Monday, January 24, 2011

The Breakfast Cookie (Banana Oatmeal Cookie)

These cookies remind me of the old adage "everything under the kitchen sink," except it would be called "everything in the toddler's pantry cookie." I really liked these cookies-oh and by the way, they are one of my "ones left behind" recipes.  This cookie is an adaptation of NutureBaby's Banana Oatmeal Cookie or as our household dubbed it "The Breakfast Cookie."

I was so happy to have found the NurtureBaby website when The Baking Toddler was transitioning into solids.  I loved He loved the Super Mac N Cheese and their recipes inspired me to dive in and feed him bolognese, lentils and other foods I really didn't think about giving him at the time.  If you have babies or are interested in making your own baby food I highly recommend the site.

These cookies came from NurtureBaby except I added some dried fruits to the batter to make it extra special.  The Baking Toddler didn't quite like dried apples or raisins at the time, but when I put them in a cookie, he quickly changed his mind.

Breakfast Cookies (Oatmeal Banana Cookies) 
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1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tbsp. cinnamon
3 cups rolled oats (not quick cooking)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
¾ cup brown sugar
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tbsp. vanilla
2 ripe bananas
1/4 cup freeze dried apples (found in baby food section at grocery store)
1/4 cup golden raisins
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Whisk WW flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and oats in bowl and set aside. In large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars together until well combined. Add eggs, one at a time, then add vanilla and bananas. Mix until bananas are well incorporated, then add flour mixture. Add apples and raisins and stir until just combined; over mixing will make the cookies tough.
  3. Spoon cookies onto baking sheet and cook for 12-13 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Sometimes You Just Need A Quickie (Wild Mushroom Agnolotti)

That's right.  You heard me.  A quickie...and I was in need of one the other day.  Now, get your mind out of the gutter!  I'm talking about a quick meal, one made in a matter of minutes.  You see, the Baking Toddler has had croup this week and a new ear infection festering up (can we say hello tubes?)

He has been sounding like a Phil Hartman-esque Frankenstein from the old SNL skit Frankenstein, Tonto and Tarzan.  No words, just moans, grumbles and growls.  All.  Day.  Long.  The only thing that is missing is him grunting "Fire Bad."  He even sports the same scowl.
One of my favorite quickie meals is Wild Mushroom Agnolotti with Brown Butter, Pignolis and Parmesan.  Say what you will about me featuring an already made product on my blog, but it is tasty and quick and exactly what you need when you are tending to a sick Frankenstein all day long.

Wild Mushroom Agnolotti with Brown Butter, Pignolis and Parmesan
1-package Buitoni Wild Mushroom Agnolotti
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons pignolis (pine nuts), toasted
Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
  1. Cook Pasta according to package directions
  2. Meanwhile, heat butter in a heavy saute pan until it has melted and has began to brown.  Take off heat immediately and set aside.  I set my skillet on the edge of the range so it is slanted and all the liquid falls to one side.  Skim off foam once it cools.
  3. Drain pasta, place onto plates and drizzle butter sauce over pasta, sprinkle with toasted pine nuts and Parmesan cheese.
***To toast pine nuts:  In a clean, dry skillet, heat pine nuts over medium heat until fragrant and slightly golden.  Remove immediately and cool.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Ones Left Behind-Black and White Cheesecake Squares

I am so glad the holidays are past us.  This year was not that super jolly for me.  I suppose I can blame it on my part time retail job.  Its like the shoppers sucked all the Christmas spirit right out of the air.  I don't know what it was with this year, but people seemed extra greedy.  And it ate at me, almost every day.

I understand being frugal and thrifty, but some folks are ruthless once Black Friday rolls around.  Why do they feel so damned entitled?  I think I finally had it on Christmas Eve when a customer threw a fit over four measly dollars.  Let me see if I can explain this:

She bought items all on sale for 20% off and then she added a $20 welcome offer (coupon) on top of that.  The computer system totaled her items, deducted the $20, and then took 20% off of that final total.  OH NO, that WAS NOT good enough...because if the computer deducted 20% off of her items FIRST, then took off the $20 for the coupon it would be four dollars less.  She huffed and puffed over this until she figured out we couldn't change it and then ranted on how a 20% sale was not enough for the holidays.  But here is the kicker people, I work in a store that sells high end purses/bags/accessories...already marked down 25-50% for an everyday price.  What a moron.  I wanted to give her four damn dollars and shove her out the door.

I just want to leave that day behind me, leave all of those stingy, greedy people behind, leave the season behind me...

Speaking of things being left behind,  I found a few photos that were tucked away and just never made it onto the blog.  And if the photo didn't make it, well, the recipe didn't make it either.  It's not that they were bad recipes, but maybe I just thought something would be better at the time.  So here is the first recipe that was left errr, 2009????

I wish I had these black and white cheesecake squares greeting me on Christmas Eve.  They would have been the perfect pick me up!

Black and White Cheesecake Squares

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source:  Martha Stewart Living April 2009

Makes 24.
  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 10 ounces (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Line dish with parchment, leaving a 2-inch overhang on both long sides, then spray parchment.
  2. Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Cream butter and granulated sugar with a mixer until smooth. Add 2 eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla, and beat until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl. Reduce speed to low; add flour mixture. Increase speed to medium; beat until incorporated.
  3. Reserve 1 cup of dough; cover, and refrigerate. Press remaining dough into bottom of prepared dish. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Bake until base is set and edges are puffed, about 25 minutes. Let cool in dish on a wire rack.
  4. Mix cream cheese, confectioners' sugar, and remaining egg and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla in a medium bowl. Spread over cooled base; crumble reserved dough on top. Bake until filling is set, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in dish on wire rack, then lift out using overhang. Cut into 24 squares. Squares will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 3 days.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Please bring an appetizer...(Recipe: Pesto Cream Cheese Spread)

"Please bring an appetizer..."  were the words that left my husbands lips as he re-read a holiday party hour before we were supposed to leave!  I had yet put on my party face, fed the Baking Toddler, packed my bag with toddler gear, or gotten dressed for that matter.  Of course I wasn't going to walk through the door empty handed so I had to act FAST.  Like make something in 5 minutes fast!

When I worked at Central Market, we would whip up a pesto cream cheese spread and serve it on our freshly baked breads.  It became so popular that our store would sell out of Tex-A-France pesto every time we served it.  You can choose your favorite pesto, it works well with all flavors.  It has become a staple at my parties and always seems to be a crowd pleaser wherever I take it.  And whats even better, you can make it in about (or less than) 5 minutes.

Pesto Cream Cheese Spread
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1-16 oz. container Whipped Philadelphia Cream Cheese
1-7 oz. container Tex-A-France Sundried Tomato Pesto (you can use any-but this is my favorite)
  1. Place cream cheese and pesto in a bowl of a kitchen aide mixer and mix until incorporated.
  2. Pour spread into a serving bowl.  Serve with baguette slices.