Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Holiday Gift Ideas - JOY

So for this Apron Swap I had to come up with some gifts they call "tuck ins" to add a little flair to the package. This time around the tuck ins have a theme or more like a word association. Using holiday words such as GIFT, HOPE, JOY, SNOW, SNOW, TREE, STAR, SANTA, etc. each participant will get one tuck in for each letter of the word they choose.

How clever is that? Even you aren't doing a swap, it would be a great way to shop for a secret Santa or a close friend. Of course it would be even more fun to make a big show out of it. Add a large letter to each gift so they know what it spells.

Here are some ideas for the word JOY. I choose the shortest word so you could see how easily three small gifts could turn into one big, thoughtful present.


J: Jelly beans, Jade green, Jewelry, cookies in a Jar*

O: Ornaments, Oatmeal, Office Supplies, Off-white, bottle Opener

Y: Yarn, Yummy, Yule

*Okay, so here's a link to a TON of cookie in a jar recipes by Razzle Dazzle Recipes.

Are the not they not the cutest little Jar O' Yummy! hehe See what I did there? Oh man.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Chipotle Turkey Cups

Too much turkey?

Looking for a handy recipe using that old turkey?

Well you are in luck! Check these out...

Chipotle Turkey Cups
Adapted from Gimmie Some Oven

  • 24 wonton wrappers
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar-Jack cheese (or other favorite cheese)
  • 1 cup cooked turkey, shredded or small-diced
  • 1/2 cup roasted red bell peppers, diced (from the jar works well!)
  • 1 cup favorite salsa
  • 1/2 tsp. chipotle powder
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees.

2. Fit 1 wonton wrapper into each of 24 mini muffin cups coated with cooking spray, pressing the wrappers carefully but firmly into sides of cups.  Bake at 350º for 7 minutes or until lightly browned. Keep wontons in muffin cups.

3. Combine remaining ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.  If it’s fairly juicy (depending on your salsa), it’s helpful to drain out some of the liquid before moving on.

4. Then add a pinch (about 1/2 Tbsp.) of cheese into each wonton cup, followed by about 1 Tbsp. of the turkey mixture.  Then top each wonton with another pinch of cheese. Bake at 350º for 6 minutes or until cheese melts. Remove from muffin cups. Serve immediately.

5. Enjoy those turkey left overs!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Left-Overs - Cranberry Brie Puffs

More brie. More puffs. More fun for all.

Cranberry Brie Puffs
Adapted from Recipe Girl

Take that left over cranberry sauce, and before you spread it on a turkey sandwich, save about a cup and a half for this recipe. Then all you need is a left over triangle of brie and that spare puff pastry you bought, you know, just in case. And there you have it.

1. Preheat oven to 375° F.

2. Unfold puff pastry sheet (roll out a little to smooth, if necessary). Cut into approximately 3-inch squares. Place them into mini muffin tins, pressing them into the shape of the muffin hole.

3. Place 1″ slice of brie in the center of each puff pastry and then top it with approximately 1 Tablespoon of cranberry sauce.

4. Bake 10 minutes, or until puff pastry corners are toasted light brown. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

Yield: 20 bites

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Ravioli Lasagna Cups

I've been thinking up this recipe for awhile now. I had seen version of lasagna cups online at Framed: Lasagna Cups using won ton wrappers. Real Simple magazine even came out with a recipe of their own using lasagna noodles and a cookie cutter to fit inside the cups. While they both looked really yummy, they didn't seem easy enough.

With this blog, I am striving to make simpler, muffin sized versions of yummy recipes. This recipe is precisely that. Yummy. Simple. Muffin Sized.

Now this recipe doesn't really need specific ingredients or directions. The idea is pretty straight forward and very versitile. I'm going to describe the one I made but feel free to get creative!

Ravioli Lasagna Cups

raviolis, any type and shape (enough for about 2 per cup)
precooked frozen meatballs
Italian cheese blend
bread crumbs
pasta sauce

1. Preheat oven to 350f. Precook the raviolis for about 6 mins at a low boil. Raviolis can be very delicate, so don't over cook them.

2. Heat up about 32 meatballs according to the package directions. Let them cool a bit and slice thin.

3. Start layering:

dab of sauce*
few slices of meatball
dab of sauce*
dab of sauce*
meatball slices
bread crumbs

(* the sauce balance is very delicate. Too much and it's soggy. Too little and it's dry. After two batches I found 3 "dabs" or very thin layers of sauce to be the perfect amount.)

4. And you're done! Pop those guys in the oven for about 12 minutes or so. Everything besides the ravioli is fully cooked so it is just to help melt the cheeses and heat up the sauce (which will help to continue cooking the raviolis.)

5. And dig in!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Mushroom Brie Tartlettes

I went to a wedding this weekend on a lovely yacht. On the boat they had these simple little mushroom phyllo puffs that were to die for. They made the perfect little appeteasers, simple yet delicious. Here is the muffin pan version with a little twist, perfect for Thanksgiving.

Mushroom Brie Tartlettes
 Recipe inspired by Pillsbury

1 package (6 oz) fresh portabella mushrooms
2 tbsp butter or margarine
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup sliced green onions (4 medium)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated crescent dinner rolls OR
1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury® Crescent Recipe Creations® refrigerated seamless dough sheet
3 oz Brie cheese

1. Heat oven to 375°F. Spray 24 miniature muffin cups with cooking spray. Brush mushrooms or wipe clean with damp cloth. Finely chop.

2. In 6-inch skillet, stir mushrooms, butter and garlic. Cook and stir over medium heat 5 to 6 minutes or until butter is absorbed and mushrooms are tender. Stir in onions and mustard.

3. If using crescent rolls: Unroll dough; separate into 4 rectangles. Firmly press perforations to seal. If using dough sheet: Unroll dough; cut into 4 rectangles.

4. Cut each rectangle in half lengthwise; make 2 crosswise cuts to form 6 squares of dough from each rectangle. Press 1 square of dough into each muffin cup, letting corners stand above top of each cup. Spoon about 1 tablespoon mushroom mixture into each cup.

5. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until light golden brown. Meanwhile, cut Brie into 24 pieces. Remove cups from oven. Place 1 piece of Brie over mushroom mixture in each cup.

6. Bake 2 to 4 minutes longer or until cups are golden brown and cheese is softened. Cool 5 minutes; remove from muffin cups. Cool slightly before serving.

7. EAT!

Best Weekend Ever & A Treat

Consider this 

Awesome weekend list:

*Free hotel room and food

*Impromptu Disneyland Visit

*Harry Potter 7 w/ good friends

*Fun Saturday night out

*Yacht wedding

Jenny, Me, & Amanda @Downtown Disney

Okay here's my exciting story. On the way from the hotel to HP 7, my boyfriend and I had some time to kill so we decided to get some use out of our new Disneyland passes. We walked in through Downtown Disney and I spotted two girls taking pictures of cupcakes. Pictures of cupcakes? That can only mean one thing... cutesy bloggers! I've seen my fair share of wonderful cupcake photos while reading my daily blogs. Two of those daily blogs are Picky-Palate and KevinandAmanda. You can see it in my About Me where it says I adore both of their blogs. Those two ladies up there are the fire power behind Picky-Palate (Jenny) and KevinandAmanda (Amanda). And I do adore them. They are both really sweet and the 3 times I've emailed them with either food questions or with a "Hi" they've responded back. I know they may not consider themselves celebrities but as for me, I was stark struck. They were very, very sweet. They made comments about seeing my blog and said they thought it was great and to keep up the good work. That's just plain awesome. So thanks Amanda and Jenny. You guys rock!!

As for the "Treat" portion, I'm gonna share a post of Jenny's for a fabulous muffin pan pie because she showed me so much blogger love!

Cream Cheese and Butterscotch Pumpkin Pie w/ Ginger Snap Streusel Topping
(which can be finished before saying that whole name 3 times fast!)
Recipe from the talented Jenny of Picky-Palate.com
1 9 inch pie shell, softened (I use either Pillsbury or Trader Joes has nice pie shells)
4 Tablespoons softened cream cheese
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 Cup butterscotch chips
1/2 Cup canned pumpkin
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 egg, beaten
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 Tablespoon ground gingersnap cookies
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 Tablespoon softened butter
1/4 Cup chopped pecans

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Cut 2 1/2 inch rounds out of your pie dough and place into 12 muffin tins.  You will need to re-roll your dough once.  In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until softened and smooth.  Spoon 1 teaspoon cream cheese mixture into bottom of pies and spread around the bottom.  Sprinkle about 10 butterscotch chips over cream cheese layer.

2.  In a separate mixing bowl beat the pumpkin, sugar, cream, cinnamon and egg until well combined.   Pour evenly  over cream cheese mixture filling up to nearly the top of crust.  Bake for 20 minutes.

3.  To prepare streusel  topping place sugar, cinnamon, ground cookies, brown sugar, pecans and butter in a mixing bowl.  Use a fork and press butter into sugar mixture until crumbly.  After the pies have baked for 20 minutes remove and top each evenly with the strudel.  Place back into the oven for an additional 10-15 minutes or until streusel is bubbly and pies are cooked through.  Remove from oven, loosen edges with a plastic knife then let cool for 10 minutes before removing from muffin tins.

4.  Serve room temperature or chilled.

Makes 12 individual pies
...or 12 for you and then another 12 for guests!

Enjoy! It was SOO nice meeting you ladies!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Stuffin' Muffins

This Thanksgiving season I've been hearing a lot about Stuffin' Muffins. I did some looking around and came across a recipe from Rachael Ray.

Rachael Ray... Rachael Ray... Rachael Ray...

My Dad and I have this thing about Rachael Ray. It's a complicated feeling. We both love and hate her. We love to hate her. We think she is brilliant and extremely annoying. We can't get enough of the show, and yet as soon as it comes on we boo her.

Like I said, it's complicated.

Anywho, I liked her recipe so I wanted to share it.

Portuguese Stuffin' Muffins
  Recipe adapted from Rachael Ray

4 tablespoons melted butter
4 Portuguese rolls, cut into bite-size pieces
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
4 links of chorizo, peeled and finely chopped
1/4 pound chicken livers, cleaned
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 ribs celery, finely chopped
1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
1 tablespoon tomato paste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 to 4 cups turkey stock or chicken stock
1 egg
1/2 cup (a couple of handfuls) flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped

1. Preheat oven 400°F. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin with melted butter.

2. Place the chopped up Portuguese rolls on a cookie sheet and transfer to the oven to toast until golden brown, about 10-15 minutes. Toss the bread on the sheet around every now and then in order to insure even browning. Remove from the oven and reserve.

3. While the bread is toasting, preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat with 1 turn of the pan of EVOO, about 1 tablespoon. Add the chorizo and cook, stirring frequently for 2-3 minutes to crisp it and render out some of the fat. Remove the chorizo from the skillet and return the skillet to the heat. Add the chicken livers and cook for 4-5 minutes, until cooked through. Remove the chicken livers from the skillet and let cool.

4. Return the skillet to the heat and add the onions, celery, poultry seasoning, bay leaf, tomato paste and a little salt and pepper. Cook stirring frequently until the veggies are tender. While the veggies are cooking, chop the cooled chicken livers in to little pieces and reserve. Add the toasted bread, about 3 cups of chicken stock, the chopped chicken livers and crispy chorizo to the skillet with the veggies. Stir to combine. The bread should be moist enough that when you squeeze it against the side of the skillet with a rubber spatula it holds together with all the other ingredients. Add more stock until you get the right consistency. Remove the skillet from the cook top and let cool either in the pan or in a bowl. If the mixture seems too loose, add 1 egg. Add the parsley, mix to combine and scoop heaping portions of the stuffing into the muffin pan using a large ice cream scoop. Transfer to the oven and bake until the top is crispy and the stuffing is hot in the center, about 15 minutes. Serve alongside a mixed green salad.

5. Yum-O!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mini Pretzel Sweet Potato Pie w/ Cinnamon Honey Buttercream

I have a fever. 
And the only cure is more 

I made some sweet potato fries the other night with homemade aioli. They were delish! So I decided to keep up the trend and offer up yet another sweet potato recipe for Thanksgiving.

This time is uses pretzels and is turned into a pie! How good does that sound?

It's a little crunchy. It's a little bit sweet. It's a whole lot of yumminess!

Mini Pretzel Sweet Potato Pie
Recipe from Heather's Dish

Pretzel Crust
2 1/3 cups pretzels, crumbled
3/4 cup butter, melted
5 Tbsp brown sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 15-oz can of sweet potato puree
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1 heaping tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp sour cream (or Greek yogurt)

1. Preheat the oven to 400.  Mix the pretzel crumbs, melted butter, and brown sugar in a bowl. 
2. Brush a muffin pan with butter.  Fill each muffin cup 2/3 of the way full, and then gently press the crumb mixture into the bottom and up the sides of each cup.
3. Bake at 400 for 5 minutes.  Let cool while you make the filling.
4. Turn oven temperature down to 350. In a bowl completely combine sugar and buttermilk. 
5. Add the sweet potato puree and egg, and mix til combined. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
6. With a spoon or ladle, pour the pie filling into the muffin cups, filling all the way to just below the top:
7. Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Let cool completely before serving!

Now you might wondering what's the yummy looking stuff on top of the pies?

It's Cinnamon Honey Buttercream. HELLO!
Also from Heather's Dish!
1 cup butter, softened
2 lb powdered sugar, sifted
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp milk or heavy cream
2 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp cinnamon

In a bowl cream the butter.  Add the powdered sugar and vanilla, and mix with the mixer on low.  Add the honey and cinnamon, and continue to mix.  Add in the milk (adding more if the consistency is too thick – but only 1 Tbsp at a time!) until desired consistency is reached.  Spread or pipe over cooled cupcakes/cake.

Finished Apron for the Swap!

If I may just tap myself on the back here real quick...*tap tap tap*


I've never EVER cranked out so many finished products on the sewing machine in my life. Aside from my costume pinafore, which was not meant to last, this is my first experience with sewing handmade gifts. I made two of the four tuck-ins, one to match the apron and one to match my partners collection *wink wink*

I won't spoil the surprise by showing the tuck-ins cause if my apron swap partner takes on look at them she'll know exactly who it's for!

But I can show you all my finished apron, modeled by my lovely work bench chair. Please ignore the disaster that is our garage. I just moved in! (And I'll continue to hold that excuse for the next few...m...years.) hehe

It is reversible with an empire waist wrap. A friend described it as being something a drunk christmas elf threw up. It is quite loud and festive but I LOVE IT! It has three different fabrics and a ribbon accent. And a pocket. So take that naysayers!

If i could, I would make an identical one for myself. But believe you me enough blood, sweat, and tears went into this one that it's gonna be awhile before I attempt another. It's harder than I thought! Doesn't help when you have a temperamental sewing machine. So...

Dear Santa,
      I want a brand spankin' new sewing machine.
Love, Amy

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Thanksgiving Sides

From now until Thanksgiving I'm going to be featuring recipes PERFECT for sharing at the Big Show!

Today I start with my dish. That is the dish I have decided to make this year for Thanksgiving.

Scalloped Sweet Potatoes... *droool*

Now, please keep in mind the photos are A: not mine and B: not originally made in a muffin pan.

You're gonna have to use your imagination. They're gonna be like my first post's recipe for Individual Potato Gratin:

Only more...sweet potato-y...like this:

You get the idea. Here's the recipe.

Scalloped Sweet Potatoes
I got it from Tasty Kitchen.

  • 2 pounds Sweet Potatoes
  • 4 strips Bacon
  • 1 whole Onion, Chopped
  • 2-½ Tablespoons All-purpose Flour
  • ½ teaspoons Salt
  • ¼ teaspoons Black Pepper
  • 2 cups Reduced-fat Milk
  • 1-¼ cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Peel potatoes; cut into 1/4 inch slices. Place potatoes in a large pot of boiling water. Cook for 5-10 minutes or until just tender. Drain well and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, fry bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Drain on a paper towel, crumble and set aside.

3. Add chopped onion to bacon drippings and cook until tender. Stir in flour over low heat and cook to a paste. Add salt and pepper. Add milk and cook until mixture thickens slightly.

4. Arrange half of the sweet potatoes in the bottom of an 11×7 inch baking dish. Sprinkle on half of the crumbled bacon. Pour on half of the milk mixture. Arrange remaining potatoes, sprinkle with remaining bacon and pour the rest of the milk mixture over the top. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. If desired, brown cheese for 1-2 minutes under the broiler.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Happy Birthday Twins!

Both my handsome, future fire fighting brother and beautiful, future SYTYCD winner sister


My extremely smart and hilarious twin cousins Maryhelen and Larissa

 are all celebrating twin birthdays today!


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Flea Market, Fabric, and Fabulous Food

Today I went to the flea market and bought some ribbon.

Next I went to Joanns and bought some fabric.

Then I went home and made marinated pork loin with apple potato hash.
And licked the plate clean before I could snap a shot!

Dinner - Part Deux
We added some gravy to the potatoes to kick it up a notch. BAM!


Monday, November 8, 2010

Apron Swap - Frosted Flurries

I am participating in my very first Apron Swap. YIPEE!

I'm pretty excited because...
I'll have a project.

I'll get to go fabric shopping.

Other swappers will be looking at my blog... FOLLOWING it perhaps *hint hint*

I'll get to be creative.

I'll be making someone else happy.

I'll have a PROJECT! 

I'll be posting images of the apron when I'm done. 

Go check out my last apron (or pinafore!) and see my skills!!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Roasted Tomato and Goat Cheese Tarte Tatin

Oh la la!

I like how fancy and french that sounds, Tarte Tatin. I don't even know what a tarte tatin is. haha

Anyways, I've been asked a few times for a good appetizer made in a muffin pan.

While I have a couple of them today I would like offer you one very easy, very tasty looking appetizer, Roasted Tomato and Goat Cheese Tarte Tatin.


Tarte Tatin de Tomates Grillées et Fromage de Chèvre.
Recipe courtesy of Dish.Diva.Jaz
18-20 plum tomatoes
1-2 tbsp herbes de provence
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
4-6 oz goat cheese, crumbled
2 sheets puff pastry - keep chilled until ready
1 egg beaten with water

1. Preheat oven to 400f

2. Cut tomatoes in half lengthwise. Place cut-side up on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with herbes de provence and season with salt and pepper.
Roast in the oven for about 35-45 minutes, or until tomatoes are caramelized & their juices are bubbling. You do not want them too soft.

3. Place tomatoes in texas sized muffin pan skin-side down, overlapping slightly. 3 fit snugly in each texas sized muffin cup. Dot tomatoes with pieces of crumbled goat cheese.

4. Using the puff pastry sheets, roll it out to about 1/4 inch thick, if it isn't already that thick. Make sure it stays nice a cool as that what makes it fluffy. Cut them out in circles, about the size of the muffin cup opening. Can be slightly bigger as they shrink while cooking. Egg wash one size and place it egg wash size down on top of the goat cheese. Brush one more time on top to make sure the whole thing browns.

5. Place in 400f oven and cook for about 10-12 until its deep golden brown.

6. To remove, let cool for about 5 minutes then turn the pan upside down and allow the tarts to slip out.

7. Bon Appétit!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

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