Wednesday, January 22, 2014

20-Minute Applesauce Breakfast Cookies

20-Minute Applesauce Breakfast Cookies

Makes 36.

The word "cookie" is used loosely here.  Let's not get carried away and think that these taste like true cookies.  But if your toddler likes them, call them cookies as much as you'd like.  
Adapted from: Shape

3 ripe bananas
2 c. rolled oats
1/3 c. applesauce

2 T. honey
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 c. dried cherries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a fork, mash the bananas in a bowl. Stir in oats, applesauce, honey, dried cherries, cinnamon and vanilla extract. Mix batter well. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto a lined cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes.

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Book Thief

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Better read this before the movie is released!  Great book.

School Library Journal review from

Starred Review. Grade 9 Up–Zusak has created a work that deserves the attention of sophisticated teen and adult readers. Death himself narrates the World War II-era story of Liesel Meminger from the time she is taken, at age nine, to live in Molching, Germany, with a foster family in a working-class neighborhood of tough kids, acid-tongued mothers, and loving fathers who earn their living by the work of their hands. The child arrives having just stolen her first book–although she has not yet learned how to read–and her foster father uses it, The Gravediggers Handbook, to lull her to sleep when shes roused by regular nightmares about her younger brothers death. Across the ensuing years of the late 1930s and into the 1940s, Liesel collects more stolen books as well as a peculiar set of friends: the boy Rudy, the Jewish refugee Max, the mayors reclusive wife (who has a whole library from which she allows Liesel to steal), and especially her foster parents. Zusak not only creates a mesmerizing and original story but also writes with poetic syntax, causing readers to deliberate over phrases and lines, even as the action impels them forward. Death is not a sentimental storyteller, but he does attend to an array of satisfying details, giving Liesels story all the nuances of chance, folly, and fulfilled expectation that it deserves. An extraordinary narrative.–Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Sugar Cookie Dip

Sugar Cookie Dip

Makes about 2 cups.

Wow.  I could eat WAAYYY too much of this.
Inspired by: Cooking with Christine and My Honeys Place

1 package sugar cookie mix
1 (8-oz.) block cream cheese, softened
1/2 stick (4 oz.) butter, softened
1 T. flavored coffee creamer (I used brown sugar and vanilla flavor)

Combine all ingredients with a mixer or efficiently by hand.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Serve with pretzels, vanilla wafers, animal crackers, or whatever tickles your fancy.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Baby Spinach and Cheddar Quiche

Baby Spinach and Cheddar Quiche

Serves 8.

I used a store-bought crust... a refrigerated one, not a frozen one.  But either would work.
Source: Big Flavors Tiny Kitchen

Store-bought frozen deep dish pie shell
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon shallot, minced
4 ounces baby spinach
Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
5 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place frozen pie crust on a baking sheet and set aside.
Heat oil in a large, non-stick skillet over moderate heat. Add garlic and shallot and sauté until soft. Add spinach, season with nutmeg, salt and pepper, and cook until the spinach wilts down, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
While the spinach mixture is cooling, beat eggs and milk in a large bowl. Stir in cheese.
Place spinach mixture in the bottom of the pie crust, spreading it out in an even layer. Pour egg mixture on top and bake for 45-50 minutes, until eggs are set. Remove from oven and let stand a few minutes before diving in. Enjoy!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Chocolate M&M Cookie Cups

Chocolate M&M Cookie Cups

Makes about 30.

Rich and chocolaty, with extra chocolate bursts from the M&Ms.
Adapted from: The Daily Dish

1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1 t. pure vanilla extract
1 t. baking soda
1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa
1 12-oz. pkg. M&M’s 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. In medium bowl, combine the baking soda, flour and cocoa. Gradually add the dry mixture to the wet, stirring until combined. Stir in the M&M’s.
Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls into a mini muffin pan. Place baking sheet on the middle rack in oven and bake for about 10 minutes. Remove sheet from oven and let cool in pan for about 10 more minutes. Remove cookies from sheet and transfer to a wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Snow Child

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

The perfect read for a cold, snowy day.  This is a fantastical book that will leave you wondering for days after you close the back cover.  A great book club choice too!

Book description from Amazon:

Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart--he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm; she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season's first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone--but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees.

This little girl, who calls herself Faina, seems to be a child of the woods. She hunts with a red fox at her side, skims lightly across the snow, and somehow survives alone in the Alaskan wilderness. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent place things are rarely as they appear, and what they eventually learn about Faina will transform all of them.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Overnight Egg Nog French Toast

Overnight Egg Nog French Toast

Serves 8.

Adapted from: Chef in Training

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
  • 2 Tbsp. light corn syrup
  • 2 loaves French bread, sliced into 1" slices
  • 1 cup egg nog
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 10 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnmon
  1. Lightly grease a 9x13-inch baking dish.
  2. Heat the brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook and stir until the mixture begins to boil; remove the mixture from heat, and pour into the prepared baking dish.
  3. Place slices of french bread on top of the sugar mixture.
  4. Combine egg nog, half and half, eggs and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Whisk together until completely combined. Pour evenly over bread slices.
  5. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil, and refrigerate 8 hours to overnight.
  6. Once it has refrigerated for designated time, Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  7. Bake at 325 degrees F for 35 minutes. Then, remove foil and raise oven's temperature to 375 and bake for another 5-7 minutes or until french toast has started to brown on top.  Serve with syrup.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Egg Nog Coffee Cake

Egg Nog Coffee Cake

Serves... a lot.

A dense coffee cake with a hint of egg nog flavor... and a thick, rich, crumbly crust.  Perfect for Christmas morning!
Source: Gonna Want Seconds

For The Coffee Cake:


  1. Make the Cake: Preheat oven to 350. Spray a tube pan generously with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Beat in eggnog, sour cream, nutmeg and vanilla extract.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  4. Add half of the dry ingredient into wet ingredients and blend just until mostly combined. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and blend just until combined.
  5. Spread batter into prepared pan. Tap pan on counter to remove air bubbles. Set aside.
  6. Meanwhile make the Crumb Topping: In a medium bowl blend sugars, spices and salt into melted butter until mixture becomes smooth. Add flour and combine thoroughly.
  7. Crumble crumb mixture into big pieces over top of unbaked coffee cake.
  8. Bake Coffee Cake for 35-45 minutes in preheated oven just until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  9. Cool on rack for 10-15 minutes. Place a plate on top of the cake and flip the cake over onto the plate. Place a serving plate on the bottom of the cake and flip the cake over to right-side up. Cool cake completely before icing it.
  10. Make Icing: Whisk together the butter and eggnog in a small saucepan over low heat. Bring mixture to a simmer and simmer for 2 minutes, whisking constantly. Cool slightly and whisk in powdered sugar until mixture is smooth with no lumps. Drizzle icing over completely cooled cake.