12.18.2009

Bread and Butter, a kitchen shoppe

If you have a moment.... hop on over to Madaline: The Magnificent Mayhem Maker (click here) today. You will be glad you did. I will give you a hint:


So, HURRY UP!

Really....What are you waiting for?

12.09.2009

Chocolate Coated Cereal Crunchy Goodness

*please excuse the messy counter*

I am always looking for quick and easy things to make with Madaline in the kitchen. Something that is simple, and easy, and that she can help with. And, this chocolate coated cereal treat is just the thing.

And, now that I think about it, you could probably make it with any kind of cereal that you may or may not have on hand. Just so long as it had some body to it - as I am just not sure I would make this with rice krispies - know what I mean? I mean, if you are dealing with rice krispies, then I would make rice krispie treats, but, well, that is a whole other post in and of itself.

*ohh....chocolate covered rice krispie treat...nom, nom!*

I would have to also say that my favorite part of making this was when I got to melt the chocolate. And, it goes from this:

to this:

Don't you just want to stick you tongue under that ribbon of chocolaty goodness?

And, once you have your chocolate melted, just stir it into your bowl full of cereal and pretzels & chocolate coated candies. Once everything is evenly coated, spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet. However, since this makes a HUGE amount, I actually had to split mine between two cookie sheets to harden. That being said, I am not the most patient person in the world, I ended up putting the cookie sheets in the fridge. It only took about an hour or so.


And, oh, my, GOONNESS!!!! It is heavenly. It's hard not to open up the fridge every time I am in the kitchen and snarf handfuls of this down. Yes....snarf it down by the handful.

*snarf, snarf*

TTB Chocolate Coated Cereal Crunchy Goodness

3 cups of Rice Chex
3 cups of Honey Nut Chex
3 cups of Cherrios
1 cup of Pretzel Sticks
1 bag of M&M's
2 - 12oz. bags of White Chocolate Chips

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. In a double boiler or in a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water, melt White Chocolate chips until smooth. Stir melted chocolate into cereal/pretzel/M&M mixture until all is well combined. Pour onto cookie sheets and spread into a single layer. Allow to sit about 4 hours until chocolate hardens or speed up the process by placing cookie sheets in the fridge. Once hardened, break into chunks and store in a sealed container or food storage bag, in the fridge.

enjoy!

12.04.2009

Toffee Choclate Chip Cookie Bars


It is safe to say that I have been on the hunt for a basic Blondie bar recipe for a while. One that I could manipulate according to what ever mood I was in. Think of it it like owning multiple pairs of black shoes - a black shoe is a black shoe, in that the color is the same, but they are infinitely different at the same time. Each difference may be very subtle, whether it be heel height, style, or material, but, it is an important difference in how it pulls together an outfit. Cookie bars are the same way. Once you have a standard base recipe, you can tailor your add ins, much like you choose one pair of black shoes over another.


I also believe that when it comes to cookie bars, that folks fall into one of two categories. You are either a Soft & Chewy or an Ooey & Gooey. Really...Ask yourself...What to you look for in a cookie bar? No crust? Hard Edges? Everything but the kitchen sink added in? Just some chocolate chips? No nuts? And, most importantly, Soft & Chewy or Ooey & Gooey? When I asked myself what I was looking for, I realized that that I wanted a subtle, complex mix of flavors. No hard edges, I always only eat the inside pieces, and they MUST BE SOFT & CHEWY!

And, so, in my quest, to find the perfect pair of black shoes, err, Blondie recipe, I discovered a very simple, very delicious, basic recipe over at Smitten Kitchen. I took it, Madaline and I baked it, and we made it ours. I was a happy camper - and now that I have such a dynamite base recipe - my mind is swarming with different flavor combination.


Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars:

1 cup of Butter - Melted
2 Cups of Brown Sugar (I used light brown sugar & lightly packed it)
2 Eggs
2 Teaspoons of Good Vanilla Extract (I never measure this - I just pour in what I think looks like what the recipie is asking for)
2 cups of All Purpose Flour
1 Bag of Toffee Pieces (I used Heath Bar Pieces - sold in the baking isle)
1/2 - 3/4 of a Bag of Chocolate Chips

Preheat over to 350 degrees. Butter or Spray grease a 9 x 13 inch - set aside

Mix the melted butter & brown sugar until smooth and well combined. (My toddler did this with a wooden spoon). Add the eggs and vanilla - mix until combined. Mix in the flour and once that is incorporated, gently stir in the toffee pieces and chocolate chips.

Pour into your prepared pan and bake for about 35 - 45 minutes, depending on if you want Ooey & Gooey or Soft & Chewy. Mine were in the oven for about 40 minutes or so. These need to cool completely before cutting. Actually, if you can, let them sit over night first before cutting or eating. My thought is that they actually taste their best, after they have sat for about 24 hours.

Enjoy!

11.18.2009

Simple Supper


I don't have a lot of time in the evenings to make dinner - I don't get home till shortly after 5:30. However, it is still important to me, as a Mom, to put a nice home cooked meal on the table.

Yesterday morning, before I left for work, I shoved a beef roast in the crock pot with an entire bottle of my favorite BBQ sauce. When I got home, I pulled the beef out - and set it aside. I cut about 4 medium sized white potatoes, leaving the skins on, and set them to boil in a shallow pan. I then, skimmed the fat off the BBQ sauce, and transferred it to an sauce pot of the stove. I whisked in a couple of spoons fulls of flour and brought it to a boil. While my potatoes simmered, I worked at shredding up the beef and dumped it into the boiling BBQ mixture on the stove.

Once this was done, my potatoes were fork tender, since I had cut them into small pieces, and so I drained them. As they were draining in the sink, I put some bake off biscuits on a cookie sheet and threw them in the oven. I then melted a 1/2 a stick of butter in the pan I just cooked the potatoes in & added the potatoes, in a single layer, back in the pan. I then simply sprinkled them with salt, pepper and some garlic powder. (And, folks, the key to crispy taters - put them in the pan and LEAVE THEM ALONE - I only flipped my taters once, after they had been cooking in the pan for about 7 minutes). The oven timer went off, the biscuits came out of the oven, I plated it all up and we sat down to dinner.

11.05.2009

ROCKIN' Chix Tortilla Soup


Forever ago, I tweeted about how I needed a recipe for Chicken Tortilla Soup. Thankfully, people replied. I got recipes from Jennifer who blogs at Playgroups Are No Place For Children, from LZ who authors My Messy Paradise, and of course, the ever lovely I can always count on Connie of The Young & the Relentless.

I printed off the recipes - and then sat down and made a grocery list. I selected my favorite ingredients from each list. And, what I noticed, is essentially I ended up with chicken, stock, stewed tomatoes, salsa, tortilla chips and shredded Mexican cheese blend on my list.


To get started, I diced up about 2 pounds of chicken breast, sprinkled it with some pan searing flour, salt & pepper, then bowned it up in 2 - 3 tablespoons of butter in my large dutch oven. Oh - before we move on, Let's talk about butter for a moment...shall we?


butter photo credit click here

Yes - I cook with butter - I like the flavor it gives to my food and so to hell with the fat and calorie content. I cook with butter - I *think* I already said that. And, since we are taking this side trip - lets talk about the chicken for a moment. Put it in the pan and LEAVE IT ALONE. Let it BROWN. Let it do its thing. You want all those tasty brown bits on the bottom of the pan. You need them there. They will make you happy. Trust me.

After my chicken cooked, I dumped in the whole carton of chicken stock, 2 14oz cans of stewed tomatoes, a 24oz jar of medium heat salsa and brought the whole pot up to a boil. I then turned down the heat and let it simmer on the stove for about 30 minutes.

Then, viola - SOUP! To serve it, I crushed a handful of tortilla chips into the bottom of a bowl, sprinkled the chips with shredded Mexican cheese blend, and ladled the soup on top. I then took the biggest spoon I have in the drawer, curled up with my favorite blanket in my favorite chair and lost myself in my soup bowl.


Enjoy!

10.13.2009

Its Not Delivery - It's Townsend Bakery

My sister, Molly, affectionately known as Ollie was home over last weekend for Fall Break. Since she can't eat regular Pizza, I decided to make homemade Pizza. Well, somewhat homemade. I cheated on the crust and the sauce. Wegman's makes these really fab large pizza crusts. Just layer on your toppings, stick in the oven, and 20 minutes later you have a pizza that is better than you could ever get via delivery.

I started out by slicing a nice heirloom tomatoe and one yellow bell pepper.

Then, I diced up about 1/2 a pound of bacon and fried that up. Because, well, everything tastes better with bacon.

Then, I added about 1 Tbsp. of butter some of the reaming bacon fat in the pan after I removed the bacon, and tossed in a package of sliced baby bella mushrooms.

*Remember: don't salt your mushroom when you add them to the pan, allow them to cook for about 5 minutes before you season, other wise it will take forever for them to brown up.*

Spread some Alfredo sauce on your pizza crust - We used a Whole Wheat crust. Then top the sauce with your cooked bacon & mushrooms. I then neatly arranged the tomatoes around the outside of the crust, and then piled the peppers in the middle. I popped it in the oven for about 10 minutes to give the sauce and raw veggies a chance to heat thru before adding the cheese.

Once the 10 minutes is up - I just took it out, smothered it with 2 cups of Shredded Pizza Blend cheese & slide it right back in the oven.

About 10 minutes after that, I had Pizza Heaven - right in my own kitchen. No scary delivery boy needed.

It was good. So, good in fact, that I ate two slices, my sister ate two slices, my mom ate two slices, and even the Mayhem Maker at a slice.

10.05.2009

Chocolate White Chocolate Chunk Cookies


A few weeks ago, I purchased some Chocolate White Chocolate Chunk cookies from a local grocery store. For grocery store cookies, they rocked my world. They were good. And, I said to myself, these can't be too hard to make. So I went searching for a recipe. I came across Ina Garten's Chocolate White Chocolate Chunk Cookies. Now. I must tell you, I am a HUGE fan of Ina Garten. Love her. I secretly wish that she some days stumbles across my blog and invited me to cook in her kitchen. Because, well, that would just simply rock my world

Anyway, where was I? Oh. That's right. Cookies.


You start with the usual suspects - sugar & eggs and of course, white chocolate.

You mix it all up - as usual - and you end up with vat full of chocolaty goodness, that is only going to get even more gooder (yes, I know that I not a word, but, it seemed like it fit the best)

I could probably just sit down with a spoon right at this moment. No need to bake, expect for the fear of salmonella from the raw egg.

Are they not beautiful? Big, beautiful rounds of chocolate goodness?

And, of course, if I drank milk, I would need to have these with a glass of milk. Because it seems like the right thing to do, especially with salad plate sized chocolate cookies.

Who wants to stop by for cookies and milk?


9.30.2009

Apple Cake w/ Powdered Sugar Glaze

Madaline and I picked 30lb of apples. I have been baking with apples like crazy lately. And, this cake, THIS CAKE ROCKS!!!

So - you need to gather up your ingredients and usually everything I bake, gets mixed my RED Kitchen Aid stand mixer. (Yes, I love my mixer so much I would have babies with it if I could)


The recipe only call for 3 cups of applies. I figured 5 good sized apples would do the trick - It didn't matter to me if it came out to be more than three cups.

And, of course, what cake is not complete without some butter AND cream cheese?


Cream that yummy goodness together, and try not to take a spoon and start eating it - especially after you add in the flour and other dry ingredients.

(please excuse the photo quality - that corner in my kitchen is a bit dark)

After you get everything mixed together, then you need to fold in your chopped up apples

And, after you pour this applely (is that even a word?) batter in your greased spring form pan, recruit your toddler to cover the entire top of the cake with cinnamon sugar


And, after it came out of the oven, I thought it looked a little naked, so, I made a simple powdered sugar glaze..


And, then it didn't look so naked anymore...


It looked good enough to eat..

9.24.2009

Thanking Thursday

(Been a while, I know. Lemme see if I can remember how to do this while I procrastinate on my history paper a little more....)

A Few of my Favorites....

+Surprising a certain little girl at her daycare

+Monster Cookies made with TTB love

+Having a Starbucks on campus

+Sitting on the hill and watching soccer accompanied by a sibling

+Being the only girl on the field

+Being healthy

+Feeling good after an organic chemistry exam

+Thank Goonness tomorrow is Friday

+When my sister "borrows" my Focus so that hers and mine can have a playdate

+A mix of Yahoo! music videos to help me write my paper due, of course, tomorrow.

7.02.2009

The Meatball Division

The Townsend Bakery does not merely stop at baked goods; we actually do food, too. Normally, when Heather bakes or cooks, it's usually only for 6 people (just our "family") or, at most on some days, 9 (our "family" plus our aunt and uncle and grandmother). Most of the times the baked goods stay between our two houses. At most, she makes a double batch of things.

Not so with the meatballs.

Considering that we break out the meatballs at special occasions (graduations, marriages, the lake, etc..) and considering that there's quite a few in our extended family, when we do meatballs and cookies, we do them in mass. Let me share some numbers from this morning's meatball frenzy.

- 19.5 pounds ground beef
- 3.25 cup oil
- 13 eggs
- 13 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce
- 9.75 cups of bread crumbs
- 1.5 teaspoons of pepper
- 6.5 cups of milk

Mix it all well, and then break out the melon ballers. Onto an ungreased cookie sheet, and into this oven at 300 degrees.


To help speed this process up, not only were two pots of coffee consumed, but also some delightful pastries from the local DD.

The grand result: 415 meatballs.

Did I mention we had a crowd to feed? Well..mathematically speaking, if we have 70 people, that's only about 5.98687 meatballs per person. Get 'em while they're there.

6.25.2009

Thankful Thursdays....

These are a few of My Favorite Things.....

The Hubby's New Job

Ice Cold Chunks of Watermelon

Big Beautiful Peony Blooms

The Tart Sweetness of Strawberries

Lil' Mayhem Maker in Braided Piggy Tails

Five Minutes of Silence

Moon
lite Back Yards


Thanks on a Thursday

These are a few of my favorite things.....

+
The beautiful place that I live


+ Having the courage to do the right thing


+
A flowy summer skirt


+
The smell of a shirt that's been hung in the country air to dry


+ The baby bunnies that live under the boat trailer


+ Napping with both the cat and the dog


+ A little mayhem maker who makes life a bit more interesting on a daily basis

6.16.2009

Tasteful Tuesdays

Bananas! "BA-NANAS" BANANAS!



I like bananas. Really, I do. As long as they do NOT smell like a Banana and as long as they do NOT taste like a banana. Needless to say, it only takes about 2 days after I bring home for a banana to reach this stage. Good thing, that Madaline and my husband, LOVE, and I mean LOVE, baked goods that are made with Bananas. '

So, today, I am sharing with you, my latest and greatest BA-NANA Bread Recipe.

EnJoy!

2 1/2 all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups sugar
2 cups over-ripe mashed bananas
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup chocolate chips (if you want - these are optional - sometimes I add them, and sometimes I don't)
1 tbsp. butter


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, baking soda and salt; stir to mix well. In the bowl of an electric mixer (I use my kitchen aid for this), beat together shortening, vanilla, sugar, mashed bananas, and eggs. When well beaten, gradually add the flour mixture. Mix only until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips if you are adding them. Butter and flour a loaf pan. Bake for 65-70 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to sit for several minutes. Run a bread knife around edges of loaf pan to free it from sides and remove from pan. Rub the top of the still-warm loaf with a pat of butter to soften and glaze the top, if desired.

Serve this tasty goodness with gobs of butter or it is also tasty, or so I have heard, with some cream cheese smeared on the top.


6.15.2009

Simplified SINfullness

Take a box of these:


and, then a box of these:


Make both boxes, in the same bowl, according to the package direction. Spread the ooey gooey goodness, known as brownie batter, into a lightly greast 9 by 13 inch pan. Bake in a 325 degree oven, for about 45 - 50 minutes, depending on the quirks of your oven. Cool completely, and then enjoy.

You will get this:


and eventually this, in LESS THAN 24 hours: