November 27, 2022

Pink and White Circus Truffles: Frosted Animal Cracker Cookie Truffles

Originally posted in June, 2022
Repost November 2022 to gear up for Christmas baking!

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen that I whipped up some quick truffles last week for a mini family reunion we were hosting at our home this weekend. 

I'm a big fan of the actual Mother's brand Circus Animal Cookies (Frosted Animal Crackers) and could eat an entire bag myself, easily.  When I initially decided I wanted to make truffles instead of my typical chocolate chip cookies, I first figured I'd just make the regular almond truffles I know everyone loves, but then thought maybe instead, I should do the Oreo version as well to mix it up a bit.  But... meh

When it comes to quick and easy cookie truffles, a regular 'go to' is the Oreo version but it's just as simple to make them with 'Nilla Wafers, animal crackers or obviously - frosted animal crackers like the original (and best version, in my opinion) Circus Animals.

It's basically just pulverizing the cookie, adding enough frosting or cream cheese to hold it together, forming balls and dipping in candy coating.

And... that's what you do!


Frosted Animal Cracker Truffles

Frosted Animal Crackers (like Mother's Brand Circus Animals) (9 oz)
Cream Cheese or white or pink frosting (2 oz)
Pink candy coating (1 small pkg)
White candy coating (1 small pkg)
Muli-colored sprinkles

To each 9 oz. bag of animal cookies you'll want to use about 2 ounces of either frosting or cream cheese.  The amount you make is up to you.  I used 2 bags of Circus Animal Cookies and about 6-ish ounces cream cheese.   

Separate the pink and white cookies from each bag you are using.  Pulverize the white cookies in a food processor and add about 2-3 ounces white frosting or cream cheese and pulse just until it forms a ball.  Repeat with the pink.  If your dough is a bit too sticky to work with, chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes until you can form balls. The sprinkles in the white tend to turn it a pale 'green' tint.

Using about 1/2 teaspoon, scoop out little bits and roll in tiny balls, both pink and white, placing on parchment paper lined trays.  Freeze for about 20 minutes, and then use a white ball to smash a little and form it around a pink ball and place back on parchment.  Repeat until you've used about half of them and then reverse the process and smoosh a pink one to form around a white center.  If you want skip this step and do single color bites, (faster) just form 3/4" balls out of the white and pink cookie dough as you wish.  

Freeze your balls for about 30 minutes.  Prepare your candy melts by following directions on the packages.  Use a bowl for white and a bowl for pink (separate).  Usually this means microwaving on defrost or 50% power for 1 minute at a time and stirring and mashing between minutes until smooth and melted.

Dip half the balls pink and half white.  Be sure to sprinkle with multi-colored candy sprinkles immediately while they are wet because as they are frozen, they set up very, very quickly.

At the very end you can use the remaining melts to splatter and drizzle across and over the truffles.

You can keep these in the refrigerator for a week easily.  Mine were also out on the counter for 2-3 days, no problem.  

Some are multi color centered (right) and when I ran out of white dough but still had more pink, I did the rest solid pink.  Each are dipped in the opposite color candy coating.









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November 13, 2022

Homemade Rolls for Thanksgiving, Christmas or just Any Day! (Buns, Rolls, Bread, Pizza Dough, Cinnamon Rolls)

I've posted this recipe on An American Housewife soooo many times.  But I've made it a thousand more than I've posted.  This is the one classic bread dough recipe that always works.  Never fails. Is forgiving on if I want to use a mixture of wheat blends for the flour, want to make it into rolls, buns, cinnamon rolls, garlic bread... anything.

The last time I made bread with it (which was just last week for our houseguests) I was thinking to myself that I've never NOT had this dough turn out.  And I've been making this recipe since around 2000 so... 20+ years now.

I have two classic, wonderful bread dough recipes that I use, but the other one is a little more involved as it uses scalded milk, melted butter, eggs and time for cooling (and 2 risings).  This one is my 'go to' because it's so easy and yet so forgiving and so good.

I typically make this in my KitchenAid stand mixer because it's so easily available (and the bread machine is in a cupboard).  But it comes together even quicker if you make the whole thing in a bread machine start to finish.

Classic White Dough
Can be used for bread, buns, cinnamon rolls, garlic bread, etc.

12 oz. warm water
1 1/2 t salt
2 T butter
4 - 4 1/2 c unbleached bread flour (or use all purpose if that is what you already have)
2 T dry milk powder
2 T sugar
1 3/4 t yeast, dry

Either place this in a bread machine (in the order your machine requires) and run on the dough setting or place into a large KitchenAid style mixer with a bread dough hook and knead/mix for about 5 minutes or use an electric mixer and place the water, salt, sugar and yeast in first;  let it set and proof for about 2 minutes and then add the butter, dry milk and flour.  You can also do this all by hand (if you have really strong arm muscles for the 10 minutes of kneading it will take.)

Typically I make this in my large KitchenAid stand mixer or my old, reliable bread machine.

Let your dough set for about 6-10 minutes after kneading to rest.  

Remove the dough from the machine or the mixer bowl.  FOR BUNS:  Divide it in half.  Then each half into half.  Then each of those halves into half.  This is how you will get fairly equal sized balls.  If making rolls to go with a meal divide them until you have golf ball sized balls.  If using for hamburger buns, stop dividing the dough when they are double that size so they will be large enough for the hamburger patties.  Roll in your floured hands and place on greased or parchment lined baking sheets.

Letting them rise will give you a taller fluffier bun but you can also bake them right away if you are pressed for time and don't mind a dense roll, which works for soups, etc if you really, really need these right away. 

Bake at 375F for approximately 15 minutes but this can be up to 22 minutes depending on the size buns you make, the thickness of your baking sheet and your oven. Bread takes about 27-35 minutes.  When they are golden brown remove them, brush the tops with butter for a softer bun and let cool to warm to serve as rolls or cool completely and serve as hamburger buns.

Because I've made this recipe a thousand times, I've posted it many, many times.  No sense reinventing the wheel, so here are some photos from another post of when it was made into bread. I also had a mixture of home-ground white and red wheat in these, so you can see the little bits of different shades of wheat grain in these.

The first raising

This recipe makes two loaves.  Form and put in a greased pan.

Let raise and then bake until done - about 30-35 minutes.


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November 07, 2022

Instant Pot Sugarfree and Low Carb Cinnamon Pumpkin Cake with Streusel Topping

A re-post from almost exactly one year ago!  


Instant Pot Cinnamon Pumpkin Cake with Streusel Topping

Crumb Topping:

1/2  c almond flour 
1 T good quality coconut flour
1/4 c Swerve Brown
1/4 c butter, soft
1/4 t cinnamon

Pumpkin Cake: 
1 c almond flour 
1/2 c natural sweetener(s) - I use Erythritol, monk fruit and some allulose mixed
1/4 c vanilla or unflavored whey protein powder (I use Isopure)
2 T coconut flour
2 t baking powder 
1/2 t cinnamon, ginger
dash of cloves and nutmeg
1/4 t salt 
2/3 cup pumpkin puree 
2 eggs
3 T butter, melted
1 t vanilla extract 
1/4 - 1/3 cup powdered sweetener(s) - I use a mixture of 2-3 I keep in a container in the pantry
1 T cream cheese (optional)
2 tablespoon cream 
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract 

Place the dry ingredients in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Put the eggs, pumpkin, butter and vanilla in another large bowl and mix until smooth. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.

Grease a small cake, bundt or springform pan that fits inside your instant pot.  
Pour the batter into the pan.  To make it easier to pull your pan out of the instant pot, use a long piece of aluminum foil, folded over a few times and set the pan in the middle of it, pulling the sides up and over the pan so you can 'lift' it out easily when it's done. (Or if you are lucky enough to use a 'sling' now made for lifting pans out of your instant pot, use that! I don't have one though...)
Sprinkle the crumb topping over the batter.  Set a trivet in a 6-quart Instant Pot and pour in 1 cup of water. Place the pan on the trivet, seal the lid, press manual cook, and set the timer for 35 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally. 
Open lid and let cool in the instant pot for 10 minutes before removing.

Mix the glaze ingredients together in a small bowl or processor. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake.


 Making the crumb topping up


I might add about 1/4 c chopped pecans to this next time.... 


In the pan...


Sprinkled the crumb topping on - but also you can see the foil I use as a 'handle' to lower and raise the pan into the instant cooker.  I think some people cover the whole top with foil as well - I assume to keep the excess condensation from running back onto the cake?  If you are using a springform pan, you'll want to wrap the outside of the pan with foil for sure so no water seeps in through the seams of it.

In the instant pot (or in my case, the Cosori)

  Here is a photo of it 'done' and out of the instant pot, cooling on the stove.


 Ready for the glaze


You wouldn't have to put a glaze on it if you didn't want to.


It's just a basic glaze - sweeteners, a little cream cheese, a bit of cream and a dash of vanilla. 

Was great with coffee - and it freezes well.



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Open can testing of dry-canned potatoes with butter over a year later... and canning more potatoes in these times of food shortages and empty shelves at the grocery

First - just some regular canning of potatoes...  (water and salt)
A couple weeks ago I canned more potatoes.  Although I would love to have potatoes at every meal (they are one of my favorite foods and perhaps one of the most versatile foods you can use) we are low-carb and sugarfree most of the time, by choice, so starchy vegetables like potatoes aren't enjoyed as much as I would like.


UPDATE TO DRY-CANNED POTATOES:    A few years ago I opted to try dry-canning potatoes instead of the typical way of covering them with water.  Just for fun. I ended up doing some plain and others with butter.  I LOVED them.  (I also dry canned apples.)  I researched it first, and did a couple tests to be sure I felt comfortable with the process, but then I jumped in and did a few batches and ended up adding 'dry canning' them to my regular canning.
Now, I can potatoes in all sorts of ways because there are so many ways to use them.  Small, diced, chunks, larger chunks, french fry shape, thin wedges... and some traditional water covered, others dry.  Some with butter, some without.  I grab a certain shape or style depending on what I need them for.

I went ahead and saved one of my dry canned potatoes with butter that had been put up in September of 2021 to open at least a year later.  That was this Fall.  A couple weeks ago I grabbed one to use in dinner that night but made a point to take photos first and do a quick review for An American Housewife.   

The seal was incredibly tight and took a bit of work to get off (a good sign).
Inside the potatoes looked fine and smelled... like potatoes.

I dumped them out into a bowl and took a good look... and smell.
They were cold, and straight out of the glass canning jar so the butter was still a bit congealed...

Here is a close up.
They tasted good and had a great texture and didn't seem any different from the potatoes tested at the earlier marks of a few months.  We were over a year later and the butter canned dry potatoes were perfect.  They went into the crockpot with dinner that night so I don't have a picture of them after they were heated where the butter is melted and they just look like... well, potatoes.

If you have a pressure-canner (potatoes can't be canned safely by the water bath method) potatoes are one of the cheapest and easiest to put up... and in the event of hard times, they are a blessing!

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November 05, 2022

Roast Beef Sandwiches - Slider Style

A pan of sandwiches and green beans going into the warm oven to save for my husbands dinner later

Last month (or was it earlier?) I had a photo on my Instagram of roast beef sandwiches we had that night for dinner.  My husband eats later at night after he works out and showers, so this photo above was the sandwiches leftover from the meal, along with the green beans, which I placed in one pan and popped back into the still warm oven to keep for him.  

I thought I added the recipe to the site but when I went back to check, I didn't see it.  Not surprising, I have found I'm so busy lately I rarely have time to post anymore.  I grabbed my cellphone and took a few photos the next time I made them, hoping to get them posted.  I never did.  But tonight?  I'm racing with the clock to type this quickly, and get it up as ten other things are going on around me, dinner is ready and Mr. Husband is literally expected to drive into the driveway at any second!

But it needs to be here to make it super easy for me and my kids to find to make these.
Roast Beef Sandwiches

2 T olive oil
2-3 t minced garlic
1/4 t red pepper flakes
1/2 lb. sliced roast beef (mine comes from Sam's Club in the meat/deli area)
1/2 c beef broth
1 t Worcestershire sauce or, a little balsamic vinegar or red wine
2 t liquid aminos or soy sauce
2 t dried parsley
2 t dried basil
1/4 t salt and dash fresh cracked black pepper
1/2 t oregano
provolone or swiss cheese slices

In a skillet, heat the oil.  Add the garlic and dried red pepper flakes.  Heat for 1 minute then add the roast beef slices, broth, Worcestershire, liquid aminos, parsley, basil, salt and pepper and oregano.  Heat through.  Lay bottom buns in a pan, top with the meat.  Drizzle the sauce over, top with cheese slices and the top bun.  Drizzle the top with a little more sauce.  Heat in an oven until the cheese melts.

These are not photos from the same night as the very top photo - these were another night we had them!

A little more on top... optional

I sometimes put a wire cookie cooling rack on the bottom of the pan and the sandwiches on top, which keeps the sauce completely off the bottom bun if you don't want any liquid on the bottom.  Other times I don't bother.  If I don't use too much sauce, it doesn't really affect the bottom bun.  If you use a LOT of sauce and the bottoms get a bit soggy, just flip them over and back into the oven to crisp up the bottoms.  Flip again and serve.









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