Homemade Chocolate Frosting

One day I was baking a cake when I realized that I had no store bought frosting on hand! So after a quick scan in my cupboards I found powdered sugar and cocoa powder that I had bought for holiday baking. So  a quick search and I found a simple recipe for chocolate frosting!

Ingredients:

3 cups powdered sugar

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 stick unsalted butter

1/4 cup milk

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

The inspiration: http://www.simplyscratch.com/2010/07/homemade-chocolate-frosting.html

Cocoa powder and powdered sugar blended together.

Cocoa powder and powdered sugar blended together.

Sift sugar and cocoa powder together in a bowl then in another bowl cream together the butter and vanilla. Add a cup of the cocoa sugar mix to the butter then add a bit of milk then more of the sugar coca mix. Keep mixing the sugar cocoa and milk until you get the desired consistency.

Finished frosting!

Finished frosting!

Then you use the frosting!! I spread mine over a sheet cake and it was delicious!!

cake ready to eat!

cake ready to eat!

Tips from me:

#1 I didn’t have a sifter to mix the sugar and cocoa powder so I added each to my food processor and pulsed it for a bit until it was blended!

#2 For thicker frosting use less milk and for thinner frosting, like a glaze, use more milk.

#3 Before you go and buy anything at the store look in your pantry! I am big on reusing items and I used up the rest of the cocoa powder and powdered sugar that I had purchased for Christmas cookies!

I liked how easy and delicious this frosting is! I have been using it ever since for all my cakes, brownies, and cupcakes! At first my daughter wasn’t sure if she wanted to try it. I realized then just how little I made basic items like frosting if her only exposure in 13 years is store bought! I informed her that before once upon a time people had to make their own cakes and frosting at home before mixes and store bought frosting was available. She then tried a slice of cake and declared it was the best frosting she’d ever had! Now I make it a point to make a lot of stuff without mixes so she can taste real home cooking!

 

Happy Pinning!!

Smothered Chicken Breasts

I wrote a post for a crock pot recipe for round steak and gravy, which I thought was amazingly delicious, and one day I wanted some but didn’t have any steak. So I decided to try chicken breasts in the same homemade gravy and wow was I amazed!

Ingredients

3-4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts

1 package onion soup mix

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1/2 cup water (the old one called for 1/4 but I upped it for more gravy to cover the thicker chicken breasts)

 

I mixed the water and onion soup mix in the bottom of the crock pot before stirring in the cream of mushroom soup.

Gravy all mixed up and ready!

Gravy all mixed up and ready!

Then I added the chicken breasts and rolled them over a few times to make sure they were well covered.

Chicken cooking in the gravy.

Chicken cooking in the gravy.

I then set the crock pot to cook for 8 hours but you can set it for what works best for your time limit. After they were done I served them with mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli.

Dinner!!

Dinner!!

These were the most tender, moist, and delicious chicken I have had in a long time! They were so tender you could cut them with a fork! I love how easy the crock pot is and this “homemade” gravy is so easy and soooo delicious!!

 

Happy Pinning!

Snowball Cookies!

Wow have I really been gone that long? How time flies!! Recently work has been very busy and I have had a ton of changes in my life! So I recently haven’t been doing any Pinterest-ing but I do have some things from the holidays to share! I  have had a major lifestyle change and have cleaned up my eating along with doing DDP Yoga (check it out it’s freaking awesome) so anything new I post will be healthier 🙂

Peacan Cookies Ingredients

2 cups flour, all purpose

2 cups finely chopped pecans (any nut really)

1 cup softened butter

Powdered Sugar

Toss everything but the powdered sugar into a bowl and combine, dough will be crumbly.

Dry ingredients

Dry ingredients

Finished dough

Finished dough

See how crumbly it is? This is normal since there is no egg to really make it stick like other cookie doughs. Scoop dough and form into roughly 1 inch balls and place on a cookie sheet.

Rolled and ready to bake

Rolled and ready to bake

Bake at 325 for 18-25 minutes or until lightly browned. Once out of the oven allow to cool for five minutes then roll them in powdered sugar.

Roll in powdered sugar after baking.

Roll in powdered sugar after baking.

Let them cool completely then roll in a second coat of powdered sugar

After cooling roll again in powdered sugar.

After cooling roll again in powdered sugar

These are very crumbly cookies so don’t be alarmed if they crumble slightly when you roll them around the powdered sugar. These are delicious, melt in your mouth cookies and I love making them! I always will make me a hot chai tea latte and then sit down to enjoy a few while I admire the sparking Christmas lights 🙂

Happy Pinning!

Hot Roast Beef Dip Sandwiches

Last night my boyfriend and I finished up moving his things to either my home or the storage shed we rented. I knew at the end I would be to tired to cook so I put a roast in the crock pot for dinner that night. However I was really tired and didn’t even want to make the proper sides for the roast…you know potatoes and veggies. So I put the roast in the fridge and made some quick (i.e. frozen meals) for dinner. So tonight I pulled the roast out and proceeded to make some hot roast beef sandwiches with onion dip.

The inspiration pin: http://bakingbites.com/2008/02/slow-cooker-french-dip-sandwich/

Now since the roast was already cooked and since I didn’t have condensed french onion soup I used the pin for inspiration only.

Ingredients:

Roast, onions, mushrooms, French rolls, and powdered onion soup mix.

Roast, onions, mushrooms, French rolls, and powdered onion soup mix.

I sliced the onions and combined them with butter in a sauce pan to caramelize them nicely. I did the same thing with the sliced mushrooms so they would sautee nicely in their own pan.

Mushrooms and Onions

Mushrooms and Onions

While these were cooking I put some water in the bowl containing the roast and heated it up in the microwave. Once it was heated up I shredded it and put it aside for later. All the while I was stirring the contents of both pans so nothing would burn then I cooked the onion soup up according to the package directions.

Bread ready to cook

Bread ready to cook (finished onion soup mix in the back.)

I sliced up several french steak rolls and put them in the oven set to 250 degrees and cooked them for 10 minutes, or until crisp. You could heat them up for 20 seconds in the microwave but they turn out soft and chewy…so it’s all about your preferences…I prefer crisp, crusty bread for my dip sandwiches. After everything is cooked and ready to go you can either assemble the sandwiches or serve them smorgasbord style and let everyone make theirs how they like it. I put the cooked ingredients on the table and let my family pile them up how they like it.

Ready to eat!

Ready to eat!

These were some of the most tasty, tender, and delicious roast beef sandwiches I have ever made. I used to use the drippings of the roast as my dip and I never considered using onion soup mix before. The pin I found used condensed onion soup but I didn’t have that, and as you know I am a fan of using or reusing what you have on hand, but I had powdered onion soup mix. I thought it tasted really, really delicious! I will definitely be using this dip from now on instead of using the roast drippings…or maybe one day I will tinker with using both to get some really flavorful dip!

I hope you enjoy this as much as I do!

Happy Pinning!

Homemade Hot Chocolate

Now that it’s getting colder there are three things I love to make!

#1:  Homemade soups, stews, and chili! Nothing better then curling up on the couch on a cold day with a movie and a homemade bowl of yummyness!

#2 Fresh baked goodies! I love how the oven warms up your home on those cold days and how the scents make your home smell so good!

and

#3: Hot drinks! Normally I make tea or packaged hot cocoa but I remember making homemade cocoa with my mom when I was young. So I decided to make my own!

The pin:

http://simple-nourished-living.com/2011/02/hot-chocolate-recipe/

 

Ingredients:

Ingredients

Ingredients

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa

1/3 cup hot water

3/4 teaspoon vanilla

4 cups milk

dash of salt (optional)

Mix sugar, water, and cocoa in a saucepan and cook until boiling, make sure to stir constantly! After mixture comes to a boil continue to stir it and let it boil for 2 minutes.

Cocoa, water, and sugar boiling.

Cocoa, water, and sugar boiling.

After the two minutes is up add the 4 cups milk and heat to desired temperature. But DO NOT let it boil!

Milk added

Milk added

Once it is at the temperature you like remove from heat, add vanilla and whisk until foamy. Top with whipped cream, marshmallows or whatever you like!

Tips from me

#1 I had a few snack sized Hershey’s chocolate bars laying around so I had Alison, my daughter, chop them up into bits. Then we sprinkled a little in the bottom of our mugs before adding the hot chocolate. The we stirred it up and wow it added just a little something extra to the already amazing drink! You can also add the grated up chocolate to the sauce pan instead of putting it in your cups like we did!

Secret ingredient!

Secret ingredient!

Ready to drink!

Ready to drink!

 

Everyone loved this drink and we all agreed that this was WAY better then the packaged mixes! It was so tasty we didn’t have any leftovers! This is my new favorite fall/winter drink and it wasn’t any harder then making packaged mix! Alison couldn’t get enough of it, as shown below, and wants to know when we’ll be making more!

Yummy!!

Yummy!!

Happy Pinning!

Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies

Long time no post! Life has been very busy! Between healing my ankle, preparing my boyfriend’s surprise party, and a few other extracurricular activities I haven’t had much time for posting. Last weekend my mom and I made about 13 dozen cookies for her church’s weenie roast. I found this yummy recipe off Pinterest and made them along with the peanut butter, lemon, ginger snap, chocolate chip, snickerdoddles, and Neiman Marcus cookies.

The pin:

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/toll-house-white-chip-chocolate-cookies/

Ingredients

2 1/4 cups flour

2/3 cup baking coca

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup butter/margarine

3/4 cups granulated sugar

2/3 cups brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1 package of white chocolate chips

Ingredients

Ingredients

Heat oven to 350 degrees and then combine coca, flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Then in another bowl beat butter, sugars, and vanilla until creamy. Then beat in eggs and after this combine in the dry mixture. After this add the chips.

Cookie dough

Cookie dough

Scoop by rounded teaspoons onto an ungreased cookie sheets and bake for 9-11 minutes,

Finished and ready to eat!

Finished and ready to eat!

Tips by me:

#1: These are just white chocolate chip cookies with chocolate batter to  make them triple chocolate I cut the white morsels down to 6 oz (Half a package) and added 6oz semi sweet chips for more chocolate!

#2 Eat one hot right out of the oven!! But you didn’t need to be told that did you??

I found these to be easy and delicious to make! Want to see just how many cookies my mom and I made??

Neiman Marcus, Snicker Doodle, and Triple Chocolate chip

Neiman Marcus, Snicker Doodle, and Triple Chocolate chip

 

Lemon, Ginger Snap, and Chocolate Chip.

Lemon, Ginger Snap, Peanut Butter, and Chocolate Chip.

So many yummy cookies!!! Enjoy these yummy cookies!

Happy Pinning!!!

Crock Pot Round Steak and Gravy

I am sure I have said this before but I LOVE my crock pot. I just love putting ingredients in, turning it on, and leaving for work so when I get home dinner is ready to be served! So I am always looking for new recipes to use so I can expand my crock pot horizons! I bought some eye of round steaks at a local store sale ($1.90 for 2 steaks! Amazing!!) and wanted to do more then just pan frying them up. So off to Pinterest search I went and I came up with this:

The Pin:

http://www.justapinch.com/recipes/main-course/beef/crock-pot-round-steak-gravy.html#.UE3G0Kia0FA.pinterest

Ingredients:

Round steak (or eye of round like I used)

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 packet Lipton onion soup mix

1/4 cup water

All you do it place the steak in the crock pot and add the soup, water, and onion soup mix on top of it and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Ready to cook!

Ready to cook!

After this is done cooking you can put these steaks on top of pasta, rice, or mashed potatoes….or you can eat them as is! I cooked tri-color rotini pasta and placed a steak on top of the noodles and poured some of the gravy on top. Yummy!

Ready to eat!

Ready to eat!

Tips from me:

#1 Before I added the onion soup mix I blended it with the water before pouring it over the steaks and mushroom soup.

#2 Right when they were done cooking, while I was baking the biscuits for dinner, I sliced up some mushrooms and onions (I left them in rings). I heated up a frying pan and added a small bit of butter and when ready I added the onions and let them slowly caramelize. When the onions were half cooked I added a little more butter and added the mushrooms and cooked until done! When I plated dinner I put the rotini on bottom, added the steak, poured a bit of gravy on top, and then top it all with a healthy dollop of the onions and mushrooms.

Onions and mushrooms added.

Onions and mushrooms added.

It turned out beautifully and tasted so yummy! Even my picky daughter said she loved them! She never liked mushrooms before so while cooking I had her help me caramelize the onions and mushrooms so when plating the food she said she wanted some. She has never cleaned her plate up so fast! She said she wants it more often so after I post this I am off to the store to get some more! I loved how quick and easy this dinner was (sometimes crock pot meals require more work once the entree is done) and the flavors….just amazing! Enjoy!!

Happy Pinning!!!

Halloween Crafts: Lollipop Ghosts

I love, love, LOVE Halloween! It is my favorite holiday and one day when I own my own home I will decorate so it is Halloween 24/7 365! So when this time of year rolls around I love to decorate, make spooky fun crafts, enjoy lots of pumpkin flavored things, and jsut get ready for the most spook-tacular month of the year!

Ingredients:

Bag of Tootsie Roll Lollipops (or other suckers like Blo Pops, but not flat ones)

Box of tissues

Yarn

Items you need to make this craft.

Items you need to make this craft.

First you are going to cut some yarn in pieces big enough so you can tie it around the lollipop stick.

Cut yarn

Cut yarn

Then you drape a tissue over the lollipop and tie it just under the round sucker part on the stick.

almost done

almost done

Now you can decorate your ghosts! Some people use marker to put eyes, nose, and mouth on them but you can decorate them anyway you want! I put spooky fun stickers on them. Also before you hand them out don’t forget to frill out the bottom of the tissue to make it look like a floaty ghost!

Finished Ghost

Finished Ghost

This is a fun craft for kids or adults. I work as a Occupational Therapist and I took the items to work and had my patients make some for their kids/grandkids/friend etc. They all had so much fun! Making these will help increase fine motor skills, sequencing, creativity, and if you do them while standing will help balance. So it is ideal for kids, disabled people, or patients in a nursing home…to me thats the best part anyone can make these because they are so easy and simple!!

Hopes and Dreams

I have been sidelined by a badly sprained ankle so I have been unable to attempt any crafts, new recipes, or other things I have had lined up for awhile. So I haven’t had any new things to post but I missed posting so I was looking at my boards for anything new, funny, or inspiring. But what I found was a small almost forgotten board titled “My Dreams”. I started it when a group I was apart of wanted to know what everyones hopes and dreams for the future were. So I made the board to pin a few things and here are some of them

My Board:

http://www.pinterest.com/aradias/my-dreams/

First I would like to travel to Finland!

Finnish Flag

Finnish Flag

I know everyone reading this is going “Finland?!?” it’s the response I get a lot from my family and friends. I love so many bands that come from Finland and I have always been slightly obsessed with the region since my ancestry on my dads side comes from there.

Second I would love to be able to pay it forward in a big way!

Helping others

Helping others

When I was down and needed help many people were there to support me and help me with so many things….among them paying my bills and rent. Right now I try my best to do what I can when I can. At times I have paid for someone else’s order and a restaurant or give food out to a homeless man. One day I will help others in a way I was helped!

and

Third every day I will tell myself this:

Motto

Motto

I have lots more dreams but these are some of my favorites! Remember everyday to do something random and nice for someone..it could be a smile, a hug, a soda, or buying them lunch. Anything can change a person’s life! Always follow my motto above!

Happy Pinning!

Breakfast Casserole

During a church dinner I tried this amazing, yummy casserole made of sausage, cheese, eggs, and hashbrowns. I always wanted to make it but never could find a recipe until I joined Pinterest. But it makes a HUGE pan full so I never made it until last weekend when my parents and 18 year old nephew came down. I figured it would be the perfect meal since my dad and nephew can put away some food, mainly my nephew lol. It made a nice 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in pan full!

The pin: 

http://peppertree.wordpress.com/2011/12/28/morning-after-breakfast-casserole/

Ingredients

8 frozen hash brown patties. Or you can use a 12 oz bag of shredded hash browns
4 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 pound cubed fully cooked ham (or cooked sausage and bacon!)
7 eggs
1 cup milk (I used skim milk and the author of the blog used Silk soymilk)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard (I didn’t have so I omitted)
A few drops of Hot Sauce (Franks or Tabisco)- I omitted

Ingredients

Ingredients

Brown your sausage or cook your meat and while it’s cooking place hashbrowns in a greased 13×9 in pan.

Hashbrown layer

Hashbrown layer

Mix the eggs and milk in a bowl with the seasonings and hot sauce. Sprinkle your meat and cheese on top of the hashbrowns and then pour the egg mixture on top. Cover with tin foil and bake for an hour at 350 degrees then uncover and cook an additional 15 minutes to brown the top.

Out of the oven.

Out of the oven.

Then enjoy!

Served and ready to eat.

Served and ready to eat.

Tips from me: 

#1 Instead of ground mustard I seasoned the egg mixture with salt and pepper just like I do when I make scrambled eggs.

#2 Four cups of cheese seemed like a lot to me because when I layered two cups it covered the meat and hashbrowns perfectly. So depending on how much cheese you like you can adjust this without any cooking problems.

While eating my mom and I discussed the possibility of baking this, cutting it into squares, place them in freezer bags, and then freezing them. So on a busy day you can take out a bag, heat a square up in the microwave, and eat a nice hot  meal without cooking! I decided to try this idea and it worked out nicely! So now I can make this and not worry about wasting leftovers!

Happy Pinning!