Monday, November 29, 2010

OMELET In-Hand Muffins.............Plus a Surprise Guest!

I love omelets.

But they can be a chore, especially if you are making more than one.  Forget it if you are making  them for more than two people, unless you want to stand at the darn stove cranking out one omelet at a time and hoping they flip just perfectly.

That's why I love these little darlings.  Cute little omelets, made in a muffin tin. 

You can make them ahead of time, grab one from the fridge, pop it in the microwave for a few seconds, and out the door you walk with omelet in-hand.  Now that's what I call convenient!  Just think you can have an omelet every morning for breakfast.  Crazy easy!

Personally, I like Breakfast for Dinner....and these are wondrous little gems that take no time to make and viola, a delicious dinner-breakfast!

Here are the attendees:

Now remember.  This is very versatile.  You do not have to put ham in these.  You can put bacon, breakfast sausage, or no meat at all.

You don't have to put Spinach in these, you could put mushrooms, or bell peppers, or onions.

You don't have to use Colby cheese, you can use sharp cheddar, Monterrey Jack, Pepper Jack (oooh Yum) or Swiss cheese.

The choice is yours, you can add  "This, That and the Other" (that's an old saying that this elderly lady I know use to say at the end of almost every sentence.  Try it, you'll see, it fits perfectly to almost every conversation).

7 eggs (I have 6 in the photo, I'm a goof)
2 slices of "Hearty Cut" Hillshire Farm Ham, diced up small
5 grape tomatoes, diced up small
Handful of Baby Spinach Leaves, cut up small
1 c. shredded Cheddar or Colby cheese
Dash of Kosher Salt

*The ingredients above make 9 Omelet in-Hand Muffins.

First make sure you preheat your oven to 350 and spray your muffin tins with Pam.
I didn't spray 3 of the muffin cups cause I only made enough for 9.  Don't ask me why.

Get out a large bowl, and crack all 7 eggs into the bowl.  Use a fork and whisk away, just like you would for scramble eggs.  Set aside.

Now, dice up your tomatoes in small chunks.

Grab a handful of Baby Spinach and cut it up to in smallish pieces.

Now dice up your ham in small pieces.

Now shred your cheese to make 1 cup.  If you are using pre-shredded cheese, I don't want to hear about it.  I will turn my back and not look while you add your store-bought pre-shredded cheese. 

Go ahead, I've turned around now.  Add in that JUNK you call cheese, I won't look.

Are you done yet?

Ok, lets proceed.

Now add your cheese, spinach, ham and tomatoes into your scrambled egg mixture.

Here's where you sprinkle the mixture with a little Kosher Salt.  Take a quick whisk and combine all the mixture together.

It's starting to look yummy already.

Now take your 1/4 cup measuring cup, and fill each muffin cup with your omelet mixture, using this 1/4 cup.  That should almost fill your muffin cups perfectly.

Oh lookie there.  We have a little visitor!  

I believe that Ham & Egg cup showed up un-invited!

If you noticed in the ingredients, I listed "Hearty Cut Slices" for the Ham.

Hillshire Farm, in the fridge section, has an "Ultra Thin" ham and a "Hearty Cut" ham.  I got the hearty ham for this recipe.  I decided to make a little special surprise, for a certain person who is not crazy about Omelets and their ingredients.

So I made one special little Ham & Egg Cup.  Place a slice of the Hearty Ham in one of the muffin tins, and crack one egg into the cup. He can bake right along side your omelet muffins

So, the lesson here is this:  If you decide to make this for breakfast or for a brunch, or for a "breakfast-dinner", and you happen to have a certain manly man or young boy, that's not too crazy for fancy schmancy omelets, then make them a Masculine Ham & Egg Cup.

Now pop this into the preheated oven for 20 minutes.  This should be a just-right time for your oven.  Just watch to make sure they don't get browned.  You don't want that because they will be dry as the desert.  By the same token, you don't want the centers jiggly either.  But 20 minutes should be just right.

Aren't they the cutest little things you've ever seen?

Oh how cute are these?

Oh and here is the ham & egg cup for the person who turns up his nose at omelets.

If you are going to make these for brunch or for breakfast, or for your "breakfast-dinner", I like to buy those frozen hash brown cubes, and fry them up on the stove, and have them on the side.  Maybe add some cut up fruit, and there you are!

Omelet in hand, or Breakfast for dinner, these little cuties will not disappoint.
Especially if you add "this that or the other" to your liking.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Merry Christmas To Me CHEESECAKE.......Oh the Guilt!

We moved back to Kansas in 1992 when my daughter was just a few months old.  After living in Southern California for years, it was good to be back home.

Living in a little rented house, with a newborn and a husband working long & late hours, you can probably guess what I did most of the time. 

Our first Christmas back in Kansas I was out shopping, as one does, and I found a simply wonderful little cookbook.  It was not the time to buy anything for myself, after all I had a little wee one to buy for. I mean honestly, who goes Christmas shopping and buys something for their self?

I stood there, pouring over the recipes, falling in love with every turn of the page, until it dawned on me.

Merry Christmas To Me!  It was the only way I could justify buying this for myself. I even signed it, to me from me. It was my first trip down "guilty lane" as a new mother.  Oh the guilt I had for spending money on myself.  What kind of mother was I?  How dare I do this!

That guilt soon disappeared when I made the most decadent thing I've ever tasted from the first recipe I tried.

I have made this over and over again the following years after that guilt-ridden purchase, and each time, it has turned out as Divine as the very first time.
I'm telling you right now, I don't care what kind of diet you are on, or you think you want to be on;
This CHEESECAKE will make you throw your guilt right out the diet window.

It is worth every single, solitary, decadent, heavenly bite!

Who would have thought, these characters below could be so Decadent? (Remember...NO GUILT)

I can't stress this enough!

1 c. graham cracker crumbs
2 Tbsp. Sugar
3 Tbsp. butter, melted

3 (8 ounce) cubes cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 c, sugar
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
3 large egg whites

1 c. sour cream
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Spring Form pan

CLICK HERE for Printable Recipe.

Now don't be intimidated by a Spring Form pan.  For years I didn't really know what one was.  All I knew was it had some sort of contraption on the side of the pan that looked dangerous.

All it is, is a pan with two parts; a bottom, and then a side, that opens and closes with a clasp.  The clasp looks like this:

We are going to start by making the crust. Assemble the pan so that the bottom is firmly placed and the side contraption is closed.

In the bottom of the pan, pour the crushed graham crackers and sugar. Mix around so all is incorporated.  Then add the melted butter.  With your hands (it's the only way really) sort of mush it and press it around to form a crust, covering the entire bottom of the pan.  If you have to go up the sides a bit, that's good too.

Now place the pan, with your wonderful crust, in the oven at 325 for 10 minutes.  Take out and set aside.

Now turn down oven to 300.

In the meantime, mix together your cream cheese, sugar, and lemon juice.

Then one by one, add your egg whites.  You might have to scrape the sides of your bowl if you are using a Kitchen Aide type mixer.

Be sure to get every last drop off the mixer.  As you can see, I use my trusty mini red spoonula.  As I've said before in posts, I love this little guy!  It's a mini version of a rubber spatula and oh so useful.

Now gently pour the batter into the crust. spreading around to the edges of the pan.  I use my mini spoon-spatula  for this too.

Now pop this baby into the oven for 60 minutes at 300 degrees.

Now once this jewel is just about done, take a bowl and combine the topping ingredients.  Sour cream, sugar and vanilla.

Again, LOVE this little guy to stir it all around.

Take out the cheesecake from the oven, and gently spread the sour cream topping on the top.
Back into the oven for 12 minutes.

Take out and leave on counter to cool for about 20 minutes.  Then place the entire thing, with the side of the pan still in place, in the fridge for 8 hours, or over-night preferably.

The next day, get ready for your guilt to go out the window. 

Take out of fridge, and you will see the cheesecake has started to pull away from the sides.  Gently unhook the latch thingy contraption, and gently take the side off.

Oh my stars.

Oh my stars.

I don't even know what to say right now.

I have been making this cheesecake for close to 19 guilt-free years and every single time it has turned out PERFECT.

If you are a cheesecake lover, and I mean a TRUE cheesecake lover, you will appreciate this recipe and be proud.  Very proud.

Many times I think I'm gonna put some sort of fruit or chocolate ganache topping on this beauty, but I take one bite and decide against it.  No need my need!

So when you are out Christmas shopping this year, and you find something that you really want to buy yourself (within reason of course) take it from this guilty mother, go ahead and buy it.  It could turn out to be one of the best Christmas presents to yourself you've ever bought.

And as you can see, this recipe has been giving me guilt free pleasure for years and years and years, and I have the food stained pages to prove it.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.  I feel that no one is more impoverished than the one who has no gratitude.

So please give thanks this week, to the unknown blessings that are already on their way, and to the little bitty ones that always go unnoticed.

There are One-Thousand-Four-Hundred-Forty-Four minutes in each day. 
 Did you take ONE of those minutes to say

To all my dear friends, foodies, & family,
Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 22, 2010


Don't say you don't like Bourbon, cause I know exactly what you're thinking.

I was the same way. I had never tasted Bourbon, much less bought a bottle of Bourbon in my life.  Who drinks Bourbon?  I mean honestly.

Then about 16 years ago, my dear friend Jan had me over for the Holiday's and served Bourbon Slushes. Yuck I thought. But it was Christmas so what the heck, I'll try it.

I thought Jan was so "grown-up" serving something with Bourbon in it. I mean don't only grown-ups drink Bourbon?  Which was strange to think, because I was well into adulthood myself.

I took one look at it, and it was literally an ice tea colored slushy, served in a pretty little holiday goblet.  Anything in a slush form served in an etched Christmas glass can't be all bad.

What a surprise!  It's refreshing, lemonadeish, ice teaish, and slushy!  It was delightful!
Let's put it this way. I asked for the recipe, and it went straight into my Recipe Binder. That very next Holiday season and the 8 years after that I made it without fail.

I forgot about these yummy slushes for several years in a row now, and going through my binder recently, it popped up at me, as if to say "you've forgotten all about me" (In this sad little voice).

So for Thanksgiving, this refreshing slushy is coming home for the Holiday.  Like a long lost relative.  Like your crazy Auntie Mame whom you have not seen in years!  Who when you see her after 8 years, you think "Where has she been all these years, we've missed her"! 

Yippie, Auntie Mame is coming home for the Holidays!

Here's the life of the party:

1 1/2 c. Bourbon
8 c. water
6 ounce can frozen lemonade, thawed
6 ounce can frozen orange juice, thawed
1 c. sugar
2 heaping tablespoons instant ice tea granules

Get your self a large container with a tight fitting lid.  I use a Rubbermaid 1.5 gallon clear container that I bought at the grocery store.  You don't want the kind that have really tall sides and that are deep, rather, get a long low container with shorter sides.  You don't want to freeze the slush in something deep, as it won't freeze properly and get the slushy effect.

Combine all the ingredients and make sure you stir with a whisk to get everything all evenly distributed, especially the sugar.  Something like this:

Put on the tight fitting lid, and place in freezer for 48 hours.
I've actually checked on this 24 hours later, and it's in slushy form, but it just depends on how deep the container is.  The more shallow the better. 
Once it's all good and frozen, set out the slushy, and in a few minutes, you will be able to take a scoop, and scoop it all out into an ice bucket or serving bowl. Remember, alcohol does not freeze, so this will not come out solid like a huge chunk of ice.  It will scoop out in perfect slush form.
I place a scoop in the bowl, so everyone can go back and help their self.  Because trust me, they will be going back for seconds.
If by chance,  there are left overs (which I highly doubt) you can re-freeze them again and again.  Great for having a batch in the freezer from Thanksgiving all the way through New Years Eve!

Here's to Auntie Mame!  "May we not wait another 8 years to see you again"


Friday, November 19, 2010

Christmas Tin CRUNCHIES...........Snack-a-Licious!

It's that time of year when I start thinking about what I'm going to put in my Christmas Tins that I hand out to friends and neighbors.  These little Crunchies are always included.  They are easy to make, transport well and stay fresh longer than cookies. 

They are a great year-round snack too.  If you play Bunco or Cards, it's a nice snack to take for card playing get-togethers.

Here are the stars of the show:

3 1/4 c. Corn Flakes
1 bag Butterscotch Morsels
1/4 c. Creamy Peanut Butter


I always like to get my Corn Flakes ready first.  Pour them into a large bowl.  They will sit there and wait patiently until you are ready for them.

Then I pull out my trusty quarter sheet pan, or Jelly Roll pan, as some of you call it.  If you read my blog you will see how often I use this thing.  GET ONE!

Spray your sheet pan lightly with Pam.  Set that aside too.

Now on the stove, on Medium heat, place your peanut butter and Butterscotch morsels in a non-stick pan.

See this wonderful little Mini Rubber Spoonula.  I love this little guy.  A friend bought this for me for Christmas one year.  It's mini, like 4 inches.  It's perfect to scoop out peanut butter or to scooop out Mayo or sour cream.  Plus its semi-spoon shaped and made out of rubber, so it's great to scrape out your measuring cup with some-what sticky ingredients.  Love this little guy!
Here's where you can get it.

Keep your eye on the peanut butter and butterscotch and be sure to stir it often.  We don't want any of that goodness to burn.

Keep stirring all around so everything encorporates.

Make sure everything is all melted, and keep stirring.

Now pour into the ever-waiting Corn Flakes. I told you they would be patient.  Now stir stir stir.  Make sure every little flake gets coated in the meltedness.

See how handy this little spoon-ula comes in.  I love this thing.  Did I say that already?

Now, I like to take my cookie scoop, and scoop out a nice over-flowing scoop of the mixture, and place on the Pam sprayed sheet cake pan.  Something like this.

The mounds will be a bit soft and some-what runny.  But try to mound them up in little blobs.  Like this.

Now pop the sheet cake pan into the freezer for about 7 minutes.  That should do the trick.  Don't forget they're in there!
You can pop them right off the sheet pan now and they are in perfect little clusters.  Now, eat one.  Then put the rest in an air-tight container.

Oh yes, these little Crunchies are snack-a-licious!

Love these little Crunchies.
  Salty and crunchy and peanut-buttery-butter-scotchery!

Don't forget them for your Christmas Tins!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Doesn't this stunning piece of art look like it came out of an oven in some French Bistro? Or some fancy French restaurant in Paris?
It looks like it's name should be something like "je ne sais quoi!"  or " je t'aime chicken braid".

Every time I take this out of the oven I can't believe I made it.  I look upon this gorgeous piece of work and say "c'est magnifique!"

Beautiful AND Delicious!  So typical of the French. They have it all don't they?

You simply must pretend you are in France, and give this a try!

This is all you need:

2 3/4 cups diced cooked chicken (I just use a Rotisserie chicken from the grocery store.  Saves loads of time)
1 c. frozen broccoli florets
1/2 c. portabella mushrooms, diced
1/2 c. Mayonnaise
4 slices Swiss Cheese (or 1 c. shredded)
2 (8 ounce) cans Refrigerated Pillsbury Crescent Rolls (Original)
1 egg white to brush pastry (not pictured)

You will need a pretty large cookie sheet.  Spray it pretty well with Pam.

Pop out the Crescent Rolls and try not to have a heart attack when they pop.

Now this is the most difficult part to explain, lay the crescent sheets down on the cookie sheet, side by side, and start pinching the seams together. like shown below.

After all the seams are pinched, and you have one large rectangle, lets start with the filling.

I like to use frozen broccoli.  Grab a nice large handful of the florets.  Since they will be frozen, all you need to do is let them soak in a bowl filled with tap water for just one minute.  They will thaw instantly.  Be sure to squeeze out any excess water.

Now chop up these darlings to bite-sized pieces.

Combined the broccoli together in a large bowl with diced cooked chicken, mayo, & diced mushrooms.

Lay the mixture right down the middle of the crescent sheet, leaving about six inches of dough on each side like in photo below:

Now lay the Swiss cheese slices on top of the mixture.  If you are using Shredded Swiss, then now is the time to sprinkle away!  I prefer to use slices cause I want to make sure there is cheesy goodness over everything.

Now comes the fun part.  See all the extra Crescent dough on the sides?  This is where you cut strips, so you can start with the braiding. 

Take a sharp knife, an start slicing 1 to 1 1/2 inches wide.  Kinda like this, but ignore that wide slice, I should have made that thinner!

Now turn your cookie sheet long-wise so it's facing you from top to bottom, an start braiding away.
It should start looking like this:

P.S. Please dont' judge my wonderfully well used cookie sheet.  It's not shiny, silver and new. Oh NO it's not! This cookie sheet is my favorite air-bake cookie sheet that I've had for years upon years.  It could tell you stories of all the wonderful baked goods that its produced.  I refuse to buy a new one because this broken-in cookie sheet never fails me!  Please people, haven't you ever seen a Frenchman's cookie sheet?

Once you've showed off your braiding skills, this is what the final product will look like:

Look at this precious bundle, all ready to be baked to perfection!

Now is the time you want to take the egg white, and gently brush the top.  This is what gives it the beautiful golden look. It's like LIPSTICK for the French women.  The cherry on top of the cake for us Ameicans.

Bake in a preheated oven at 350 for about 30 minutes.  You will have to keep checking this, as it will start to turn a beautiful golden brown but you will need to be careful because the dough in the center of the braid might not be done yet. So you will need to add more time.

 I would start checking at 30 minutes.  Sometimes the wonderful golden braid will get you so incredibly excited, and it will look so pretty, that you won't realize that the center dough is not finished. 

When it is done, it should look something like this:

Oh La La!

Stunning isn't it? Simply stunning!

Flaky Crescent, with Cheesy goodness.
This recipe has it all.  It's gorgeous AND tastes good!

It's like that beautiful cheerleader, who is super nice, smart AND funny.
 Imagine if she was from France too!
No body's that lucky!

P.S.  This is magnifique for a bridal or baby shower, or great for any dinner that you really want to impress someone!  Just tell them that it's a little something that you picked up when you were living in Paris one summer!

C'est la vie!