American

M&M Cookie Sticks

cookie-sticks

My son Talal really wanted to make some cookies with M&Ms earlier this week so I thought it would be fun to make a stick cookie instead of the traditional round one. These are so much prettier and they are much easier to dunk into your milk. You could use about any candy that you would like on to or even chocolate chips if you want. I found that it is better to gently cut while they are still warm so that it is not hard when they cool completely and can break.

1/2 cup sunflower oil
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup mini m&ms

1. Pre-heat oven to 375F. In a large mixing bowl add oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Mix well with a hand mixer then add flour, baking soda and salt, gradually add sugar mixture.

2. On a non-stick baking mat or greased baking sheet carefully make dough flat the width of the baking sheet with a inch or two of room left of the long side so you have one long rectangle. Sprinkle M&Ms on top and gently press down into dough.

3. Bake for about 15 minutes (until sides are golden). Cool for 5 minutes then carefully cut with a sharp knife once lengthwise and then several from the other side. Allow to completely cool.

Yields: 2 dozen

Southern Style Potato Salad

Southern-potato-saald

Happy Fourth of July my fellow Americans. I have always loved the fourth and its one of the days I miss the most with my family. We would always spend it out on the lake in the boat tubing and swimming and then cook on the grill. One of my favorite recipes that my momma always makes and is a must in a Southern household is potato salad. Today I was thinking about my family and getting homesick and this recipe popped into my head and I just had to have it.

Most people like to wait for it to get nice and cold before eating it but I always loved mine warm when it’s just been made. My momma would always hand me a bowl after she made it because she knew that is how I loved it. As you all know my brothers are both in the Navy serving our country and are both stationed around the world. One brother is in Bahrain (three hours from me) and my other one is in Guam. All three us are far away from home, homesick for our little town and mommas cooking and of course our mom is sad that we’re all away. I hope for all of us to reunite soon but in the mean time it’s nice having something for dinner that can make me smile.

5 potatoes (regular sized), boiled, peeled and cubed
5 boiled eggs, chopped (yellows removed)
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
1 large celery stalk, diced (or 1 teaspoon celery seeds)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon regular mustard
1 small pickle, chopped
1 teaspoon paprika

1. In a large mixing bowl add potatoes, eggs, celery and onions, mix. Fold in mayonnaise, mustard and pickles. Add salt, pepper and paprika. Mix well, cover and refrigerate.

Yields: 6 servings

Little Carrot Cake

small-batch-carrot-cake-recipe

The first time I had carrot cake was at Morton’s Steakhouse in Chicago. I had never tried carrot cake because I thought it would not taste good plus it was not a dessert that was ever made in my house growing up. I had just finished having dinner with my friends and I saw a huge cake on display in a stand on the bar and it looked delicious. That was my first time having carrot cake and also the best one I have ever tried. If you ever eat at Morton’s try the carrot cake.

My husband’s favorite cake just happens to be carrot cake and since we have a small family you all know I like to make small batch sweets. A 6 inch round cake pan is perfect for small batch baking and is just enough for my little family. My son Talal loves to help me bake and is getting quite good at it. I measure everything out and he adds it I the bowl when I tell him. This was a really simple cake to make and it tasted great, it’s a keeper for sure.

CAKE:
1/4 cup sunflower oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup packed grated carrot
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

FROSTING:
3 ounce block of cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons butter, softened
6 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

TOPPING:
1/4 cup toasted walnuts, chopped

1. Grease a 6” round cake pan with shortening. Preheat the oven to 350°.

2. In a medium bowl, beat together with an electric mixer the oil and sugar. Beat very well, about 1 minute.

3. Add the egg, cinnamon and vanilla and beat another 30 seconds. Beat in the carrot for about 15 seconds–you want it to break up a bit so it stains the batter orange. Sprinkle the flour and baking powder on top and beat until just combined. Do not over mix. You may stir in the walnuts at this point or save them for the frosting, your choice.

4. Pour the batter into the pan, place it on a baking sheet, and bake for 24-26 minutes. Test with a toothpick before removing from the oven–moist crumbs clinging to the toothpick is ideal.

5. Allow the cake to cool completely on a wire rack before attempting to frost it.

6. To make the frosting, ensure all ingredients are room temperature or you will end up with lumps. Beat together everything with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Tip the cake out of the pan, place it on a serving plate upside down (so that you have a flat surface on top) and spread the frosting on the cake. Garnish with walnuts. Cover and place in refrigerator until serving time.

Yields: 1 (6 inch) cake

Adapted from Dessert For Two

Homemade Croutons

homemade-croutons

I love croutons on my salad and nothing can top a freshly made batch. You can really use any type of bread that you have on hand but I always just use sliced white bread. You can store these in a covered container or plastic bag if you have any leftover and you can also use different seasonings to create your own taste.

4 slices of white bread
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1. Pre-heat oven to 350F. In a bowl add olive oil, garlic salt and Italian seasoning, mix.

2. Cut bread into cubes then add into the bowl coating every piece. On a non-stick baking sheet add the bread and cook in the oven until golden, about 10-13 minutes.

Yields: 6 servings