Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Gingerbread Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

The hubby requested pancakes for christmas breakfast and I wanted to find something different then your basic pancake.  I happen to stubble upon a recipe for cinnamon roll pancakes which led me to another recipe for gingerbread cinnamon roll pancakes and it being x-mas and all I had to go with the gingerbread.... of course :) 
These pancakes were awesome, they not only tasted delicious but when you flip the pancake over to cook the swirl side and flip it back, it looks just like a cinnamon roll on top. The only thing is, I wish I could have shared these yummy pancakes with my family for christmas.  Though I can be happy that at least me and my husband can spend the holidays together instead of being deployed this year. I adapted this recipe a little since I didn't have all the ingredients it called for, and they still turned out superb!  and looked pretty cool too. 

Gingerbread Cinnamon Roll Pancakes 
Adapted from Recipe Girl
Yields: 6-8 pancakes
Prep: 15 minutes  Cook: 20 minutes


Cinnamon filling

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves


3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons brewed coffee
2 tablespoons dark mollasses
2 tablespoons water
1 large egg
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/2 tablespoons ground ginger
1/2 tablespoons ground baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt


Prepare the cinnamon filling before you make the pancakes.
- In a small bowl melt the butter in the microwave, takes about 20 - 40 seconds.
- Mix in the brown sugar and spices with a whisk, make sure that the mixture is combined well and not lumpy.
- Scoop the mixture into a small ziplock baggy and set aside (while your making the pancake batter the mixture will cool and thicken up a little)

Prepare the batter

- In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, coffee, molasses, water and egg.
- In a small bowl combine all the dry ingredients and mix well.
- Add your dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix till just combined. (don't over mix its okay if they are some lumps in the batter)

Cooking the pancakes

- Set your oven to warm or 200 degrees and add a pan into the oven, use this as a warmer tray for placing your cooked pancakes in, to keep warm while finishing the entire batter.
- Preheat a large skillet on medium heat and spray the pan with cooking spray
- Scoop a 1/3 measuring cup of batter into the skillet and spread it around a little to make a round shape
 - Take your zip lock baggy and cut a small hole in the corner and pipe a swirl onto your pancake.
- Cook the pancake for about 3 minutes until you start seeing bubbles on the side of the pancake, flip the pancake over and cook the swirl side for about 2 minutes, dont worry if you see some of the swirl mixture oozing out from under the pancake.
- Flip the pancake over to expose the swirl side and serve with syrup or they are great by themselves as well.  Enjoy.

I link up to these awesome parties 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Taco Bean Chili Soup Mix + Pasta Soup Mix

We all have those family members who don't necessarily have a sweet tooth.....shocking! I know, crazy right? But its true my mom is diffidently one of those lucky women who just don't have a sweet tooth.  Its more like a vodka tooth...lol just kidding, love you mom! inside joke between us :)

But seriously I wanted to give her and some other family members a homemade edible gift that wasn't just cookies, so I had to go a little outside the box.  My wonderful neighbor and friend let me borrow a small book she bought from the girl scouts that contained recipes for items in a jar and a few showcased soup mixes.  My mom and nana are huge soup fans so I knew that these homemade gifts would be just for them.

There are 2 different soup mixes.  Italian Tomato Pasta Soup Mix and a Taco Bean Chili Mix that have been adapted from the Gifts from a Jar book.

Materials You'll Need
Mason Jar (pint size for the chili bean mix)
Mason Jar (Quart size for the pasta mix)
Glue stick
Name tags

Ingredients for Taco Bean Chili Jar

1/2 Cup dried Kidney Beans
1/2 Cup dried Pinto Beans
1/2 Cup dried Red Beans
1 Package (1 1/4 ounce) Taco Seasoning Mix
1 Tablespoon dried minced onion
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

To Layer the Ingredients

1st layer:  Kidney Beans
2nd layer: Pinto Beans
3rd layer: Red Beans
4th layer: ziplock sandwich bag with all your spices

In a ziplock sandwich bag and all your spices including emptying the taco seasoning mix into it.  add the ziplock baggy as the 4th layer and place the lid and close tight.

Recipe for the Taco Bean Chili

1 Jar Taco Bean Chili Mix
4 cups Beef broth or Vegetarian broth to make it vegetarian :)
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes with green chiles
1 can (8 ounces) Tomato Sauce
1 pound ground beef or morning star crumbles (for vegetarian) cooked and drained
1 1/2 cups tortilla chips
Optional: Shredded Cheese, cilantro, sour cream and extra chips for dipping

- Remove the spice bag from the jar and set aside
- Place beans in a large bowl; cover with water. Soak 6 to 8 hours or overnight.  (To quick soak the beans, place beans in large saucepan; cover with water.  Bring to boil over high heat.  Boil 2 minutes.  Remove from heat; let soak, covered for 1 hour).  Drain beans; discard water.
- Place soaked beans, broth, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, ground beef or crumbles and contents of spice packet in a large pot or dutch oven.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Cover; reduct heat and simmer 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until beans are tender.
- Optional- Crush tortilla chips. Stir into chili and cook 5 to 10 minutes to thicken.  Serve with cheese, cilantro and sour cream.

Ingredients for the Italian Tomato Pasta Soup Mix Jar

2 1/2 cups Farfalle (bow tie) pasta
2 tablespoons dried vegetable flakes, soup greens or dehydrated vegetables
1 Tablespoon dried minced onion
1 teaspoon chicken or vegetable bouillon granules
1 teaspoon Italian herb seasoning
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese

To Layer the Ingredients

Place pasta into the jar and sprinkle in the dried vegetables , onion, granules, italian seasoning, sugar, minced dried garlic and pepper.  Place the parmesan cheese into a ziplock bag and add it to the top of the pasta. Close the lid and decorate the jar.

Recipe for Italian Tomato Pasta Soup Mix

1 Jar Italian Tomato Pasta Soup Mix
5 cups water
1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
1/2 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed
4 to 6 slices crisp cooked bacon, crumbled (omit for vegetarian)


- Remove cheese packet from jar
- Combine the water and remaining contents of jar in a large saucepan.  Bring to a boil over high heat; boil 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in crushed tomatoes, spinach and bacon.  Reduce heat; simmer 10 to 12 minutes or until pasta is tender. Serve with parmesan cheese.

Note: Even though I am vegetarian my family is not, so most of these recipes are easily adapted to be either made for my dear meat eaters or my fellow vegetarians.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

M&M Christmas Cookies in a Jar

This is my first DIY project that I will be sharing. This homemade gift is not only bakes into delicious cookies with tons of chocolate chips and m&m's, its also pretty inexpensive to purchase the items you'll need, you can decorate the jars to suit the person your giving the gift to.  I got my mason jars from the Japanese 100 yen store, its basically your $ dollar tree in the states.  and I just bought a bunch of ribbon and stickers to paste onto my jars.  I also went into word and used a nice template and typed the recipe out and printed them on card stock and added the recipe to a Christmas card.

The reason for making homemade gifts this year was I wanted to do something extra special for my family and friends.  I thought hmmm, whats more special then homemade gifts that you can eat.  I can't tell you how excited I get every year knowing that my nana will send me a box of homemade cookies. So I'm hoping that my family and friends will get excited for my special homemade gifts each year, perhaps this will start my own tradition of sending out homemade cookies just like my nana.

I found this wonderful idea at Bakerella and adapted them for a Christmas themed gift.

M&M Christmas Cookies in a Jar


Mason Jar ( 1 quart size)
Ribbon any color
glue stick

Ingredients for the Jar
Adapted from Bakerella 

1 1/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cooking oats
3/4 cups m&m's
3/4 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 white sugar

How to layer the ingredients

1st layer: Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together
2nd layer: Oats
3rd layer: M&Ms
4th layer: chocolate chips
5th layer: Brown Sugar
6th layer: White sugar

I used a large spoon to add each layer into the jar, after adding the first layer, pack each layer next tightly by pressing down with the spoon or using your hand make a fist and gently pack each layer down.

Directions for baking the cookies

You'll need 
1 Jar m&m christmas cookies
1 egg slightly beaten
1/2 cup melted butter
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper
- Dump the ingredients from the jar into a large bowl and mix together.
- Mix your wet ingredients together in a small bowl and add to the dry ingredients.  using the back of a wooden spoon, work all the ingredients together.  Though I found that using your hands to combine the ingredients together worked the best :)
- Roll the cookie dough into 1 1/2 inch balls, place on the cookie sheet and back for 10 minutes, makes about 2 dozen cookies.

I apologize for not having a after shot of the cookies, I stayed up extra late to make a batch for family to send out in their packages the next day and i honestly didn't have enough energy to set up my make shift studio and take shots. Plus my hands hurt so much from all the paper cuts from the wrapping paper and boxes lol. Good thing x-mas comes once a year, and too bad I live in Japan so far away from family.

I link up to these fun parties 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Double Dipped Eggnog Glazed Baked Donuts

It appears I've been on a little bit of an eggnog kick lately. 

Though I have a very good reason why, I honestly never drink it.
 I get so excited to see anything christmassy at the grocery store every year, that I don't care what it is, no matter if I like it or not I will buy it just for the nostalgia of the holidays.....i.e. Pumpkin spice creamer, canned pumpkin puree, gingerbread tea, eggnog and even fruit cake (okay I lied about the fruit cake, I will still not eat that) 

Even though I only like eggnog for the first 2 sips.  I don't want to see it go to waste, so why not incorporate eggnog in all my favorite recipes. 

Double Dipped Eggnog Glazed Donuts
Adapted from  Food.com
Yields: 18 Donuts


 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons butter at room temp
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
3 cups flour
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup milk


- Preheat oven to 350 degrees 
- In a electric mixer, combine the soften butter and sugar together, mix for 2-3 minutes
- Add the eggs and mix until blended
- In a separate bowl combine the flour, salt, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and mix until combined
- Add milk to the batter and mix, the dough should start getting thick and slightly sticky
- Using a donut pan, lightly grease the pan with pam or butter, spoon your batter into a pipping bag, snip a hole in the bottom and pipe the batter into each donut mold about half way full
- Bake for 14 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean

Eggnog Glaze


1/3 cup butter
4 tablespoons eggnog
2 cups powdered sugar

*Double the recipe to glaze all donuts


Melt the butter in the microwave, add the powdered sugar and eggnog and mix until all the sugar is dissolved  dip you half of you cooled donuts in the glaze.  Let stand for 10 minutes and dip again. or using a large spoon, drizzle the second coating over the donuts. 

I link up to these fun parties and entered my recipe into the Shine Supper Club Holiday treat contest. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Eggnog Fudge

This Christmas its all about the edible gifts.  I'm going to take a couple of days off work to whip up batches of cookies, candies and fudge for my family back in Oregon and my in-laws in NewYork.  Though before I just whip up a batch of something I have never made before I have to do a test batch to make sure its worthy enough to be shipped out to my family and friends.


So this was my test batch for a delight eggnog fudge that incorporates eggnog, white chocolate and marshmallow creme.  The fudge was pretty easy to make, I think from start to finish it took about 15 minutes.  The fudge had a great eggnog flavor and consistency. My co-workers thought it was delicious and tasted just like eggnog, though they requested a little more rum added next time ;)  The next batch will be added to my DIY tab since this test batch was a success.

Eggnog Fudge


1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup eggnog
11 oz bag of white chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
7 oz jar of marshmallow creme
1 teaspoon rum or rum extract


- Line a 8x8 or 9x9 square pan with foil and let some extra hang over the side. Butter the foil or use pam.
- in a 3-quart saucepan combine sugar, butter and eggnog on high heat.  Bring to a rolling boil, stir the mixture constantly. Continue boiling 8-10 minutes over high heat or until candy thermometer reaches 234 F.
- Using a wooden spoon, work quickly to stir in the white chocolate chips and nutmeg until chocolate is melted and smooth.  Stir in marshmallow creme and rum.  Beat until well blended and than pour into prepared pan.  Sprinkle a little ground nutmeg on top.  Let stand at room temp until cooled or place in the refrigerator for 2 hours to speed up the process.
- When completely cooled, cut into squares and store in an air tight container.

*Recipe Adapted from recipe girl.
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