Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Rainbow Cookies!

I don't think I had ever had Rainbow Cookies/7 Layer Cookies/Tri-colored Cookies until I moved to New Jersey. Now they are a favorite of mine, but anytime we had them in the house, usually when company was over because Marc doesn't particularly like them, they would disappear all too fast. I thought that making them would be great, because then I would have a whole batch, and even if I shared it, there would be leftovers (well, maybe...) and I could get my fill of these bites of chocolate, fruit and sponge deliciousness. But they have 7 layers, 3 colors, and are coated in chocolate...an impossibility for anyone who is not a pastry chef. Right? Wrong. Thanks to my niece Jenna, I learned that, while these cookies look like they take hours to make, they are simple and easy and that anyone who can read a recipe can make them. I've attached the link that Jenna gave to me, but I'm also putting the recipe below. They're easy and delicious, a little bit time consuming, but totally worth it.

Heat oven to 350.
1 ¼ cup flour
3 eggs (large)
1 cup sugar
3 teaspoons almond extract
2 sticks (melted butter)
Mix all of these things together...it mixes easily, so you don't need to fuss with dragging out the mixer...a wooden spoon works fine. The batter doesn't look like it will be enough, but it is.

Separate the batter into 3 bowls. Leave one bowl as is, add 8 drops of red food coloring to one, and 8 drops of green to the other. Mix thoroughly.
Pour the batter into 3 pans of equal size (they recommend 11 x 7 x 1, I used larger pans but the batter didn't cover them entirely, 9 in. cake pans work too). Pans should either be well greased or lined with foil or parchment paper. I used greased foil when I did it and the cakes came right out. Bake for 10 minutes.

Next comes the layering part. You will need:
1 jar apricot butter or preserves
1 jar seedless raspberry preserves
6 oz. bag of semi sweet chocolate morsels
1 tablespoon of oil

Flip the green layer onto parchment paper or foil. Spread apricot preserves.
Flip the white layer on the green layer and spread raspberry preserves.
Flip the red layer onto the white layer.
Melt your chocolate (either double boiler or microwave).
Stir in oil (yes, you need to do this or it is too thick and will harden before you are done with it).
Spread a thin layer of chocolate on the top.
Refrigerate until the chocolate is hard. Flip the entire thing onto foil or parchment paper and coat the green layer with chocolate and stick it back in the fridge until cool. Once cool, slice into thin slices and enjoy.

The nice thing about this recipe, is you can change it up a bit...don't want to use almond extract? Use vanilla (that's what I used). Don't have raspberry preserves on hand? I used strawberry jelly. So you can switch it up according to what you have on hand.

These cookies will make you look like an expert baker. Your friends will "ooo and ah" over your mad skills...so be sure not to tell them how easy they are. :-)

Sunday, January 30, 2011


Everyone is probably getting sick of the snow. We have had over a foot on the ground since December 26th. Now we have about 2 feet on the ground, and even more in the drifts and piles. It is in massive blobs of ice on every street corner. It doesn't look fresh and new any more. It just looks cold and wintery and blah, right? Wrong. Maybe I'm a little crazy, but I love the snow. This year I've been sledding, I've built snowmen, I've had snow ball fights, I've made forts...and I've loved every second of it. I can't think of any point this year that I've been out in the snow and thought "I really wish it were Spring." Even from the indoors, I love it! It is fun looking out over the back yard and seeing the birds - we've had tons of blue jays - and the cat foot prints, and the mostly frozen creek. I've done a lot more cooking and baking since it snowed because that's a wintery weather sort of thing to do, and it keeps the house warm. I have never experienced such a snowy winter, and based on the snow I've experienced other winters, I never thought I would like it...but I do. I have even learned to drive on 2 inches of packed snow, slush and ice! As far as I'm concerned, if it is going to be freezing out, there may as well be snow on the ground. I am starting to think that Marc might get his wish after all, and in 20 years, we'll be moving to Fargo...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ground Beef Soup aka Zuppa a la Sarah

Step 1:
1/2 - 1lb ground beef
1 small onion, diced
1/2 - 1lb mushrooms, sliced
Brown and drain ground beef
Add onion and mushrooms...cook until soft

Step 2:
1 Tbsp flour
1 tsp. basil
Add to ground beef and stir well...cook for about 1 minute

Step 3:
1/4 cup cooking sherry
1 cup red wine (not cooking wine...but the bottle you plan to drink with dinner)
Add to beef and cook for about 2 minutes
NOTE: I have used beer when I didn't have any wine in the house (gasp!). It worked but wasn't as good. And don't kid yourself, this recipe NEEDS the sherry...the wine and the sherry are what make this recipe, so if you don't have them, jump in the car and head to the store and get them, b/c without them this is just beef/vegetable soup and not nearly as exciting.

Step 4:
16 oz can stewed or diced tomatoes
48 oz beef broth
Add to all of the above...bring to a boil

Step 5:
1 1/2 cups dry pasta (small noodles work best)
WARNING: don't use too much...or the soup turns into stew. You can always cook the noodles seperately and add when serving.

Serves 4 - 6

This recipe was shared with me by my friend Marie. It is one of the best soups I have ever had, and I used to be one of the soup cooks in a cafe, so I've had/made tons of different soups. Thanks Marie!

So, why does this soup make me happy? Well, the first time I had it was at Marie's with Marc...it was a very happy day. We laughed so hard. The next time I had it was with my husbands family on Christmas Eve...and Christmas Eve this year was wonderful and memorable. The next time was when we were snowed in on a cold winter day...just Marc, myself, and a puzzle, again, a happy day. And I made it over the weekend when some of my friends came over. I haven't laughed as hard as I laughed on Sunday night in a long time. So now this isn't only a really yummy soup, but I have unforgetable memories that go with it. And that makes me happy.

Oh, and since I didn't know if the soup had a real name or not, it has been dubbed "Zuppa a la Sarah" by Pat and Misti. I don't know why I get the credit for it, but I'll take it. :)

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Oatmeal Banana Muffins

Today I am off of work, so I decided to bake. I had a couple ripe bananas, so banana muffins was on the agenda. I've been trying to be more conscientious of eating healthy lately, so I wanted to make these with as little white flour as possible.... I have an abundance of oatmeal sitting around (my new breakfast of choice), so I thought to myself "oatmeal banana muffins would be good" and proceeded to look up the recipe. This is the part of the story where I agree with Dad that I am, in fact, a blond. I googled "oatmeal banana muffin recipes" and found several, including one with not only no white flour, but no flour whatsoever...this was great, exactly what I was looking for. So into the kitchen I went...dry ingredients in one bowl, wet in another...and then I realized...there were no bananas in this banana muffin recipe. Now, a clever person would have realized this before making the muffins, but not me...no siree Bob...so there were a few minutes of frantic "what the heck am I going to do with pile of goo" until I browsed other recipes and was able to save this poor unfortunate batter. So, here is my new favorite Banana Oatmeal Muffin Recipe:

1 cup oatmeal
1 c. flour
1 TBS + 2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/3 c. sugar

1/4 c. oil
1 egg
2 mashed bananas
small dash of nutmeg
bigger dash of cinnamon
2 cap fulls of vanilla

All dry ingredients get mixed together, all wet ones together, and then you mix all those together and bake at 400 for 20 minutes...they're tasty, but do require either coffee or hot tea as a compliment, because that's what all baked goods like to have with them. :-)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Sunday, December 2, 2007

My new favorite quotation, as seen in a coffee shop

Unattended children will be given a shot of espresso . . . and a puppy.

Isn't that a terribly happy thought? :-)

Thursday, June 7, 2007

I've been dreaming again...

I've had a lot of dreams about wax lately...I don't know why. Probably partially because I've been running, and every time I run, my legs feel like soft wax by the time I get back. Which reminds me...I should go running tonight...but I don't want to because I just finished a margarita, and my ability to actually run in a straight line is highly dubious because the margarita was consumed immediately after getting off of an 11 hour shift at work...so maybe it wouldn't be wise...but we shall see....
Anyway, my big dream of the week....Ryan's wedding...We've been working on Hassler's 12 voice Cantate Domino, which WILL be beautiful...once we learn it...Well, being in charge of the music for this wedding, I am also responsible for making sure everyone HAS the music for the wedding...but the Cantate has been the focal point, because nobody knows it, but they know everything else...so, in my dream, we were at the wedding, in the choir loft, when I realized that I only had one copy of the Cantate, and no copies of anything else, and for some reason, nobody could remember any of the pieces....even Sicut Cervus, which, as a rule, everyone can sing backwards, forwards and inside out...except, of course, for myself, who can only sing it backwards, forwards and inside out if I'm singing it with someone...anyway, as a result, Alaina glared at me, Christine said "This is rediculous!", Jen laughed, Draper informed me that I was incompetant (which, incidentally, I've been saying this whole time) and Anthony swore he would never speak to me again because Ryan blamed the whole thing on him and wouldn't allow any of us at the reception which Anthony was supposed to DJ, Mike P. did his silent head shake, Joe P. insisted that nobody noticed...and so on and so forth...you get the idea.
I'm going running now...