Sunday, September 19, 2010

Perfectly Baked Potatoes

Perfectly Baked Potato   I don't know about you, but I love potatoes! I like potatoes cooked just about any way possible. But when it comes to baked potatoes... I love a crispy, salty skin and a soft fluffy inside. I finally figured out how to make the perfect baked potato.

Perfectly Baked Potato
   1 large russet potato
   olive (or canola) oil
   Kosher salt

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. You can bake directly on your oven rack, but I learned very quickly that I don't like to clean the oven racks when they have baked on oil. So for me... I take an old baking sheet and cover it with foil (makes clean up a breeze), and then I place a rack on top of the baking sheet. You do need the potatoes to be on a rack to get the crispy skins.

Once your rack is ready, wash the potato (or potatoes) thoroughly with a stiff brush and cold running water. Using a standard metal fork, poke 8 to 12 deep holes all over the spud, so that moisture can escape during cooking. Dry the potato (or potatoes) well.

Place about 2 tablespoons of oil in a small bowl. Rub oil onto the skin of each potato until it is throughly, but lightly coated.

Sprinkle each potato with kosher salt, and place each potato directly on the rack in the middle of the oven or on the rack that is on your baking sheet. If you place your potatoes directly on the oven rack, place a baking sheet on the lower rack to catch any drippings. If your potatoes are on a baking sheet with a rack, place the baking sheet in the middle of your oven.

Bake 1 hour or until the potato skin feels crisp but flesh beneath feels soft. I usually poke my potatoes with a fork to see if the inside is done.
Baked potatoesTo serve, create a dotted line from end to end with your fork.
Create a dotted line with your fork.Then crack the spud open by squeezing the ends towards one another.
Squeeze the potato from both ends.Your potato will pop right open. But watch out for steam.
The potato will pop open.Add a ball (or scoop) of butter and serve while piping hot!
Add a scoop of butter.Note: If you are cooking more than 4 potatoes, you’ll need to extend the cooking time by up to 15 minutes.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Peanut Butter Munchies

Peanut Butter Munchies   I discovered these awesome cookies at a church potluck yesterday! I saw chocolate and thought yum, but then I took a bite and much to my surprise, I discovered a yummy peanut butter filling inside my cookie! They were so good, I went on a mission to find out who made them to get the recipe. Luckily, Cathy, who made the cookies, brought the recipe with her and left it in the kitchen. So I actually found the recipe before I found out who made the wonderful cookies!
   I loved them so much, I came home and baked a batch so my husband could taste them, too.
   I did make a couple of modifications. I decreased the cocoa powder and increased the amount of peanut butter filling. So here is my take on Cathy's awesome cookies! Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Munchies
   ½ cup butter, softened
   ½ cup sugar
   ½ cup brown sugar, packed
   ¼ cup peanut butter
   1 egg
   1 Tablespoon milk
   1 teaspoon vanilla
   1½ cups flour
   ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
   ½ teaspoon baking soda
PB filling:
   1 cup powdered sugar
   ¾ cup peanut butter

   ¼ cup sugar (for rolling balls)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter, sugars, and ¼ cup peanut butter. Add egg, milk, and vanilla beating well. In a small bowl, combine flour, cocoa, and soda. Gradually, add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Use a small (1 Tbsp) cookie scoop to form chocolate balls. Set balls aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine powdered sugar and ¾ cup of peanut butter. Continue beating until smooth. To form into balls, use the small (1 Tbsp) cookie scoop to get dough, but then half this scoop of dough to form 2 balls. (i.e., Each small scoop makes 2 balls.)
Roll ballsOn a plate, slightly flatten a chocolate dough ball.
Flatten chocolate dough with palm of handPlace a peanut butter ball in the center of the chocolate dough.
Place PB ball in center of chocolate doughShape the chocolate dough over the peanut butter ball.
Begin shaping chocolate dough around PB ballCover the peanut butter ball completely with the chocolate dough.
Completely cover PB ballRoll the dough into a ball.
Roll into a smooth ballRepeat with all the balls. You may have more chocolate balls than peanut butter balls. This is OK. Eat them or just bake them without the filling.
Roll each finished ball in granulated sugar.
Roll ball in sugarPlace balls on a baking stone (or sheet) about 2 inches apart.
Place balls on baking stoneUse the bottom of a glass to slightly flatten each ball.
Flatten balls slightly with bottom of glassBake for 8-10 minutes or until surface of cookies is slightly cracked. Let cookies stand for 1 minute and then transfer to wire racks or plates to cool. Makes about 40 cookies.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Motherhood: An Eternal Partnership

   If you are a mom like me, there are some days that don't quite go like you planned. In fact, some days can be very discouraging. If you are having one of those days, check out this video entitled Motherhood: An Eternal Partnership.
   This video reminds me that being a mom, while sometimes hard, is the most important job I will ever do, and the rewards are so much greater than the few disappointments!