Monday, November 30, 2009

Ginger Cookies

I'm back from a wonderful Thanksgiving trip to South Carolina where we visited and spent time with some of my husband's family. Now that Christmas is around the corner, I have alot of cookie baking to do. My sister, Paula, made these cookies last year for a cookie exchange party. She passed on the recipe to me and I have made them several times. Everybody loves them and they are gone in a blink of the eye. They are called Big Soft Ginger Cookies. They have a great ginger and spice flavor and they do stay soft. The cookie dough comes together quickly and the recipe states it makes 24 cookies but I got closer to 30 cookies.

Form dough in balls and roll in sugar. I use a small glass bowl to press down the cookie dough. You could use a drinking glass as well.

Take a tin of these cookies to your next cookie exchange party. They are also perfect to give to teachers, co-workers, neighbors, your hairdresser, or friends and family.


Issaqueena Falls - Walhalla, South Carolina

I'd like to give a shout out to my husband Mike. Today is our 18th wedding anniversary. It seems like yesterday (well, sometimes) that we just got married. You are truly my best friend Mike and I'm lucky to have you as my partner through this crazy but wonderful life. I love you!

Mom's Cooking Club Lesson: Ok, enough of the mushy talk and back to the cookie recipe. This cookie dough is sticky so it is best to put the dough in the refrigerator for at least an hour before forming and rolling in the sugar. With this batch, I made the cookie dough in the morning, put the bowl in the refrigerator, ran my errands for the day and made the cookies in the afternoon. No problems with stickiness.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Nestle Toll House Chocolate and White Chocolate Chip Pan Cookies

I wanted to share a cookie classic before leaving to visit family for the Thanksgiving Holiday. I grew up with Nestle Toll House Cookies. We would use the recipe on the back of the Nestle Chocolate Chip bag. I can't remember when the pan cookie variation came out but what a way to have your favorite chocolate chip a bar cookie. I haven't made these in so long. I was in the mood for chocolate chip cookies but didn't feel like making all those cookies. Then I remembered the pan cookie variation. Spread all the dough in a baking pan, bake, cut in squares and your chocolate chip cookie craving is satisfied.

Slight variation to recipe: I had some leftover white chocolate chips that I wanted to use up. I had about 1/2 cup of the white morsels and I mixed that with 1 1/2 cups of the semi-sweet chocolate morsels. We loved the addition of the white chocolate chips. You really can't go wrong with any chip variation you use. Kids love these pan cookies. If you want a quick treat for your Thanksgiving dessert table, then don't forget about these classic bar cookies that everyone remembers and loves.

I want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!

I'll be back after the Thanksgiving holiday with more cookie recipes just in time for Christmas.


Mom's Cooking Club Lesson: Sometimes the best recipes can be found on the back of cans, bags and boxes of food. Classics that you grew up with that can be passed down to your family or updated recipes that become new traditions.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pear Crisp

I have been craving a fruit dessert, so when I saw this Pear Crisp on The Pioneer Woman's site, I knew I had to make it right away. In the food blogging world, I'm sure everyone has heard of The Pioneer Woman. But if you have never heard of her or checked out her blog, you must do so for wonderful recipes, photos and her funny life on the ranch.

This is a very easy dessert to make with fantastic results. My husband said, "This is unbelievable". We had leftovers for a few days and it was still just as good reheated. The bits of crunchy crumble with the warm soft pears and the vanilla ice cream melting in is a bit of dessert magic. If you like pears and you like fruit desserts, you will love this Pear Crisp.

Chop the pecans very small

Right out of the oven

A spoonful of Pear Crisp.....what do you think? Doesn't it look good.

My new favorite dessert


Extra Side Note: Click here to read about November's Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club on the Cooking Light Blog: Test Kitchen Secrets

Mom's Cooking Club Lesson: I served the pear crisp in small ramekins (about 4 inches across) that I had bought a few years ago at Target for $1.99. These are great for portion control. If I would have picked a bigger bowl, I know I would have filled it up. The ramekins kept things at a more reasonable amount. Now, if you go back for seconds, that's something I can't control. These are many great uses for these little bowls, so I would recommend them for your kitchen.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club Presents Appetizers, Small Plates/Tapas

Welcome to another month of the Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club. I can't believe another month has gone by. Why does this time of year just pass by so quickly? Our November theme is Appetizers & Small Plates/Tapas. All these appetizers would be a great addition to your holiday party or family gathering. I hope we have given you some ideas to try this holiday season or anytime you are needing inspiration for small bites.

I chose 2 recipes this month. Warm Cranberry-Walnut Brie and Mini Crab Cakes w/Herbed Aioli. Both were fantastic. I would highly recommend you give them a try. I had some help filling up my appetizer plate from the other members of the Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club. Here is what they made:

Helene (La Cuisine d'Helene) - Grilled Pepper Poppers

Aggie (Aggie's Kitchen) - West Indies Shrimp & Mini Ham and Cheese Frittatas

Val (More Than Burnt Toast) - Windowpane Potato Chips & Sliders with Shallot-Dijon Relish

Shelby (The Life and Loves of Grumpy's Honeybunch) - Harvest Sweet Potato Pecan Pie Tarts

Jamie (Mom's Cooking Club) - Warm Cranberry-Walnut Brie & Mini Crab Cakes with Herbed Aioli

Visit these wonderful blogs for the details and photos on their dishes.

This is the Brie that I used for my Warm Cranberry-Walnut Brie

There is just something special about the combination of cheese, fruit and nuts. This is extremely simple and quick to make. Cut off the top rind of the cheese. Place your toasted walnuts, dried cranberries and thyme on top. Pop in the oven for 15 - 20 minutes and out comes this..........

Melty, gooey, unbelievably delicious cheese!

I just had to show you one more picture. We served this with a variety of crackers. We loved it with Sea Salt Bagel Chips. That's my husband digging in. I will be making this Brie for our family gathering at Thanksgiving. It's going to be a good day.

My second appetizer are these fun mini crab cakes. I was born in Baltimore, Maryland so I grew up with Maryland style crab cakes. This recipe was a little different from my standard crab cakes I make but we loved the variation. I did add 2 teaspoons of Old Bay Seasoning. Being a former Maryland girl, you just have to use your Old Bay Seasoning. The seasoned mayonnaise (aioli) was perfect with the crab cakes.


Mom's Cooking Club Lesson: A little history.....Appetizers are food items, usually small portions, served before the main course. Also known as Hors d'oeuvre and are served at many reception and cocktail parties. The equivalent of hors d'oeuvre in Spain is called Tapas. In Italian cuisine, it is referred to as Antipasto. In Russian cuisine, it is called Zakuski and usually consists of cured meats and fishes, pickled vegetables, prepared salads and breads. The term Zensai is a Japanese hors d'oeuvre. To me, appetizers are a great way to try different bites of food and a way to get people mingling, talking and just enjoying each other's company.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Black-Bottom Banana Bars

Ok, so I had a bowl filled with "past their prime" bananas. I could have made my go-to banana bread or some banana muffins. But I wanted to try something new so I took out a new cookbook my husband gave me for my birthday last month, Taste of Home Cookies, and searched for recipes using bananas. I came across these Black-Bottom Banana Bars in the Delectable Bars section.

Well, these cake bars were a hit. We all loved them. (even my picky eater Mariah who doesn't like banana bread went crazy over these, go figure) They stay moist for days. I've already made these twice. And will definitely be making again!

Take a pan of these Black-Bottom Banana Bars to your next holiday gathering, a teacher's breakfast, to welcome a new neighbor, a potluck or an afternoon snack for your kids. These are great anytime and any season.


Mom's Cooking Club Lesson: This recipe calls for a 13x9 in pan. I used an 11x7 in pan because I wanted my bars thicker. I just added about 10 minutes more to the baking time.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Special Birthday Celebration


There will be no recipe today. This blog post will be to wish my daughters, Mariah and Marissa, a very Happy Birthday! So, this will be dedicated to them today. I can't believe your father and I are parents of teenagers. Where has the time gone? You are both growing up to be wonderful young ladies.

We are very proud of both of you. You are both dedicated and hard working girls and you should be proud of your sports accomplishments, band achievements and school work. I know 7th grade is hard and there is alot of pressure and expectations on you but you are handling it well.

I want to thank my family and friends for the positive influence you've had on the girls and for loving them so much.

We love you Mariah and Happy 13th Birthday! - always keep laughing and being silly

We love you Marissa and Happy 13th Birthday! - always be yourself and stay creative

Live, Love, Laugh!!!

Marissa really enjoying her birthday cupcake at her Halloween Birthday Bash!

Mariah REALLY enjoying her birthday cupcake!

(I hope the girls don't get too upset I posted these photos but I think they look adorable with their cupcake faces)


Mom's Cooking Club Lesson: I hope my husband and I have taught my daughters many life lessons. We continue to do so every day. Through this blog and our every day life, I hope I'm also teaching them cooking, food and kitchen lessons. Recipes and skills that they will use in their adult life and pass on to their children one day.
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