Christmas Baking and Candy Making

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Sunday evening Alex, the girls and I started a family tradition (hopefully). ‘Tis the season to stuff ourselves with sugary treats. We put on some Tchaikovsky and let Sasha dance away while we made Christmas treats. Alex dipped pretzels in vanilla almond bark and I whipped up some chocolate creme de menthe cookies.

When I was shopping the other day I saw a package of Ande’s baking chips. They are chopped up Ande’s creme de menthe pieces. I decided to use these baking chips in a chocolate cookie. It has been years since I’ve made chocolate cookies, and I could not remember the recipe I used, so I searched Google for a chocolate cookie recipe. I came across several, and decided to use a recipe from www.extremechocolate.com with my own substitutions. These cookies are minty and delicious. I will upload photos really soon.

Ultra-Chocolate Creme de Menthe Cookies

2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 package Ande’s creme de menthe baking chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix together flour, baking soda, and salt in one bowl. In another bowl mix together sugars, butter, eggs, cocoa powder and vanilla. Slowly add the flour mixture until well combined. Stir in baking chips. Using tablespoons drop cookie dough onto greased baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes. Cool on cookie sheet 1 minute before moving to baking rack. ENJOY!

Spaghetti and Meatballs

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I was first introduced to this delicious dish through one of my friend Shamous. Growing up my mom never made meatballs to accompany spaghetti; instead she would just add browned burger to the sauce. This was good, but this was all I knew. My spaghetti life changed once I had a meatball. I learned how to make meatballs from him. I asked him for his recipe and it went something like this: hmm, you need bread crumbs (cracker crumbs work) the ones with Italian seasonings are great, eggs, and Parmesan cheese is nice. He didn’t know the amounts, he said he goes by feel and smell. Well thanks Shamous! My first attempt was no where near the tastiness of his, but I have been practicing and I think tonight I came up with a dang good recipe. Leftover pesto was the inspiration for these tasty meatballs.

Pesto Meatballs

2 pounds ground beef
2 eggs
1/3 c Parmesan cheese
1/3 c plain bread crumbs
4 T pesto
salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Add all ingredients to large bowl, mix well with your (clean) hands, add more breadcrumbs if mixture is too wet. Hand roll into golf ball size meatballs. Place into 9X13 in. pan, bake 25 minutes. Makes 20 meatballs.

Add to your favorite sauce, and simmer for 15 minutes. The longer you simmer the better the flavor. Tonight, we enjoyed our meatballs with a linguine and thin spaghetti mixture. It was delicious. However, Schwartz is still meatball king!

Egg Bake

Egg Bake Before

My egg bake was a success this morning! I thought it was so good that I ate it again for lupper (my late lunch). Enjoy this recipe and don’t be afraid to make it your own, by adding your preferred mix-ins (potatoes, veggies, different meats).

When I was preparing my egg bake last night, I used a loaf of crusty French bread that was several days old. When I bought it at the store, it was already a day old, and I think I purchased it last week. It was so hard and crusty that I thought I would need to use a chain saw to cube it up. I managed to get it cubed using a really sharp knife and some muscle power. The bread was so dried out that it absorbed the eggy goodness perfectly. So, if you don’t have any old bread on hand, you could cube up some fresh bread and leave it out on the counter overnight to dry out. Or if you have some leftover croutons, I am sure that would work as well. Plus the croutons would add some extra flavor to the dish.

Bacon & Egg Bake

12 eggs beaten

3 c milk

1 T maple syrup

2 c shredded colby-jack cheese

salt and pepper to taste

1 lb. cooked and crumbled bacon

1/2 loaf day old bread cut into 1 in. cubes

Grease your 9X13 in. pan. Spread your bread cubes in a single layer in the bottom of the pan (it may require more or less bread to cover your pan). Place bacon crumbles on top of the bread. Even spread the cheese over the bread and bacon. Beat eggs, milk, salt and pepper, and maple syrup together. Pour over the bread mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour, preferably overnight. In the morning preheat your over to 350 degrees, bake uncovered for 50-60 minutes, or until a knife stuck in the middle comes out clean. ENJOY!

Egg Bake After

my favorite meal…

Brunch, it’s not quite breakfast, it’s not quite lunch. I love the idea of eating a late breakfast. The reason I like brunch so much is because you are usually guaranteed to eat an egg bake. An egg bake consists of my favorite breakfast foods layered in a greased 9X13 pan, topped with cheese and baked in an oven at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes. What’s not to love about that? The best part is, you make it the night before, so in the morning you just pop it in the oven. Now, I prefer to eat my brunch at home. Some restaurants will offer brunch buffets on Mother’s Day or another holiday, but my restaurant brunch experience has always left me disappointed. Sure, you may be offered a fancy meat, carved by some greasy, hungover looking dude wearing a chef’s hat; but who wants a side of roast beef with their eggs? Not me! I would rather sleep in and eat a tasty egg bake, in my pajamas, at home. Never had an egg bake? There are many different variations on this tasty breakfast casserole. Most include eggs, a breakfast meat, cheese and a filler (bread or potatoes). Tomorrow is Saturday, and I am going to make a delicious egg bake for my husband. So sleep in and enjoy a tasty egg bake!

My egg bake will consist of bacon, day old (many days old, in my case) bread, and cheese. I will add the recipe tomorrow after it is approved by quality control aka Alex 🙂