Archive | January 2014

Soft, Iced Oatmeal Cookies

I do believe I have a new favorite cookie! I know, I know, I know…I say that every time I try a new cookie recipe, lol! But I really mean it this time! These Soft, Iced Oatmeal Cookies are AWESOME! Do you remember when you were a kid and your mom brought home those brick hard iced oatmeal cookies? They were cheap and they were literally bricks! Remember…you would dip the cookie in milk for like five minutes to soften it or let it sit on your tongue for like 10 minutes till it broke down just so you could chew them? The funny thing is, as hard as those cookies were, I still loved the flavor. This cookie reminds me of those beloved brick, iced oatmeal cookies however now they are even more flavorful and super soft! I’ve made these twice in the past couple weeks. The first time I took the cookies up to Mom & Dad’s for our annual prime rib family dinner (my absolute favorite meal in the world is Mom’s prime rib). I popped the lid off the container of cookies and I do believe they were pretty much gone before dinner…and we only arrived maybe half an hour before dinner was served, lol! craftycreativekathy.wordpress.com

The second time, I sent a dozen over to one of the kid’s in the neighborhood that is friends with our oldest son who had an unexpected surgery. I figured some homemade treats would cheer him right up.

Hope you are feeling better Kyle!

The rest of the batch disappeared that night between the kids and our kids’ friends (somehow we ended up having way too many teenage boys hanging out playing xbox, lol). So I’d love to tell you how long you could store these cookies for but I can’t get them to last any longer than a few hours, lol! Make these and your welcome…because I know you will thank me later, lol!

 Printable Recipe: Soft Iced Oatmeal Cookies

 Ingredients:

  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats (NOT quick cook oats)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 cup softened margarine
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Icing:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3-4 tablespoons milk

 Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place parchment paper on top of a cookie sheet.  Spread wax paper out on a counter or table.

In a medium-sized bowl, stir together the oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.

You don’t want to use quick-cook oats for this recipe. The old-fashioned oats create that awesome texture that makes these cookies undeniably oatmeal.

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In a large bowl, mix together the margarine, brown sugar and sugar with a hand mixer till well combined. What I love most about this recipe is that the dough is completely mixed together with a hand mixer (with the exception of the initial stirring of the dry ingredients). With my pulmonary hypertension, it’s hard for me to hand stir a lot of recipes so I really appreciate the recipes that come together with a mixer!

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Add eggs to the large bowl one at a time and mix together until dough is smooth for approximately 2-3 minutes.

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When I lay my margarine sticks out on the counter to soften up, I also set out the eggs so that they too warm up to room temperature. I think it helps the dough come together better when the eggs are not so cold. Add vanilla to the large bowl and mix together.

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Add half of the dry ingredients and mix scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

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Add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix, again, scrape down the sides of the bowl. Using a 1-inch cookie scoop, scoop out a level portion onto the parchment paper leaving at least 2 inches between each cookie.

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To ensure a more round cookie, carefully release the dough from the cookie scoop into a round mound (see photo above). Look at all those delicious cinnamon specks in that dough! Bake for 10 minutes until the edges are golden. Don’t overbake…you really want this to be a soft cookie. Also, since they cool down initially on the cookie sheet, it will continue to cook for a minute or two outside of the oven. The cookies puff up slightly but the centers will flatten out some while the cookies are cooling down.

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Allow cookies to cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer the cookies to the wax paper previously spread out on the counter or table and allow the cookies to completely cool down before icing. I always use parchment paper whenever I bake cookies. I buy it at GFS and they come in this huge package of pre-cut sheets. Of course, their pre-cut is meant for industrial kitchens that use these oober huge cookie sheets. I just cut their parchment paper in half and it fits perfectly in my large cookie sheets. If I’m using my smaller cookie sheets (around 10 in x 15 in size), I do have to cut the parchment paper a second time in half so that it fits in those cookie sheets. I don’t mind the few minutes it takes to cut the parchment paper (I cut several layers at once) because they are so much cheaper than parchment paper by the roll you would find at the grocery store.

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To also save money, I use each sheet of parchment paper at least twice. After I remove the cookies from one side, I flip the paper over and reuse it. These cookies come right off the parchment paper without leaving any crumbs behind so I was actually able to use just two sheets (one for each of the two cookie sheets I used) several times by just flipping them over and then back over again. Obviously reusing parchment paper won’t work for every recipe, especially if it is a wet cookie dough. But if the cookie comes off cleanly from the parchment paper, then save some money and use it again for the next batch of cookies! This recipe made approximately 64 cookies, yep, that’s a mighty fine number of cookies to come from one recipe! I’m thinking this will have to become one of the cookies I make for Christmas from here on out because they look snowy and you can make so many of them at once!

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In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the powdered sugar and 3 tablespoons of milk with a hand mixer until the icing is smooth and free of lumps.

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Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. The icing should have a thick consistency (add another tablespoon of milk if too thick), slightly thicker than Mod Podge.

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Using a silicone pastry brush, brush icing onto the cookies in a thin, even layer. Don’t cake it on, you want to see the icing go into the nooks and crannies while leaving some peaks exposed. I guess you could use a bristle pastry brush, but it slid off easier from the silicone pastry brush (which by the way is Betty Crocker brand and I bought it at Dollar Tree for a buck).

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As the icing dries, the bristle marks seem to melt away and the icing becomes this smooth glaze with a pretty glossy effect.

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Spencer was adamant he should ice the cookies. I did convince him to let me ice half of them and he did end up icing the other half.

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As you can tell, I’m not sure if he was icing the cookie or his hand? He just kept giggling because the pastry brush tickled his chubby little palms.

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After all the cookies were iced (and it took a long time for Spencer to finish icing his half of the cookies, lol) he asked if he could just “paint” his hand…

I thought that’s what he was doing already?

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I told him to go for it and then he licked it all off one finger at a time, lol!

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Allow the icing to dry for approximately 20-30 minutes before storing in an airtight container.

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This is really a yummilicious cookie! Enjoy!

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Breast Cancer Awareness Cake Pops

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Made some Breast Cancer Awareness Cake Pops for a dear friend of mine. Her daughter, Mimi, is a cheerleader and this week is “Cheer for a Cure” week. The cheerleaders have been raising money and awareness about breast cancer.

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Simple design, yet powerful!

AwarenessCocoaStix.jpgWe made some solid chocolate Cocoa Stix and donated it to the cheerleader’s bake sale earlier this week. These Cocoa Stix are awesome when stirred into 8 oz of hot milk for a rich hot cocoa. They are also yummy when stirred into a cup of coffee for an instant cafe mocha. We pray everyday that several diseases that devastate a family will soon have a cure…still hoping and praying for a cure for Pulmonary Hypertension. We hope everyone reading this is doing their part to help find cures and better treatment options for breast cancer, heart disease, mental illness, diabetes, pulmonary hypertension and so on. We’ve come a long way in the medical field but still have only scratched the surface when it comes to tackling many different diseases and ailments. So raise money and raise awareness…YOU can make a difference!

 

Creamy Polska Tortellini

craftycreativekathy.wordpress.comI came across this recipe on Pinterest. Looked delicious! We had to alter it to fit our family and it turned out fantastic. We aren’t big fans of sausage mostly because of those hard, whitish chunks that kind of freak me out because I have to wonder what it is. So our family uses polska kielbasa instead. It’s a smoother blend and mighty tasty just fried and served with good ol’ fashioned Kraft Mac-n-cheese. Give this Creamy Polska Tortellini a try, it certainly has made it into our monthly dinner rotation! Best part is that it is a one skillet dinner making clean up a breeze! A must have for your kitchen is World Spice Minced Garlic. So worth the money! We drop a dollop in almost all of our dishes! It comes in a squeeze bottle or a jar.

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Also, pick any spaghetti sauce you like, we prefer Hunts Garlic and Herb Spaghetti Sauce in a can. The best flavor and often only a buck!

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Fresh tortellini is usually found near the boxed, dry noodles in a refrigerated section. This Buitoni was extra yummy and cheesy!

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We like to use Hillshire Farms Polska Kielbasa in any recipe that calls for sausage. It really is a smoother blend that is noticeable in the way it looks and tastes. Pretty inexpensive too! Man, I need a new meat cutting board…ours looks horrible, lol! Just a note that we doubled this recipe so the photos reflect that. We knew we wanted to make a double batch so that we had leftovers for lunch that Steve could take to work and that Spencer and I could easily heat up.

Printable Recipe: Creamy Polska Tortellini

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

  • 1 Package Polska Kielbasa

  • 1 Teaspoon of World Spice Minced Garlic

  • 3/4 Cup Chicken Broth

  • 1 Cup Hunts Spaghetti Sauce

  • 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream

  • 1 – 9oz Package of Fresh Tortellini

  • Salt & Pepper to Taste

Directions:

Slice polska into medallions.

craftycreativekathy.wordpress.comHeat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

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craftycreativekathy.wordpress.comAdd polska to oil and cook until seared and heated throughout.

craftycreativekathy.wordpress.comAdd garlic, stir and cook for another minute.

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craftycreativekathy.wordpress.comAdd chicken broth, spaghetti sauce, heavy cream and tortellini.

craftycreativekathy.wordpress.comStir and bring to a boil. Decrease heat between low to medium.

craftycreativekathy.wordpress.comCover and continue to cook for 12-14 minutes until tortellini are tender and heated through.

craftycreativekathy.wordpress.comEnjoy! 

Sweet Italian Chicken by Mike

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We recently went on vacation with some of our favorite people on Earth, the Small Family! Florida was fantastic in December!

craftycreativekathy.wordpress.comWe stayed in a condo and to cut costs, we ate in as much as possible. We picked up a bag of frozen, boneless and skinless chicken breasts to use one night for dinner. We thought Italian chicken would be quick and easy. It is a family favorite and really simple. Chunk up the chicken and put the pieces in a 9×13 pan. Pour an entire bottle of Zesty Italian Dressing over the chicken and give it a stir. Bake for 30-40 minutes until chicken is fully cooked. Yep, simple and delicious.

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My brother, Mike, though said that sounds good but let’s split the bag up and I’ll make my chicken. Cool, two different entrees for one meal! Mike picked up some brown sugar and a package of dry Italian dressing. Steve and I thought, interesting…let me tell you, what Mike made was to die for! Sweet and tangy with such an unexpected flavor combination that left you wanting more! We have made it 3 times since we’ve been home, lol. Mike didn’t necessarily measure out what he was doing, he just knew how much to use. It took Steve and I up to the third try to get the measurements just perfect! So here goes the recipe…trust me, try this and you’ll thank us (errrrr Mike) later! The Sweet Italian Chicken goes great over steamed, white rice!

Printable Recipe: Sweet Italian Chicken By Mike

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Ingredients:

  • 4 Regular-sized, Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts (or 3 if large)

  • 1 Package Dry Italian Dressing

  • 3/4 Cups Brown Sugar (Light or Dark)

  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt

  • 1/4 Teaspoon Pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut chicken into bite size pieces.

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In a medium-sized bowl, combine the dry Italian dressing, brown sugar, salt and pepper.

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Add chicken to the bowl and stir with your hand until all chicken pieces are coated.

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Place chicken into a single layer in a 9×13 glass or metal baking dish.

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Bake for 25-30 minutes until chicken is fully cooked.

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Stir the chicken up  to coat the pieces in the wonderful, sweet juices! Serve over steamed, white rice and make sure to spoon the juices on top!

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Frozen chicken breasts are typically the size of your palm excluding your fingers. If using those, thaw it out and use 4. If using fresh boneless, skinless, chicken breasts you will find that a lot of times the chicken breast is freakishly huge like from the tip of your fingertips all the way to your wrists! If I saw a live chicken with breasts that size I do believe I would run because a chicken that big probably eats humans, lol! So if the breast is abnormally large, use only 3 breasts. This makes 4 generous servings! Enjoy!