Turkey Gingerbread Cookies

Turkey Gingerbread Cookies

I hope everyone had a yummy Thanksgiving last week!

These Gingerbread Turkeys were one of the treats I made this year.

Just like my Autumn Leaves Mini Gingerbread Cookies, these use the recipe from my Mini Soft Iced Gingerbread Cookies.  Because I love these cookies.  So, there’s pretty much no way to make too many of these.

gingerbread-turkey-cookies-2

Last year I made turkeys from sugar cookies (Iced Turkey Cutout Sugar Cookies), but I was in the mood for gingerbread.

Again.

I may have made a lot of gingerbread this year.  ;)

This time, though, unlike last year, I had a regular turkey-shaped cookie cutter.  It made the job a whole lot easier.

gingerbread-turkey-cookies-3

The cookies spread just a tad, but the turkey shape is still recognizable.

Then I made four colors of royal icing:  brown, red, yellow, and orange.

I used brown food coloring instead of cocoa powder to make the brown for two reasons:  I didn’t want the chocolate flavor and it was much easier to make one batch of icing and add four colors than to make two batches, one chocolate and one regular.

gingerbread-turkey-cookies-4

As you can see from the above photos, I outlines the turkey body first, then colored in the tail and face.

It takes a few minutes to draw the patterns on, but it looks SO cute when it’s done.

And here they are all packaged up to share:

gingerbread-turkey-cookies-5

Here is my post with the gingerbread recipe:

Mini Soft Iced Gingerbread Cookies

And when you go to make the icing, make a double batch, separate it out into four bowls and dye them brown, orange, red, and yellow.  You’ll need more brown than any other color.

Then fill a plastic baggy with each color, snip off a small corner, and squeeze the colors onto each cookie like I did in the photos.  I did brown (body), then orange (tail feathers), red (tail feathers and wattle), and finally yellow (feathers and beak).

Happy Baking!

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Easy Pizza Dough Recipe {And How to Proof Yeast}

Easy Pizza Dough Recipe {And How to Proof Yeast} at RoamingRosie.com

Pizza is one of those things I love to make from scratch.

It’s really easy, and my kids can help.  I love getting them involved in dinner.

In this post I’ve included the printable recipe for the pizza dough, but I’m also going to go into detail about how we normally make our pizza.

And we normally top our pizzas with just cheese.  I’m a big fan of simple dishes with strong flavor, and I like to focus on the cheese.  So, I usually serve it with a salad.  But you can go ahead and top yours with veggies if you prefer.  Or meat.  We did sprinkle on some pepperoni pieces this time, too.

Easy Pizza Dough Recipe at RoamingRosie.com

The ingredients are pretty basic, so I almost always have them on hand.

The only thing I sometimes run out of is cheese.  We eat a lot of cheese.  :)

Yeast, though, is one of those things that a lot of people I know have trouble with, so I’m going to explain what I’ve learned through trial and error.  And how I get my yeast to do what I’ve shown in the photos below:

Easy Pizza Dough Recipe {And How to Proof Yeast} at RoamingRosie.com

You need the water (or milk – for some breads) to be between 100 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit.

This is the hardest part.

It’s hard mostly because it’s so important.  If the water is too cold, the yeast won’t activate.  If the water’s too hot, it will kill the yeast.  Either way, if the yeast doesn’t get all foamy and yeasty, you’ll have a denser, tougher finished product.  Still edible – but not ideal.

I’ve run into so much trouble in the past trying to reach the right temp in the microwave, so I switched to using the sink water.

I get the right temperature almost every single time by running the tap until the water just reaches a very-hot-to-the-touch feel.  I fill up my glass measuring cup and use a thermometer to make sure the temperature is where I need it, and it nearly always is.  Sometimes, if I let the water run hot for too long before filling the glass, it registers at 113 or 115.  So I let it sit for a minute.

Then I pour the water into my large mixing bowl.  And when I mix the yeast into the warm water, I also add some sugar.  The yeast eats the sugar, so it helps it.

After sitting for 10 minutes, the yeast should look very foamy, as it does in the above photo, and there should be a very noticeable yeast smell.

Then, making this dough is just a matter of stirring in the rest of the ingredients.

Easy Pizza Dough Recipe {And How to Proof Yeast} at RoamingRosie.com

I usually roll out this dough with a rolling pin, but you can also stretch it by hand.

Those two little circles of dough in the photo above were my daughters’ pizzas.  I stretched them by hand.  Then I rolled out the large rectangle with a rolling pin.  (On a well floured surface.)

To transfer the dough from the counter to the pan, I rolled it around the rolling pin and unrolled it again over the pan.

I also cover the pan with foil and a brief spritz of nonstick spray.  You could use a light coating of oil, too.  Or parchment paper.  Sometimes I use a pizza pan with holes in the bottom because I do like the crispiness and I can skip the foil, but when I’m making multiple pizzas, I’ve found that the regular baking pans work well.

Of course, nothing is better than a preheated pizza stone, but I stopped using mine when I had kids.  I suppose I’ll switch back one day, but right now I’d prefer not to have to deal with a heavy, five-hundred-degree rock while I have two young children running around my kitchen.

Easy Pizza Dough Recipe at RoamingRosie.com

Anyway, on to the toppings!

I like to use just a few strong flavors for pizza, as I mentioned.  Thus, I top mine with plain tomato sauce, salt, pepper, garlic powder, Parmesan cheese, and mozzarella cheese.

For the pizzas pictured here, I used 8 ounces of tomato sauce, 8 ounces of fresh mozzarella cheese, and 8 ounces of part-skim mozzarella cheese.

Easy Pizza Dough Recipe at RoamingRosie.com

Why do I use half fresh and half part-skim mozzarella?

Once, on the Food Network, I saw the owner of a pizzeria explaining that he used that combination for a better texture on the finished pizza.  I tried it and I liked it.

I’ve used just fresh or just part-skim on pizzas, and I like that, too, but I like the combination best.

Oh – and why do I use plain tomato sauce instead of some fancy pizza sauce or spaghetti sauce that’s laden with herbs and other veggies?  Because all of the best pizzas that I ate in Rome simply melted in my mouth.  They were simple.  They used the best ingredients – and by best I also mean basic.  Just tomatoes in the tomato sauce.

Of course, you can feel free to use something different, but I suggest trying it with the plain tomato sauce and a little sprinkle of spices.

Seriously.  It rocks.

Easy Pizza Dough Recipe at RoamingRosie.com

Here you can see the toppings.

My oldest daughter requested pepperoni on her pizza, but we only had a small chunk left.  So I cut the slices thinly and cut those slices in half to try to make it go a little further.

And since I put pepperoni on only half of the large pizza, my daughter copied me by only adding it to half of hers.  :)

Easy Pizza Dough Recipe at RoamingRosie.com

Here are the pizzas all ready to go into the oven.

I layered the toppings like this:  spread on the tomato sauce; sprinkle on salt, pepper, and garlic powder; sprinkle on Parmesan cheese; sprinkle on mozzarella cheese; add any other toppings, such as pepperoni.

You can also brush the crust with melted butter or olive oil and sprinkle on some Parmesan or garlic powder.  I didn’t do that here, but sometimes I do.

Easy Pizza Dough Recipe at RoamingRosie.com

Doesn’t that look amazing??

You can see the differences in the crusts.  The above photo shows the small circle pizzas I shaped for my girls by hand stretching them.  Below is the crust that I rolled out with a rolling pin, and which is also a little thinner.  Both good, just with slightly different thicknesses.

Easy Pizza Dough Recipe at RoamingRosie.com

And leftovers are easy to reheat.  Pop them in a convection or conventional oven at 350 degree Fahrenheit, and cook for about 10 minutes or until the cheese begins to melt.

Easy Pizza Dough

Ingredients:

1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (100° to 110° F)
2 cups bread flour
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt (or 1/2 tsp. of sea salt or Himalayan salt)
2 Tbsp. olive oil

Warm the water to between 100° and 110° F. I usually do this by running the sink water until it just becomes very hot to the touch and fill up a measuring glass to the 1 cup line. I then use a thermometer to make sure it’s the right temperature. If it’s too hot, it will kill the yeast, and if it’s too cold, the yeast won’t activate.

Pour the water into a large bowl. Mix in the yeast and 1 tsp of the sugar. Allow to stand for 10 minutes until foamy.

Add in the rest of the ingredients and stir until a dough forms. Cover with a kitchen towel (I sometimes use plastic wrap under the towel to keep it from sticking), and let rest for 30 minutes, or until about double in size.

Roll out the dough on a well-floured surface to your desired shape and thickness. The recipe will make one large pizza with a thick crust or two with a thin crust. Or multiple small ones.

Move dough to a baking pan and top with tomato sauce, cheese, and other desired toppings. You can also brush the crust with olive oil or melted butter.

Bake at 425°F for 15 to 20 minutes or until the crust is golden brown on the edges.

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And to print the free PDF copy of the recipe, click here:  Easy Pizza Dough

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Easy Spinach Alfredo with Chicken

Spinach Alfredo with Chicken

This is one of my go-to recipes when I want something easy to make that my kids will eat.

I know it may seem strange, but my girls have always eaten this, ever since they started on solid foods, and even though it has spinach in it.

Maybe it’s because I’ve always served spinach, but my kids like it.  Of course, they like it best smothered in Alfredo sauce.

So I’m advocating this recipe as not only “easy,” but also “kid-friendly.”

Spinach Alfredo with Chicken

Anyway, the recipe can be altered to your tastes.  For example, I tend to change up which Alfredo sauce I buy.  Depends on what’s on sale.  :)

And I always make this after I’ve made chicken of some kind.  The chicken seen here is shredded chicken thighs that were “grilled” on the stove top the night before.  You can use white or dark meat, or both. Just make sure it’s seasoned.  Plain chicken is sooooo boring.  To me, at least.  So make your chicken with salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, or whatever you normally use.

I like to shred it by pulling it apart with my fingers (which is the fastest method I’ve found) the night that it’s cooked.  That way I can just pull the shredded meat out of the fridge when I’m ready to make this.

Spinach Alfredo with Chicken

And when it comes to the spinach, I have no idea how much you would use if you’re using fresh.  I’ve always used frozen for this, because I always have frozen spinach on hand.

Here I used the steam-in-the-bag spinach from Target, because that’s what was the cheapest when I went shopping, but I usually stock up on the boxes (that are the same size:  10 oz.) when they’re on sale.

Either way, make sure you drain the spinach really, really well.  Spinach holds a lot of water and that water will make your dish far too soggy and keep the sauce from sticking to the pasta.

To drain the spinach, I usually press it into a mesh colander with a fork until no more water drips out.

And I suggest mixing in the spinach before stirring in the chicken or noodles, to make sure there are no dense clumps of spinach hiding in your finished meal.

Spinach Alfredo with Chicken

And that photo is just a close up to show you what I used this time:  Roasted Garlic Parmesan Alfredo.  But any type of Alfredo will work.  Could even make your own Parmesan white sauce instead.

Also, taste it before serving, because, if you’re like me, you may want to mix in a little extra pepper or garlic powder if your chicken wasn’t seasoned enough.  I like my spices to be noticeable.  :)

Easy Spinach Alfredo with Chicken

Easy Spinach Alfredo with Chicken

Ingredients:

3 cups penne pasta
2 cups shredded chicken
10 oz. chopped frozen spinach
2 jars (16 oz. each) Alfredo Sauce (I used Roasted Garlic Parmesan Alfredo)

Cook the pasta and the spinach (separately) according to the directions on the package.

Drain all water from the spinach, through a mesh colander or towel, or your sauce will be too wet.

Pour the sauce into a very large saucepan.  Stir in spinach, combining well.  Then stir in chicken and cooked pasta.

Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through.

*****

And here is the FREE printable PDF:  Easy Spinach Alfredo with Chicken

Or, you can Pin this photo:

Spinach Alfredo with Chicken Recipe

Enjoy!

And I’m curious:  do your kids like spinach?

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Honey Granola with Quinoa

Honey Granola with Quinoa

I know many people eat granola all by its lonesome, just in a bowl with milk, but I prefer it with yogurt.

The first time I saw someone eat it this way was when I was at a hotel breakfast buffet in Germany.  Someone spooned yogurt into a dish and sprinkled granola over the top.

I was intrigued.

And then I was addicted.

The silky smooth, fruity yogurt intensified the sweet and crunchy granola.  It seemed an ideal breakfast, indeed.

But I hadn’t made my own from scratch yet.  That needed to change.

Honey Granola with Quinoa

I began with a recipe by David Lebovitz that was based off a recipe by Nigella Lawson.  Then I made some changes.

I knew I wanted to increase the amount of honey, and I wanted to incorporate quinoa.  Plus, I love walnuts, so I swapped out the almonds for them.

You can see these changes in the photo above, which shows the dry ingredients, minus the spices and sugar.  Incidentally, I used dark brown sugar, although light brown sugar would work as well.  I prefer the stronger flavor.  And I used honey-roasted sunflower seeds instead of plain sunflower seeds – again, to increase the honey-ness of the granola.

Honey Granola with Quinoa

The long list of ingredients can appear a little intimidating at first, but the process is incredibly simple.

You mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl and the wet ingredients in a small saucepan.  Heat the wet ingredients, then pour them over the dry ingredients, and mix well.

Honey Granola with Quinoa

Spread the granola over two cookie sheets lined with parchment paper, and bake for an hour, stirring occasionally.

That’s it:  you’ve got homemade granola!

Honey Granola with Quinoa

And, of course, I suggest serving it over yogurt for breakfast.  Strawberry yogurt, specifically.  But feel free to play with it.  Perhaps you’d prefer it over vanilla ice cream?  Leave a comment to let me know how you enjoy it best!

Honey Granola with Quinoa

Here’s the recipe, and scroll down for the printable version:

Honey Granola with Quinoa

5 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
3 cups chopped walnuts
1 cup honey roasted sunflower seeds
1 cup quinoa
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 300ºF (150ºC).

In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients:  oats, walnuts, sunflower seeds, quinoa, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt.

In a small saucepan, mix the applesauce, honey, and oil.  Stir over low heat until just warmed and combined.

Pour the applesauce mixture over the dry ingredients and stir until well combined and all the dry ingredients are coated.

Pour granola evenly over two cookie sheets.  Bake for one hour, stirring every 10-15 minutes.

Cool completely.  Store covered for up to one month.

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Get the free printable PDF of the recipe:

Honey Granola with Quinoa

Enjoy!

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Spicy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

It’s been years since I’ve made roasted pumpkin seeds, but I thought my girls would enjoy it.  So I bought a “pie” pumpkin and cut it open.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Turns out, both my girls thought the innards were pretty “icky.”  I thought they’d have a blast getting their hands into the pumpkin and helping me separate the seeds from the pulp.

I was wrong.

Many “oh gross!” facial expressions and “ickyness” comments later, I wound up doing it myself.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

It was just one small pumpkin, so there weren’t a lot of seeds.

Enough for us, tho.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Once you get the seeds separated from the pulp, rinse them off, and let them dry.  You can stick them in a salad spinner or something, but I just patted them dry.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Then, toss them in a bowl with some olive oil and spices.  I used salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and ancho chile pepper.  But we like spicy food in our home.  If you don’t, just use salt.

And I didn’t measure.  I’m not the measuring type when it comes to spices.  Just make sure all the seeds have something stuck to them.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Spread them out on a baking sheet that’s covered with parchment paper and bake them at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 30-45 minutes, stirring them about halfway through.

I did mine 45 minutes, but I like them crunchy.  You could test them after 30 minutes if you’re not sure.

Store them in an airtight container.

My girls only ate a few, but I mostly blame that on the fact that we also made chocolate-covered football pretzels that day.  And they devoured the chocolate pretzels.  :)