Sunday, April 22, 2012

Spring Brunch and a Giveaway!

I love a nice, civilized  Brunch, don't you? It's so nice to have the extra time to sit with friends and family enjoying delicious food and wonderful conversation. A while ago I hosted a Sunday Spring Brunch at my house. It was such a great time, and the food was so enjoyable.
Brunch Menu
Bacon Topped Deviled Eggs
Mini Mexi Bites
Mini Blueberry Muffins
Homemade Baked Doughnuts
Peanut Butter Cookies
Fresh Scrambled Eggs
Toasted Wheat Thin Bread
Fresh Fruit
Orange Juice
Fresh Milk
One of my very favorite foods I served at brunch were these
Mini Mexi Bites. They were so delicious and creamy, with a bit of a bite
that everyone loved. They were easy to make, and the recipe 
was courtesy of  Land O'Lakes! There are so many incredible recipes
on their web site, so here is a teaser to give you a hint of the
recipes Land O'Lakes has to offer!

Mini Mexi Bites
2 Land O'Lakes All Natural Eggs
1/4 cup Milk
2 tablespoons chopped, roasted Red Pepper
2 tablespoons sliced Green Onions
2 tablespoons chopped Fresh Cilantro
1/4 teaspoon Salt
6 ounces shredded, Hot Pepper Jack Cheese
1 box refrigerated Pie Crusts, at room temperature

Heat oven to 350 degrees. 
Spray 24 mini muffin pan cups with no stick cooking spray.
I started off by roasting my own red pepper. 
 I usually do this on the grill, but this works too. 
It actually works quite well. I used my tongs to heat the
pepper over the flame. I kept turning it until it was roasted
all over.
I put the pepper in a bowl 
and covered the bowl with plastic wrap. The moisture
created from the heat of the just roasted pepper covered 
with plastic helps the skin lift up and it makes it easy to remove it.
I peeled the skin off of the pepper....
and it soon looked like this.
Then I chopped it up into small pieces.
Combine all your ingredients except for the 
cheese and the pie crust.
Add the cheese and set aside.
Cut each pie crust into 12 rounds using a 2 1/2" 
round cookie cutter. 
Gently press 1 pie crust round into each muffin cup.
Evenly pour egg mixture into crust lined muffin cups.
Bake for 23-33 minutes or until golden brown.
Serve and enjoy!

I know you will love this recipe! Land O'Lakes offers lots of 
delicious, simple to make, bite sized recipes like this one. 
The deviled egg recipe I used for my spring brunch is also 
from the Land O'Lakes recipe site. 
You can find the deviled eggs and so many others
by going to the Land O'Lakes website.

Because of my participation in this fun Spring Brunch post
I received a prize pack consisting of these great items:
Land O'Lakes also has a prize pack for
 1 lucky reader of The Freshman Cook.
Here is how you can enter the giveaway:

1. Go to and check out 
all the great bite sized recipes. 
Then come back here and leave
 a comment  letting us know which recipe
from "Bite-Sized Brunch" you 
would like to try.

2. Go to the Land O'Lakes Facebook page
and "like" Land O'Lakes, then return here
and leave a comment that you did.

Each comment is good for 1 entry in the giveaway.
The giveaway will run for 1 week, and will end 
Saturday, April 28, 2012 at midnight PST.

I will send an email to the lucky winner on 
Sunday, April 29, 2012!

"Disclosure: The gift pack, coupons, information, and additional
gift pack have been provided by Land O'Lakes through


Thanks for stopping by and Good Luck!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Baby Cookies on Cookie Journey Thursday

Thanks for joining me for Cookie Journey Thursday! My son's friend had a baby girl recently, and he asked me if I would send some cookies to celebrate this special occasion. Well, you know I said yes! This is what I made.
 Whenever I make cookies as a gift, I like to send the cookies in something the recipient can use.
I found this pink basket and matched up some pretty receiving blankets to put in the basket. The blankets also gave me a color scheme to use. I just love the light and dark pink with a little light green. I made the icing  that I always use, and I colored some of it light pink using Americolor #132, some darker pink, using Americolor #164, and the rest light green using very little Wilton Willow Green.

The Bib:

Outline the bib with the light pink.
Immediately fill in.
Let dry completely.
 I am not happy with the way there is a distinction
between the outlining and the fill. At first I thought it might be
because I live in a very dry climate, but after checking into it more,
I think it was because I did not make the icing thin enough.
Using a #2 tip and the light green, I randomly piped
some mini petals on the bib. I just made four very short
lines in the pattern shown. 
Then using a #2 tip, and some dark pink, I piped small little dots
in the middle of each one.

The Rattle:
Pipe and fill in the top ball and the bottom ball on the rattle.
I decorated this rattle several times before I was happy with it.
I thought I had more pics of the work in progress on the rattle,
so I apologize. I piped and filled in the light green areas.
Then I piped and filled in the light pink center.
When it was completely dry, I piped a little scroll design,
and added the two dark pink dots.
I thought the top ball needed something, so I piped the same scroll
design on it, and added the two side dots.

The Onesie: 
 I piped and filled in the onesie with light green.
I let it completely dry, then I piped along the design of a onesie.
I wasn't too sure what design to use, so I looked through
lots of outlined onesie cookies online, and found one I liked.
I followed the design along the edges of the onesie, then I went
back and piped on the extra, like at the neck and the sleeve.
After everything was dry, I put little dots on the onesie
in light pink and dark pink.

The Bottle:
I outlined and filled in the base of the bottle.
Let dry completely.
I tried several ways to decorate the band that goes
across the bottle, but I wanted something with a
little texture. So, I took the light green, and I squiggled
across the band area, and then I squiggled back across it.
I think it added just the right amount of dimension.
I piped and filled in the nipple part of the bottle with
dark pink.
I finished the baby bottle by adding
a design like on the bib, only
bigger. I still used the #2 tip,
but when I piped out the light green,
 I pushed a little more icing thru the
tip, making the piping thicker.

The Monogram:
Pipe and the fill in the circle cookies.
I added the initials of the baby in light pink and the
little heart, like I made here.
 After all the cookies were dry, I dropped them in little cello
bags and tied coordinating curly ribbon around the bags.
Don't they look festive?
I unfolded each of the receiving blankets, and bunched them
together in the bottom of the basket, then I covered
the blankets with the cookies.  I added a little card
and sent them on their way.

What do I need to work on?
I need to work on my icing consistency and my
outlining. Circles are a problem for me.

What do you think?
Thanks for joining me today.

Next week I am making cookies for my son.
He will need the nourishment for finals!!
Hope to see you soon!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

P B and J Ice Cream Sammies~Improv Challenge

It's time for the Improv Cooking Challenge! This month our 2 ingredients are: Peanut Butter and Jelly! Is there a better combo of flavors? There are so many different ways to go on this one! I decided to make  Peanut Butter and Jelly Ice Cream Sandwiches! It's already hot here, so these are a delicious, welcome treat!
PB and J Ice Cream Sammies
(adapted from Gale Gand's Just a Bite)
1 stick Butter-cut into pieces
1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 cup packed Light Brown Sugar
1 Egg
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
1 1/2 cups Flour
3/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup smooth Peanut Butter
1 pint Vanilla Ice Cream
1/2 cup Strawberry Jelly

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cream your butter until smooth
Add sugars and mix well
 Add egg and vanilla
Add flour in three different additions, mixing after each one,
add peanut butter and mix well
Roll your dough into 1" balls.
Crisscross each cookie with the back of a fork.
Bake for 5-7 minutes. Let cool.
While cooling, let the ice cream soften a little,
and then add the jelly, folding it in gently.
Make sandwiches by spreading the ice cream mix
on top of the flat side of a cookie, and then top it with 
another cookie. Freeze until ready to enjoy!

Thanks Kristen for the great ingredient combo!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Mother's Day is May 13th!!

Did you know that Mother's Day is Sunday, May 13th?  That is less than a month away!! Yikes!! I knew it was soon~but not that soon!!! The way things are going around here, it will be here, and I will not be prepared. However, I came across a site that I know will make the upcoming gift giving season very easy for you. Your only problem will be which one to choose! They are cute, personal and so original, it's hard not to love them!! They are from Shutterfly, and they are fantastic! Check them out!

 Is this iphone cover not the perfect gift  for Mother's Day?
Every Mom I know would love this!!

What about these personalized covers for a special graduate?!
They are just the cutest!

Every year it seems as if at least one of my friends has a son or daughter
graduating from school. I usually make the graduate special school related sugar 
cookies, and I spend a lot of time looking for the perfect box 
or container to put them in. I want it to be something the recipient can use again,
and when they do, I always hope they will think about me and smile.
 A personalized mug, like this one, is perfect!
Maybe a picture of you and the graduate, or one of the graduate and their friends,
or what about a Class of 2012 personalization with pictures as a reminder
of the special day! Fill the mug with cookies, or their favorite candy.
It's a gift that lets them know that you not only thought of them, 
you thought about what they would like. 

Don't forget Father's Day coming up faster than you think on Sunday, June 17th!

How about surprising Dad with a personalized photo book?
You can customize the book just the way you want it,
let Shutterfly make it for you!
Either way it's an original, beautiful book that 
preserves Dad's (and your) memories and it's something Dad 
will look at and cherish over and over for years.
It really is a priceless treasure.
Wouldn't one of these Desktop Plaques look great in Dad's office
or maybe his dresser at home?
You can choose from 3 different sizes and lots of 
stylish backgrounds to match a favorite picture that you know Dad will cherish!

Shutterfly offers so many wonderful designs and ideas for
personalized gifts, that you have to check out their web site
and your creative juices will begin to overflow!
 Shutterfly is all over the web:
I was compensated by Shutterfly for this post, but all ideas and comments are mine!