February 25, 2011

Doggie Days~ Homemade Peanut Butter Dog Cookies

It's become a tradition that for Christmas and special occasions I make homemade dog cookies for my friends and family who are blessed with pups. I started off using a boxed mix by Bark Bars then a couple years ago I started making the cookies from scratch. My dogs love to be the taste testers and Peanut Butter was the #1 flavor in my house! As with any homemade cookie, it is a little time consuming. But this recipe makes about 50 treats and it's worth the time just to see the happiness on your pups face when he gobbles a homemade crunchy peanut butter cookie!

Peanut Butter Doggie Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½  tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup water

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Combine all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add eggs and peanut butter and mix well. Next add oil and water until smooth. Cover bowl and allow to rest for 20 minutes.
Roll dough out onto a floured surface to about ½ inch thick. Cut into desired shapes. Place on prepared cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes. The cookies will be light brown and very hard!
This recipe made about 50 of my small and medium sized cookies.

Over the years I've collected cookie cutters of all shapes and sizes.
I have about 10 dog themed cookie cutters that include a dog house,
 a dog bone, a small heart, a fire hydrant, and different dog breeds
(including a beagle, of course!)
My favorite place to buy cooking cutters: Sur La Table cooking store!
http://www.surlatable.com/














         Dylan modeling his Christmas ribbon!


So excited for their treats!





Happy Cooking!
~Nicole


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February 24, 2011

Vote For Me in the What's Your Craving Contest! Baked Plantain Chips


Great News!
 I'm a finalist in the
Salsa Sensations- What's Your Craving Contest!
I was asked to create an easy and healthy after school recipe featuring Salsa Sensation's Salsa.
My recipe: Baked Plantain Chips with Pineapple and Salsa
 was simple, delicious and impressed the judges!
Voting begins today, Thursday and goes through next Thursday. You can vote once per day. I'm competing for a $1000 Walmart gift card (think of all the groceries and kitchen gear I can get with that?!)
Please vote for me and spread the word. Thanks for your support!

Ingredients:

  • 2 green Plantains
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Pineapple tidbits
  • Salsa

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Cut off the ends of plantains and slice down the sides. Then peel off skin.
  • Using a mandoline slice the plantains very thin about 1/8" thick.
  • Spread out on a baking sheet and toss with 2 tbsp olive oil and salt and pepper.
  • Bake for 15 minutes. Toss then bake for another 10 minutes until golden.
  • Serve with cubed pineapple bites and salsa.
Watch my video here:

Happy Cooking!
 ~Nicole
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February 23, 2011

Gourmoo Cookoff Episode #2: Side Dishes


It's time for episode #2 ya'll! I hope you tuned in for Episode #1 last week of the fun & exciting Gourmoo Cookoff (click here to watch). Well, this week it gets even better with Side Dishes!

Watch the episode below to cheer me on or visit www.moovision.com for contestant profiles, lactose free recipes, and Lactaid info!

  


        Happy Cooking!
~Nicole

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February 22, 2011

Foodie Gifts Galore~

What a fun month this has been! I have to say February is one of my favorite months. Spring's right around the corner, love songs are on the radio, flowers and mushy cards galore, pink everywhere, and of course the gourmet food!
 I celebrated Valentine's on Sunday with a delicious brunch at The Melting Pot then on Monday I made a gourmet meat & potatoes meal for my sweet hubby.
Then, I couldn't help myself and I shopped the after Vday sales at Target and picked up some great goodies!
*Here's a tip for my fellow foodies:
after holidays are the best time to stock up on cupcake liners, boxed mixes, decorative napkins and plates, chocolate, etc!Not everything is holiday themed- look for solid color items you can use all year. 


Check out the girlie Pink Pancake Mix I found for $1!

Yes, my hubby even ate these! He might have been a little embarrassed
but hey they tasted great!

The Gifts~
So besides our brunch my hubby surprised me with flowers and an awesome reversible camera strap from ShootInStyle on Etsy.com . Not only is the strap gorgeous, it's well made and so much cuter than my basic Canon strap!
Check out ShootInStyle here and tell her I sent you!

Camera Strap, Garden Whimsey and Stripes, Reversible, Quick-Release Camera Strap, Garden Whimsey and Stripes, Reversible, Quick-Release
Photos from ShootInStyle 

I'll admit my husband's not as crazy about food and cooking as
 I am but he still gets excited about certain fun kitchen gadgets.
This year I got him a Zoku Frozen Quick Pop Maker
 and a KitchenAid Citrus Juicer! Lucky boy! 
I will admit that I wanted both of these gadgets too so we both got lucky!






We enjoyed fresh tangerine juice from the trees in the neighborhood! Yum!

 Happy Cooking!
 ~Nicole


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February 20, 2011

Manly Meat & Potatoes- Steak Au Poivre and Mashed Potatoes with Fried Shallots

Whew what a week! I have so much to post and share with you but first lets play catch up and talk about Valentine's Day. I decided to make a manly Meat & Potatoes Steakhouse dinner (jazzed up Nicole style of course)!
On the menu:
Steak Au Poivre
Teriyaki Shrimp Hearts
Mashed Potatoes with Crispy Fried Shallots
Dark Chocolate Souffles
I have to give a shout out to the amazing Claire Robinson for her awesome recipes!
Most of these recipes are from Five Ingredient Fix on Food Network.

Steak Au Poivre
Ingredients:
2 bone in rib-eye steaks about 12-16 oz each
1/4 cup brandy
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons butter
salt and fresh ground pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat a large cast iron skillet over med-high heat.
Season steaks with salt and then generously season with fresh ground black pepper (on both sides). 
Sear the steaks in the hot skillet until blackened.

 Rockin' my pink apron on Vday!
Transfer the steaks to the oven.
Roast until meat thermometer reads 125 degrees for med-rare
 or about 135 degrees for medium.  About 12-15 minutes.
Remove the steaks from the oven and transfer the steaks to a cutting board;
 cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.
Put skillet back over medium heat.
Carefully add brandy and ignite it with a lighter, to burn off alcohol.
Add the cream and sherry and simmer until thick.
 Stir in butter just before serving.
Serve drizzled on steak and potatoes.
Mashed Potatoes with Crispy Fried Shallots
Ingredients:
Vegetable oil, for frying
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into equal sized chunks
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon all purpose flour

 In a large pot, add the potatoes and cover with water.
Season the water with salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat,
 then lower to a simmer. Cook the potatoes until fork tender, about 15 minutes.
 Immediately drain the potatoes.

Put them through a potato ricer (my favorite for creamy potatoes!) or food mill, into a large bowl.
You can use a hand or electric mixer if you don't have a ricer.

A potato ricer makes the fluffiest potatoes!
 Slowly heat the cream in a small saucepan over low heat.

Mix the hot cream into the potatoes and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Top mashed potatoes with sauce and then crispy shallots.
 Heat vegetable oil over medium heat.
 I sliced my shallots with a mandoline.

 Add flour and salt and pepper to a bowl, the toss in shallots.

 Drop the shallots in the hot oil, a few at a time to avoid clumps, and fry until dark golden in color.
Transfer to a paper towel lined plate and serve on top of mashed potatoes.
 For shrimp hearts, toss four jumbo cooked and peeled tail on shrimp in sauce.
I used a sesame teriyaki sauce.

Lightly saute on medium just to crisp and heat through.
 Delicious steak and potatoes.
 The finished meal! YUM!

 Beautiful Valentine's meal (complete with a cold glass of milk)!

 Even the puppies wanted some!


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