Saturday, April 30, 2011

Carmelized Onion Dip

I've always loved the folded over chips & tossed the ones "green-edged". How 'bout you?
OK, so I grew up on onion dip made of: Tub of Sour Cream + 1 Packet of dry powdered onion soup (with or w/o the dried onions depending upon how lazy the host was). Tasty as it was, it's packed with sodium & things I cannot pronounce not to mention the fat. I haven't had chips in a few years but have a hankering for some tonight (there's an open bag of leftover Lay's from Gabriel's 2nd Birthday & I thought hmmm... so yummy with dip... I found this: Caramelized Onion Dip. Delish! So step away from the dry packets & enjoy your splurge & Saturday night! :) Lish

*Lishie tip- I like thinner dip so I pureed the onions.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Got Lotsa Matzo?

So inevitably, after Passover, there's a lot of matzo... kind of like the ham at Easter... but not. A yummy treat that I make with saltines are "Sweet & Salty Chocolate Cracker Truffles"... They are made with the same ingredients I used here but the crackers are crushed up & everything is swirled together in ball shapes. I took the same flavors & put together this super easy snack for tonight. We had pizza with my In-Laws & after a full week, I am pretty tired. This will be perfect to snuggle in front of the tv along with a cuppa Earl Grey (a nod to the historical Royal Wedding of Prince William & Duchess Kate)... Chocolate & Sea Salted Matzo...

Of course, you can make as many as you want, but I am listing the ingredients to make 1 matzo.

Chocolate & Sea Salted Matzo

1 Unsalted Matzo
1/2 cup Milk Chocolate Chips
1/2 tsp Sea Salt

Melt the chips in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second interviews, stirring in between, until the chocolate is melted. 

Carefully spread the melted chocolate onto the matzo with the back of a spoon or a cake frosting spatula. Sprinkle the sea salt over the chocolate, evenly. 

It's that easy!

*Lishie tip- If you haven't had matzo, it's just like Saltines, a little crisper. Give it a try.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Hey you... Muffin Top!

No I am not saying your tummy is sticking out & over your jeans... That would be the pot calling the kettle... I really mean "Muffin tops", Banana-Walnut to be precise. Now nearly every one I know who eats muffins prefers the yummy, crunchy top best. Right? Yeah- me too! So going back into my cupboard full of different shapes, sizes, etc. of baking tins & pans, I pulled out my Muffin Top Pan! Yes, one actually exists & I got it as soon as it came out in stores. You may want to order one because it's so inexpensive & when you see this easy & yummy recipe... you'll want to make it!

This makes 8 large muffin tops or 10 thinner ones, so you, like me, will have to re-use the muffin top baking tin or just buy 2! LOL How I treat this recipe is very much like the way I make pancake batter. It is so simple.

Banana Walnut Muffin Tops

  • 1 & 3/4 c AP Flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 3 medium (or 2 large) RIPE Bananas 
  • 3/4 c light Brown Sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/3 c Canola Oil
  • 2 large Eggs, @room temperature
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 2/3 c Walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray cooking spray or oil & flour the muffin top baking tin.

In a large bowl, Mix together flour, Baking powder & soda, & salt. Make a "well" in the middle & set aside. In another bowl, fork mash the banana then combine it with the brown sugar, oil, eggs & vanilla. Pour the wet banana mixture into the "well" in the flour mixture & fold all ingredients in (you should have lumps from the banana. Add the walnuts & fold them in. Drop the batter into the baking tin evenly.

Cook for 13-15 minutes... the muffin tops should be browned on the edges & a toothpick inserted should come out clean.
The pan- shallow holes
*Lishie tip- If you use the pan a second time, quickly wipe it & then apply cooking "spray" before adding the batter & baking again.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tex- Mexican "Lasagna", pre-Cinco de Mayo

This is a simple & fast weeknight dinner. I mean really simple. And really fast. The time is spent in the prep for me... Yesterday, while making my turkey meatloaf, I also baked the chicken. Then I wrapped & refrigerated it to be ready for tonight's meal. And as I also said yesterday, we're cutting more fat out of our diet so I've cut ingredients in it. But this is so versatile, you can add more salsa/spice/sour cream/smother it in cheese... it is really easy. OR you can use only refried beans & make it entirely vegetarian. And you have the ground turkey/beef/chicken option.

I can't believe next week is Cinco de Mayo already! I miss celebrating the holiday in Miami in little Cuba. So I have to bring some festiveness to my home.

Tex-Mex Lasagna

  • 8 Flour Tortillas
  • 1 lb. cooked, shredded Chicken*
  • 1/2 cup Salsa (I use Mild but any will do!)
  • 1/2 cup Sour Cream (Lowfat or regular)
  • 1 TBSp Cilantro or Parsley
  • 1 tsp Chili Powder (OR 1/2 tsp Chili Powder + 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper)
  • 1-2 cups shredded Cheese (I use the 2% milk, Mexican Mix)
  • 1 can of refried Beans (I use Vegetarian)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a rectangular baking dish with cooking spray. Combine the chicken, salsa, sour cream & herbs in a bowl. Mix together. 

Form the "lasagna"- 
Layer 2 soft tortillas then spread 1/2 the chicken mix on them, then a little cheese. 
Layer 2 more tortillas, then spread refried beans on them, then some more cheese.
Layer 2 more tortillas, the rest of the chicken mixture on them, then more cheese.
Finally layer the last 2 tortillas on top & more cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese on top is melted & the sides of the tortillas have begun to brown. Serve topped with scallions & a dollop of sour cream or salsa. Delish & so very easy. 

*Lishie tip- For the Chicken, I spray a foil-covered baking pan with cooking spray, then using a pastry brush, coat the chicken with a little olive oil, coriander & S & P. Bake @ 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Shred. Or to be easier, get a rotisserie chicken & break it into pieces.

Also, salsa is a GREAT fat free, cholesterol free component to add flavor to a meal!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes

Fluffy goodness!
So my hubby has to really work on lowering his cholesterol & triglycerides. They are scary high & it's convinced him to start trying the food I make for Gabriel & me. But as I know best of all people, with my crohns disease, you cannot restrict 100%- you must have taste & some comfort. A great way of doing this is figuring out a way to cut the fat & salt in recipes by substituting other, healthier components. One great substitute is buttermilk.

Buttermilk is what's left in cow's milk after butter is made; The fat has been removed to make the butter, hence the name. And it is healthier than milk. It also has more lactic acid than regular milk so it's easier to digest. (This fact has been attributed to it's long shelf-life.) So if buttermilk can be subbed in a creamy meal- do it!

Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes

  • 6 large Potatoes, skinned (I used Golden)
  • 1/2 Cup Milk (I use Skim)
  • 1/4 Cup unsalted Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Buttermilk
  • S & P, to taste

Cut the potatoes into even pieces. Boil a 4 Quart sauce pan of water. Add the potatoes carefully & allow the water to be brought to a boil again. Lower the heat to a simmer & cook the potatoes 10-15 minutes more, until a piece falls off of a fork. 

While the potatoes are cooking, warm the (regular) milk & butter in a small sauce pan, allowing the butter to fully melt (but do NOT boil or simmer!)

Drain the potatoes in a colander then return the cooked potatoes to the sauce pan. Mash to your desired consistency. Add the warmed milk/butter mixter. Add the buttermilk & S & P, to taste.

To accompany the buttermilk mashed potatoes, I was able to get my hubby to try my Turkey Meatloaf... & it was a hit! He liked it; Mikey liked it! (Note- I never call Michael, Mikey ;) )  Look at all of the delicious, fresh goodness in that picture to the left... I mean, FRESH spinach, how can one go wrong?! And another side for this Monday night was asparagus. Tonight, to make it simple for Michael, so he can actually taste the veg, I tossed the fresh asparagus in extra virgin olive oil, lemon zest & juice & grated a tiny bit of parmesan cheese on top. I roasted it in the oven on 375 degrees for 15 minutes.  

My toddler, Gabriel & I have have eaten asparagus tons of times, no big deal... but Michael didn' He ate his serving tonight though. Baby steps... for my's all that I or the nutritionist can ask!

Michael seemed content & full at the end of the meal. And guess what? I'm content that he was content... & that he was attempting to be healthy.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Strawberry Layer Cake with Balsamic-Macerated Strawberries

I was going to make Carrot Cake for the good 'ol Easter Bunny & the family until my friend Amy posted this Strawberry cake recipe. I had a huge carton of fresh, beautiful strawberries on hand & this just seemed, perfect. I went with Amy's recommendation to cut the sugar... I only used 1 cup. And I completely omitted the red food coloring. When strawberries are this gorgeous, in season, why ruin their natural pinkish beauty in the batter? And to that effect, I also skipped Preparation #2's Food Processor suggestion. Instead, I mashed the thinly sliced strawberry slices with a pastry blender, then added them to the batter. I ended up with nice pieces of the fruit within the cake.  I used the frosting recipe, substituting orange juice as suggested, but instead of just strawberry slices, I made macerated strawberries to adorn the cake & to slather on the center before icing it. It was delish!
Happy Easter everyone!!!!
Lishie's Macerated Strawberries

  • 2 Cups Strawberries, cut in fours
  • 1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/4 Cup Sugar
  • 2 TBSp Orange Juice

Combine all of the ingredients together & refrigerate for at least 2 hours. 

*Lishie Tip- Add chopped basil to the macerated berries for some extra delish flavor! These strawberries were also yummy on the chocolate cake that was served & are delicious on ice cream!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Vanilla Egg Cakelets & Crayon-Shape Craft

It's Easter Eve & I've baked a fresh strawberry cake (will post the recipe tomorrow) & these "cakelets" that I make every year for the children- nieces & nephews, & this year, my toddler. I call them my Egglets.

I have a cupboard full of different bakeware in different sizes, shapes, holidays... all for different purposes & made of different materials. For these cakelets, you need an egg-shaped pan. Mine is from Williams-Sonoma but Nordicware also has one.

Williams-Sonoma Recipe for Vanilla-Egg-Cakelets
I follow the recipe exactly except I leave out the apricot jam part. I also use my vanilla frosting recipe, below, instead. And they come out yummy & perfect for the children.

Bare Egglets.

All dressed for the Easter Parade.

Vanilla Frosting

  • 1/2 Cup Shortening
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp Orange Juice
  • 2 Cups Confectioner's Sugar
  • 3 TBSp Milk
Using the mixer paddle, beat the shortening, vanilla & juice together. Slowly add half the sugar & then a TBSp of milk, incorporating the everything well. Slowly add the rest of the sugar & more of the milk until well-mixed & spreading consistency. 

This is the perfect amount for 9 cakelets. Decorate the egglets with sprinkles, colored sugar, etc. These are for the children- they did not have to be perfect :)

Crayon-Shape Craft
OK, everyone with children seems to have broken, in pieces crayons. I did not, yet at least, until Gabriel's 2nd Birthday Party last week. And I was excited because I've been wanting to do this craft! Be careful- this is a good one for your children to watch, not help. The wax is hot!!! These make great favors for birthday parties or great gifts to accompany coloring books. 

Start out by taking the paper off of the broken crayons. Line a muffin tin with liners. In each, separate liner, place the color combination that you want the melted color to be:

Blue & Pink pieces.
Place the tin in the oven on it's lowest setting. I did 200 degrees. There's no "time"- just keep watch until the crayon wax is entirely melted together & looks like this:

Have this ready: 
Heart & a Star...
Parchment paper & METAL, cooking-sprayed cookie cutters (not the plastic! they may melt from the heat) or Candy shapes plastic from the craft store. 

HOLD the cookie cutter in place tightly & carefully pour the melted wax into the cookie cutter. Hold until the wax sets, just a moment. And you will end up with these:

BEAUTIFULLY, repurposed, shaped crayons!

Hoppy Easter everyone!!!!

Matzo Brei - Happy Passover!

I love matzo, as does my hubby. So when the local A&P offers free matzoh (an unleavened bread) weekly with purchase, we grab it up into the cart. Also, as friends know, I love to teach Gabriel about other cultures & religions. On Passover, observers of the Jewish faith fast from anything leavened for 8 days in commemoration of Exodus, when the ancient Israelites were freed from slavery in Northern Egypt.  Matzo looks like a giant cracker. It's delicious with just butter or jam, or peanut butter & jelly. Actually, anything you'd eat on bread or crackers.

Matzo brei is a yummy breakfast of eggs mixed with matzo. The name literally means "fried matzo" in Hebrew.
Kosher for Passover goodness.

Matzo Brei
  • Canola Oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 pieces of Matzo
  • Kosher Salt
Take the matzo & break it up into pieces in a bowl. Cover the matzo pieces with water & allow it to get just wet enough- about one minute. Drain the water but leave the matzo pieces in the bowl. 

Scrambled the eggs in a separate bowl & add the salt. Pour eggs over the matzoh. 

Heat the canola oil in a non-stick pan on Medium high. Add the matzoh mix. Carefully stir the eggs until cooked (your preference) and the matzoh has a golden edge. Serve & enjoy!

*Lishie tip- Add smoked salmon, "lox", or onions for extra yum.
*Perrie tip- As per her friend's mom- add a touch of yummy with a pinch of cinnamon. YUM

Friday, April 22, 2011

W is for Waffles

So I woke up this morning feeling fine... & wanted WAFFLES! I rarely do. Usually, it's pancakes but not today. Pulled my trusty waffle-maker out of the cupboard & whipped up some buttermilk waffles.

Buttermilk Waffles
  • 1 & 3/4 cup AP Flour
  • 2 TBSp Sugar
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 cups Buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup Canola Oil
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
Mix dry ingredients (first 5) in a medium-sized bowl. Make a "well" in the center of the dry mixture.

W is for Waffle!
In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, oil & vanilla. Pour the liquid mixture into the "well" then incorporate both the dry & liquid ingredients together. The batter should be lumpy!

Ladle the amount called for by your waffle-maker (I do two ice cream scoops-full) onto a cooking sprayed, pre-heated waffle-maker. Follow directions for your appliance from here. 

I topped the waffles with maple syrup & fresh strawberries. Delish!

My waffle-maker was a gift from my Step-Mom & I love it. It's a Villaware. For more of my favorite kitchen gadgets, go here.

*Lishie tip- This same batter can be used for Belgian waffles. Waffles are not just for breakfast! Add fried chicken & there's dinner! Or Shrimp & grits. Add ice cream & hot fudge- Dessert! YUM.

Jell-O Jigglers Easter Eggs & The Perfect Hard-Boiled Egg & an EARTH DAY Craft

Doubtful the Easter bunny will eat 'em but my hunny bunny will
Today's Good Friday, Earth Day & I have a sick toddler... what to do inside, what to do? I decided to do a couple of crafty things, & one was Jell-O Jigglers. Funny, my toddler doesn't eat them but my hubby does. So these are sugar free lemon & lime gelatin eggs.

Jell-O Jigglers Easter Eggs 

But first, you need one of these: Jiggler Egg Mold

Original recipe from Kraft Foods. I had to modify their recipe because my hubby picked up 2 different flavors of the smaller, .30 oz boxes. Using the mold, I mixed 1 cup of boiling water with the gelatin. It came out great (according to my hubby). Krafty! ;)

Another project we did today was decorating eggs.  Guess egg-salad is in our future ;)

The Perfect Hard-Boiled Egg

Donald's G's favorite!
Place the eggs in one layer, in a sauce pan & cover them with cool water to 1 or 2 inches above the eggs. Bring the water to a boil, uncovered. Turn off the heat & COVER. Leave covered for 10-12 minutes. Gently take the hard-boiled eggs out & rinse the eggs with cool water. 

If using them for coloring Easter eggs, towel dry, then dunk in the dye!

& this Earth Day "Earth" craft:

I got the idea from the great blog No Time for Flashcards. I used a plastic plate, repurposed a piece of blue paper cut into a circle as well as the foam squares (cut from foam pieces from a Christmas craft). I squirted Elmer's glue in an abstract shape of North & Central America (Cuba's square!) & Gabriel "placed" the green foam pieces on.

No matter what you celebrate today- it's also Passover- I hope you have fun!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

White Chocolate Dipped Pretzel Rods with Sugar Crystals

Gabriel's 2nd Birthday dipped pretzels!
White Chocolate Dipped Pretzel Rods with Blue Sugar Crystals
Melt the white candy melts to package directions (or the white chocolate chips over a double boiler not letting the chocolate touch the heat source). I used the Candy Melts. melted in a glass pyrex bread pan, in the microwave.

When the candy is melted, dip the pretzel rod into the melted chocolate. Allow to drip a little, then quickly place the pretzel on parchment paper. Before the chocolate sets too much, sprinkle colored sugar crystals (or nuts or non-pareils or jimmies/sprinkles) onto chocolate-dipped pretzel. Allow to dry.
Adelyn's beautiful creations for the Childrens Valentine's Party!

These are delish! Great for ANY occasion- birthday, showers, anniversaries, even weddings... They make great favors wrapped in plastic treat bags or just as a dessert  type candy centerpiece.

Thank you to my friend Adelyn for giving me the great idea! So fun! Enjoy!

To view Gabriel's Blue Bird themed Birthday, go HERE.

White Chocolate dipped "Peeps" on a stick!

White Chocolate dipped "Peeps" on a stick!

These were so easy to make! All you need is:
  • Lollipop Sticks- Small or Large (I used Small, for tiny hands)
  • PEEPS- can use any of them!
  • Wilton White Candy Melts or White Chocolate Chips  
  • Clear plastic treat bags
  • Ribbon
Melt the white candy melts to package directions (or the white chocolate chips over a double boiler not letting the chocolate touch the heat source). I used the Candy Melts. melted in a glass pyrex bread pan, in the microwave.

While the chocolate is melting, prep your pops. For LARGE pops, take the Stick & a row of 5 peeps. Poke the stick through the middle sides of all 5 Peeps, being careful not to come out the end of the last Peep. (For SMALL sticks, take the 2 END PEEPS & 1 middle PEEP to create a smaller pop.)

When the chocolate candy is melted, dip the bottom 1/4 of the PEEPS in it. Allow the melted candy to drip off a bit, then quickly lay dipped side of the pop onto parchment paper. Allow to cool.

When cooled, place in plastic candy bags & seal with a ribbon.

*Lishie tip- Such a cute Easter basket treat, favor or components of a centerpiece!
To view Gabriel's Blue Bird themed Birthday, go HERE.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Peppermint Fudge Cookie Sandwiches

Recently, I went to a Pampered Chef Party at my friend Rachel's house. I love a lot of their products so the prospect of buying more made me happy. And, of course, we were able to taste some yummy food, given presentations with product use & I got my hands on some new recipes. The Peppermint Fudge Cookie Sandwich is one of those recipes! And after months of drinking Peppermint mocha coffee, well, this seemed like a delicious cookie to try. So when another friend, Stacey, who attended the same party, invited my family for a weeknight dinner with friends this week, suggested I bring dessert... this is the what I decided to make:

The Pampered Chef ®
Peppermint Fudge Cookie Sandwiches 

 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels 
 1/4 cup butter 
 1/2 cup sugar 
 1 egg 
 3/4 cup all-purpose flour 
 2 candy canes or 8-10 peppermint hard candies (about 1/4 cup crushed) 
 1/4 cup white or semi-sweet chocolate morsels 
 10-12 mini foil-wrapped peppermint patty candies, unwrapped 

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line Large Sheet Pan with a 10-in. sheet of Parchment Paper. Combine chocolate morsels and butter in Classic Batter Bowl. Microwave on HIGH 40-60 seconds or until smooth, stirring after each 20-second interval using Classic Scraper. Add sugar and egg to batter bowl; mix until well blended. Add flour; mix just until flour is incorporated. Using Small Scoop, drop 20 level scoops of batter, 1 in. apart, onto pan. Bake 9-11 minutes or until edges are set. (Do not overbake.)

  2. Meanwhile, place candy canes into resealable plastic bag; crush using flat side of Meat Tenderizer and set aside. Place white chocolate morsels into Small Micro-Cooker®; microwave, uncovered, on HIGH 30-60 seconds or until melted and smooth, stirring once. Set aside.

  3. Remove sheet pan from oven to Stackable Cooling Rack. Immediately turn over half of the cookies using Mini-Serving Spatula; top with peppermint patties and remaining cookies to form 10 sandwiches. Drizzle chocolate over cookies and immediately sprinkle with crushed candies. Transfer to serving platter. Line pan with another sheet of Parchment Paper and scoop remaining batter onto paper. Bake 9-10 minutes or until edges are set. Assemble sandwiches as directed above.

Yield: 10-12 cookie sandwiches

Nutrients per serving: (1 cookie sandwich): Calories 230, Total Fat 9 g, Saturated Fat 6 g, Cholesterol 25 mg, Carbohydrate 34 g, Protein 3 g, Sodium 35 mg, Fiber 1 g

Cook's Tip: If you do not have Parchment Paper, lightly brush pan with vegetable oil. Bake cookies and fill with peppermint patties. Transfer sandwiches to cooling rack and decorate as directed above. Repeat with remaining batter. 

If using Large Bar Pan, line pan with Parchment Paper or brush with vegetable oil. Prepare batter as directed above; bake 14-16 minutes or until edges are set. Proceed as recipe directs, baking second batch for 14-15 minutes. 

To easily drizzle chocolate over cookies, place resealable plastic bag into Measure-All® Cup. Pour chocolate into corner of bag. Twist top of bag; secure with Twixit! Clip. Cut corner off tip of bag using Kitchen Shears to allow chocolate to flow through. 

© 2009 The Pampered Chef used under license.

My batter, after following the above directions exactly, yielded not 10-12 sandwiches BUT 18! Not sure how, since, as you can see by the picture, they are the perfect size! They are delicious! So if you love chocolate & peppermint, this cookie sandwich is for you!

*Lishie tip- Place the peppermint patty IMMEDIATELY on the one side of the HOT cookie... & then place the other cookie "slice" of the sandwich quickly on top so the 3 parts melt together! Also not all specified "tools" are needed- use your judgment ;) I drizzled the chocolate on top with a spoon.

*Lishie tip- You could change this recipe up using peanut butter cups & some melted peanut butter chips drizzled on top + crushed peanut instead of peppermint candy!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Recipe Swap! Chicken Salad, Theme: Paninis/Sandwiches

This week I hosted the recipe swap. And boy am I ever mad at myself! I was so consumed with my toddler's party that I didn't think about the fact that tonight (4/18/11) is the FIRST night of PASSOVER. So my Jewish friends are fasting from bread & leavened products & I choose to make paninis & sandwiches the topic? Dumb-me. I apologize to all of my Pesach following friends. I am very sorry. I will say that my recipe I am blogging here can be eaten alone OR on matzoh though! YUMMM, matzoh is so delish! We have a case of it in the house.

Mayo-y Goodness
Back to the blog... I got my friend Feisty again over at Tales From the Mad Men Kitchen! She supplied Emeril's Chicken Salad with Fresh Herbs from Food Network Magazine.

I was happy to make it since it is very close to how I make my own chicken salad. I followed Emeril's closely for this swap only making slight changes- I traded out the cayenne pepper for sweet paprika & I used half the mayonnaise.  And let's face it- Emeril's avocados are "optional" because it's doubtful they are even part of the recipe. Me thinks they are there to make the chicken salad look better. Because, no matter what way you pose it, it STILL looks like, well, my picture- Lumps of stuff covered in mayo ;)

Also I have to say I COMPLETELY disregarded the very first direction of "Rinse the chicken briefly under cool running water"! From everything I have read, this spreads the threat of salmonella more than not washing it! Just pat the chicken dry & carefully discard the paper towel. 

But, like I said, it's similar to my recipe- I roast my chicken fully with dry herbs de provence (for this, since it's "Fresh Herbs" I used Parsley & Dill) & I don't put in red onion... so when I asked my observant hubby what he thought of it, especially in comparison to mine, he said, "it's good. I can't remember how you make yours." Ummmm, thanks ;) Ha! I still like mine without the onion but this came in a good second!

Thank you Feisty for a change of pace! Oh I shared my Graceland Eggplant Panini. YUM. And this is my friend Kelly's, from Running Mama Cooks, take on it: Link.

Happy Pesach, my Jewish friends... And try this on Matzoh! You'll be happy :) And that is my Lishie tip.

"Early Bird Gets the Worm" Cupcakes

Squirmy goodness!
For my little one's two year old birthday, I had a blue bird theme so I made "Early Bird Gets the Worm" Cupcakes... I wanted them to taste great & look good so I used my "go to" chocolate cake recipe- Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Cake & Frosting. The problem was, I didn't know the baking time nor how many cupcakes a batch of batter would yield. Well after experimenting, now I do, & now you will too!

"Early Bird Gets the Worm" Cupcakes
Yields 36 Cupcakes
  • One batch of Both: Batter & Frosting (Hershey Cocoa)
  • 1 Bar of Semi-Sweet Chocolate (I used Ghiradelli), shredded/grated
  • 1 large package of Gummy Worms
  • Cupcake Liners
Heat oven to 350 degrees. 

Line two, 6-cupcake tins. Fill the liners half way. In three batches, bake 12 cupcakes at a time, for 17 minutes. Allow to cool entirely.

After the cupcakes are cooled, take a large-holed straw (like a fast food restaurant's) & insert into the middle of each cupcake. Twist out a "hole" Place the tail end of 1 gummy worm in the hole. Holding the gummy worm's head, frost around the worm on the cupcake. Still holding the gummy worm's head, sprinkle shredded chocolate "dirt" onto the frosting. Finally, place the gummy worm head into the frosting so the candy bug stays in place!

*Lishie tip- Use a veggie grater for the chocolate topping- it's best, I find. Also, refrigerate the chocolate bar a little before-hand to make it easier to work with.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Happy Bird-Day!!! - GABRIEL's TWO! Blue Bird-Themed

T-Shirt says "Party Animal" with a Blue Bird, of course!
In his blue bird party shirt

The beautiful & fun invite!

by Jennifer @ Jar of Ideas

Crumbtious Blue Bird & # "2" Cookies

Crumbtious cookie by Pam- so Delicious & beautiful!
"Party Bird gets the Worm" Cupcakes- For recipe, CLICK HERE!
Chocolate-y Goodness!
White Chocolate Dipped Pretzels with Blue Sprinkles- RECIPE HERE
White Chocolate-dipped Peeps on a stick! - RECIPE HERE

 The Cake, from Shop Rite (Mama gets "off" from baking for this one item because I love their cakes!)

Every kid's party needs some balloons!

Table set-up with Craft & "Party Beaks"

Love birds leading the way up --->
Decorate a flower-pot with stickers & crayons

"Stick the Feather Tail on the Bird!"

Complete with everything needed to bird watch: Working binoculars, a compass, a bird whistle, "money" for a snack ;) & a little game for boredom... Oh & a bird seed biscuit to hang!
Bird Seed Biscuit

  • 1 Large muffin-scoop of Wild Bird Food
  • 1 TBSp Flour
  • Water

Combine the bird food & flour. Add enough water, slowly, Tablespoon by Tablespoon, to make a paste. Scoop it up with the muffin-scoop & place on a foil-lined, cooking sprayed baking sheet. Poke a piece of straw through to form a hole (leave the straw in). Bake in a 200 oven for 45 minutes. Allow to cool, then lace a ribbon through the hole to hang. Hang in a tree for the birds to feast- Delish for the birds!


Check it out on!