The Best Mother’s Day Gift

Grandma’s Bleeding Heart – A Mother’s Day Flower

The Best Mother’s Day Gift.

When I was a young, extremely naive, stay-at-home mom
to two energetic and spirited little boys,

the perfect Mother’s Day “gift” would have been
an hour or two of peace and quiet all to myself to do whatever I pleased.

But now that I am an older, experienced, working-outside-the-home mom
to two amazing and independent young men,

and have gained two “daughters”
and a granddaughter too…

the perfect Mother’s Day “gift” has become
an hour or two of time together

to love and laugh and appreciate
the greatest gift of all…

The gift of
being a Mom!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

 

Extreme Chocolate Cake

Extreme Chocolate Cake.

For those times….
you know them…
when you just need chocolate cake.

I recently saw a question that made me think.

If you had to live without one of the following for the rest of your life, which would you choose?

  • Coffee
  • Cheese
  • Chocolate
  • Wine

For me, it would be chocolate.  Though I adore baking and enjoy chocolate (and even crave it sometimes), if I had to give up one of these four, it would be the chocolate.

I can’t imagine not having coffee in the morning.  A world without cheese?!  I’m just not sure that is a world worth living in.  And oh how I enjoy my glass or two of red wine in the evening.

How about you?

Now even though I would choose chocolate if I HAD to make the choice…. THANKFULLY I do not!

So here’s a chocolate cake I made recently (which is slightly adapted from this one I found at AllRecipes) – just because…

Because sometimes life is worth celebrating with chocolate cake!

Extreme Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • Frosting
    • 1 cup softened butter
    • 2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 6 cups powdered sugar
    • 1 cup milk
    • 1 tsp vanilla

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour three 8-9″ round cake pans.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla.  Mix for 3 minutes with electric mixer.  Slowly stir in boiling water by hand with wooden spoon until fully incorporated.  Pour batter evenly into the three prepared pans.

Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool for 15 minutes in pans, then remove to cooling rack to cool complete.

Prepare frosting by beating butter with electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Stir in the cocoa powder and powdered sugar, then milk and vanilla.  Beat until fluffy and spreading consistency.

Spread frosting on each layer of cake stacked on top of each other and decorate as desired.

I shaved dark chocolate on top using a vegetable peeler from a large bar of Trader Joe’s 72% Cocoa Dark Chocolate and placed halved strawberries around the perimeter of the top.  

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prosciutto Apple Gorgonzola Pizza

Prosciutto Apple Gorgonzola Pizza.

We went out to dinner with friends a few weeks ago to an amazing local Italian restaurant  near us (Della Terra) that served a too-die-for 5-course dinner with wine pairings that included appetizers, salad, pizza, pasta, and dessert.

One of the things we all went nuts over was a pizza that had apples, prosciutto and  Gorgonzola cheese.

Well – who am I kidding?!  We loved EVERY single course we had, but this pizza was something I thought I might be able to recreate at home.

And O. M. G!!  This turned out so delicious!

It really went together pretty quickly and easily, and it so satisfied my pizza craving!

We often order in pizza on Friday nights at our house.  Just one of our routine guilty pleasures.

But this pizza is worth going to the trouble of making.

Be flexible with it, and make it with ingredients you love.  Add some spinach.  Switch out the apples for pears.  Throw on a few roasted pine nuts.  Add some rosemary and garlic to the pizza dough.

Have fun and be creative!

Here is the recipe for how I made it.  Hope you’ll give it a try.

Prosciutto Apple Gorgonzola Pizza

  • Servings: 1 large pizza
  • Print

Ingredients:

Pizza Crust:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 Tbsp yeast
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm water

Pizza Topping:

  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 8 oz ball fresh Mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
  • 1 large apple, thinly sliced (I used Gala)
  • 1 large sweet onion, caramelized with 2 Tbsp butter
  • 6 oz. Prosciutto, thinly sliced and fried
  • 1/2 cup Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

Other:

  • 1-2 Tbsp corn meal

Directions:

Prepare crust by mixing 1 cup flour with yeast, salt, sugar, and water.  Gradually add 2nd cup of flour until a ball is formed.  Knead dough for 2 minutes.  Let rest 10-15 minutes in a bowl covered with dish towel.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F, and prepare toppings while dough is resting.

Whisk mustard and honey to form sauce, slice Mozzarella and apple, caramelize onions, fry prosciutto, and crumble Gorgonzola.

Sprinkle corn meal on a large round baking stone, press dough on top until thin, using fingers and/or rolling pin.

Spread mustard/honey sauce on dough.  Top with Mozzarella, apple, caramelized onions, prosciutto, and Gorgonzola cheese.

Bake approximately 12 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbly and brown.

Remove from oven, and let rest 2-3 minutes before slicing and serving.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Best Ever Apple Fritter Cake

Best Ever Apple Fritter Cake.

So… this happened the other day…. this absolutely amazing “cake” that is like a pan full of apple fritters.

O M G!

It might not be the healthiest or quickest or easiest to make….

but it is sooo worth it!

With all the snow and colds and flu and healing going on around here…. we needed some serious comfort food.  We needed the house to feel warm and smell wonderful.
We needed some sweetness.  We needed some yummy for our tummy.

Everyone I’ve shared this with pretty much moaned with delight.

And I am right now trying to ignore it calling me from the fridge!  (Eat me…. you know you want me…)


If you are in the mood to treat yourself….

Or need to treat yourself…

Look no further!

Here is the recipe that I slightly tweaked from Cookies and Cups.

Best Ever Apple Fritter Cake

Ingredients:Fillings:

  • 2 cups peeled and diced apples (I used 2 large Gala – use your favorite!)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 tsp. water
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar + 1 tsp cinnamon

Cake:

  • 1/3 cup butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup chunky applesauce
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt (or you can use sour cream)

Glaze:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Directions:

Fillings:

Combine apples, granulated sugar, cinnamon, cornstarch, and water in a medium saucepan.  Heat on medium-high heat for approximately 5 minutes until apples soften and a syrup forms.  Set aside.

Mix the brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl, and set aside as well.

Cake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Blend butter and sugar for 3 minutes with electric mixer until fluffy.  Add applesauce, vanilla, and eggs, and mix until combined.  Gently mix in baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.  Finally, add flour and Greek yogurt in alternating parts (flour, yogurt, flour, yogurt).  Mix until just combined.

Spread half of the cake in an Deep Dish Baking Stone (or your favorite 10-12 inch round or square or 11×13 rectangle baking dish).  Top with all of apple filling to cover batter.  Sprinkle with 2/3 of the brown sugar/cinnamon mixture.  Add remaining cake batter and top with remaining 1/3 brown sugar/cinnamon.

Bake approximately 30 minutes until center of cake is set, but do not overbake.

Glaze:

While cake is baking, prepare glaze by mixing powdered sugar, milk and vanilla in a medium bowl until smooth.

As soon as cake is removed from oven, poke holes using a butter knife or wooden spoon handle all over the cake – 20-30 pokes.  Pour glaze over the top, spreading to cover completely and allowing to soak in the holes and edges.

Allow glaze to set approximately 20 minutes, and cake is ready to serve warm.  Also very good refrigerated cold – just depends on your preference.  (In our case, hubby likes it warm, and I adore it cold!)

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Lemon Butter Scallops

Sizzling Lemon Butter Scallops in Skillet

Sizzling Lemon Butter Scallops in Skillet

Lemon Butter Scallops.

If you are looking for a super quick and easy and even more super delicious scallop recipe, I’ve got a winner for you!

I picked up a 12oz bag of “Specially Selected Premium Jumbo Scallops” at Aldi the other day to make something a little different for dinner for hubby and me.

As a quick side note – I am such a super fan of Aldi.  I am a bit late to the game and was really not sure about it at first, but now…. every time I go, I love it more!  I swear it costs half of what I pay at our other local supermarkets. I am always astonished when I walk out with a cart full of food for $100 or so.  And not only is it so greatly priced, but the quality is amazing.  The produce is fresh, the selection is nice, and I feel like I am being environmentally conscientious when I pack my own bags instead of coming home with 20 more plastic bags.

These scallops were absolutely delicious, and if I recall correctly, they were less than $10.  I didn’t realize what a great source of protein they are.  A 4-ounce serving has 19 grams of protein, 100 calories and 1 gram of fat (0 saturated fat).

So here is the way I made them.  (Enough rambling – right??!!) Simple yet delectable.  We had them with some butternut squash risotto (which I also picked up at Aldi) and a fresh green salad.  (And no I am not being paid by Aldi – though I should inquire! wink!)

Lemon Butter Scallops

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz. Jumbo Scallops
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • Salt & pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 Tbsp. freshly minced rosemary

Directions:

Heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil in a 12-inch skillet, add garlic and cook 1 minute.  Add scallops in a single layer to hot oil in skillet.  Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.  Brown 1-2 minutes and then turn.  Sprinkle with additional salt and pepper.  Add butter and allow to melt.  Add lemon juice, and flip scallops again to coat with lemon, butter, and garlic.  Sprinkle with freshly minced rosemary, and serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Best Ever Homemade Caramel Corn

caramel-corn-1

One of the things I make every holiday season for parties and gift-giving is homemade caramel corn.

This is not your ordinary caramel corn, however; and the secret is that its made with Hulless Puff-n-Corn instead of regular popcorn.

caramel-corn-3

Its super simple, makes a huge batch, and I have never taken it somewhere or given it away without being asked for the recipe.

caramel-corn-2

I got this recipe years ago from my dear friend, Pam, who is, by the way, one of the best Jewish “Christmas cookie” bakers I know!

Here’s the recipe, and be warned….. it is crazy addictive!

Best Ever Homemade Caramel Corn

  • Servings: huge batch
  • Print

Ingredients:caramel-corn-1

 

  • 2 6-oz bags Snyder Puff-n-Corn (or a brand you can get locally)
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter
  • 1 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 cups brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup Karo light corn syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

Directions:

Spray large roaster pan with Pam cooking spray, and empty both bags of Puff-n-Corn into it.  Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.

In a large saucepan melt butter and peanut butter over medium-high heat.  Once melted, add brown sugar and corn syrup.  Bring to a boil.  Stir constantly, and boil for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Add vanilla and baking soda and stir well.  Pour mixture over popcorn, and stir well to coat.

Bake in oven for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes.  Allow to cool.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Biscoff Crunch Banana Bread

Biscoff banana bread 1

I thought I had discovered the best ever banana bread recipe (which is ULTRA amazing!) – but then…. I discovered…

are you ready??…..

BISCOFF BANANA BREAD!

biscoff banana bread 2

Oh Goodness Gracious – the YUMMMMiness of Biscoff Spread, crunchy Biscoff cookies, and sweet, moist banana bread.  It is pretty much the ultimate deliciousness – especially for this time of year when we just crave comforting foods!

biscoff banana bread 3

My guys loved it!

In fact, when I gave Nick his “sample,” I asked if it was a thumbs up.

His reply:

“2”

Score!

No oil in this bread either.  It is made with Greek yogurt.

The original recipe, which I have shared below from Table for Two, calls for plain Greek yogurt.

I used vanilla.

Yum!

And I added about one more tablespoon of butter, which I added in dabbles on top of the crushed up Biscoff cookies on top, just to make them a bit crisper and crunchier.   (I can never just leave well enough alone!)

Biscoff Banana Bread


From: Table for Two

3 ripened bananas, peeled and mashedBiscoff banana bread 1
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup Biscoff spread
3 tbsp. butter, melted
2 eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
18 Biscoff cookies, crushed

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×5 loaf pan and set aside.

2. Combine the first five ingredients and mix until well blended.

3. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.

4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until combined.

5. Gently fold in 3/4 of the crushed Biscoff cookies with a spatula.

6. Pour the batter into loaf pan and top with the remaining 1/4 crushed Biscoff cookies.

7. Bake for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

8. Let cool completely before removing from pan and slicing.

ENJOY!

Cheers & Hugs,

Jodi

 

Milk Chocolate Caramel-Filled Chip Cookies

Milk Chocolate Caramel Filled Chip Cookies Stacked

If you give a mouse a cookie….

He’s going to ask for a glass of milk.

Milk Chocolate Caramel Filled Chip Cookies and Milk 2

And then he’ll probably want a straw.

Milk Chocolate Caramel Filled Chip Cookies

As I was looking at these shots of my latest twist on chocolate chip cookies, I couldn’t help but be reminded of that fun children’s book.

Milk Chocolate Caramel Filled Chip Cookies Stacked 2

Especially after this stack – I kept thinking… more – More – MORE!

Milk Chocolate Caramel Filled Chip Cookies and Milk

I bake chocolate chip cookies A  LOT.

I’m kinda known for it.

Especially with our sons’ friends.

And I love the joy it brings – the smiles they create – the happy tummies – the grateful hugs.

But I get bored with the same old thing, so I am always looking for a way to change them up a bit – as you may have noticed if you’ve been hanging out here at LifeinBetween.me for any length of time…  (Fresh Raspberry Chocolate Chips, Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies, Peanut Butter White Chocolate Chip…)

This latest version was a BIG HIT!

Instead of semi-sweet morsels, I used the new Nestle Toll House Delightfulls Caramel Filled Morsels.

Could you just die?!!?

Milk Chocolate Caramel Filled Chips in a cookie!!

I used my tried and true chocolate chip cookie recipe – subbing these DELIGHTFULL morsels for the regular chocolate chips.

Easy Peasy – and guaranteed to be a Big Hit with whoever you decide to share these with!

And PS – I had forgotten how amazing a chocolate chip cookie tastes dunked in milk!     I have not done that in ages, but sampled a bite after this “photo shoot.”

Grab a glass of cold milk – even if it is Skim – and DUNK!

Pure delight!

Kicked Up Milk Chocolate & Caramel Chip Cookies

Ingredients:Milk Chocolate Caramel Filled Chip Cookies Stacked 2

4 sticks butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
5 cups all purpose flour
2 9-oz bags Nestle Toll House Delightfulls Milk Chocolate Caramel Filled Morsels

Directions:

With electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together until completely incorporated. Add vanilla and eggs, and beat until light and fluffy. Add baking soda and salt, and mix another minute. Gradually add flour and beat until well incorporated, but do not overbeat.

Fold in chocolate caramel morsels. Refrigerate dough for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. With your hands, form a cookie dough ball about 1-1/2 inches in diameter.  Place on baking stone. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Do not overbake. Allow to cool on baking stone for 2-3 minutes, then remove to cooling rack to cool completely.

Cheers & Chocolatey Caramely Hugs,

Jodi

Chocolate Caramel Crisp Cookies

Chocolate + Crisp, Salty, Buttery Ritz Crackers + Rolo Candies = PURE BLISS in my book…
Do you agree?

chocolate caramel crisp cookies 1

Oh THANK YOU, Ruthanne at easybaked.net for sharing this super easy, wonderfully delicious recipe!

chocolate caramel crisp cookies 3

It is literally THREE (3) ingredients + any embellishments you want to add – or not.

Ritz Crackers
Rolo Candies
Chocolate

Now seriously – anyone can do that – right?

chocolate caramel crisp cookies 5

chocolate caramel crisp cookies 6

And according to Ruthanne’s Dad, they are the BEST cookies he’s ever eaten…

chocolate caramel crisp cookies 2

Here is Ruthanne’s recipe from her awesome websiteeasybaked.net:

INGREDIENTS: (makes about 50 cookies)

  • One box of Ritz Crackers
  • One bag of Rolo caramel candies
  • Two bags of Wilton’s Candy Melts in dark (or milk) chocolate – ( I used one of each)

DIRECTIONS:

  • Unwrap all those little Rolos…this is the hardest part of this recipe….booooring!
  • Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
  • Place Ritz Crackers, bottom side up, on a cookie sheet and set one unwrapped Rolo on each one.
  • Put these into the oven and leave them for one to two minutes until the Rolo is soft enough to press flat with another cracker- I actually just kept checking until they were soft enough.
  • Remove them from the oven and use another Ritz cracker to make a little sandwich of that soft Rolo.
  • Allow these to cool completely.
  • Melt Candy Melts in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between until they are completely melted and smooth.
  • Cover each cookie with melted chocolate and use a fork to lift the cookie up. Tap the fork against the side of the bowl to allow excess chocolate to drain off, slide bottom of cookie along edge of bowl to remove extra off bottom, and tip gently off fork and allow cookie to slide onto parchment or wax paper. Sprinkle/ decorate as desired and allow cookie to harden completely.

ENJOY!

chocolate caramel crisp cookies 4

Cheers & Chocolately Hugs,

Jodi

 

 

Perfect Pot Roast

I always thought I made a decent pot roast.

Throw a frozen chuck roast in a crock pot or enamel roaster pan, add an envelope of Lipton onion soup, onions, carrots, water….

Not bad….

But then……. (drum roll please)…… I discovered Ree Drummond (aka The Pioneer Woman)’s Perfect Pot Roast recipe.

(Trumpets Sound and Angels Sing)

No turning back after you try this!

perfect pot roast

I forgot to take some nice pictures of the finished product (BAD BLOGGER Jodi!!!!), but hopefully these will begin to get your mouth watering.

And since when did Chuck Roast become such a premium price cut of beef?!!???!!!  It used to be CHEAP, but then I think people discovered the wonderful marbling and bits chunks of fat actually create A-M-A-Z-I-N-G flavor!

perfect pot roast 2

Here is the recipe I will use forever and ever from this day forward – love without end, amen.

You are going to LOVE it!

Perfect Pot Roast (original recipe from Ree Drumond, Pioneer Woman)

  • 1 4-5 lb. Chuck Roast
  • 2-4 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 3-4 cloves of fresh chopped garlic (I added this because garlic always makes it better!)
  • 2 Onions
  • 6-8 carrots
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 cup Red Wine (this is what MAKES it! – though Ree says you can use beef stock if you prefer)
  • 2-3 Cups Beef Stock (I used beef bouillon dissolved in water to make the “stock”)
  • 3 sprigs Fresh Thyme, coarsely chopped
  • 3 sprigs Fresh Rosemary, coarsely chopped (oh my obsession with fresh Rosemary! – this is #2 item that TOTALLY makes it!)

Generously salt and pepper your chuck roast.

Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add olive oil.

When the oil is hot, add the chopped garlic and quartered onions.  Brown nicely, then remove to a plate.  Do the same with carrots, adding additional olive oil as needed.

Place the meat in the pan and sear it for about a minute on all sides until it is nice and brown all over. Remove to a plate.

With the burner on high, deglaze the pan with the red wine – scraping the bottom with a whisk to get all of that wonderful flavor up.

When the bottom of the pan is sufficiently deglazed, place the roast back into the pan and add enough beef stock to cover the meat halfway (about 2 to 3 cups). Add in the onion and the carrots, as well as 3 or 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary and about 3 sprigs of fresh thyme.

Cover and roast in a 275F oven for 3-4 hours.

ENJOY!

Cheers & Hugs,

Jodi