Friday, November 29, 2013

Make your Black Friday Green with this Giveaway!!




42 blogs are bringing you an amazing giveaway to get your holiday season underway! We're hoping to make the holiday season easier for one of our lucky readers, $500.00 worth of easier that is! 

The winner will be able to choose from an XBOX 360 Kinect Nike+ Bundle, a Kindle Fire HD 8.9", or a KitchenAid 5 Quart Stand Mixer in the color of your choice! Oh and to top it all off, we're going to give you the difference in an Amazon gift card to make your grand prize total $500.00

For example, if you choose the Kindle Fire HD 8.9" as your prize, it's $229.00. 
$500.00-$229.00=$271 Amazon gift card. 
Amounts based on price at time of shipment.

Sounds like something you'd like to win, right? Well, without further rambling, on to the giveaway! Good luck!


Thursday, November 28, 2013

How to relax this weekend!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Netflix for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Here in The Freshman Cook household, we are eagerly awaiting Thanksgiving Day and the entire Thanksgiving weekend! We have lots of big plans in the works, such as eating lots and lots of food,  shopping till we drop, laughing and sharing with friends and relatives, creating a Christmas craft or two, and relaxing!!! Mostly relaxing!!!!  One of our favorite ways to relax is to cook a great meal at home, and then snuggle down with a movie from Netflix!

I know you have heard of Netflix, but have you tried it? You really need to!! Netflix is just wonderful because you can enjoy your favorite TV show or movie anytime and anywhere you want.  And when I say, anywhere, I mean it. Watch your show on an iPad in your kitchen, on the big screen in the family room, or even on your phone while you are waiting in line at the grocery!What a great way to reduce the stress while shopping this weekend!!

We will definitely be watching Netflix Thanksgiving day while the turkey is cooking! Some of our favorites to watch are Revenge (we are still catching up), comedian Kevin Hart, and one of my very favorites, Next Great Baker ! I also just saw my all time favorite Christmas movie listed, White Christmas!! Love it!!

Not sure what you would watch? There are so many movies and TV shows to choose from! Netflix wants to make it easy to bring your family together on Turkey Day. Just log in and they will suggest shows and movies for you to watch while your turkey is baking.

But what are you cooking for the rest of the weekend?  I will be cooking this recipe for  Freddy's Sticky Saucy  Ribs.  Netflix is showcasing Chef Curtis Stone and this recipe created  just for Netflix. Try it out. I'll let you know how we liked it!! Let me know what you think!

So, this weekend when you are ready to unwind and just relax~think Netflix!

 

Freddy’s Sticky Saucy Barbecued Ribs

 

Every time I’m watching “House of Cards” on Netflix, I want to taste those ribs that Frank eats from Freddy’s BBQ Joint. Now we all can sink our teeth into those sticky saucy ribs right along with Frank! These ribs are served with a barbecue sauce more like the one you’ll find in North Carolina (where Frank is from originally) – one with plenty of vinegar, mustard, and a touch of heat. I’ve included two cooking methods for you to try – the original true barbecue method where the ribs are slowly smoked in the barbecue, and the quicker oven-baked version – both are finger lickin’ good!

 

Serves: 8

Prep Time: 5 hours (includes marinating time)

Cook Time: 4 1/2 hours (for barbecued ribs) or 2 1/2 hours (for oven-baked ribs)

Make-Ahead: The barbecue sauce can be made up to 2 weeks ahead, cooled, covered, and refrigerated; reheat before using.

Ingredients

Spice Rub:

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

3 tablespoons sweet paprika

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin


 

Barbecue Sauce:

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 yellow onion, chopped


3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 cup whiskey


1 1/4 cups cider vinegar


2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 1/2 cups ketchup

1 cup honey

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons yellow mustard

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

 

Ribs:

4 racks pork baby back ribs (2 1/2-pounds each)

3/4 cup cider vinegar

 

Optional Special Equipment to Barbecue the Ribs:

One 13 × 9-inch (or larger) disposable aluminum foil pan

3 cups hickory wood chips, soaked in cold water to cover for 1 hour

Clean spray bottle

 

Method

To prepare the spice rub:

  1. The day before you cook the ribs, make the spice rub. In a medium bowl, mix the brown sugar, paprika, black pepper, salt, cayenne pepper, and cumin together. Place the ribs on 2 large baking sheets and rub the ribs all over with the spice mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.

Meanwhile, to make the barbecue sauce:

  1. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes, or until tender. Stir in the garlic and cook for about 3 minutes, or until the garlic is tender.
  2. Stir in the paprika, then stir in the whisky and vinegar, bring just to a simmer, and simmer for 3 minutes. Stir in the broth, ketchup, honey, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, salt, black pepper, and cayenne. Bring the sauce to a simmer over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered, stirring often to prevent scorching, for about 30 minutes, or until the sauce reduces and thickens slightly. Remove from the heat.

To barbecue the ribs:

  1. Prepare an outdoor grill for low cooking over indirect heat: For a gas grill, place the foil pan over one or two unlit burners and half-fill the pan with water. Turn on the remaining burner(s) and heat the grill to 300°F. Spread 1 cup of the drained wood chips on a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Place the foil directly on the lit burner and wait until the chips are smoking before you add the ribs to the grill.
  2. For a charcoal grill, place the foil pan on the charcoal grate on one side of the grill and half-fill the pan with water. Build a charcoal fire on the other side and let it burn until the coals are covered with white ash and you can hold your hand just above the cooking grate for 4 to 5 seconds. (To check the temperature more accurately, cover the grill and drop a long-stemmed metal candy thermometer through the top vent; it should register about 300°F.) Sprinkle 1 cup of the drained wood chips over the coals.
  3. Combine the vinegar and 3/4 cup water in the spray bottle. Season the ribs with the salt. Place the ribs on the cooking grate over the water-filled pan. (Don’t worry if the ribs extend over the pan, as the pan will still catch the majority of the dripping juices.) Grill, with the lid closed, turning the ribs over and spraying them every 45 minutes or so with the vinegar mixture, adding another cup of drained wood chips at the same intervals, for about 3 hours, or until the meat is just tender. For a charcoal grill, you will need to add 12 ignited charcoal briquettes (or the equivalent in hardwood charcoal) to the fire along with the chips every 45 minutes to maintain the grill temperature. (Light the charcoal in a chimney starter on a fire-safe surface, or use a small portable grill or hibachi.) For either grill, do not add more wood chips after the 1 hour and 30 minute point, as too much smoke will give the ribs a bitter flavor.
  4. Once the ribs are tender, begin brushing them lightly with the barbecue sauce every few minutes or so, allowing the sauce to set before applying the next coat. Continue brushing the ribs with the sauce, turning occasionally, for about 30 minutes, or until the meat has shrunk from the ends of the bones. Transfer the ribs to a carving board and let rest for 5 minutes.

Alternatively, to bake the ribs:

  1. Position the racks in the center and upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F. Cover the ribs on the baking sheets with foil. Bake the ribs, rotating the baking sheets and basting the ribs after the first 45 minutes, and recovering them with foil, for 1 1/2 hours, or until the ribs are tender and the meat has shrunk from the ends of the bones.
  2. Uncover the ribs, baste them with the barbecue sauce and continue baking for 10 minutes, brushing them lightly with the barbecue sauce every few minutes or so, allowing the sauce to set before applying the next coat.

To serve:

  1. Using a large sharp knife, cut the racks into individual ribs. Arrange the ribs on a platter and serve with the remaining sauce on the side.

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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Cash Giveaway!

If you have never had the pleasure of reading the blog, SayNotSweetAnne, you must get over there now!  The blog is authored by Kayla, who is a graphic designer, and her blog is overflowing with fun, creative things like costumes, recipes (love the graveyard cupcakes!), things to make for your home, and a gorgeous blog planner, just to name a few! Kayla's blog is turning 2, so today she has a special post on her blog today from her friend, Ashley, that you have to see, it's so cute! Plus she is sponsoring a giveaway!!! You can win a $300 Amazon.com gift card. Perfect timing with the holidays quickly approaching!! So enter below to win, and drop by SayNotSweetAnne to see one really creative paper craft!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, October 14, 2013

Chocolate Halloween Sandwich Cookies!

Today I made some cookies so you can start getting in the Halloween spirit! They are Chocolate Sandwich Cookies with an orange filling, and they are not only tasty but festive also!

Chocolate Halloween Sandwich Cookies
(loosely adapted from BH and G)
3 1/2 cups Flour
1/2 cup Cocoa Powder
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
pinch Salt
1 cup Butter
1 cup Sugar
1/2 cup packed Brown Sugar
2 Eggs
1 tablespoon Vanilla

Frosting 
(Antonia74 Royal Icing)
6 ounces Warm Water
5 tablespoons Meringue Powder
1 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
2.25 pounds of Confectioners Sugar

Mix together your flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, 
baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl beat butter, sugar, and brown sugar, 
until light and fluffy.
Add eggs and vanilla. Beat until combined
Add the flour mixture, and mix together. 
Take dough and divide into pieces. Roll out between wax paper.
Freeze pieces in the freezer overnight.
 Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Take 1 frozen piece of dough out of the freezer at a time.
Cut out the outside circle with your cutter. 
Then cut out your inside design.
Reroll scraps of dough, and refreeze for 30 minutes.
Cut a back and a front for each cookie.
Bake for 8 minutes. Let completely cool.
Make your frosting:
   Pour warm water in a bowl and add the meringue powder.
         Mix with a whisk by hand until it is frothy-about 30 seconds.

 Add the cream of tartar and whisk for 30 seconds more. 

Pour all the confectioner's sugar into the bowl.
Mix together on low speed for 10 minutes.

Place some of the frosting in a small bowl and color it orange.
Put the remainder of the frosting into a bowl and cover to prevent drying.
If the frosting is too thick, thin with water, a tiny amount at a time.
Using a small knife or an offset spatula spread the frosting
onto the solid cookie base.
Place the top of the cookie gently over the frosting.

If you make these cookies I would love to hear about them!
I know you will enjoy them!
 Happy Halloween!!!











Thursday, October 10, 2013

Chocolate Pumpkin Swirl Mini Cake w/Cream Cheese Frosting

This Chocolate Pumpkin Swirl Mini Cake is the perfect and tasty way to celebrate fall. Topped with Cream Cheese Frosting and sprinkles, they are a great way to round out a dinner party or family get together.
 Today is one of my favorite days of the month! It is the day we reveal our desserts for The Behind The Curtain Dessert Challenge This month our two ingredients are pumpkin and cream cheese~Yum, Yum!!

Chocolate Pumpkin Mini  Cakes
w/Cream Cheese Frosting
2 Eggs-room temperature
2 1/2 cups  Flour
2 teaspoons Baking Soda
2 teaspoons ground Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground Nutmeg
pinch of Salt
1/4 teaspoon ground Cloves
15 oz. of Pumpkin
1/3 cup Milk
1 cup Sugar
1 cup packed Brown Sugar
3/4 cup Shortening
2 teaspoon Vanilla
1 cup semisweet Chocolate Chips

Cream Cheese Frosting
4 ounces Cream Cheese
1/2 cup Confectioners Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla
3-4 tablespoons Milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a bowl, mix together your flour, baking soda,
cinnamon, salt and cloves.
In another bowl, combine your pumpkin and milk.
Set both bowls to the side.
In a large mixing bowl, mix the eggs,sugar, brown sugar,
shortening, and vanilla. Blend on medium speed for 2 minutes. 
After the 2 minutes, switch your mixer speed to low. 
Alternately add your flour mix and then your pumpkin 
mixture to your egg mixture.
Divide your batter in half.
Pour the semisweet chips into a bowl and microwave
on full power for 1-2 minutes. Stir every 30 seconds.

Stir the melted chocolate into 1/2 of the batter.


Divide 1/2 of the pumpkin batter between the
prepared pans.

Spoon the chocolate batter over the pumpkin batter.
Spoon the remaining pumpkin batter over the chocolate
batter, and swirl with a toothpick to marble the batter.
Bake for 20-30 minutes or until checked with a toothpick.
Beat your cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Beat in
powdered sugar. Stir in vanilla, and add milk to
gain the correct consistency. Remember you will be piping the icing,
so it should be thick.
Remove the cakes from the oven and let cool completely.
Pipe the cream cheese frosting over your cakes.
Sprinkle with chocolate sprinkles.
Enjoy!!

Here's what everyone else made:

Lady Behind the Curtain Dessert Challenge



The Freshman Cook is partying here:
Church Supper



Monday, October 7, 2013

Apple Harvest Bars

I made these luscious Apple Harvest Bars as a gift for a special friend of the family. They are full of apples, cinnamon, brown sugar, pecans and they are just, oh so good. I was looking to send a gift that said "Autumn", but I wanted a little change from my usual baked goods. These Apple Harvest Bars are exactly what I was looking for!

Apple Harvest Bars
Crust
11/2  cup Flour
1/3 cup Sugar
11/2 teaspoons Cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon Salt
 1/2 cup Butter
2 tablespoons Apple Cider

Apple Mix 
4 cups peeled, chopped Apples
1 large Egg
11/2 cups sour Half and Half
2 teaspoons Vanilla
1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup Flour
1/2 teaspoon Salt

Topping
1/2 cup Flour
1/3 cup Brown Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup Butter
1 cup chopped Pecans

~Set your oven at 350 degrees. Use a 13X9" pan.
To make the crust, mix together the flour, sugar,
 cinnamon, and salt.
Cut in 1/2 cup of the cold Butter with a pastry blender or use 2 forks.
To cut in you should cut the stick of butter into very small pieces.
Then mix in the butter until the pieces become very small,
 and your mix resembles cornmeal.
Add your apple cider and mix together.
Press the crust mixture into your pan.
Evenly cover the bottom. Set aside.
Peel, core, and chop your apples.
 The pieces should be bite size.
Mix together the egg, sour half and half, vanilla, lemon juice,
sugar, flour and salt. Mix at medium speed until combined.
Add apples and stir thoroughly.
Spread over the crust.
Bake for 30 minutes.
While the bars are baking, we will put the topping together.
Mix together the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt.
Cut in your butter, just as you did when you made your crust.
Chop your pecans, and add to your mix.
Put the topping in the fridge until your crust
 and apple filling are finished cooking for the 30 minutes.
Sprinkle the topping over the filling, and bake for 10-15 minutes more.
Remove from oven and cool for 45 minutes.

Cut into 20-30 bars.
Store in refrigerator.
Enjoy!

Thanks for joining me today!
I hope you make these yummy bars. You will love them!!


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Oatmeal Caramel Cookies!

One of my favorite cookies in the world are Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. I love 'em! But for some reason I tend to think about making them in the fall. I think it has something to do with comfort food, and to me, oatmeal raisin cookies are the ultimate comfort food! But today, I thought you might enjoy a little change so I traded out the raisins for some nice, creamy, caramel bits! I think you are going to enjoy this tasty combination! I also drizzled some fall colors over these cookies to help you celebrate the spirit of the season!!
Oatmeal Caramel Cookies
1/2 cup + 6 tablespoons softened Butter
3/4 cup firmly packed Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Sugar
2 Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 1/2 cups Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
3 cups Quick Cooking Oats
1 1/2 cups Caramel Bits
Orange, Yellow and Green Frosting
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Beat butter and sugar on medium speed until creamy.
Add eggs and vanilla and beat well.
 In a separate bowl, mix together your flour, baking soda,  and cinnamon.
Add oatmeal and mix well.
Add caramel bits and mix together with a spoon and spatula.
Place rounded tablespoons of dough onto your cookie sheet.
Bake for 8-10 minutes.
Let cool.
Make your frosting.
Squiggle frosting over your cookies.
Let dry.
Enjoy!

Thanks for joining me today!