Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Drop Brownies

I posted this recipe way back in 2009, but I'm reposting since it was so long ago, had a bad photo and we love them so much. With only 4 ingredients, they are super easy. The outside is a nice crisp and the inside all fudgy. These will look like they aren't done, but if you overbake, they will not be so fudgy.
Drop Brownies

2 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
½ c. butter
1 c. flour

Preheat oven to 350ยบ. Spray cookie sheets or line with Silpat.

Combine first 3 ingredients in microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 2 minutes, stopping half-way through to stir. Then stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Stir in flour.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2-inches apart onto baking sheets. Bake for 7 minutes. Cookies will be soft. Cool on baking sheets 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Not Too Far From Here

I heard this song online today and looked it up. I found out that many people have sung it. I'm posting this version because I think it's beautiful and the video has the lyrics, which are a reminder of how we can be what someone needs. There is someone out there who needs just what we can give them with our compassion and love, even if it only takes a minute, but sometimes it might take more. Someone is waiting, maybe next door or down the street, maybe even in our own home. Someone is wishing for a gesture of kindness, a little bit of help, an offer to relieve his burden.



One of my friends helped me to see how important seemingly small things could be. When I was going through a very hard time, she called me, from many states away where she lived, at least once a week to check on me. She was too far away to do much else, but that is what I needed anyway. Her phone calls meant so much to me and helped me through that time so I didn't feel so alone.

We can all do something for someone else. What has someone done that may have seemed small, but meant a lot to you?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Oatmeal Cranberry Sandwich Cookies with White Chocolate Creme Filling

I am a sucker for sandwich cookies. They are just so cute. So the kids and I made these Oatmeal Cranberry Sandwich Cookies with White Chocolate Creme Filling from Two Peas & Their Pod. They are soft and the filling stiffens enough after sitting for a bit that the sandwich layers don't move around. This is the kind of recipe where you can through all your favorite goodies into the cookies-- nuts, toffee pieces, cinnamon chips... But they are great as is! I will, though, half the recipe for the filling because we had a lot leftover.
Oatmeal Cranberry Sandwich Cookies with White Chocolate Creme Filling
1 1/4 c. flour
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 c. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 t. vanilla extract
1 1/4 c. old fashioned oats
1 c. dried cranberries

White Chocolate Buttercream:
2 c. white chocolate chips
1 c. unsalted butter, at room temperature
3-4 c. powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla extract
2 T. milk, or as needed

To make the cookies, preheat the oven to 375°. Line a large baking sheet with a Silpat baking mat or parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Set aside.

Using a mixer, beat the butter and sugars together until smooth and creamy. Mix in the egg and vanilla. Slowly add the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Stir in the oats and dried cranberries.

Roll cookie dough into tablespoon size balls and place on prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Let cookies cool on the baking sheet for two minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely.

While the cookies are cooling, make the white chocolate buttercream. Place white chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl and heat in 30-second intervals until chips begin to melt, about 1 minute. Stir and repeat, heating chips about 10 seconds at a time, until thoroughly melted. Stir until chocolate is smooth and no more lumps remain. Beat butter with an electric mixer on medium speed in a mixing bowl until fluffy. Beat in half of the powdered sugar, melted white chocolate, vanilla and milk until mixture is smooth and creamy.Slowly beat in remaining powdered sugar until smooth; if frosting is too stiff, add in a little more milk.

To make the sandwich cookies, spread or pipe white chocolate buttercream on the inside of one cookie. Top with another cookie. Continue making sandwich cookies. Store cookies in an air-tight container at room temperature.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Where I Am Supposed to Be


When I was thinking today about the different experiences that I have had when I have felt my Heavenly Father’s love and presence the most, I realized something very basic and predictable. I had those experiences when I was where I was supposed to be at that time, doing what I was supposed to be doing. I looked and looked for a quote about that in my notebook, but couldn’t find it. The quote talked about how our Father wants to bless us, but in order to receive those blessings we must be where are supposed to be, doing what we are supposed to be doing.

Think about the times you personally have felt His love and those experiences where you have felt close to the Lord. Where were you and what were you doing?

I am sure that there are times when Heavenly Father has a message for us that He might deliver wherever we are, but usually we need to be trying to be close to Him. When I think of my experiences, one of them is when fasting and sitting in sacrament meeting, another while I was praying by my bed, and a few of them in the temple. None of them are visions or voices speaking to me. But they were strong and real and remain with me still.

To share one of those experiences, a few years ago, I went through a heavy trial that just about traumatized me. I was sleepless for going on 3 nights. I was lying in bed, wishing to sleep, but thoughts just kept going through my head. I decided that even though I had already said my prayer before going to bed and several prayers throughout the day, I would kneel again there at 3:00 am and pray for strength and sleep. For those 3 days, my body had been shaking non-stop and I could not make it stop. As I knelt there, pouring my heart out again to my Father, I suddenly felt as if a hand were on my back and immediately the shaking stopped. I felt that despite this trial, things would be okay. I would be okay.
I’m so grateful for those times that Heavenly Father has blessed me with peace and with the knowledge that He loves me. 


Friday, January 17, 2014

Cherry Cream Crescents

I had a can of cherry pie filling that needed to be used so I decided to make these sweet treats that I used to make pretty often, but haven't made in quite some time now and I haven't even posted yet. These use refrigerated crescent dough to make a quick fix for your sweet tooth. I made a glaze with powdered sugar, milk and almond extract and pour it on top of the crescents.


Cherry Cream Crescents

1 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 c. powdered sugar
1 egg, separated
3 (8-oz.) pkg. refrigerated crescent rolls
1 (21-oz.) can cherry pie filling

Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease 3 baking sheets. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar and egg yolk. Separate dough into triangles; place on greased baking sheets. Spread 1 tablespoon of cream cheese mixture near the edge of the short side of each triangle. Top with 1 tablespoon pie filling. Fold long point of triangle over filling and tuck under dough. Lightly beat egg white; brush over rolls. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Spinach Mushroom Cannelloni

Yet again, I have made another delicious recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod. If you haven't looked through their recipes, you really should. This is definitely in my recipe file to make again. It was a hit! It was my main dish, but others had some chicken with it that I also made.

Spinach Mushroom Cannelloni
2 T. olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
3 c. fresh spinach
2 c. sliced mushrooms
1 1/2 c. ricotta cheese
1/2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
1 large egg, beaten
1 t. dried basil
1/2 t. dried oregano
1/4 t. black pepper
1/2 t. salt

Marinara Sauce:
1 T. olive oil
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
Dash crushed red pepper
1 t. fennel seeds
3 (15-oz.) cans diced tomatoes
1 T. tomato paste
3 T. chopped fresh basil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Pasta:
1 box No-Boil Lasagna Noodles

Cheese Topping:
1 1/2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

To make the filling-in a large sauce pan heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic, cook until tender, about five minutes. Stir in spinach and mushrooms, cook until mushrooms are soft and spinach is wilted, about five minutes. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, stir together ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, and parmesan cheese. Add egg and mix until well combined. Stir in spinach mushroom mixture and seasonings. Set aside while you make the sauce.

To make the sauce-in a large stockpot heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook for about five minutes. Add red pepper flakes, fennel seeds, and diced tomatoes. Stir in tomato paste. Add fresh basil and season with salt and pepper. Simmer on stove for about 20 minutes.

For the pasta-add lasagna noodles to a large pot of boiling water that has been salted. Cook for three minutes or until the noodles are al dente. Do not overcook, they will finish cooking in the oven. Carefully remove noodles from water and lay flat on a wire cooling rack.

To assemble the cannelloni-spread about a 1/2 cup of the sauce in the baking dish. Spread about 1/4 cup spinach ricotta filling in a line along one short side of the lasagna noodle. Put 1 tablespoon of sauce on top and then roll up to enclose filling. Carefully transfer cannelloni to pan and place seam side down. Continue stuffing and rolling remaining cannelloni. Top cannelloni with remaining sauce and 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese. Cover pan with foil and bake until sauce is bubbling, about 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 5 additional minutes, until cheese is melted.

Note-Cannelloni can be assembled (but not baked) one day ahead. Chill and keep in the refrigerator. Let stand at room temperature 15 minutes before baking. It also freezes well.