Cooking for a family, while making family time

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Favorite Disney Eats

Favorite Disney Eats

We took our first Disney vacation as a family last fall and it was just as magical as I had hoped it would be. I did so much research and planning it felt like my head was spinning with Disney knowledge. I figured I might […]

Meal Prep 101

Meal Prep 101

Why cook one dinner when you can cook 4? With snow in our forecast and school already cancelled tomorrow, I know my days will be long and I’m probably not going to feel like making big meals. So tonight while making dinner I prepared 3 […]

Valentine’s Day Double Danish

Valentine’s Day Double Danish

Back at Christmas time I was working hard on candy cane danishes and a friend of mine mentioned using Nutella as the filling. That was all I needed, the light bulb went off and here we have our double danish, which just so happens to look like a heart and is perfect for Valentine’s Day. I made one danish the classic way, as I did for Christmas. The new danish I made was almost identical except for substituting marshmallow fluff for Nutella. By having one of each danish you’re getting the best of both worlds with both the classic and Nutella flavors. First up, if you wish to make the double danish, with both flavors, click here for the recipe for the classic danish. The recipe below is for the Nutella danish, if you would like your whole double danish heart to be Nutella, be sure to double all ingredients. Same goes if you wish for the whole danish to be classic, you would double that recipe as well.

Ingredients:

1 can original crescent dough
3/4 cup fresh strawberries
3 tablespoons plain cream cheese
3 tablespoons Nutella
1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar, divided
1/2 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon orange juice
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1 teaspoon milk

Supplies needed:

Parchment paper

Serves 5 (per danish)

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Next, lay a giant piece of parchment paper directly onto your counter. Slice your fresh strawberries in a small bowl, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of sugar and 1 teaspoon orange juice and set aside, this will help your berries to macerate (become sweeter and softer, releasing their juices to make a light sauce consistency). Now you will open up your dough and cut each triangle crescent roll in half lengthwise. Starting at the bottom of your parchment paper, (be sure leave about an inch for when you move this to your baking sheet) layer your half triangles overlapping slightly until you use your whole tube of crescent rolls. Next, pinch together and smush your overlapping dough pieces to form a surface for your filling, try to keep your straight end as even as possible. In a small bowl mix together the Nutella and cream cheese until smooth, then spread evenly onto the flat long rectangular dough space you just created. Next, evenly pour your berry mixture on top of your Nutella and cream cheese mixture. Now things get a little tricky, starting again at the bottom fold over your skinny dough pieces one by one, pinching or tucking any remaining dough to the opposite side as you go. Repeat this method until all of your dough pieces are folded over. Ok, time to make this look like a candy cane (then a heart), I feel with any baking there comes a time for prayer or crossing fingers, this is that time. Slowly and gently, either using just your hands, or a really flat spatula take the top of your danish and begin to curve it. A good marker for me is to bend with about 5 sections left at the top for your curved edge of the candy cane shape. If it all falls apart when you go to move it don’t freak, just try your best to reshape it using the dough on the outsides and connecting those pieces back as best you can. Once you’re happy with your shape trim your parchment paper with scissors to fit your baking sheet, then place your baking sheet next to the danish on the counter. Melt your 1/2 tablespoon of butter in the microwave and brush over all the dough surfaces, tops and sides, then sprinkle with remaining sugar. Next gently slide your danish onto the baking sheet by pulling the parchment paper. This method works a lot better than trying to pick up your entire long danish. Bake at 350 degrees for 18 minutes, then place on the stove top or covered counter to cool. A good 5-10 minutes should do it. While the danish cools, make your icing. Mix 1 tablespoon powdered sugar to 1 teaspoon milk. This will make a nice thick icing to top your danish; I only drizzle our icing on the dough parts, not the filling, if you want more icing be sure to double the recipe and drizzle away. If you haven’t already baked your second danish, do so now while this one cools. Now it’s time to turn this into a heart. In order to make a perfect heart you will also need to curve the long sides of your danish as well. You can see above my heart was not perfect, however that’s not what cooking is about, at least not to me. The danish will taste good no matter what shape it turns out to be and that’s what really matters. However, if you would like to go for the perfect heart shape, as soon as your danish comes out of the oven, while it’s still hot on the baking sheet, VERY carefully using the edge side of a butter knife start to tilt the bottom of the danish. Pushing slowly on the outside of the danish to curve it ever so slightly. This will help to make the point at the end of your heart fit together better with the other danish.

Be sure to serve warm and enjoy. If you have any leftovers seal in air tight container and keep in the fridge, be sure to eat within 3 days.

     

The tricky part with turning these into a heart, is to be sure you curve each danish in a different direction. This way your heart will come together and look the way it is supposed to. For reference I curved the top of my Nutella danish to the right, and my classic danish to the left. Now remember if your shape gets all messed up, or you’re unable to curve the bottom of the candy cane shape to your liking, just feel free to make two candy canes and overlap them to get your heart shape. You can always just chop the bottoms off to get the desired shape you want. Again, novelty is great and a lot of fun when cooking, but taste reigns supreme and you will have that no matter what. So have some fun making this heart for your sweetheart!

Spinach Artichoke Roll Ups

Spinach Artichoke Roll Ups

One of my favorite things about making spinach and artichoke dip is the leftover dip! I turn it into these super yummy, freezer friendly roll ups. Perfect for a snack or appetizer for your next get together. Ingredients: 1 tube Crescent dough sheet 3/4 cup […]

Football Deviled Eggs

Football Deviled Eggs

These are a classic Super Bowl staple in our house. I feel as if deviled eggs are almost a seasonal appetizer. I make them pretty regularly in the spring and summer time for BBQ’s and get-together’s, but not often in the winter. I use my […]

Homemade Coffee Creamer

Homemade Coffee Creamer

My love for coffee started in college and has only gotten stronger over the years as my family grew. It’s how we start every morning, and if I’m honest I usually have a second cup most afternoons. I take my coffee with both sweetener and creamer, and am always looking for healthier alternatives to keep my coffee tasting the way I like. As is the case with a lot of homemade things, it will require a little more time and money than picking up a pre-made coffee creamer, however, you will taste the difference. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking the pre-made creamer, I buy that a lot myself, however, if you’re looking for a healthier alternative give this creamer a try.

Ingredients:

1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups cream/milk of choice

Additional add on ingredients:

Extracts:
Vanilla
Coconut
Almond
Peppermint

Syrups:
Chocolate
Caramel

Method:

In a large glass mason jar (I use a 32oz) pour in all of your sweetened condensed milk, this stuff is sticky so be sure to get it all out using a rubber spatula. To your sweetened condensed milk add your 1 and 1/2 cups of cream or milk, and give it a good whisk to combine. Now you can leave the creamer as is, for a plain flavored sweet cream or you can get fancy with any of the following combinations. To your plain creamer you would add…

Vanilla Caramel Creamer
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons caramel topping

Peppermint Mocha Creamer
1/2-1 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 tablespoons chocolate syrup

Nutty Caramel Creamer
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons caramel topping

Samoas Cookie Creamer
2 teaspoons coconut extract
2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
2 tablespoons caramel topping

Be sure to label the top of your mason jar with the same date found on the milk or cream you use. This will be your use by date for your coffee creamer. I usually do this with a small post-it so it’s easy to remove when the creamer is gone so that I can easily clean my mason jar. The reason I like to keep these creamers in a mason jar is because the condensed milk will separate a bit in the fridge so you want to be sure to give the creamer a good shake (or stir) before using. There are a lot of different flavored extracts out there these days, it’s not just vanilla and peppermint anymore. I even saw pumpkin pie spice extract, which got my wheels turning for a fall flavored coffee creamer! The syrups and ice cream toppings have a lot of different flavors too, raspberry, orange and even a Dr. Pepper flavor. The possibilities of combinations are endless. If you want to get experimental with your coffee creamer I would suggest starting with 1 teaspoon of extract to 1-2 tablespoons of syrup for a good rule of thumb. Then adjust from there to your liking. If you discover any new combinations be sure to post below, I’d love to try them out!

  

Now while we’re talking about coffee I wanted to give a few more little tips I use and love.

Salt
If you brew a pot of coffee, or have a reusable k cup filter you fill with ground coffee each morning all you need to do is add a sprinkle of table salt to the top of your coffee grinds before brewing. If using the traditional k cup pods, a sprinkle of salt in the bottom of your coffee mug before brewing will also work. Salt in coffee probably sounds weird right? Wrong!! It’s amazing, it’s changed coffee for my husband and me. The small sprinkle of salt helps to take away any bitterness the coffee has and makes for a smoother, more delicious coffee.

Protein drinks
My best friend turned me on to this and it’s been great for me. I am admittedly very bad about eating breakfast and if I do it’s never before my coffee. Now whether or not you eat breakfast might not matter, this tip is mostly for anyone who gets an upset stomach from drinking coffee. Coffee is a stimulant and that’s why it can upset your stomach. Adding a good splash of the protein drink to your coffee helps your body to digest the coffee better, and keeps you fuller until you get around to eating breakfast. I like to use Premier Protein, they have vanilla, caramel and chocolate flavors. This way you can marry whatever flavor protein with whatever flavor creamer you have on hand for a well balanced smooth coffee that won’t taste different from your regular cup of coffee.

Vinegar
This has less to do with your coffee and more to do with your actual coffee pot. Whether you use a full pot of coffee or a k cup this tip is for you. At least one a month be sure to run a white vinegar and water mixture through your coffee pot to clean it. I like to use a 50/50 vinegar to water ratio if it’s been awhile since I cleaned my coffee pot. Once you run the vinegar and water solution through the coffee maker I like to then just brew plain water through a second time to be sure it’s good and clean. Then you’re ready to brew your coffee like normal.

Spices
The same way I like to add salt to my coffee grinds you can also add different dried spices. This will give your regular coffee more or a flavored coffee feel. My favorite is to make chai flavored coffee using a mixture of warming spices. To the top of my grinds I add a small sprinkle each of cinnamon, cardamon, clove and nutmeg. Then brew as you usually would, the aroma alone will be delicious! If you’re hesitant to brewing your coffee with spices, start with just a pinch of cinnamon to see how you like it. When using flavored coffee, I like to use the plain base sweet creamer to be sure and not offset the flavors. However, in the fall I like to sprinkle in pumpkin pie spice to the grinds, which works well if you’re also planning to use pumpkin spice creamer with your coffee. When using spices in your coffee don’t forget your sprinkle of salt too.

I hope you find these tips helpful and enjoy the homemade creamer as much as I do. Happy coffee drinking everyone!

Spinach & Artichoke Dip

Spinach & Artichoke Dip

Is there a more classic party dip than spinach and artichoke? Cheesy enough to make a good spread, and loaded with enough veggies to not feel guilty about eating so much of it. It’s the perfect combo! I’ve lightened my version up a good bit […]

Letter Pancakes

Letter Pancakes

Another snow day tomorrow here on the east coast. Our family started this really silly tradition of having letter pancakes on snow days. This came about when my oldest was first learning to spell her name. I thought it would be a cute fun way […]

Mama’s Goulash

Mama’s Goulash

Food has so much to do with family, even more so than we realize. Different foods and scents can take you places and bring up memories long forgotten. I started this blog in the memory of my late grandmother, and father in law, both of whom were amazing cooks and loved to feed people. I learned so much from both of them and just wish they had written down their recipes. Enter Mommy Spice, a place to write down recipes for my children, and hopefully their children and for you and yours too. Being able to look up a recipe and be transformed to another place in time is an amazing thing. I would give anything to know how to make my grandmother’s salad dressing or my father in law’s marinara sauce. So this inspired me to ask my Mom for my favorite recipe of hers from when I was kid. Also it only makes sense that my first featured recipe is from my number one supporter, my Mama! I hope that you guys enjoy her goulash as much as me, my siblings, husband and kids do.

Ingredients:

1/2 lb. lean ground hamburger
1 can tomato sauce, 8oz.
1 can condensed tomato soup
1 small onion
1 garlic clove
8oz Pasta (3/4 box) I like to use either small shells or elbows
1 cup cheddar or cheddar jack cheese

Additional ingredients:

Crushed red pepper
Fresh or dried parsley for topping
Minced onion
Garlic powder

Makes 4-6 servings

Method:

In a large pot over medium heat brown and break up your hamburger meat into small pieces. Next add in your onion with a healthy pinch of salt and a pinch of crushed red pepper. While your onions cook, boil a pot of salted water and cook pasta until just al dente. When onions are translucent, add in your diced garlic clove and sauté an additional minute. Next pour in your tomato sauce and tomato soup, and stir to combine. When using the condensed soup, you add it as is. Once everything is combined, cook for 5 minutes, then you can thin out your meat mixture as desired, I usually will add half a soup can of water. If you prefer a thinner sauce, go ahead and add a full soup can of water. Next combine your al dente pasta to your meat mixture, stir to combine, then top with 1/2 cup of your cheese and turn the heat down to low. Place a lid on the pot for 2-5 minutes or until cheese is fully melted. Stir goulash once more and serve hot, topped with remaining cheese.

This is a weeknight staple! Only 7 ingredients and comes together in about 20 minutes. The tomato soup might seem like an odd ingredient but it gives this dish a really nice velvety, creamy flavor. Also by only using 1/2lb of hamburger this is a total budget stretcher! If you want to make this dinner even easier, you can leave out the fresh onion and garlic and instead use minced onion and garlic powder. All of the flavors will still be there, it’ll just shave off a little bit of time chopping up veggies. If going the dried spice route, I would use a 1/2 tablespoon of minced onion and 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder, but as always taste as you go and adjust to your personal flavor choices. When my husband and I lived in a different state from my family my Mom would always make this every time she visited, it’s now become my husband’s favorite thing that she makes. As time went on and we moved closer, our love for this dish has remained the same. Now when my Mom comes to babysit our kids she’ll make this for dinner for them and always leave leftovers for us. My kids have grown to love it also, so much so that when I make it, they ask if Nana is coming over, because that’s what Nana always makes for dinner. And that’s how it all happens, food becomes family, one favorite dish at a time handed down from one generation to the next. So this one is for you Mom, thanks for all the love and for letting me share your delicious recipe.

2018 Top Recipes

2018 Top Recipes

I’ve always loved these end of year round-up lists. You know the ones ranking the best movies, books, news stories, trends, and events that happened in the year. I figured why not do one myself? I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed looking back […]