Monday, February 25, 2013

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars!

I feel it....Spring is in the air.  Well I felt it yesterday morning, but not this morning!  Anyway, only three more weeks of Winter, and Spring will be here.  I sure hope.

This past weekend was a busy one.  My daughter Becca had a sleepover with some girlfriends.  So I baked  and cooked up a storm for them.  These girls can EAT!  I made them my homemade pizza, homemade waffles, homemade peanut butter ice cream, and homemade chocolate ice cream, homemade pretzels, (Yes, I like "homemade"  just tastes better, dontcha think?) and these really delicious Homemade Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars. It was a fun sleepover, if only next time they would SLEEP!

Here's the recipe, so simple, give it a try!

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars

1-3/4 stick of cold butter, cut into pieces
1-1/2 cup flour
1-1/2 cup regular Oats
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9 x 13 baking dish.
Mix together the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter until it resembles coarse crumbs. 
Sprinkle half the mixture into the pan and pat lightly to pack it a little tight. Sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly on top of the first layer.  Sprinkle the other half of the oatmeal mixture over the top and pat lightly again.
Bake until light golden brown on top, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool in pan.
When cool, cut into squares and serve. YUMMO!
Variation:  Use Jam in place of the chocolate chips, So GOOD!  

Monday, February 18, 2013

Homemade Pretzels

Homemade Pretzels.....they are so easy! If you have a Kitchen Aid Mixer or even a bread machine, set it on the dough setting, the dough will come together in minutes.  Here's the recipe!

Homemade Pretzels
Kitchen Aid Mixer Method
2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
2 tsp. sugar
1 cup warm water

In a large mixing bowl combine the above ingredients, whisk together and set aside for about 5 mins until proofed and foamy.  This is called proofing the yeast.

After the yeast has become all foamy about 5 mins, to the bowl add the following:

3 cups flour (I didn't use bread flour just all purpose flour)
2 TBS oil
1/4 tsp. salt

Using the dough hook, and on low speed, mix it all together until the dough forms a ball around the dough hook.  If the dough doesn't form and the mixture is dry, add 1 TBS water, until it forms the ball.  If the mixture is too wet, and looks like a batter, add a little more flour about 1 TBS....this is the "art" of breadmaking and knowing if the bread dough is ready.

Take the dough out and knead for a couple of seconds in your hand.  The dough should be soft and not too sticky.  If it is sticky, flour your hands before you take it out of the bowl.  Put the dough in a large oiled bowl and turn over to coat the dough.  Put plastic wrap over the bowl, and let it double in size for about 1 hour.

After about one hour, turn the dough out of the bowl onto a lightly floured board, and cut the dough into 8 pieces.  Roll into about 18 inch ropes.

My Hubby Rolling the dough into a rope.


Form a U shape with 1 rope, and twist and form into a big pretzel. 


Let rise again on a greased foiled covered baking sheet for 20 minutes or until doubled in size. While rising make sure you cover them with a piece of greased waxed paper so the paper doesn't stick or a light-weight kitchen towel.

 Meanwhile, bring a big pot of water to a boil, add 3 tsp Baking Soda.  After the 20 minutes of rising, boil the pretzels for about 1 to 2 minutes on each side, being careful when flipping.  I used a big slotted spoon.


After boiling the pretzels drain them on a rack for about 2 minutes.  Transfer them a greased foiled covered cookie sheet, sprinkle with coarse salt, and bake in a 475 oven for about 15 - 20 minutes until golden dark brown.  Let cool on a rack for about 10 minutes.  So delicious!!!!


Valentine's Day!

It's been a quiet couple of days for us around here.  My little boy, Davey was sick and out of school all of last week.  But in spite of Davey being sick, we still had a wonderful Valentine's Day.  I cooked a special dinner of Lasagna and Meatballs, Homemade Italian Bread, and for dessert, Chocolate Covered Strawberries.  Everything was a big hit, and it was nice to just be home with my family and celebrate a day filled with LOVE!

Enjoy some of these recipes.....YUMMO!

Big pot of sauce with meatballs!

Delicious Homemade Italian Bread

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Beefy, Cheesy.....PIZZA!

The most delicious Pizza!

I am linking this recipe up with my Sister's Blog, Walking on Sunshine's Foodie Friends Friday.  
Well I have been lazy yet again.  I just can't seem to get back into the swing of blogging.  You see I have this busy life here, with two crazy kids and a husband!  Life has been busy, and I am enjoying it.  Sure hope you are too.

We have yet another storm coming, they are naming it "Winter Storm Nemo".  I know, I know, I love snow, but this has been an overwhelming Fall/Winter for us in the good old northeast part of the country.  Where can I move where the weather is always beautiful?  I love a rainy day, but not the stormy rain we get here. And I do enjoy snow, but not this much! So we are hunkering down, and preparing for the storm, hoping we don't get too much.

I made this most delicious recipe a couple of weeks ago.  Another Pioneer Woman's recipe, that looked so good I had to try.  It was so good, and you know me, I can never follow a I changed it up to make it my own, but it really is a delicious recipe, and encourage you to try it.

Carnitas Pizza 

Preparing the Chuck Roast
2 tsp Chili Powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp oregano
One 3-4 lbs Chuck roast
12 oz can pineapple juice (YES makes it so good)
2 TBS Canola Oil

1. Combine the spices and rub over the roast. Heat a large oven/proof pot on medium heat and brown the meat in 2 TBS canola oil. Brown on all sides for about 2 minutes per side.  Pour the pineapple juice over the meat and cook in a 325 oven for almost 4 hours, until it is falling apart and took my roast about 3 hours.

After the 3 - 4 hours take the roast out of the pot, and put it on a cutting broad, with 2 forks start pulling it apart.  It will be so well cooked and tender.  Put the pulled beef back in the pot with the juice and drippings until ready to use.

All shredded and ready!

2. Making the Pizza dough - You can find the recipe for my Pizza dough here..

 Rest of the Ingredients
1 jar of Salsa Verde (one of the changes I made)
1 chopped red pepper saute until soft
1 chopped onion saute until soft
2 cups of cheddar cheese (another change)
About 3 TBS chopped Cilantro (another change)
2 TBS butter
1 TBS Canola oil
Sour Cream for serving

Find it in the Mexican isle at the grocery store

Saute the onion and red pepper in the butter and oil.  Set aside and let cool

After the pizza dough is all risen, punch down cut it in half, this recipe only calls for half of the homemade pizza dough, so use the other half and make another pizza with other toppings.  Spread one half on a large greased cookie sheet, or pizza stone, which ever way you make your homemade pizza.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees put the spread out pizza dough in the oven (with nothing on it) for 5 minutes, I call this prebaking the pizza dough.

Notice the picture new cookie sheet from my family for Christmas, I love them, I got four! 

Take it out and spread the Salsa Verde all over the crust, I didn't use the whole jar, about half the jar.
Then the cooked shredded beef drained from the liquid, next the onions and peppers, top it off with the cheddar cheese.

All ready for the oven!

 Bake in the 450 oven for 20 minutes until the cheese is melted, and the bottom of the pizza is lightly brown and crusty.  Sprinkle with Cilantro before serving,  Serve with sour cream, and the left over Salsa Verde. So delicious, So YUMMO!

Right out of the oven!