akawest

8/18/08

Valentine's Day



This year I did a 14 day countdown to Valentine's Day. Each night I presented my husband with a poem and a gift.

Coffee Meringue Valentine’s Day Kisses

3/4 c Sugar
3 t powdered instant coffee
4 egg whites, room temperature
1 t vanilla extract
1/4 t cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 250′F.
Cover cookie sheet with parchment paper.
In a food processor with a metal blade, process the sugar and coffee powder until the texture of the sugar becomes very fine.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites and vanilla extract with an electric mixer at medium speed, until very frothy. Add cream of tartar, and continue beating at medium speed until soft peaks form. Increase beater speed to high, and gradually beat in sugar-coffee mixture. Continue beating until soft peaks form and mixture has a glossy sheen.
Drop by tablespoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheet, leaving 2″ between cookies.
Bake for 1 hour without opening oven door.
Turn off oven, and let meringues dry in oven 2-3 hours more without opening oven door. At this point you can leave them in the oven overnight.
Remove the meringues from the cookie sheet with a spatula. Store in airtight container.

Crabmeat Stuffed Peppers

I made these for our special dinner. They were definitely delicious.




Serves 4

1 pound fresh lump crabmeat
1/2 cup fat-free
sour cream
1/4 cup seasoned
dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons minced roasted red peppers (from water-packed jar)
4 poblano peppers, halved and seeded (or similar peppers)
8 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375 F. Coat a shallow baking pan with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, combine crabmeat, sour cream, bread crumbs and roasted red peppers. Mix gently to combine, being careful not to break up the crab.

Spoon crab mixture into halved poblano peppers and arrange side by side in pan. Top mixture with Parmesan cheese. Cover pan with foil and bake 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake 15 more minutes, until peppers are soft and cheese begins to brown.

Nutrition Score per serving (2 stuffed pepper halves): 209 calories, 15% fat (3 g; <1>

For dessert I served layered pudding parfaits. I used cheesecake and chocolate flavors of instant pudding. I used fat-free half and half instead of milk. I like the way it puffs up the pudding mix.

After dinner we played a silly Valentine's day board game that I found at Target.



I baked pink sugar cookies for my daughter's classmates.




Christmas


Breakfast Casserole

You
can refrigerate this casserole overnight, but take
it out of the refrigerator about 15 minutes before
baking.

INGREDIENTS:

* 1/2 pound spicy or mild pork sausage
* 1 medium onion, chopped
* 4 cups (16 oz.) frozen diced hash brown potatoes, thawed
* 1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
* 3 eggs, beaten
* 1 cup milk
* 1/4 teaspoon pepper
* mild salsa, optional

In a large skillet, cook sausage and onion, breaking
up sausage with a spatula. When sausage is cooked
through, drain off excess fat.

In an 8x8x2-inch square baking dish, layer the hash
brown potatoes
, half of the shredded cheese, browned
sausage and onion mixture, and remaining shredded
cheese.

In a bowl, combine eggs, milk and pepper; pour egg
mixture over cheese.

Bake, covered, in a 350° oven for 45 to 55 minutes or
until a knife inserted near center comes out clean.
Transfer casserole to a wire rack and let stand for 10
to 15 minutes.

Cut into squares. Serve with salsa, if desired.
Serves 6.
Tree-Shaped Crescent Veggie Appetizers


Makes: 2 trees; 32 appetizers

2 (8-oz.) cans Pillsbury® Refrigerated Crescent Dinner Rolls
1 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
3 cups finely chopped assorted vegetables (bell
peppers, broccoli, carrot, cucumber and/or green
onions
)


1. Heat oven to 375°F. Remove dough from cans in
rolled sections (2 sections from each can); do not
unroll. Cut each section into 8 slices (16 slices from
each can).

2. Place slices, cut side down, on ungreased cookie
sheets to form trees. To form each tree, start by
placing 1 slice for top; arrange 2 slices just below,
with sides touching. Continue arranging row of 3
slices, then row of 4 slices, ending with row of 5
slices. Use remaining slice for trunk. Refrigerate one
tree.

3. Bake one tree at 375°F. for 11 to 13 minutes or
until golden brown. Cool 1 minute; carefully loosen
with pancake turner and slide onto wire rack to cool.
Bake and cool second tree.

4. Place each tree on serving platter. In small
bowl, combine cream cheese, sour cream, dill and
garlic powder; blend until smooth. Spread mixture over
both trees. Decorate trees with assorted vegetable
pieces. Refrigerate until serving
time.

Ghosts in the Graveyard - Halloween Pudding


Ghosts in the Graveyard

3 cups cold milk
2 pkg. (4-serving size each) JELL-O Chocolate Instant Pudding
1 tub (12 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed, divided
15 OREO Cookies, crushed Assorted decorations: Milano Cookies, decorating gel, candy pumpkins, candy corn




Pour milk into large bowl. Add dry pudding mixes. Beat with wire whisk 2 min. or until well blended. Let stand 5 min. Gently stir in 3 cups of the whipped topping and half of the cookie crumbs. Spread evenly into 13x9-inch baking dish; sprinkle with the remaining cookie crumbs. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.

  • Decorate creme sandwich cookies with decorating gel to resemble tombstones. Set aside until ready to use.

  • Insert decorated cookies into top of dessert just before serving. Add candies. Drop large spoonfuls of the remaining whipped topping onto dessert to resemble ghosts. Cover and store leftover dessert in refrigerator.

  • Candy Apples

    Chocolate Cafe Au Lait Cake


    Chocolate Cafe Au Lait Cake


    Yield: 12 servings

    1 stick margarine
    1 1/2 c graham cracker crumbs
    1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
    1/2 c chopped walnuts
    1 pk (18.25-oz) chocolate fudge cake mix
    1 1/3 c water
    1/2 cup vegetable oil
    3 large eggs

    1 1/2 c heavy cream
    1 T instant coffee powder
    1/3 c sifted powdered sugar

    Melt margarine in a medium saucepan over low heat,
    or in a 1-quart glass bowl in a microwave oven on high 1 to
    1-1/4 minutes. Stir in graham cracker crumbs and let
    cool. When cool, stir in chocolate chips and walnuts; set
    aside.

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two
    9-inch round cake pans.

    Prepare cake mix according to package directions.
    Turn batter into prepared pans. Sprinkle
    crumb-walnut-chocolate chip mixture over cake batter,
    dividing evenly between pans. Using fingertips or back of a spoon,
    lightly press mixture into batter (crumb mixture should not sink
    all the way into batter.) Bake cake as package directs
    (32 to 35 minutes), or until cake springs back when pushed on.

    Remove cakes from oven; let cool 30 min in pans before unmolding.
    Flip to keep layers crumb side up.
    In a medium bowl, beat cream, coffee powder, and powdered
    sugar
    with an electric mixer on high speed until stiff.

    Place one cooled cake layer, crumb side up, on a serving
    plate. Spread half of whipped cream mixture over cake.
    Top with remaining cake layer, crumb side up.

    Frost sides of cake with remaining whipped cream; do not
    frost top of cake. Refrigerate until serving time.


    Details


    The little things in life can bring great joy. I thought I would begin this blog with a few photos of interesting details.

    This bench is a resting spot for me while the family rides Tower of Terror at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

    I haven't sat on this bench for three months. I miss it. I would rather be at a Disney park than anywhere on earth.

    My older daughter has been a cast member since October 2006. I am very proud of her. When she was four years old, during her first WDW visit, she told us she would one day return to be a performer. Fifteen years later, she did just that.