Friday, November 21, 2014

13 Cookie Cutters and a Delicious Cookie Book Giveaway

I've scoured through my hundreds of cookie cutters and have selected 13 (a baker's dozen) to send to one lucky winner along with this stunning and whimsical cookie book called "DECORATING COOKIES PARTY" by my friend, Bridget Edwards.

I've planned this timely giveaway with you, my readers in mind, and just in time for holiday baking!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Healthy Honey Cashew Peanut Butter

Roasted peanuts and raw cashews combine in this delicious Healthy Honey Cashew Peanut Butter spread. A touch of raw honey, salt and macadamia oil takes it beyond fabulous!
Healthy Honey Cashew Peanut Butter

I've been using raw cashews a lot lately. I like to grind them up in my smoothies, add them into my yogurt in the morning, and eat them by the handful at times when I want something quick and nutritious but don't feel like taking the time to make something.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Woof Wednesday - Pet Friend's Edtion - Meet Casper and Franklin

Welcome to another edition of one of my favorite new features, Woof Wednesday. Today I'm thrilled to introduce you to two of my reader's adorable kitty cats, Casper and Franklin.
Casper and Franklin
Casper and Franklin belong to Laura and I think they're some of the cutest kitties I've ever seen. Once you read what Laura has to say about them, I know you'll agree that beauty is far more then fur deep.

Here's what makes these two little fur kids so special in Laura's words:

"Casper is a little bit elusive, her favorite toy is a gnarly old felt toy in the shape of a Santa hat. She brings it to me in the night, it’s always next to the bed when I get up. She also leaves it by the door when I’m out working late at night. Sometimes I find it in her bed. She was a stray kitten that we found when we lived in South Boston. She’s a bit snooty with strangers, but is very sweet with me. She brings that Santa hat upstairs and gets in bed with us (usually on my side). She’s also polydactil on her front paws. She’s our very best behaved pet, she doesn’t claw things, or have potty accidents, or steal food, and she waits patiently for us to get up in the morning. Unlike Franklin who knocks everything off the bed side table then pokes you in the face with his claws."

"Franklin is a character. He’s like a dog when it comes to food. He eats EVERYTHING. We have to put baby locks on the food cabinets to keep him out. He’ll steal bread, peanuts, cashews, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, pasta, rice, (raw or cooked). His favorite food is avocado. Which I know is not good for kitties. We have to be very careful to lock them up either in the fridge or in the locked cabinets. He’ll steal a whole avocado and take it into the guest bathroom and eat right through the skin. He’ll try to eat anything. A few weeks ago he took a whole jalapeño off the counter and ran off with it. I found it in the living room with lots of bite marks, he didn’t actually eat only of it, just bit it a bunch of times.  He usually sleeps on Dave’s side of the bed and has the loudest, craziest meows when he thinks no one is around. Franklin was a stray that we adopted from the MSPCA in Boston."

"Thanks for featuring my kids!!"

You are more than welcome, Laura. Thank you so much for sharing them with us! I just loved reading about them both and how different they are. Franklin is such a stinker (in a good way) and today I leaned that avocado is bad for cats. I had no idea! And I love how Casper brings you a Santa hat each and every day. What a sweetheart!!! Please give them both a little scratch behind the ears from me :)

Dear Readers:
I hope you've been enjoying the Woof Wednesday - Pet Friends Edition as much as I've enjoyed bringing it to you. If you'd like your pet (dog, cat, bird, horse, lizard etc.) feature in an upcoming Woof Wednesday publication, I'd love if you'd send me a photo of your beloved pet/pets along with a little something about what makes them so special to you! I'd love to share them with my readers! Thank you all so much and I'll look forward hearing from you!

Until we woof again,

Monday, November 17, 2014

Lasagna Strata with Italian Sausage

Inspired by my love of lasagna and my love of strata, I came up with this Lasagna Strata. Layers of Italian bread, Italian sausage, grape tomatoes and cheese come together nicely with, what else? Eggs!! Sounds weird, tastes great!
Lasagna Strata. Layers of bread, tomatoes, cheeses, Italian Sausage and eggs combine in this tasty and unique dish inspired by traditional lasagna.

I had an idea to make this Lasagna Strata but wasn't sure how it would turn out. Either it would be a giant disaster or it would be something unusual and tasty. Time would tell, and I was up for the challenge of discovery.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Spicy Baked Crab Rangoon

These two bite Spicy Baked Crab Rangoon pack a flavorful punch in a small package. Sesame seeds and sriracha add the perfect final touch to these tasty little appetizers.
Spicy Baked Crab Rangoon with sesame seeds and sriracha

I have a mad, crazy love for crab Rangoon. That said, this recipe tastes nothing like the ones from our local Chinese take-out restaurant. But they're good...and spicy...and my dad enjoyed them (which is really saying something, if you only knew my dad)!

I made these Rangoon to take to my sisters house a few weeks ago when she'd invited some family members over for pizza. As I was making them, I kept thinking to myself that my dad is never going to even sample these as they're not in his wheelhouse of foods he'd enjoy. He's not a cream cheese eater, and I doubt he'd enjoy sriracha either. I do know however that he enjoys sesame seeds, so I made sure to sprinkle them on top to make them look more appetizing to my dad's eye.

Spicy Baked Crab Rangoon with sesame seeds and Sriracha

When we got to my sister's house, I placed the plate on the table and said nothing. I didn't even say what they were, or what they contained as far as ingredients. I guess that was a smart idea because before long my dad had eaten several of them and commented how much he liked them. WOW! It's amazing what a few little sesame seeds can do!

Spicy Baked Crab Rangoon with sesame seeds and sriracha

You'll also notice from the photographs that I lined the plate with sesame seeds. No, this wasn't for my dad's sake (HaHa), it was to get the Rangoon to sit straight on the plate (think kosher salt and oysters). Then, when the wontons were all eaten, I easily funneled them back into the jar they came from, and not one tiny seed was wasted in the presentation of this dish.

Yield: 36 appetizers      Prep Time: 20 minutes
1 package won ton wrapers (found in the refrigerated produce section of the gracery store)
Olive oil spray
8 - 10 ounces canned lump crab meat
1 block (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 teaspoon sesame oil
4 green onions, finely chopped (white and green parts)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon sriracha, plus additional for garnish
2 - 3 cups toasted sesame seeds for garnish and for lining the plate

-Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
-Line mini muffin tins with wonton wrapers. *Note - to keep the wonton wrappers soft and pilable, wrap them in a damp paper towel and microwave for a few seconds on low power.
-Once the wrappers are in the muffin tins, spray them lightly with olive oil spray.
-Bake in a preheated oven for 8-10 minutes until they turn golden brown. Remove and cool.
-Meanwhile in a medium size bowl, mix together the crab meat, cream cheese, sesame oil, green onions, salt, pepper, garlic powder and 1 tablespoon sriracha.
-Fill each wonton cup with approximately 1 tablespoon of the crab mixture.
-Top each rangoon with a light squirt of additional sriracha and a light sprinkling of sesame seeds.
-Place about 2-3 cups of toasted sesame seeds in the bottom of a serving platter and place the baked rangoon on top of the seeds to level.
-Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve cold.

Spicy Baked Crab Rangoon with sesame seeds and sriracha

Spicy Baked Crab Rangoon with sesame seeds and sriracha

I love a holiday appetizer party. I just adore sampling all sorts of little bites instead of sitting down to a 3 course meal. These Spicy Baked Crab Rangoon would make a welcome addition to any holiday buffet table along with a nice glass of wine :)

Festive Christmas ornaments painted, frosted wine glass /
If there is ever anything I can paint for you, please don't hesitate to contact me or visit my shop. Custom orders are always welcome and I can work from any photo or description you send my way.
Kudos Kitchen by Renée ~ Where food, art and fun collide on a regular basis!

Until we eat again,

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Pumpkin Praline Pie with Graham Cracker and Cornflake Crust

This pumpkin pie is traditional...with a twist. Graham crackers and cornflake crumbs combine together to make an out of this world crust with delicious crunch and flavor.
Pumpkin Praline Pie with Graham and Cornflake Crust /

I'm not a big pumpkin pie lover (I'm more of a pecan or apple pie gal), but what I love about this particular pumpkin pie is the nice, thick graham cracker and cornflake crust! I'm all about that crust, 'bout that crust, 'bout that crust (think Megan Trainor's hit song "All About That Bass"), no filling.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Woof Wednesday - Pet Friends Edition - Meet Luke and Rojo

I've known Suzanne for serveral years through social media. She's become a great friend and is someone I find very funny. I also know how much she loves animals of all kinds. Especially her two Border Collies, Luke and Rojo.

Here is a picture of Rojo and Luke holding paws. How cute is this???

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Apple Dutch Baby Pancake

This Apple Dutch Baby Pancake will feed a hungry crowd for a fabulous breakfast or brunch celebration. Drizzle the top with some apple cider syrup and you're in for quite a treat!
Apple Dutch Baby Pancake with Apple Cider Syrup /

I remember my sister-in-law Carole making something she called a wooden shoe several years ago while we were on a family cabining vacation in Wisconsin. She served it for brunch one Sunday morning when we were all gathered at the picnic table outside their cabin. When Carole stepped out of the cabin that Sunday morning holding the glorious looking wooden shoe in her hands, I remember the incredible amount of oohs and aahs she'd received from everybody in attendance.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Celery Root Mashed Potatoes

The ultimate comfort food is kicked up a notch or two with these Celery Root Mashed Potatoes. The flavor of potato and celery root compliment each other amazingly well. The depth of flavor that the celery root adds is almost undetectable and at the same time is very noticeable.
Celery Root Mashed Potato Recipe /

The first time I had celery root  mashed potatoes was about ten years ago when a group my girlfriends took me to a local Williams-Sonoma store for my 45th birthday. The store was having a holiday cooking class and somehow my girlfriends knew this would be right up my alley. LOL. Go figure!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Classic Swiss Fondue for #SundaySupper "Giving Comfort"

This Classic Swiss Fondue is rich, creamy and super cheesy with just the right amount of Gallo Family Vineyard's Pinot Grigio along with a splash of nutty Amaretto to keep things extra flavorful. Perfect for using with all kind of dippers. It's as warm as a comforting hug on a cold winter's night.

Giving comfort to those in need is a wonderful thing and should not be holiday exclusive. It should be something we all think about and do on a regular basis. However, as we all know, life gets busy, and we tend sometimes to forget that there are others in this world who need help from time to time. Whether it's a warm meal, a comforting hug or a hand up to those who are down on their luck. This month, with the help of Gallo Family Vineyards, the #SundaySupper team has come up with a few special ways we can all give a little comfort where comfort is needed and is also some much needed nourishment for the soul.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Double Chocolate Creme De Menthe Cookies

These Double Chocolate Creme De Menthe cookies are pillowy soft with a deep, rich chocolate flavor and cool minty freshness.
Double Chocolate Creme De Menthe Cookies /

Chocolate. Who doesn't love it? I do, but I'm not especially a slave to it...until there is mint involved. Then, I'm all over it! These Double Chocolate Creme De Menthe Cookies do it for me, and I'm happy to report they did it for the people at my husband's work too.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Peanut Butter, Chicken and Pumpkin Stew #FoodieExtravaganza

Peanut butter and pumpkin take center stage in this deliciously rich and flavorful fall stew. I've added chicken for my meat loving family but this could easily be made into a meatless meal that would satisfy even the hungriest of bellies. Serve this in a roasted pumpkin for an unforgettable seasonal presentation! 
Serve this Peanut Butter, Chicken and Pumpkin Stew in a roasted pumpkin for drama and presentation.

I've joined a fun new cooking group. It's called Foodie Extravaganza and every month there is a featured ingredient that we get to play with. The gist is to challenge ourselves to come up with a recipe (sweet or savory) that highlights the featured month's ingredient in the very best way possible. This month's (November) featured ingredient is peanut butter (my favorite) so I decided to make this Peanut Butter, Chicken and Pumpkin Stew.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Savory Ginger Pumpkin Spice Bread #TwelveLoaves

This Savory Ginger Pumpkin Spice Bread is soft and yeasty with a wonderful crumb and aroma. Make room for it on your Thanksgiving table. It's a bread lovers dream come true!

#TwelveLoaves: where every month has a different theme and every theme has a different host. Well, at least until it's my turn to host (i.e. this month's theme of pumpkin), and I have to rely completely on Heather of Girlichef to pull me out of the weeds. Thank you so much, Heather! You've taught me so much, and yet I still have so much to learn :) The good news? I love to bake bread, so I'll keep on keeping on!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Low-Calorie Pumpkin Pie Malted Milkshake #SundaySupper

This Low-Calorie Pumpkin Pie Malted Milkshake is a creamy and delicious blend of pumpkin, low-fat vanilla yogurt, malted milk powder, vanilla and spices. 
Low-Calorie Pumpkin Pie Malted Milkshake is a creamy and delicious blend of pumpkin, low-fat vanilla yogurt, malted milk powder, vanilla and spices.

What's that you say? You love pumpkin pie but not all the calories that go along with it! Well then, do I have a treat for you with this Low-Calorie Pumpkin Pie Malted Milkshake! Since this week's #SundaySupper theme is "lighten up the holidays," I thought this recipe would be appropriate. After all, what's Thanksgiving without the taste of pumpkin pie?

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Homemade Apple Cider Doughnut Holes

Apple Cider Doughnut Holes are are a seasonal treat that you never outgrow. These soft and pillowy yeast donuts are dressed to perfection with an irresistible cinnamon sugar topping.
Apple Cider Doughnut Holes are are a seasonal treat that you never outgrow. These soft and pillowy yeasty donuts are dressed to perfection with an irresistible cinnamon sugar topping.

There is just something about Autumn that conjures up images of pumpkin farms, apple picking and hay rides. But, who can imagine any of those fun things without the seasonal treat of apple cider doughnuts?

Kudos Kitchen By Renee

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