Peanut Butter Blossoms

A peanut butter cookie rolled in granulated sugar, and topped with a Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Kiss!

This was one of my favorite cookies growing up. I think I first saw it in a magazine, a Betty Crocker Cookbook, or in a Hershey Chocolate Cookbook. I love milk chocolate so I made it, and again, and again.

I haven’t made it in a long time (maybe over a decade!) so since I was off for 5 days partly because of my second Covid-19 vaccine, I planned on baking a batch, excited to see if it still tastes the same as it did before. I wasn’t well after my Thursday vaccination (like the first dose, only not as bad) but was well enough on Valentine’s Day, so I made it then.

It didn’t disappoint at all. My son peeled the kisses but needed to do some math problems so I made the cookies myself. It was quick and easy, although I would recommend using an electric mixer because the dough is quite stiff.

For the peanut butter, feel free to use crunchy or smooth, whichever you like or have on hand. I like crunchy but keep some smooth PB in the pantry to use for sate sauce and Asian noodles. I used crunchy PB, as I like the crunch it lends to the cookies.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 large egg

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Sugar, to roll dough in

36 Hershey’s Kisses, unwrapped

Procedure:

1. Preheat oven to 375F.

2. In a bowl, place butter,

3. Sugar,

4. Brown sugar,

5. Peanut butter,

6. And egg.

7. Beat well using an electric mixer , until combined and smooth.

8. Add flour,

9. Baking soda,

10. And baking powder.

11. Beat well until mixed.

12. Scoop up about a tablespoon dough and roll into a ball.

13. Drop into a bowl with granulated sugar. Roll to coat.

14. Place in an ungreased cookie sheet.

15. Repeat with remaining dough, making 36 balls.

16. Line them up 2 inches apart on 2 cookie sheets. They will spread a little as they bake.

17. Bake at 375F for 8-10 minutes, until light golden brown.

18. Immediately press a chocolate kiss in the middle of each cookie.

20. Remove cookies from cookie sheets and onto wire racks.

21. Cool completely.

22. Serve! You can also drizzle cooled cookies with melted chocolate. Makes 36 pieces.

Las Vegas – Bellagio Christmas Decor 2019 🎄

Missing our travels, but stayed in last year due to COVID-19. Sharing some photos of Bellagio Las Vegas’ Christmas decor 2019.

We went right after Christmas but left on the 31st….yes, got stuck when they closed the 15 due to snow storms! Our usual 4 hour drive to Las Vegas took us almost 11 hours that day! We passed through Palm Springs, Indio, and lots of places we never had been to before.

There was an actual snow storm as we were driving through the desert. Yes I thought it was dangerous but it was also quite magical.

Good thing we chose to go around than through the mountains as we do not have chains.

A memorable time, even though our butts hurt when we finally got to the hotel. 😊

We finally made it!

I hope you enjoy the photos!

Electric Lunchbox #88: Chocolate Lava Cake

Good morning everyone!

It’s already the 5th day of February! Oh my goodness! Is it too early to post a Valentine’s recipe?

Well, I am posting a Chocolate Lava Cake recipe today so you can make a few trial runs of it before the actual Valentine’s Day – you know, for quality control or testing purposes! 😉 Think of it this way…I can’t be the only one eating all these yummy experimental food and sacrificing my figure for a good recipe, right?

This recipe will make the perfect dessert to finish a special meal for two, as the size of this little cake is just right.

It is rich and chocolatey that you’ll only need a dusting of powdered sugar to decorate it. Feel free to use a stencil to make it prettier. You can also top it with chocolate dipped strawberries! Double yum!

*NOTE that this recipe uses regular sized measuring cups, NOT the tiny ELB cup, unless specified.*

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Ingredients:

1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

1/2 tablespoon vanilla paste or extract

2 eggs

1/4 cup flour

1/2 cup powdered sugar

Procedure:

1. Grease the big or medium ELB bowl.

2. Place the butter in a microwave safe bowl.

3. Add the chocolate chips to the bowl.

4. Melt butter and chocolate chips in a microwave for 30 seconds.

5. Stir and microwave again using 30 second increments until smooth.

6. Make sure to stir as residual heat can sometimes be enough to melt the last few bits of chocolate. Careful to not burn the chocolate. This will take only about a minute or two total.

7. Mix in vanilla,

8. Eggs,

9. Flour,

10. And powdered sugar.

11. Mix well until blended.

12. Pour batter into prepared bowl. Cover with foil and place in the ELB base.

13. Add 2 1/2 ELB cups water to the base. Cover and let steam until it shuts off, about 45 minutes.

14. Carefully open the ELB and check the cake. It should be set but the center should jiggle like the video below. It should NOT be set all the way.

15. Cool the cake on a wire rack. Run a knife along the edges and invert onto a serving dish.

16. Dust the top with powdered sugar to make it look pretty.

16. Serve and enjoy!

Meyer Lemon Bars

My coworkers know how much I love to be in the kitchen, dreaming up yummy things, so when one of them had a Meyer lemon tree full of fruits, guess what I got? A bag full of fragrant, beautiful, shiny Meyer lemons! Just look at the photo below..swoon!!

Since I tend to barter with baked goods with my coworkers, I asked her if she wanted a lemon cake or lemon bars and she said “lemon bars!” without hesitation.

I bartered a loaf of sourdough bread for these eggs!

Lemon bars it is! Meyer lemon bars! *lemon cake in the ELB recipe link here – https://athomewiththeresa.com/2020/11/26/electric-lunchbox-72-lemon-cake/

I do have a dwarf Eureka lemon tree in the backyard that produces some lemons as it is still small but Meyer lemons are totally delicious! They have a floral scent, like orange blossoms, mixed with lemon that is just so refreshing and mild.

So, back to my lemon bars. This recipe makes a big 13” x 9” pan so you’ll have enough to share but I’d totally understand too if you eat half a pan while cooking dinner after the bars cooled off a bit… because I just can’t stop eating it! I do not like cloyingly sweet desserts so this has just enough sweetness to play up the tart, floral taste coming from the lemon juice and lemon zest.

Of course you can cut all the ingredients in half and bake this in an 8×8 pan. AND, if you do not have Meyer lemons, regular store bought lemons make the perfect substitute!

Ingredients for the Crust:

1 cup butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

2 cups unbleached all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

Ingredients for Meyer Lemon Filling:

6 large eggs

2 3/4 cups sugar

2 tablespoons Meyer Lemon zest (from 4 – 5 lemons)

1 cup Meyer lemon juice (from 4 – 6 lemons)

1 cup unbleached all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Confectioner’s sugar for dusting

Procedure:

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 13” x 9” pan with non stick spray. You’ll have a cookie crust so there is no need to line the pan but feel free to do so if you want to.

2. Place butter and sugar in a medium bowl.

3. Cream together with a hand mixer until fluffy, about 2 minutes. You can also use a stand mixer.

4. Add flour and salt to the bowl.

5. Beat until combined and texture resembles sand. See the texture in the photo above.

6. Transfer mixture to the prepared pan.

7. Press firmly onto the bottom of the pan. I use a measuring cup to press the crust firmly on the bottom of the pan, then my fingers for the corners and edges.

8. Bake at 350F for 15 to 18 minutes, until lightly browned.

9. Transfer to a cooling rack while you prepare the filling.

10. Gather your ingredients for the filling.

11. Zest your lemons first.

12. Then cut the lemons in half and squeeze the juice into a measuring cup. Inhale deeply as this is sweet, summery, all natural, refreshing aromatherapy for free! 😊 It’s the little things that count!

11. Wipe out the bowl you used for the crust (one less bowl to wash!) and in it, add sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, flour, baking powder, and salt.

12. Add the eggs and beat until blended.

13. Pour the mixture over the crust.

14. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes more, until middle is set and the top looks dry.

15. Cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into pieces. Hint: If you chill it overnight, it cuts cleaner and easier. The photo above are of the lemon bars I cut when they were still warm…so they didn’t look too pretty. Still delicious though!

16. Enjoy!

Electric Lunchbox #85: Bodega Beans

I read an article about Bodega Beans a few weeks ago. Have you heard of it? It sounded quite delicious to me that I was planning to make it even before I was done reading the article.

Apparently it is a recipe for when you want a cheap but healthy meal with readily accessible ingredients. And nowadays, who doesn’t want that? It can be a wonderful side dish, if anything!

According to the article, the most basic “recipe” is to sauté garlic and onions in a little olive oil, add a can of drained beans and any seasoning you like, drizzle with more olive oil and you’re done! A sprinkle of cheese is optional, then serve with rice or bread.

I did make it and it was absolutely delicious! I added a few spices to it but feel free to use any that you like or have!

After making it a few times on the stove, I made it in the ELB for you guys! You can prepare rice in the small nesting bowl and you’re all set for a yummy meal!

*NOTE that this recipe uses regular sized measuring cups, NOT the tiny ELB cup, unless specified.*

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I like to add crispy bacon to my bodega beans as my son doesn’t like beans but loves bacon…so beans with bacon is acceptable to him. 😊

Just place the bacon strips in a clean skillet, let the oil render out and brown till crisp. Crumble when cool.

Ingredients:

Bacon, browned and drained, optional but highly recommended

1 tablespoon minced onions

2 tablespoons chopped carrots

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Cumin, paprika, sazon todo, as desired

1 tablespoon chopped celery

1 can beans, rinsed and drained (garbanzo, pinto, red bean, black bean, any will do)

2 tablespoons olive oil or 1 tablespoon each bacon grease and olive oil, more as needed

Parmesan cheese, optional

Avocado slices, optional

Chopped cilantro, optional

Chili pepper flakes, optional

Procedure:

1. Place onions in the big ELB bowl.

2. Add some carrots,

3. Salt, pepper, garlic powder and any other seasoning you like. I love adding a couple of shakes of cumin.

4. Chopped celery,

5. The can of drained beans,

6. Crumbled cooked bacon,

7. Mix everything together. Add the olive oil or bacon grease and olive oil mix. Cover the bowl with foil and place in the ELB base.

* you can place 2 ELB cups of rice, rinsed and drained with 2 ELB cups water to the little nesting bowl to round out your meal!*

8. Add 3 ELB cups of water to the base, cover and let steam until it shuts off, about an hour.

9. Carefully open the ELB and mix the contents. Serve hot with rice, bread, cheese, chopped cilantro, and/or avocado if desired. Sprinkle with chili pepper flakes if you want a little spice.

10. Enjoy!

Electric Lunchbox #82: Tuna Casserole

I love this dish and I had been making it forever. Tuna, creamy sauce, pasta, some vegetables…it’s perfectly easy to make, healthy, using mostly pantry stable ingredients that you probably already have on hand….what’s not to love?

So today, I’m sharing how to make it in the ELB! I figured if I can make it in the ELB, I can have just one bowl to clean after I devour this! Easy to make, easy clean up too! Winner!

Of course, you can use whatever vegetables you want in this dish, only peas, only carrots, no mushrooms…feel free to add or remove as you wish! Make it your own!

*NOTE that this recipe uses regular sized measuring cups, NOT the tiny ELB cup, unless specified.*

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Ingredients:

1 cup egg noodles

3/4 cup water

1/2 tablespoon dried onions, or 2 tablespoons fresh, minced

1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 cup frozen peas or mixed vegetables

1/2 can tuna, packed in water or oil, drained

1/2 cup condensed cream of mushroom soup

2-3 pieces of white mushrooms, diced

1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Procedure:

1. In the large ELB bowl, place the egg noodles and pour water in.

2. Add the onions,

3. The cheese,

4. The frozen peas or mixed vegetables,

5. Mushrooms,

6. Condensed cream of mushroom soup,

5. And the tuna.

8. Mix them together gently, being careful to leave the noodles at the bottom.

9. Top with the other 1/4 cup cheese, cover with foil and set on the ELB base.

10. Place 2 ELB cups of water in the base, cover and let steam until done, about 35 minutes.

11. Carefully open the ELB and check the noodles for doneness. If not done, add 1/2 to 1 ELB cup water to the base and steam until done.

12. Stir the contents carefully and serve hot! Enjoy!

Hot Chocolate Bombs

Happy 4th day of the New Year!

So have you had a Hot Chocolate Bomb yet? I didn’t realize how popular these things are!

These are fun little spheres (my molds were 2 1/2 inches) made of chocolate, candy coating, or butterscotch chips, and filled with hot chocolate mix and marshmallows. I also made some filled with French Vanilla Latte, Mocha, and Caramel Macchiato flavored coffees.

You place the beautifully decorated ball in a mug big enough to hold it, pour HOT milk (or hot water for the coffee ones), and watch as the magic happens – the shell melts, usually turns over in the cup, and reveals the marshmallows and chocolate mixture (or flavored coffee) inside. Stir then enjoy!

I made some to give as gifts before the holidays and got several orders that I had to keep buying the ingredients to make it. And the stores kept running out of the brand I use so I had to keep going to several places to find them! They were worth it though as everyone is so happy when they get it.

So here…in case you want to try your hand at making these, are my step by step instructions!

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These are everything you need (plus a lot of marshmallows!!!) to make hot chocolate bombs.

Chocolate chips, candy coating, or flavored baking chips

Instant hot chocolate/cocoa mix (I like the brands I photographed above, but use any you like!)

Mini marshmallows

Sprinkles, crushed candy canes, edible metallic sprays, any candy or cookie decoration you want

Chocolate melting pot or a microwave safe bowl

Sphere molds

1. I started by melting a bag of chocolate in my chocolate melting pot. I also tried in the microwave – use full power at 30 second increments until the chocolate gets soft looking and shiny.

2. Stir to melt thoroughly.

3. Place about s tablespoon of melted chocolate in each cavity of the mold.

4. Using the back of a spoon, carefully coat the inside of the cavity with the melted chocolate. Make sure you try to coat evenly, and cover all visibly thin areas.

5. Refrigerate until it sets, about 30 minutes.

6. Carefully unmold each chocolate and place on a dish or plate.

7. To even out the edges, heat a small plate for about 1-2 minutes in the microwave and quickly invert 1 chocolate shell on the plate. When it starts melting the edges, twist and return to the plate. Repeat with remaining chocolate pieces.

8. Fill half of the shells with the hot chocolate mixture.

9. And top with a lot of marshmallows.

10. Reheat the small plate, around 1 1/2 – 2 minutes. One by one, invert the unfilled shells on to the plate, let it melt the edges slightly then twist the shell onto the filled shells. Run your finger through the crease and make sure to seal it together. You do not want hot chocolate powder coming out of the ball.

11. Drizzle with more melted chocolate (be sure it is not too hot otherwise it can melt your chocolate ball) and top with sprinkles, peppermint candies, cookie crumbs, etc!

12. You can also spray them with edible metallic spray to make it look really pretty!

13. Ta-da! Enjoy!

Below are some videos we took while preparing these hot chocolate balls!

This was mine! White chocolate peppermint hot chocolate!
This was my son’s!

Electric Lunchbox #80: OTHER GRAINS – Pearl Barley, Job’s Tears (Adlai), and Brown Rice

We are on the last week of 2020! Starting your New Year’s resolution early? I have 3 new grains that you can have instead of rice to help with your “eat better” resolution!

A lot of you have been asking me if I made alternative grains in the ELB. I usually do not, as I have several different cookers that do this very efficiently.

Shuttle Chef thermal pot

The one I use most often for beans and other grains that require a long cooking time is a thermal cooker. I have 2 of these, a Zojirushi and a Shuttle Chef, both of which are made in Japan. It looks like a cooking pot within another pot. It’s easy to use, you boil your food in the inner pot on the stove and after the contents come to a full boil, you just place it in the outer thermal pot and leave for as long as you need to. No electricity, no gas. It keeps cooking even if you leave it overnight but doesn’t overcook everything to a mush. Very efficient.

However, all these requests did pique my curiosity as I do see the usefulness of using the ELB for little portions.

So here it is! I do have more whole grains that I use regularly like rye, kamut, and hulled barley etc. so wait for those too! 😊 I will post it if it is doable in the ELB.

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1. Pearl Barley

Perfectly cooked Barley!

This is the brand I had in the pantry at the moment. I usually order 25 pound bags from Azure Standard, but the delivery is only once a month and it hasn’t arrived yet.

To prepare Pearl Barley:

1. Measure 1 ELB cup pearl barley into your ELB bowl. The medium or large ELB bowl is good for this. Rinse the grains and drain.

2. Add water. If you want your barley not too soft, (like if adding the cooked barley to soup later) 1 full ELB cup of water is enough. Add 2 ELB cups of water if you want the grains softer.

3. Place the bowl in the ELB base, then add 3 ELB cups water to the base. Cover and let steam until it shuts off, about 1 hour.

4. Check the grains for doneness. Add more water to steam longer if needed. You might have to drain any left over water if you used more than a 1:1 ratio.

5. Fluff the grains and serve hot.

2. Job’s Tears

Job’s Tears/Adlai also known as coix seed, Chinese pearl barley, or hato mugi in Japanese, can be found in well stocked Chinese, Korean, or Japanese groceries here in Southern California. It is grown and consumed in different forms in Asia.

They do look like pearl barley, but they are rounder, kind of heart shaped, and have a more distinct flavor.

To prepare Job’s tears:

1. Add 1 ELB cup of Job’s tears in the ELB bowl. Both the medium or large ELB bowl can be used. Rinse well and drain.

2. Add 2 ELB cups of water to the bowl. Place the bowl in the ELB base and add 3 ELB cups of water to the base. Cover and let steam until it shuts off, about 1 hour.

3. Check the grain for doneness and drain if needed. Add more water to steam longer if needed.

4. Fluff and serve hot.

3. Brown Rice

This is the less processed version of white rice, with more fiber and nutrients. Brown rice is the whole grain rice with just the inedible outer hull removed. White rice is the same grain without the hull, the bran layer, and the cereal germ. Brown rice does need more water and time to cook well but is more chewy and flavorful than plain white rice.

To prepare brown rice:

For brown rice, You can use the medium or large ELB bowl. I use the large one most of the times I tested though, as it needs more water and I do not want water overflowing into my ELB base.

1. Place 3 ELB cups of brown rice in the large ELB bowl. Rinse well and drain.

2. Add 5 ELB cups of water and place the bowl in the ELB base.

3. Add 3 ELB cups of water to the base and let steam until it shuts off, about 1 hour.

4. Check grain for doneness. Add more water to steam longer if needed.

5. Fluff and serve hot!

I hope you guys enjoyed this post! Let me know if you are interested in knowing hoe to cook the other grains I use.

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