Saturday, December 31, 2011

Kloss's Tom and Jerry Batter

Yummy note: This was a recipe that my dad's family used for the holidays. Tom and Jerry drinks seemed to be one of the staples around the holidays. You know, we had the turkey, ham, deviled eggs, potatoes, a ton of desserts, and all the other fixings, and of course, the drinks. The Tom and Jerry's stood out the most. I can remember drinking this when I was probably about my daughter's age, as it was such a treat. Every year, it is made. So I'm keeping the tradition up, and this year, I helped make a batch or two of the mix. I recall Grandma Kloss making batches of this batter, and often my dad and other uncles were helping serve us this tasty drink. Years went by, and even though Grandma, my dad, and several of my other uncles that are no longer with us, they seem to live on in the making of the Tom and Jerry's every year. We miss you all dearly. Cheers.

Kloss's Tom and Jerry Batter

6 eggs
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 lb powdered sugar (about 3 3/4 cups) - divided
2 shots Rum

Separate eggs, whites in one bowl, yolks in another. Beat egg whites until stiff. Beat in cream of tartar and salt to the egg whites. Beat in half of the powdered sugar (roughly about 1 1/2 cups + 6 tblsp), pumpkin pie spice, and rum. (Note, you can leave out the rum at this step, and add it at the end to your individual cups, if you wish to make some of the mix non-alcoholic.) Next, add in the rest of the powdered sugar to the egg yolks and beat well. Fold the egg yolk mixture into the egg white mixture. Add in a couple of tablespoons to a mug or glass and fill with milk or water. Whisk or stir mixture thoroughly together.

Serve Tom & Jerry's to your preference. Some like it served hot, while others like it very cold. It is a matter of personal preference. My preference is to serve is with ice cold milk for a frothy creamy sweet drink. Garnish with additional spices if desired.

Tom & Jerry's - a thick and frothy drink treat!

In loving memory for the Kloss family. 
The Kloss boys - Uncle Tom, Uncle Harvey, Uncle Stanley, Uncle Robert, and my dad Russell

Grandpa Cyril and Grandma Leone Kloss

Thursday, December 22, 2011

spreading the cheer with the Liebster award

Yummy note: First, thanks to the Hearty Appletite for passing this award along at

So what is the Liebster Blog Award- Well, from what I could tell from previous award winners, it appears that the Liebster award originated in Germany or atleast the word did. The word “Liebster” is a term of endearment; “beloved person.” The aim of the award is to bring attention to blogs with fewer than 200 followers.  

These are the rules for accepting the award:

1. Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.
2. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Post the award on your blog.
4. Bask in the love from the most supportive people on the Internet - other writers.
5. And best of all – have fun and spread the Karma!
6. Right click on the award image to save it to your computer and then upload to your blog!

Here are some blogs I frequently check out to see what they are doing that I am passing this award to:
For the last few months, I've been involved in a group recipe post called the Secret Recipe Club, and I've been running into this cute blog on and off called The Jey of Cooking. Jey is part of my monthly group that posts and always has such great looking stuff. You should stop by and pin a few of her recipes to try and make!
I think this is one of my first foodie blogs that I began to follow, called Flamingo Musings. Renee's blog is full of wit and wisdom in her posts, besides some great recipes! From what I have read, I would have to guess that her jams are just Freakin' fantastic. :)
Toddling around Chicagoland is an informational site from a mommy blogger that gives great info for parents on the go in the Chicagoland area. It is a kid tested and approved blog as it is all about Sarah's family and their experiences while on their adventures out and about. Such great reviews and tips can be found here, plus upcoming activities for your kids.
I found this blog through a friend's family blog, and have enjoyed reading Shelley's blog for awhile now. She typically uses very accessible ingredients and recipes that are not too labor intensive, which is awesome.
This blog is a creative blog that my friend Nicki has been updating for awhile now. She does some adorable paper crafting here! You should really check out her cool designs and ideas.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Breakfast Pizza

Yummy note: This recipe is one of those in my big purple binder that has been around for a long time. I remember having this breakfast pizza casserole around the holidays for a brunch or breakfast gathering. But, lately, we've been making it as a quicker evening meal though, as we love breakfast anytime of day! I think it took maybe 40-45 minutes start to finish on this dish, which is not bad for such a filling meal. We made a sausage breakfast pizza here, but you could easily swap it for other favorites, such as bacon or vegetable.

Breakfast Pizza

for a smaller 9 inch pizza:
1/2 lb pork sausage
1 pkg crescent rolls
1/2 cup shredded hash browns
1/2-3/4 cup egg beaters (or 2-3 eggs, depends on how much of the other ingredients you layer on first)
2 tbsp milk
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste
* Note: Recipe can easily be doubled to make a full-sized 12 inch pizza or a 9x13 casserole dish. May need to increase baking time though to adjust for size.

Brown sausage in a pan and drain off extra grease.

Press crescent roll dough into a greased 9 inch pie pan or 12 in pizza pan.

It could even be assembled on a cookie sheet for a rectangular pizza too. Layer the sausage on top of the crescent roll dough first.  (If anybody has ever had a Chicago-style sausage patty pizza, this is the same idea.)

Then layer on the hash browns and cheese.

Next beat eggs and milk together and pour over pizza.

Season with your salt and pepper. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 25-30 minutes or until your eggs are set. Cut into slices and enjoy.

Monday, December 12, 2011

chocolate peanut butter cups

Yummy note:  Awesome...a chocolate category on this month's blogger site...I knew I was going to have a tough time trying to figure out what to make now for this month's secret recipe club! Living Lou's blog is fantastic, I love her simple, yet creative recipes that she blogs about. I mean, I think that if we met, we would get along well as I saw many similarities between us.  She mentioned that she is the girl that brings treats to her class or to a friend's house and that is so what I did when I was in school too! Plus, it seems like we both enjoy our fair share of chocolate, too! Living Lou is a young blogger, but she really shows her love and passion for food and cooking on her site.  Let me tell you, I wanted to make this cake, and these cookies, and oh, chocolate ice cream, but these little chocolate peanut butter cups needed some attention instead.  Once I made them, they were being gobbled up in no time and I would suggest you to make atleast a full batch. I didn’t have all of the chocolate on hand that Lou suggested, so I just improvised with the amount that I had and it worked fine. But note, use a mix of the milk and semisweet chocolate as I think that is the real key on what makes these taste way more fantastic than the store bought peanut butter cups. :)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

Adapted from Living Lou’s blog (Lou sourced it from Joy of Baking)
For the Peanut Butter Filling:
1/2 cup peanut butter ( I used chunky, but you can use creamy, too) (also, you could use a sunflower seed butter if you need to substitute for allergy concerns)
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup powdered sugar
For the Chocolate Coating:  
8 oz semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
8 oz milk chocolate, roughly chopped
1 tbsp shortening


Melt the chopped up chocolate and shortening in a double boiler or in a microwaveable bowl. While the chocolate is melting, add peanut butter, butter, and salt together in a bowl and heat in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds, or until the butter begins to melt and you can easily stir the mixture together. Then add in the powdered sugar to your peanut butter mix. 

Next, spoon or brush in your melted chocolate into desired pans or cup liners. Make sure you have a nice coating on the bottom and sides of your liners or else the peanut butter mixture might sink to the bottom and poke through during the cooling process. In order to ensure the peanut butter filling was not going to leak out, I added a step and refrigerated my chocolate shells for a few minutes and then added in the peanut butter filling. Note, I love a lot of peanut butter filling, so allowing it to set up a bit more, made it less messy, as you drop your peanut butter globs into the chocolaty shell. After you spoon in the peanut butter filling, cover it completely with the rest of the melted chocolate. If you add in the additional set-up time for your chocolate shells, you may have to reheat your bowl of chocolate if it begins to harden. Let the cups chill and enjoy!

I seriously loved this recipe so much and the results I got were so delicious, I couldn't help taking a few more pictures of them...

Want to know more about the Secret Recipe Club? Check out the others here!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

tootsie roll fudge

Yummy note:
I love fudge all year round, so when I saw this month's Crazy Cooking Challenge for a fudge recipe, I totally was up for it. The Crazy Cooking Challenge is where we are given a specific recipe subject, and then we are to find another blogger's recipe for that subject to feature. How fun?! This has been going on for a few months now, and these are some of the ones I've featured before - chocolate chip cookies and mashed potato puffs. And for this month, I'm featuring Tootsie Roll Fudge - 2 ways using the vanilla and the chocolate flavored candy! I saw this recipe over at Vivian's site called Let's Try These. I've been to Vivian's site a numerous of times before through other blog parties I've participated in and she's always had some great stuff I've been admiring. So when I saw a tootsie roll fudge recipe, I knew it was love at first sight, and such a great way to use up some of that candy I had hanging around the house just in time for the holidays.

Tootsie Roll Fudge 

Original recipe from Taste of Home magazine- Adapted by Vivian at Lets Try These 

2 tablespoons butter
2 cups Tootsie Rolls 
2 tablespoons peanut butter or sunflower seed butter
3-3/4 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Colored chocolate wafers or sprinkles for decorating
Nut Allergy? Don't worry-Tootsie Rolls are produced in a safe environment free of nuts! Check it out. Instead of peanut butter, use sunflower seed butter for a nut-free alternative. 
Begin by unwrapping all those little Tootsie Rolls! (I think I had about 40+ or so for each batch I made.) Next, line a 9-in. square baking pan with foil and grease the foil with a non-stick cooking spray (or a teaspoon of butter would work too). Add the Tootsie Rolls, butter, and peanut butter in a sauce pan or microwavable dish. Melt the Tootsie Rolls either over VERY low heat, or in the microwave until candy has melted. If you are doing this on the stove, be sure to stir constantly, or in the microwave, stop and stir occasionally. It only takes maybe a minute to do in the microwave, it is very quick.

I attempted to do it first on the stove, but well, I wasn’t able to give it the attention it needed and it began to burn. Oops! There goes that batch! So please pay attention to it.
Next, add in the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract. The fudge will begin to get very thick and a bit sticky, but keep stirring until all of the powdered sugar is incorporated. Next, spread into your prepared pan and chill. At this point, you can put sprinkles or other decoration on your fudge if you’d like before it sets up. (or you may drizzle with decorating chocolate after it has chilled.) After chilling, remove foil and the fudge from your pan and cut into small squares. Decorate additional if you’d like using melted decorating chocolate for a fun effect.

Go to the links below to check out the others and to vote for my recipe!

Monday, December 5, 2011

chicken and gnocchi soup

Yummy note: I miss some of my lunch outings from the BC (before children) days. I love my Olive Garden, not to mention the bread sticks, soup, and salad lunch deals. mmm. I don't really do many lunch excursions anymore, unless it is to-go, drive-thru, or we are going to see someone I haven't seen in awhile.  I guess it saves us a bit on the pocketbook now, but if I want to go out for lunch, I am taking the two sidekicks with me, and well, that sometimes isn't the easiest. When I do go, I must be feeling the need for some adventure! So this is how this soup recipe search started as I've been hungry for this creamy, filling, gnocchi soup for awhile now. When I found this recipe for Olive Garden's chicken and gnocchi soup, I was very excited, but wasn't sure about it until I really tried it out. I've made it several times, once with butternut squash gnocchi, another with instant potato quick gnocchi, and both were equally delicious. However, I tried to play around on the half and half to make it a bit of a lighter recipe, but by doing that the creaminess just isn't there. So if that is what you really like about this soup, don't substitute. So, final words, if anyone has any tips for tackling how to eat your food before it gets cold, while managing two young kids at a restaurant, fill me in! I hope you enjoy this warm, hearty soup.

Chicken and Gnocchi Soup
Original recipe found here

1 cup cooked chicken, diced
4 tbsp butter
4 tbsp flour
1 quart half and half
14 ounces chicken broth
1/2 cup celery, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup carrots, finely shredded
1 cup onion, finely diced
1 cup spinach, chopped
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp parsley
1 lb gnocchi
salt and pepper, to taste

*yummy tips: 
Some time-saving tips for this recipe is to buy a few things already pre-made, such as: shredded carrots in a bag; rotisserie chicken or canned chicken; frozen or refrigerated gnocchi; and frozen chopped spinach. Recipe can easily be doubled and extra soup can be frozen for a quick meal later. Also, whole milk can be used instead of the half and half, but the texture isn't as silky smooth as the half and half produces.


Saute the onion, garlic, and celery in the butter and olive oil, until onion becomes translucent. Add in your flour and make like a paste or a roux. Stirring constantly, cook the mixture for about a minute and then add in your half and half, seasonings, carrots, and chicken. Let mixture begin to simmer and thicken up.

In another pot, cook your gnocchi according to package directions or prepare your homemade gnocchi (I used my squash gnocchi recipe before and it turned out delicious as well). Note, if preparing homemade gnocchi for this dish, I would do that before so you don't have to worry about it at the same time as preparing your soup. As the soup mixture gets thicker, maybe a few minutes of simmering, add in your chicken broth, and let it reduce a few minutes again. Once the gnocchi is ready, add it to the simmering soup, along with your spinach.

Cook for a few additional minutes or until the spinach starts to wilt. Serve with a little parmesan cheese on top if you wish.