Mint Chocolate Fudge

I hope you're all enjoying the Christmas season.  We can't get enough of my little town's festivities.  Free Christmas concerts, Christmas movies at the library, lights strung up EVERYWHERE, and the list goes on and on.  Enjoy this yummy recipe by Kim


I look forward to this time of year for many reasons, but fudge is definitely high on the list.  As a teenager I remember making my mom's "Perfect Every Time Fudge" and it wasn't perfect every time.  Its no secret I'm bad at baking, let's also add candy making to that list!  But, when I found this fudge recipe last year I suddenly knew it was one I could do well.  You can too.

3 ingredients.  3 minutes.  That's it.

1-14 oz can sweet and condensed milk
1-14 oz package semi sweet chocolate chips
1-10 oz package Andes mint chips (in a bind I've used two 4.67 oz boxes of mints broken in half)

1. In a bowl combine the Chocolate and Andes mint chips
2. Add condensed milk and mix.
3. Microwave everything for three minutes. Stir till smooth. (Do not try to be smarter than the recipe and microwave it on low power for longer or stop and stir it every minute.  Just hit three minutes and walk away--not too far away or it will cool again by the time you walk back)
4. Pour into a 9 x 9 pan for thick squares or a 9 x13 pan for thin squares
5. Let it cool on your counter and cover with a towel to keep it from drying out.  Once cooled you can cover with plastic wrap or a lid.

You can garnish it before it cools with crushed peppermints but my husband has requested I not do that anymore.  So I use green sprinkles to clue people in that this stuff is minty.  Its not for everyone.
Sorry about the quality of this picture!  When I remembered to take one the party was in full swing and I had to snap it quick :)


Peanut Butter Blossoms

(I promise I have real food coming, but I just keep baking desserts!)

A Peanut Butter Blossom cookie, for me is the definition of Christmas time.  I'm sure people eat them other times of the year, but at my house growing up, my mom only made this at Christmas.  She would make a huge batch (2 bags of Hershey kisses) and freeze them.  All December long, we'd sneak (I'm sure it wasn't sneaking, but we like to think it was) into the freezer and practically break our teeth on a delicious frozen cookie.  Another cookie to add to your "Desserts to Make for Christmas".

Peanut Butter Blossoms
1 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar (packed)
2/3 peanut butter
Cream together
2 eggs
3 1/2 cup flour
1 teas. salt
2 teas. baking soda
Roll into small balls, place onto greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 for 8 minutes. Pull out the cookies and place a hershey kiss in the middle of each cookie.  Bake for another 2-3 minutes.  Cool on a rack.  (best when they're hot and the kiss melts in your mouth!)


Home Baked Holidays DAY ONE

Who is insanely excited for Christmas? 
You're thinking about it 24/7 huh? 
Me too!
It's time for Home Baked Holidays.  I've received a handful of emails with yummy holiday recipes.  Thank you for those who wanted to share - I love all the support! 
There's still time for you to share too!  So be sure to email me your favorite holiday recipe(s) to willtherebefoodthere@gmail.com
Abbey was the first to email me a recipe.  And it looks easy and delicious!
6 c. Rice Chex cereal
1/3 c. coarsely crushed candy canes (4 regular canes or 12 miniature canes
1 12 oz. bag of white chocolate morsels
Line a cookie sheet with wax paper or aluminum foil. Measure and pour cereal into a large bowl.
In a microwavable bowl, melt the white chocolate on high for 1 minute and 30 seconds, stopping to stir it every 30 seconds until smooth. Stir in half of the crushed peppermint candy canes.
Pour over cereal; toss to evenly coat. Spread mixture in a single layer on cookie sheet. Immediately sprinkle with remaining candy. Let stand until set, about 20 minutes. Gently break up coated cereal. Store in airtight container.


Follower Friday: Mint Melt Away


(Don't forget....I'm compling everyone's favorite holiday recipes for the month of December.  Hurry and send me your favorite recipe!  I'll link it back to you.  Email: willtherebefoodthere@gmail.com)

Allison was chosen to do today's Follower Friday.  Allison married my brother's best friend.  We were all at BYU-Idaho together and I remember when she started dating her husband.  I kept hearing a lot about her and when I finally met her - I loved her  She is FUNNY, smart, creative, and an avid runner (gosh I wish I could be an avid runner!)  She has an adorable little boy.  
And....they live 2,000 miles away from me.  So sad.



First off, thanks Tiff for the opportunity to do a post.  What a wonderful time of year to be featured on a food blog. Thanksgiving and Christmas are so much better with yummy food/treats. I don't know about anyone else but this is my favorite time of year for baking treats. I try to give them away to neighbors or friends so that I don't end up eating all of them, but I'll be honest, that is one of the reasons that I run, so that I can indulge sometimes all the time on delicious goodness.

One of my favorite Christmas cookies to make/eat since I was little is called the Mint Melt-Away.  It has a nice combination of chocolate and mint, and who doesn't love that combo? (Ok maybe some don't but I love it).

Mint Melt-Away

3/4 C butter
1 1/2 C dark brown sugar
2 Tbsp water
2 C semisweet chocolate chips
2 eggs
2 1/2 C flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 lb of Andes mints broken in halves  
(you could also use the crushed Andes mints in the chocolate chip aisle)

Cook the butter, sugar, water until melted, add chocolate chips until melted.  Remove from heat.  Pour into mixing bowl.  Let stand for about 10 minutes then mix at high speed.  Add the eggs.  At lower speed, add mixed dry ingredients.  Blend until just blended.  Chill for 1 hour.  Line cookie sheet with foil.  Place small balls 2 inches apart.  Bake 350° for 12-13 minutes.  Place 1/2 of Andes' mint on hot cookie, right from the oven.  When melted swirl around on top of cookie with spoon, end of knife, or toothpick.

P.S. You are more than welcome to follow me and my shananigans on my blog here .


Chocolate Chip Cookies

 These are my favorite cookies.  They're tasty and let's be honest, who doesn't have a nice, warm, memory about chocolate chip cookies and their Mom?  Here's the recipe I grew up eating and now make for my two babies.  Enjoy.

1 lb butter (2 cups)
1 1/2 cups white ugsar
2 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
3 eggs
2 T vanilla
6 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 cups chocolate chips
Cream butter and sugars.  Mix in vanilla, salt, and soda.  Mix in eggs.  Mix in flour.  Stir in choclate chips.  Drop spoonfuls onto greased chookie sheet.  Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.
This batch makes between 8-10 dozen (depending on size)
I make a big batch, freeze some cookies or refrigerate leftover cookie dough.  It stays good in the fridge for about 3 weeks.  Then you can have warm cookies anytime!


Banana Creme & Chocolate Creme Pie

Have you been thinking about what yummy foods you're going to make for Christmas?  I have this itch to start making all kinds of baked goods right after Thanksgiving.  Remember to send recipes and pictures to my email: willtherebefoodthere@gmail.com

I know it's over but an all time MUST for Thanksgiving is Banana Creme and Chocolate Creme Pie.  For years I only liked Banana Creme Pie...not any other kind of pie.  Just Banana Creme.  I loved it.  My mom usually made at least THREE Banana Creme Pies - that's how much we liked it.
I went to my in laws for Thanksgiving.  They are BIG into making pies.  The pies are beautiful!  Now I love to bake but nothing I make looks pretty.  So I'm definitely out of my league there when it comes to making gorgeous pies.  BUT I was not going to have Thanksgiving without my favorite pies.  So I made them and they turned out GREAT!

(I was in a rush while making these pies...and took two pictures.  Sorry!)
1 baked and cooled pie shell
(I bought two frozen pie crusts this yr...)
2 cups milk
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
4-5 T flour
2 T cornstarch
2 eggs yolks
2 T butter
2 tsp vanilla
2 large bananas
Slice bananas into small pieces and lay on the bottom of the baked pie crust.
Scald milk in saucepan.  Combine sugar, salt, flour and cornstarch in bowl and mix together.  Pour slowly into saucepan with the milk.  Mix fast to avoid lumps.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly (which becomes very annoying) until mixture is bubbly and thickened.

 Cook for 8 minutes stirring constantly. (Again..annoying)  Beat egg yolks slightly.  Stir a small amount of hot mixture into egg yolks.  Return yolk mixtre to the saucepan - stir to blend.  Cook for about 3 minutes longer, stirring constantly.  Remove from heart.  Add butter and vanilla, mix well.  Pour into banana filled pie crust.  Cover with plastic and refrigerate until ready to eat!

1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 cups milk
2 egg yolks
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 T. butter
2 tsp vanilla
1 baked and cooled pie shell
Scald milk in saucepan.  Combine sugar, flour and salt bowl.  Mix and slowly add to heated saucepan.  Mix fast to avoid lumps.  Boil 2 minutes stirring constantly.   Add 2-3 tsp to egg yolks, mix well.  Add yolk mixture back to boiling saucepan.  Boil for 1 minute while stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.  Add butter, vanilla, and chocolate chps.  Stir well until blended.  Pour into baked pie shell.  Cover with plastic and refrigerate unil ready to eat!


Follower Friday: Blueberry Scones

How was your Thanksgiving?!?!  But more importantly how is Black Friday going?  Are you out there getting those toys for your kids or awesome electronics?  I love Black Friday.  The thrill and excitment of trying to get the hot item...just too much to handle! :)
Today's post belongs to Shelley.  I met Shelley at BYU-Idaho.  We were in at least 2-3 classes together - the first being Child Development.  I thought she was beautiful and smart.  I was a timid freshmen and was amazed how she wasn't afraid to share her opinions. I also remember walking by her and her future husband sitting on a bench together.  They were holding hands, smiling, and I could see the happiness and love they had for each other.  I remember thinking I wanted that one day ;)  Anyway - it's all yours, Shelley!

Yay for Follower Friday! I think I might love food as much at Tiffanie. Might being the operative word. :) Love ya Tiff! Thanks for letting me do this post!

I love November. Crisp nights. Sweaters. Maybe the first snowfall. I love Thanksgiving and getting ready for the holidays. I love Thanksgiving so much that I decided to have a baby on Black Friday last year. Wasn't that nice of my nine-pounder to wait until after the turkey and pie were consumed? 

Thanksgiving can also be a little stressful. I guess it depends on who you have Thanksgiving with. I don't have any horror stories of crazy family feuds during the holidays, but planning a huge meal with all the fixin's can be overwhelming.

I suggest a little therapy. My husband is in his last year of medical school, which means one things:
(As Oprah would say)
(Translation: We're poor)
Nope, can't afford real therapy, or even a day at the spa. My therapy is baking. Ahhhh. Nothing better than mixing ingredients into something truly delicious, and piping hot from the oven.

This recipe is my all-time favorite therapy. Warm scones, like true love, can conquer all!

Blueberry Scones
(From Better Homes and Gardens)

2 1/2 C. all-purpose flour
2 T. sugar
4 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1/3 C. butter, cut into pieces
2 beaten eggs
3/4 C. whipping cream
1/2 C. blueberries

1. In a medium bowl combine flour, the two tablespoons sugar, the baking powder, and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Or if you don't have a pastry blender, use two knives to cut in the butter like this:

Make a well in the center of flour mixture; set aside.

2. In a medium bowl combine eggs, whipping cream, and blueberries. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. Using a fork, stir just until moistened.

3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead dough by folding and gently pressing dough for 10 to 12 strokes or until dough is nearly smooth. Pat or lightly roll dough into an 8-inch circle. Cut into 8 wedges.

4. Place wedges 1 inch apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Brush wedges with milk and sprinkle with additional sugar.

5. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 12-14 minutes until golden brown. Remove scones from baking sheet; SERVE WARM!

Mmmm... Warm scones with a mug of hot cocoa and a good book... Sounds like the best kind of therapy there is! Enjoy!



Have you been thinking about what yummy things you want to make for Thanksgiving and Christmas?  If you've made them already, you should take a picture!  And then send me the picture and recipe ;)  I'm anxiously awaiting all of your delicious recipes!  
Email: willtherebefoodthere@gmail.com

And I'll start posting ALL of them on December 1st.

BUT..I've decided I'll fill the next few weeks with some of my holiday favorites!!

Cheeseball is another one of those Merrifield traditions.  My mom always made an easy, basic cheeseball that her six children just devoured over Christmas break!  And here it is...

(makes two)
2 8 oz. packages of cream cheese
2 cups of cheddar cheese
6 strips of bacon
optional: garlic and onion

Set cream cheese out to soften.  Fry bacon - nice and crispy!  Dice the bacon once it's cooled.  Combine soften cream cheese, bacon and cheddar cheese in a large bowl.  It takes a really good wooden spoon to stir it all together.  Roll into two separate balls.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight for flavors to blend together.

NOW...my mom would have one regular cheeseball and then add a clove of crushed garlic and 2 T. of diced onions on another.  I LOVE garlic and onion.  But a lot of people don't so it's good to have one without.

Place on a beautiful plate, surround with all kinds of crackers.  Smother each cracker with a spoonful of cheeseball and...DEVOUR!

I'm taking this as an appetizer for Thanksgiving dinner. You should too!


Homemade Rolls

I know it's been awhile since I shared my favorite potato soup recipe.  But that was when I promised to share this roll recipe.  And it's finally time!  I hope you're excited because I promise it's my favorite thing to make....and the yummiest thing I make.  I can't remember a Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner where my Mom didn't make these delicious rolls.  They're kind of a Merrifield tradition.


Starting December 1st, I will ONLY be posting foods that I love to eat around Christmas.
Appetizers, homemade candies, treats, cookies, meal ideas, neighbor gifts, etc.  And the GREATEST part is that I want you to help me!  I want YOU to send me as many of your favorite Christmas recipes as you can.  And I'm totally serious when I say "AS MANY AS YOU WANT!"

Even if you've already done a Follower Friday, I want more of your yummy recipes.  If I have to post 7 days a week, I totally will.  If I have to post 2 or 3 times a day, I totally will too!

Send pictures and recipes to my email: willtherebefoodthere@gmail.com starting TODAY and continue sending them through December 8th.  And I will post your recipe and link it back to you.

Just think of how great this blog will be?  Filled with so many YUMMY foods to make for your Christmas parties and dinners, or to make and give to your neighbors.  So please, start baking!

Okay, here is the roll recipe. I always seem to be the one asked to bring rolls dinners. So if you were asked to take them to Thanksgiving, try this one!

Butterhorn Rolls
1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter/margarine/shortening
1/4 cup warm water
1 T. yeast
3 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. salt
4-5 cups white flour
(Bread flour works the best.  Sometimes I do half wheat, half white.)

A few things I've learned when making these rolls - they're totally NOT fool proof.
I've messed up several times on them so be sure to consider these tips:
1- It's better to double the yeast mixture in higher altitude
2 - Eggs work better when they're at room tempertaure,
pull them out about a half hour before starting to make rolls
3- Trying to speed up the "rising" process doesn't work on these.
So you definitely need the time when making these.
4- My favorite part about this...double the batch, roll the rolls,
freeze them and then put into a plastic bag.  You have rolls ready for any meal!

Okay sorry....here goes!

Combine milk and butter in a glass dish and microwave on high for about 2 minutes.
You need the mixture to be scalding - but not boiling.

Once you've got that microwaving, combine 1/4 cup warm water and 1 (I do 1.5) T of yeast.
See my eggs are sitting out getting warm?

Dump scalding milk/butter mixture into a large bowl.  Let cool for about 10-15 minutes.
(You don't want to "cook" your eggs or kill the yeast)

 Add sugar, salt and half of flour.

Sitr!  I'm not lucky enough to have a fancy mixer so I use a wooden spoon and then my hands :)  Then dump in the water/yeast mixture. (Which should be ready to mix...it's been sitting about 20 minutes)  Stir again.

Add 3 eggs.  Stir.

Add the remaining flour one cup at a time.  This is where the hand kneading will come in.

Knead the dough for about 5 minutes.  If it's sticky, add more flour and if it's really firm, a little water is okay to add.  But don't go crazy.  Form a nice little ball.

Cover with a towel and give the dough about 2 hours to raise.

After two hours, check it!  It should be big and fluffy.
Sprinkle flour onto the counter.  Dump the dough onto the counter and begin rolling out!  For the first couple years I didn't have a rolling pin because I thought they were expensive.  I used a stupid cup.  Rolling pins are like $8.  Don't make that silly mistake :)

Melt 1/3 cup of butter and spread over the rolled out dough. 

Cut horizontal strips.  And then cut triangles starting from either end.
Roll the wider edge towards the smaller tip.
Place on a greased cookie sheet.

Cover with plastic wrap.  And allow rolls about 2 hours to raise.  I forgot to take a picture but they need to be double in size before baking.  OR...put them in the freezer overnight.

Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.

IF you froze them - take the rolls out, pull them off the pan and place in a zipllock bag.  Put back in the freezer - they stay fresh for about a month.  And when you want rolls for dinner, place them on a greased cookie sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and let raise for 4-5 hours before meal. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. 
ENJOY!  And start emailing me those recipes!


Follower Friday:Oatmeal Banana Pancakes

Remember how I taught special education for a year?  Michelle was a speech therapist at one of the schools I serviced.  She was amazing!  I was always impressed by her knowledge of language in my little preschoolers.  She was always someone I could turn to and not just for intervention questions.  Enjoy her recipe!


I am a breakfast food freak.  Too many times a week my husband and I joke about going to Kneaders or IHOP for breakfast.  Maybe 1 out of 30 times we actually go.  But I have discovered this deliciously gratifying pancake recipe and I gotta say - I am totally hooked.  It involves making a big ole' batch of dry  pancake mix to use, the recipe of which I got from Mel's Kitchen Cafe (Great site - check it out!).  It might seem daunting but it's totally easy and it lasts a LONG time.  Then all you need to make 10 deliciously healthy, fibrous pancakes is 1 cup of the mix, 1 cup of buttermilk, and 1 egg.  See, easy! Here's what you'll need:

3 1/2 cups quick oats
3 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups all-purpose flour 
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons baking powder
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 cup vegetable or canola oil
Mix all the dry ingredients together in a nice big bowl. A stand mixer would be nice but it's easy enough with a big spoon.  You can leave the oats whole or you can blend them.  Depends on what consistency you like.  I kind of like the lumpiness but some people don't.

 After the dry ingredients are mixed, slowly add the vegetable oil while you stir it up.  It should now look a little bit more like sand that is almost dry.  It will look kind of like this when you squeeze it in your hand: 
You can store it in an airtight container for up to two weeks at room temperature or indefinitely in the refrigerator or freezer. I keep it in a container like this and just taped the recipe right on it. 
To make the pancakes, simply combine 1 cup of mix, 1 cup of buttermilk, and 1 egg together. It will make about 10 medium-sized (using 1/4 cup) pancakes.  Or 8 medium ones and a big Mickey Mouse one.
 It's always the perfect amount for me, my husband, and our 3 year old, with one or two to spare.  
Now here's a fun variation.  Add some mashed up banana to the wet mix to make banana pancakes.  Then make your syrup a billion times better by adding about 1/2 cup of peanut butter to 1 cup of maple syrup.  Melt it all together in the microwave. Dip your finger in it, take a lick, and then wonder why you hadn't thought of it before. Enjoy!!

PS - I made a batch of these earlier this week.  We've had them for breakfast twice and dinner once - so delicious!


Muddy Buddies

I completely forgot about this snack until Sharon reminded me.  As soon as I read her post, all I could think about were those dang muddy buddies; all the times I made them for girls camp, sleepovers, and even late nights with my roommates at college.  I've been trying to "be good" and stay away from sweets until Thanksgiving.  Bah - I just couldn't resist!  I had all of the ingredients except for the Chex cereal.  But lucky for a cheapo like me, most grocery stores have an off brand.  Score!  My husband was pretty stoked when I surprised him with a LARGE bowl of powdered heaven after we put our kids to bed!  Please make these.  They're fool proof, delicious, and easy to eat the whole bowl in one sitting.  Ha!  What is one of your favorite childhood sweets?

Muddy Buddies
9 cups of chex cereal (rice, corn, or honey glazed)
1 cup of chocolate chips
1/2 cup of peanut butter
1/4 cup of butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 cups (maybe more) of powdered sugar
2 grocery bags
(don't eat the grocery bags! lol)
Pour 9 cups of cereal into a large bowl.
Pour one cup of chocolate chips into a glass liquid measuring cup. If you don't have a few of these, they're totally worth the investment. Several baking items that require a "double boiler" are much easier to dump into a liquid measuing cup and then microwave.
Microwave on high for one minute.

Add peanut butter, butter and vanilla. Stir.
Place back in the microwave for a minute.

Stir. It's important that it's smooth and thin - easier to mix with the cereal.

Pour over the cereal. Stir together.

Put one grocery bag inside another (you don't know how many times the bag had a whole in it...powdered sugar everywhere!) Fill the bottom of the bag with one cup of powdered sugar. Dump the chocolate covered cereal into the bag. Dump 2-3 more cups of powdered sugar on top.

Close. AND SHAKE!!

Dump back into the bowl. And begin eating!!!