Help solve the stuffing debate and WIN $150 towards the holidays!

November 21, 2010 by  
Filed under Contests, Recipes, Reviews

Thanksgiving is less than a week away and I know there are a lot of people still unsure of their menu. It seems stuffing is the one thing that everyone has a strong opinion on! I am a bit picking and I personally don’t care for any stuffing with sausage. I do like it with mushrooms and apples though and I remember sort of liking the one my grandmother once made with raisins when I was a kid. There are just so many different stuffing recipes out there. Does your family all agree on their favorite type? Do you make more than one kind to keep everyone happy? Want to share a recipe with me? I have only made stuffing a few times so I am a little nervous about messing it up! I decided to try something new to me and bought two bags of Pepperidge Farm corn bread stuffing and some (Swanson broth) yesterday. I am not sure what I want to add into it besides the celery, onions, butter and broth. So if you have some suggestions for me you might be lucky because Swanson Broth is sponsoring an amazing giveaway for me!

Everyone has their favorite kind of stuffing and that’s why Swanson Broth is inviting people across the country to take a side in the Great Stuffing Debate at http://bit.ly/StuffingDebate

To celebrate the Great Stuffing Debate Swanson was super generous to me and will be to one of you as well! I received a $200 Visa gift card to purchase any variety of Swanson Broth as well as any other food food I needed for Thanksgiving. Additionally I also have a $150 Visa gift card to give away to one of my readers in celebration of Swanson and the Great Stuffing Debate. Any extra money before the holidays is a great thing!

TO ENTER to win a $150 Visa gift card:

  • Leave me a comment on this post with any of your stuffing tips or preferences.
  • For TWO extra entries send me your FAVORITE stuffing recipe (or a link to it) in a second comment.
  • Contest ends Black Friday 11/26/11
  • Open to US mailing addresses only

*M80 contacted me on behalf of Swanson Broth and provided me with a $200 gift card to use for stuffing and holiday food as well as a $150 gift card that will go to one of my readers.

my latest obsession: Pumpkin Whoopie Pies!

November 11, 2010 by  
Filed under Recipes

This is a bad thing, I have made these 3 times in the last few weeks (and I was going to make them last night until I realized I didn’t have enough brown sugar). Its all my friend Rebecca’s fault because she gave me some she made and I fell in love with them. I wasn’t patient enough to wait for Rebecca to send me her recipe (she did send it pretty quickly though) and I found one on line and with some tweeking here is my version of these addictive cookies:

Pumpkin Whoopie Pie COOKIES:

  • 1-1/2 cups (15-ounce can) pumpkin
  • 2 large eggs (I have been using egg substitute)
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons molasses (spray spoon with Pam to make measuring/pouring easy)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups  unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups  white whole wheat flour (or regular whole wheat flour)

FILLING:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (8 ounce stick)  reduced fat cream cheese (Neufchâtel)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2-1/4 cups  confectioners’ sugar

Preparation

1. Preheat the oven to 375° F.

2. MAKE THE COOKIES: With the stand mixer, beat together the pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, oil, and molasses. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl, then beat in the salt, spices, baking powder, and baking soda.

3. Add the flour to the wet ingredients and beat on low for about 1 minute, until all of the flour is wet. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, then beat on medium for a short time until the batter looks smooth. Scoop and drop the batter onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart to allow for spreading. I use the pampered chef 2 tbsp scoop for dropping the batter and I get 48 cookies which equals 24 finished whoopie pies!

4. Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, until they feel firm to the touch. To test, gently press your finger in the center, and a slight indentation should remain. Remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to sit on the pans for another 5 minutes. Cool completely before adding the filling.

5. MAKE THE FILLING: Put the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla in the mixer bowl and beat on medium-low speed for about 1 minute, until the mixture is smooth and thoroughly combined. Decrease the speed to low and add the confectioners sugar a little at a time. Beat on medium until the frosting is smooth, about 1 minute.

6. ASSEMBLE: Spread the flat side of half the cookies with the filling. Top with the remaining cookies. Because these cookies tend to be sticky place a piece of wax paper between layers for storing. Keep the cookies in the refrigerator!

I confess…I actually made more Jello!

October 30, 2010 by  
Filed under Recipes

Well I hadn’t taken it out of the pan until this morning so I left off the fact that with the extra Jello from the skulls and pumpkins (plus a few extra boxes) I made a layered Jello as well. Next time I will have to measure the amounts so each layer is the same thickness but I love how it looks and will definitely be making it in rainbow form next.

I LOVE HALLOWEEN (and Jello)

October 30, 2010 by  
Filed under Recipes

So again I am sharing pictures that aren’t the best quality BUT oh well! I have been into Jello a bit lately and I made the coffee jello I found on this blog a few weeks ago. I ate almost all of it myself because I am also very into coffee! I really like the broken glass Jello and want to make that but yesterday I needed to do something in the Halloween spirit and used the condensed milk part of the recipe along with regular flavored Jello to make skulls and pumpkins. The only thing I would do differently next time would be to use orange tinted milk jello first in the pumpkin and then use the use the green melon Jello as the second/back layer (because the opaque green overpowered the translucent orange first layer the way I made it – when I do it with the opaque layer first next time they will look a lot better). For the condensed milk layers I mixed 2 knox packets in 1/2 cold water, waited a minute and then added 1 1/2 cups boiling water and a can of sweetened condensed milk. For the regular Jello I just used a  box of Jello  (the 4 serving size) mixed with 3/4 cup boiling water (basically the jiggler recipe). Oh I almost forgot my best idea: I use a huge syringe to get the Jello in the little molds without making any mess! So my Halloween Jellos don’t look pretty but they do look Halloweeny and I think they were pretty yummy! Another thing I almost forgot! I really really wanted to make these Jello blood worms but I didn’t have any straws!


Homemade MINT ice pops!

July 21, 2010 by  
Filed under Recipes

So I have made a few batches of watermelon ice pops by throwing some watermelon in the blender with a little water and even less sugar. They are REALLY good! I was watching some annoying show though (Katie Brown workshop, she nauseates me but I was bored) and she made gross looking herb ice pops with stuff like basil and rosemary BUT that gave me the idea to make mint ice pops since I have lots of mint growing! She made a syrup or 2 parts water 1 part sugar but I used 3 parts water and 1 part sugar and that seemed a little too sweet still but just a little! I cooked the syrup with a bunch of whole mint sprigs and then took them out. When I filled the cups I added finely chopped mint leaves and next time I’ll add a lot more because I loved the frozen mint bits. I like my latest way to keep the sticks upright: tape some chopsticks together tightly and shove the sticks in between! I just have too many kids for those silly plastic pop molds and I have only seen them in my local stores that make 4 at a time. I have some lemon syrup on the go right now so my next pops will be lemon/mint. The kids haven’t tried any of the mint ones yet since I think they are maybe just for me (but they like the watermelon a lot).Oh and Reuben was very interested but I didn’t share!

Musselman’s Easter Applesauce!

April 4, 2010 by  
Filed under Art Projects, Kid Creations, Recipes, Reviews

Well I am all for a candy free-for-all BUT a little healthy mixed in on Easter is a good thing too! This morning after the excitement of the baskets and the egg hunting and the cinnamon rolls, we made some applesauce bunnies. This is a nice last minute activity that we did thanks to Musselmans. The kids colored the ears and bow ties  and I taped them onto our heart cupcake cups and filled with applesauce (Musselman’s suggested doing 1/2 applesauce and 1/2 yogurt but I went for all apple this time). Some of the kids jelly beans and mini marshmallows for the face and they were all set to go. It is a gorgeous Easter day so the kids ate their bunnies in their playfort. 

Musselman’s has a fun Facebook page and they made this  bunny craft with applesauce (I’ve done them for Christmas ornaments but its a great idea year round).

Last minute pizza house…with Jell-O men

January 27, 2010 by  
Filed under Recipes

This last minute idea came to me because I am slightly nuts. I made a rectangular pizza in a sheet pan and cut it into squares but there were not enough for everyone to have 2 pieces so I cut 3 squares in half. I wanted to give everyone equal amounts of crust so I cut 3 corner pieces in half diagonally. When I was putting the pizza on the plates I realized they looked like houses so I quick cut a few pepperoni doors and got out some Jell-O men that I happened to have on hand that day. So sometimes it pays that I have this crazy way of thinking and need to divide things equally, I never would have discovered how easy it is to make pizza houses! Next time I’ll know that I am going to make houses ahead of time and I will be more prepared with decorations. Pepperoni made nice doors and I could add some olive doorknobs, cheese windows, and some salad for a lawn. I had been doing make your own pizzas with the kids but when I let them shape their own dough it never comes out how they like it and they don’t eat much.  I can let the kids decorate them themselves but I like the idea of having them add the toppings after the pizza is baked and then they can get straight to eating and not have to wait 20 minutes after they do their decorating.

*Jell-O men are made using a silicone mini gingerbread tray, I was so happy with how easily the Jell-O came out of the silicone tray and I hope to find some other mini shapes to use for Jell-O.

Challenge Dairy…butter never looked so good (and my favorite new cookie recipe).

January 16, 2010 by  
Filed under Recipes, Reviews

Challenge 1LB Package Photo-1

Challenge Dairy sent me some samples of their stick butter and spreadable butter and it was really good! They also sent me some great products form Oxo and some Spice Island cinnamon and nutmeg (I am now in love with nutmeg in my favorite muffin recipe). Unfortunately for me Challenge Dairy is not on the east coast (where I live) so now that I finished the adorably packaged chubby sticks of butter with the deer on them, I have to go back to my store brand that I normally get. Maybe I’m silly but let me just dwell on it some more…the Challenge butter sticks were really so cute in their pretty wrappers and I’ll miss them staring at me from the fridge. I’ll miss the  Challenge spreadable butter with canola oil but for more practical reasons, it was the best spreadable butter product I’ve tried ever. I hate margarine and regular butter takes a lot longer to spread when you are buttering toast/bagels/muffins for a family of 6 (oh and I don’t like the airy whipped butter that doesn’t last long). The Challenge spreadable butter won me over and if I could get it here, it would be what I’d buy every time.

Even if you are in my boat and can’t buy Challenge Butter where you live, you should still check out their website and blog, they are well done and contain helpful info and some amazing recipes!

Here is my current favorite use of BUTTER:

NO FAIL SUGAR COOKIES (really very appropriately named)

This recipe is GREAT when using complex cookie cutters.  The dough holds its’ shape and won’t spread during baking.
Make sure you let your oven preheat for at least 1/2 hour before baking these or any other cookies. Sometimes I 1/2 the recipe but I prefer the BIG batch.

6 cups flour
3 tsp. baking powder
2 cups butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract or desired flavoring
1 tsp. salt

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Mix well. Mix dry ingredients and add a little
at a time to butter mixture.  Mix until flour is completely incorporated and the dough comes together.

Chill for 1 to 2 hours

Roll to desired thickness and cut into desired shapes.  Bake on ungreased baking sheet at 350
degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until just beginning to turn brown around the edges.  This recipe
can make up to 5-dozen 3” cookies.

Here is our adorable nephew making these cookies with us at Christmas time. We are going to make loads of heart shaped cookies with pink frosting next month! I found the best frosting for these, just mix some powdered sugar, milk, vanilla and corn syrup until it just thick enough not to run completely off cookies, it spreads nicely and then dries hard and looks professional (well depending on how many kids are helping!).

Musselman’s Natural Apple Sauce donates to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

January 14, 2010 by  
Filed under Recipes, Reviews

For any Musselman’s Natural Apple Sauce purchased in January 2010, the company will donate ten cents to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. We are big fans of Musselman’s applesauce here and its great to know they are giving to help fight cancer. So stock up on some applesauce before the end of the month!  Musselman’s sent me a jar of their natural applesauce and a bunch of recipe cards for some yummy sounding recipes featuring their applesauce (I included one below). I often use applesauce in baking to lower the fat in recipes but they have some interesting savory/main dishes to try too.

Click here for: Peggy Fleming Discusses Musselman’s Promotion to Benefit Breast Cancer

Click here for: Musselman’s coupons

Here is one of their recipes for you to try BUT you can go to their site to see many more apple sauce recipes (and they have recipe sections for apple juice, apple butter, and cider too)

Good Morning Muffins

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups MUSSELMAN’S Natural Apple Sauce
Directions

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with bake cups and set aside. In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter on high for about 30 to 60 seconds; set aside to cool slightly.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt into a large mixing bowl. In another large bowl, whisk together the eggs and brown sugar. Stir in the applesauce and melted butter until the mixture is smooth. Pour the apple mixture over the flour mixture. Mix with a wooden spoon until combined and you can’t see any traces of flour.

Fill the bake cups about two-thirds full with batter. Bake for 20 minutes or until light brown.

Makes 12 servings

Musselman’s Applesauce Christmas style and GIVEAWAY!

December 14, 2009 by  
Filed under Contests, Recipes, Reviews

WIN SOME THING FROM MUSSELMAN’S: Musselman’s told me that they have a special treat to send my family for Christmas and one for us to give away! Not sure exactly what it will be but if you’re family likes applesauce just let me know in a comment and you could be the lucky winner! Contest ends12/21/09. DSCN0157

We were already fans but Musselman’s sent us some more applesauce to try out, this time in jars. We tried the regular and the cinnamon. I personally am a cinnamon fan all the way but one of the kids isn’t so fond of cinnamon in anything (weird!)  so I guess I would stick to purchasing the regular and just adding some cinnamon to the top of mine. With this review we were asked to try the applesauce in a recipe and to share what we came up with. I use applesauce quite a bit in baking, especially in my muffins to help lower the fat and keep them moist. DSCN0159This time I decided to have more fun with it and Jamie and I made Christmas tree applesauce. Now having tree shaped muffin cups is key but I also thought about making green applesauce as a bagel topping and making Christmas wreaths. I tinted the applesauce and put it in the tree cup and then gave Jamie some dried cherries and Cheerios to decorate with. Very simple and Jamie thought it was a very special snack. Check out their promotions on their site for some coupons!DSCN0165

WIN SOME THING FROM MUSSELMAN’S: Musselman’s told me that they have a special treat to send my family for Christmas and one for us to give away! Not sure exactly what it will be but if you’re family likes applesauce just let me know in a comment and you could be the lucky winner! Contest ends 12/21/09.

Update: right after I posted this I went upstairs and saw UPS leaving and it was my package from Musselman’s. Inside was a beautifully wrapped gift basket with three 4-packs of flavored applesauce, one big bottle of applesauce, one full sized apple juice and two cans of cherry and blueberry pie fillings! I  wasn’t expecting so many products and I’m excited to try the new pie fillings. Unfortunately my UPS guy can be a bit rough and despite the fragile stickers, 3 of the small applesauce cups were broken and my basket was a little messy BUT not really a big deal since I cleaned off the unharmed products and gave the opened applesauces to the chickens.

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