Thursday, February 11, 2016

Chocolate cookies that capture the heart.

For those times when I need a quick treat and want to use whats on hand, I grab one of my frozen staples...puff pastry, filo dough or pie crust.

Valentines calls for hearts and a girls best friend...chocolate!

If you've been looking for a foolproof, quick recipe,  here it is.  You can use any of the prepared dough's I mentioned .  Frozen bread dough will work as well.   The technique is the same for all.  The best part you are only limited by your imagination for the fillings.  

At room temperature roll out the dough into a thin square.  Spread (soften) butter over the entire surface.  Sprinkle mini semi chocolate morsels, chopped nuts and granulated sugar.

Start rolling the dough at one end until you reach the center. 

Follow up by rolling the  opposite side until they meet up together.

Slice and gently shape the bottom into a point to form the  heart.
Refrigerate for 20 mins until chilled firm.

Bake at 325 for 12-14 mins until golden brown around the edges.

Cool and dust lightly with powder sugar.  
I used an assortment of containers to pack up my chocolate hearts.  I adore these Red and white polka dot  oversize mugs!   Trimmed with a vintage hearts and Cupid  Valentine tag and dot ribbon to match.

 Another favorite....tin mailboxes.
I took an inexpensive tin mailbox and covered it with a textured foiled paper.
For an added touch I  created a pedestal by gluing a glass candlestick to the bottom of the mailbox.  

The chocolate hearts fit perfectly in my mailbox.

The flag is up...for a special Valentine delivery!

(Google Image)

Sara's Sweet Surprise wishes you a

Monday, February 1, 2016

Menu Monday

Our Christmas holiday extended well after the new year. While others were packing away all their Christmas decor, we were still entertaining family and friends.  We were feeling the pressure to immediately get every ornament and twinkly light packed away.  That was until...we headed out to run a few errands.  We always take the backroads as to avoid the traffic and freeways.   We wind up traveling through several neighborhoods.  To my delight, not only did I see several homes with remnants of Christmas lights on and decorations hung, I also saw a few homes with lite trees (in their living rooms) all adorned.  It made me realize the holiday cheer still resonated within their homes.  They wanted to hold on to that joy just a little longer.  So why was I in such a hurry to chase away that ambiance from my  own home.  We took our time and before we knew it, our Christmas decorations were all tucked away.
When entertaining it takes a few short cuts to aid in bringing a large selection of meals to the table.  You know how I'm a firm believer in creating easy recipes with a presentation that looks like you had been creating each plate along side Martha Stewart.

This is a bit of a tweak from the recipe I had been using.  It's been a constant crowd pleaser.  Which makes it to my go-to list.
Yes, I've got a recipe list for those easy five star recipes requested the most.
And believe me at the holidays those recipe cards are left with skid marks by their many uses!

What switches this up is the combination of fresh fruits and one unexpected ingredient, 
small curd cottage cheese.  I know what you're thinking but it's surprisingly delightful!

Combine equal parts of the following: 
In a tall glass layer fresh fruits with the yogurt mixture along with layers of granola.
Topping off with the fresh fruits.

I include side bowls of nuts and whipped cream. 
I've tried various flavors of yogurts but I've found they overpowered the fresh fruits, where the vanilla marries well with all.


Most if not all my main entrees can be served for either lunch or dinner. 
I really do try to include a few fresh elements in each recipe and when time permits everything is fresh from scratch.

 Combine and marinate the following:
Jumbo cooked shrimp (tales off), olive oil, taco season, minced garlic, minced onion  and or

Refrigerate at least 25 mins.
Meanwhile prepare a box of...

Stir in one can of drained black beans into the cooked rice.

Pour the shrimp contents into  a skillet. Cooking on a medium heat, making sure all the ingredients are simmered. 

Lay a bed of
rice and beans, shrimp, salsa, sour cream.