Friday, December 21, 2012

Shortbread Cookie Men

Boxed cookie mixes sure have come a longgggggg way!  There's one particular brand that never lets me down.  It's Krusteaz.  It can be found in the baking section at your local market.  I love the Bakery Style Shortbread cookie mix.  It tastes exactly like homemade and all you do is add 1 1/2 sticks of butter!  My only problem is that every time I accidentally break of these guy, I feel I need to eat it to get rid of the evidence.  Sometimes I wonder if I might be breaking their little arms off on purpose??? My mom said not to worry... broken cookies, uneven brownies , misshaped cakes and extra frosting have to be taken care of, you have to get rid of the evidence.  I always listen to my mom, she knows best!

Oh well.... that's half the fun I guess!


  • 1 box (14 Oz. Size) Krusteaz Bakery Style Shortbread Cookie Mix
  • 1-½ stick Butter, Room Temperature
  • 1 bag (12 Oz. Size) Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 2 Tablespoons Canola Oil
  • 2 whole (1.4 Oz. Size) Heath Bars, Crushed

Preparation Instructions

For the cookies (recipe is on the side of the box):
Preheat oven to 350F. Place cookie mix and butter in a medium bowl, stir until dough forms (sometimes I use my hands for this). 

Place dough on lightly floured surface; roll to 1/2-inch thickness and cut into shapes. Place 1 inch apart onto ungreased cookie sheet. Pierce dough with a fork. 

Bake for 11-13 minutes or until light golden brown around edges. Makes 24 cookies, more or less.
Cool on cookie rack and prepare chocolate glaze. 

For the chocolate glaze:
Fill a double boiler with water but don’t allow the water in the bottom pan to touch the bottom of the top pan. Place the chocolate chips and oil into the top pan on the double boiler and heat over low heat. Stir the chocolate constantly until smooth. Remove from heat and place in a shallow bowl. 

To decorate the cookies:
After the cookies have cooled, dip the legs (or any other part) into the warm chocolate glaze. Quickly sprinkle the crushed Health bars while chocolate is still warm. Place them on a cookie sheet and let air dry for a couple of hours.
Store in an airtight container.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Healthy Oat Bran Muffins

These muffins are great for breakfast, lunch or as a snack with a big glass of milk.  They are loaded with nutrition so I never feel guilty chomping down one or two or three.... After I bake a dozen, I always eat at least one, warm from the oven and the rest get thrown in a zip lock bag and into the freezer.  Pop one in the microwave for 35 seconds and you're good to go. 


Prep Time:  10 Minutes
Cook Time:  18-20  Minutes


3/4 Cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
3/4 Cup Oat Bran Cereal ( Bob's Red Mill)
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1 Medium Ripe Banana Mashed
1/2 Cup Sour Cream
1 Large Whole Egg
2 Tbsp. Cooking Oil
1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1/2 Cup Carrots, Shredded
1/2 Cup Walnuts Chopped
1/2 Cup Blueberries


Mix all dry ingredients together in large bowl.  In a separate bowl mix together the liquid ingredients.  Combine the two bowls and stir until moist.  Fold in carrots, walnuts and blueberries.  Grease a 12 cup muffins tin.  Fill each cup 2/3 full.  Bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes. 

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This recipe is a slight variation of the recipe on the bag of Bob's Red Mill Hot Oat Bran Cereal.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Triple Chocolate Peppermint Bundt Cake

 10 55 65



Prep time:  10 minutes, Bake for 55 minutes
Yield:  12 Servings


For Cake:


1 package chocolate cake mix 18.25 Ounce Size
1 package Instant Pudding Mix ( 3.8 Ounce Size)
1 Cup Sour Cream
1 Cup Vegetable Oil
1/2 Cup Warm Strong Coffee
4 Whole Eggs ( beaten)
1 Cup semisweet chocolate chips

In a large bowl combine the cake mix, pudding mix, sour cream, vegetable oil, coffee and eggs.  Beat on low speed for 30 seconds.  Beat on medium speed for 2  minutes.  Stir in the chocolate chips.
Pour into a greased and floured 10-inch ( 3 quart) bundt pan.
Bake at 350 for 55-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool for 15 minutes before removing from pan. Remove from pan, cool on wire rack. Drizzle with chocolate glaze, allowing glaze to drip down sides.  Immediately sprinkle with crushed peppermint candies.

For Glaze:

1/2 cup butter
5 TBS unsweetened Cocoa Powder
2 Cups Powdered Sugar
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
3 TBS Milk

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.  Stir in the cocoa, and vanilla.
Heat to a boil stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and stir in the powdered sugar.  Mixture will be thick.  Slowly add the milk 1 TBS at a time until it has a spreadable consistency.

Drizzle over bundt cake .

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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Stuffed Peppers with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts

My Aunt Dolly makes the best stuffed peppers in the world!  She's one of those amazing Italian cooks that makes everything from scratch, never seems to have any written recipes and uses what ever she has available in the kitchen that day.  It's always " a little bit of this, a little bit of that.... throw some sauce over there, top it with some cheese"........  The outcome is always amazing.

 She cuts her peppers in half, stuffs them with raw meat and raw rice and simmers them in a skillet covered in sauce.  I love her method but because everything starts out raw, it takes a bit longer to cook. My method is a little bit quicker but I do always add her two surprise ingredients because I believe it's what makes her peppers unique and extra special.  Here is my version of Auntie Dolly's peppers.

Yield: 4 Large
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour ten minutes


4 Whole Peppers ( Largest you can find)
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Medium Onion, Chopped
1 Clove Garlic, Chopped
1 Pound Ground Beef or (Ground Chicken, Turkey or Pork)
Salt and Pepper to Taste
4 Cups Prepared Tomato Sauce .. recipe below
1 1/2 Cups Cooked White or Brown Rice
1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese
1/3 Cup Golden Raisins
1/3 Cup Toasted Pine Nuts (or un-Toasted)
1/2 Cup Mozzarella Cheese


For the Sauce:

4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Clove Garlic Chopped
1 32 ounce Can Ground Peeled Tomatoes (I use Pastene)
1 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Sugar
6 Basil Leaves, Chopped or Cut into Slivers

In a large skillet over medium high heat, heat the olive and garlic. Saute for one minute watching carefully not to burn.  Add the ground peeled tomatoes, salt, sugar and basil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 5- 8 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Slice the tops off the peppers and remove seeds and ribs.  Save the tops.  In a skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil and chopped onion.  Saute until soft, about five minutes.  Add in the garlic and cook for an additional minute.  Add in the ground meat and cook until no longer pink, ( about 10 minutes). Drain fat and place cooked meat in a large mixing bowl.    Season with salt and pepper.  Add the cooked rice, 3/4 cups tomato sauce, 1/2 cup or Parmesan cheese, golden raisins and pine nuts.  Mix thoroughly.  Divide the mixture evenly between each pepper.  Place the four peppers in a 8 inch square pan standing up. Pour remaining sauce over and around the peppers. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese evenly on top of the  peppers. Place the tops back on the peppers.    Cook for 20 minutes uncovered, then cover with tin foil and cook an additional 30 minutes. 

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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Another fun and easy idea I saw posted on the Cottage House site.  All you need is a hot glue gun, red candle, red ribbon and candy canes!