Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Butterfinger Ice Cream Pie






This ice cream pie is inspired by my favorite candy bar, the Butterfinger! We go way back. It's my Mom's favorite candy bar, and the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Isn't it funny how we tend to like the same foods and products as our parents? I can see my girls picking up likeness from both me and Daddy.

This sweet treat is easy to whip up, but it does need time to set up in the freezer for about 4 hours.

Ingredients:

1 - graham cracker crust (Keebler)
1 - pint vanilla ice cream (Blue Bell), slightly softened
1 - container Cool Whip, thawed
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
12 fun size Butterfingers, or 3 regular size Butterfingers, chopped

In a large bowl, stir together softened ice cream, Cool Whip, peanut butter, vanilla extract, and chopped Butterfingers. Spread evenly into graham cracker crust. Cover and freeze for about 4 hours, or until firm.

Serve and garnish with Cool Whip and Butterfinger, if desired. Enjoy!

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Monday, March 25, 2013

Blueberry Cream Cheese Danish... and Spring Break



Good morning! How are y'all? It's been a while. My girls just returned to school last week after a fun-filled Spring Break. We stayed home since our summer vacation is just around the corner. My girls started off Spring Break by throwing me a Family Surprise Birthday Party.


My parents came over to play with the girls while my husband and I went out to dinner. When we got home, I walk in the garage door to a very dark house. I said out loud, "it's so dark and quiet in here...they must be upstairs watching a movie." Then everybody jumped out of the kitchen yelling, "Surprise!!! Happy Birthday!!!" It was shocking and sweet all at the same time. My favorite MIL had a special cake made for me from Elizabeth's Bakery. It was so good! Layers of moist vanilla cake filled with Bavarian cream and iced with vanilla buttercream.


I received the most precious gifts from my girls, and fun and practical gifts from my parents and brother. It was an amazing surprise party!


Daddy had to work all week, but we did take the girls to visit the animals at the Zoo on his day off during the week. Uncle Jason is back in town, so he was able to go with us. He's a lot of fun...he's a big kid at heart and the girls absolutely love spending time with him. My mom, brother, and I also took the girls to eat lunch at the best BBQ restaurant on this side of Texas. Then we rolled into the movies to see Oz the Great and Powerful in 3D. It was a great movie. My little Jodyn didn't like the scary witch very much though, but at least she didn't lose any sleep over it. We also played in the slightly heated hot tub a few times during the week. The weather was beautiful all week.

I'm very thankful my girls are best friends and can play together for hours together without fighting too much. I'm also very thankful for their very patient teachers that spend 8 hours with them every day. I have so much respect for teachers!

Are you ready for an easy breakfast recipe now? This blueberry cream cheese danish starts off with a tube of refrigerated crescent dough with a delectable cinnamon cream cheese filling and stuffed full of fresh blueberries. As if that's not enough, you generously drizzle vanilla icing over the entire baked danish. My girls went crazy over this breakfast treat. I also made a cinnamon apple version of this danish.

Did you know Pillsbury now sells the crescent dough in a seamless dough sheet? It's makes recipes like this even easier, and it's the same price. If you can't find this new gem in your local grocery store, you can use the regular crescent rolls and press the seams together.

Adapted from Lauren's Latest

Danish Ingredients:

1 tube Pillsbury crescent seamless dough sheet (or crescent rolls)
4 oz. cream cheese (1/2 block), softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 Tbsp flour
1 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed and patted dry

Icing Ingredients:

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 Tbsp milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.

Unroll the crescent dough and place onto prepared baking sheet. If using regular crescent roll dough, line the squares up along the length of baking sheet, overlapping slightly. Press seams together.  Cut 1/2 inch diagonal strips up both long sides of dough.

In a bowl, stir together the softened cream cheese, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and flour. Spread the filling down the middle of prepared dough between the diagonal strips. Spread the blueberries evenly over filling. Carefully fold the strips to the middle of filling, alternating sides to get braided effect. You will lay a strip on the of the opposite sides strip and press slightly to seal. Continue the length of the dough. Fold the ends into filling to prevent the filling from leaking out onto baking sheet.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until danish is golden brown on top. Let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the icing. In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk.

Transfer danish to serving platter and generously drizzle with vanilla icing. Cut into 8 pieces and serve. Enjoy!

Note: To make cinnamon apple version, here's how to make homemade cinnamon apple filling.

Cinnamon Apples:

2 Granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and diced
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 T water
1 tsp cinnamon

Cook in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until apples are fork tender, about 7 minutes.

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Friday, December 21, 2012

Eggnog Bundt Cake with Maple Icing










This is the perfect cake to make for Christmas Eve. Get your pajamas on and bundle up by the fire while watching your family's favorite Christmas movies or singing Christmas songs. Serve this Eggnog Bundt Cake with some warm hot chocolate or iced cold milk.Yummy! Merry Christmas!

Cake Ingredients:

1 - 18 oz. yellow cake mix
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups Eggnog
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray bundt pan with non-stick baking spray.

In a large stand mixer bowl, add cake mix, melted butter, eggnog, eggs, milk, vanilla extract, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Mix on medium speed for 2 minutes. Pour into prepared bundt pan.  Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.  Let the cake cool in pan for 5 minutes, then invert onto cooling rack. When cake has cooled, place on serving plate. 

Glaze Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
milk - enough to make thick glaze

In a bowl, add the powdered sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Add just enough milk to create a thick pourable glaze while whisking until smooth. Pour glaze over top and let drip down sides. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Mommy's Kitchen

Monday, October 29, 2012

Rich, Spicy, Smoky Chicken and Sausage Gumbo


It's finally getting cold here in Texas! My oldest daughter, Madison, is excited to wear her favorite pair of jeans and boots. It also means it's time to go shopping for new winter clothes since they all grew much taller this year. My husband knows not to ask how much we spent at Justice...I will just shrug and then have our 3 girls model their new outfits complete with accessories while taking pictures like they are at a photo shoot. It's like a 2 hour show, and like most men, he would rather watch football and yell at the TV screen like they can hear him. But you know it melts his heart when the girls give him a big hug and say how thankful they are for how hard he works for our family. Seriously, he spoils them way more than I do. Our girls are so sweet and absolutely love their Daddy to the moon and back.

So to warm Daddy up for the pending shopping spree(s), I made this Chicken and Sausage Gumbo because it's his favorite cold weather soup. Time to take my girls to Justice!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup olive oil
3/4 cup flour
4 Tbsp Creole seasoning, divided
1 white onion, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
2 poblano chilis (roasted, skin and seeds removed), chopped
2 cups andouille sausage, cubed
1 cup frozen okra
6 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups chicken stock
2 dry bay leaves
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
Louisiana hot sauce, to taste
kosher salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste
sliced scallions, for garnish

Roast poblanos over gas stove, or in cast iron skillet until charred. Scape away the skin, cut in half, remove the seeds, and chop.

In a large deep cast iron skillet or large soup pot, whisk together the oil and flour until you have a nice "milk chocolate" roux. Add the andouille sausage, 1 tablespoon of the Creole seasoning, and the trinity of veggies (onion, celery, poblano), stirring to cook until the onion is softened, about 8 minutes. Add the okra and garlic and cook another two minutes. Add the chicken stock, 3 tablespoons Creole seasoning, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for two hours, stirring occasionally.

Add the chicken and cook additional 20 minutes. Taste and season with hot sauce, salt, and pepper to taste. Serve up in big soup bowls, top with sliced scallions, and serve with steamed rice.

Recipe adapted from Columbia Daily Tribune

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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Overnight Cinnamon Yeast Waffles


These waffles are perfect...crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. You make the batter the night before, refrigerate, and they are ready for the hot waffle maker when you wake up. It's best to serve them with room temperature syrup because warm syrup will soften them and you lose the crispy waffle texture. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and cinnamon to take them over the top. Your family will eat them up and ask for seconds!

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1/3 cup canola oil
1 3/4 cup milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, yeast, cinnamon, and salt.  Add the eggs, canola oil, milk, and vanilla and whisk until combined.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or up to 24 hours.

The next morning, preheat the waffle iron.  Remove the waffle batter from the refrigerator and stir to release all the bubbles.

Spray the waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray when heated, then pour in some waffle batter, making sure to spread to the edges.  Close the lid and wait patiently.  Don't be tempted to lift the lid until they are cooked through and crispy brown.  Repeat for all waffles.  Serve with room temperature syrup, and sprinkle with powdered sugar and cinnamon.

This recipe made 5 waffles on my waffle iron.

Recipe from Lovin' From the Oven

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Monday, October 1, 2012

Banana Spice Cake with Vanilla Bean Glaze


You may have noticed that I took a little break from blogging (5 months to be exact). I decided that sharing my love of cooking and baking brings too much happiness and joy to my life (and my family's tummies) to continue this blogging break. I hope that my readers have stuck around and are still interested in following me on this journey through our family's kitchen.

There are so many amazing recipes that I have pinned from Pinterest and tried these past several months. I'm truly inspired by all the wonderful home cooks out in the world. I LOVE Pinterest and plan on adding my recipes to my Big Mama's Favorites board as I post them on the blog and Facebook.

Now, let's talk about this cake! This is a simple cake that uses a box mix that is dressed up with bananas and a scrumptious thick vanilla bean glaze.  It's very moist and full of flavor. I think this was the perfect dessert to welcome Fall, and the perfect ending to our cheese enchiladas last night. I'm ready for some cooler weather and can't wait to make all my favorite soups.

Cake Ingredients:

1 - Betty Crocker Super Moist Spice Cake Mix (15.25 oz)
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup canola oil
3 large eggs
4 large bananas (about 1 1/2 cups) mashed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a non-stick bundt cake pan.  In a large stand mixer, add the cake mix, water, oil, and eggs. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes.  Add the bananas and mix just until combined.

Pour the cake mix into the prepared bundt pan. Bake for 42-45 minutes, or until wooden skewer comes out clean.  Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then invert onto cooling rack.

Glaze:

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla bean paste
milk, enough to create thick glaze

In a bowl, stir together the powdered sugar and vanilla bean paste.  Add milk slowly until the consistency is a thick pourable glaze. Transfer the cooled cake to a plate and spoon or pour glaze over top.  Enjoy!

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Friday, May 4, 2012

Southern Creamed Eggs over Biscuits


I grew up eating Creamed Eggs, and I'm from Texas. This is my Mimaw (Great Grandmother) and Meemaw's (Grandmother) recipe, and Meemaw would make it for us every time we visited her at home in Oklahoma City. My Mom would often make it for us on the weekends. It's my brother's absolute favorite breakfast...if you ask him what he wants for breakfast, this will always be his choice. So this is dedicated to my Big Bro Jason!

I'm posting this just in time for the weekend so you can enjoy a hot breakfast on a lazy Saturday morning. It's so easy to make and will fill you up until you figure out what's for lunch.

Ingredients:

8 hard boiled eggs, chopped
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
2 1/2 to 3 cups milk
2 tsp dry mustard
1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

To make the eggs, in a medium sauce pan, add the eggs and cover with cold water. Cover and bring to a boil.  Turn off the heat and let sit for 12 minutes with the lid on. This will cook your eggs perfectly.

Run the eggs under cold water, tap them gently on the counter, and peel off the shells.  Chop up eggs and set aside.

In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, melt the butter.  Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute.  Pour in 2 1/2 cups milk and whisk often until thickened. Add dry mustard and salt and pepper to taste.  Carefully stir in the eggs and add more milk if too thick.

Serve over warm buttered biscuits. Enjoy!

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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy


My hubby loves Salisbury Steak, but I can honestly say that I've never tried it before now. Let me tell you...I was missing out. It was tender and moist and the mushroom gravy took it over the top! This is a Sandra Lee recipe so it's fast and easy on the wallet.

Ingredients:

1 lb lean ground beef (93/7)
1 - 10 oz can cream of mushroom soup, divided
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 tsp McCormick Montreal steak seasoning
1 Tbsp canola oil
2 Tbsp butter, divided
1 - 8 oz pkg mushrooms, sliced
2 cups low sodium beef broth
1 packet brown gravy mix
1/2 sprig fresh rosemary, finely chopped
black pepper, to taste

In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, 1/4 can cream of mushroom soup, bread crumbs, egg, onions, and steak seasoning.  Form into 4 oval patties and set aside.

In a large deep skillet over medium high heat, add 1 Tbsp canola oil and 1 Tbsp butter.  Brown both sides of the patties and remove to a plate.

Add the remaining 1 Tbsp butter to the skillet and saute the mushrooms over medium heat until tender, about 8 minutes.  Add the beef broth, gravy mix, remaining cream of mushroom soup, rosemary, and black pepper to taste, and whisk until smooth.

Add the browned patties back to the skillet and spoon the gravy over top.  Cover with a lid and simmer for 20-25 minutes.  Serve with mashed potatoes.  Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Sandra Lee

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Monday, April 30, 2012

Classic Yellow Bundt Cake with Flavor Variations


This simple bundt cake can be combined with any of your favorite summer fruits and whipped cream to create gorgeous, satisfying desserts.  You can also use this base recipe and add some lemon or orange flavors for a brighter flavor.  Just look at my favorite combination...



This cake stays moist stored at room temperature in a cake carrier for several days and still tastes great. The longest it lasted at our house is 4 days...before it was all eaten.

Classic Yellow Bundt Cake:

3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 large egg yolk, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a 12 cup bundt pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.

In a glass measuring cup, stir together the buttermilk, vanilla extract, and lemon juice.

In a large stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Add the eggs and egg yolk, one at a time, and beat until combined.

Reduce the mixer speed to low and add 1/3 of the flour mixture followed by 1/2 of the buttermilk mixture.  Repeat with 1/2 of the remaining flour mixture followed by the remaining buttermilk mixture. Add the remaining flour mixture and mix just until combined. Scrape down the sides as needed.

Pour the cake batter into the prepared bundt pan (batter will be thick) and smooth out the top with rubber spatula.

Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until long wooden skewer inserted into center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached.

Let the cake cool in the pan on wire rack for 10 minutes, then flip out onto wire rack to cool completely.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar while still warm.  Enjoy!


Flavor Variations:

Lemon Bundt Cake:
Increase the amount of lemon juice to 3 Tbsp and add 3 Tbsp lemon zest to the buttermilk and vanilla mixture.

Orange Bundt Cake:
Add 2 Tbsp orange juice and 2 Tbsp orange zest to the buttermilk, vanilla, and lemon juice mixture.

Marble Bundt Cake:
Melt 3 ounces semisweet chocolate, 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, and 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder together in microwave, stirring often until smooth, about 1 minute.  Divide the cake batter into 2 bowls and stir the chocolate mixture into one of the bowls.  Pour the plain cake batter into the bundt pan, then top with the chocolate cake batter. Use a butter knife to swirl the batters together.

Recipe adapted from The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book

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Friday, April 6, 2012

Healthier Mini Banana Chocolate Chip Loaves



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I make banana bread alot...seriously all the time. We just can't get enough of this quick bread. It's great for breakfast, afternoon snack, and dessert.This is a healthier version that uses apple sauce, just a little bit of butter, and a combination of white and whole wheat flour. These lovely mini loaves were moist, chocolaty, and delicious!

Ingredients:

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 T unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Spray mini loaf pan (8 cavity) with non-stick cooking spray.

In a bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

In a large stand mixer bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar.  Add the eggs and beat until well combined.  Mix in the apple sauce, vanilla and mashed bananas until thick.

Add the flour mixture and mix just until combined.  Add the mini chocolate chips and mix to incorporate.

Pour the batter into the mini loaf pan, filling each about 2/3 of the way (makes 8 mini loaves). Bake for 20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into middle comes out clean.  Enjoy!

Adapted from Skinny Taste
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