I started my blog because I was inspired by other members of my family who had their own blogs, and I wanted to share the links with you!
My Aunt Karen has her own food blog called Karen in the Kitchen and her link is kareninthekitchen.wordpress.com. She is a home cook as well and writes about some amazing food! (Be sure to check out her chocolate-dipped macaroons recipe!!!!:))
My cousin, Lauren, and her husband, Adam, have a family blog that you can read at adamandlaurenmueller.blogspot.com. They have a beautiful baby daughter, Naomi, and some great pictures and stories on there!
Hope you enjoy my family’s blogs!
I actually got this recipe out of a kid’s cookbook we checked out of the library! I’d been scared to make these for a while, but when I saw them in that book, I thought, hey, if supposedly a 7-year-old could make these, then so can I! These cream puffs couldn’t be simpler! Plus, my dad is not a big fan of things that are too sweet, so these are one of his favorite desserts because there’s barely any sugar in it at all! There’s enough to keep my siblings coming back for more and to keep my dad happy! Of course, if you wanted them sweeter, you could use milk chocolate instead of semi-sweet chocolate and add a 1/4 c of powdered sugar to the cream, but I think they’re perfect the way they are!
- 4 tbsp. butter
- 1/2 c water
- 1/2 c flour
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 2 eggs
- 4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 4 tbsp. heavy whipping cream
- 2/3 c heavy whipping cream
Sift the flour and sugar. I just put mine in a fine-mesh strainer and shake it, but you could also use a sifter.
Once the water comes to a boil, remove from heat and add the flour mixture and beat with a wooden or plastic spoon until it comes to a think consistency. Then beat the eggs in a small bowl and add slowly to the mixture until it makes a thick paste, like in the picture above.
I love this little gadget! It’s like a miniature ice cream scoop and makes sure that each cream puff comes out the same size. Of course, if you don’t have one, just spray a teaspoon with cooking spray and use that to help you scoop the dough.
Put all your little scoops onto the greased cookie sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes or until they become puffy.
While they’re baking, whip the 2/3 c of heavy cream with a hand mixer until it’s fluffy and looks like whipped cream. (If you want a sweetened whipped cream, just beat a 1/4 c of powdered sugar into it.)
Now here’s the secret to a good cream puff, cool them on a wire rack when they’re finished baking so that they don’t deflate! If you leave them on the pan, the heat will make them fall, so immediately move them to a cooling rack! Aren’t they just so pretty and puffy!
Poke them with a fork to let out the steam, otherwise the inside of your little pastries will get soggy!
When they’ve cooled down enough, insert a sharp knife where you poked them with the fork. (Sorry about how blurry the picture is!)
Then make yourself a pastry bag, (see my pastry bag post!) and fill it with the whipped cream. Put the tip into the hole of the puff and fill it with the cream, you’ll know you have enough when the cream puff almost bursts from swelling so much! (I apologize again for the blurriness of the picture!)
Here they are all filled! Now, you can serve them right now, or put them in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve them. I chose to chill them because it’s nice to have a cold cream puff with warm chocolate dripping off of it!
Melt the butter, chocolate and heavy cream in a saucepan and pour over the cream puffs. Here’s my two younger brothers enjoying these tasty creations! Hope you enjoy!
They say the flu’s been going around, and trust me, yes it has! This past week, my two younger brothers, sister, and father all had a VERY bad case of the flu! So, since our house had kind of turned into a make-shift hospital, I decided to cheer everyone up with brownies! I think brownies are the quintessential “get better” food of all time. I mean, you can’t help but smile and feel better when you eat one! And, let me tell you, these sure did do the trick! (BTW, that’s me in the picture above with my plate of brownies!)
I made mine in a small muffin tin (the one with the little cups!). And you have to make sure that you spray the pan SUPER good and let them sit in the pan for 5-10 minutes after you take them out of the oven! I also iced them with two different types of icing, orange-cream cheese, and chocolate.
Mini Brownie Bites
- 4 squares of unsweetened Baker’s chocolate
- 3/4 c butter
- 2 c sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
- 1 c flour
Melt the chocolate and butter in a saucepan, making sure to stir it constantly so that it doesn’t burn. Remove from heat and add the sugar, eggs, and vanilla, stirring constantly and rapidly so that the eggs don’t scramble. Pour into a HEAVILY greased mini muffin tin and bake for 15-20 minutes. Let the brownies sit in their tin for 5-10 minutes and then remove to a cooling rack. Ice with either icing.
The first batch I iced with orange-cream cheese frosting. Chocolate and orange are a great combination, and this frosting definitely takes advantage of that! I just used the Pastry Bag tip I posted, and squeezed a little dollop onto each brownie, then I just used a butter knife to spread it out and make it look pretty!
Here they are all done, and here’s the recipe!
Orange-Cream Cheese Frosting (The Neeley’s)
- 1/4 stick butter
- 4 ounces of cream cheese
- 2 c powdered sugar
- 1 1/2 tbsp. orange juice
- 1/2 tbsp. orange zest
Beat the butter and cream cheese until combined with either a hand-mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Then add the powdered sugar and beat until combined. Add the orange juice and orange zest and ice the brownies.
I also made chocolate icing to go on the other batch! This is our icing that we always put on brownies so it seemed like the perfect fit!
- 1 1/2 tbsp. butter melted
- 1 1/2 tbsp. cocoa powder
- 3/4 c powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla
- 1 tbsp. milk
Stir the butter and cocoa powder until it makes a paste. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk. Frost the brownies just using a butter knife.
We do not own an actual fancy, professional pastry bag, but why go out and buy one when you can make one right in your very own kitchen! Just take your frosting and put it in a re-sealable plastic bag (like below).
Push all the frosting to one corner of the bag and twist the bag so that you have an easy handhold.
You can also fit a coupler and tip in the plastic bag to create a “real” pastry bag.
I love French fries, and I mean LOVE! But do you know what I love even more? Sweet Potato Fries!!!!!!!!!!! I first had them with my grandma, and ever since, I’ve never been able to contain myself when they’re on the table! If you noticed, these fries are on a baking sheet…hmmmm, I wonder why? Maybe because these fries are baked instead of fried! I know, I know, it kind of defeats the purpose of a sweet potato FRY, but, trust me, you will not miss all the grease!
These fries have a great sweet flavor from the orange juice glaze, and then you get just a hint of spice at the end from the cayenne pepper! It isn’t overwhelming at all, and the flavors are very subtle. But they balance themselves well and the whole dish compliments itself. I hope you enjoy these tasty little snacks! (I’m sorry about the picture above, the lighting was pretty bad and that turned out to be the best of a few tries!)
Sweet Potato Fries (Claire Robinson)
- 2 large sweet potatoes (peeled)
- 1/4 c orange juice (if it’s store bought, be sure it’s low pulp, or you could use freshly squeezed)
- 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 tsp. fresh ginger
- 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Cut the peeled potatoes into 1/2 inch sticks, like french fries, and put them in a bowl. Combine the orange juice, oil, salt and pepper, ginger, and cayenne pepper in a sauce pan and whisk while it simmers until it comes to a think consistency. Pour the glaze over the potatoes and lay on a baking sheet covered with foil.
If you have a convection oven/toaster oven, put in there for about 12 minutes. Then take out, flip over, and put back in for another 15 minutes.
If you have just a regular oven, coat a baking sheet with veg. oil and put in the oven for 12 minutes. Flip, put back in, and roast for another 13 minutes. Eat immediately (they get cold fast!) and enjoy!
My mom loves to cook, so for her birthday, my dad and I took a trip to a few different department stores to find some kitchen gadgets for her. Her main present was this 4-piece, multi-purpose cooking pot. We find so many different uses for it, that I would recommend for everyone to at least request this item the next time their birthday/Christmas/any other gift-giving holiday you may celebrate comes around!
These pots usually come with 4 pieces: a soup pot (in the very back), a colander (front right), a steamer basket, (front left), and a lid (front center). Each has its own purpose and the best thing is that they all stack up to make one beautiful pot!
We use this big pot for making soups, chowders, and other soupy dishes that you might make.
Then, when you put the colander piece in, you can fill up the soup pot with water, bring it to a boil, insert the colander, and boil pasta right in the strainer! No more having to carry a big, full pot of pasta to the sink to strain it off!
The steamer basket is great for steaming fresh veggies to go in any pasta, rice, or as just a plain side. You just add water to the soup pot, bring it to a boil, put the basket in and add your veggies! The basket doesn’t touch the water, so the steam rises and goes straight to the vegetables. I’ve even boiled pasta and steamed some broccoli all at the same time, which just goes to show you how easy cooking is with this pot!
This “pizza” is more of a cheese bread, but don’t be disappointed, it still has all the flavor and fun of pizza! My grammy sent my mom this recipe to try with her new Kitchen Aid stand mixer (a very exciting Christmas present!) and we instantly fell in love with it! She was pretty busy with a few different errands today, and we’d been talking about how much we were craving it lately, so I whipped up the recipe and, wah la! Delicious, cheesy, crunchy pizza/bread!
Italian Cheese Pizza
- 3 c flour
- 1 2/3 c water (room temperature)
- 1 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 1/2 tsp. yeast
- 1 1/4 tsp. sugar
- 4 tbsp. olive oil
- mozzerella cheese
- fontina cheese
Mix the four, water, and salt together with the dough hook attachment until there are n0 dry patches of flour left. Sorry I don’t have a picture of this! Make sure you stop occasionally to scrape the sides of the bowl, AND to dig to the bottom of the bowl to get ALL the flour!!!!!!!! Let it rest for 20 minutes. This is a very wet, pourable dough, so don’t add any extra flour, no matter how much you might want to!
After it has rested, you’re going to sprinkle the yeast and sugar on top. Don’t be intimidated by the yeast! If you follow these next few instructions, and allow yourself plenty of time to make this, it will turn out beautifully! Knead the dough on low speed until it’s fully combined. Then turn the mixer on high speed and knead until it’s glossy and smooth and doesn’t stick to edges of the bowl when it’s being kneaded (like above). That should take about 6-10 minutes.
Coat a large bowl with a few tablespoons of olive oil and pour the dough into the bowl. Add a few extra drizzles of oil on top just to be sure it’s well moistened. Then cover it very tightly with plastic wrap, andd let it rise for 2-2 1/2 hours. I told you you’d need alot of time for this!
You’ll know it’s ready when it has tripled in size and has formed a few bubbles. Put even more oil onto a baking sheet and pour the dough and any excess oil onto the preprared cookie sheet. Now preheat your oven to 450 degrees and put a pizza stone in the oven to preheat. It’s okay if you don’t have a pizza stone, but if you do, use it here!
Spread the dough out with your fingertips that you’ve oiled, if the dough resists stretching, let it rest on the pan for 5-10 minutes. Then spread it out (it won’t fit into the pan perfectly) and let it rest for another 10 minutes until bubbles form. After that, poke it with a fork 30-40 times and put it in the oven, on top of the stone, for 15 minutes. The pizza stone will help the bottom to cook through all the way.
Mozzerella and fontina cheese are all you need to top this bread (let’s call it that from now on!) with!
Take it out of the oven and add the cheeses or whatever toppings you’d like and put it back in the oven to bake for another10-15 minutes. Use a metal spatula to remove it from the pan when it’s done and enjoy!
Now what better pastry could the French have given us than the DANISH! These flaky, chocolatey little snacks are like heaven on your tongue! These aren’t too sweet, and they balance themselves very well. But, don’t think you’ll have just one of these heavenly creations, because before you know it, the whole plate will be empty! In fact, my best friend asked me to bring these to her as a birthday present, and my sister always ends up with more than everyone else!
The cream cheese filling keeps very well in the freezer, and once again, I’m using the frozen puff pastry that just comes in handy so often, I make sure we always have some of it on hand! Whether it’s breakfast, brunch, or snack time, these danishes are sure to satisfy! Hope you enjoy!
Chocolate and Cheese Danishes (Giada de Laurentiis)
- 1/4 c cream cheese (at room temperature)
- 1/4 c mascarpone cheese (at room temperature)
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 3 tbsp. sugar
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 1/2 c mini chocolate chips
- 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 1 egg beaten
Heat the oven to 400 degrees and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. In a small bowl, mix the cheeses, egg yolk, flour, sugar, vanilla, and salt together until smooth. Fold in the chocolate chips and set aside. Cut each sheet of puff pastry into equal sized squares and place them on the cookie sheets. Spoon 2-3 tsps. of filling into each square. Fold one corner of puff pastry diagonally over the filling and brush with beaten egg. Bake for 15 minutes or until the puff pastry is puffed and golden. Let cool for five minutes before serving.
I made these pinwheels as an appetizer when we had another family come over for a small dinner party. I actually love spinach, and they were a big hit with everyone!
Here’s a little tip for you: Buy your puff pastry in the frozen section of your grocery store! It saves you so much time and it comes out so flaky and delicious that you won’t even think that it was pre-made! I am not a big fan of garlic, so I left the garlic powder out, but other than that, these tasty little bites are fabulous!
Spianch-Cheese Pinwheels (Pepperidge Farms)
- 1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp. water
- 1/4 c shredded muenster cheese
- 1/4 c shredded monterey jack cheese
- 1/4 grated parmesan cheese
- 1 green onion, minced
- 1/8 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 pkg (10 oz) of frozen spinach, thawed and drained
Heat the oven to 400 degrees and beat the egg and water together in a little bowl with a fork. Stir the cheeses, onion, and garlic powder together. Unfold the puff pastry and brush with the egg mixture. Top with the cheese mixture and the spinach.Starting with a short side, roll up like a jelly roll. Then cut 20 1/2 in slices and place them cut side down on greased cookie sheets. Brush the slices with the egg mixture and bake for 15 minutes or until the pastries are golden. Let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before serving.