Saturday, January 12, 2013

Peppermint Biscotti

I'm going to brag.  I am a good gift giver.  One of my good gift ideas this year ended up being my mom's favorite gift I got her for Christmas.  It was actually multiple gifts in one coffee "theme."  We live in the Midwest and go east every summer to Cape May, New Jersey.  We love many things there we can't experience here in the Midwest, one being Wawa.  We love their Hazelnut coffee and anytime we go we try to stock up on bags of it to bring back.  We have learned we can also order it from their website so now we can have get it anytime!

I bought my mom 2 bags of Wawa coffee and an "I (heart) Wawa" mug.  I made her a homemade biscotti-scented soy candle and homemade peppermint biscotti.  She loved the whole gift, but especially the biscotti and is already hinting at me making her more.

I got the recipe from here-

I cut the recipe in half b/c it says they stay fresh about 2 weeks and got around 8 pieces out of it.  In half the recipe is-
1/2 stick softened butter
A little less than 1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 cup flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 candy canes crushed
Baking sheet
Parchment paper
Wire cooling rack

Even with this 1/2 recipe it was too much chocolate and candy canes so I would use less next time.

In one bowl mix together the butter and sugar and then add the egg and then the peppermint extract.

In another bowl the flour, salt, & baking powder and then slowly add that with the dough mixture until it is all combined

Put parchment paper on a baking sheet and form the dough on it into a rectangle around 1 inch thick.  Bake it 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees (or until it is a light golden brown).

Take it out and let it cool on the cooling rack for 10 min. then cut it diagonally into pieces about 1/2 in thick.

Put these cut-side down back onto the parchment paper and bake for another 10-15 minutes.  1/2 way through I flipped the pieces otherwise they would have gotten too dark on one side (maybe my cheap pan or crappy oven, or maybe needed for all situations? not sure.).

I ended up baking it longer on one side than the other so one side was darker while the other was perfect.  The good thing about this side needs to be covered in chocolate so I could hide the darker side and show off the perfect one! :)

Crush the candy canes. I did this in a blender.

And melt the chocolate in a double boiler.  (Here's a trick for you:  I don't have a double boiler and don't need to spend the money on one because I always do this- put some water in a pot.  Roll aluminum foil into balls big enough that the tops are above the water line.  Place a smaller pot on top of the foil balls.  It works like a double boiler.)

Spread the melted chocolate over one side of the biscotti and before it hardens sprinkle the crushed candy cane on top.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Broiled Tilapia

This recipe is super easy and only 3 weight watchers points!

Spray a baking dish.
Season tilapia fillets to taste (I used salt, pepper, oregano, & garlic)
Pour lemon juice over fillets.
Broil for 5+ minutes (until flaky in middle when cut with a fork)

I also had mixed veggies as a side for this meal.  This was my first time using frozen veggies for the most part.  I live alone so if I buy a bunch of veggies, they often go bad before I can eat them all so I've decided to try the frozen route, at least during the winter.  I got a bag of mixed veggies.  I mixed together some soy sauce and lemon juice and poured them over the veggies before serving.  Veggies, soy sauce, and lemon juice are all 0 points so my whole meal was only 3 weight watchers points (allowing me a glass of wine with dinner and a cookie for dessert:)).

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


I'm not Jewish, but this year I decided to celebrate Hanukkah.  I grew up in a tiny town in the Midwest and as far as I know, never met a Jewish person until I worked at a big camp in Maryland.  For a couple years I nannied with a family that was Jewish and was constantly being corrected on my pronunciation of Jewish words by the 3 year old when I would read her Jewish storybooks to her.  I love different cultures and traditions and realized that one of the most common religions in my country other than Christianity is one I knew little about so that is why I chose to do this.
The first night of Hanukkah I read about the holiday.  Each night I lit the menorah while listening to a recording of the Hebrew prayers that are said for it and then I would recite them in English.  2 nights during Hanukkah I made latkes.

The first night I had a friend over and we followed this recipe- except that I used walnut oil instead of peanut oil because it's what I had.

I peeled the potatoes and shredded them with my cheese grater (which worked perfectly) until I had 2 cups.
I don't have a cheese cloth so I just used paper towels to try to squeeze out as much moisture as I could.

It says to use 1 tbsp grated onion but we just chopped it really small.

We beat 3 eggs with a fork then added the potatoes and onions, 2 Tbsps of flour & 1 1/2 tsp salt.

Frying them was easy and fun.  My friend preferred them crispier and I didn't so just fry to your tastes.  Like I said, the recipe says to use peanut oil, but I used walnut oil which I'm sure made a bit of difference in the taste, but I looked at a lot of latke recipes and many of them list different oils so I'm sure you could use whatever kind you have/want.

We served them with sour cream.  This recipe says it serves six and I think it made 6 latkes for us.  We each had 3, and that was all we had for the meal and it really filled us up.

The 2nd night I cut the recipe in half because it was just me and I also added some parmesan cheese to the mixture.  Both nights the latkes were delicious!!!!  This is something I would make more than just during Hanukkah.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Mustard Crusted Tilapia

I was looking for a recipe that had ingredients I had at home so I wouldn't have to go out and buy something and I found this recipe for mustard crusted tilapia-

Mix spicy brown mustard (I used Arizona heat b/c I like spicy things, but I'm sure you could use any kind of mustard you wanted/had based on your own tastes), worcestshire sauce, lemon juice, garlic powder, oregano, & parmesan cheese.

Bake the tilapia on its own in a greased pan for 10 minutes at 375 and then spread the paste over it and sprinkle bread crumbs on top and bake for another 5 minutes.

I made 2 tilapia fillets as this recipe says to do but I doubled the ingredients for the sauce.  When I made it as the directions said it didn't seem like enough for me so I made more and for me it was the perfect amount.  I would make this again for my dinner, but it's not something I would make for friends to show off my cooking skills.