12/26/2009

Mango Lassi & Recipe Contest

We don't drink alcohol, and everyone needs
a fabulous beverage for the New Year!

I whipped up some Mango Lassi, one of our family's favorite Indian foods. If you've never had Mango Lassi, it's basically a luscious smoothie made with yogurt and fresh mangos. It's simple but SO GOOD! You can make this ahead and keep it in the fridge for up to 24 hrs, which is great if you're having a party and want to prep ahead of time!
Mangos are super-rich in Vitamin A & C, high in fiber, and my kids love them! I'm sure many of us (myself included) have a New Years Resolution to feed our families more healthy foods. At 110 calories and 0 g fat per cup, Mangos are a winner.

To spark your creativity,
the
National Mango Board is sponsoring
a Mom & Mangos recipe contest.

The winner will receive 2 boxes of fresh mangos, a cutting board, and wooden mango bowl!


Here's how to participate:
-make your own kid-friendly recipe using at least one mango
-do a blog post on your recipe (if you don't have a blog, email it to me)
- leave a comment here with a link to your post.
-Winner will be selected by the National Mango Board based on the following guidelines: 50% recipe concept, 25% photography, 25% best use of fresh mango.
You have until January 14th to enter your recipe, so you have plenty of time. I can't wait to see your recipes (and make them!). Open to US Residents. The Mango Board will select a winner by the end of January and we will post it here.
Mango Lassi
Ingredients:
1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup milk
1 cup chopped mango (peeled and stone removed)
1-2 tablespoons sugar, to taste
Whipped cream (optional, for garnish)
pinch of ground cardamom (optional)
2 T. ground pistachios (optional)

Directions:
Put yogurt, milk, mango, and sugar in a blender and mix well, about 90 seconds. Pour into glasses and garnish with whipped cream, ground cardamom and pistachios (my kids don't like cardamom or pistachios so we just left them out & I know whipped cream isn't traditional, but who cares, it's good!). Makes about 2 cups.

Special thanks to the National Mango Board for sponsoring this post with some fresh mangos! Yum!

12/20/2009

Sweet & Spicy Holiday Brie

Merry Christmas
& Happy Holidays!
Thanks for all the input on my appetizer makeover, I decided to try the Crescent Wrapped Brie, I hope you enjoy my spin on it. It's red, green, white, and delicious!
Sweet & Spicy Holiday Brie
Ingredients:
1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated crescent dinner rolls or 1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury® Crescent Recipe Creations® refrigerated seamless dough sheet
1 round (8 oz) Brie cheese
1/3 C. Cherry Preserves
2 T. diced Jalapeno peppers
1/4 c. chopped pecans (optional)
1 egg, beaten
1 drop red food coloring (optional, for garnish)
1 tsp. green colored sugar (optional, for garnish)

Directions:
Heat oven to 350°F. Mix cherry preserves, jalapeno, and pecans (optional) in a small bowl.
Slice brie in half horizontally.
Unroll crescent roll dough, separate crosswise into 2 sections. Pat dough and firmly press perforations to seal, forming 2 squares.
Place 1 square on ungreased cookie sheet. With a sharp knife, cut the corners off of the dough (about 1/2" each to use for garnsh).
Place half of cheese on center of dough. Spread half of the cherry mixture on the cheese.
Place second half of cheese on top and spread remaining cherry mixture on top.
Place remaining dough square on top of cheese round. Press dough evenly around cheese; fold bottom edges over top edges. Gently stretch dough evenly around cheese; press to seal completely. Brush with beaten egg. Optional garnishes: Take leftover dough and divide into thirds. Add one drop red food coloring to one piece of dough and work with fingers until combined (you may need to add a pinch of flour). Shape into three holly berries. Take another piece of dough and shape into an oval. Pinch the top and down each side to form a holly leaf (see picture). Sprinkle with green sugar. Use third piece of dough to make another leaf.Place garnishes on the top of your wrapped brie, brush with additional egg if desired.
Bake 20 to 26 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 15 minutes. Serve warm.

12/16/2009

Frosty the Snowpuddle

Frosty...
what happened??!

A long time ago, I saw these treats on Family Fun. I thought they cute, but needed a little something. So, we re-vamped them and the results made us laugh. Enjoy!Frosty the SnowPuddle Treats
Ingredients:
White Chocolate (we used white candy melts)
Doughnut Holes
Rolo Candies
Milk Chocolate Candy Melts (one for each hat)
Fruit Roll-ups
Orange Mike & Ike Candies (or any orange candy you can shape into a nose)
Mini-Chocolate Chips
Pretzel Pieces (for arms)
Wax Paper

Directions:
Get out your ingredients. Cut Fruit Roll-up into strips and cut snips on the ends as "fringe". These are your scarves. Here's everything you'll need to accessorize one snowman (plus a couple broken pretzels for arms).
Melt white chocolate in a microwave safe bowl at 30 second intervals, stirring after each. When melted, spread a little "puddle" on your wax paper. Dip a doughnut hole in the melted chocolate and place on your puddle. Accessorize your snowman with chocolate chip eyes, a scarf, a hat made with the candy melt and rolo, nose, and pretzel arms. Let set completely (about 15 minutes) then serve and enjoy!
Little H did a great job and loved hers. It was cracking her up.
Good job, Little H! And lastly, I'd like to share a Christmas Miracle! As you know, we're giving away a commercial-grade KitchenAid mixer. I've been dying to have one and heard about a few other blogs giving them away so I entered them all. There was a recipe contest, an essay contest, and all kinds of other things. Well, guess what? I won one today over at Amanda's Cookin'! And, it was random! So much for my recipes and essays.:) Thank you so much, we'll be making all kinds of wonderful things this coming year with our new mixer!

Also, tomorrow at 1:00 CST I'll be a guest on the Toginet Radio Show Mommy on a Shoestring. You can listen LIVE or can go to the show's page and download the podcast that is usually up a few hours after the show ends. I can't wait, we're going to have some fun!

12/10/2009

Heartfelt Cookie Wreaths

Happy 2nd Blogiversary to me!
Wow, has it been 2 years?!!
Thank you so much for all of you who have sent me nice emails, left comments, and told me stories about your own kitchen adventures over the last 2 years. You've really warmed my heart and this blog has been so fun for me.

So, to tell you how much you've meant to my heart, I created these "heartfelt" wreath cookies...Make a batch and share them with someone you love.

Little C took a plate of these to preschool for her birthday treat and loved sharing them with her friends. I think they'd be cute with a bag of hot cocoa and a note that says "your friendship has warmed our hearts this year!"

Heartfelt Cookie Wreaths
Ingredients:
Sugar Cookie Dough (I used Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Mix)
green food coloring
small heart cookie cutter (I used a 1/2" pastry cutter)
string licorice
royal icing or white chocolate (to "glue" on the licorice bows)
sprinkles, for garnish

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Tint sugar cookie dough with green food coloring. Roll out dough to 1/4" thickness and cut out hearts.....lots of hearts.....
Arrange hearts in a circle, it takes about 11 of them. Add various sprinkles.
Bake at 350 degrees for 7-9 minutes, until barely brown. Let cool completely. Take a string of licorice and tie into a bow. Attach to cookies with melted white chocolate or royal icing.

12/08/2009

$500 Kitchen Aid Giveaway

~Oooh....I am so excited about this post!!~
The fabulous folks at Sam's Club want to help make your holiday cooking, baking, and entertaining a lot easier! How, you ask? Well, in two fantastic ways...

First of all, Sam's has a fantastic Holidays Made Simple Site where they have:

-Ideas for appetizers for the holidays
-Video and resources for understanding
wine pairings for holiday entertaining. (Personally, I don't drink and there is a great alcohol substitution list here.)
-
Video demonstration of fabulous ways to bake gifts for the holidays (Nicole Aloni's Gingerbread Biscotti would be such a great gift!!)
-A Special of the Day

Second of all, they're giving one Gourmet-Mom-on-the-go reader a commercial-grade KitchenAid Mixer worth over $500!
(I am so jealous!)
Check out all the features
here.

Time's up! We have a winner! Lucky #13!

Congratulations! Please email me within 3 days to claim your prize! We will pick one winner via random.org on December 18th at 12:00 P.M. Open to US residents. Special Thanks to:Disclosure: I did not receive any compensation for this post.

12/07/2009

Snowflake Cups with Pomegranate Mousse

I have been thinking about how to make little "snowflake cups" for some time and am so happy with how they turned out! You can fill them with all kinds of things!

Last year, I entered the POM Wonderful recipe contest. I'm not entering this year, but the lovely POM people sent me some juice, so I whipped some fabulous pomegranate mousse to go in this batch....so festive! I love pomegranates anytime, but they really remind me of Christmas.A few months ago, I had conference call with Nicole Aloni, a chef I really respect. She told me that she had all kinds of people taste appetizers made with store-bought and homemade pie crusts and no one could tell the difference. Score!:) So, I whipped up these little cups in no time flat....shhhh...it's our little secret. I found these Gold Sprinkles at Sugarcraft.com, if you have a cake supply store near your home, you can probably get them there. They looked so "Christmassy", I couldn't pass them up!

Snowflake Cups with Pomegranate Mousse--makes 40-60
Snowflake Cup Ingredients:
2 Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crusts
Powdered Sugar (for garnish)
3" or 4" snowflake cookie cutter (I got ours at our local kitchen store for 85 cents)
Mini-muffin or tartlet pan

Mousse Ingredients:
1 1/2 C. POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice
1 Can Sweetened Condensed Milk (about 14 oz.)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 pkg. unflavored gelatin
various sprinkles, optional

Snowflake Cup Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly spray mini-muffin pan with cooking spray. Unroll pie crust and with a rolling pin, roll it out to a 12" circle (about 1/8" thick). Cut out snowflake shapes with cutter. Lay one snowflake over each opening in the mini-muffin pan and gently press the center of each snowflake until it touches the bottom of the pan. Bake for 7-10 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven and place on baking rack to cool. Dust with powdered sugar and cool completely. Re-roll remaining pie crust and repeat directions, you should get 20-30 snowflakes per pie crust.Mousse Directions:
Dissolve 1 package of unflavored gelatin in 1/4 cup POM Juice. Bring to a boil another 1/4 POM Juice. Remove from heat and add the dissolved gelatin, stirring until completly dissolved. Set aside.
Beat heavy whipping cream for 2-3 minutes, until thick. Add pomegranate juice and sweetened condensed milk and beat for an additional minute. Pour the dissolved gelatin mixture into the cream mixture and mix on medium speed for 1 minute. Place in refrigerator for 1-2 hours. When ready to serve, spoon mousse into a pastry bag or ziploc freezer baggie with one end snipped off. Pipe out a heaping tablespoon into each snowflake cup. Garnish with sprinkles, if desired. Serve immediately.

Silly Gingerbreadmen

They're having a super-fun Cake & Crumbs Holiday Cookie Bake-off at Tongue-N-Cheeky so I'm entering our Silly Gingerbreadmen! At our house, they're Santa's favorite (he has quite the morbid sense of humor). So, grab your own favorite recipe and you can join in on the fun.
Even if you don't bake, you can
go there and leave a comment to win all sorts of fabulous prizes...be sure to say how fabulous these cookies are;).
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.

12/02/2009

Appetizer Advice Giveaway

I was asked to make one of these three appetizers using Pillsbury Crescent Rolls and put my own creative spin on it....which should I choose?

I don't want to make the wrong choice, if it turns out awesome it might be featured on the Pillsbury web site. I would love that!
I know we're all busy with Holiday plans, so let's sweeten the deal!...
We'll send one of you this adorable gift pack with 2 coupons for free Pillsbury Crescent rolls and these lovely serving platters for helping out. :)

This giveaway is now closed.
we have a winner!
Connie who said...
"I like the HOliday Tree the best!"

Crescent Holiday Tree

Crescent-Wrapped Brie

Crescent Bacon-Cheese Tartlets

Pillsbury, through MyBlogSpark, provided me this gift pack as well as one to give away. Thank you!

11/30/2009

Cookie Dough Gifts

Thanksgiving is over, is everyone starting their Holiday treat-making? Bring on the sugar!
Here's an easy way to send treats--no baking, no decorating, and it's gorgeous!
Works for me!

I recently discovered C&H® / Domino® Sugar's inexpensive homemade gift ideas and I love their idea of giving wrapped cookie dough as gifts! Everyone gets so many treats during the Holidays--this is something your friends can throw in the freezer then pull out whenever they want some hot cookies. Brilliant! Their Egg-Free Sugar Cookie Dough recipe got rave reviews from my little cookie monsters. They even have adorable Gift Tags with cooking instructions that you can print and attach.

Egg-Free Sugar Cookie Dough from C&H Sugar
Ingredients:
1 cup C&H Pure Cane Sugar
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/4 cup egg substitute
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda

Instructions:
Cookie Dough: In large bowl, mix sugar and butter. Beat in egg substitute and vanilla until light and fluffy. Mix in flour and baking soda. Divide dough into halves. Shape each half into roll about 1 1/2 inches in diameter.
For Gift Giving: First, tightly wrap roll in plastic wrap. Then, cut a sheet of parchment paper 6 inches-8 inches wider than the cookie roll. Wrap the cookie dough in the parchment paper, tying ends with ribbon. Print out and attach the Baking Instructions we've provided, then decorate wrapped cookie dough with holiday cheer! Refrigerate, minimum 1 hour, until chilled. Cookie dough can also be frozen. Maintain refrigerated until baking. Print the tag with Baking Instructions and attach to Cookie Dough.
To Bake Cookies: If cookie dough is frozen, defrost to a chilled temperature before baking. Preheat oven to 375°F. Cut rolls into 1/4-inch slices. Place on cookie sheet and bake 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. Cool on wire rack Cookie dough cn aldo be rolled out on a lightly floured surface, and cut out with cookie cutters. To decorate: frost cookies with Royal Icing and add sprinkles.

~Special thanks to of C&H® / Domino® Sugar who sponsored this post with a $20 gift card for ingredients~

11/24/2009

Kraft Recipe for Joy Giveaway

I hope you are all enjoying your holiday feasts! I'm thankful for a great family, great friends, great food, and a great life.
While you are digesting, could you please take a few seconds to send a free e-card?
It's super-easy and will feed 10 hungry people!

That's right! Kraft Foods has teamed up with Feeding America to donate up to one million meals to needy families this holiday season. For every free e-card sent, Kraft Foods will donate 10 meals to Feeding America. Now that's a Recipe for Joy!

I'm also having a friendly competition with 11 other bloggers to see who can get the most cards sent, so please help out! You can send as many cards as you want up to December 31! Please leave a comment here if you send a card--I'll be picking one random comment and will give a $100 donation to our local family shelter in their name.

Also, Kraft is providing one Gourmet Mom reader
a Loaded Gift Basket!
filled with:

-4 delicious holiday recipes from the Kraft Foods Kitchens
-a Zak Designs garlic peeler
-an HA Mack olivewood mixing spoon
-NEW Velveeta Rotini and Cheese Whole Grain
-Planters cocktail peanuts
-Planters pecans
-Baker’s semi-sweet chocolate
-Stove Top
-Honey Maid cinnamon crackers
-Jet Puffed marshmallows
-Oreos
-Kraft salad dressing
-NEW Maxwell House Blend coffee
-NEW Ritz Brown Sugar Cinnamon crackers
-NEW Wheat Thins Flatbread crackers

They sent one to me and I'll be sharing all the yummy items with my friends!

Kraft is really using their online social media outlets and would like your feedback on thier Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube Channel. I really love the "Cooking School" videos on their YouTube channel!

To Enter to win
the Loaded Gourmet Gift Basket:

(do any or all of the following!)
1) Visit Kraft's Facebook page and leave a comment here telling me one thing you like, what you don't like, or what you'd like to see.

2) Visit Kraft's Twitter page and leave a comment here telling me one thing you like, what you don't like, or what you'd like to see.

3) Visit Kraft's YouTube Channel and leave a comment here telling me one thing you like, what you don't like, or what you'd like to see.

2) Send a free Recipe for Joy e-card and feed 10 hungry people! (as many entries as you want, leave a comment for each)

This Giveaway is now closed. We have a winner!
Michele P. who said...
"from their Facebook page I liked the recipes section of course, but also the Thanksgiving Central section which actually can be a customized tab for any holiday, such as Christmas, Easter etc... and give recipes, hints and tips pertaining to foods eaten on that day."

11/23/2009

Turkey Sundaes

We're giving away one of Crayola's hottest toys of the year! Go here to leave a comment and enter.

Happy Thanksgiving!
We're off to see some of our favorite friends--we haven't been together in over 5 years and I'm really looking forward to it.
Here's a tasty Thanksgiving treat for the kiddos (and adults!) that you can make in a snap. Have various flavors of ice cream & toppings on hand, let everyone customize their own treat, and watch them gobble (ha!) it up! I saw these adorable turkey cookies from Kimi Coopet and thought they'd be so cute in their own "ice cream nest". Here are the results!


Turkey Sundaes
Turkey Cookie Ingredients:
Oreo Double Stuff Cookies (2 for each turkey)
Candy Corn (9 for each turkey)
Mini Reeses Peanut Butter Cups (1 for each turkey)
Whoppers Candy (1 for each turkey)
Edible Eyeballs (or use vanilla frosting and a mini chocolate chip)
Vanilla & Chocolate Icing

Sundae Ingredients:
Mini Graham Cracker Pie Shells (we used Keebler Ready-Crusts, available in the baking aisle)
Ice Cream
Toppings
Whipped Cream
Sprinkles

Directions:
Here are the things you need to assemble one turkey. Let's get going!

Carefully slice the edge off of one of your double stuff oreos. Open oreo and generously spread extra vanilla icing inside. Add Candy Corn "feathers" and close the cookie.
Spread icing on the cut side of your cookie and attach to the second oreo.At this point, I started using chocolate icing since it blended better, but you can still use vanilla if you want. Cut a small piece off the bottom of your reese's cup and attach to cookie with icing. Add a Whopper for the head, two candy corns for the "wings", eyeballs, and a candy corn "beak". You can also tint some icing orange and add feet, but I didn't to that (we will on Thanksgiving Day). This turkey is ready for his Sundae Nest!
Gather the mini pie crust shells and your favorite ice creams, toppings, etc..Make a sundae and add whipped cream and sprinkles around the border.
Gobble, Gobble!

Holiday Playlist

My grandmother hasn't been doing well...to cheer her up, I rounded up a few of my musical friends and made an album of Holiday songs fo...