I’m BACK………Let’s make Pico de Gallo

Pico de Gallo

• 2 large plum tomatoes -diced
• 1/2 medium white onion -diced
• 1/8 cup finely diced cilantro (more if you desire)
• chopped jalapeños (varies depending on the taste…I do 1-2 Tablespoon jarred jalapenos)
• 2-4 Tablespoons lime juice (I used the bottled stuff)
• 1-2 Tablespoons kosher salt, more to taste
Allow the flavors to develop at room temperature

Sugared Cinnamon Almonds (Slow Cooker Style)

My new obsession is Pinterest.  I have pinned so many recipes that I should be cooking non-stop for the next 2 years to try them all.  Depending on the ingredients needed, time to prepare and cook/bake ultimately is how I decide what to tackle first. 

My youngest son loves peanuts (actually they are almonds, but he is 4 so I understand what he means).  Yet he has a sweet tooth and I didn’t want to heat up the house when it was so warm outside.  So I looked at my “pins” on my Pinterest boards and found crockpot cinnamon sugared almonds! (Some people say crockpot some say slow cooker…it’s all the same thing) Yes…I don’t need to heat the house and can have something sweet! (I mean my son can have something sweet.)  I found the orignal recipe from www.crockpot365.blogspot.com however I wanted to have more nuts and after trying more nuts decided that other ingredients should be changed as well.  So here it is:

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 c sugar
  • 3 T cinnamon
  • 1/8 t salt
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 3 ½ c whole almonds (either raw or roasted & salted) 

Directions:

  • Spray the stoneware of your slow cooker/crockpot well with cooking spray. In a mixing bowl, combine sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Set this bowl aside.
  • In a larger mixing bowl, whisk together the egg white and vanilla extract.
  •  Pour the almonds into this bowl and stir well to coat.
  • Add your cinnamon mixture to the top of the nuts and toss until fully coated
  • Put the almonds into the slow cooker and cover.
  • Cook on high for 2 hours, stirring every 20-30 minutes or so to keep the almonds on the side of the crock from getting too crispy.
  • Cool fully on a length of foil or parchment paper. (Note when they are warm they may be a little soggy, but they firm up as they cool)
  • Store in an air-tight container.

CopyCat Olive Garden Breadsticks

As I have stated in past blogs, I LOVE carbs!  So what can get better than this?  Umm…..nothing!

Oven: 400  Bake Time: 15 min   Yield: 10-12 breadsticks

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 c warm water (between 110 – 120 degrees F)
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 4 1/4 c all-purpose flour
  • 2 T butter, melted
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1 T salt

Directions:

  • In a large bowl, dissolve sugar and yeast in warm water and allow to sit for 10 minutes, covered. Mixture should be frothy.
  • In separate bowl, combine flour and salt.
  • Add to yeast mixture. Add melted butter. Mix with paddle attachment of stand mixer or wooden spoon until fully combined.
  • Knead dough for a few minutes just until dough is smooth. Do not overknead!
  • Grease a cookie sheet. Pull off pieces of dough and roll out into strips.
  • Depending on the thickness, you will end up with 10-12 breadsticks.
  • Cover the dough and let sit in a warm place for 45 minutes to an hour.
  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F and once heated, pop in the bread sticks.

In microwave, combine the following:

  • 3/4 stick butter
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • After 6 or 7 minutes, brush the bread sticks with half the butter mixture.
  • Continue to bake for no more than 15 minutes. 
  • Immediately upon removal from the oven brush the other half of the butter on the sticks.
  • Allow them to cool for a minute or two, and enjoy!

Special Thanks to Fullbellies for this recipe…adapted slightly.

Funfetti Cake Batter Fudge

What can be better than eating cake batter and eating fudge?  Well of course combining them!  This is a great twist on regular fudge, however it is very sweet…so please make sure to have a glass of milk handy.

Bake Time: 2-3 Minutes   yield:  8X8 or 11X7 depending on desired thickness

Ingredients:

  • 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 1/2  c white chocolate chips
  • 3 t vanilla extract
  • 1/2 t almond extract
  • rainbow sprinkles

Directions:

  • Pour milk and white chocolate into a microwave-safe bowl. 
  • Heat for 2-3 minutes, or until white chocolate is almost completely melted. DO NOT OVERHEAT.
  • Stir until completely blended, melted, and smooth.
  • Immediately add vanilla and almond and combine thoroughly.
  • Add a handful or so of rainbow sprinkles and fold in quickly, because they will melt (and if they are stirred for too long they’ll turn the fudge an ugly muddy color).
  • Transfer to an aluminum-foil lined 8×8 inch baking pan for very thick fudge, or a 11X7 pan (recommended).
  • Let set at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
  • Once set,  cut into cubes (and peel off the foil!).
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in a cool place.

Special thanks to: The Pursuit of Hippieness

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

After carving pumpkins with the boys, my husband requested that we have pumpkin seeds.  As most of you know, all of my “boys” are spoiled, so I googled many recipes and came across this one.  I did tweek it just a bit.  ENJOY!

Oven: 250 and then 325;  Cook time: 45-50 min then 10-15 min   Yeild: 2 1/2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 c fresh pumpkin seeds
  • 3 T butter, melted
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t Worcestershire sauce
  • Sea Salt-to taste

Directions:

  • Line a 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan with foil and grease the foil. In a small bowl, combine all ingredients; spread into prepared pan. Bake at 250° for 45-50 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Increase heat to 325°.  Sprinkle with additional Sea Salt to your liking. Bake 10-15 minutes longer or until seeds are dry and lightly browned. Serve warm, or cool  on papertowels before storing in an airtight container.