SECOND COOKBOOK AVAILABLE!!!

erin-courtney-whats-for-dinner-final-box-fix-small

My second cookbook in the Moms on the Go cookbook series is now available!

Are you tired of making the same things for dinner over and over again? Are you looking for easy recipes using every day ingredients? Look no further!

The Moms on the Go cookbook series is aimed at busy moms (and dads!) who are looking for simple and delicious recipes to prepare for their family. Even if you don’t have kids, these recipes are too simple and yumdiddles to pass up!

“What’s for Dinner?” is the second cookbook in this series with over 85 easy recipes for:  breakfast & brunch, salads & sandwiches, entrees (chicken, beef & pork, vegetarian), side dishes, and desserts!

Click HERE to get your copy!

Banana Blueberry Muffins

IMG_0290

Nothing screams breakfast like a fluffy muffin with a hot cup of coffee. Make your coworkers jealous when they see you bite into this pure deliciousness. The way to win someone’s heart is through muffins…at least at the office.

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 ripe bananas

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 tablespoons butter, melted

3.5 oz. can blueberries, rinsed and drained*

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium size mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk together. Combine bananas, egg, and vanilla in a blender, puree until smooth. Pour banana mixture into mixing bowl with dry ingredients, stir to combine. Add melted butter, stir again. Gently stir in blueberries. Coat each cavity of a standard muffin pan with cooking spray. Evenly distribute batter between each cavity in pan (will fill up about 3/4 full in each one). Sprinkle tops with about 1/4 teaspoon of sugar on each one. Bake for about 23 minutes, until golden brown. Remove pan from oven, let muffins cool slightly and transfer to cooling rack.

*You can use 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries instead of can if you feel like gettin’ fancy. I personally prefer the little blueberries, but some people like the big ole fat ones. Personal preference takes the cake.

**These can be frozen! After muffins have cooled completely, individually wrap each one with plastic wrap, place in freezer bag and store in freezer. Grab one on your way out the door to work to enjoy a homemade muffin with your coffee. You deserve it.

 

Tiramisu Pancake Stack

It’s amazing how a simple combination of several different ingredients can make your mouth water just by thinking about them. My mother-in-law is a HUGE fan of tiramisu, and while I was making pancakes for the family one morning, her mere presence had me brainstorming about tiramisu recipes. The thoughts came swirling into my head like an ocean of chocolate syrup, and it was like a huge lightbulb turned on over my chocolate-syrup-filled brain. I gasped, then started thinking about how I could make these already delicious buttermilk pancakes, but brush each one with coffee, layer them with a mascarpone cream filling and top them with chocolate syrup. I’ll accept hugs as a thank you.

tiramisu pancake stack

I couldn’t wait to try these out, and thought about how perfectly a mimosa would accompany this as brunch. If you want to get technical about what is classified as a stack, of course it’ll be anything more than one pancake and cream layer…but feel free to go ahead and make a triple-decker. It’s worth it.

Oh, and did I mention this recipe will be in my upcoming book, “What’s For Dinner?” It’s the second book in my Moms On The Go cookbook series, and will have over 100 recipes for breakfast & brunch, soups, salads & sandwiches, entrees (chicken, beef, pork, & vegetarian), side dishes, and desserts.

Click HERE to check out my current cookbook available on Amazon!

For the Pancakes:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg, beaten

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup buttermilk

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add liquid ingredients, whisk together just until mixture is combined (batter will still have a few lumps). Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Pour 1/4 cup of batter at a time onto the skillet, and cook until bubbles appear on the surface. Flip with a spatula, and cook until lightly browned on the other side. Let pancakes cool to room temperature before assembling.

For the Cream Filling:

8 oz. mascarpone cheese

8 oz. frozen whipped topping, thawed

2 tablespoons confectioners sugar

In a small mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and beat at medium speed with electric mixer for about 1 minute.

Putting it all together:

Lay pancake on a plate, brush with cooled coffee. Spread 1/4 cup cream on top of pancake. Layer two more times, then top with chocolate syrup.

Oreo Truffle Tarts

I don’t know about you, but I can’t get enough of Oreos.  It might actually be in my best interest to buy stock in them, because I have probably contributed to a rise in demand for these irresistible cookies.  Every time there’s a fresh package in the pantry, it’s been consumed in some type of concoction, and back to the store we go.

IMG_0181

While writing my first cookbook, I included a few recipes that use the refrigerated pie crust to make miniature tarts.  Although they’re easy and delicious with the different fillings, my brain keeps wandering back to the sweet tart shell that I’ve made from scratch on numerous occasions.

IMG_0189

This time, I decided to fill it with Oreo Truffle filling.  However, there is some added Cool Whip in the truffle filling, but I don’t know if it’s possible to ever have a problem with that.  The first time these were made, the refrigerated pie crust was used.  Although it was quite tasty, it felt like it was missing something…so I tried again.  Ladies and Gentlemen, that was the missing link…a sweet tart shell made from scratch.  The refrigerated pie crust may be easier, but the taste doesn’t hold a candle to the real deal.

Excuse me while I stuff these in my belly, and there will be no guilt felt over here.  None.

For the Sweet Tart Shell

3 cups all purpose flour

3/4 cup confectioners sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 egg yolks

6 tablespoons ice cold water

2 1/4 sticks butter

Cut up butter into small chunks, place in bowl and in refrigerator (the butter needs to be COLD when you mix it in with the flour).  In a medium size mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Whisk together. Remove the butter from the refrigerator and immediately cut it into the flour, using a pastry cutter, your fingers, or a food processor. Do this until it resembles a coarse meal.  In a small bowl, combine the vanilla, egg yolks, and water, whisk together with a fork. Pour liquid mixture into bowl with dry ingredients, toss together with a fork to incorporate. Start kneading together with your hands until dough is moist and combined. Separate into two pieces, placing each piece on dough on a piece of plastic wrap. Wrap up completely, forming into a thick disk. Place both disks of dough into the refrigerator to set for at least 1 hour (can be stored in refrigerator for up to 1 week).

Remove dough from refrigerator, let soften slightly (about 15-30 minutes) before rolling out. Roll to 1/4 inch thick, use 3 inch round cutters to cut out circles. Press circles into muffin pan, poke 6-8 holes in center of dough. Place muffin pan in refrigerator to let dough chill for 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake shells for about 12 minutes, until golden. Remove pan from oven, use butter knife to loosen from pan and transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.

For the Oreo Truffle Filling

1 (14 oz.) package Oreo cookies

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

8 oz. Cool Whip, thawed

Place cookies in a food processor, process into fine crumbs (if you don’t have a food processor, a food chopper will work well).  In a medium size mixing bowl, combine cookie crumbs and cream cheese.  Beat with electric mixer at medium speed until well combined.  Add Cool Whip and continue beating for another minute, until well combined.  Using a medium ice cream scoop, distribute filling into each pastry shell.  Place in fridge to set.

For the Chocolate Ganache

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup heavy cream

Place chocolate chips in a small mixing bowl.  In a microwave safe dish, heat cream for 1-1 1/2 minutes, just until cream starts to bubble.  Pour hot cream over chocolate chips, whisk vigorously until chocolate chips have melted and mixture is smooth.

Pour a thin layer of chocolate ganache on top of Oreo Truffle layer, or you can just drizzle across the top. Since the ganache is rich, what you do right here is your own prerogative. Top with whipped topping and an extra mini Oreo cookie, if desired. Store in refrigerator.

My First Cookbook!!!

I would apologize for all the exclamation points, but I can’t help it!  My first cookbook is now available!  This is the first book in the series Moms on the Go, and the book is titled “Party Time!”

This book is a compilation of simple and delicious foods that are perfect for parties.  They include:  hot appetizers, cold appetizers, beverages (both kid-friendly and adult), self-serve desserts and crowd pleasing desserts!

Click HERE for the link!  It’s available exclusively on Amazon!

 

Pirate Birthday Party

Click HERE to watch the slideshow!

It’s hard to believe our son turned a year old, but I was prepared to throw him a pirate party.  Every time my husband would pick on me for going “overboard” (ha ha, get it?), I would scoff at him and say, “He’ll remember this party for the rest of his life!”

Since a baby’s first birthday party is more for the adults and older kids than the birthday baby himself, it gives me an excuse to throw a blowout of a party.  First, the construction of the cake.  It had to be good.  It had to be massive.  It had to be amazing.

IMG_6672

Two weeks before the party, I got started on the cake topper, which was a treasure chest made out of rice krispie treats.  I bought a box of 16 treats, then put them all together to start the construction.  Here is the base and the top.

IMG_6674

After they were put together, I slathered some icing all around the sides and top.  The brown fondant was rolled out using a fondant roller, then cut into strips and wrapped around the treats to give it a real look of wooden planks.  The only thing I would do differently with this is use chocolate icing as a base, so there wouldn’t be any white specs of the buttercream underneath the fondant.

IMG_6690

The gold coins were made out of fondant as well.  I rolled out white fondant, using a small circle cutter to cut out the shapes, then painted them with gold food coloring.  This took several coats.  After the coins dried completely (couple of days), I layered them on top of the treats.  Skewers were cut to fit, and placed horizontally through the top section of the treats to secure them together.  More icing was piled on top and smoothed for a rounded look, then covered with the strips of fondant.  Toothpicks were stuck in the back side of the base of the chest, then the top part of the chest was placed on top of the toothpicks and coins.  The toothpicks secured the top part to the bottom.  The chest was placed on a small cake board, then cut to fit.  Dowel rods were placed in the top tier of the cake to prevent the chest from sinking into it (that thing was pretty heavy when finished).  Graham cracker crumbs were used as “sand” and the seashells were made out of chocolate using a seashell mold.  The jewels are plastic, and I used the majority of the jewels in the package for making treasure bags (along with plastic gold coins, plastic jewel rings, beads, and candy).  The treat bags were hidden in the back yard for the kids to do a treasure hunt, which they loved!

IMG_6691

The treasure map on top of the chest is also made out of fondant.  I rolled out the fondant, then cut it to shape using a paring knife.  An edible black pen was used to draw on it.

IMG_6686

Finished cake!  It literally weighed over 40 pounds…so it was transferred from one place to another only for pictures.  The bottom tier is a 3 layer 12 inch cake, and the top tier is a 4 layer 10 inch cake, the entire cake is vanilla with buttercream icing.

IMG_6693

The pirate skull, 1, anchors, and sharks are all made out of chocolate, using chocolate molds.  The red stripes and black cannon balls on the bottom tier are fondant.  The decorations on the top tier for the ocean are buttercream icing.

baby cake

Here is our little pirate, digging into his smash cake.  It was a 4 inch cake covered with buttercream and chocolate icing.  Go ahead and take a bite, big guy.  It’s your day.

IMG_6698

And, here we are with the pirate ship cake pops.  When I originally saw these, I got all excited and just HAD to make them…but wanted to add a little more than the original image I found, which only had the red and white stripe sails.  We went to our local arts and crafts store, which is where I found the card stock red and white stripe paper, along with black paper and the skull and crossbones stickers.  The cake pops are chocolate, covered with milk chocolate.  None of these were left at the end of the party.

2016-02-22 10.17.40

Speaking of chocolate, how about some chocolate lollipops?  I started working on these a week before the party.  Since there were several different colors of chocolate, it was more time consuming than just using one solid color.  I melted the different colors of chocolate separately, and used a toothpick to detail the colors, setting the molds in the refrigerator for the chocolate to set in between each color.  Time consuming, but worth it in my opinion.

Alex is 1-0356

Here’s the dessert table, which also had chocolate chip cookies (made small and thick to look like gold nuggets), and peanut butter ritz cookies made with yellow chocolate to resemble gold coins.

IMG_6676

Oh, and while we were at the arts and crafts store, silly me made the mistake of walking past the bird houses and came across this one.  It ended up in my cart, along with paint brushes and paint.

FullSizeRender

I was very happy with how it turned out, and used it as a table centerpiece for the party.  We’ll put it up in the yard since the party has passed for our visual enjoyment to watch the pirate birds play in their new pirate ship house.

12744645_10153934731162288_8523827432841632933_n[1]

Here was our menu for the party.  I decided to print out copies and place them around the house so I didn’t have to repeat myself 20 times going over everything there was to eat. Almost all of the food items served at the party are included in my upcoming cookbook!

IMG_3458

The photo prop was bought for pictures like these.

IMG_6700

And who doesn’t love an inflatable pirate?

family pic

It’s not a pirate party if you’re not dressed as a pirate, right?  Exactly!  ARRRRGH!!!

Gingerbread Rice Krispie Treats

While strolling through Wal Mart, the holiday baking section always catches my eye this time of year.  Well, I say that I was strolling, but it was more along the lines of a race-walking situation where I was headed for the finish line (being checkout).  I slowed down for a few seconds, then came to a screeching halt.  There they were…practically taunting me from the shelf…Gingerbread Marshmallows.  Was this an oasis in the dessert of shopping craziness in front of my eyes?  Clearly it was, so two bags were quickly thrown into my cart.  On I went, bolting for the self checkout aisle.  I couldn’t help but to fantasize about how satisfying some Gingerbread Rice Krispie Treats would be going into my belly.

With previous Rice Krispie Treat recipes, I’ve noticed that they’ve seemed a little dry.  Since I’m a huge fan of delicious desserts with moisture, I usually add a little more butter than what the recipe calls for…and in this case, some added cinnamon.  You’re welcome.

gingerbread rice krispie treats 1

Gingerbread Rice Krispie Treats Recipe

4 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 (8 oz.) bag gingerbread marshmallows

5 cups Rice Krispies cereal

extra butter for dish

Generously rub extra butter in bottom an dup sides of a 9×13 inch baking dish, set aside.  In a large pot, melt butter on low/medium heat on stove.  Continue to cook butter, stirring constantly, until slightly browned.  Stir in cinnamon and continue to cook for another minute.  Add marshmallows, reduce heat and stir constantly until marshmallows are melted and mixture is smooth.  Remove front heat, immediately add cereal and stir well until mixture is completely coated.  Spoon mixture into buttered dish.  Use extra butter for rubbing on hands, then press mixture evenly into dish.