Thursday, December 31, 2009

Our Family Tradition

About 4 years ago, my husband began's our tradition!

What he meant by this was lots-o-butter...well not really. He meant peanut butter balls and oatmeal pecan chocolate chunk cookies.
As a young couple, together forever before getting married, we tried to fulfill the married folks roles. Awhile back we lived in MA (aka temporally Mass-Holes) and there we first tried our Peanut Butter Ball recipe. Over the years we think we have mastered it...right Hussy?!?!? They are delicious!
The cookies were a recipe from almost 8 years ago. My husband (boyfriend then) was deployed by the military to Pakistan and I sent food. Food is a taste of home and in their case it totally beat MRE's (Meals Ready to Eat). I found this wonderful recipe online and made them at my parents' on weekend visiting from college. After days of travel, they finally made it to my now hubby. He LOVED them!!!!

Each cookie is filling enough to serve as a meal, much like a heavy granola bar. As the story goes, he returned safe and sound and I did not make them again for a few years. Once he brought up his memory of them I dug for the recipe...since then the rest is history and they are now part of our family holiday tradition.

The base ingredients of our prized recipe for PB Balls.

A KEY ingredient...homemade crushed graham cracker crumbs.

My love-bug goes absolutely CRAZY for the part when he gets to lick the extra PB...



After much patience and time we end up with these.


When my hubby helps, we get a wider range of sizes....this year he was off the hook, so they were almost perfect :O)
The ball centers are set to chill in the fridge.
NOW FOR THE COOKIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This is my broken collarbone husband's only physical contribution for making our holiday goodies. However psychologically, he is a lifesaver...because everything ends up getting done (by me) with his motivating drive and natural talent for hovering.

Dry ingredients.

A TON of much so I buy it by 10lb increments!


The mixing begins.

Just a few eggs.

Before this year everything was done by hand. This holiday tradition has given me just one more reason to say that I LOVE my Kitchenaid mixer, thank you lil' sis!

So beautiful!

We now add everything together!

The pecans.

Chocolate Chunks!

Our Oatmeal.

Cookie dough base...

It all goes into a HUGE bowl...


Look soooo good...but needs to chill in the fridge.

In the meantime, we continue with the PB Balls.

Fresh dipped...

and sooo shiny!

We made a few.

Okay, a lot.

Maybe too many to count!


little PB Balls.

Cookie time again!

Looks so good...forget the raw egg, this dough tastes fantastic!!

My handy ice cream scoop makes portioning easy.

Ta-da, our cookies are done!!

So tasty and filling.

Now for the holiday touch to our gifts...

Each year we have more and more to fill.


Thursday, December 24, 2009

D-Day is upon us...

Today is the last and final day to pull off this year's Holiday cooking challenge.

So far we've completed...
Peanut Butter Balls
Oatmeal Pecan Chocolate Chunks
Poppy & Sesame Lavash Crackers

one failure to note...
Peppermint Meringues

Still to go...
Rosemary Garlic Rolls
Thyme-Cheddar Twists
Brown-Butter Tart w/Cranberries
Creamed Spinach & Onions
Roasted Cauliflower
Cheddar Cranberry Cheese Balls

Stay tuned for complete post-holiday coverage and lots-o-pictures!

Happy Holidays All!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Misuderstood Brussels Sprout

Brussels Sprouts, otherwise known as WILD CABBAGE, are the archenemy of so many children and adults.
Growing up I did have the frozen variety occasionally, which you microwaved with butter sauce. I didn't mind them, actually I've always been somewhat amused by the miniature cabbage. My husband on the other hand is not a huge fan, claiming their bitterness the reason.
The suggestion for a delicious side of roasted Brussels Sprouts came from one of the firm's Partners. A mother of 3, she is a wonderful cook and often we get off track at the office talking about food. The first time I tried it, I only did a small batch figuring my husband would not share in them...but I was wrong!
The roasted Brussels Sprouts were delicious!

I can't remember where I heard this from, maybe it was food network or friends, but I recall that when you cook these mini cabbages, you should take care to avoid overcooking. The reason being that overcooking releases the unappetizing sulfurous odor and taste these miniatures are capable of.
Soooo, this is where they get their bad rap...from people who force the overcooked veg down the mouths of children. Cruel and unusual punishment? Perhaps.

I keep it simple and marinate some chicken in olive oil, lemon, rosemary, salt and pepper.

For sides, we've got our star of the dinner BRUSSELS SPROUTS, some boxed rice pilaf and Swiss Chard w/Gorgonzola.

The Brussels Sprouts were
cleaned, sliced and arranged on a cookie sheet.

Their dressing includes olive oil, salt and pepper.

The Swiss Chard is washed and stems removed.

The cheese crumbled.

The Swiss Chard & Gorgonzola cheese created this pretty pink water/oil/cheese mixture...
it was tasty enough that I drizzled some over my chicken.


The final plate, minus the Brussels Spouts...

I felt they deserved their own stage
front and center on the table,
so they stayed on our beautiful serving platter.
At table side these Roasted Brussels Spouts were scooped up and eaten without complaint (and perhaps with even some yums!)!