Thursday, October 30, 2014

(Better Than) Restaurant Salsa

I don't know about you, but everyone in my house loves salsa. I've been making it for years and fine tuning my recipe. It's finally blog worthy!

(Better Than) Restaurant Salsa

1 28 ounce can of San Marzano peeled tomatoes
1 14.5 ounce can of fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 jalapeƱo, seeded, de-ribbed and chopped
1 bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped
4 cloves of garlic
1/2 red onion, roughly chopped
1 lime, juiced
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cumin

Pulsa all ingredients in a blender. Adjust seasonings if needed (if too acidic for your taste, add another teaspoon of sugar).

Serve or chill and serve. It only gets better as it sits.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Buttery Cheese Stuffed Rolls

My kids love cheesy bread. Like, really love it. They also really love crescents (you know, when I'm not making my easy and oh so delicious yeast rolls). In a stroke of genius, I decided to combine the two.

Make these with...well, whatever you're having tonight. ;-) 

Buttery Cheese Stuffed Rolls
Yield: 8 rolls

1 can of crescent rolls (I like the buttery version)
1/2 a stick of unsalted butter
4 mozzarella string cheese sticks
1 clove of garlic (optional)

Preheat oven to package directed temp. 

Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray. Unfold crescents. Melt butter with un-chopped garlic clove in the microwave. Use a pastry brush to spread a little of the butter onto each crescent. 

Slice cheese sticks in half and place one piece on each crescent. Roll up rolls, tucking the ends in so they cover the cheese completely.  Brush with butter. 

Bake as directed on roll package.

Friday, October 24, 2014

40 Elf on the Shelf Name Ideas

I love our Elf on the Shelf and over the years, I've heard some super cute elf names. Here's a list of my favorites for those of you who might be getting a new elf this year!

And checkout my other elf posts:


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Favorite Things & A $100 Target GiftCard® Giveaway

A few weeks ago I introduced you to an up & up product by Target.  And as much as I love my up & up Disinfecting Wipes and Disinfecting Spray, these other products I'm going to talk about are just as great. 

I've been a loyal user of up & up's cotton swabs and sensitive skin body wash, but recently I had the chance to try their Cleansing Towelettes for Sensitive Skin and their Kids' 3-in-1 Body Wash

I've talked about this several times, but I have super sensitive skin and it seems to get worse the older I get. I'm newly allergic to most of the products I used to use to remove my makeup and recently, I've just been using water, but it doesn't remove everything. 

After seeing that up & up has new sensitive cleansing wipes that are dermatologist and ophthalmologist tested, I decided to give them a try. You can't imagine how excited I was that these towelettes easily and quickly removed my makeup without causing a rash on my skin. Even better? They weren't sticky (I hate sticky wipes!), they're fragrance and oil free and they removed my waterproof mascara.

When I'm at Target, I usually have at least one of my boys with me. One of their favorite things to do while we shop is pick out their own stuff. I let them select their mouthwash cups, their toothpaste and their body wash. Usually they pick out things based on the packaging, but I've found that a lot of those products weren't so great. I now let them pick from option A or B (which I choose!) so that we're getting better quality products. 

When I went to pick up some body wash for them I had Brody with me. Brody LOVES turtles, so before I was even able to select and A and B option, he picked out up & up's Orange Mango body wash for kids. It worked out perfectly! 

The body wash is a great consistency, (some of the kids stuff I've purchased before just slides right off your hand) it lathers well and it smells really good too! It's also an all in one - it shampoos, conditions, detangles and is a body wash! Best yet is that it's tear free.

I hope you've had a chance to try up & up products. What's your favorite one or which one are you looking most forward to trying? Leave an answer in the comments below and you will be entered for a chance to win one $100 Target GiftCard!

Be sure to leave your email address!

Sweepstakes Rules:
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You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
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4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 72 hours to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 10/22/2014 – 11/22/2014.
Be sure to visit the Target’s brand page on where you can read other bloggers’ posts!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Simple Chocolate Croissants

One of my favorite treats is a good chocolate croissant. Not many bakeries here have them, but Starbucks makes a pretty good one. ;-)

While I'm still working on a traditional chocolate croissant recipe (preferably one that doesn't take 4 days to make!) this is a great shortcut version!

Simple Chocolate Croissants
Yield: 8 pastries 

2 sheets puff pastry (one box)
1 4oz bar of Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate
1/2 of a 4oz bar of Ghirardelli bittersweet (60%) chocolate
1 egg
1 Tablespoon of water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Chop chocolate and mix together (unheated) in a bowl. Set aside. 

Dust a board with flour. Lightly roll out the dough to make it smooth. Cut down the middle and then across the middle so you end up with four squares. 

Place about 1.5 tablespoons of chocolate pieces in the center of each square.

Crack egg into a bowl and whisk with about 1 tablespoon of water. Using your fingers, put a line of egg wash around the edges of the square. Fold into a triangle and seal with fork tines. 

Bake until just done, about 8-10 minutes. Serve warm and reheat in the microwave for about 10 seconds.

PS: There are some SUPER cute monogrammed cutting boards on Jane today for just $9.99. These would be adorable served up on those (and they'd make a great Christmas gift!).

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Cinnamon Snack Stix

If you want something a little sweet and very easy, then this is for you. It would be a cute, fun little snack item (place it in a cup with the sticks sticking straight up!) for any get together or party!

Cinnamon Snack Stix
Yield: About 20 sticks

1 can refrigerated pizza dough
3 Tablespoons melted unsalted butter
1/4 cup white sugar (you can use less)
1 teaspoon (about) cinnamon
Pumpkin Pie Spice (a few sprinkles)

Preheat oven to 400.

Roll out pizza dough on a lightly floured surface. Using a pastry brush, brush melted butter over the dough. Sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice.

Cut dough into 3/4" strips, twist (or leave flat) and placed on a greased baking sheet.

Bake for about 7-9 minutes or until just done. Serve warm or cold!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Spiced Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

I love any excuse to eat cream cheese frosting. Who doesn't? It's so delicious. Coincidentally, I also adore pumpkin and so this recipe? It was a no brainer.

If you're in the mood for a deliciously moist and flavorful treat, whip these up today.

And while we're talking pumpkin, here's a few other recipes for you:

Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate
Pumpkin Bread
Pumpkin, Oatmeal and Chocolate Chip Cookies
Super Simple Chocolate Pumpkin Cake Pops
Chocolate Cream Cheese Pumpkin Roll
Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread
GIANT Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Brownies
5 Ingredient Chocolate Caramel Muffins
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Spiced Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Yield: 12 cupcakes

1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Small pinch (about 1/8 teaspoon) cloves
Small pinch nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup buttermilk (or whatever milk you have mixed with 1/2 tablespoon white vinegar)
2 eggs
1/2 of a 15oz can of pumpkin puree
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

For the Frosting:
1 8oz package reduced fat cream cheese
1 stick unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
5 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350.

In a bowl, mix flour, salt, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Set aside.

In a stand mixer, combine butter and sugar. Add pumpkin, eggs, vanilla and buttermilk. Combine well. Add in dry ingredients. Combine until mixed.

Fill muffin tins 3/4 of the way full. Bake 22-27 minutes or until just done. Let cool completely.

For the frosting: In a large bowl, using a hand mixer, combine butter and cream cheese throughly. Add vanilla, salt and powdered sugar. Combine.

Top cooled cupcakes with frosting.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Bread
Yield: 2 loaves

3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 15oz can pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 cups white sugar
4 egg whites, whisked (or you can use 2 whole eggs)
1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350.

In a bowl, whisk together flour, soda, powder, salt and pumpkin pie spice.

In a mixer, combine sugars, eggs, milk and pumpkin. Add in dry ingredients slowly.

Pour into greased bread pans. Bake about 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clear. Do not over bake!

Cool and serve.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Creamy Caramel Apple Cider


While I love hot drinks, I don't drink coffee (I could never get used to the taste). I do however love hot tea, hot chocolate and hot cider. This hot cider is soooo decadent. 

Next time you have guests over (or really just want to impress someone) make this. You won't regret it!

Creamy Caramel Apple Cider
Serves: 4

8 cups cider
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup half and half
Whipped topping

Over medium heat, combine sugar and half and half in a saucepan. Let come to a boil for one minute. Whisk in cider. Let cider heat to desired temperature.  Serve in glasses. Top with whipped topping and caramel.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Peach Cobbler

I may be a self-professed chocoholic, but I have a soft spot for peach cobbler. 

This is my mom's peach cobbler and it's the best one I've ever had. I grew up eating this and I love it SO much that I actually have never had another version that I would even eat. Huge bonus? It's ridiculously easy to make.

Peach Cobbler
Yield: 9*13, enough for 8-10 large portions

3 cups flour (about 1/4 cup less if using fresh fruit without juice)
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 sticks margarine
3 tsp baking powder
1 large, undrained can of peaches in juice OR 3-4 fresh peaches, sliced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add your margarine to a 9*13 pan, and stick it in the oven until the margarine is melted.

Meanwhile, whisk together flour, sugar, milk and baking powder.

Remove pan with melted margarine from the oven, and add your flour mixture directly to the hot pan. Stir around to incorporate the margarine. Evenly spread out the peaches.

Bake until just done about 1 hour - 1 hour, 15 minutes.

Serve warm with ice cream.

Note: If it starts to get too brown as it cooks, cover with foil. 

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