Monthly Archives: March 2013

Apple Pizza


This cookbook is pretty brilliant in my opinion.  This recipe is apple pie, meets turnover, meets yum.  Great option if you don’t feel like making an entire apple pie, but are still craving some home baked goodness.  It disappeared super fast in our house!

apple pizza

The Recipe (makes four 6-inch pizzas):

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 stick) butter, at room temperature

3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup cold water

3 medium sized apples (recommend Gala or Fuji)

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

The Process:

1.  Preheat oven to 400 F

2.  Place the flour and the butter in a large mixing bowl.  Using your fingers (yay!) rub the butter into the flour until it almost disappears and the flour becomes a little yellow.

3.  Add 3 tablespoons of sugar and the salt to the flour.  Blend with your hands.  Pour in the cold water and blend with your hands until the dough holds together in one clump (add a little water at a time if you need until the dough comes together).  Sprinkle a clean work surface with a little flour.

4.  Knead the dough for around 5 minutes until soft and smooth.

5.  Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces.  Using a rolling pin, roll 1 piece about 1/4″ thick and about 6″ in diameter.  Place the pizzas on a cookie sheet.

6.  Core the apple and peel (I actually left the peel on my apples for a little more “rustic” texture).  Slice apple in half, and then slice the halves into thin slices.

7.  Place the apple slices in a bowl and sprinkle with the 1 teaspoon of sugar and cinnamon.  Toss to coat evenly.  Arrange the apple slices on each circle of dough on the cookie sheet.

8.  Place the cookie sheet in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.  The edges should be slightly golden.

9.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar and consume!

Easter Bunny Bread

Easter Bunny Bread

Next up from the Holiday section of the cookbook was Easter Bunny Bread.  Just so you know up front, this is not an edible item, purely for show.  Lots of fun to make with your kids though – and he’s kinda cute.  Although mine turned out a little smaller since I had to give up some of my dough so my child could “make her own bunny”.  Happy Easter everyone!

Easter Bunny Bread

The Recipe:

5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (plus 1/2 cup for flouring the work surface)

2 tablespoons salt

4 1/2 teaspoons sugar

1 tablespoon vegetable shortening

2 cups plus 1 tablespoon water

2 whole cloves (I didn’t have any spare cloves lying around, so I used a couple decorative flower sprinkles)

1 egg

The Process:

1.  Place the 5 1/2 cups of flour, salt, sugar, shortening, and 2 cups of water in a mixing bowl.  Using an electric mixer, mix until incorporated.  I ended up attaching my dough hook to my stand mixer and let it knead it a bit.

2.  Sprinkle your clean work surface with some flour and place the dough on it.  Gently knead the dough until it’s soft and smooth.  Sprinkle with additional flour if it gets too sticky.

3.  Preheat the oven to 400 F.

4.  Cut or pull the dough into 2 equal parts.  Shape 1 of the pieces into a smooth ball and place on a cookie sheet (you can line it with foil if you wish).

5.  Cut or pull the remaining piece of dough into 3 equal parts.  Shape 1 piece into a smooth ball to use as the bunny’s head. Pinch them together to connect the 2 pieces.

6.  Pull off equal pieces of the remaining dough and create a small ball (about the size of a ping pong ball) to use for the bunny’s tail. Pinch to the body to connect.

7.  With the 2 remaining dough pieces, roll them into thick ropes and flatten them slightly so they begin to look like bunny ears.  Place the ears, evenly spaces, on the bunny’s head  and pinch together to attach.  Push a clove (or what ever you have laying around that resembles an eye and can be baked) into each side of the head to make the eyes.

8.  Break the egg into the bowl and add the 1 tablespoon of water.  Beat the egg and water until blended.  Brush the entire bunny with the egg mixture to make him all nice and golden and shiny.

Pro Tip: Mr. Bunny can be sprayed with lacquer to make him last longer.

My First Ottoman…


Remember I said I’m technically an Interior Designer by trade?  Well lately I’ve had a hankering to completely re-do my living room.  My first task, recover a couple of super cheap ottomans (footstools if you like).  I’m pretty proud of myself 🙂  I spent a whopping $16 each for the stools, and a total of $11 for the fabric AND trim at a local shop I absolutely love.  What do you think?

Ottoman Footstool before

recovered ottoman after

Teddy Bear Pancakes


My little girl is home sick today, so we were flipping through the cookbook, and her little eyes widened as we turned to the teddy bear pancakes.  How could I say no to that sweet face?  Plus, pancakes on a weekday, so bonus 🙂  All in all, I have to say this is a great recipe to have in my back pocket.  Very little sugar, whole wheat flour (which is immensely surprising for a cookbook written in the ’80’s…)  Hope your kids (big and small) enjoy as much as mind did!

Teddy Bear pancakes

The Recipe (made about 8 good size bears):

4 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (my addition)

1 egg

1 cup milk

Honey (optional)

Banana slices (optional)


The Process:

1.  Heat griddle (or frying pan) to medium heat.

2.  Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter and set aside.

3.  Place the all-purpose flour, wheat flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a bowl.  Stir to combine.

4.  Break the egg into the bowl.  Add the melted butter and milk and whisk until incorporated (shouldn’t be any lumps).

5.  Brush the griddle or frying pan with butter to coat evenly.

6.  To make the Teddy shapes, spoon about 1 tablespoon of batter into the center of the pan for the body and then 1 teaspoon above for the head.  With another teaspoon, make the 2 ears, 2 hands, and 2 feet.

7.  Cook over medium heat until small bubbles begin to form on the top.  When golden brown on the one side, flip over and allow the other side to cook, about 2 more minutes.

8.  Repeat till all the batter is gone!

Pro Tip:  Heat the oven to low heat (200 F) and place the finished pancakes on a cookie sheet with a foil cover to keep warm until you’re ready to serve.

Serving Suggestion:  I’m typically pretty boring when it comes to pancakes – maple syrup is enough for me.  However, they recommended honey as a topping, and I thought – what the heck?  So I sliced some bananas, drizzled a little honey over, finished with a dusting of powdered sugar – and holy pancake!  My kid could not eat them fast enough.  Mommy mission “Feel Better” accomplished.


Cheater Chili

Cheater Chili

We’re not huge chili eaters around here.  So I wasn’t super excited when I came across the recipe in the book.  But then, I had a moment of inspiration…what if I used the left over Mini-Meatloafs as the base?  That would save me some cooking time, and use left overs that always get forgotten in the depths of the fridge.  Genius? Maybe, maybe not.  But hey, we ate chili, and it was pretty darn tasty 🙂


The Recipe (makes 6 servings):

1 medium bell pepper (any color will do)

1 small onion

1 pound lean ground beef (or left over Mini-Meatloafs!)

1 can (14 1/2 oz.) crushed tomatoes

1 can (19 oz.) kidney beans (I actually left these out of my chili)

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon ground cumin (Cumin and I do not get along, I can’t stand the smell, so omitted this too!) 🙂

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 cup tomato puree

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 oz. Sharp Cheddar, grated

1 container sour cream

Green onions for garnish, optional


The Process:

1.  Chop the bell peppers and onions.  Saute in a sauce pan until tender.

2.  Add the ground beef (or Mini Meatloafs!) to the pan and cook over medium heat until no pink remains.

3.  Empty the can of crushed tomatoes into the pan and stir.

4.  Strain and rinse the kidney beans and add to pan.

5.  Add the chili powder, cumin (yuck), garlic powder, tomato puree and salt to the meat mixture.  Simmer over low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

6.  While the chili is cooking, shred the cheddar (don’t scrape your knuckles!).

7.  When the chili is ready, ladle into bowls and top with grated cheddar, a dollop of sour cream, and green onions if you choose.

It may be cheating, but cheating can be yummy 🙂

Banana (Chocolate) Walnut Bread


I think everyone should bake a loaf of this bread right now, just so your house smells as good as mine! 🙂 Great texture and flavor – I have to say, I’m really sorry I’ve never tried all these yummy recipes before!  So far, they have all been amazingly good.  I did add some chocolate chips to my version, because, why not?!?

na Chocolate Walnut Bread

The Recipe (makes 1 loaf):

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature

2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

3 very ripe bananas

2 tablespoons sour cream

1 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Cinnamon Cream Cheese for serving (recipe follows)

The Process:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 F.

2.  Grease the bottom and sides of a 4×8 loaf pan with butter.

3.  Mix the flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.

4.  Place the butter and sugar in your mixing bowl and beat with mixer until light and fluffy.

5.  Break the eggs into the bowl and beat until completely blended with butter mixture.

6.  Add the flour mixture and beat until smooth.

7.  Peel the bananas and break into small chunks.  Add the bananas, sour cream, walnuts, and chocolate chips.  Blend at low speed until combined.

8.  Pour the batter into the buttered loaf pan and smooth out the top with a rubber spatula.

9.  Bake for 1 hour 10 minutes (I found this was spot on).

10.  Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes (yeah right).  Turn the pan upside down to allow the loaf to fall out.  Place loaf right side up and let cool another 15 minutes (sure…) before slicing.

This bread was great on its own, but even better with some Cinnamon Cream Cheese.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese

I package softened cream cheese

1 teaspoon cinnamon (or more to taste)

2-3 teaspoons brown sugar

Classic Fudge Brownies (with a Peanut Butter twist)


Here’s your pretty standard fudgy brownie recipe.  I added a little “me” twist by swirling in some yummy peanut butter – just to make them that much more awesome.

Fudge peanut butter Brownie


The Recipe

4 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate (I used semi-sweet chocolate chips since I had them on hand)

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

1 1/2 teaspoons butter at room temperature

3 eggs

1  1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla (as per usual, I did 2 teaspoons)

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup melted peanut butter (optional)

1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)


The Process

1.  Preheat oven to 325 F

2.  Using a double boiler, melt the 1/2 cup butter and chocolate over low heat.  Stir occasionally.  Set aside to cool when completely melted.

3.  Butter the bottom and sides of a 9×12 baking dish.

4.  Break the eggs into the bowl of your mixer.  Add the sugar and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy (around 2 minutes).

5.  Add the cooled chocolate mixture and mix at low speed until incorporated into the sugar mixture.   Add half the flour and mix at low speed until mixed in.  Add the remaining flour (and optional walnuts) and mix until blended.

6.  Pour the batter into the buttered baking dish.  If using the peanut butter option, melt 1/4 cup of peanut butter in the microwave.  Place a dollop of peanut butter at each corner of the pan and 1 dollop in the center.   Using a knife, swirl the peanut butter in an “S” shape from top to bottom, and then side to side.  The tops of these brownies turn out a little light, so the pretty peanut butter swirls got a little lost unfortunately.  But they still tasted amazing!

7.  Place in oven and bake for approximately 25-30 minutes.

8.  If you can…allow the brownies to cool for 15 minutes before diving in.

Choco-holics unite!