12/31/2008

Confetti Pancakes

Here's a super-easy breakfast to celebrate the New Year. You could also use a turkey baster to make the numbers "2009" if you want to get fancy. I just had 3 very hungry kids to I had to work fast!:)

Confetti Pancakes
Ingredients:
Your favorite pancake batter (from a mix or homemade)
Food Coloring
Turkey Baster, medicine dropper, or spoon

Directions:
Divide batter into bowls and color with food coloring (we made 3 colors: pink, blue, & yellow). Using a turkey baster or spoon, swirl batter onto a medium pan over med/high heat.

Wait until bubbles form then flip them over. Don't worry, they're going to break up a little bit.

Cook about 30 seconds-1 minute and remove from pan. Repeat with remaining batter. Happy New Year!

12/29/2008

Flower Cup Quiche

Hooray, I've got a new camera and we're back in business!:)
Today we made little flower cup quiches, we saw these in
The Fairies Cookbook that little C got it for Christmas and based our recipe on it. If you don't have a flower cookie cutter, you download the Flower Template I made here.
Flower Cup Quiche
Filling Ingredients:
1/4 c. grated parmesean cheese
1/4 c. grated cheese, any flavor (we used a cheddar blend)
3 eggs
2 T. light sour cream
2 T. fat free half & half (or milk)
dash salt & pepper, to taste
any other finely chopped ingredients you want (ham, peppers, sausage, onion, mushrooms, whatever)

Other Ingredients:
1 package refrigerated piecrusts (2 in a pack)
4 Cherry tomatoes, sliced
Sugar Snap Peas or celery, for stems
Flower Cookie Cutter (or flower template here)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375. In a medium bowl, mix all filling ingredients. Set aside. Spray nonstick cooking spray on a mini-muffin pan. Mix all inUnroll piecrusts. Print out flower template, cut it out, and use as a guide to cut out flower shapes (or use a cookie cutter). Gently press flowers into mini-muffin pan, leaving some space between each one. Fill with about 2 T. filling mixture. Bake at 375 for 12-15 minutes, until crust is lightly browned. Let cool slightly, remove from pan and garnish with a slice of cherry tomato and sugar snap peas for the stem/leaves. Enjoy!

12/28/2008

I got a camera!!

Santa brought me a new camera to replace the one I lost at Disney World!! Woo hoo! I'll have a fun new recipe up tomorrow.:)
Happy Holidays!

12/18/2008

Crayon Wrappers Galore!

9/16/2015 UPDATE
I've had a lot of people asking for crayon labels recently, apparently someone made them on TV.  I designed these 7 years ago so don't have access to all my files anymore BUT do have three labels I uploaded to Google Drive for you to download.  Have fun!

Back to School Crayon Labels HERE

Halloween Crayon Labels HERE

Blank Crayon Labels HERE


I've heard from a bunch of you that Edible Crayons are a hit at your house! I've had requests for different labels, so here you go! These are super-duper easy, my 3 year old can make them (she just needs help cutting the labels). Email me if you ever want something different, I'd be happy to put them on here. Just click on the text to open/download the file. Recipe is here.
Christmas Crayon Labels

Happy Birthday Crayon Labels

Traditional Crayon Labels (these look like Crayola Crayons) from Jenn's blog:

Blank Crayon Labels

Back to School Crayon Labels

BYU Crayon Labels

Ohio State Crayon Labels

Steelers Crayon Labels

Cardinals Crayon Labels


Valentine Crayon Labels

Customize Your own (if you have MS Publisher):

12/14/2008

Healthy Christmas Tree Snack

We're back! We had a great time--the only bummer was that I lost my camera at Disney World. Boo! I'll hopefully have another one before Christmas, so don't worry! Tomorrow we'll pick a winner for Marcia's book giveaway!
In the meantime, look what Heather over at Little Nummies shared! How cute is this??! These would be so cute on little salad plates at a Holiday dinner--and the kids can help make them!


Snap Pea Trees
Ingredients:
Snap Peas
Cheese
Pretzel Sticks

Directions:
Arrange peas on a plate in the shape of a tree. Add a cheese star (cut with a cookie cutter or knife) and a pretzel stick trunk and your healthy snack just got a whole lot more fun!

Bonus idea: cut out cheese circles for ornaments and let your little one “decorate” the tree before eating it!

12/04/2008

Fun Freebies, Giveaways, & More!

The winner of the Marica Lynn McClure book is.....
Queenie Jeannie who said...
"Yeah! I'm in!!!"
Congrats! Email me your favorite book or ebook and Marcia will send it to you.

No one mentioned that they made any purchases, so I'll save the $100 Gift Certificate for another fun giveaway!


I am so excited to share this with you!
*Free romance eBook for EVERYONE from Marcia Lynn McClure ($8.95 value)

*Win a Novel or eBook of your choice (leave a comment here)

*Win $100 Certificate to Gaiam (with any book purchase)


I'm taking off with the Gourmet Fam for a Disney adventure--don't worry, we'll have a kitchen and lots of fun ideas when we get back! I put up some Naughty Coal Treats earlier today.

So, I thought I’d share my VERY FAVORITE things with you, Oprah style.

Favorite Relaxing Read:
A friend introduced me to Marcia Lynn McClure’s books a couple years ago and I love them! I love a good romance novel, but it’s hard to find one that isn’t trashy or isn’t preachy. Her books are amazing! I can’t even tell you how great they are.
So, I wrote her an email asking if she’d be willing to do a book giveaway while I was gone. I had no idea what she’s say but it was worth a shot.:) Well, she did better than that! She’s giving Gourmet-Mom-on-the-Go readers a free ebook ! Click here to sign up for her free newsletter and you can download Kissing Cousins, a really sweet young-love story that’s all about FOOD, of course.:) This is a little different style than she usually writes, most of her books are historical fiction, but you’ll love it!

Win a novel or eBook:
If you simply leave a comment on this post, she’ll send one of you a free full-length novel or ebook of your choice. (The Visions of Ransom Lake is my favorite novel in case you want to know!). We’ll pick a random winner December 15th.
**Add my button to your site OR blog about this post for an extra 5 entries (leave a comment letting me know what you did)!**

Favorite Green & Healthy Living:
I thought it was so cool that Marcia was willing to do this for my readers that I decided to throw in something fun: anyone who purchases a book or ebook from Marcia will be entered to win a $100 Gift Certificate to Gaiam from me! Gaiam is an amazing company—I love that they support a healthy and greener lifestyle. So, I thought I’d share a good-living favorite with you.

If you order anything from Marcia’s bookstore, drop me an email or leave a comment here letting me know and you’re entered to win! I’ll pick a winner December 15th. Honestly, these are fabulous books—get one for a friend or yourself for Christmas (I just bought three for gifts!). If you buy one and don’t like it, send it to me and I promise to eat every page!:)

Naughty Coal Treats

Who's been naughty? I love giving coal treats over the holidays, these have been are our family favorite. This year, we decided to experiment and the result was yummy!

I think they'd taste even better and would set up really hard (so you can pack them in treat bags) if you can used chocolate to dip the marshmallows, just make sure to use a black oil-based food coloring to tint the chocolate. I used icing this time since we happened to have some on hand. :)

Naughty Coal Treats
Ingredients:
Large Marshmallows
Caramel candies
1 can Dark Chocolate Icing
Black food coloring
Wax Paper

Directions:
Use scissors to snip the marshmallows in half diagonally.
Put caramel candies in a glass bowl and microwave for 45 seconds. Add a couple Tablespoons milk to help thin out the caramel. Stir, microwave at 20 second intervals until melted.

Using a toothpick or fork, dip the marshmallows in caramel, shake off excess, and place on wax paper to dry (you can put in fridge if you want to dry faster--just put the wax paper on a baking sheet and transfer it all to the fridge). Put icing in a bowl and microwave 45 seconds, until melted. Add a few drops black food coloring. Take caramel marshmallows and dip in icing. Set on wax paper to dry. Serve to your favorite naughty stinker.:)

11/29/2008

Funny Gingerbread Men

We may be a little morbid, but for some reason these cookies crack me up!!
I actually have these cookie cutters by Fred, but I found that you can make silly gingerbread men easier (and cuter) but just using a knife to cut off a limb. While you're making Holiday treats, think about how funny these would be on top of your goodie plates. I know I'd laugh if I got some. Use our favorite gingerbread recipe below, or just buy a mix (Betty Crocker actually has a really tasty gingerbread cookie mix!).
Funny Gingerbread Men
Ingredients:
Gingerbread Cookie Dough (recipe below or buy a easy mix)
Royal Icing (Recipes below)
Quart Ziploc Freezer bag(s)
Candies or sprinkles to decorate with
Gingerbread Man cookie cutter
Sharp knife

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out dough to about 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out gingerbread men with cookie cutter and place on a greased baking sheet. Using a sharp knife, cut off a limb or head using diagonal cuts (see video tutorial).

video

Bake at 350 for 7-11 minutes, until barely brown. Remove from pan and cool completely. Place about 1/2 c. Royal Icing into a quart-sized Ziploc Freezer bag, snip a small bit off one corner, and use to pipe out icing decorations. Add candy, sprinkles, or whatever you want. Be sure to make the Gingerbread Men's faces sad or surprised! Enjoy!

THICK AND CHEWY GINGERBREAD COOKIES from Cooks Illustrated
Ingredients:
3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces and softened slightly
3/4 cup unsulphured molasses
2 tablespoons milk

Directions:
1. In food processor workbowl fitted with steel blade, process flour, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, salt, and baking soda until combined, about 10 seconds. Scatter butter pieces over flour mixture and process until mixture is sandy and resembles very fine meal, about 15 seconds. With machine running, gradually add molasses and milk; process until dough is evenly moistened and forms soft mass, about 10 seconds. Alternatively, in bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, stir together flour, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, salt, and baking soda at low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Stop mixer and add butter pieces; mix at medium-low speed until mixture is sandy and resembles fine meal, about 1 1/2 minutes. Reduce speed to low and, with mixer running, gradually add molasses and milk; mix until dough is evenly moistened, about 20 seconds. Increase speed to medium and mix until thoroughly combined, about 10 seconds.
2. Scrape dough onto work surface; divide in half. Working with one portion of dough at a time, roll 1/4-inch thick between two large sheets of parchment paper. Leaving dough sandwiched between parchment layers, stack on cookie sheet and freeze until firm, 15 to 20 minutes. (Alternatively, refrigerate dough 2 hours or overnight.)
3. Adjust oven racks to upper- and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
4. Remove one dough sheet from freezer; place on work surface. Peel off top parchment sheet and gently lay it back in place. Flip dough over; peel off and discard second parchment layer. Cut dough into 5-inch gingerbread people or 3-inch gingerbread cookies, transferring shapes to parchment-lined cookie sheets with wide metal spatula, spacing them 3/4 inch apart; set scraps aside. Repeat with remaining dough until cookie sheets are full. Bake cookies until set in centers and dough barely retains imprint when touched very gently with fingertip, 8 to 11 minutes, rotating cookie sheets front to back and switching positions top to bottom halfway through baking time. Do not overbake. Cool cookies on sheets 2 minutes, then remove with wide metal spatula to wire rack; cool to room temperature.
5. Gather scraps; repeat rolling, cutting, and baking in steps 2 and 4. Repeat with remaining dough until all dough is used.

ROYAL ICING (Egg White Recipe)
Ingredients:
3 egg whites, room temperature
1 lb. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
Combine ingredients, beat at high speed for 7-10 minutes.

ROYAL ICING (Meringue Powder recipe)
Ingredients:
3 tbsp. meringue powder (you can get this in the wedding/cake supplies at Wal-Mart)
1 lb. confectioners' sugar
6 tbsp. warm water (in humidity use less water)
Beat all ingredients until icing forms peaks at low speed. Yield approximately 3 cups.

Notes: Please keep icing covered with a damp cloth or paper towel while not in use, otherwise it will harden. To attach eyeballs to food, moisten the back of the eyeball with a little water and it will stick to most anything.

Pomegranate & Strawberry Chilled Soup

This is my family’s new favorite dish! The first time I made it last week, everyone wanted thirds, fourths, until it was gone--we've had it three times since then!:)Did you know that pomegranates have more antioxidant power than red wine or even white tea? Before buying an expensive red wine this holiday season, think about serving this elegant and delicious soup.
You can prepare this impressive dish in under 10 minutes! Serve it up in shot glasses or Pomegranate bowls (see video tutorial below) and you have one impressive appetizer or dessert. The best part? It’s low calorie and low fat. Eating well has never been more delicious!

It was such a success with my family that we served it as the first course at Thanksgiving Dinner and it was a hit with everyone.
Pomegranate & Strawberry Chilled Soup
Ingredients:
Juice from 2 large POM Wonderful Pomegranates (about 1 Cup)
Arils from 1 large POM Wonderful Pomegranate (about 1 Cup)
2 C. fat free half & half
1 ½ C. fresh strawberries, hulled
¼ c. orange Juice (juice from one orange)
½ c. Reduced fat sour cream
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
3 Tablespoons fresh mint leaves, chopped

Directions:
Remove arils from 1 large Pomegranate. I have a couple favorite ways to get them out, but for this recipe, I want to keep the shells to make “soup bowls”. Here's a video tutorial on how to easily remove the arils & pulp to make your bowls:

video


To juice pomegranates, slice in half and juice them with a citrus reamer. Pour the mixture through a cheesecloth-lined strainer. Scrape the shells to remove any excess pulp and save to serve your soup in. If you’re short on time, you can substitute 1 C. POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice (found in the produce section at the grocery store).

Put all ingredients except arils into blender and process until well blended. Transfer to refrigerator until ready to serve. Pour soup into Pomegranate bowls and sprinkle 2-3 Tablespoons arils on top. If serving in shot glasses, fill and sprinkle arils to cover the top. Garnish with a fresh mint leaf. Makes 6 bowls.

11/28/2008

Brownie Makeovers & a $5,000 New Kitchen!

If you're like me, every year when you start your holiday cooking, you think: "Oh, I wish my kitchen had this or this". Well, how about a $5,000 kitchen makeover from Pillsbury?! Pillsbury wants to hear how consumers make things sweeter with their favorite desserts at www.pillsburybaking.com/campaign. The sweetest entry will receive a kitchen makeover worth $5,000, and Pillsbury will also make a donation to Feeding AmericaTM to help end hunger in this country. You get a new kitchen and hungry people get fed. Awesome!

Just this fall, brownies were voted America’s favorite dessert in the Pillsbury® Campaign for a Sweeter America, so they’re sure to be a crowd-pleaser at any holiday party. Here are some fun ways to make luscious desserts starting with a brownie mix. So easy and they're amazing!!
(Click picture or title for recipe)

Pecan Pie Brownies


Holly-Day Mint Brownies


Chocolate Covered Brownie Bites


Chocolate Cherry Crisp


Make Ahead Brownie Delight

11/26/2008

Pillsbury Gift Box Giveaway

This giveaway has ended.
The winner is Tiffany who said...
"What great new flavors!!!! Yum Yum :-)"
As you know, with leaner economic times comes great creativity – especially in the kitchen. As the holiday entertaining season approaches, instead of hitting the bakery, consider baking at home!

So help inspire kitchen creativity, Pillsbury is sending one Gourmet-Mom-on-the-Go reader a gift box with a brownie mix and both of Smuckers new limited edition toppings--Cherry Magic Shell, and Pumpkin Spice ice cream topping. YUM!!

11/25/2008

Silly Turkey Treats

Happy Thanks-Giving-Away Week!
The girls and I made these up for dessert this afternoon, they're an easy sweet treat for Thanksgiving. Have fun!

Silly Turkey Treats
Ingredients:
Mini-doughnuts
Doughnut holes
Thin pretzel sticks
several yellow and red Starburst candies
White chocolate chips
Fruit Roll-ups
small amount of chocolate frosting or melted chocolate chips (for eyes)


Directions:
The pretzel sticks are the "glue" that holds this turkey together! Snap a pretzel stick in half, put one end in the doughnut hole and the other end in the doughnut to form the turkey's body.

Push two white chocolate chips, pointy-side down, into the doughnut hole to make the eyes. Cut a yellow starburst candy into four triangles (these will be the beaks).

Place a red starburst candy in the microwave for about 5 seconds to soften it up. Pinch off a small piece to form the wattle and press it on the side of the beak. Take a small pretzel piece, poke it in one end of the beak and the other end in the doughnut hole.

Give the kids each a pair of scissors and a fruit roll-up. Let them cut out four feather shapes and two "legs" (cut a strip with two small snips at one end for feet). Press each "feather" against a pretzel stick then push it into the mini-doughnut. Add the feet.
Using a toothpick or chopstick, place a small amount of chocolate frosting or melted chocolate chips on each eye to form the pupil. Watch them get gobbled up!

11/22/2008

Sunglasses Cupcakes

Happy Birthday Little C!! She must think her mom is a magician because she wanted "sunglasses cupcakes" for her Beach Birthday Party. Say what?! I decided to take the challenge. Well, these turned out pretty cute even though they look a lot more like fancy "Letter B's." to me.:) They'd probably work better if you made them with two circular cupcakes. Oh well, they were still gobbled up! There was snow on the ground but a rockin' Beach Party going on in our house! All the girls wore swimsuits, Gourmet Dad and I dressed as lifeguards and a good time was had by all.

Sunglasses Cupcakes
Ingredients:
Your favorite cupcake batter
Cupcake wrappers or liners
Chocolate frosting (I just used a can)
Colored icing (any color)
Candy Melts (match color to icing color)
Aluminum Foil
Wax Paper
sprinkles, frosting flowers, or any garnish

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put cupcake liners in muffin pan. Fill liners with 1/4 c. batter. Take a piece of aluminum foil (about 6" square) and roll and squish into an oval shape.

Push the foil oval into the side of the cupcake liner. Repeat with all the cupcakes. Bake at 350 for 15-18 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely.
On a piece of was paper, pipe out candy cane shapes with melted Candy Melts (put melted candy in a quart ziploc freezer bag, snip off a corner, and you can easily pipe out shapes). These will be the sides of your sunglasses. Let set until completely hardened.
Frost cupcake with a thin layer of chocolate frosting. Put colored frosting in a decorating bag or a ziploc bag w/ the end cut off and pipe out the sunglasses outline. Add any sprinkles or garnishes you want. Add two dried "candy cane" shapes for the sides of the sunglasses.

11/20/2008

Advice From Wolfgang Puck

Dear Gourmet Friends,
I got some great cooking/entertaining/parent advice today! I just had he coolest phone conversation ever (not counting any time hunky Gourmet Dad is on the phone;)). I was on a conference call with the amazingly talented Wolfgang Puck and two other bloggers this morning (Jenny from Picky Palate and Holly from PheMomenon). I have no idea how I got so lucky, I am definitely no gourmet chef, so I'm glad I got to join in on the fun! I had doubts I was really going to get to talk to him, but we all chatted for almost half an hour!

He was amazingly nice and gracious, I couldn't believe he took time out of his incredibly busy schedule to talk to us (he had been up since 2 AM doing some promo work for the uber-yummy Taste of Sams Club event this weekend). Here's one of the videos:

video

I love his approach to food: innovative, artsy and practical all at the same time. I guess that happens when you're a parent.;) Wait until you read what he said about sneaking food into your kids' mouths!!!:)

Here are some of his answers and advice to our questions:

Cooking for Kids:
I didn't know Wolfgang Puck's children are so spread out: ages 3 to 19! He's definitely been around the block when it comes to feeding your kids.
First and foremost, he said that you should never differenciate between "kids food" and "adult food". He said just serve them what you eat and they'll grow to like it. Don't waste your time and energy making 2 dinners every day!

To help them love a variety of food, he has his children engaged in the process (HOORAY!)
He takes his children with him every weekend to the local Farmers Market. He said they eat their way around the market, everything from goat cheese to fresh fruits and veggies.

His children also help him cook or sit by him on a little chair if they are too small. He mentioned that one of his small children got a burn recently but was back in his "watching spot" the next day.:)

A favorite Sunday morning recipe is simply using a box of pancake mix and instead of milk, add a yogurt for flavor and cook the children small pancakes. He said it's one of their favorites!

He also said that even though kids might reject a food the first (or 8 times) it's introduced to them, if they see you eating it, they'll eventually try it and usually like it.

He also said that sometimes he turns on the TV to distract the children while he slips a bite of something new into their mouths. How about that!! I loved that he said that, I don't feel so bad doing it once in awhile.:)

Easy "Gourmet" Entertaining for a Crowd:
"Ordinary" food becomes special when you serve it in small pieces. Make an appetizer buffet with small brownie bites (maybe drizzled with chocolate or caramel sauce). You can make spring rolls, fried shrimp (or buy them ready-made) served with different sauces.

Cheese plates are always enjoyed, he mentioned that you can get a lot of really good international kinds at Sams Club. Then, he recommended making little signs with the name and country of origin of each cheese. This is also a great way to tie in an eclectic mix of food (have a variety of appetizers and "cheeses around the world").

If you serve wine, he recommends several kinds throughout the evening to get conversations started.

Getting inspiration to create recipes:
He said that creating recipes and dishes is like being an artist, you go through different phases and are inspired by many things. He said that his culinary art has definitely evolved and gone through different creative periods.

He mentioned several of his restaurants and how we was always trying to create something new and different. He said it's hard to feed the masses or to have an "inexpensive" restaurant because he always wants to buy the very best ingredients available (which we all know, especially now, are not cheap!) I had never thought of that.

To get inspiration, he says to travel as much as you can, to try as many different ethnic foods as you can, and to talk to people as you travel. As you broaden your horizons, you become inspired to use the new things you learn with your own flavor. He said a great vacation is to go to France or Italy and take cooking classes with your spouse for a week (Did you hear that, Gourmet Dad?...next stop, cooking school in Europe!). Actually, we are planning on going to Europe in 2010, if I start now maybe I can convince him.:)

Here's some more information on Sam’s Club®'s sixth annual “Holiday Taste of Sam’s Club”. It's 10:30 a.m. – 6 p.m., Friday, Nov. 21, through Sunday, Nov. 23, in 598 Sam’s Club locations nationwide. You don't have to be a member to attend, and if you've never gone, it's a GREAT way to try some fabulous food for free! With samples like mini-beef wellingtons, quesadilla trumpets, cheesecake, jumbo shrimp, stuffed turkey breast and much more, Holiday Taste of Sam’s Club truly is the ultimate demo event. We'll be there!

THANK YOU, Wolfgang Puck and Sams Club, for answering our questions and being so gracious. It was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me and I got some great advice I'll definitely be using!!

11/19/2008

Pomegranate Orange Pastries with POM Honey Glaze

Did you know that Pomegranates have almost 3 times more antioxidants than red wine? A recent study also showed that Pomegranate juice was found to have the highest polyphenol content of any beverage, even outcompeting recent "superfoods" such as acai berry or green and white tea. Very cool. So, I came up with this luscious dessert for any occasion that you can also feel good about! This is so easy to prepare (20-30 minutes) and it's a "sure-to-impress" dessert. I also included options for cutting the fat and calories that will make each serving under 300 calories!

Pomegranate Orange Pastry with POM Honey Glaze
Ingredients:
1 Cup arils from 1 or 2 large POM Wonderful Pomegranates
½ Cup POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice
1 sheet puff pastry dough, thawed
8 oz. reduced fat cream cheese, softened
¼ Cup Powdered Sugar
½ Cup heavy whipping cream (substitute 1 C. Fat Free Cool Whip if you want a low-cal dessert)
2 Tablespoons orange zest (about 1 orange)
½ teaspoons almond extract
2 Tablespoons white coarse sugar, optional
Parchment or Baking Paper
1 gallon freezer bag or pastry bag to pipe filling

Honey Glaze:
Ingredients:
¼ c. Honey
Juice from 1 large POM Wonderful Pomegranate or 2 T. POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix Honey and 2 T. Pomegranate juice well with a wire whisk. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.
Place thawed puff pastry dough on a cutting board and cut into 6 rectangles. Slice each rectangle diagonally to form two triangles. (See video tutorial).

video

Set triangles on a baking sheet covered in parchment. Sprinkle coarse sugar on six of the triangles. These will be the tops of your dessert. Bake at 400 degrees for 11-14 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool.

While pastries are baking, whip cream cheese for 30 seconds on high speed in a medium mixing bowl. Reduce speed to low and add POM Wonderful Pomegranate Juice, orange zest and almond extract. Mix well. Add powdered sugar and beat until fluffy. Set aside.
At this point, if you are making this dessert low-fat, simply fold in 1 Cup Fat Free Cool whip into the cream cheese mixture. Otherwise, In another mixing bowl, beat heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Fold in cream cheese mixture. Put the finished filling in a gallon freezer bag. Refrigerate until ready to useRemove arils from 1 or 2 large POM Wonderful Pomegranates. There are many techniques to doing this. Here’s a video tutorial on my preferred method:

video

Simply cut the ends off the Pomegranate, make 4 score marks into the flesh, cutting until you reach the white pulp, and submerge the entire fruit in a bowl of cool water. Working under the water, pull apart the fruit into 4 sections and separate the arils from the white pulp. The arils will sink and the pulp will float to the top where you can strain it off. When finished, strain the arils and they’re ready to use!

To assemble, drizzle a small amount of honey glaze on a plate. Set one pastry triangle (one with no sugar sprinkled on it) on the plate. Snip a corner off the gallon freezer bag of filling and pipe about 1/4 cup onto the triangle. Sprinkle 1-2 T. arils onto the filling and top with another pastry triangle. Drizzle with more honey glaze and enjoy! You can garnish with orange twists or other garnish if desired. (video tutorial below):

video

Note: A huge THANK YOU to my uber-fabulous friend, Annie, and her mad photo skillz for the luscious photo at the top of the post. You are the best!

11/17/2008

Tinkerbell Houses

If you're going to have a Tinkerbell Movie Night, of course you must decorate a home for your favorite fairy! These look hard, but they're really not. Just think gingerbread houses, but 3-sided. Let's do it!
Tinkerbell Fairy Houses
Ingredients:
Graham Crackers (5 per house)
Sugar Cookie dough (storebought or your favorite recipe)
Life Saver Candies (I used two small bags for 6 houses)
Royal Icing
Green Food Coloring
Ziploc freezer bags (quart size, 1 per person)
Any candies you want to decorate the houses. Clean out the pantry!
Aluminum Foil
Wax Paper
Candy Melts, optional (I used pink ones just to add some extra color but it's not necessary)

Directions (for one house):
Cut the corners off three graham crackers to make a large triangle (see picture). Use the large triange and the two corners will be extra (crush them for a pie crust or something:)). Using royal icing, glue the triangles together to form a pyramid shape. This is the roof.

NOTE: You do not need any fancy decorating bags, just put the icing in a ziploc freezer bag, snip off one corner, and pipe out the frosting.
Cover with melted Candy melts if desired (I used pink but it's not necessary, the kids are going to put candy on it). Let dry on wax paper. For the base of the houses, lay 2 graham crackers side by side to form a square and glue together with royal icing. Let dry on wax paper (again, you can cover them with candy melts if you want)
Roll out sugar cookie dough into 1/4" thickness and cut out 3 large rectangles. Use a whole graham cracker as a size guide. Place on a cookie sheet covered in aluminum foil & sprayed with cooking spray and cut out any shapes you want to make "windows" (see video tutorial).
video

Put Life Saver candies in a large ziploc bag and crush them with a mallot or rolling pin. Using a small spoon, put crushed candies into the "windows" in your cookie rectangles. Bake at 375 for abuot 9 minutes until candies are melted and cookies are barely brown. Remove from oven and let cool. Take three rectangle cookies, place them on one of the smaller sides and glue together on one of the house bases.Pipe frosting on the top edge of your house and place a roof on top. Tint some icing green and have fun piping out vines and leaves on your house. Let dry (about an hour). Give your child a bag of icing (ziploc bag w/ a corner snipped off), some candies, and let them make this Tinkerbell House a "Home". Enjoy!