Monsoon 7 Cocktail

Monsoon 7 Cocktail

It’s a cold Thursday evening and a good time to unwind with a refreshing drink.

The other day I went to an Asian restaurant for lunch with my sister-in-law and we decided to splurge with an afternoon cocktail. I ordered a drink called Monsoon 7. It sounded yummy—two rums, pineapple juice, cranberry juice and grenadine—it didn’t disappoint. So, when my husband came home after working a 12-hour day, I decided to surprise him with my version of the drink. He loved it and we settled down with a good movie and some cheese and crackers.

The next time you’re looking for something a little different, give it a try…cheers!

MONSOON 7 COCKTAIL
1 ounce light rum
1 ounce dark rum
3 ounces pineapple juice
3 ounces cranberry juice
1 tbsp. grenadine.

Chili with Sweet Cornbread

Chili with Sweet Cornbread

What’s better than Chili on a nice fall day! Here’s a very tasty recipe I whipped up a couple of years ago. It’s only mildly spicy, but of course you could heat it up by adding jalapenos or your favorite hot sauce. Me, I only like a little spice, but experiment until it fits your taste.

I also made this sweet, fluffy cornbread. It’s really cornbread made with yellow cake, but I put it together differently than most people. All of the recipes I’ve seen tell you to make each mix separately and combine. No way, my version has less mess and turns out great.

See what you think…

Chili

CHILI
1-1/2 lb. ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1-1/2 cup water
1-29 oz. can tomato sauce
1-16 oz. Bush’s Chili Beans, Medium
1 can condensed cream of tomato soup, undiluted
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1-2 tbsp. sugar (to taste)
1-1/2 cups macaroni, uncooked (optional*)

In large pan, combine ground beef, onion and water. Cook until meat is browned. Drain liquid into a gravy separator; set aside for grease to rise to the top. Add remaining ingredients and reserved water.

Cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve immediately

*If you don’t add the macaroni, do not add the reserved water unless you like thinner chili.

Sweet Cornbread

SWEET CORNBREAD
1 box Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
1 box Jiffy Yellow Cake Mix
2 eggs
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup milk

In medium bow, combine all ingredients and mix on medium speed for 3-4 minutes. Pour into greased 9 x 13-inch pan and bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes. Done when toothpick, inserted in center, comes out clean.

Starbuck’s Cranberry Bliss Copycat Recipe

Starbuck's Cranberry Bliss Copycat Recipe

I know it’s not Christmas, but I’ve been hungry for Starbuck’s Cranberry Bliss bars, so I decided to make some now. I found this recipe last year and it’s awesome. Honestly, be sure to remember these for your Christmas cookie tray…and I’ll enjoy some now!
Starbuck's Cranberry Bliss Copycat Recipe

Cranberry Bliss Bar Clone Recipe
(From Todd Wilbur, Top Secret Recipes)

Ingredients
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
3 eggs
2 Tbsp. minced crystallized ginger
3/4 cup chopped sweetened dried cranberries
4 oz. white chocolate, cut into chunks
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Frosting
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup chopped sweetened dried cranberries
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 tsp. lemon juice

Drizzled Icing
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp. milk
2 tsp. vegetable shortening

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Make cake by beating the butter and brown sugar together with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the eggs, ginger, vanilla, and salt and beat well. Gradually mix in the flour and baking powder until smooth. Mix the chopped dried cranberries and white chocolate chunks into the batter by hand. Pour the batter into a buttered 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Use a spatula to spread the batter evenly across the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the cake is lightly browned on top. Allow the cake to cool.

Make the frosting by combining the softened cream cheese, powdered sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. When the cake has cooled, use a spatula to spread the frosting over the top of the cake.

Sprinkle 1/4 cup of chopped dried cranberries over the frosting on the cake.

Make the drizzled icing by whisking together powdered sugar, milk, and shortening. Drizzle this icing over the cranberries in a sweeping motion with a squirt bottle or fill a small plastic storage bag with the icing and cut off the tip of one corner.

Cover the cake and let it chill out in the fridge for a couple hours, then slice the cake lengthwise (the long way) through the middle. Slice the cake across the width three times, making a total of eight rectangular slices. Slice each of those rectangles diagonally creating 16 triangular slices.

Halloween Ghost Cookies with Buttercream Fondant

As I stated in a previous post, I saw these cute ghosts on Pinterest and I decided to give them my own twist and make them this year instead of my usual bats. It’s always fun to shake thing up a bit.

I’m taking them to my son this weekend at college. I think he’ll get a kick out of them since he’s used to getting the bat cookies.

Here’s how they turned out.

Halloween Ghost Cookies with Buttercream Fondant

First thing I did was ask my husband to make me a cookie cutter from a pattern I had made on the computer. He did a perfect job, so now we just needed to get baking. (I used to do 3-4 different cookie designs, but now I just do one to make it easier.)

Here are my baked cookies with rolled fondant for the base. My favorite purchased fondant is Fondarific Buttercream Wedding White. It’s very easy to work with, colors very easily and is the best tasting fondant I’ve ever had.

Halloween Ghost Cookies with Buttercream Fondant

I used the pasta roller attachment for the Kitchen Aid to roll out the fondant. I sprinkle a little confectioner’s sugar on the attachment to keep the fondant from sticking, then I use one of those flexible cutting boards, spray it with Pam and sprinkle it with a little confectioner’s sugar as well. This is so the fondant won’t stick

Once fed through the pasta attachment, I catch it with the prepared flexible cutting board. I cut out shapes using the same cookie cutter I used when making the cookies.

To apply, simply brush the top of the cookie with water and place the cut fondant on top. Smooth with hands to make sure all fondant is secured and is without bubbles…that’s it. Just keep repeating till all of the cookies are covered.

I wait until the next day to decorate. It gives the fondant a little time to set up, plus it’s a lot of work to do in one day1

Here’s the step-by-step process in photos…

Halloween Ghost Cookies with Buttercream Fondant

I like to put a background color behind the eyes just to make it a little more creepier.

Halloween Ghost Cookies with Buttercream Fondant

Halloween Ghost Cookies with Buttercream Fondant

Tap a round brush with some orange petal dust on for the cheeks. Cute!

Halloween Ghost Cookies with Buttercream Fondant

Add a smile and you’re done!

Yummy Pumpkin Cookies

Yummy Pumpkin Cookies

I made these tasty treats the other day and wanted to share them since they were such a big hit. They are quick and easy to make and more fun to eat. The only tip I have, which makes a big difference, is use parchment paper! Without it, your cookies will spread and be very thin. (You can also grease and flour the cookie sheets, but that’s a lot more work and clean up!)

I like to ice these cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting, but you really don’t need to because they are super moist. I have to admit; several of them usually disappear before they are frosted.

Try these for a great fall cookie and let me know what you think!

PUMPKIN COOKIES
2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/3 cups quick cooking oats
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup butter or margarine
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup Libby’s® 100% pure puree pumpkin
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup chopped pecans (optional)
3/4 cup raisins (1-1/2 cups if not using nuts)

Preheat oven to 350° F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper, or grease and flour. In medium bowl, combine flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; set aside. Beat butter with brown and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add pumpkin, egg and vanilla extract; mix well.
Add flour mixture; mix well. Stir in nuts and raisins.

Drop 1/4 cup of dough on prepared baking sheets. Bake 14-16 minutes or until cookies are firm and lightly browned. (Can test with a toothpick just like cake) Cool on baking sheet 2 minutes; remove to wire rack to cool completely.

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
5 Tbsp. butter, softened
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. powdered sugar, sifted

Beat cream cheese with butter and 2 tsp. vanilla until combined. Gradually add 2 c. powdered sugar that has been sifted after measuring. Continue to add more sifted powdered sugar until you reach a consistency and sweetness that fits your taste.