Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Snow and Snowflakes

Don't you just love this time of year?  It's my very favorite. Our family likes to take a day during this time and go where the snow is. We had our snow day yesterday and we had so much fun enjoying the snow up north in Arizona.  It was a cold, windy, snowy and absolutely beautiful day. We took loads of pictures and our group selfie. It took several tries to get the perfect one. Let's just say it's not easy taking a timed picture when the wind keeps trying to blow the tripod over. 

3 seconds was not enough

My pretty girl, Miss Bella. This was her first time in the snow. She had so much fun romping in the snow that she lost a bootie. She is very photogenic, don't you think?

The day before we went on our epic snow day I spent making Snowflakes. Ok, they are really rosettes, but I thought we'd call them snowflakes just for fun and because they are covered in powdered sugar which is snowy white. My mom used to make rosettes at this time of year and I had fun making them and remembering her. They are super simple to make and they are melt in your mouth good.

1 cup of all purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
2 Tbls sugar
2 tsp vanilla
Powdered sugar
Mix all ingredients together. Cover and let them rest in the refrigerator for two hours. This allows for the rosettes to cook up nice and crispy and melt in your mouth good. A few things to remember when making rosettes. The oil should be really hot. somewhere round 350-360 degrees. The iron should be hot too, otherwise the rosette batter won't stick to the iron. I generally leave it in the pot while the oil is heating and between each rosette I am frying up. 

When the oil is ready dip your hot iron into the batter, being careful not to go over the top edges so that the rosette will fall off the iron and into the oil when it is done.

                       Cook in the oil until it falls off the iron.                                              

       Place them on cooling racks until cool and then dust with 
    powdered sugar.

        Somehow they were disappearing faster than I 
     could package them up!

  I did manage to package some for gifting. And here's a tip: don't through away those empty greeting card boxes. They make the perfect gift box for baked goodies or small gifts.


Mom's Rosette iron

From My Kitchen To Yours
Have A very Merry Christmas Y'all

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Twas The Night Before...

Twas the night before the Improv Cooking Challenge and all through the house were wafting smells so delectably delicious that no one could sleep. There was  a sweet smell of oranges and cranberries laced with cinnamon and brown sugar too. The whole house smelled so incredibly wonderful that the whole family was scurrying to the kitchen to see what mom was cooking. Mmm... what they found were fresh oranges and cranberries in warm toasty muffins with a delightful orange glaze on top. "Now put on the coffee pot." father said, "And bring out the sweet cream cinnamon butter and we'll all get to tasting."  And so it went. First came one yum and then came two and so it continued till all the muffins were through. As quick as a wink they vanished without a trace or a crumb to be found.  

This tasty story was brought to you by December's Improv Cooking Challenge ingredients~ Orange and Cranberry. In case you want want to whip up a tasty batch of these delectably, delicious muffins, here's the recipe for you. 


1/2 cup  softened, unsalted butter
1/2 cup  granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
the zest of 2 oranges
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons orange juice, fresh squeezed if possible
2 Tablespoons half and half
1-1/2 cups fresh cranberries

Orange Glaze

1 cup  powdered sugar
3 Tablespoons orange juice, fresh squeezed if possible


Preheat your oven to 425F degrees. Line your muffin pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.  In a  stand mixer beat the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy. A minute should do it. Add the white and brown sugars and beat on high until creamed, about 2 full minutes. Scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl once or twice. Add the eggs, yogurt, and vanilla extract and beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Now turn up to high speed and beat until the mixture is combined, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary. Now add in the orange zest and mix until it is combined. Toss together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Now add your wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix gently with a whisk. Lastly add the orange juice and half and half, gently whisking until combined and little lumps remain. Fold in the cranberries with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Spoon the batter into prepared your prepared muffin pan, filling them all the way to the top. Bake for the muffins for 5 minutes at 425F degrees, then lower the oven temperature to 350F degrees and bake them for an additional 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

While the muffins are cooling a bit you can mix up the glaze. Simply whisk the powdered sugar and the orange juice together until it is smooth and free of lumps. Place the glaze in a small ziploc baggie. Close the bag tightly, removing all of the air and snip off a corner. Drizzle the glaze over warm muffins. Serve with some coffee and enjoy.
​Makes 1 dozen muffins​

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Red Velvet Bonbons

One of my favorite things during the Christmas season is baking and more baking. Cookies, candies and goodies of all sorts.  I remember my mama used to make all sorts of goodies during the Christmas season. She was a wonderful baker. One thing she would make every year were bonbons. They were so delicious, but honestly they required so much work. I like things to be delicious, but simple to make.
The Red Velvet Bonbons I whipped up today are simple and so delicious. Honestly they are just too doggone easy to make and they come together in no time. They are perfect for gifting and they are a fun project to do with your kids. 
Here's what you need to make one batch of Red Velvet Bonbons:
1 box red velvet cake mix, prepare as directed on the box
1 tub of cream cheese frosting
2 bags of white candy melts, I use Wilton brand
Silpat or waxed paper
Mix and bake the cake according to the directions on the box. Cool completely and them crumble the cake in a big bowl. Mix in 1 cup of the cream cheese frosting until all is incorporated. Ok, now it gets a little messy because you need to roll the mixture into small balls. You could you a small cookie scoop, but I find it just works better if you use your hands. 😊
Ok, now that you have all your red velvet bonbons rolled into balls it's  time to melt your candy coating. The microwave works fine. About 2-3 minutes per package, stopping to stir after each minute. Just be sure to use a sturdy plastic container that won't melt and burn through. I learned this the hard way when I was melting mine today. I'd show you what it looked like, but trust me it ain't purdy and I burned my finger. Ouch! So choose your container carefully.
Give each bonbon a dip in the candy coating. Remove with a fork, tapping all the excess off. Place each coated bonbon on your silpat or waxed paper. When the candy coating is all set up you are ready to package them up for gifting, that is, if they don't get devoured before that. 
Try them and let me know what you think.
🎄~~Merry Christmas And 
                        Happy Baking To All~~🎄

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

To Market, To Market...

to buy a fat pig.

Oh, wait. I'm going for spuds, butter, cream and a secret ingredient for a new mashed potato recipe I want to try.

Yep every time I make mashed potatoes its always the same way. I mean cream and butter and some russets is purely a mash made in heaven.

But...I saw that the Pioneer Woman had a recipe that made them using cream cheese and I thought, why not give it a try. And so I did. And y'all listen up~
They. Are. Good.  
These are not your basic mashed taters for sure. The cream cheese adds a nice little tanginess.  These are so good that I may never go back to the old way of making them again. Just sayin y'all. Ok, and to be honest I gotta say that I did modify her recipe ever so slightly. I didn't use the season salt or the half and half. My mama's first rule of making mashed potatoes was to always use cream and only cream. So I never, ever use anything but cream in my mashed potatoes. On that I don't budge.
You might want to try them for yourself and see what you think.

Here is what you need~

5# Russets Potatoes
3/4 cup of butter
8 oz. of Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 - 3/4 whipping Cream
1/2-1 teaspoon Salt
1/2-1 teaspoon Black Pepper

Peel, quarter and wash the potatoes. Place the potatoes in just enough water to cover them and when they come to a boil simmer them for about 30-35 minutes or until fork tender.

Drain and return to the cooking pot. Add the butter and the softened cream cheese. Now you can mash them and pass them through a ricer.

Lastly add the seasoning and the cream. Start with a half teaspoon of each seasoning and see how it tastes before adding more.

According to the Pioneer Woman these  can be made a day ahead and re-heated in the oven. 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

A Most Divine Cookie Bar

I've been looking for some recipes for our Women's Bible Study cookie exchange in December and I came across a cookie bar that I knew I just had to try. It combined two of my favorite things~ Cheesecake and Pecan Pie. I did make a few changes to the original which you can find here. To say that these are good would be an understatement. They are positively divine. And with a drizzle of chocolate on top they are positively scrumptious. Try them for yourself. The original or my chocolate drizzled version.You'll thank me later. Really.

Ingredients for the shortbread layer
1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup of butter that has been softened
1/2 finely ground pecans

Ingredients for the cheesecake layer
2 bricks of cream cheese (8 oz. each)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla

Ingredients for the pecan pie layer
3/4 cup packed brown sugar 
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup melted butter, cooled
3 large eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

Chocolate Ganache
1/2 semi sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon butter

Steps 1-2-3

With a pastry blender mix butter, flour and brown sugar until it looks like pea size crumbles. Then add pecans and mix to incorporate.

Press shortbread layer into a 9x13 pan that has been greased. Bake for 10 minutes at 350* Remove and cool for 10 minutes. Meanwhile mix together the cream cheese, sugar milk and vanilla until smooth. Pour over shortbread layer and smooth out. Like so~

Bake for 15 minutes at 350* Remove and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. While this is cooling pull together the pecan pie layer. Slightly beat the eggs, add the sugar mix and lastly add the pecans.

Pour over the cheesecake layer and return to the oven for 35-40 minutes or until the pecan pie layer is a beautiful golden brown. Remove from the oven and enjoy just like this or add a chocolate ganache.

For the ganache, heat cream until almost boiling. Pour over the chocolate chips and butter and mix until melted. drizzle over the cookie bars.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Pumpkin~The Other Squash

Being that I am the only person in our home that really enjoys squash I had to put my thinking cap on when it came to this month's Improv Cooking Challenge ingredients of Squash and Sage. Now, I may or may not have, fooled my guys into eating something on more than one occasion, but could I pull it off with squash? Hmm... Then a light bulb turned on in my head. I'll use pumpkin. It's a squash, even though they don't think of it that way.  And my guys eat pumpkin...
All. Fall. Long. 
There is lots of pumpkin, AKA squash goodness happening at Casa Solîs during this time of year; pies, cookies, breads and the list goes on. So how about working that into a sage and pumpkin bread? I think it could work. What if I add some browned butter, walnuts and a streusel topping? Nutty, a little savory, and sweet.
I must say I was plenteously surprised at the way it turned out and I think I may have made a few converts to eating squash (pumpkin), even if they don't think of it as a squash. ☺ Here is what I did~

Brown Butter Pumpkin And Sage Quick Bread

3/4 cup of unsalted butter
2 tbls. sage
1-1/2 cups all-purose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. salt
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature

For the stuesel topping~
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1tsp. cinnamon
2 tbls. butter melted
2/3 cup finely chopped walnuts

Grease and flour a large loaf pan and set aside. Set oven to 350. Melt your butter in a saucepan over medium heat stirring constantly until it starts to foam. continue stirring until it becomes all golden brown and you can see brown bits at the bottom of saucepan. remove the butter to a bowl and allow to cool while you get everything else together. whisk together your dry ingredients. In another bowl mix together your pumpkin, eggs, cooled brown butter. incorperate with dry ingredients just until combined. Pour batter into your greased and floured pan. Smooth the top and evenly place your stuesel topping. Bake in the center of your oven on a baking sheet for about 40-45 minutes. Cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before turning out. Enjoy warm with some butter. We ate ours with a little whipped maple butter. I made it using some Vermont Maple syrup I was given by a sweet friend who recently vacationed there.

This is a modified version of a recipe I found @Martha Stewart's webpage.

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Saturday, November 7, 2015

Pumpkin Mousse

Pumpkin is one of the quintessential flavors of fall. It's great in breads, pancakes, pies, cookies, ice cream and the list goes on. Here is a pumpkin mousse recipe that I think you'll enjoy. It is super easy to make and you can whip it up in no time. 

Pumpkin Mousse

1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin pie filling 
3 cups heavy cream

1/3 cup sugar
1Tablespoon Vanilla Bean Paste
Ginger Snaps for garnish 

Whip the the cream with the vanilla bean paste and the sugar until soft peaks form. Reserve 1/2 cup aside in the refrigerator. Gently fold the rest of the whipped cream into the pumpkin. Pour into serving dishes, cover with plastic wrap and chill for an hour. When you are ready to serve, garnish with small dollop of the reserved whipping cream and sprinkle with the finely crumbled ginger snaps.
Makes 8-10 servings

I am a huge fan of the Pioneer Women. When her dinnerware line came out I fell in love with her her Adeline dessert cups. Aren't they a pretty and festive way to serve the mousse? And the salad plate underneath is from her Cowgirl Lace dinnerware set. Together they make the mousse stand out in such a lovely way. 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Black Walnut Orange Sponge Cake

I had a family emergency come up and thought I wasn't going to get my recipe posted for October's Improv Cooking Challenge  Thankfully Lesa extended our deadline a bit. So....
Without further adieu may I present

This is my modified version of the recipe from Epicurious website. I also made an orange syrup to drench the finished cake in and bit of sweet whipped cream with orange zest for a simple garnish. Sometimes less is more.

Here's what you'll need to whip up this scrumptious cake.

4 eggs at room temperature 
1 cup of sugar
1/3 cup of olive oil
1/2 cup orange juice
1-1/2 cups finally chopped black walnuts
1 cup flour
1tsp. baking powder

Preheat the oven to 325* Line the bottom of an 8" spring form pan with parchment paper, and rease the sides with olive oil. Mix the flour, walnuts and baking powder together and set aside.
Whisk the eggs in the mixer for two minutes until they are frothy. Gradually add the sugar to the eggs and beat on high for 4 minutes more. In three additions fold in the flour/walnut mixtures. Last fold in the orange juice and olive oil and place the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 45 minutes. Allow to cool in the pan on a wire rack until cool. Garnish as desired. I think a drench made with Gran Marinier would also give the cake a superb flavor. 
Check out some of the other tasty Orange and Black creations in this month's Improv Cooking Challenge

Friday, October 30, 2015

Spiced Pumpkin Coffee Cake

FALL is here and I love the colors, smells and flavors during this time of year. One of the things I love about fall is pumpkin.  Another thing I love is a good coffee cake. It brings back so many great memories of my childhood and the sights and smells of the many different baked goods and coffee cakes my mom would make. Coffee cake isn't just for breakfast y'all. Growing up we had it as desert for lunch and supper too. Anytime of day is the perfect time for coffee cake in my humble opinion. So when I saw this recipe for a spiced pumpkin coffee cake from Jamie over at Anderson And Grant I was in love and knew I had to try it. However, I wanted to lighten it up a bit, so I made a few modifications. 
Here is my lighter version.

~Spiced Pumpkin Coffee Cake~ 
1 box yellow cake mix 
1 small can of pumpkin puree 
4 eggs 
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice 

1/2 cup brown sugar 
1/2 cup sugar 
1 cup chopped walnuts 

1 cup of powdered sugar 
1/4 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice 
1-1/2 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 375*
Grease and flour a 9x13 cake pan

Mix sugars and walnuts together and set aside. Place all ingredients for the coffee cake in a medium bowl and mix together until all are incorporated and smooth. evenly spread half of the batter in the prepared cake pan. Top with half of the streussel and then top with the remaining batter. Now lastly sprinkle the remaining streussel over the cake and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. While cake is cooling mix up the glaze. Place in a ziploc bag, remove air and seal it. Cut a small corner from one corner and drizzle over the cake when it has completely cooled. Enjoy!

Taking one for my co-workers. They are like family.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Pumpkin, Spice...

I was at a friends house the other day for a Pampered Chef party. While there the consultant gave the hostess a great idea for making an easy and healthier pumpkin cake using a yellow cake mix and a can of pumpkin. curiosity was peeked.
My mind started thinking about working this combo into some baked donuts. I've been having so much fun making these tasty and healthier delights ever since I bought those baked donut pans at Michael's last year. So far I've tried lemon, apple with an oatmeal crunch topping and some glazed buttermilk donuts, and those are just the ones I've blogged about. But haven't done any with pumpkin yet, and since it's fall and I LOVE anything pumpkin I just had to try making some.
So here's what I came up with; and because they met my family's seal of approval, they are a keeper recipe.

Here's all you need to bake these tasty donuts.
1 box yellow cake, the kind with pudding
1 can of pumpkin purée
1 egg
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
2 tablespoons milk
Melted butter
Mix all ingredients in a stand mixer for 3 minutes. Place the batter in a gallon size ziplock bag carefully squeezing out all the air before closing. Cut about a 1/2" off of one corner and evenly distribute the batter between 2 greased baking pans. Bake in a preheated oven at 350* for 10-12 minutes, or until they spring back when touched. Remove them from the baking pans to cool on a baking rack. When they are cool enough to handle give them a quick dip in some melted butter and lightly dust with cinnamon and sugar and enjoy!!!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Baked Lemon Donuts

I decided to get up just a wee bit earlier this morning and whip up a treat for my family. You know, the kind of treat you do every now and then. The just because kind.  The because I love kind. Yeah you know what I am talking about.
Well today I decided some fresh baked donuts, (yes I said baked) were going to be great morning treat. Folks it doesn't get any easier than this. I simply took a boxed cake mix, one egg and a little oil and and in a jiffy I baked up a dozen tasty baked donuts. When my family wakes they'll have a sweet surprise for breakfast. Oh, and how about some hot cocoa to enjoy them with. Chocolate and lemon make a good pairing y'all.

Baked Lemon Donuts
1 box lemon cake mix
1 cup water
1 large egg
1/4 cup oil or melted butter~ I prefer butter
Preheat oven to 350* Grease donut pans.  Mix everything together until everything is moist and incorporated. Place the batter into a quart sized ziplock bag, carefully squeezing out all of the air. Snip off one of the bottom corners and pipe the batter into the baking pans. Filling a little less than halfway. Bake for 7-10 minutes. While donuts are baking make your glaze. Mix 1-1/2 cup powdered sugar with one drop of lemon oil and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Mix well. Once donuts are completely cooled dip each donut into the glaze and enjoy.
**For a great variation add some blueberries to the batter. a little lemon zest would be a great addition too.**

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Pudding Cup Anyone?

So last week I made this fantastic Parisian hot chocolate.  I gotta tell you that it is the best thing ever.  If I lived in Paris I know that I would be at a cafe drinking some every day.  You can find the recipe for it here.  So I got to thinking and thought if it makes a superb hot chocolate, I betcha it would make a great pudding too.  I mean dark chocolate pudding sprinkled with a little sea salt and topped with some fresh whipped cream; what's not to love? So without waisting any time I set out to make some chocolate pudding using the hot cocoa recipe

So here's how easy it was to make this pudding.  Simply follow the recipe for making the Parisian hot chocolate that I posted here.  When all of the chocolate has melted return the mixture back to a medium heat.  Take 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and dissolve it into 2 tablespoons of cold milk and whisk it into the hot chocolate mixture.  Stir continuously over the medium heat until it has thickened.  Portion it out into individual serving bowls.  Sprinkle each with a little sea salt and then cover  with plastic wrap.  Place them in the refrigerator to chill. When they are ready to serve top each with a dollop of whip cream and enjoy. 
This pudding is so good y'all I don't think you'll want to back to the boxed kind.  You know the one, it starts with a J and ends with an O; or any store bought kind for that matter.  Try this recipe out for yourself and let me know what you think.

There are only 5 pudding cups pictured here (the other 5 were gobbled up before I could get a photo snapped, but this recipe will make 10 individual 4 oz. servings.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Parisian Hot Chocolate

The perfect way to end a lovely Fall evening is with a cup of Parisian Hot Chocolate. Go ahead a try it. You will not be disappointed. Seriously it is some of the best tasting hot chocolate you will ever indulge in. I promise it is so very decadent and rich, but so very easy to make. 

Here is all you need to enjoy a delicious cup of hot chocolate Parisian style~~~

Heat the milk and cream in a heavy bottomed saucepan over a medium heat until it almost boils. Remove from the heat and add the brown sugar and chocolate and whisk until all of the chocolate is melted and the sugar has dissolved. Use a frothier or an imulsion blender to get the hot chocolate frothy. Sprinkle each serving with a few grains of sea salt. Enjoy with an oat biscuit or croissant.

*For a richer taste let the chocolate sit for a few hours, reheat and enjoy.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Inprov Cooking Challenge~Apples & Oats

It's  #ImprovCookingChallenge time again. This month Lesa of Edesia's Notebook has given us Apples & Oats as our challenge ingredients. What better ingredients for the start of fall. 
I tried a few apple & oat recipes with my family. The fan favorite (fans being my family) was the baked apple donuts with a crunchy oat and walnut topping. So I am sharing this tasty recipe for this month's challenge. 

Baked Apple Donuts With A Crunchy Oat & Walnut Topping
1 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
3 tbls sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp lemon juice
6 oz of Greek yogurt
1 egg
1 small Granny Smith Apple, peeled and finely chopped

Crunchy Oat Topping
1/3 cup old fashioned oats
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tbls melted butter

Cinnamon Apple Drizzle 

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tbls apple juice
A pinch of cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350* Lightly spray your donut pan and set aside.  Mix all ingredients for the crunchy oat topping and set aside. Mix all of your moist ingredients together.  Add all of the dry ingredients and mix until all is moistened.  Fill each donut section in the pan to slightly overfull. generously top with the crunchy oat topping. Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Remove from the oven and cool on wire racks. While the donuts are cooling mix together the ingredients for the drizzle.  Once the donuts have completely cooled drizzle them with the cinnamon apple drizzle. Now it's time to enjoy them with an icy cold glass of milk or your morning cup of coffee. 
Some other tasty Apple & Oat creations you might like.