Monday, December 28, 2015

#MuffinMonday ~ Bacon Cheddar Corn Muffins



#MuffinMonday is a group of muffin loving bakers who get together once a month to bake muffins. You can see all our of lovely muffins by following our Pinterest board.

Updated links for all of our past events and more information about Muffin Monday, can be found on our home page.

See all the muffin recipes this week to inspire you to get in the kitchen and whip up a batch of muffins - take your pick between sweet or savory:

I was sent the above mini muffin silicone tray to test out and thought this would be the perfect recipe to try it with. I love these muffins in their mini-form! They would be PERFECT for an appetizer buffet, at your New Years Eve gathering, or make a big green salad up and serve them as an entree! In mini-form they are pefectly poppable and you get a bite of soft, fluffy corn muffin with just the right amount of cheese, bacon, and sauteed onion. If you like a bit more bite or heat, opt for a dash of black pepper too, or use the red pepper instead of chili powder (I used chili powder).


Bacon Cheddar Corn Muffins from Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice
Makes: 12 regular sized muffins or approximately 48 mini muffins

Ingredients
8 slices bacon 
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 1/4 cups buttermilk (or 1 1/4 TBS vinegar with enough milk to equal 1 1/4 cups) 
1/4 cup olive oil 
1 large egg, lightly beaten 
1 cup all-purpose flour 
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper or 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, plus more for sprinkling over top



Directions
  1. Cook bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crispy. Remove to paper towels. Ensure you have about 2 TBS grease in pan and then add onion and cook over medium-low heat until soft and tender, 5-10 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 400° degrees F. Spray a mini muffin pan (or regular 12-cup muffin pan) with nonstick cooking spray (grease generously if not using silicone, if using silicone just use a light spray).
  3. In a medium bowl whisk together the buttermilk, olive oil and egg.
  4. In a large mixing bowl combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder and soda, salt and chili powder. Make a well in the center and add milk mixture, stirring until just moist.
  5. Crumble the bacon and combine half of it with the sauteed onion and cheddar cheese. Divide bacon mixture equally among baking cups and then top with the corn batter, filling about 3/4 of the way full. Sprinkle the tops with the remaining bacon and additional shredded cheese if desired.
  6. For full size muffins, bake 13-16 minutes or until a toothpick in center comes out clean. For mini muffins, bake for 10 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Allow muffins to cool in their pan(s) for about 10 - 15 minutes, and then remove muffins from pan and finish cooling on wire racks. Serve warm if desired.
*Full Disclosure: I received complimentary product for the purpose of review. I received no compensation for this post. All comments are 100% accurate and 100% my own.





Sunday, December 27, 2015

Korean Beef


The rush of the Christmas season is officially past and I am back to work on Monday (though I do get Thursday / Friday off this coming week - yay!) So back to some quick and easy to make weeknight friendly meals.


This tasty ground beef dish certainly fits the bill for quick, easy, and very tasty too. We prepped the meat and sauce while the rice was cooking and in about 45 minutes everything was ready to enjoy. Fresh broccoli or steamed green beans work well as a side dish to this dinner.

We often have ground beef in the refrigerator but sometimes I just want something "different" besides tacos, nachos, macaroni cheese & meat, burgers, etc. I did a quick Pinterest search for ground beef and this one popped up and I'm so glad we tried it - I will definitely keep it in rotation for a  good go-to weeknight dinner option for ground beef.


Korean Beef from Love Bakes Good Cakes

Ingredients
1 pound ground beef
⅓ cup brown sugar
¼ cup soy sauce
1 TBS sesame oil
4 tsp minced garlic
¼ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp crushed red pepper (more / less to desired spiciness)
2 - 3 cups white rice, cooked

Directions

  1. Combine the sauce ingredients: brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, minced garlic, ground ginger and red pepper flakes.
  2. In a nonstick skillet over medium heat, cook ground beef until done. Drain excess grease. Add sauce to meat and stir to combine. Allow to simmer until reduced to desired thickness, stir frequently (about 3 minutes or so) - taste and adjust ingredients if needed.
  3. Serve immediately over prepared rice.



Saturday, December 19, 2015

#Review ~ Baby Tiara Headband


I was offered the chance to receive this adorable tiara for babies. How could I pass up the chance? It's less than $4.00 with free shipping (ships internationally) and can fit your teeny tiny newborn for adorable first pictures all the way through my wiggly cute 2 year old.


This makes a great photo prop, or just a cute headband fit for your "pincess" (how Lindsey is saying princess). :)




Disclosure: I received this product via Tomoson in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Cranberry Orange Vodka (Improv Cooking Challenge)


The December 2015 Improv Cooking Challenge is Orange and Cranberries - so I did what I do best and plugged said combination into Pinterest and the first thing I saw was a recipe for Cranberry Orange vodka... hmmmm!! I have been needing to get some homemade gifts together, and I thought this one might be perfectly timed and make a special homemade gift for a few friends this season.



I doubled the recipe below and used a large 1/2 gallon mason jar I had on hand (back from when I used to get farm fresh milk every week... mmmm). I will divide this up into smaller 1 cup portion sized jars with some pretty ribbon and labels and voila! Gorgeous, festive homemade gift to hand out.


Use this recipe in this Cranberry Cosmo Recipe!


Cranberry Orange Vodka from Martha Stewart

Ingredients
1 cup fresh cranberries
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 piece fresh orange peel (2-by-1-inch)
3 cups vodka

Directions

  1. In a small saucepan, heat cranberries, sugar, and water until the sugar dissolves, the liquid begins to turn a light-pink color, and the cranberries just begin to pop. 
  2. Pour the cranberries with all of the liquid into a large glass jar; stir in peel and vodka. Cover, and let stand at room temperature at least 3 days or up to one month. Strain before serving.






Thursday, December 17, 2015

#BundtBakers ~ Spiced Rum Eggnog Bundt Cake




#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving Bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all of our lovely Bundts by following our Pinterest Board. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme or ingredient.

Updated links for all of our past events and more information about BundtBakers can be found on our homepage


Welcome to the December #BundtBakers reveal day! Our naughty and nice theme gave us all lots of room to decide which side of Santa's list we wanted to fall on this month. I opted for somewhere in the middle I think. Traditional delicious creamy spiced eggnog, spiked with just a touch of rum. I've made a rum cake before - and this is NOT a rum cake. It is a tender, moist, soft eggnog infused cake with a touch of rum in the batter and the glaze.


 This would be great with any of your favorite holiday beverages - cocoa, coffee, spiked eggnog... your choice! It would be a lovely way to end your Christmas dinner (or start your Christmas morning - I won't tell)!

It's been a bit of a rough week, some highs, but definitely some lows too that I am ready to move past and having a chance to do a bit of baking mid-week was a little pick me up that I needed. I am looking forward to sharing this tasty treat with my co-workers on Friday (well, what's left of it that is)!


See all the beautiful Naughty or Nice December bundt cake selections at the links below:

Spiced Rum Eggnog Bundt Cake from Beyond Frosting

Ingredients
For the cake
1 box white cake mix
1 cup eggnog
¼ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup spiced rum
3 large eggs
1 tsp nutmeg (fresh grated is best)
1 tsp vanilla bean paste

For the glaze
¼ cup powdered sugar, sifted
3 TBS eggnog
2 TBS spiced rum
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
⅛ tsp nutmeg

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Generously grease a bundt pan (I use a LOT of Pam spray and usually have pretty good luck).
  2. To prepare the cake: combine cake mix, eggnog, vegetable oil, spiced rum and eggs in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer and combine at medium speed until smooth. Add nutmeg and vanilla bean paste and gently mix into batter.
  3. Pour batter into prepared bundt pan and spread evenly with a spatula if necessary.
  4. Bake at 350° F for 40-45 minutes. Check if the cake is cooked through by sticking a toothpick into the middle of the cake. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cake is ready. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 15-20 minutes.
  5. Gently run a knife around as much of the edges as possible, and around the center. Turn your pan over and gently tap until the cake releases. Allow to cool on a wire rack.
  6. To prepare the glaze, sift powered sugar into a medium-sized bowl. Add remaining glaze ingredients and whisk until smooth.
  7. Put wire rack over top of a sheet pan with edges. Pour glaze over top of cake slowly and allow glaze to drip down the sides. Gather excess glaze from the sheet pan by pouring it back into the bowl and pour over top of cake again. Repeat 2-3 more times.


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

#fbcookieswap ~ Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies



This is my first year participating in The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap - and what a great cause! For a small donation I am joining MANY other bloggers from all over in raising money for a fantastic cause "Cookies For Kids' Cancer". This amazing program has some great sponsors as well including Dixie Crystals, OXO, and Land 'O Lakes who all sent some thoughtful and kind gifts just for participating this year. I hope you will visit the website and consider joining in the festivities and fun next year if you missed out this year.


This year I sent these white chocolate chip studded Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies to: Julie Goes HealthyBake At Home Mama, and Bests and Bites. I received Oatmeal Pecan Cookies from This Tasty Life, Sorghum Ginger Cookies from Justina at Fail Sweetly, and both Sprinkled Fudge Bites and Chocolate Crinkle Cookies from Melissa at Persnickety Plates! What a beautiful cookie tray we've had to munch on for the past couple weeks (I admit, I kind of was a huge sucker for the oatmeal cookies... I think I ate all of them by myself).


These lovely red velvet crinkle cookies pack a beautiful visual punch to go along with their tender, moist interiors with a lightly chocolaty taste accented with bites of white chocolate dispersed throughout. I was very happy with how these came out and was happy to share them. I hope those who received their dozen enjoyed them as much as we did! I did discover that you have to roll them pretty heavily in the powdered sugar to get that "pop" of white for the crinkle effect. My first batch were pretty muted in color comparatively.


Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies from Cooking Classy

Ingredients
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 TBS milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla
2 tsp lemon juice
4-5 tsp red food coloring
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup powdered sugar

Directions
  1. In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt and then set aside. 
  2. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter and granulated sugar until pale and fluffy. Mix in eggs one at a time, blending well after each addition. Mix in milk, vanilla bean paste, lemon juice and red food coloring. 
  3. With mixer set on low speed, slowly add in dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Stir in white chocolate chips. 
  4. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill 2 hours or until firm enough to shape into balls.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  6. Pour powdered sugar into a bowl. Remove dough from refrigerator, scoop dough out and with buttered hands (I used a quick blast of cooking spray on mine to keep the dough from sticking), shape into medium balls (about 2 1/2 TBS each). Roll cookie dough balls heavily in powdered sugar, coating them evenly. 
  7. Set them on a Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet and flatten slightly with the back of a spoon and then bake in the preheated oven for 13 - 14 minutes. 
  8. Allow cookies to rest on the baking sheet several minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.



Tuesday, December 15, 2015

#handcraftededibles ~ Edible Gifts in Jars


In an effort to make all of my holiday gifts this year, we are sharing recipes for hand-crafted edibles. Over the course of twelve weeks, we'll be sharing recipes that you can make at home to give to friends and loved ones, or things to serve at holiday parties. It's hard to believe we're at week 12. We hope you'll follow along for inspiration. You can find out more information, including the schedule: here.


This week, the final week, we are wrapping it up. Literally. It's all about how to package up those hand-crafted edibles, or holiday gifts in general.

Thanks to these gals and their creative ways to wrap hand-crafted edibles...

Don't forget to check out our #handcraftededibles pinterest board.

This isn't an edible recipe - but made with edible ingredients and I shared this in January after I'd made these and given as gifts for Christmas 2014. This is such a pretty and easy recipe to whip up and makes a terrific sugar scrub for tired, winter dry hands.

You can use this formula for any gift you want to put in a jar. Some cute chalk labels, liquid chalk pens, mason jars, and your favorite twine or ribbon is all you need for a festive gift with beautiful labels with a personal touch.


Peppermint Sugar Scrub 

Ingredients
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup coconut oil
Red food coloring (a few drops)
Peppermint Oil (a few drops)

Directions
  1. Get 2 medium bowls out. Place the sugar, coconut oil, a few drops of peppermint oil (stir, smell, add more until you reach the scent you're hoping for).
  2. Split the sugar mix between the two bowls. Leave one bowl white, and add a couple drops of red food coloring to the other bowl. Stir, add another drop or too (if needed) until you reach the pretty peppermint pink color you're looking for.
  3. Begin layering the sugar mixture in your jars - white, red, white, red, etc. in even layers until they are as full as you want them to be.
  4. Seal the jars, label with a cute handwritten (or printed) label, and tie with some pretty, festive string to complete!




Wednesday, December 09, 2015

#BloggerClue ~ Celebrate December with a Black Forest Trifle


Welcome to the December reveal day for the the C.L.U.E. Bloggers (CLUE = Cook, Learn, Undertake, Eat).  Blogger C.L.U.E. is a group of like minded food bloggers who get an assignment each month of another member's blog; our task is to take the theme for the month and find any recipe on our assigned blog that fits. Make the recipe, photograph the recipe, and share it with you on reveal day! For the month of December, our theme was "Celebrate" - we were given creative license to interpret that however we wanted.

I am so happy that I was paired with the lovely Wendy from A Day In The Life On The Farm. Wendy has quickly become a woman I consider an "internet friend". We've never met in person, but I love the way family and her kind heart is infused into every correspondence I've ever had with her, and into her blog posts. Plus, she lives on a farm and humanely raises turkeys, pigs, and chickens for eggs and meat. I live vicariously through Wendy's posts about life on the farm! :) I was supposed to get to feature Wendy for another group we are both part of back in October, but had to miss out on that month's reveal day because of my son's unexpected health issues.


I am very happy to say Kent is recovering well from his stroke back on October 9th - 2 full months ago now, but continues to work hard every day towards his full recovery. His physical therapy is the largest ongoing effort for him, though there remains many cognitive functions he is still working on as well. Today is actually the day he is FINALLY coming home from the hospital! He'll be starting day rehab tomorrow, but gets to spend nights at home again. We are all excited about this transition.


In any event, this month, especially considering the past two months, I have much to celebrate and am grateful for the chance to do so. To celebrate my children, celebrate life, celebrate the gifts I have been given in this life and that I strive to not take for granted each and every day. I want to celebrate hope, new beginnings, love, laughter, joy, friendship, support in times of weakness, faith, and the beauty in all those day to day moments - a smile, a touch, a good meal. In thinking about celebration, I stumbled upon this post written by Wendy two years ago and decided that was it for me. Two dishes that were part of a celebration, and can easily be apart of your celebration this season (ok, it also gave me "permission" to finally get myself a trifle bowl)! I will be making and sharing the crab dip at another time, but ran out of time to get both done for this particular post.


My sister Kylie came down with a cold 1 1/2 weeks ago so I ended up spending pretty much all of last week through last Sunday at the hospital with Kent while Kylie held down the fort at home with Lindsey. I wasn't able to do any cooking during that time, so am just sharing this beautiful and deliciously special treat of a trifle today. Made from primarily pantry staple ingredients, you will have a gorgeous dessert with just a little effort and planning on your part. Create the components, layer, decorate if desired (chocolate shavings, chocolate sprinkles, maraschino cherries, etc.) and voila!

See all the celebratory dishes we shared this month: 

Black Forest Trifle from A Day In The Life On The Farm

Ingredients
1 box Chocolate Cake Mix, prepared according to package directions and cooled
1 large box Instant Chocolate Pudding mix, prepared according to package directions
1 pint heavy cream
1 - 2 TBS powdered sugar
1 can Cherry Pie Filling
Optional: chocolate shavings, sprinkles and / or maraschino cherries to garnish

Directions
  1. Cut cake into 2-inch square pieces.  
  2. Whip the cream and powdered sugar with a stand mixer using the whisk attachment until light and fluffy (the original recipe calls for 1 TBS of powdered sugar which isn't very sweet to taste, but you will find it works very well with the rest of the trifle as the other components are pretty sweet - however if you want the whipped cream to be sweeter feel free to add a little more powdered sugar to yours). 
  3. Lay 1/3 of the cake pieces into the bottom of a Trifle Bowl.  Top with 1/3 of the prepared pudding. Spoon 1/2 of the cherry pie filling over the cake and pudding.  Spread 1/3 of the whipped cream on top of the pie filling.  
  4. Layer one more time (1/3 of cake, 1/3 of the pudding, remainder of the pie filling, and 1/3 of the whipped cream).  Follow by the final layer of the remainder of the cake pieces, remainder of the pudding and top with the remainder of the whipped cream.  
  5. Garnish as desired. Keep chilled until ready to serve.


Tuesday, December 08, 2015

#handcraftededibles ~ Candy Cane Cookies






In an effort to make all of my holiday gifts this year, we are sharing recipes for hand-crafted edibles. Over the course of twelve weeks, we'll be sharing recipes that you can make at home to give to friends and loved ones, or things to serve at holiday parties. It's hard to believe we're at week 11. We hope you'll follow along for inspiration. You can find out more information, including the schedule: here.

This week, we are bringing you inspiration for your holiday cookie trays. Have you started with you holiday baking yet? I've been baking a LOT the past couple weeks - and I'm certainly not done yet!


These candy cane cookies are such a classic and festive treat to add to any cookie tray you may be considering assembling. They have a lovely touch of peppermint flavoring, and the dough is very simple and straightforward to create. The dough is also very heat sensitive and must be chilled thoroughly to make handling possible since you have to work with it a fair amount to shape the pieces and twist them. You can make this dough as much as three days in advance and keep it stored in your refrigerator until you're ready to work with it!

Thanks to these gals and their creative cookie ideas...
Next week - week 12 and our final week - is all about wrapping. How to label those jarred mixes, how to mail cookies safely, and lots more!



Don't forget to check out our #handcraftededibles pinterest board.

Candy Cane Cookies from The Kitchn
Makes 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients
1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon red food coloring

Directions
  1. Cream together the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment it looks soft and frosting-like. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then mix in the egg, vanilla, and peppermint. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again and with the mixer on low speed, mix in the flour and salt just until no more visible flour remains.
  2. Use a stiff spatula to mix the dough a few times by hand to work in any last bits of flour if needed. Divide the dough in half and set one piece aside. Add 1/2 teaspoon of red food coloring to the remaining dough and work the dye into the dough gently with the spatula. Add additional food coloring if needed to achieve a bright, vibrant red.
  3. Wrap each piece of dough in saran wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, and up to 3 days (this is VERY fragile dough that needs to be chilled before handling).
  4. When ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking tray with a sil pat / baking mat.
  5. Remove both pieces of dough from the fridge and unwrap. Pinch off about 1 TBS of dough from each color, gently roll into a long thin strip (about 4 - 5 inches in length, and make sure each piece of dough is about the same size and thickness). Pinch the ends together and gently twist the dough around each other until it looks like a candy cane. Curve the top to look like a cane. (I suggest doing the cookie prep on the sil pat so you don't have to transfer the cookie once assembled). 
  6. Repeat with the remaining dough. If the dough starts to break as you roll it or become hard to work with, put it back in the fridge to chill for 15 minutes. When enough cookies have been shaped to fill a sheet, return the remaining dough the refrigerator and if you'd like to help ensure your cookies hold their shape, chill the prepared cookies for 15 minutes before baking.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the bottom edges and the tips of the cookies are just barely starting to turn golden. Cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet and then transfer to cooling racks to finish cooling completely.
  8. Repeat process until all dough is used.
  9. Store cookies between layers of wax paper in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.