Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas a little late

The days have been flying by this holiday.  We have all been sick, and we have been busy doing as much as we can while we are off.   We had a great holiday.  Jack got WAY too many toys (that he is not playing with), and we had a great time with family.

 Lenny is loving his new Bears jersey!!!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday, and a great New Years.  I'll be back in 2013!!!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Helping Newtown.....

So I have been away for a bit. I have had a bit of writers block, been super busy with work and the holidays.  I am also extremely sugared and cookied out, and with the events at Sandy Hook, I have not felt like posting on here.  But I am back and have been thinking of ways to do good at a time when so much awful has happened.    

So for this weekend all proceeds from sales on my Etsy shop will be donated to the Sandy Hook Support Fund.   Please spread the word.  This is a perfect time to pick up a print for your little one, and also help those that could really use it right now.

Check out some of my new and popular prints in my shop, Smitten Image.

Personalized Superhero in Training Print 8 x 10

Wild Things Print 8 x 10 Personalized Wall Art

Endloader Truck Print 8 x 10 children's construction, wall art

Have a great last weekend before Christmas and relax a little.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Snowball Cookies

One of my favorite memories from growing up is making holiday cookies with my mom.  We made all kids of Christmas cookies, painted ones, sprinkle name it. Now I just LOVE baking. And these little balls of butter, chocolate and pecans are a no brainer at the holidays.  It is..
 the snowball cookie
For me it's not Christmas without these simple little cookies
They are pefect to share at your work, holiday party or cookie swap....or they are perfect with a cup of cold milk. While you are sitting in front of the tree. Listening to your favorite Christmas tunes. Try them, and enjoy..

Snowballs (recipe courtesy of**
3/4 c butter, room temp
1 tsp vanilla
1 TBS water
1/8tsp salt
1/3 c sugar
1 1/2 c flour
1 c chocolate chips
1 c chopped pecans or walnuts (I choose pecans)
Powdered sugar, for dusting.
Cream butter, vanilla, water, sugar and salt. Add flour and mix well. Stir in chocolate and nuts.
Form into 1” balls. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Cool for a few minutes. Roll in powdered sugar (or "make it snow" on top of them) while still warm.
**I noticed that they tuned out way better when I chilled the dough for 10 minutes before baking, otherwise I had melted snowballs.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Creamy, Cozy Mushroom Risotto

I have been on this risotto kick lately.  I have never had it let alone made it until last week.  I decided to get out my Italian Cookbook last week and made a wonderful Asparagus Parmesan Risotto.  My husband and I instantly fell in love and so this is how my Mushroom Risotto came about.   Yes it involves a lot of stirring, it is not a recipe you can just set on the stove and walk away from.  But with all that love comes a wonderful simple meal perfect for two.  Enjoy!

(image courtesy of google images)

Mushroom Risotto  (adapted from Favorite Italian Cookbook)

5 1/2 cups of chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 cloves chopped garlic
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
fresh sprigs of thyme (or other favorite herb)
1 3/4 cups arborio rice
2/3 cup white wine
1 1/2 cups of diced mixed mushrooms of your choice (I used cremeni and button)
freshly grated parmesan cheese

1. Bring broth to a boil and then turn down and let simmer

2. Heat olive oil and add onion, garlic and thyme and cook for 2-3 minutes

3. Add mushrooms and cook 2-3 minutes more. 

4. Add white wine and stir slowly until all the wine has been absorbed.  Next add broth to mushroom mixture 3/4 of a cup at a time.  Constantly stir until broth has been absorbed and then add next 3/4 cup.  Continue until all broth is gone and arborio is tender.*

*It is very important to keep stirring as this is the secret to a great risotto.

Plate and add salt, pepper and freshly grated parmesan cheese.

(this tastes best with your favorite glass of wine!)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Chocolate Peppermint Crinkle Cookies

My Christmas baking has officially started.  I decided to start the season off with one of my favs...chocolate crinkle cookies.  I posted these 2 years ago on my blog and they such cute little pillows of fudgy delight that I wanted to post them again.  

This time, however, I decided to Christmas them up just a bit more by adding the smallest hint of peppermint.  These give them such a great little twist and go perfect with a tall cold glass of milk.  I know that Santa would go crazy over a plate of these cookies when he stops by your home. 

 This recipe is super easy, and best made while listening to Christmas carol's, watching the snow fall outside,  and drinking a glass of wine.  Enjoy.

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
Makes about 6 dozen cookies
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract (optional)

In a medium bowl, mix together cocoa, white sugar, and vegetable oil. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; stir into the cocoa mixture.  Add peppermint extract and combine.  Cover dough, and chill for at least 4 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Roll dough into one inch balls with lightly oiled palms. Coat each ball in confectioners’ sugar before placing onto prepared cookie sheets. (I also rolled some in Christmas sprinkles!)

Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Let stand on the cookie sheet for a minute before transferring to wire racks to cool.