Mommy Made From Scratch

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Blog Hiatus

After the successful 12 Days of Christmas Treats followed by the Christmas holiday I am spent! There are some changes that I would like to make with the blog that require some looking into as well as the fact that I need to spend some non-blog related quality time with my kids. So for those reasons, I will be taking a 2 1/2 week hiatus from posting any new recipes on this blog. I hope this will allow me some time to make some improvements on the blog and give my kids some mommy and me time that they so desperately need.

Feel free to check out all the delicious recipes on the Recipes tab at the top of this page to get your MMFS fix in the meantime. I may check-in a few times to say hi on facebook or twitter but won't be posting anything new until January.

Thanks to all who participated in the 12 Days of Christmas Treats, both guest bloggers and fans alike! It was well worth all the tired moments. Also, a big thanks to those that have voted for my blog over at Picket Fence Blogs and Top Mommy Blogs. If you would like to vote for my blog at either one of these places, click the buttons over on the right sidebar to vote. I really appreciate the votes. They help me to share my blog with other potential readers.

I wish you all a great and blessed new year! I'll be posting again beginning January 6th. See you next year!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

My Cathedral Cookies feature at The Not So Modern Housewife

Today I am being featured over at The Not So Modern Housewife sharing my recipe for Cathedral Cookies!

Please head on over here to see this delicious recipe. Also, while you're there, check out all of the other great recipes Bonnie has shared at The Not So Modern Housewife.

Thanks for featuring me today, Bonnie!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Oreo & Cherry Dipped Christmas Mice by The Wednesday Baker

Today is day 12, the final day, of the 12 Days of Christmas Treats. I have had such a busy, yet fun time putting this whole thing together. Thanks to all of the guest bloggers for sharing some delicious holiday goodies and thanks to all of my readers for tuning in each day.

Today I am happy to have Andi from The Wednesday Baker here today to share her recipe for Oreo & Cherry Dipped Christmas Mice!

These are some of the cutest Christmas treats I have seen yet. They would be perfect for a school or church Christmas party for your kids...or you can just make them for yourself.

Head on over to The Wednesday Baker to see the full recipe. Thanks again for sharing, Andi!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Peppermint Crunch Ice Cream by The Not So Modern Housewife

I am very pleased to have Bonnie from The Not So Modern Housewife with us today to share her recipe for Peppermint Crunch Ice Cream for day 10 of the 12 Days of Christmas Treats!

I have gotten to know Bonnie a bit through email and blogging. She seems to really know what she's talking about when it comes to living a more old-fashioned way of life full of cloth diapers, gardening, cooking from scratch and making her own household cleaners. I hope to one day be more tapped into my domestic-ness as she is and live a more preservative and chemical-free lifestyle for my family and I. 

Thanks so much for sharing today, Bonnie!

Hello, my name is Bonnie, and I am The Not So Modern Housewife.  It is a real pleasure to be here on Mommy Made from Scratch, sharing one of my family’s favorite recipes.   I’ve enjoyed getting to know Heidi through e-mail and her blog.  I wish more moms would take on the task of learning to cook for their families and be aware of what is in the food they feed their children and themselves.  I truly admire any woman (or man for that matter) who takes on the task.

I have always enjoyed being a from-scratch cook.  Food made from scratch tastes better and comes with the added benefit of knowing what you’re putting into your body.  When my son was born last year, I made the commitment to breastfeed him and later make all of his baby food so I would know he was getting only the best.  I also wanted to be more “green” by making more of our household cleaning supplies, buying or growing local produce and reducing our family’s waste output.  Hence, The Not So Modern Housewife was born.

When Heidi asked me to write a guest post about my favorite holiday treat, I immediately thought of my peppermint crunch ice cream.    For several years, my husband impatiently awaited the arrival of peppermint ice cream at the local grocery store every Christmas.  It was like a food holiday (it ranks right up there with the first bags of candy corn being sold before Halloween).  I finally got an ice cream maker and decided that I would start making our own peppermint ice cream.  Not only could I make it all year round, but I would know what was going into the ice cream and I would finally have a use for all of those leftover candy canes.

Peppermint Crunch Ice Cream
2 c Heavy Whipping Cream
1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
1/2 tsp Peppermint Extract
2/3 c Sugar
6 Egg Yolks
1/4 c Crushed Peppermint Candies

There are a few tools you will need to have on-hand before you begin.  You will need either two whisks or a whisk (for the egg yolks) and a wooden spoon (for the cooking cream).  You will also need a food thermometer, preferably electronic.  You are cooking eggs, so you have to make sure they reach the proper temperature.  I wouldn’t want any of you to get sick.  You will also need a fine mesh sieve. 

It is also important to have all of your ingredients ready before you begin.  Ice cream base must be stirred the whole time it is cooking, so you will not have time to measure or gather ingredients while it is cooking.

In a heavy saucepan, mix together cream, vanilla, peppermint and 1/3 c sugar until fully combined.  

In a mixing bowl, whisk egg yolks and 1/3 c sugar until smooth and fully combined.  

Bring the cream mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Once it starts to boil, remove from the heat and slowly whisk the hot cream into the egg yolks.  Start by adding a very little bit while whisking vigorously.  Slowly add more and more cream while whisking until all of the cream has been added.  Adding the cream too quickly or failing to whisk while adding the cream could result in scrambled eggs and no one likes scrambled eggs in their ice cream.

Add the base back to the saucepan and return to the heat.  Whisk the base constantly until it reaches 175°F on the digital thermometer.  Again, failing to whisk or letting the mixture get too hot will result in scrambled eggs.  Not heating to 175°F could result in food borne illness.  Pour the mixture into a clean bowl through a fine mesh sieve to ensure the resulting mixture is smooth and lump free.  

Cover the bowl and put in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.  The base should be thoroughly cooled before being added to the ice cream maker.  This ice cream base will keep in the fridge for up to two days if you can’t get to it right away. 

Since ice cream base is basically a custard, don’t be surprised if it has a firm consistency like pudding after it has cooled.  Pour or scoop the base into the ice cream maker and begin churning.  

Once the base starts freezing (after about 5-10 min), add the crushed peppermint candies.  

Continue churning until the ice cream reaches the desired consistency, soft or firm.  (Firm freezes better.) 

Scoop the ice cream into a freezer safe container.  It can be stored in the freezer for up to 8 days, but it probably won’t last that long once your husband or kids find it.

IKEA Favorites Giveaway Winner!

We have a winner...

Congratulations to Geoff K. for winning the IKEA Favorites Giveaway! There were 42 entries for this giveaway. Geoff won by being entry #34 and liking Mommy Made From Scratch on Facebook!

I have emailed the winner. He has 48 hours to respond or I will choose a new winner.

Thanks again for being fans! Congrats to you, Geoff!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Homemade Christmas Caramels

I love caramel. And caramel is even better when it's homemade. The scent that fills the house when you make homemade caramel is amazing! It's simple and sweet. That's exactly what this recipe is.

So on the 11th day of the 12 Days of Christmas Treats I bring you Homemade Christmas Caramels. Enjoy!

Homemade Christmas Caramels
1 cup butter
2 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
dash of salt
1 cup light corn syrup
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt butter in a heavy saucepan. Add brown sugar and salt. If you are using salted butter, skip the dash of salt. Mix well. Stir in corn syrup. Add milk gradually while continuing to stir. Cook and stir over medium heat until candy reaches 245°F, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. I didn't have a candy thermometer so I just cooked it for 13 minutes and it all turned out fine.

Take a minute to check out my adorable helper...

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour into buttered baking sheet.

Cool in refrigerator then cut into 1-inch squares.

Wrap in individual pieces of wax paper if you like. Enjoy!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Nutty Chocolate Dipped Ritz

In my house growing up we would usually eat a very filling Christmas lunch then would snack as well as munch on all of the leftovers for the rest of the day as we spent time together. We usually had Ritz crackers out along with different types of cheese to eat with it. I guess it's for that reason that I usually associate Ritz crackers with the holidays. Don't get me wrong, I eat them throughout the year as well but they always have seemed to be more special than other crackers.

This year I wanted to do something a bit different with them. So on this 9th day of the 12 Days of Christmas Treats I am pleased to share with you my recipe for Nutty Chocolate Dipped Ritz!

Nutty Chocolate Dipped Ritz
Ritz crackers
4 bars (half a package) baker's chocolate
1 cup chocolate chips
Nutella hazelnut spread
peanut butter

Line baking sheet with wax paper. Lay out enough crackers to fill baking sheet, allowing space in between each cracker as shown below. Spread Nutella on one side of Ritz crackers.

Spread peanut butter on another cracker and lay on top of Nutella cracker, peanut butter side down to create a sandwich.

Take 4 bars baker's chocolate and 1 cup chocolate chips and place in double boiler. Melt chocolate in double boiler. Stir to mix well. Place cracker sandwiches in chocolate. Cover with chocolate and place back on wax paper. Repeat with each cracker sandwich. Sprinkle with Christmas colored sprinkles while chocolate is still warm.

Place cookie sheet in refrigerator to cool and harden chocolate. Take out and enjoy!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Pumpkin Chocolate Spice Cookies

Day 8 of the 12 Days of Christmas Treats brings us the moistest, (I'm assuming that's a word since spell check didn't tell me otherwise) simplest, extremely delicious cookie yet...the Pumpkin Chocolate Spice Cookie.

These things are perfect to make when you're in a crunch for something sweet but only have a few ingredients in the house. You only need three ingredients, unless you make your own dry cake mix instead of using the store bought box. I have yet to find a reason why store bought cake mix is any worse for you than homemade so if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

I made these with carrot cake mix but you could really use any flavor and it would still work. It will just give a different flavor to the cookie but will be just as yummy. Hope you like it!

Pumpkin Chocolate Spice Cookies
1 box carrot cake mix, or other flavor if you desire
1 15 oz. can pureed pumpkin, or equivalent homemade pumpkin puree
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Combine cake mix and pumpkin puree in medium bowl until evenly mixed. Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop by spoonful onto ungreased baking sheet.

Bake at 375 for 12-15 minutes. Let cool on pan for 1-2 minutes then transfer cookies to cooling rack to finish cooling. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Sour Cream Drop Cookies by Armstrong Family Fare

I'm so happy to have Willa from Armstrong Family Fare here today to share her recipe for Sour Cream Drop Cookies for day 6 of the 12 Days of Christmas Treats. Willa is a dear friend that I have gotten to know over the last several years. She is an amazing baker and cook so listen to her...she knows what she's doing! 

Thanks so much for sharing today, Willa!

Hello!  Welcome to Mommy Made From Scratch!  I am delighted to be posting here today and sharing one of my family’s favorite Christmas ANYTIME cookies.  My name is Willa.  I live in Ohio with my husband, Eric, and our son (2 years) and daughter (7 months).  I have always loved to cook and spend time in the kitchen making delicious meals for my family and friends.  A few months ago, I decided to begin blogging, which is when Armstrong Family Fare was created!  About that same time, without one another knowing, Mommy Made From Scratch was being created as well!  Heidi and I are friends in REAL life, not just in the blogging world.  She’s a great person and I’m thrilled to be participating in her Christmas series!

Growing up my family had a few Christmas traditions.  The one I look back upon very fondly was our tradition of baking tons and tons (and I do mean tons) of cookies.  We made so many different varieties.  We’d begin baking shortly after Thanksgiving.  We would make everything that could be frozen ahead of time then, and later as Christmas was quickly approaching we would make the last minute candies and cookies.  We would then package these cookies up in beautiful cookie trays to take to family and friends.  It was one way that we gave to others.  We didn’t have the money to buy elaborate gifts for everyone we knew, but a tray of cookies was deeply appreciated!

One cookie that we often made were these Sour Cream Drop Cookies.  They’re good.  They have a similar flavor to a sugar cookie, however they have a much softer texture.  They literally melt in your mouth! 

Sour Cream Drop Cookies
1 cup Crisco
1 teaspoon salt
1 ½ cup sugar
3 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
¾ cup sour cream
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
Red and green colored sugar sprinkles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Blend together Crisco, sugar and eggs.  Beat this very well!  Dissolve baking soda in sour cream and then add to other ingredients and mix.  Add vanilla and mix.  In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt.  Slowly stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients.  Drop cookies on a greased cookie sheet and sprinkle with colored sugar.  Bake for 11 minutes, check and pull out before cookies brown.  Allow the cookies to cool for a minute or two before removing from cookie sheets. 

Enjoy!!  These cookies can easily be adjusted to make anytime throughout the year.  Just omit the colored sugar and sprinkle with regular white sugar.  They’re also very good with a bit of nutmeg or cinnamon sprinkled on top!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Peanut Butter Pinwheels

Today is day 7 of the 12 Days of Christmas Treats! 

I'm always looking for new and different sweet recipes. I ran across this one in a cookbook that I bought at a dollar store of all places. I thought it seemed different than a lot of other recipes I have found. It's simple, sweet and quickly made. Hope you like it!

Peanut Butter Pinwheels
1 lb. confectioners' sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
milk, as needed
peanut butter

Combine sugar and vanilla in medium sized mixing bowl. Add 3-4 tablespoons of milk to the sugar mixture until a ball forms that isn't too sticky to be rolled out. If it is too sticky, just add a bit more sugar.

Roll ball out on wax paper until 1/4 inch thick.

Spread with peanut butter.

Roll up into a log shape and wrap in wax paper.

Chill in the refrigerator for several hours. Slice into circles. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Mint Chocolate Meringue Surprises

On the 5th Day of Christmas Treats my true love sent to me....uh, sorry. What can I say, I was in the Christmas spirit. Moving really is the 5th day of the 12 Days of Christmas Treats and boy do I have a treat for you...Mint Chocolate Meringue Surprises.

Growing up, my mom used to make meringue cookies called Forgotten Kisses. They are airy, crunchy but not too crunchy and full of chocolate chips. She would sometimes add some mint flavoring to them too. These have always been one of my favorite treats. So a few weeks ago when the stores began stocking the shelves with holiday candy, I saw that Hershey's had come out with Mint Chocolate Truffle Kisses. I knew I needed to do something with them and the first thing that came to mind were the Forgotten Kisses that I have always drooled over.

So here's my take on my mom's Forgotten Kisses...Mint Chocolate Meringue Surprises. Enjoy!

Mint Chocolate Meringue Surprises
3 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
3/4 cup fine sugar
1 package Hershey's Mint Chocolate Truffle Kisses

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In mixer bowl, beat egg whites on medium-low until foamy.

Add cream of tartar. Continue to mix until the egg whites form soft peaks.

Add the sugar, small amounts at a time, and continue to beat, on medium-high speed, until the meringue holds very stiff peaks. To make sure that the sugar is dissolved, rub a small amount of the batter in between your index finger and thumb. If it feels grainy, it isn't done. If smooth, go on to next step.

Unwrap chocolate kisses and set aside.

Drop egg whites by spoonfuls onto parchment lined baking sheet. Put one chocolate kiss in the center of each egg white dollop.

Add more egg whites on top of chocolate kiss, sealing the kiss inside.

Bake at 200 F for about 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours. When done, the cookies shouldn't be as bright in color and should remove easily from the parchment paper. Shut off oven and open oven door. Leave cookies in oven for several hours or overnight.

Enjoy the surprise!