Saturday, December 18, 2010

Baking the Holidays Jolly!

I spent the better portion of yesterday carrying on a tradition that was started when I was just a little girl. My mom and I have decided this is where my love of all things in the kitchen most likely started. Every year, my family would make a variety of Christmas cookies together, we'd place them all in tins, and pass them out to family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors.

A few years ago, in an effort to save some money but still make a meaningful gift, I continued this tradition with my only family. Not sure how much money it really saves because I like to get elaborate and those ingredients can add up. However, I still like to think that I'm saving some money.

Here are all of my ingredients laid out.

After 6 hours of baking, a slight sugar coma, and a very sore back (I sound old), this is what I got as a result:

These are probably my favorite. Turtle Pretzels!

It's a Rolo melted on a pretzel with a pecan on top. Yum! I could pop these all day!

Chocolate Covered Pretzels

Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies

(My only GF endeavor, although they are probably way too cross contaminated at that point to be considered GF)

Russian Tea Cakes

Candy Cane Cookies
These cookies were one of my favorites as a kid. They actually take a very delicate hand.

Eggnog Snickerdoodles

Filled up all of my tins so they will be ready to pass out. I got two sizes of tins. These are the smaller ones, but they still held quite a bit.

Finished product!

I don't know how my mom got a lot of her tins back, but I'd love to know the secret. My neighbors always give them back though!

I absolutely love our little family of 3 (counting Guinness), but during the holidays, I always look forward to the excitement that comes with having kids during the holidays. I cannot wait for the day when we grow our family so that they can help make cookies with me at Christmas time and hopefully enjoy this tradition of the holidays as much as I do.

What kinds of traditions are you carrying on with your own family?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Let's Say Thanks

Let's Say Thanks

A wonderful way to say thank you to the troops and to let them know that you are thinking of them during the holidays.

Xerox prints them off for you and sends them to a soldier. You don't get to pick the soldier, but you can know that it's going to mean a lot to someone this year.

Friday, September 3, 2010

GF Peanut Butter & Nutella Cookies

Oh. My. Gosh!

I can't even tell you how good these are! Mark made me these cookies for my birthday (all I wanted was a meal made just for me & he DEFINITELY delivered!)

I even had Molly try these cookies and she agreed that they do not taste GF at all and taste so much like the real thing. Plus, it's got Nutella. Anything better than that? I think not.

He got this recipe off of Tasty Kitchen.

You need:

1 cup sugar
1 cup creamy Peanut Butter (don't use homemade...don't think they'd stick together as well)
1 whole egg Beaten
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
9 teaspoons Nutella

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

2. Into your stand mixer add sugar, peanut butter, egg, salt and baking soda. Mix until well combined.

3. Measure approximately 1 tablespoon of dough. Roll dough into a ball and place onto cookie sheet. Gently press dough ball down using the palm of your hand. Continue forming balls until dough is gone. Space approximately 1″ apart.

4. Bake for approximately 8-10 minutes. Using a 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon, GENTLY make an indentation in the middle of each cookie. Fill each cookie with a "dollop" of Nutella. Return tray to oven and continue cooking for 2-4 minutes until golden. (I don't think Mark put them back in the oven, but they turned out just fine!)

5. Transfer cookie to a cooling rack and allow to cool.

So good! These are a repeat for sure in the Bennett household!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Steak with Onion-Blue Cheese Sauce (GF & Organic)

Probably my favorite recipe! I've shared this recipe with several people because it's so darn tasty, but it is SO easy! And frankly, easy works best in my life right now. This is straight from my favorite lady, The Pioneer Woman.

Here's what ya need:
2 steaks (ribeye, sirloin, something somewhat thin) these from our CSA
6 Tbs organic butter, divided (I said it was easy...not healthy)
1 whole organic yellow onion
1 cup organic heavy cream
1/2 cup organic blue cheese, crumbled
Salt & pepper

Salt and pepper both sides of the steak and then grill it in 2 Tb of butter. The recipe calls for medium rare, but I lean closer to medium.

Saute onions in 4 tablespoons butter over high heat. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, or until dark and caramelized.

Reduce heat to simmer and pour in cream. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until reduced by half.

Stir in blue cheese until melted.

Serve steaks on generous portion of sauce.

I added the Pesto Potatoes as a side. We also had corn on the cob with paprika & tomato slices with mozzarella cheese, balsalmic vinegar, and fresh basil. Yum!!!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Pesto Potatoes (GF)

OK, easy, EASY recipe!
This is a recipe that a co-worker made for our back-to-school cookout. She just kinda rattled off what she did and I just took it back and made it without any real measurements. Aren't the recipes where you just throw stuff in the best recipes??? You can't go wrong with this one. These pesto potatoes make an incredibly yummy side dish!

You'll need:
-potatoes (cut up as many as you like)
-red wine vinegar
-olive oil

See! Told you it was easy!

Boil your potatoes until they are fork tender. Remove the water, but return the pot with the potatoes to the stove top on low. Let the heat dry the potatoes out some and let the steam escape from them. Add a splash of red wine vinegar and a splash of olive oil (just enough to coat the potatoes). Keep them on low heat for just a little bit longer to let those flavors cook in a bit. Add the pesto (as little or as much as you like....I always like a lot!) and stir it all up. Voila! You're done!

Steak with Blue-Cheese Cream with Onions & Pesto Potatoes

(Look for steak recipe in the near future)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Home Run King

As many of you know, my brother is currently travelling the world and sharing God's love in 11 countries. He left in July and has been to the Dominican Republic and Haiti so far. Yesterday, he headed to Ireland for a week and his plane had a layover at JFK. Last night, Daniel called us and it was SO good to hear his voice! I miss him terribly these days and I know there's 9 more months until I'll be able to see him and wrap my arms around him in a big hug. I so selfishly want to keep him here to myself, but then I think about all of the people who are getting to meet him and I realize that I'm so blessed to have him all of the other months besides 11 and I no longer feel sad. I'm so happy that the rest of the world gets to meet a man that means the world to me!

If you haven't been following Daniel's blog at, you really need to. You can read all about the things his team his doing (check out the other members on Team GreenLight to get more detailed blogs), his beer reviews of the world (love that he stays true to himself), his latest illness (most recently Malaria), and best of all his videos. I know I've mentioned before that he is absolutely brilliant when it comes to making videos. He has a gift from God and he's been using it to capture his travels. The most recent video is my favorite by far (I tend to say that each time) and I cried through most of it. I love thinking about the difference he's making and how many people he is able to show God's heart to.

This video takes place in the DR and I'll just include what he wrote about it below. Enjoy!

After spending some time in the Dominican Republic, the crew starts to engage with some of the daily activities with the people in the slums of Las Barres Connes. From weeding, plucking some beans, to picking up trash; the needs in this community are endless.

While spending time with the kids in the community, Daniel befriends one kid who is a little more "special" than the rest. Walkeen had one dream of being able to play with the normal kids on the baseball field. Never having played a day in his life or knowing which direction to run, he spent all week practicing for a moment in his life he will never forget.

(Not sure why it cuts it off on the right side. You may want to open in a new window)


I'm getting this one framed. I love her.

Friday, August 13, 2010

My Sunshine

I've been insanely busy since school started and I have not truly sat down more than about 30 minutes each night this week. The start of school is always a hectic time, but I know it will get better. My amazing husband has truly helped my survive this week. Him and the new pictures sent to me of my beautiful little ray of sunshine a.k.a my niece.

Oh my gosh, I just want to squeeze her cheeks!!!

I've kept this picture on my phone so I can see her everytime I turn on my phone. Is it possible to miss someone this much when you've never met them before??? It's killing me.

Alright, I've got just a few seconds to show you one more picture.

Yay! Noa's celebrating the fact that I made it through my first week!

I hope to post a couple recipes this weekend sometime between seeing Beth Moore and watching Mark in the firefighter combat challenge.

See you soon!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

True Fan

So, I ordered this yesterday....

In the next 3-5 days, I will be the owner of a new (and much more awesome) debit card.

I think that I was most impressed with was the fact that it was FREE!

You don't get much for free at all these days. I feel like this just takes my fan-dom to a whole new level!

While on the topic of the Bengals, you must check out this story that Emily sent me about one of my favorite coaches, Mike Zimmer. He's the defensive coordinator for the Bengals and really turned them around in just his first year (last season). But the article mainly focuses on the unexpected loss of his wife mid-season and how he has had to cope. Very great article and incredibly moving.

Is it obvious that I'm ready for the season? I will be especially ready in 3-5 business days!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Football Time

I can't believe it's that time of the year again!

The Bengals are in town and my world is happy.

There's always such immense feeling of hope at the beginning. Let the football season begin!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Family Photos by M Photography

Back in July, we had our family pictures taken by our longtime friend, Melissa Cooper. We wanted to get some pictures before my brother left to travel the world for a year so we ventured out to the farm where my mom works to snap some photos. Melissa took some outstanding photos and there are so many great ones to choose from, but I am including some of my personal favorites from the day (there's too many for me to load all of them).


The family

My fantastic parents that raised me into who I am today

My brother simply doesn't take a bad picture!

The three most important men in my life.

Now of course you have to a pic of the ladies!

Seriously, could I have married a more adorable man? I'm smitten by him...

This is one of his favorites so I figured I'd include it.

I am so proud and honored to have him as my "little" brother.

We always said we needed to get one of all of us in our Bengals gear. This is what we typically look like on Sundays in September to January. Sundays will be one of the times I will miss my brother the most.

I just love the sky on this one!

And my personal, absolute most favorite........

This sums up my intense and ever-growing love for this incredibly handsome man that made me his bride several years ago. Sure, everyday life gets in the way of our love and respect for one another at times, but this man is my rock and I am forever linked to him. He makes each day special and meaningful for me. I consider myself extremely blessed and I thank God often for such a beautiful, full life that is full of love and joy.

Melissa, you captured our family beautifully! I can't say thank you enough!