Friday, December 28, 2012

How to make Homemade Chocolate Syrup

I have some people in my life that are obsessed – well maybe that’s not the word – but they insist on only eating all natural foods. They will not eat things unless they are all natural. I have read tons of blogs that are the same way too – the whole “I don’t feed my kids junk, I only give them homemade all natural items. Well good for you, but not all of us care. Want to know someone else who did not care? My great grandmother – the second she could buy anything in the store and avoid making it she did. Guess what it came with high fructose corn syrup and all those other things people don’t like. Now if you are one of those people who hate the HFCS that’s fine but, I just really don’t care if I ingest it or not. Now that being said this next recipe is for you. It is homemade chocolate syrup. It is all natural and the only reason I made it was because of the following:

1. I wanted chocolate milk

2. It was cold out

3. There was a giant blizzard

4. I did not want to walk to the store

5. Because it was more expensive at the store any way

Note that this may not have been in the order I decided to make this but one and two did happen right after one another.

Yes I have made this before but I liked this recipe more than the other one I tried so I figured might as well share it. What you will need:

3/4 c. sugar

3/4 c. brown sugar

1 c. unsweetened cocoa powder – just plain ol’ use it for baking type (I did use dark thanks for noticing!)

1 c. Water

1/4 tsp. Salt

1 tsp Vanilla Pure extract – if you want to keep this all natural use only pure – although I did use my homemade!

In a medium saucepan combine sugars, salt, and Cocoa Powder just whisk it together. Then add the water whisk it until combined then turn on the stove and bring this to a boil whisking frequently. Once it boils reduce heat to medium low and simmer until it thickens a little and slightly reduces. Basically about 2 minutes stirring a lot – don’t want it to burn! When turn off heat and remove from heat source if using anything other than a gas stove (they instantly shut off heat…oh how I miss my gas stove…) and add vanilla whisk one last time, pour hot mixture into a mason jar or any other glass jar you have let it come to room temp and then lid it and put it in the fridge or add a shot or two to some milk and enjoy just keep the jar in the fridge when not in use. Again I did make a dark chocolate version of this but I like it like that. Mmmm hope you make some today I will tell you this – it tastes better than store bought – maybe because I didn’t have to walk to the store to get it…meh oh well – bottoms up! Add it to milk, coffee, ice cream, or whatever you think needs chocolate. Which could be anything....Click HERE to find a printable version - by the way do you all like the printable version? Having issues commenting? It's because you need an account but feel free to comment away on my facebook page for me or the blog! Let me know what you think - oh and sorry for the absence been busy!

The Plot Thickens - or in this case the chocolate sauce


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

How to make Lemon Icebox Cookies

Ever since I can remember my Grandmother (mom’s side) has always had Archway cookies in a little drawer where she keeps her snacks, she’s not much of a baker. But my other Grandmother has always had the best cookies ever – chocolate chip, sugar ones, molasses, you name it she had it in her freezer just give her ten minutes and you can have some. However, for some reason I always craved Grandma Gephart’s (mom’s side) store bought cookies. I guess it’s kind of like how I only like boxed macaroni and cheese. I know what you all are thinking. How could anyone prefer store bought over those other cookies – well I was spoiled and store bought were a treat, if you’d only had homemade the store bought is much better. Case in point – my Dad’s Mom – Twila (Grandma Thacker) does not like homemade white bread. She likes store bought much better. She is tired of the homemade – me on the other hand I prefer homemade it’s tasty! See what I mean? Anyway I had to make some lemon cookies. As you all know I am not a lemon person. Pretty sure I am not really a citrus person. I have made the shortbread lemon cookies before and just never really liked them. So I needed some that I could freeze and slice and bake so I could do it at a later date – it’s a little bit of a secret why I am doing all this baking but if you guessed it has something to do with Christmas you’d be correct. Anyway I found this recipe and tweaked it of course but I always at least attempt to taste my food – unless I am allergic – i.e.: Avocado’s and Banana’s anyway so I made these – Icebox Lemon Cookies. They are a roll up into a log freeze then slice and bake kind of cookie. Here is my recipe:

3/4 c of butter – or margarine, which is what I used

1/2 c light brown sugar

1/2 c, white sugar

1 egg

2 tbsp of honey

1 tbsp of grated lemon zest – or one whole lemon zested

1 tbsp of pure lemon extract

The juice of the lemon or 3 tbsp of lemon juice

2 cups flour (you may need up to a 1/4 cup extra flour)

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

Okay so cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy, add egg, honey, zest, juice, and extract then beat until combined. Add the dry ingredients. Now I upped the lemon in this it needed it so I had to add some extra flour pretty sure it was 1/4 a cup I did two heaping scoops of my measuring cup. The dough will be sticky but that is fine. So put it on some plastic wrap form a log and freeze for up to a month. Now I had to slice mine right out of the freezer there was no need for me to let mine warm up – I think it’s because my freezer is not as cold as I would like it to be. But basically you slice not too thick and bake at 325 for 11 – 13 minutes. If you want you can sprinkle with powdered sugar. Now here is the deal. I pulled these out of the oven and thought what the heck I’ll taste them. They tasted like the lemon iced archway cookies I had always loved from my grandma. They were the lemon cookies I had grown up loving – lemon with sweet and citrus. Almost like my favorite lemon Girl Scout cookies they used to sell. So go make those cookies!
click here for a printable version.

This is what mine looked like no this is not my photo - I forgot to take them!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

How to make Chocolate Sugar Cookies

I am such a bad blogger…I’ve neglected you all. Please don’t cry it’ll all be okay! I’ve had zero drive to cook here recently – probably because my arm is killing me still from my surgery. However, I do have a new recipe for you this week. It is on Chocolate Roll out Sugar cookies. Okay so they are chocolate sugar cookies. I have only made the dough so far – it’s sitting in the freezer awaiting me to roll it out and bake I’ve been a little busy so it’s been hard to bake them so far. However, the dough tasted super yummy…not that I ate raw dough….don’t judge! They have been baked - super tasty!

So here is what you’ll need:

1 c. butter

1 c. plus 2 tbsp of white sugar

1 egg

1 tsp of Vanilla
2 c. plus 1 tbsp of flour

Slightly less than 1 full cup of cocoa powder (it say’s scant which means not quite one cup)

A pinch of salt

Okay so I doubled my recipe I am making it for something so I needed a lot…but here is what you do.

Take a large mixing bowl (btw if anyone wants to get me a kitchen aid mixer a stand one I’d love you forever I like my kitchen aid hand mixer but it’s not the same…) add your sugar and butter together and mix until just together – not creaming. Add egg and Vanilla Extract – I am almost out of my homemade this makes me sad. Mix those two things on a low speed until combined.

In a different bowl add together the flour, salt, and cocoa and whisk it together. This part is fun and the reason I wish I had a standing mixer- add the flour and crap to it and continue to mix until your dough is sticking to your beaters…yeah tons of fun anyway it’s a super thick batter, so after that place it into a plastic bag and toss it in the fridge to chill. Then pull it out and like a sugar cookie, roll it to a ¼ - ½ inch thick and then cut out some shapes bake at 350 for 15 – 20 minutes and cool then decorate. Yes that is it! Enjoy!! Click here for a printabel copy!
I know my photos suck this time. Please forgive I forgot about photos then people called then yada yada - take what you get people! I will have photos when I bake them though!!! They taste great people!! I love them!!! Thanks Sailor Mars for the help!!! Test subject Tiffany aka Sailor Mars helped me bake and and decorate! Test subject Sara also tasted them and enjoyed it.

Sailor mars made the following cookie it is my favorite although the north stars were my other favorites!!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

How to make Pineapple Upside Down cake

Peter loves pineapple upside down cake. His Grandma makes him one all the time – of course in a Cast-iron skillet. Last year for Christmas she bought me a Cast Iron skillet – the message was clear – make him one. Well let’s just say I never really got around to it. First off he is so freaking picky. I literally had to buy the stupid cherries and sliced pineapple. He could not have anything other than the rings – see picky. My mom makes a good pineapple upside down cake but she does not use rings she uses crushed – that way there is pineapple in every bite – however, I decided you know what there is an advantage to using the ring. As you know I hate cooked fruit – so I decided if I use the rings I can pick it off easier. I love the flavor of this cake but not the fruit once it has been cooked – yes I know I am weird. Anyway I went and bought the following things to make his.

1 box of Pineapple supreme cake mix – you can use white if you prefer

Ingredients on back

1 can of sliced pineapples

1 jar of Maraschino cherries

1/2 c. of butter

1 c. Brown sugar

Okay grab your cast iron skillet place it on a burner on your stove and melt together the butter and the brown sugar. Pre heat oven in the meantime to 350, once butter is melted and sugar dissolved as best it can be turn off burner – if you have an electric stove please move it off the coil. If you have a gas you can leave it. Finally if you have a glass top stove you should not be using cast iron on it – therefore you can melt it in the oven while it is coming to the proper temperature. Okay moving along. Mix together the cake mix and oil and eggs in PLACE of the water use pineapple juice – get it from the can of pineapples. Mix it well and put it aside in the pan place pineapple rings and plop a cherry in the center of the rings – I did not use my whole can – my skillet was almost too small for this recipe so I did not have room for the whole can therefore you should use at least a ten inch skillet and use all the pineapple. Now before I put in the cake mix I had all my pineapples centered and looking pretty but the cake batter moved them – again oh well. So pour the prepared cake mix over the pineapple brown sugar stuff place it on a cookie sheet and pop it into the oven for 40 – 50 minutes or until done. Once it is finished cooking pull it out of the oven and immediately turn it over onto a plate – or in my case since I don’t have a plate big enough a cookie sheet. Let cool and enjoy. Now of course Peter told me “that piece wont have any pineapple on it since you didn’t put enough rings in the pan” Darn guess that piece will have to be mine then! Yes it was amazing I really liked that pineapple supreme cake mix – happy Sandy I made him one so he’d quite complaining! Oh and he ate ever single piece other than the three I had – it did last a week! Feel free to use any other type of pan just follow cooking instructions on the back of the box and melt the butter and brown sugar in a sauce pan on the stove.

Click HERE to see a printable version.

Prob could have put anther one there I guess..

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

How to make Cherry Dump Cake

Things you may or may not know about. I pack my husbands lunch everyday. Well more like I pack a large meal or two. He works about 50 minutes away, and works a good 13 hours a day at least. So when I make meals I make enough for four so I can pack him lunch and a snack the next day. I also normally throw in some breakfast. No, I do not make it everyday. I make some sort of baked good slice and freeze them in individual pieces. About once every two weeks I make enough to stock the freezer for a couple of weeks at least (so he can have many different things) it is normally things like lemon poppy seed bread, muffins, or some sort of breakfast bar. This past week I made him a pineapple upside down cake for after dinner and I realized I had an extra white cake mix. I am not a white cake person, not enough chocolate in it. So I decided let’s see what I have in the cabinet to go with it. Oh check it out – canned fruit. So I had remembered someone had brought a dish called cherry dump cake or something to my grandmother after my grandfather had passed. So I googled to find a recipe, found one! The recipe I found was to do the following:

1 cake mix – white or yellow

1/2 cup butter – melted

2 cans of cherry pie filling

Now you will note in my picture I just have cherries. Well I made my own pie filling. Anyway, take your cake mix and butter and mix it together with a fork until it is crumbly (yes it’s a word) and then put half on the bottom of a 13x9 pan (although next time I think I’m going to use a 9x9) and then pour the cherry pie filling over top of that then crumble the rest of the topping on the pie mixture. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until golden brown. At this point once I removed the dish it was very thin – I suspect because it should be in a smaller pan. Anyway I let it cool and froze it then sent it to work with Peter. He said it was amazing – why wont I eat it? Well quite honestly I detest cooked fruit. The only pies you will ever see me eat are chocolate, caramel, pumpkin, and pecan (used to eat Banana but now I would die L). So there you go now you can serve this dish hot topped with cool whip or cold. Peter say’s it is more like dessert than breakfast but nonetheless he eats it. Any ideas for me?! Let me know! Click Here for a printable version.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

How to make Nutella Hot Cocoa

This week’s recipe is super easy and hit the spot. I was craving chocolate – big surprise right. However, even though I was craving chocolate I wanted something easy and quick. I found a recipe for Nutella Hot Cocoa. Yes. Nutella. You know how much I love Nutella! Okay so here is how you make it.

1 Cup of milk

2 tbsp of Nutella

Okay get a small saucepan add milk to it then add Nutella. Stir with whisk until dissolved and cook until hot – don’t boil it please. Then add to your favorite mug – mine was this awesome French mug I got at Midfest and then top with whip cream if you desire – I also had a glass of water to wash it down (if you see a Batgirl mug let me know I am tired of drinking out of Pete’s green lantern glass) – it was so rich I knew if I didn’t I would have to make another glass or three. So guess what I even convinced test subject husband to try this concoction and he liked it! Almost had another test subject for you but he was ill…until next time test subject Dalton! So this is easy to double and make more or less chocolate tasting just by adjusting the Nutella obviously. If a whole cup wont fit in your mug or whatever just measure with the mug – wow genius I know!

If you want a printable version click HERE - I am currently contemplating making these for all of my past blogs let me know what you think!

Still want a Batgirl glass...


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

How to make Beef Stroganoff

I had a hard time coming up with an idea this week. Thankfully my husband had a great idea. Beef Stroganoff. I am not a huge fan of it but I did have all of the ingredients so I figured well lets make it so you’ll like it! So I did some research and learned what I don’t like about it. Most people put in nutmeg – gross, and others make this mushroom paste – nasty. I do not like mushrooms and I really don’t like nutmeg. It’s true I hate using it but sometimes it is needed. Anyway this is how I made mine. What you will need:

Half a stick of butter ¼ a cup if you will

1 can – yes can I used a can of mushrooms feel free to use fresh but I am cheap

1 1/2 – 2 lbs of beef I used a chuck roast – got it on sale too!!

2 cups beef broth

1/2 c or less of red wine (that bottle I bought sure is getting low!)

1 large onion

1/4 cup of flour

4 tbsp of olive oil (or veggie oil which is what I used)

1/2 c of sour cream or plain yogurt (you wont use this till the end)

Okay melt the butter in a pan and add oil to it. Salt and pepper the beef and cube it. Put beef in the pan. Brown on each side and then remove it from the pan put it on a cutting board or in a bowl. Add flour to pan. It should make a paste. Then add the broth and wine and then whisk till smooth – you could add it slowly but we all know how I feel about slowly doing things. Add the onions and mushrooms to the pan stir. Then add the beef back to the pan and whatever juice came out while it sat there. Add some more salt and pepper to the pot and then let it simmer for a good while. Like twenty minutes on low heat, everything will get tender! In the meantime get a pot and fill it with water and bring it to a boil the last 7 minutes or so of this cooking process you will make egg noodles or whatever kind of noodles you want for stroganoff and once you start cooking your noodles add the sour cream – I had plain Greek yogurt because I had gotten it for free with a coupon so that’s what I decided to use. So how did it taste? Best I’ve ever had and I don’t like stroganoff – the husband said, “sour cream would have been better” I told him he was wrong but whatever. So that’s that. Easy enough no it’s not the traditional way to make it but I didn’t want to dirty four pans and all that other crap for something like this. Even better it had a similar flavor to normal without that nasty spice I don't like or too many mushrooms. Now what are you going to make for dinner? Any ideas you want to shoot me for a blog will be taken into consideration just remember I am cheap and it had best be easy.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

How to make your own Uncrustables

This week I bought my husband his favorite thing ever. Uncrustables. You know those things are expensive. I mean it’s like 3 bucks for a 4 pack when it’s on sale. That is crazy, yet they are supposedly the best. I like the honey ones but not the jelly ones. I am not a jelly in my peanut butter person. Never have been, now you can toast bread for me and put peanut butter on one slice and jelly on the other but they must never touch! I have not clue why this is. I am what I am! I am sure you are thinking wow just a couple of posts ago she was complaining about not being taken seriously as an adult and now she's making these. Well guess what when you get a couple hours of sleep and pack your husband breakfast every morning and have to pack enough to last him a whole 14 hours you'd make these too - they are helpful since I mean other than me who really likes crusts. No one. At least that's what my mom always says so if she does not eat them and kids don't eat them and most people in my family don't I am sure you'll want to know how to make these. Plus I know some of you have kids who would love these and if you are worried about all that processed food which I could care less but you may worry you can use organic crap (I realize it's not "Crap" but hey I know some people that pay 4 bucks for a dozen eggs because they are free range eggs, that just means they were let outside for like 15 minutes so you wanna pay four bucks fine but I suggest if you're really worried about those poor chicken's then go find a farmer and buy eggs off him, I am sure there are tons that sell those nasty gross eggs - hey I am not an egg person don't act surprised). Anyway so as I was totally irritated with the overpriced sandwiches (which are apparently cheaper than normal) I decided to Google some ideas for making them myself. I know cool huh! Anyway, I learned the only thing I really needed was a sandwich sealer / crust cutter and I’d be fine. Also you can use a peanut butter top or a large glass in place of this but meh who cares I wanted this thing. Okay so I bought a sandwich cutter and sealer it was 2 bucks and I found it close to where the peanut butter was in the store. So here is what you will need:

Plastic bags


Bread – if you can find sandwich cut get it

The next items are all in whatever you want to put in them:


Peanut Butter (try flavored ones for a kick)



Okay so here is what I did. I found some bread placed it in a cutting board and on top of that I added a thin layer of peanut butter to both sides of the bread. Then I placed a SMALL amount of jelly in the center of the peanut butter. Just a little bit more than that and it wont seal right. Then I took my sandwich cutter and sealer and cut the crusts off – trust me when I say to do these two steps separately because my cutter and sealer can be used at the same time. Anyway cut off the crusts and save them in a large plastic bag then take the sealer part and press down to crimp the edges. Label another small bag write what flavor it is and seal it. If you don’t have one of the nifty sandwich things cut of the crusts with a knife and seal it with your peanut butter lid or a glass. Works just as well. Now the crusts place them in the freezer and use them to make breadcrumbs for later! Here are the flavors I did:

PB and Strawberry Preserves

PB and Nutella

Mighty maple PB and Strawberry Preserves

White Chocolate Wonderful (WCW) PB and Honey

WCW PB and Nutella

WCW PB all by itself

When I did the Nutella I did not place it in the middle I did one side PB one side Nutella.

The Honey, however, I did place in between the PB a small drizzle.

I made the ones I like on white bread and made the husband the ones he will like on wheat bread (also he will not eat his without jelly so I am guessing uoi can figure out what flavors he likes and what ones I like). We’ve tossed them in the freezer and still have some bread left – I got lazy figured 20 would be enough for now. Now I did not have to buy anything other than the sealer and the bread so for me 20 sandwiches cost 4 bucks. I would say I saved money what do you think? Also I like the way they taste. All though next time I am thinking of adding marshmallow fluff….mmmm it’s cool go ahead and drool!

All plated for my lunch

yummmmm PB and Nutella! 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

How to make Crock pot Mac and Cheese

Mac and cheese?! Yum! I love it - however, I am not a homemade mac and cheese person - I know you're surprised. I was too - as was my mother.  But anyway I have learned how to make some in the crock pot and guess what I liked it. I know you're surprised. I was too. Anyway here is what you'll need:
1 egg
2 c uncooked macaroni
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups milk
1 can of evaporated milk
Okay mix everything and add some salt and pepper if you want cook on low for 3 - 4 hours I stirred this once or twice while it was cooking (I know you are not supposed to lift the lid but guess what I had to!) and then I served it up with some pork chops I loved it! Peter loved it and it was easy! So how long did mine have to cook - 2.5 hours was super easy!
Hope you make some!!