Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Frozen Fudgy Pops

Summertime.... what tastes better during the hot months of summer than a fudgy, perfectly chocolatey frozen treat from the freezer? 

Yesterday, I decided to make Charlie a little treat since he has been working so hard this summer.  I decided to make these fudgy pops.  They were quick and easy, and used basic ingredients I had on hand. 

Running some hot water over the mold helps the frozen treats release more easily.

As I was taking some photos, I decided that it would be more authentic if I took one bite out of the fudge pop (I wasn't going to have one since I am working on getting rid of the post-baby weight, you know).  Yum!  I thought to myself.  Oooo these are really good... ok, just one more bite...

As you can see, that didn't work out so well.  These fudgy pops are a perfect balance of fudgy rich chocolatey-ness.  I'd better go for another walk now!

Frozen Fudgy Pops


  •  1/3 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups 2% milk
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • dash salt
  • 10 wooden Popsicle sticks

Melt chocolate chips over low heat in medium sized saucepan, until they are melted and smooth.  Add the sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, milk and heavy cream.  Turn heat to medium and cook and stir frequently until mixture thickens, about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat, add the vanilla and butter, and stir until well combined.
Let the mixture cool slightly (it should still be warm but not hot to the touch), and then pour into 10 slightly greased Popsicle molds (I just put a tiny spray of pam in each mold).  Freeze for 30 minutes, and then insert sticks.  Freeze completely before serving.  To remove fudgy pops from molds, run a little hot water over them and they should slide right out. 

Sunday, April 27, 2014


Hi!  First of all, I wanted to apologize for my lack of blogging lately!  Between working full time still and trying to get ready for the baby, its been a little too busy to do very much blogging.

Want to see some of the things I have been up to? 

I took the plunge and finally decided to stop storing all of these Taste of Home magazines!  I am going through each magazine, entering the recipe I want to try or keep on the Taste of Home website, and adding it to the virtual "recipe box" on the website.  No more storing all of these paper magazines! (the chair is the 'done' pile and the table is the 'to do' pile - yay - I am almost done!).

We had an ultrasound of the baby at 32 weeks... she is healthy and doing well! 

I made a pan of Orange Sweet Rolls to celebrate "spring."  (or at least the snow being almost gone!)

Yum, they were so tasty!

I have been organizing everything!  My latest project was to organize and paint under the kitchen sink - tada!

It looks sooooo much better than it did!  And if you are thinking that it looks like a nice, light yellow, you would be right!  I had extra paint after painting the baby room and thought, why not use the extra under the sink?

I have been enjoying this precious birthday gift from Charlie - books from my favorite children's illustrator and author: Tasha Tudor.  I can't wait to read them to our little girl!

I have been organizing every cabinet, shelf, drawer, closet, ect...!  As an example, under the fish tank:

And the organized kitchen pantry...

I have been getting some seeds going for the garden this year.  Just a few since I will be pretty busy!

And look how close I am to sewing a baby dress - I have gotten the pattern picked out!  Now, just have to find material....

Speaking of baby, I have spent a lot of time in the baby room: I painted it a delightful light yellow.

The baby room is still under construction a bit, we've still got to get a crib in there, ect...  By the way, do you notice the rocking elephant in the pictures?  My dad made that for me when I was a little girl. 

Organizing the baby closet...

And the dresser...

Well, I guess I'd better keep working!  I've still got some more things to cross off my list...

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Raspberry Tartlets

Ah, the temperature has finally risen to the 60's, and even the 70's on some days!  The sun is shining and the snow is pretty much gone. I think spring is finally on its way!

To celebrate I made these Raspberry Tartlets.  I love making pastries, and I love making mini pastries even more!

These raspberry tarts begin with crisp-but-not-too-sweet almond crust. 

Next is a slightly tangy filling of homemade raspberry curd.

Topped by a dab of crème mousseline - a French vanilla-bean-infused-custard. 

Finally, they are topped by a fresh raspberry and the lightest dusting of powdered sugar.

At just over two inches, these little tarts are perfect little one-biters. 

So tasty!

Raspberry Tartlets

almond crust

  • 1 c. flour
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds, ground finely
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter, cold and cubed
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3-5 tablespoons ice water

raspberry curd

  • 1 1/2 cups frozen raspberries, thawed
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 egg yolks
  • pinch salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter

cream mousseline

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, halved
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream, whipped

    For Crust: Place flour, almonds, sugar, salt and butter in bowl of food processor.  Pulse a few times, making sure butter is cut in well.  Add water while you pulse about 10 times, make sure dough comes together.  Dump dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap, form into a disk, wrap, and chill for at least 30 minutes before rolling out.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. with rack in lower third; spray 12 tartlet pans with nonstick spray.  Roll out dough, place it in the pan, trim.  Repeat.  Prebake crusts in lower third of oven about 15 minutes, or until golden brown.  Leave crusts in tartlet pans. 

    For Raspberry Curd:  In a medium, heavy bottomed saucepan, place raspberries, sugar, lemon juice, eggs, egg yolks and salt.  Cook over medium heat until filling thickens slightly but is pourable, about 8-10 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and stir in butter.  Strain filling through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl.  Discard seeds and other impurities.  Fill tartlets.  Cover and refrigerate until completely cooled.  Bake tartlets at 325 degrees F. until filling is just set, 6 or 8 minutes.  Cool slightly before removing tarts to wire rack to cool completely.  [Note: If you would like to make the curd ahead of time, after you strain curd into a bowl, just press plastic wrap directly on the surface of the raspberry curd, this will prevent a skin from forming and will make the curd creamier]. 

    For Cream Mousseline:  Put the milk in a saucepan; split the vanilla bean, scraping the seeds into the milk, and add bean into the pot.  Heat to a simmer, remove from heat, cover, and set timer for 20 minutes.  This will allow the vanilla bean to infuse into the milk.  Meanwhile, beat the yolks with the sugar until pale, than beat in the flour.  After the 20 minutes, remove the vanilla bean from the milk.  Gradually whisk the milk into the egg mixture; pour back into the saucepan.  Bring to a boil, and cook one minute; remove from the heat.  Strain into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap; set aside to cool.  When chilled, gently fold in the whipped cream.

    To put it all together:
    On top of the cooked and cooled raspberry tarts, place a dollop of cream mousseline.  I like to put the cream in a pastry bag fitted with a star tip for a pretty added affect.  Then, place a fresh raspberry on top of the tart.  Top with a light dusting of powdered sugar.  I think these tarts are best served at room temperature. 

    Thursday, April 17, 2014

    Black Bean Shrimp Salad

    Since spring is coming, I have been in the mood for some lighter meals.  This main dish salad fits the bill!

    It is filled with juicy shrimp, crisp vegetables, tangy sauce and hearty black beans.  We love it!

    Black Bean Shrimp Salad

    • 1 pound cooked medium size shrimp, peeled and deveined
    • 1/2 small yellow pepper, julienned
    • 1/2 small red pepper, julienned
    • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
    • 1/2 cup thinly sliced chopped celery
    • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
    • 3/4 cup salsa
    • 2 to 4 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
    • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
    • 1/4 teaspoon grated fresh lime peel
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons honey
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 2 cups fresh spinach leaves
    • 2 roma tomatoes, sliced

    In a large bowl, combine shrimp, peppers, onion, celery and black beans.  In another bowl, combine  salsa, cilantro, lime juice, oil, honey, salt and lime peel if desired.  Pour over shrimp mixture and toss to coat.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. 

    When ready to serve, spoon salad onto spinach lined salad plates.  Garnish with tomato slices. 

    Monday, April 14, 2014

    Homemade Self Rising Flour

    How many times have you been baking, and realized you need self rising flour?  This has happened to me more times than I can count.  Of course, you can buy pre-made self rising flour, but did you know it is also very easy to make on your own? 

    All you have to do is stir three basic ingredients together - flour, baking powder and salt.  Easy peasy!

    Homemade Self Rising Flour

    • 1 cup all purpose flour
    • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
    • ¼ teaspoon salt

    Stir together ingredients.  For two cups, double this recipe, three cups, triple, ect...

    Sunday, April 13, 2014

    German Chocolate Cake Cookies

    The other day I wanted to make a batch of cookies, but I didn't know what kind to make.  So I asked Charlie what kind of cookies he was in the mood for.  He didn't really have anything in mind either.

    Where to find inspiration??  I grabbed my Taste of Home cookie cookbook.  As I was paging through the book, Charlie randomly suggested to make the cookies on page 38, in the top left corner (such a fun idea!).

    I hurriedly turned to the correct page, and found a recipe for German Chocolate Toffee Cookies.  Mmmm, they sounded delicious!  But, as I read through the recipe, I realized I didn't have all of the ingredients.  I ended up creating these German Chocolate Cake Cookies, chock full of sweet German Chocolate, coconut and toasted pecans.

    They were a hit!

    German Chocolate Cake Cookies

    • 1/4 cup butter, softened
    • 1/4 cup shortening
    • 1/2 plus 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
    • 1 ounce German chocolate, melted
    • 1 egg
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 1/4 cup flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 to 1 cup chopped German chocolate
    • 1 cup chopped toasted pecans
    • 1 cup toasted coconut

    In a mixing bowl, cream butter, shortening, and sugars.  Beat in chocolate.  Add egg and vanilla, beating well.  Add flour, baking soda, and salt, and gradually beat into the creamed mixture.  Stir in chopped chocolate, pecans and coconut.  Drop by tablespoonfuls two inches apart on silpat lined baking sheet or a greased baking sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees F. for 12 to 15 minutes.  Remove to wire racks to cool.

    Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

    Saturday, April 12, 2014

    Sauerkraut and Kielbasa

    One night last week, we decided to crack open a jar of homemade sauerkraut from last fall and add some chunks of kielbasa.  While we haven't eaten this in a while, it is a dish we've occasionally eaten since we got married.  This time though, I decided to change it up a little. 

    I added a peeled diced apple and a sliced onion to the sauerkraut, and a few other little dabs of ingredients.  At first, Charlie wasn't too sure.  But after he tried it, he said he loved it.  I wrote the recipe down and will make sauerkraut and kielbasa this way all the time in the future!

    One of the things I love about this dish is that it is so quick and easy, it is hearty and filling, and it is a "one pot" meal. 

    Sauerkraut And Kielbasa

    • 1 package kielbasa
    • 1 jar sauerkraut
    • 1 onion, sliced
    • 1 apple, sliced
    • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
    • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
    • 2 tablespoons butter

    Heat a medium sized pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add butter and sugar.  Allow sugar to cook to a golden brown color.  Add onions and cook until slightly caramelized, about 10 minutes.  Then, stir in the kielbasa chunks, sauerkraut, chopped apple, Worcestershire sauce and butter, and cook for another 10 minutes or until everything is warm.  Serve immediately.  This is good with a nice piece of crusty bread or rolls. 


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