Thursday, December 30, 2010

I scream...You Scream...We all scream for ICE CREAM

When I was in high school I had the best job EVER...I scooped ice cream at Manning Farm & Dairy, a small family owned business close to home. Still to this day, I say it was my favorite job. So you can imagine how excited I was when I opened up a KitchenAid ice cream maker attachment on Christmas day! I was overjoyed! I am so excited to have this and I know I'm going to get plenty of use out of it. I know that my days of working at the ice cream shop are going to help me come up with some creative flavors! I can't wait to share some of them with you! I know I won't be buying ice cream any more!!

To break the new attachment in, I decided to make a classic flavor...French vanilla! It was so easy and SO delicious! I'll be sharing the recipe with you later in the week. I'm having a hard time deciding what flavor I'll be making next! 

Thanks, grandma, for this awesome gift for the kitchen! I'll be sure to bring  you some of your favorite butter pecan next time I visit!


Hope everyone had a fantastic holiday! I surely did! I really can't believe that 2010 is coming to an end. Usually I get a little sad that time has passed so quickly but I'm ready for 2011. I really feel like it's going to be a great year! Before I reflect on 2010 and let you know my cooking goals for 2011 I want to give you a Christmas summary. 

My family has an awesome tradition that dates back to my great great grandmother. Every year my family gets together and makes homemade ravioli for Christmas Eve. I'm usually too busy to travel up to my parents now a days but I remember growing up and making them with my grandmother and great aunts. I think it's awesome that this tradition has been around so long ( I guess that's why they call it a tradition??)! Thanks Aunt Theresa, Mom, Peggy, Aunt Melissa, & Aunt Terri for the delicious ravioli this year!

Here's a couple more pictures from Christmas Eve at Aunt T's! 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Pecan Snowballs

Another recipe to use up those pecans I have on hand (Thx, Melissa!)! 

I get well over 100 emails a days (and that's just to my personal account)...a lot of the emails I receive are daily recipe/food related emails. Trust me I love getting them because it really does give me last minute dinner ideas and a whole lot of inspiration! This recipe came to me from a  Real Simple "Christmas Cookie Count Down" email blast. I thought to myself, "How perfect, a recipe that got great reviews and uses pecans!" I have to admit, I read the recipe over and over because I found it really funny/strange that the recipe calls for no eggs! Perfect for people with an egg allergy, right? These pecan snowballs are really tasty and go great with a cup of coffee or tea! I have a feeling Santa would like them too! If you're not a fan of confectioners' sugar (but really who isn't?), the cookies taste really good without! 

1  cup  pecans 
1  cup  (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature 
1 3/4  cups  confectioners' sugar 
1/2  teaspoon  pure vanilla extract 
1/2  teaspoon  pure almond extract 
1/4  teaspoon  kosher salt 
2  cups  all-purpose flour

Heat oven to 350° F. Spread the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet and toast for 8 minutes. Let cool and roughly chop.
With an electric mixer, beat the butter and 1 cup of the sugar until fluffy. Mix in the vanilla and almond extracts and salt. Gradually add the flour, mixing until just incorporated. Mix in the pecans. Shape the dough into tablespoon-size balls and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Transfer half the balls to a second parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing them 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake until lightly golden, 18 to 22 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes.
Place 1/2 cup of the sugar in a large bowl. Toss the warm cookies in the sugar and return to the baking sheet. Sift the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar over the cookies before serving.

Monday, December 20, 2010

My thoughts on eggnog...

December is coming to an end. I really can't believe how fast this year has gone by. Remember my December to-do list? I'm still checking things off that list. All that's left are some more baked goods! 

(I was mid-sentence in this picture)

3. Try Eggnog
I'm thinking about making it...I don't know though I just get so scared with the idea of drinking raw eggs.  Call me crazy but I really want to like eggnog. In order to like it I have to try it.

This past weekend, Melissa had a nice holiday party at her house. A perfect setting for me to try eggnog. I'm not going to lie, I was nervous. I'm not a huge fan of milk. I'm not the type of girl to drink a glass of milk. I like it on my cereal and that's about it. Nonetheless, I was scared. 

So I toasted to my first eggnog experience. Well...I guess it could technically be my last eggnog experience! I like the spice flavor but the consistency is just too hard for me to swallow! I can't imagine drinking a whole glass of it. Aunt T, how do you do it?? Maybe my feelings will change next year? 
Thanks for a great party, Melissa! Here's a picture of us girls and our grandma (sitting)! 

Oreo Truffle Goodness

When I tell you this is one of the easiest desserts I really mean it. This is a Popil family favorite, actually it's a lot of people's favorite. However, when I think of this treat, there really is only one person I think of...LIZ, my cousin, friend, college roommate, etc. who LOVES Oreos! She sorta has a problem with Oreos but we love her for it!

This recipe yields about 40 truffles but you're better off doubling the recipe since it won't take long for those 40 truffles to disappear! The Oreo balls are good on their own but even better when dipped in chocolate (my opinion, of course). Try them both ways. I used milk chocolate but dark chocolate and white chocolate would work nicely too. 

I'm pretty sure Santa will leave an extra nice gift, if you're kind enough to leave him some!

1 pkg. (8 oz.) Cream Cheese, softened
1 pkg.  (1 lb. 2 oz.) OREO Cookies, finely crushed
2 pkg. (8 squares each) Semi-Sweet Chocolate, melted 

Crush Oreos in food processor (if you don't have a food processor a Ziploc back with a rolling pin works just as well). Mix in cream cheese. Roll into 1 inch balls. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Melt chocolate in a double boiler or microwave...roll balls in melted chocolate and let cool on wax paper. Keep refrigerated.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Maple Pecan Muffins

I'm using up those pecans! 

I wanted to make some sort of breakfast treat with the pecans. I've made maple pecan scones in the past and thought about making them again but really wanted to try something new. I came across this recipe while reading a bunch of blogs.The recipe comes from Nigella Lawson. 

I was really excited for the outcome of these muffins. I love the combination of maple and pecan. I enjoyed the muffins; however, I thought they were a little too dry. Could be from over mixing the batter although I was really careful not to? Let me know if you have better luck!

Maple Pecan Muffins
Makes 12

1 cup pecans, roughly chopped
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 pinch of salt
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Fill a 12-cup muffin tray with paper liners. Reserve 1/4th of the chopped pecans. Mix together the remaining pecans with flour, salt, wheat germ and baking powder. In another bowl, whisk together milk, egg, maple syrup, oil and vanilla.  Pour the liquids into the dry mixture. Gently fold to mix. The batter can have some lumps. Do not over mix because these muffins can get tough. Spoon batter into muffin cups.Chop the remaining nuts finely and mix with the brown sugar. Sprinkle a little of this mixture on top of each muffin.Bake for about 20 minutes until tester comes clean. The nut topping turns golden, but the muffins will be somewhat pale. Remove muffins to a cooling rack.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Brown Butter Sage Sauce

I had intentions of making my own sweet potato gnocchi, butternut squash ravioli or pumpkin ravioli this year but for some reason I just didn't get to it. While I was grocery shopping yesterday, I noticed these yummy sweet potato gnocchi and thought to myself..."Thank you, Whole Foods!" It was a nice little shortcut and made dinner really simple and yummy! I've been wanting to make a brown butter sage sauce for a while. I did a quick Google search and found this great recipe from Giada. It pairs so nicely with winter squash and sweet/savory pastas like these gnocchi; however, I think it would go really well with any pasta. It would also make a nice sauce on roasted root vegetables...I'm think I'll be making that soon! Talk about a quick dinner!!
3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks) 
2 tablespoons torn fresh sage leaves 
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, chopped 
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste 
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste 
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    Melt the butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat.
    Add the sage and walnuts and let cook until the butter starts to brown, about 3 minutes. Turn the heat off and season with salt, and pepper. Pour over gnocchi and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

    Thursday, December 9, 2010

    Nuts about Pecans!

    Yesterday when I got home from work I was greeted by a nice box on my porch! My good friend, Melissa (I've talked about her before), had a box of goodies waiting for me. Isn't she so sweet! Apparently, she knows someone who knows someone who owns a pecan farm somewhere in the south. Among the goodies on the porch, she left me lots of PECANS! She knows I'm nuts about pecans (funny, right?)!

    Any way, I have a lot of pecans in my kitchen now. I'm not exactly sure what I'm going to do with them all but I have some ideas! Pecans, like most nuts, are great because they're good savory and sweet! Look out for some pecan recipes coming your way! I'll be using some up this weekend!

    Thanks for the pecans, Melissa! You're awesome!! xoxo!

    Tuesday, December 7, 2010

    Gingerbread house

    1. Make a gingerbread house
    I've always wanted to make a gingerbread house. Every year I say that I want to and I never do...So this is the year

     I'm just checking things right off my December checklist...Aren't you just oh so proud of me?? On Saturday night the gingerbread house task was completed! My good friend from college, Leora, and her boyfriend, Seth, came over to help with the task. It was a lot of fun! I think I'll do it again next year!

     Send me pictures of your gingerbread house! I'll post them on the blog! 

    Friday, December 3, 2010

    Peppermint Bark

    I'm not a huge fan of white chocolate and I'm not a huge fan of you might be asking yourself... "why in the world did Lynn make peppermint bark?" Well I'll tell you why...1.) Remember I'm trying to make 10 different holiday goodies?? I can't only make cookies! 2.) It's very festive and 3.) because I wanted to. Those are good enough reasons, right?

    A lot of you probably have a holiday party to attend or you're throwing one yourself. Peppermint bark is a good snack to bring or serve! It can also make a great gift in a pretty little holiday tin! It's really easy and you can make as much or as little as you'd like.

    I chose this recipe from Joy of Baking since it also uses semi sweet chocolate along with white chocolate. I know I said I'm not a fan of white chocolate or peppermint but I actually ended up liking this! Try it, you'll like it!

    6 ounces (170 grams) semi sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
    2 teaspoons vegetable oil
    6 ounces (170 grams) white chocolate, coarsely chopped
    1/3 - 1/2 cup (50 - 80 grams) crushed candy canes

    Line the bottom and sides of an 8 inch (20 cm) square baking pan with aluminum foil, smoothing out any wrinkles. Melt the semi sweet chocolate and 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil in a heatproof bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Immediately pour the melted chocolate into the prepared pan and tilt the pan so the chocolate makes an even layer. Place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes, or until the chocolate has set.
    Then, melt the white chocolate and remaining 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil in a heatproof bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Immediately pour the melted white chocolate over the dark chocolate and tilt the pan so the chocolate is in an even layer. Sprinkle the crushed candy canes evenly over the white chocolate. Place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes, or until the chocolate has set.
    Remove the Peppermint Bark from the pan by lifting the edges of the aluminum foil. Peel back the foil and break the bark into small irregular pieces. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

    Thursday, December 2, 2010

    Emeril's Three-Cheese Baked Macaroni

    I have had so many mac 'n cheese fails in my day (just ask Nadya!).  I'm always trying to make it 'healthy' which is why it doesn't turn out all that well...I guess it's just meant to be unhealthy. Many of the recipes I've tried didn't turn out too well but I'm always willing to try another. Emeril has a column in Everyday Food. This recipe comes from the September 2010 issue and let me tell you, this recipe is super easy, super tasty AND not too bad for the waste line! If you have a mac 'n cheese recipe you love, I would love to try it!


    • Coarse salt
    • 1/2 pound elbow macaroni
    • 3 slices bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces ( I used turkey bacon)
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
    • 3 large eggs
    • 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
    • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • 1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar (6 ounces)
    • 1/2 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese (2 ounces)
    • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan (1 ounce)


    Preheat oven to 475 degrees. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook macaroni 6 minutes (it will be undercooked). Drain. Meanwhile, heat a small skillet over medium and add bacon. Cook until fat is rendered and bacon is crisp, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. With a slotted spoon, transfer bacon mixture to a medium bowl. Add macaroni and stir to combine. 

    In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and evaporated milk. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, cayenne, nutmeg, and cheeses; mix well. Add macaroni mixture and stir well to combine. Transfer to an 8- or 9-inch square baking dish or 2-quart gratin dish. With a spoon, gently spread mixture to form an even layer. Bake just until sauce is bubbling at edges, 12 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

    December Wish(check)List!

    Can you believe it's December already? I truly can't! This year is quickly coming to an end but there is a lot I want to do before it does end. So to keep me on track I thought I'd make a nice list of things I want to do before 2011. If I blog about it...I have to do it, right?

    So here are some things I want to do to celebrate the season!

    1. Make a gingerbread house
    I've always wanted to make a gingerbread house. Every year I say that I want to and I never do...So this is the year!

    2. Bake at least 10 different types of goodies during the holiday season (and not eat all of them)  
    So many families, including my own, bake a lot around the holidays. I feel like I bake but not a lot and now that I have my kitchen completed I feel like this is the year of holiday baking for me! Within this 'task' I have a lot planned but I'll keep that a surprise! 

    3. Try Eggnog
    I'm thinking about making it...I don't know though I just get so scared with the idea of drinking raw eggs.  Call me crazy but I really want to like eggnog. In order to like it I have to try it.

    This list seems simple, doesn't it? My hardest task will be not eating all the baked goods! I'm excited to celebrate the holiday season. I'll keep you posted on the progress of my holiday checklist! 

    Enjoy your holiday season! xoxo

    Wednesday, December 1, 2010

    Thanksgiving Summary

    Please forgive me for the lack of pictures in this post. I was so busy getting everything ready and trying to get everyone fed that I totally forgot to take pictures of all the dishes! Silly me, right?? I was debating about doing a Thanksgiving post since I don't have pictures to show but decided to let you all know how everything turned out. So here's the details...

    Thanksgiving 2010 was at my parents house in good old Scranton, PA. There was a lot of work that needed to be done so my mom and I started early Wednesday morning and I don't think we sat until dinner on Thursday but it was well worth it.

    So here's the menu: (click each individual item for the recipe)

    Main Meal

    We also made a sweet potato casserole, a corn dish casserole, & herbed monkey bread...Hopefully my mom will follow up with those recipes so I can share them with all of you!

    Hope you all had a great holiday! Let me know what your favorite dish was!