sandbakkelse - norwegian almond butter cookies

Ok, I want to warn you right now...  when I say butter cookies, I mean butter cookies.  This recipe is chock full of butter.  One whole pound to be exact!  But don't be scared...  these are so worth every bit of that butter!

This is a traditional norwegian cookie recipe that my grandma has made for years.  In some places these are made in special molds, like little tart shells, but for ease and simplicity sake, my grandma makes them as regular cookies...  and I think they are perfect!

You really can't beat these with a big hot mug of coffee...  And I like to add the red sugar sprinkles around the holidays for a little festivity!

Sandbakkelse Recipe

2 cups butter
2 cups sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 cups + 2 tablespoons flour
colored sugar sprinkles, optional

Preheat the oven to 375ºF.

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in the egg, almond extract and salt until well blended.  Mix in the flour, until you have a smooth, well-mixed dough.

Scoop the dough out onto parchment-lined baking sheets.  Flatten with a fork dipped in water and sprinkle with colored sugar, if using.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges are just barely golden brown.  Remove to a cooling rack to cool completely before storing in Tupperware in the freezer (if they don't all get eaten right away, that is!).


40 weeks...

...have come and gone.  Yet you're still cuddled inside me, sweet boy.

When will you make your grand entrance into this world?  When will you come out of your safe little cocoon and join this family that is waiting so patiently to meet you?

When will I get to hold you in my arms and cuddle you and smell your sweet baby smell??

I love you so much, my son.  I am so grateful for this time we have had together... the months that you have been all mine, safe and protected from this often harsh outside world.

But I am also so ready for you to come out.  You are running out of room, and I am ready to hold you, and kiss you, and to introduce you to the world!

Come out, come out from inside sweet boy!  We love you and can't wait to meet you!!


jalapeño popper dip

I love jalapeño poppers, so when I saw this recipe -  I knew immediately that it would become a favorite!

Boy was I right...  creamy, cheesy, much less messy than poppers... and so perfect with chips!

I have been known to eat this dip as a meal.  And it has happened more than once!

If you like jalapeño poppers, try this dip!

Oh and try this Jalapeño Popper Grilled Cheese too!  Oh my.

Jalapeño Popper Dip Recipe
adapted from babskitchen

2 (8oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayo
1 (4oz) can diced green chiles
6 fresh jalapeño peppers, seeded and finely chopped (or 1/4 cup jarred jalapeños, rinsed & chopped)
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 400ºF.  In a medium bowl, stir together the cream cheese, sour cream and mayo until smooth.  Stir in the chiles and peppers until mixed.

Spread the mixture into a baking dish.  In a small bowl, stir together the parmesan cheese and bread crumbs.  Sprinkle this mixture on top of the spread in the dish.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until the cheese mixture is heated through and bubbly.  If you'd like, at the end, turn on the broiler to brown the top a bit more!

Serve with lots of tortilla chips!

(Oh, and this only tastes better the next day...  you could throw it together the day before you wanted to heat it up and it will be amazing!  Or, you can bake it up and eat some and then stick it back in the oven the next day...  either way it is delicious!)


bjørn's first real winter snow!

I know we had snow last winter, but I don't think that really counts as his first snow, since he wasn't old enough to play in it or care.

We didn't last long out there, because mommy got too cold...  I'm pretty sure Bjørn would have stayed out all morning if I had let him!  :o)


peppermint bark

Peppermint Bark is a holiday staple for many people.  Usually coming in a tin from Williams-Sonoma or in a big tub from Costco.  :o)

This recipe tastes just as good as those more-famous store bought versions, if not better, and is much cheaper... not to mention incredibly simple to make!

You will never need to buy store bought peppermint bark again!

Peppermint Bark Recipe

2 cups good-quality white chocolate chips
1 cup good-quality chocolate chips
1/2 cup crushed candy canes

Line a baking sheet with foil, shiny side up.

Carefully melt the white and dark chocolates in separate dishes, stirring every 20 seconds or so to make sure they don't burn.

Spread the chocolates side by side on the baking sheet, about 1/4 inch thick.  With a butter knife or small spatula, swirl together the chocolates until they look pretty!

Sprinkle with the crushed candy and set aside to cool, at least one hour or until firm.  Remove from the foil and break into chunks.


peppermint truffle cheesecake bars

I am obsessed with peppermint and chocolate.  Whenever I think about what I want to bake next, all I can seem to think of is how to find another way to combine the two!

Maybe this is another weird - for me - pregnancy craving?  Especially since I don't really care two-bits about chocolate normally!

Today my obsession has taken the form of Peppermint Truffle Cheesecake Bars.  Bars instead of a traditional cheesecake, because I wanted something a little easier and less-fancy...

(And what I really mean is, I wanted to be able to cut them up and eat a few before I stick the rest in the freezer for the holidays...  which is not so easy with a traditional, too-pretty-to-cut-a-chunk-out-of-just-because-I-have-no-self-control cheesecake!)

These are actually a very light cheesecake bar.  Not as rich and dense as a normal cheesecake, they have an almost mousse-like consistency.  So yummy!

Peppermint Truffle Cheesecake Bars Recipe

for the crust:
40 regular Oreo cookies (not double stuffed!), finely crushed
1/2 cup butter, melted
for the filling:
2 cups chocolate chips, melted
2 (8oz each) packages cream cheese, softened
1 1/3 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
4 large eggs, room temperature
for the topping:
1 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
4 tablespoons sour cream, room temperature
1 cup crushed candy canes

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Line a 9x13" baking dish with foil.

Stir together the crushed Oreos and melted butter until the crumbs are all moistened.  Dump the mixture into your foil-lined pan and press firmly into the bottom.  Bake for 15 minutes, until the crust is set.   Cool completely.

Beat together the cream cheese, sugar, and 1 cup sour cream in the food processor until well blended and smooth.  Add in the eggs, mixing until just incorporated.  With the food processor running, stream in the melted chocolate and mix until blended.

Pour the filling over the cooled crust and bake for 35-40 minutes.  The edges should be set but the center should still be a little wiggly at this point!  Let the filling cool while you prepare the glaze.

Carefully melt together the 1 cup chocolate chips, 1/4 cup butter and corn syrup.  Stir in the sour cream and pour the glaze over the filling in the pan.  Smooth the top and then sprinkle with the crushed candy canes.

Let the bars cool on the counter for about an hour before you stick them in the fridge to chill overnight, or up to 5 days, before cutting and serving!  (These also freeze great...  just wrap them well in foil after they are chilled and thaw them in the fridge for a few hours before serving!)


39 weeks!

Yes, I know I should be posting a 40 week baby bump pic in order to stick with the pattern I have followed so far... but since I'm kind of hoping this little guy decides to come before we reach the 40 week mark, I thought I should take a 39 week picture!

If I go past 40 weeks, I will probably post that one too...  but hopefully that won't be the case!  :o)
Hurry up and get here baby boy!  We can't wait to see you and introduce you to the world!!


slow cooker beef stew

This recipe is a little different than you'd expect.  In fact, it's not at all what you would expect for a beef stew!  But I saw a version of this online, and just couldn't resist trying it out...

I was not disappointed!  The unexpected ingredients really make this an amazing, flavorful and yet super-simple slow cooker meal.  I like to serve it over mashed potatoes, but you can serve it however you like!
Not-Your-Traditional Slow Cooker Beef Stew Recipe

3-4 medium potatoes, roughly chopped
1/2 large onion, roughly chopped
1 can cream-style corn
1 1/2 cup chopped carrots
1 1/2 pound beef stew meat
1/2-1 pound mushrooms, quartered
1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt (Johnny's or Lawry's)
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
1 1/2 cups beef broth
1 cup spaghetti sauce

Place everything into the slow cooker, stir, turn on low, and cook for 8-10 hours!

It's that easy!  And so good!!


groaning cake

Ok, I know that's a weird name for a cake, but to be fair - I didn't make it up!  I heard about this treat in my online wanderings, and just had to try it out for myself.  (It's an old English tradition to bake a cake like this for a laboring woman...  I couldn't find much detail when I googled it, but feel free to look it up and let me know what you learn!) 

It's actually more of a quick bread than a cake, and it's chock-full of healthy stuff...  blackstrap molasses, olive oil, apples...  all good things meant to give the new mama a 'boost'.

This is my version, and I think it's pretty good...  Of course I did spread a little butter on my slices, but since the 'insides' of this cake are so healthy, I figured it would be ok!  :o)

I just enjoyed a few slices and now I've got the rest stored in my freezer to take out when this baby comes!

Groaning Cake Recipe

2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 1/2 cups (about 2 large apples) peeled, grated apple
3 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
1 1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Grease two 9x5" loaf pans.

In a large bowl, whisk together the first 5 ingredients.  Stir in the grated apple.

In another bowl, whisk together the rest of the ingredients.  Mix the wet ingredients into the flour/apple mixture until well blended.

Pour the batter into the two loaf pans and place into the oven to bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.


pumpkin cinnamon rolls

Ok, I've been meaning to post this recipe for a while now, and keep getting distracted by other things.  (You know, like Christmas baking and a baby on the way!)  :o)

I had actually never made homemade cinnamon rolls before these, but I am now converted and will be making these again and again!  (Especially the amazing cream cheese frosting...  think Cinnabon!)

The pumpkin flavor is mild, but definitely there and adds a lovely warm touch to the cinnamon rolls.  You can substitute vanilla for the maple syrup in the frosting, but it really does add a lovely layer of flavor with the pumpkin, if you have it!

These freeze wonderfully...  baked or un-baked.  I made a full batch and froze two-thirds of the formed cinnamon rolls in a pan to bake at a later time.  This is a perfect treat to stock in the freezer for un-expected company!

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

for the dough:
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm (not hot) water
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup warm (not hot) milk
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup pumpkin purée
6 cups flour (approximately)
for the filling:
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
for the frosting:
6 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (or 1 teaspoon vanilla)
1/8 teaspoon salt

for the dough:
In a small dish, stir together the warm water, yeast and sugar and set aside to proof (watch it bubble and grow a bit, so you know it's still good!) for a few minutes.

In the bowl of your stand mixer with the standard mixer blade, mix together the proven yeast mixture, the warm milk, melted butter, sugar, salt and pumpkin purée until well combined.  Mix in 3 cups of the flour, and then continue to add the flour - 1/2 cup at a time - until the dough gets somewhat hard to mix.

Switch to your dough hook and continue to add in flour while it kneads on low speed until the dough is barely sticky (like bread dough).

Rub a bit of oil around the ball of dough and place it in a large bowl with a clean towel on top.  Place the bowl in a warm, draft-free place and let the dough rise for 1-2 hours, or however long it takes to double in size.

Gently punch down the dough, and remove it to a lightly-floured board to roll out.  Roll the dough out to approximately a 12x24" rectangle.

for the filling:
Pour the melted butter all over the rolled-out dough, spreading it out evenly.  In a small bowl, mix together the sugars and cinnamon and sprinkle the mixture evenly all over the melted butter.

Roll the dough up tightly into a long roll, pressing the edge to seal it.  Cut the log into 16 rolls and place the rolls into buttered pans.  (You will probably need a 9x13" pan and an 8" square pan to fit all of the rolls.)  Cover the pans with a clean towel and let the rolls raise for another hour or so until they have about doubled in size.

While the rolls are rising, preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Once they are ready, place the rolls in the oven to bake for about 20-25 minutes, until the tops are golden brown and the insides are no longer doughy.

for the frosting:
While the cinnamon rolls are baking, beat together all the ingredients until creamy and spread over the warm cinnamon rolls when they come out of the oven!


perfect snickerdoodles

My husband's birthday is today and these are one of his favorite cookies, so I thought I would surprise him with a batch.  My plan to bring them to his work this afternoon for a surprise treat was foiled though...  when I remembered that I don't have a car today!

Oh well, it's the thought that counts, right?  (Honey, that was for you!)  I love you husband!  These cookies are waiting patiently for you to get home tonight!

These are perfectly chewy, moist and cinnamon-sugar-y.  And the best part...  NO shortening, like so many snickerdoodle recipes seem to call for.  If you try these, I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Perfect Snickerdoodle Recipe

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 3/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons cream of tarter
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
for rolling:
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 400ºF.  Line your baking sheets with parchment paper.

In your mixer bowl, cream together the butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs and vanilla until well blended.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cream of tarter, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.  Add to the butter mixture, beating until combined.

In a small bowl, stir together the 1/4 cup sugar and tablespoon of cinnamon.

To form the cookies: scoop out a tablespoon of dough, roll it into a ball and roll it in the cinnamon/sugar mixture to coat.  Place the cookies 2 inches apart on your parchment-lined baking sheets.   (These cookies will spread!)

Bake for 7 minutes and then remove the pan from the oven, leaving the cookies on the pan for 5 minutes to set before moving them to a wire rack to cool.

Makes about 5 dozen cookies or so (depending on how many tastes of the dough there are!)  :o)


a letter to my firstborn...

My dear sweet baby Bjørn,

You are growing so quickly... right before my eyes.  My tiny baby boy, you are no longer a baby.  (Although you will always be my baby!)  You are a little boy now, and you are even about to become a big brother!

I was starting to get anxious for your little brother to get here.  To make his journey from protected life in my womb to the exciting world outside it.  But I woke up one morning and realized how precious and how special each of these last moments are with you as my main focus.  Life will change for us soon enough, and I am done wishing for that change to happen quicker!

Yes, I am excited and so ready for your little brother to get here, but I am also so excited to enjoy each and every moment I have with you...  just you.  I am savoring each hug, each finger-tugging request to play, to get you something, to show you something...  each time that I can respond to your needs and your desires right away, for I know that things will change so soon!

I love you so much, my firstborn son!  I could never have imagined how my life would change with you in it.  How little I would matter anymore, and how much you would matter!  Everything about you directs my every thought, my every move, my every plan...  My life revolves around you and I love it.

Soon, though...  very soon actually...  you will have a baby brother to share your life with.  Life will change, a lot, but for the better.  Definitely for the better.

I am so excited for you to meet your little brother.   Your life-long friend.  The one who will always be your friend, no matter where life takes you.  Yes, this friendship will take a little time to develop.  And yes, things may seem a little chaotic and different in the beginning, but I know you will love this new life we are about to enter!

You won't get all of my attention anymore, and you won't get all of daddy's attention...  but you will still get all the love you have gotten from the day we met you, and you will get lots of attention from the little brother who will adore you!

That's the beautiful thing about brothers and sisters and about mommy's and daddy's love...  our love doesn't get smaller or divided among you, it gets multiplied with each new member of the family!

I love being your mommy, my sweet boy!  I have loved every day, every minute that we have shared together...  and I can't wait for the rest of our days together!  Watching you grow and learn is one of my favorite things.  It's so fun to see your personality blossom, and to get to know you better.

You are such a bundle of energy!  All boy...  never sitting still, always trying to figure out what you can do next...  what you can get into, or onto...  how things work.

Cuddles with you are rare, but they are amazing and oh so thoroughly enjoyed when you decide to give them!  I am so thankful that you still like to be rocked before naptime and bedtime, even if it is only for a few minutes.

You like to snuggle into my neck, singing along with me and leaning up to give me kisses every once in a while until you fall asleep or decide you are ready for your bed.  Boy do I love those slobbery freely-given kisses!

You also love to sing and be sung to.  Right now your favorite is Old MacDonald...  You chime right in with the e-i-e-i-o's and the noises when you know them!  Another song you love is one I made up one sleepless night when you were tiny, and that I still sing to you before bed each night...  I want to write it here, since this really is your baby book, and so you have it forever.

(sung to the tune of I Love You Lord)
I love you Bjørn... and I always will!
You are my light and my life, my child.
I'll pray for you... every single day,
That God would wrap His sweet loving arms around you!

I know it's nothing special, and not fancy at all, but it is ours and I love to sing it to you!

I am so glad that you are my child.  My firstborn.  My life-changing love.  Thank you for making me a mommy.  For teaching me that life is not in my control, and love is more than enough!  I can't wait to continue on this journey with you.  I love you!

Always and forever,
Your mommy


peppermint fudge truffle cake

I needed to make a quick cake for a bridal shower yesterday.  I knew I wanted to do something chocolate, since I don't know the bride-to-be personally and most people love chocolate, but I also wanted it to be a bit more feminine, since it was for a bridal shower.

That's where the pink crushed peppermint candies on top came from!  (Pink, Brown and Cream were my wedding colors...) I hope she enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed making it for her, and tasting the crumbs and frosting!  :o)

Thick, chocolate-y (but not too-sweet) frosting layered in between and all around 2 rich dark chocolate peppermint cake layers, and finished with crushed peppermint candies... this cake is a perfect holiday treat!  (I'm thinking this might be a good cake to have for Jesus' birthday cake this year!)
I will take a better picture of this cake next time I make it and can actually slice into it at home for a pic!  :o)

Peppermint Fudge Truffle Cake Recipe

for the cake:
1 box devils food cake mix
1 large box (5.9oz) chocolate fudge instant pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup butter, melted & cooled
1/2 cup warm water
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
for the frosting:
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 1/3 cup chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
5-6 regular sized candy canes, crushed

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Butter two 9-inch round cake pans and dust them with cocoa powder (you can use flour, but cocoa powder makes for a prettier chocolate cake!).

Combine all of the cake ingredients in a large bowl, stir to combine, and then beat with your mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes.  Pour the batter evenly into the prepared cake pans (it is a very thick batter!).

Bake for 32-38 minutes (depending on your oven) until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean.  Let the cakes cool on a rack until cool enough to handle, and then turn them out onto the racks to cool completely.

While the cakes bake, prepare the frosting.  In a medium saucepan, stir together the heavy cream and corn syrup and heat to just barely simmering on medium heat.  Turn the heat down to low and stir in the chocolate chips, stirring until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth.

Pour the chocolate mixture into a bowl and refrigerate until very cold.  Once the mixture is very cold, stir in the peppermint extract and beat the frosting mixture (like you're making whipped cream) until it forms stiff peaks.  Spread in between and all over the cooled cake.  Sprinkle with crushed peppermint candy and serve!

This cake can be baked and the frosting cooked and chilled the day before, so all you have to do is whip the frosting, frost the cake and serve on the day you need it!


my little pumpkin boy!

This was technically Bjørn's first halloween, since we didn't dress him up or go anywhere last year!  :o)

He was such a sweet little pumpkin...  although he wasn't too cooperative for the pictures.  He did enjoy his fill of candy though!

Related Posts with Thumbnails