Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Something Special From!

This year I think I did most of my Christmas shopping online. It's also usually my preferred method of getting other gifts and various things year-round.
I know some people out there like to shop in the stores because they don't think internet retailers are that much more affordable, or maybe because they think shipping the item alone will cost an arm and a leg. I am here to say, or rather, type, that really doesn't fall into either of those catagories!
I know this from oh so personal experience. When looking for a nice wedding band for my husband just last year and earlier this year we looked ALL over. We looked in jewelry stores, both online and in person, and any other possible place else we could think of. The best ring we found was in Overstock's selection of Wedding Rings. The band we ended up choosing looks great on him, and more importantly really stands up to being worn by someone who works with his hands a lot. We had such a pleasant experience shopping for and purchasing that ring that Overstock is now one of the first places we always look online when shopping for just about anything.

When looking for a gift for my parents this year, I spent a lot of time online just looking for something that they will both enjoy, of course I looked at This site has low prices on just about anything you could be looking for, and what's best is that the entire order ships for just $2.95, no matter how big your order may be.
I can't say what I did order for my parents because it's not Christmas yet, and I don't want to spoil it. :)
I can tell you that I did look in Bedding & Bath and Bedding Ensembles for their gift initially.

I am a big fan of Gift Baskets. All of the themed items in a basket (or some other creative container) wrapped up in cellophane just looks so nice and presentable! I definitely considered some of these when shopping for a certain man in my life. There are more than just the traditonal options here, Overstock also has dinner of the month, dinner and movie of the month and pasta of the month gift options. How fun is that!? will also ship certain items in time for Christmas if you order by noontime EST on the 23rd. Just look for the red gift box below an item on the website to know what will make it home in time.

And as a nice holiday time bonus, Overstock would like to offer my readers a 10% discount on all items* using the code 121745 at checkout. The code doesn't expire, however is only good once, so make sure you order everything you need!
For those interested in purchasing electronics there is also something special for you. Use promo code 202234 to get free shipping.
*The 10% discount does not apply for movies, books or electronics

All the ideas and opinions expressed are my own. No monetary compensation was received for doing this post, however, I was provided with a discount code.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Lime Meltaways

You know the hard thing about not writing my blog posts soon after making a recipe? The problem is that I look on my camera and occasionally see something tasty I made and can't remember for the life of me where I put the dang recipe.
I have a nice collection of recipe books (most of them being dessert or chocolate oriented because, let's get straight to the point, dessert is almost always my favorite part of a meal.) I also have a box of recipe cards and small clippings. Then, there is my recipe binder. This is something I started waaaayyyy back in my sophmore year of high school. I took a foods class and the teacher had us keep a folder with the recipes we made in the class. I thought this was a wonderful way to keep track of all the recipes I print out. Let's face it, I print out lots of recipes. So my recipe folder eventually turned into a recipe binder, which has just somewhat recently been upgraded to a larger binder.
I do keep my recipe binder organized. I used every page divider I could find in the house. I think the largest section is devoted to recipes I would like to try. After that, desserts and other treats definitely takes the cake.
Anyways, let's get focused now. I got up early this morning while my husband got ready for work. I am a morning person, although you could probably never tell by how hard it is for me to wake up sometimes. I decided long ago that getting up early helps me make sure I get things around the house taken care of because *this* is when I am the most productive, by far. So I ate some breakfast, checked my email and here we are. Found my camera and went back into the memory looking for a recipe to write about, today, it's going to be Lime Meltaways.
Mine were actually more like Key Lime Meltaways, but regular, plain 'ol limes will work just fine for this application. Hubby and I stumbled upon a key lime tree and gathered about half a dozen to a dozen or so. I juiced lots of them for the recipe, and let me tell you what a pain it was! I didn't even get half of the juice I needed, but luckily, I have key lime juice in the fridge. I have been able to find it in stores with the regular lime and lemon juice.
These cookies were worth the work. As the name states, they seem to just melt away in your mouth. I think I might try the recipe with lemon juice sometime. Yummy!

Lime Meltaways
(Recipe slightly adapted from

12 tbl. unsalted butter, room temperature
1 c. powdered sugar, divided
finely grated zest of 2 or 3 limes
2 tbl. lime juice
1 tbl. vanilla
1 3/4 c. plus 2 tbl. all purpose flour (this is 2 c. minus 2 tbl. if you want to look at it differently)
2 tbl. cornstarch

In a mixer bowl, whisk together the butter and 1/3 c. sugar until nice and fluffy. Add in the zest, lime juice and vanilla, beat again until nice and fluffy.
In another bowl, mix together the flour and cornstarch (or just add it to the butter mixture like I did) and add to the butter mixture. Beat on a lower speed until everything is nice and combined.
Divide the dough into two equal portions. Roll each portion into a 1 1/4inch log in a piece of parchment paper. Stick the logs in the fridge for at least an hour, up to overnight to chill and firm up.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a couple cookie sheets with parchment, or lightly grease with nonstick spray, or even use a silpat baking mat (so many options!!). Take one of the logs from the fridge, remove the parchment and cut into 1/8 inch thick pieces. Place the pieces on the baking sheet about an inch apart- these shouldn't spread too much while baking. Then do the same with the other log of cookie dough.
Bake until they are just turning golden around the edges, between 5 to 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them, because it can happen fast. Move the cooked cookies to a baking rack to cool slightly. Once they are all on the rack, it's time to dust them.
Put the remaining 2/3 c. powdered sugar into a resealable sandwich bag and place a few cookies at a time into the bag and toss gently to coat. Put the coated cookies back on the rack and repeat until all of the cookies have a nice dusting of sugar. Enjoy!!

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Monday, December 6, 2010

German Chocolate Cake

Boy, has it been a while since I posted! Life got busy fast, all starting with Thanksgiving. A few weeks ago, hubby and I wanted to have a German-themed dinner. We had homemade brats as the entree, and I made a delicious German chocolate cake,  but I don't know that this cake is actually of German, origin, though. What I do know is that I do not like coconut. And it's not just a texture thing, the flavor just doesn't jive with me. Lots of people do like it, and I got RAVE reviews on the cake.
You'll notice that the recipe makes 3 9-inch rounds of chocolate cake, but my finished product is 2 layers. Well, I cut the frosting to 2/3's so I could have one cake layer for myself. Yum!
I have to say, even if you don't like coconut, you should at least use the cake portion of this recipe, because it is divine! I was eating it without frosting of any kind. I even found myself returning to the kitchen for a piece of it! Yummy!!

German Chocolate Cake (serves: a lot!)
(recipe from Joy of Baking)

4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 1/4 c. cake flour
3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. hot coffee or boiling water
1 c. buttermilk
1 1/4 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
2 1/4 c. granulated sugar
5 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour 3 8- or 9-inch round  cake pans, line bottoms with parchment.
Melt the chocolate either in the microwave, slowly, or in a double boiler on the stove. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In yet another bowl, combine the coffee and the buttermilk.
Now, in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter until it is nice and creamy. Add in the sugar and beat until nice and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Make sure the first is completely incorporated before adding in another. Scrape down the sides of the mixer bowl and add in the vanilla, mix.
Mix in the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture, alternatively, starting and ending with the flour mixture. (1/3 flour mixture, half buttermilk mixture, 1/3 flour, half buttermilk, 1/3 flour). Mix ONLY until everything is incorporated. Slowly mix in the melted chocolate.
Divide the batter among the 3 cake pans, and smooth the tops out. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let cool on wire racks.

1 1/4 c. pecans
1 c. granulated sugar
1 c. evaporated milk
3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1/2 c. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 1/2 c. flaked coconut
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the pecans on a baking sheet and bake just until you can smell them. Don't leave the immediate area because they can and will burn. Burnt pecans are not tasty. Coursely chop the toasted pecans.
In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, milk, egg yolks and butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. When the mixture begins to boil and thicken, remove from the heat and mix in the pecans, vanilla and coconut. Let it cool until spreadable, then spread onto the cooled cake. Enjoy!

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