'll be golden.

The exercising isn't really an issue. Well, I have kinda sorta taken a break while the kids have been out of school and the hubs has been on leave. But I plan on jumping back on that bandwagon after the New Year.

Anyway, we usually stay in for New Year's Eve...... order take-out...... watch the ball drop from Times Square...... sipin' on some Gin and Juice. No, not really. I mean, we sip...... but usually on some Champagne or Sparkling Wine.

I love fruity drinks, so I added some White Cran-Peach juice to the Sparkling Wine. You can totally make this a virgin by using Ginger Ale in stead of wine.

I hope everyone has a great time, whatever you decide to do this New Year's Eve!

Happy 2012! 

New Year's Spritzer
  • 4 Fluid Oz.  Sparkling Wine Such As An Asti or Spumante, Chilled
  • 4 Fluid Oz. White Cran-Peach Juice, Chilled
Pour the Sparkling Wine and juice into a wine glass or champagne flute and serve. Makes 1 serving. 

Enjoy!


Saturday, December 24, 2011

White Chocolate Cranberry Scones...



My shopping is done... woohoo!... and all I have to do is a little food preparation for Christmas dinner tomorrow.

As for Christmas morning breakfast, I like to keep it simple.

I don't know how many times I've pulled out the good old Bisquick when I'm in a pinch for time. It makes cooking very easy!

So, when Christmas morning whips around, I want an easy peasy breakfast. I absolutely, positively DO NOT want to be standing around the stove taking orders!

I usually make Mocha Chip Scones the day before Christmas so they are ready to be devoured in the morning. I love these scones because they are quick and easy.

I thought I'd change the recipe up by using dried cranberries, white chocolate morsels, and buttermilk. I wanted to make them a little more festive for Christmas.

Now I'll be able to sit back with a nice cup of coffee, my scone, and enjoy my family on Christmas morning...

... I hope you'll be able to do the same!

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas!
Or as we say in Hawaii...

Mele Kalikimaka!


Oh... and P.S.
Thank you for taking the time to stop by and read this little ol' blog of mine!
You're the best!


White Chocolate Cranberry Scones
Adapted from Mocha Chip Scones by Sandra Lee

  • 3-1/2 Cups Bisquick
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup White Chocolate Morsels
  • 1/2 Cup Dried Cranberries
  • 4 Tablespoons Heavy Cream, Divided 
  • 1/3 Cup Buttermilk
  • 1 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Whole Egg
  • 4 Tablespoons White Sparkling Sugar (Optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (F).

In a large bowl, mix together the Bisquick, sugar, morsels, and cranberries; set aside. Place 2 tablespoons of cream, buttermilk, vanilla, and the egg in a small bowl and whisk. Create a well in the center of the Bisquick mixture and pour in the buttermilk mixture. With a wooden spoon, stir to combine. Your mixture will be crumbly. 

Scoop the scone dough using an 18/10 scoop or drop by tablespoonful onto lined cookie sheets, about an inch apart. You may need to pack the dough into the scoop or tablespoon, just so it holds together. Brush the tops with the other 2 tablespoons of heavy cream and sprinkle with the sparkling sugar, if using. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the scones just begin to brown. Makes 25-28 scones.

Enjoy!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Chocolate Meringue Cookies...




It's been raining like crazy here on island for almost a week now, so when the sun began popping out from behind the clouds, I decided it was a good time to make these meringue cookies.

I heard somewhere that humidity isn't good when you are trying to whip up fluffy egg whites. Don't know if it's true or not, but thought I'd be cautious anyway.

I didn't want to take the chance of mine not turning out, since it was my first time making meringue cookies.

I didn't need another negative this week, considering we had to remove texting from my tween daughter's cell phone.

Yeah, she pretty much wracked up over 1700 in-coming and out-going texts on her "emergency only" cell phone.

You're probably asking yourself... "Why don't you have an unlimited texting plan?"...

Honestly, the hubs and I don't text all that much and we really don't feel our tween should be texting all the time either.

So, after I took a picture of my husband with a scolding look on her cell phone and then he changed the banner to "BUSTED TEXTING," we saved it as her main wall paper. She is soon to be blocked from all texting.

...... My husband and I like to get creative when we discipline our children.

Anyway... luckily the Verizon guy switched us to unlimited texting until the end of the billing cycle so we she wouldn't owe a $500.00 cell phone bill and we'd she'd only have to pay around $30.00 for the plan.

I've talked about how therapeutic I find baking. So, I thought I'd try my hand at these cookies to relieve the stress of an almost $500.00 cell phone bill.

It worked... and they really were not difficult to make. I won't lie though, it can get a little messy spooning the meringue into a pastry bag. That was really the only hard part.

Had any stresses this week? Go ahead... vent. I'm listening.


Chocolate Meringue Cookies

  • 3 Egg Whites
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Cream Of Tartar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 3/4 Cups Granulated Sugar
  • 1-1/2 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees (F). 

Line 2 or 3 cookie sheets with parchment paper.  

In a large bowl, beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, and vanilla on medium/low speed until frothy. Up the speed on your mixture to medium/high and beat until peaks just begin to form. Slowly add in the sugar. Continue beating until the egg white mixture becomes glossy and starts looking like marshmallow fluff. Gently fold in the cocoa powder until combined. 

Fit a large pastry bag with a l M swirl tip and fill with the chocolate meringue mixture. Pipe 1 inch swirls  about an inch apart from each other, on the lined cookie sheets. Bake for 45-50 minutes. Remove and cool completely. Store covered at room temperature. Makes about 3-1/2 dozen meringue cookies. 

Enjoy!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Candy Cane Sleds...

 


After my mother-in-law told me about some cute candy sleds she saw at a church bazaar recently, I thought I'd try making some.

The sleds at the church bazaar consisted of two regular sized candy canes  and three pieces of miniature variety candy bars, all with the wrappers still on and glued together to resemble a sled.

I thought I'd change mine up a bit by using miniature candy canes and Hershey Bar pieces.

After some trial and error, I found that candy melts helped hold the sleigh together the best. A cute little dollop of white frosting sprinkled with white sparkling sugar, and you have snow!

These are adorable on their own, but even more so on top of a cupcake.

It was a little tricky stabilizing the candy canes in one hand, while "gluing" the chocolate pieces to them with the candy melts, but once I got going it became much easier.

Hey, it takes a little bit of effort to pull off cute... right?


Candy Cane Sleds

  • Frosted Cupcakes
  • Miniature Candy Canes, 2 Per Sled
  • Hershey Chocolate Bars (1.55 Oz. Bars), 2 Rectangular Pieces Per Sled
  • 1 Bag Of White Candy Melts
  • White Frosting
  • White Sparkling Sugar Sprinkles
Begin by breaking the desired amount of Hershey bar pieces along the perforated lines and chill in the freezer for about 15-20 minutes. Remove the desired amount of candy canes from their wrappers and set aside in a bowl. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper, one for the chocolates and the other to set the sleds on to dry.

Next, melt the candy melts in the microwave in a few 30 second intervals; stir to combine. Spoon the melted candy melts into a disposable pastry bag. Set aside to cool a bit while you remove the broken Hershey bars from the freezer and grab the candy canes. 

Place the Hershey pieces logo side up on one lined cookie sheet. Snip the tip of the disposable pastry bag to begin piping. 

Working 6 to 8 pieces at a time, pipe a pea sized dollop on both short sides of the Hershey chocolate piece. Holding two candy canes parallel to each other on the second lined cookie sheet as your work surface, place one Hershey piece near the inside curve of the candy canes and the other toward both the ends, pressing gently to attach. Leave on the lined cookie sheet to dry. 

Continue building 3 to 4 sleds at a time, working quickly before the melted candy melts set. You can always re-heat the candy melts if they begin to harden. 

Once the sleds are set, pipe a dollop of white frosting anywhere on the sled to look like snow. Sprinkle with white sparkling sugar and place on top of a cupcake. You can store them covered at room temperature for a day or two. It's best to use them almost immediately, as the candy canes can become sticky. 

Enjoy!

I'm linking this post up to I'm Lovin' It. Head on over and check out all the wonderful link ups! 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffles...




I hope your Christmas shopping is going smoothly.

Are you finished yet?

I certainly am NOT finished.

Every single year I try to start early... around or on Black Friday... but it never fails. I end up shopping all the way until Christmas.

I have literally been out on Christmas Eve for little things that I've forgotten to pick up. Christmas morning... for what else?

...... Batteries.

I really am organized. I promise. For some reason it's the Christmas shopping that gets me. Every single time.

Maybe it's because I'd rather be baking this time of year. Yes people, baking is what I do when I put things off...... like not shopping to avoid all the holiday season crowds.

Don't get me wrong, that's not the only reason why I bake. I really do enjoy baking for friends and family.

I also like shopping... this time of year though... um, not so much.

So, to avoid all the crazies out this past weekend, I whipped up this batch of truffles.

I am so happy I did!



Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffles
Adapted from Toasted Almond Truffles

  • 1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Evaporated Milk
  • 1 Bag (10 Oz.) Swirled Milk Chocolate And Peanut Butter Morsals
  • 1 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Cup Finely Chopped Honey Roasted Peanuts
In a heavy duty saucepan, combine the sugar and milk. Stirring constantly, bring to a full-rolling boil over medium/low heat. Continue stirring for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and quickly stir in the morsals until smooth. Add the vanilla and combine. Refrigerate for 2 hours. 

Once the truffle mixture has been chilled, remove from the refrigerator and shape into 1 inch balls. Roll in the chopped peanuts. Store covered in the refrigerator. Makes 18 truffles.

Enjoy! 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Oreo Peppermint Bark Bars...




On Saturday, I met up with From The Aisle to Aloha's Lindsay and a few of her readers at a local park here on Oahu.




If you haven't checked out her blog, you should.

She has fun style posts... posts on surviving deployment as a military wife... livin' life in Hawaii... and she hosts It's The Little Things linky party on Friday's.

Oh yeah...  and she's a wonderful artist! Check out her Etsy shop.




It was really nice chit chatting with the girls who came to the meet up... and of course meeting Lindsay and her hubby Chris.




Just look at this adorable spread that Lindsay put together. Loved the mason jars and burlap! It's the little touches... like the raffia and the cute paper straws... that add so much to the decor.




I was so busy yikyakin', that I totally forgot to take pictures of everyone...... except for this little cutie pie. So sweet...

...just like these treats!

Here is an easy peasy recipe for this holiday season. It has all of my favorite things... sugar cookies, peppermint bark, and Oreo cookies.

Yeah... sugar... it's kinda my thing.

Oreo Peppermint Bark Bars

  • 1 Box Or Package Of Sugar Cookie Mix Plus Ingredients Listed
  • 1 Bag (10 Oz.) Wilton Candy Cane Colorburst Candy Melts
  • 10 Winter Oreo Cookies, Roughly Chopped
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (F).

Line a 9 x 9 inch square cake pan with parchment paper, making sure that two opposite ends have an over hang. This will help you remove the final product from the pan later. Make the sugar cookie dough according to the package directions and press evenly into the lined pan and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the sides begin to brown and pull away from the sides of the pan. 

Microwave the candy melts according to the package directions and stir to combine. Pour over the still hot cookie dough. With a spatula, smooth out the melted candy melts evenly to cover and press the chopped Oreo cookies on top.

While still in the pan, cool completely on a cookie rack. Once cooled, using the over hang of parchment paper, remove from the pan. Cut into squares and store covered. Makes 24 small bars. 

Enjoy!  

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Hawaiian Snowballs...



I love making Christmas cookies. I usually don't make snowball cookies to give away at Christmas, but I decided to adapt a recipe from one of my daughters cookbooks after trying them and loving them.

Since we live in Hawaii, I thought I'd throw some dried pineapple and macadamia nuts in the dough.

I am so happy I did!

I mean... anything with powdered sugar, pineapple, and macadamia nuts is phenomenal...

... right?

I added a little coconut extract, but I'm sure pineapple extract would work beautifully, should you choose to do so. Or... don't add any. Totally up to you.

These are definitely a keeper on my Christmas cookie list from now on!


Hawaiian Snowballs
Adapted from The Sweetest Snowballs in Sweet Eats by Rose Dunnington

  • 1 Cup Butter, Softened
  • 1 Cup Powdered Sugar, Divided And Sifted
  • 1 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Coconut Extract (Optional)
  • 2 Cups Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Salted Macadamia Nuts
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Dried Pineapple
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees (F).

In a large bowl, cream the butter and half of the sifted powdered sugar. Mix in the vanilla and coconut extract, if using. Add the flour a cup at a time and mix until a ball of dough begins to form. With clean hands, mix in the chopped macadamia nuts and pineapple. Form dough into 1 inch balls and bake on cookie sheets for 12-15 minutes or until done. Cool almost completely and dredge with the remaining powdered sugar. Once completely cooled, store covered. Makes 35-40 cookies.

Enjoy!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Peppermint Hot Chocolate...

 


I hope everyone has started off December wonderfully!

My family has returned home and we are getting back into the swing of our usual routine again.

Now I can start my holiday baking!

I love this time of year...... even thought it takes a little getting used to in a hot tropical climate.

Although, it is warm where I live, I still like having a nice warm mug of hot chocolate every once in a while in the evening. It has winter written all over it.

My kids love it too!

The best kind of hot chocolate is the homemade kind. I kid you not. It's so much creamier and chocolaty and richer.

Please say you'll try it...

... it really is worth all the calories.

Peppermint Hot Chocolate

  • 1-1/2 Cups Whole Milk
  • 1/2 Cup Half and Half
  • 6 Ounces of Good Quality Milk Chocolate (Do Not Use Bittersweet)
  • 1 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Teaspoon Peppermint Extract
  • Whipped Cream For Garnish
Begin by heating the whole milk and half and half on low heat in a heavy duty saucepan. While heating, chop the milk chocolate. It doesn't need to be finely chopped, but small enough that it will melt easily. Once the milk mixture begins to steam, add the chopped milk chocolate and stir or whisk until completely melted and incorporated. Finally, add the vanilla and peppermint extracts and stir. Ladle into mugs and dollop whipped cream on top. Serve with a peppermint stick for fun. Makes 3 small servings or 2 large servings. 

Enjoy!

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