Saturday, December 31, 2011

Sausage Cheddar Balls

Stop the clocks!  Hold up!  You still have time to squeeze in one more unhealthy recipe before the New Year!  My goal was to post this a week ago, but of course my schedule did not free up like I thought it would...of course. : )  Another goal I have, and of course plan to keep this time is to only post healthy recipes for all of January 2012.  This should help you all in your month long commitments to getting healthier in the New Year.  I will of course continue posting sugar filled recipes as soon as February rolls along...of this I am sure.

I don't know about you, but I am ready for a New Year.  A fresh start, a clean slate, and a new beginning!  The beginning of the New Year is always so full of hope for things to come, and a renewed commitment to living a better life.  Whats not to like?  I would share my New Year's resolutions with you, but I have yet to come up with any.  I have no flaws, so I have nothing to change.  Yeah right, not even close.  The list is long, so I am working on revising it and coming up with attainable goals.  

One of the things on the list is to improve my blog.  Starting with a new camera!  I am in the process of figuring out which one to buy.  This will hopefully improve the appearance of the food I make and make your reading experience more enjoyable.  I am also going to try and be more consistent with my posting and try to post at least once a week. 

Now onto the recipe.  These wonderful little appetizers are quick to make, and sure to please.  You can make them ahead of time scoop them out and freeze them.  Keep them in a ziploc bag and just pop a few in the oven when you want them.  I recommend using high quality cheese and  sausage, of course this will improve the taste immensely  You might be familiar with these as there is a version that calls for bisquick baking mix.  I admit that version is tasty, but in keeping with my "box free" cooking philosophy these stand up to the test and even surpass in my opinion.

Sausage Cheddar Balls
from Martha Stewart
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 cups grated cheddar (1/2 pound)
  • 1 pound bulk breakfast sausage
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, grated on large holes of a box grater
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and baking powder. Add cheddar and toss to coat. Add sausage, onion, and butter. With your hands, mix until well combined and roll mixture into 1-inch balls. Place balls, 1/2 inch apart, on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until balls are golden and cooked through, 25 minutes. Serve warm.


Monday, December 19, 2011

White Chocolate Cranberry Scones


In case you live in a cave and aren't too aware of what is going on around you...I am here to tell you
Christmas is only a few days away!!!! 
 Of this I am sure.  How do I know this you may ask?  Because I haven't resurfaced from my kitchen in the last 2 weeks.

Life?  Hum...what is that? 
Gym...where are you located again? 
Sleep...why do you taunt me so?

Some of my Chrismas 2011 cookie boxes

Last Christmas was the first time I started accepting orders, and in all honesty I didn't really have too many.  Last Thanksgiving however I was swamped with pie orders.  Keep in mind baking from home was my only job last year, so keeping up with the orders wasn't a problem.  This year on the other hand I am working a full time 8-5 day job plus keeping up with 5x as many orders as last year!!!  This means my bedtime has gotten pushed waaay in I can't find it. : )

The only reason this has been possible is because I started drinking coffee again and because my Mom is helping Mom is awesome by the way!  She has been grocery shopping for me, helps me ice cookies into the wee hours of the night, and then helps me package cookies at cockamamie hours early in the morning.  She supports my dream...or my addiction...whatever you call it.  I would turn orders down, but I want everyone to have what they want for Christmas this year, and if getting a box of my cookies as a gift helps accomplish that goal of happiness then I too am happy.

One thing I made for an order this month were these delicious scones.  Let me tell you folks, they are incredible!  Let me tell you something else, 3 days later they still tasted delicious and not dry...I didn't even realize that was possible for a scone.  Did I mention they have fresh cranberries in them?  Did I mention fresh cranberries are awesome and that you should all join my club to keep fresh cranberries on the shelves year round...join, your life will never be the same again.

Another thing that makes these scones awesome is that you can make the dough ahead of time, scoop it, freeze it, wake up in the morning and bake them in under 30 minutes...then offer people fresh hot scones...this is what I did and suddenly I am class president and I don't even go to school.

Hot scones.  This recipe is a gift.  Use it and make the world a better place.  With great things comes great responsibilities...make a difference one scone at a time.

Cranberry White Chocolate Scones
yields 28 scones

1/2 cup granulated sugar (4 oz)
6 1/2 cups all purpose flour (1 # 14 oz)
1 3/4 tsp salt
4 TBS Baking powder (1.75 oz)
4 sticks cold unsalted butter (16 oz) cut into small cubes
1 1/3 cup cold milk
1/2 cup cold heavy cream
3 eggs cold (5 oz)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips or chunks
1 cup fresh cranberries, rinsed and cut in half

Sift together the sugar, flour, salt, and baking powder.  Place these sifted ingredients in a standing mixer and turn on with paddle attachment.  While mixer is running add cut up butter.  If you don't have an electric mixer you can always cut the butter in with a handheld pastry blender, 2 knives, or your fingers.  Once butter is small and pea sized...but before it all clumps together add the cranberries and white chocolate.  Once mixed in add the wet ingredients (milk, eggs, and vanilla)  Mix only until just combined.  The key to tender scones is to not over mix them.  Using an ice cream scoop portion out onto parchment lined pan.  If you don't have a scoop it is about 1/2 of batter for each scone.  Be careful to not press the dough tightly into the measuring scoop or cup...DO NOT OVER WORK THIS DOUGH.  At this point you can either freeze the portioned out batter or proceed with the baking process.  Brush the top of each scone with some egg white.  Then sprinkle with some coarse sugar or raw sugar.  Bake in 350 degree oven until golden brown.  The baking time varies depending upon the size you make the scones...1/2 cup sized scone will take from 15-20 minutes.  Cool slightly and enjoy!

Eat your heart out,


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Breakfast Stirfry and the runner inside me

I adore cooler weather.  Maybe it is because the baggier wardrobe I get to wear.  Maybe it is because I get to eat more cookies to fill up those baggy clothes.  You know how it is...don't deny it.

The cooler weather also inspires me to run more outside...why do you ask.  Well. probably because I get to wear the baggy sweatshirts and sweatpants and somehow it makes me look less lame when I attempt to run.  Just ask my niece.  I often go on walks with her...she rides her bike and I run/walk...she has a tendency to laugh hysterically at me and my weird running skills.  At first I was hurt, but then I realized how weird I really do look when I run and I had to join in with the laughing.

Do you look weird when you run?  Honestly, who doesn't?  Unless you are a stick person with no jiggle to be found anywhere on your body...and you look good in spandex (FYI nobody looks good in spandex)...then trust me, you look funny when you run.  Don't let this discourage you from all means run, run like the wind, run like Forest, run.

Another thing that has me running a little more is the addition of another dog to our house.  My sister and her husband are currently in transition from NYC to Santa Monica and during the process we are housing their toy Australian, Diesel, for a month.  Flopsy loves having a friend around and they chase each other around all day long. 

Now usually Flopsy can only walk about a mile or so with me and then she gives up and sits down.  Then I have to carry her the rest of the way.  She isn't lazy, just small and her little legs can't go that far.  With the addition of Diesel to our walks the two small dogs challenge each other and now we can go 2 miles!  Don't worry, we stop take breaks and get water often.  If the dogs look tired and can't go on Emma bean wears a backpack while riding her bike and then we just rotate the tired dogs from riding in the backpack.  It is actually really funny looking, but I think they love it. : )  Then when we get home they go right to sleep.  Poor little pups. : )

Not only do the dogs make me go faster they also make me work on my coordination and strength as I try to not trip on their leashes as they run in circles around my legs.  So really I am playing jump rope while running...quite the challenge, and very amusing to watch I'm sure.  Just waiting for that face plant to happen, I know it is coming so I need to practice my falling techniques and make sure I don't break any wrists or ankles in the process....please Lord, no!

Now in order to have energy to run like a pro you should start your day with this high protein breakfast stir fry.  This recipe is open to interpertation, add what veggies you like, and whatever meat you like.

Breakfast Stir fry for one:

2 links organic turkey breakfast sausage
2 egg whites
1 cup packed fresh spinach
1/2 cup cooked short grain brown rice
1/4 cup salsa

If the sausage isn't cooked, cook according to packaging.  Cut sausage up into pieces.  In oiled pan add sausage and spinach.  Cook until wilted.  Add rice and egg whites.  Stir and cook over medium heat until whites are cooked.  Add salsa and stir.  You can make this ahead of time and just reheat it in the mornings for a great healthy breakfast.

You can always add cooked onions, the egg yolk, black beans, and cheese to jazz it up even more. 

 Make this.  Run a few miles.  Breathe in the clean icy cool air. 

Eat your heart out,