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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Beef Enchiladas

Its cinco de mayo week on the blog.... We love mexican food in general, but the fact that cinco de mayo is the hubby's birthday it is an extra reason to celebrate. So I've got a great dinner idea for you today, and later this week I'm going to share his favorite birthday cake which has something to do with tres leche.

When we go out for mexican food... I always do a search for the enchilada options on the menu. This is the first time that I have actually made them at home. Crazy right! They were amazingly easy to make and we devoured them for dinner today.

This would be a great meal for a crowd... or if you make it for two it means you will have leftovers for lunches. Extra Bonus!

Its funny because Cinco de Mayo isn't a big holiday in Mexico. I was working with a team last year that was located in Mexico, and I asked them what they do to celebrate and they said nothing really.

 Do you do anything for Cinco de Mayo? What is your favorite mexican food?

Homemade Beef Enchiladas

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • 1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 9 corn tortillas
  • 2 cups shredded mexican cheese
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Brown the ground beef in a large saucepan. Drain excess fat from the ground beef.
  3. Add a little water to the beef and add the package of taco seasoning. Stir the mixture until well mixed.
  4. In a small sauce pan mix the tomato sauce and the salsa. Heat over low heat.
  5. Add 1/2 cup of the warmed sauce to the ground beef mixture.
  6. Lay out one of the corn tortillas and fill with ground beef. Roll the tortilla up and put into the pan.
  7. Repeat this with the remaining tortillas and ground beef.
  8. Once the pan is filled with enchiladas then pour the sauce over all of them.
  9. Next sprinkle on the shredded cheese.
  10. Bake for 15 minutes.
Recipe Source: Laura's Baking Talent

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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Katharine Hepburn Brownies

This recipe was given to the New York Times by a neighbor of Katharine Hepburn. The story is that they had made her brownies... and she told them. “Too much flour! And don’t overbake them! They should be moist, not cakey!” After making these brownies I would have to agree with her.

This recipe is really simple to make, and only takes a few minutes and one pan. When they come out of the oven they smell absolutely amazing... and it is almost impossible to wait for them to cool.

I have to warn you though that if you don't wait for them to cool they will be ABSOLUTELY delicious... but they will crumble into a big pile on your plate. If you are just satisfying that chocolate craving ,this is perfectly acceptable. However its not as fun if you are trying to get pictures for your blog. Then you have to wait....

We ended up eating a couple of crumbled brownies and I saved the rest of the pan to take pictures of today.

Katharine Hepburn Brownies

  • 2 oz unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp salt
Cooking Directions
  1. Grease a 9X9 square pan.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  3. Break up the chocolate into small pieces, and add to a large saucepan with the butter.
  4. Heat the chocolate and butter over low heat until completely melted.
  5. Remove from the heat and allow it to cool for a few minutes.
  6. Add the eggs, one at a time.
  7. Then mix in the sugar, flour, nuts, vanilla, and salt.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  9. Bake for 40 minutes.
  10. The brownies will be gooey and moist when they come out of the oven.
Recipe adapted from the New York Times.

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Monday, April 21, 2014

Chocolate No Bake Cookies

Did everyone have a good Easter? We had a good time with family, and enjoyed the nice weather. 
We filled the garden bed this weekend and I planted the first seeds outside. I have both sugar snap peas and spinach planted.

After researching lots of ideas around gardening, I decided to go forward with the square foot gardening method. I'm going to add a tab on the blog to show some of the latest gardening pictures, so that you can follow along in my adventure.

The one thing I love about holidays.. is there is usually candy involved. Leftover candy is the best because I can throw a few pieces into our lunches... Or I can grab a "power" piece before taking Ginny on a walk.

Sometimes you just get the urge to have a small sweet treat. I am a huge chocolate fan.... ok maybe its actually a chocolate addiction. Sometimes it just hits me that I need some super chocolatey.... hence the theme for this week is simply CHOCOLATE week.

These no bakes are super easy to make... and they are the perfect fix for any chocolate craving!

Chocolate No Bake Cookies

Yield: 30 cookies
  • 3 cups oats
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup margarine or butter
  • 3 Tbsp cocoa
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
Cooking Directions
  1. Line 2 cookies sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Measure out the oats, peanut butter, and vanilla and set aside.
  3. Add the sugar, cocoa, margarine, milk, and salt to a large saucepan. Put the pan on medium heat.
  4. Continuously mix the ingredients until everything is melted and well mixed.
  5. Take the saucepan off of the burner and add in the oats, peanut butter and vanilla. Thoroughly mix them into the mixture.
  6. Drop the batter on the cookie sheets.
  7. Put cookies in the fridge for at least 1 hour to let them set.
Recipe Source: Laura's Baking Talent

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Egg Salad

As an adult it always amazes me how each family has its own twist for different holidays. When I was a kid I guess I just assumed everyone celebrated Easter the same way we did. We would die eggs the night before Easter. There was six kids, so we each got 2 eggs.  Once the eggs were dyed, we would leave them out overnight for the Easter Bunny.

EB would come in the middle of the night and hide all the eggs. Plus he would hide candy all over the house. We would be responsible to find all of our eggs, and then we would put all the candy we found in a huge bowl. The large bowl of candy became a community bowl for everyone. I can still remember coming down the stairs to see our house covered with candy.

EB was sometimes tricky and it would be really hard to find your egg. Then there were times when you would find someone else's egg... and you had to walk away nonchalantly. You didn't want to give anyone else a heads up where their egg was... that would take away all the fun.

Since our eggs were out all night... they pretty much went into the trash after a couple of days. However as I talked to others they traditionally dye their eggs, put them in the fridge... then make egg salad. This egg salad is a little different because it uses greek yogurt. We love greek yogurt... I pretty much buy in bulk for our lunches each day. If you are a not a fan of greek yogurt... then just substitute mayonnaise for it in the recipe.

I hope you all enjoy dying eggs, and that EB brings you lots of CANDY this year!

Egg Salad with Greek Yogurt

  • 8 Hard boiled Eggs
  • 1/2 cup Plain or Vanilla Greek Yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp Mustard
  • 1 tsp pickle juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
Cooking Directions
  1. Cut up the hard boiled eggs into small pieces.
  2. Add the yogurt to the eggs, and mix with a fork.
  3. Mix in the mustard and pickle juice.
  4. Lastly add the salt and pepper.
Recipe Source: Laura's Baking Talent

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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Mom's Homemade Ham Salad

For the theme this week I thought it would be fun to do Easter Leftovers. My mom use to make this ham salad all the time when we were kids. I use to love to watch her grind the ham with the meat grinder.

We recently got the meat grinder attachment for our stand mixer. A couple of months ago I decided it would be great to try out mom's ham salad recipe with it. I called my mom and she told me that you add mayonnaise, relish, and mustard. She also gave me the secret knowledge that you put a piece of bread through the grinder to get all the ham out. I left this on a notepad on the counter, thinking that I would make it when I came back. However I arrived from the store and it was made.

It was amazing because Jim's version tasted just like my mom's version even though I hadn't written down any measurements He was also ecstatic about the bread trick. So I had Jim make this for the blog this week. I took notes so that I could blog "real" measurements for you.

Growing up we always had this salad as a sandwich. It would be great with crackers too.... and in a nice dish it could be used for a shower or party get together. Simple, but delicious.

Mom's Homemade Ham Salad

  • 1 lb ham
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp relish
  • 1 tsp mustard
Cooking Directions
  1. Grind the ham with a meat grinder (plate with 1/4" holes for stand mixer attachment).
  2. Add the mayonnaise to the ham. Mix until well combined.
  3. Lastly add the mustard and relish, and mix again.

Recipe Source: Laura's Baking Talent

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Root Beer Glazed Ham

Have you ever asked yourself what am I wearing? That was me today when I was going into church for my book club. I had gotten home and decided to take Ginny on a long walk. So I put on my comfy jeans, a "matching" comfy sweatshirt, and my bright pink running shoes.

I stopped for a minute and evaluated the situation... but there was no solution since I was late. Being late means I have to walk through the guys group and they always say hi... So I just smile and wave and I'm sure turn 4 shades of red.

Its church and they love me no matter what... but couldn't I have left the pink running shoes at home. I guess I was living on the edge. Want to give a little edge to your Easter Ham? Well you can add this root beer glaze. It will add just the right amount of sweety goodness, plus its super easy to make... and it has ROOT BEER.

What else will be on the table at my Easter dinner? Corn Casserole is a family staple. We also love our grandma's candy apples.

Dessert will include carrot cookies with orange frosting, cadbury egg peanut butter cookies, and chocolate chip cake. Although I may decide to take some fruity pebble treats.

Root Beer Glazed Ham

  • 1 cup root beer
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 3-5 lb Ham
Cooking Directions
  1. Combine all the glaze ingredients: root beer, brown sugar, ketchup, white wine vinegar, and mustard into a small saucepan.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil, and let it simmer until it has reduced to about half. This will be about 20 -30 minutes.
  3. Cut diagonals into the ham. Make each diagonal about 1/4 inch apart.
  4. Glaze the ham.
  5. Bake the ham per the instructions on the package.
  6. Glaze the ham again when it is removed from the oven. 
Recipe Source: Laura's Baking Talent

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Sunday, April 6, 2014

Cadbury Egg Peanut Butter Cookies

I have to make a confession I have a slight addiction to mini cadbury eggs. I'm the person who buys them the day after Easter when they are on sale, and will bring them out in July. I know a little weird. This is the first time that I put them in cookies. I tell you it was an act of genius. Make these and you will love me and yourself for making them.

Jim has been been eating/sneaking on these all afternoon. They have been declared the best cookies of all time. That says a lot, since I make a lot of cookies. I mean I almost named the blog Laura's Cookie Obsession. Just kidding.. but it does prove how good these cookies are to eat.

There is one small detail that is difficult about these cookies. Chopping the cadbury eggs is kind of a pain. Initially I was just going to put a couple of whole eggs on top. However I passed this idea on to the hubby, and he reminded me that having chunks throughout the cookie is so much better than a little goodness at the top. So I chopped away!

It feels like Spring has finally come to our area. Its a cold spring, but the SUN is out. Gdog is loving it. She has a rough life huh?

The theme for the week is Easter. Once again a little early so you can plan ahead.

Cadbury Egg Peanut Butter Cookies

Yield: 20 cookies
  • 1/2 cup Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup crushed mini cadbury eggs
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix together the butter and peanut butter, until thoroughly combined.
  3. Add the brown sugar, sugar, baking soda and salt. Mix well.
  4. Beat in the egg, milk and vanilla.
  5. Add one cup of the four, and mix until well combined. Then add the remaining cup of flour and mix again.
  6. Lastly add the crushed mini cadbury eggs.
  7. Put 2 Tbsp size cookies on the cookie sheet. Flatten the cookies close to the size you want them to be when they come out of the oven.
  8. Bake for 12 minutes.
Recipe Source: Laura's Baking Talent

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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Fruity Pebble Rice Krispies

Did you guys play any Aprils Fool jokes on anyone? Or did you get any jokes played on you? I was lucky and no one tried to fool me. However I was a little mischievous and played a trick on the hubby.

Monday which was the last day of March was super nice here. My car actually said it was 67 degrees. AMAZING! The next morning I got up to let Ginny out and I was greeted with another cold morning. Disappointing but not unexpected in Michigan this time of year.

It however gave me the idea for the perfect April Fools joke. I went upstairs and told the hubby that we had gotten a foot of snow last night. He was going to have to get the snow blower out to plow the driveway.

He grumbled and got all bundled up... when he opened the garage door.... he saw nothing. He gave me a look and I was like April Fools! Luckily he has a sense of humor...

So these Fruity Pebble Rice Krispies are as mischievous as April Fools day. They look all innocent just like any other rice krispie...then bam you eat it and there is an explosion of flavor.

These are so easy to make. I think it took me a total of 10 minutes. Plus you get to inhale the yummy smell of Fruity Pebbles as you pour them out of the box. You aren't sure what Fruity Pebbles smell like.. well I guess you will have to get a box and make these to know.


Fruity Pebble Rice Krispies

  • 1.5 cups Fruity Pebbles cereal
  • 1.5 cups Rice Krispies cereal
  • 4.5 cups mini marshmallows
  • 2 Tbsp margarine
Cooking Directions
  1. Spray a 9X9 pan with non stick butter spray, and set aside.
  2. Measure out the cereal and mix it together together.
  3. Melt the margarine in a large saucepan over low heat.
  4. Add the marshmallows when the margarine is almost completely melted.
  5. Stir marshmallows constantly until they have completed melted.
  6. Remove from heat and quickly stir in the cereal mixture.
  7. Press lightly into the prepared pan.
  8. Let it cool, and then cut into bars.

Recipe Source: Laura's Baking Talent

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