Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easy Cereal Snack Mix

Make this yummy and addictive snack for your next party or bring this snack with you to the next Baseball game:)  Your kids will love it!! You can store this snack mix in individual snack bags or one large resealable baggie. Enjoy!

1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup butter
1/4 white corn syrup
1 t vanilla extract
1/2 baking soda
1/2 t ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
2 cups Honey-nut Cherrios 
6 cups rice Chex
6 cups corn Chex
1 cup pecan halves, optional

In a microwave safe bowl, combine brown sugar, maple syrup, butter, and corn syrup. Microwave uncovered on high for 3 1/2 minutes or until sugar is dissolved and corn syrup is bubbly. Stir in vanilla, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
Microwave on high 30 second longer or until the mixture begins to foam.
In a large bowl, combine cereals and pecans, if using. Add syrup mixture and toss to coat. Transfer to two greased 15 x 10 x 1 inch baking pans. Bake at 275, uncovered for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Watch carefully, mixture burns easily. Remove from oven and cool on waxed paper. Store in airtight container. 

Kitchen Tip: Using a medium spring-handled ice cream scoop when forming meatballs ensures they're the same size for even cooking.

Happy Easter~

Wishing Everyone A Happy Easter~

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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Colorful Velvet Cakes

Let's Talk Velvet Cakes~

When it comes to velvet cakes, why does red get all the glory? These buttermilk cakes are just as good and even a little more exciting when made with other colors. That's all that velvet cakes are, in case you're not quite sure what a velvet cake is. Buttermilk, cocoa powder and food coloring. It's time for red to move over and give the other colors a chance. While it's origin is unclear, most people believe that this cake got its name because of the reddish hue that was produced by the reaction between natural cocoa powder and buttermilk. Now that we use food coloring to heighten the color, why not have some fun! This Easter the hubby and I will be celebrating alone, so I wanted to make us something special for dessert. I decided to make individual Easter Cakes. There is something about having your own special cake, even when it's not your birthday! I then thought, Hey, why not make velvet cakes, in four different colors! Off I went to the kitchen. If you have ever made an Ombre' cake, you know the dishes involved, but other than that, the cakes were really easy and fun to make. I used a large egg shaped cookie cutter to cut out the shapes and then proceeding as I would with any layered cake. I decided to go with green, pink, yellow and purple. Why? Those are the colors I had:) You could use any color that you wanted, have some fun and experiment, the end result will be cake!! How great is that!!

Basic Velvet Cake Recipe:

2 large eggs
1 cup oil
1 cup buttermilk (to sour milk, 1 T white vinegar or lemon juice plus enough milk to equal 1 cup)
1 t vanilla extract
1 T vinegar
2 oz. food coloring, of your choice
2 1/2 cup flour
1 t salt
1 1/2  sugar
1 T cocoa powder
1 t baking soda

2 oz. green food coloring
2 oz yellow food coloring
2 oz purple food coloring
2 oz pink food coloring

Cream cheese frosting:

8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 t vanilla extract
lb powered sugar (4 cups)
few drops of food coloring, optional
4 cups sweetened shredded coconut, optional
Candy Easter Eggs, optional

For Cakes:
Preheat oven to 350. Grease and  flour 2-8 inch round cake pans, per color. Set aside.
Lightly stir eggs in a medium bowl with a wire whisk.
Add oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and vinegar. Mix together well. Slowly add food coloring, color of your choice. Mix together until well blended. Set aside.
In another mixing bowl, add all dry ingredients. Mix together with a second wire whisk.
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Mix on medium high for 2 minutes or until completely combined. Pour into prepared pans. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool on wire rack until completely cooled. Continue with remaining colors

For Frosting:
In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer on high until creamy. Add vanilla extract and blend together. Slowly add sugar, scraping down sides of bowl after each addition. Beat together until light and creamy. Add a few drops of food coloring if desired. Assemble cakes and frost. Decorate cakes with shredded coconut and candy eggs.

Did You Know? Kale is a member of the cruciferous family of vegetables, which health researchers believe plays a valuable role in warding off cancer.

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Friday, April 18, 2014

Spinach Pasta Nests

Taglierini ai Spinaci~
Spinach Pasta Nests filled with~
Egg and Asparagus with a Sprinkle of Parmesan Cheese~

For a light lunch, on Easter Sunday, serve these Filled Spinach Pasta Nests with a Simple Green Salad.

2-4 T softened butter
8 cups water
1 T salt
8 spinach pasta nests (I used packaged "nests")
1/2 lb. fresh asparagus
8 (12) eggs
salt and pepper
dried parsley
fresh grated Parmesan cheese

1.Preheat oven to 350. Lightly butter standard size muffin/cupcake tin.
2. Fill a large pasta pot with 8 cups water and add 1 T salt. Bring water to a boil. Add pasta nests and boil for 6-7 minutes or just until al dente'. Turn water down to simmer. Drain; place pasta shells in buttered muffin cups. Using your fingers, create a small well in the center by pushing the pasta to the outside edges. Don't worry if its not perfect, you just want a well to hold the egg.
3. Wash asparagus and pat dry with a paper towel. Snap off the tips of the asparagus spears. Save the stalks for another use.
4. Add asparagus tips to simmering water; bland tips for 30-40 seconds. Remove tips from water with a slotted spoon. Immediately immerse in ice water. Leave in ice water for 20 seconds. Remove from ice water and drain
5. Place 3-4 asparagus spears in pasta nests.
6. Crack your eggs into the center of each nest. Sprinkle eggs with salt, pepper and parsley flakes.
7. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until eggs are set with no uncooked whites surrounding the yolks.
8. Remove pan from oven, carefully remove nests.
9. Sprinkle with fresh grated Parmesan cheese.

Kitchen Tip~ Hidden under the fuzzy skin of a kiwifruit lies beautiful, brilliant green flesh with edible black seeds. Choose plump undamaged kiwifruit that yield to slight pressure when ripe. 

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