Cranberry Coconut Oatmeal Cookie Mix

I made  a lot of homemade gifts this Christmas and this pretty layered cookie mix was one of them. I really wanted to get this recipe posted before Christmas but that didn’t work out. So I’m going to post it anyway because I think homemade gifts can be given anytime throughout the year. This mix was super easy to put together and looked nice in the gift basket. I got the recipe out of one of my Paula Deen holiday magazines. The ingredients are:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

In a 1-quart glass jar, layer ingredients in order listed, pressing each layer down firmly before adding the next ingredient.

To make the cookies you will need:

  • 1 jar Cranberry Coconut Oatmeal Cookie Mix
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine cookie mix, butter, egg, and vanilla, stirring until combined. Roll dough into 1″ balls. Place dough 2″ apart on baking sheets. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let cool on pans for 2 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool completely. Store in airtight containers.

Brie Cherry Pastry Cups

This is the second appetizer I made last night for our families dinner night. These little pastry cups are delicious! I put them out on a platter to serve and they were gone in seconds (clearly I did not make enough, next time I will double the recipe). The cherry preserves are sweet, the brie is smooth and mild and tames down the sweetness of the preserves, and the chives give it that touch of savory that just pulls it all together into the perfect little appetizer. Everyone loved this recipe! The kids were watching me prepare these and they asked me if I could make some of them without the brie and chives because they didn’t like brie and chives. I did as they asked and guess which ones they were eating……… The ones with brie and chives! Not only were these delicious but they were very pretty and festive looking with the red and green colors. These would make the perfect Christmas appetizer!

I got the recipe out of an old christmas issue of Taste Of Home. They won first place in their appetizer recipe contest and I definitely know why!

The ingredients are:

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1/2 Cup Cherry preserves
  • 4 oz. Brie or Camembert cheese, cut into 1/2-in. cubes
  • 1/4 Cup chopped pecans or walnuts ( I did not use but will try with nuts next time)
  • 2 Tbsp. minced chives

Unfold puff pastry, cut into 36 squares ( I used my pizza wheel slicer to cut the dough, it worked great). Gently press squares onto the bottoms of 36 miniature muffin cups coated with cooking spray.

Bake at 375 for 10 minutes. Using the end of a wooden spoon handle, make a 1/2-in. deep indentation in the center of each. Bake 6-8 minutes longer or until golden brown. With spoon handle, press squares down again.

Spoon a rounded 1/2 teaspoonful of preserves into each cup. Top with cheese; sprinkle with nuts and chives. Bake for 3-5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Olive & roasted pepper bruschetta

I’m so excited! I tried two new appetizers last night for our families weekly dinner night and they both turned out fantastic! You know how it is when you try new recipes, you never know how it is going to turn out. That’s the risk we take right, but when something turns out great it makes all the wrongs worth it. Last night I had two successes! The first one is for an Olive & roasted pepper bruschetta. I was thumbing through an old December (2009) issue of Taste of home magazine when I came across these two recipes. They had an appetizer recipe contest and this recipe was one of the runner ups. You definitely need to like green olives to enjoy this recipe, which we all do. Even the kids liked them! Not to mention this was super easy to make. You could have these ready to go in 15 minutes. To save even more time you could make the topping ahead of time.

The ingredients are:

  • 1/2 Cup grated Romano cheese (I had Parmesan so I used that instead)
  • 1/2 Cup chopped pitted green olives
  • 1/2 Cup chopped roasted sweet red pepper
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 16 slices French bread baguette (1/2 in. thick), toasted

Make sure that you have toasted your baguette slices. I almost forgot to do that. I put the slices on a cookie sheet and put them in the oven for a few minutes.

In a small bowl, combine the first five ingredients (I did not add the Parmesan cheese with the olive mixture because we have a couple of people who can’t eat it. So I sprinkled it over the tops of about half of them). Top each bread slice with 1 Tbsp. olive mixture.

I would definitely double this recipe next time. With our family they only lasted a couple of minutes!

( Thank you Taylor for being my hand model!)

Flavored oils and vinegars

I was looking through my, the best of Martha Stewart Living Holidays book and I came across directions on how to make flavored oils and vinegar. I have been wanting to try this for a while now, so today I gave it a shot. I have yet to find out how the oil and vinegar are going to taste ( seeing that they have to rest for about three weeks), but I think that they are beautiful!

I plan on making and giving a lot of homemade gifts this Christmas and I think these will definitely be one of the many that are given. If I can part with them! They look so pretty up on my counter!

It says in the book to buy decorative new containers, or reuse old bottles. I bought these bottles new, they came three in a pack and were $6.99. I don’t know if that is a good price or not but the bottles are fairly large. Then it says to clean the bottles, put in two Tablespoons of uncooked rice, add hot soapy water, and shake vigorously. Now I’ve seen other recipes saying to boil the bottles first but I wasn’t sure if that applied to these decorative type of bottles so I just went with Martha’s directions. Next it says to Wash and dry herbs, and place three or four generous sprigs in each bottle. Using a funnel, fill bottles with oils or vinegar until herbs are completely submerged. Cork or seal bottles; they’ll be ready to use in three weeks.

In my bottles I used:

  • rosemary, pink peppercorns, and olive oil. The pink peppercorns really look pretty in the bottle with the rosemary.
  • Garlic, green onions, lemon zest, and red wine vinegar. It says to only use garlic with vinegar as it can cause bacteria to grow if used in oils.

These combinations are my own, since I like these flavors, but you could also use:

Hot peppers, tarragon, thyme, sage, dill, and black peppercorns.

Sausage, Peppers, and Onions

Here is a recipe for Sausage and Peppers that my family really enjoys. It’s not a traditional Sausage and Peppers with a tomato base but it is very good. The peppers and onions give the dish a slight sweetness with big flavor. All of the ingredients combined create a wonderful meal! The ingredients are:

  • 1-2 Pounds of Sausage (which ever one you like, I use a mild Italian Sausage)
  • Sweet peppers, cut into slivers ( about 2 Cups) I get the bag of mini peppers from Costco and use them.
  • 1 onion ( cut the same way as the peppers)
  • 4 t. Chicken bullion paste
  • Garlic (minced)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Italian seasoning
  • Fresh Parsley
  1. Boil sausage untill cooked. Then slice it up and  put it in a pan and fry untill brown.
  2. While you are doing this you can put the peppers and onions in a pot and cook with 1 cup of water and bullion paste.
  3. When sausage is done add the peppers and onions, along with the garlic and seasonings.
  4. Cook for about a half hour and serve over buttered Penne Pasta.
  5. Sprinkle fresh parsley over dish and serve.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hello all! Hopefully everyone is enjoying the Holiday season. In my house the baking has officially begun and what better way to kick off the Holiday baking than with a classic Chocolate Chip Cookie. Who doesn’t love Chocolate Chip Cookies!! We definitely all do and these cookies are delicious! I got this recipe from Allrecipes years ago, added the toffee bits to it and love it. The Ingredients are:

  • 2/3 Cup Butter flavored shortening
  • 2/3 Cup Butter (softened)
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Cup Packed light brown sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 T. Vanilla
  • 3 1/2 Cups Flour
  • 1 t.Baking soda
  • 1 t. Salt
  • 1 Cup Chopped Pecans (optional)
  • 1 1/2 Cups Semi Sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 Cup Toffee bits
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl cream together the shortening, butter and sugars until smooth.
  3. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla.
  4. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir into the creamed mixture.
  5. Stir in the pecans, chocolate bits, and toffee chips.
  6. Using a large cookie scoop, scoop dough into balls. Place onto ungreased baking sheets.
  7. Bake 10 minutes until lightly browned. Don’t over bake!
  8. Cool on sheets for 2 minutes and then remove to cooling racks.