Archive | Christmas RSS feed for this section

Asparagus and Mushroom Risotto

2 Jan

Here is the recipe that I promised last week.

I have never made risotto before.  Everything that I read said that it can be difficult and time consuming to make.  When Tony requested that I make it to go with the Pomegranate Roast I got out my new rice cooker cookbook and searched for a recipe.   I found the perfect accompaniment to the roast: Asparagus and Mushroom Risotto.  I made a double recipe since we had 6 adults to feed and the original said it served 4-6.  This was my first recipe in the rice cooker and it was perfect.  I don’t think I will ever make a risotto the regular way.


Saute your shallots in the butter and oil.


Add the rice.  Heat until the rice becomes transparent but still has one white spot on each.


Add veggies and broth.


Cook on porridge setting.


Asparagus & Mushroom Risotto

From The Ultimate Rice Cooker Cookbook

Serves 4-6

  • 3/4 lb. Fresh Asparagus
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. Butter
  • 2 Tbs. Minced Shallots
  • 1 Cup plus 2 Tbs. Medium Grain Arborio Rice
  • 2 oz. Fresh Mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 Cups Chicken Broth
  • 2 tsp. Butter
  • 1/3 Cup Freshly Grated Parmesan
  • Salt & Pepper
  1. Snap off ends of asparagus stalk. Cut the spears on the diagonal into small pieces.
  2. Set the rice cooker to the Regular Cycle.
  3. Place olive oil and butter in rice cooker bowl.
  4. When the butter melts, add the shallots.  Cook, stirring a few times until softened, about 2 minutes.
  5. Add the rice and stir until the grains are evenly coated and hot.
  6. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the grains are transparent except for a white spot on each, 3-5 minutes.
  7. Add the mushrooms and asparagus, stirring for a minute or two.
  8. Add the broth, stir to combine.
  9. Close the cover and reset the rice cooker for the Porridge Cycle.
  10. Once the rice cooker is finished, stir the risotto.  The risotto should only have a bit of liquid and the rice should be al dente, tender with just a touch of tooth resistance.
  11. If needed, cook for a few minutes longer.  The risotto will keep Warm on hold for an hour or so.
  12. When ready to serve, add the butter and cheese and mix.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
  13. Sprinkle extra cheese on top just before serving.
  14. Enjoy!

You could use vegetable broth if you want to make the risotto vegetarian.  Also any other vegetables would be delicious.  I will be trying this soon using some squash and zucchini!

Have you ever made risotto before?  How hard was it to make?

I’m going to stick with the rice cooker recipe from now on!


You Know You’re A Food Blogger When….

28 Dec

Santa spoils you and brings you many new kitchen tools such as….

a fancy rice cooker….


that looks like a robot….


multiple cookbooks to use with the robot….


a fancy glass bowl for your stand mixer….


multiple coated beaters to use in previous stated bowl…..


mini tasting dishes for future parties…….


a cordless warmer to use for said parties……


more tools to fill up the cooking drawer……


an immersion blender because I broke my first one…..


and a fancy wood cutting board to cut veggies on (or use as a picture background, shhh don’t tell my husband who bought this fancy piece of wood for me!).


Thank you Santa for spoiling me!

I can’t wait to share so many new recipes with you using all of my new gadgets!

Did Santa treat you well this year?

I must have been extra good because he brought me too many gifts!

I started a Facebook page.  Make sure you become a fan of theSheenBean.

Grandma’s Apricot and Nut Rolls….

24 Dec

I spent Tuesday learning how to make my Grandma’s Apricot and Nut Rolls.  I enjoy eating them every Christmas but never helped with making them.  They took a lot more work than I had anticipated.  But they are well worth the work put into them!  I can’t imagine a holiday at Grandma’s house without them.



The recipe is in our church cook book under French Pastry.  Of course Grandma goes by the recipe but she has many tips along the way.



You start out by making your dough.  Cut the Crisco into the dry ingredients.

IMG_3150.JPG IMG_3155.JPG

Beat eggs with a little bit of the milk.  Just enough to thin out the eggs.  Add to the dough and mix with your hands.

IMG_3163.JPG IMG_3168.JPG

Add all BUT the last 1/3 cup of milk.  Refrigerate dough until ready to use.

IMG_3169.JPG IMG_3172.JPG

Make your nut filling using the remaining milk, a jar of nut filling, and diced walnuts.

IMG_3180.JPG IMG_3182.JPG


Once you have your dough and filling made, clean off a table and get everything ready to make your rolls.


Prep you surface with sugar, not flour!


Roll out a small portion of the dough.


Cut into 3-4 inch wide sections.


Spread your filling using the back of a spoon.  Leave a 1/2 inch empty on the longest side.

IMG_3211.JPG IMG_3257.JPG

IMG_3213.JPG IMG_3265.JPG

Roll up the dough starting on the shorter side.  Use a butter knife to help pick up the dough from the table.  Be careful, the dough is fragile!  Seal the edge of the dough to the roll.



Once rolled, cut into 1-2 inch slices.

IMG_3225.JPG IMG_3266.JPGIMG_3231.JPG IMG_3269.JPG

Place the rolls seam side down on an ungreased cookie sheet.



Bake for 10-12 minutes.


Sprinkle with powder sugar and let cool.





IMG_3310.JPG IMG_3311.JPG






Grandma’s Apricot & Nut Rolls

  • 6 Cups Flour
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 4 Eggs
  • 3 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 lb. Crisco
  • 1 can Evaporated Milk
  • Powdered Sugar
  1. Mix flour, salt & baking powder with Crisco.  Cut the Crisco into the flour until it resembles small crumbles.
  2. Beat eggs with 1/4 cup of evaporated milk.  Put 1/3 cup of milk to the side.
  3. Slowly add egg mixture to dough.  Continue to add the remaining milk to the dough and mix with your hands.  You will have a nice firm dough when finished.  Refrigerate until ready.
  4. Roll out in sugar.  Roll as thin as possible.  The dough will be thin enough that you will be able to see through it.
  5. Cut into 3-4 inch wide strips.
  6. Cover with filling.  Leave 1/2 inch uncovered on long seam side.
  7. Roll up gently.
  8. Cut into 1-2 inch rolls.
  9. Place seam side down on cookie sheet.
  10. Bake at 375 degF for 10-12 minutes or until slightly hard to the touch.
  11. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and let cool.

Nut Filling

  • 3 Cups Ground Walnuts
  • 10 oz. Nut Filling Mixture
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 Tbs. Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Evaporated Milk.
  1. Mix all ingredients together.  If mixture seems too thick you can add additional milk to thin it.
  2. Spread thin layer on dough.

The apricot filling that we used was premade from the grocery store.

What is your favorite Christmas cookie?

Christmas Sugar Cookies…

22 Dec

Everyone needs cookies to set out for Santa even if you are in your mid-twenties.  Monday night, Mom and I made her famous sugar cookies.  She has been making this recipe since I was in Kindergarten.  The cookies don’t need icing, just some festive sprinkles!



Mom’s Sugar Cookies

Mix your wet ingredients.


Add the dry ingredients and mix again.


Flour your surface.


Roll out and cut out different Christmas shapes.



Put cookies on ungreased cookie sheet and decorate with sprinkles.


Be creative with the sprinkles!  The more sprinkles, the better!




Let cool on a wire rack or fiber free towel.



Take your mom’s finest Christmas china outside and take pictures of the cookies in the snow!






Don’t leave them on the ground too long or your dog will steal one!





Mom’s Sugar Cookies

  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Butter
  • 2 Eggs Beaten
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • 2 1/4 Cups Flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degF.
  2. Mix butter and sugar together.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Mix thoroughly.
  3. Add flour, baking powder, and salt to wet mixture.  Mix until uniform.
  4. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  5. Roll out on floured surface to desired thickness.
  6. Cut out cookies using Christmas cookie cutters.
  7. Decorate with your favorite sprinkles.  Gently press the sprinkles into the cookies so that they will not roll off.
  8. Bake for 8-10 minutes on ungreased cookie sheet.  Cookies will not be brown but will be firm.
  9. Cool.
  10. Store in air-tight container.
  11. Enjoy!

What type of cookies do you leave out for Santa?

Chocolate Covered Pretzel Rods….

13 Dec

Finally the tutorial that I promised last week:  How to make my famous Chocolate Covered Pretzel Rods.  2 weeks ago I made 160 of these, they aren’t very difficult.  It took a while but I have plenty to use for gifts and Christmas parties.

Sheena 3.jpg

Christmas Pretzel Rods

Melt your chocolate chips.

chocolate 1.jpg chocolate 3 .jpg

Set up your station.


station 2.jpg

Prep your colored chips.

red.jpg green.jpg

Coat the pretzels with chocolate.  Use a spatula to spread the chocolate while spinning the pretzel with your other hand.

coat 1.jpg

coat 1b.jpg

coat 2.jpg

Place your pretzel on cookie sheet and drizzle on red and green topping.

add red.jpg

red and green.jpg

Sprinkle your favorite toppings: Sprinkles, Crushed M&Ms, Mints, Candy Canes, Etc.

add decorations.jpg

Let pretzels harden in freezer then enjoy!

outside 1.jpg

outside 2.jpg

outside 3.jpg

outside 4.jpg

Christmas Pretzel Rods

  • Milk Chocolate
  • Red and Green Melts
  • Sprinkles and Candy for Toppings
  1. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler.
  2. Coat the pretzel with chocolate leaving a small part exposed to use as a handle.
  3. Lay on a cookie sheet covered in wax paper.
  4. Melt red & green chips in a squeeze bottle per the directions on the bag and pour over pretzels.
  5. Decorate with sprinkles.
  6. Freeze until hard.
  7. Store in closed containers, in a cold area (garage, freezer etc.) until ready to share.
  8. Enjoy!

These can be adapted for any holiday but for some reason I only make them at Christmas.

Check back tomorrow for a perfect winter soup recipe!

Annual Shony Christmas Party

12 Dec

Friday night Tony and I hosted around 30 of our best friends for our Annual Christmas Party.  I started this party when I moved here 5 years ago and there were 8 of us there, now I had around 30 people in our little townhouse.  I made lots of different appetizers and dips.  These recipes are all easy and can be made ahead of time.  I will share the links of the recipes so that you can recreate them.

Recipes I will be sharing this week:

  • Crock Pot Candy
  • Chocolate Covered Pretzel Rods
  • Spinach and Artichoke Wonton Cups
  • Bacon Wrapped Cheese Stuffed Dates
  • Garlic Cheese Dip

I was a bad food blogger and forgot to take pictures of everything.  Here are a few of the ones I did remember to take.

Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

Buffalo Chicken Meatballs.jpg

Baked Mac & Cheese Cups

mac and cheese.jpg

Christmas Shaped Matt Crack(ers)

matt crackers.jpg

Spinach & Artichoke Wonton Cups


Bacon Wrapped Dates


Dough Balls and Candy

dough balls.jpg

Mint Chocolate Pretzel Rods

mint pretzels.jpg

M&M Christmas Pretzel Rods


Finally some snapshots of the guests of the party:


joe julie.jpg km & eb.jpg

As.jpg matt and ash.jpg

adam liz.jpg elizabeth and brad.jpg

megan and j9.jpg josh brian.jpg

rehydrate.jpg tony and crosby.jpg




Now for 2 super easy recipes that I made and would like to share.

Garlic Cheese Dip

  • 1 Block of Light Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 Jar of Old English Cheese (you can find it near the velveeta at the grocery store, it doesn’t need to be refrigerated)
  • 1-2 tsp. of Garlic Salt
  1. Mix all 3 ingredients together until smooth.
  2. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  3. Serve with your favorite dipper or Matt Crack(ers).

CrockPot Candy

  • 16 oz. Unsalted Dry Roasted Peanuts
  • 16 oz. Salted Dry Roasted Peanuts
  • 16 oz. Milk Chocolate Chips
  • 16 oz. White Chocolate Chips
  • 16 oz. Vanilla Bark
  1. Layer peanuts first, then chips and bark into a crock pot.
  2. Do not stir.  Cook on Low for 2 hours.
  3. Stir to mix and spoon out on to a wax paper covered cookie sheet.  Smooth so that you have a semi-flat bark.  I usually get two cookies sheets full with one batch.
  4. Once cool, break into small pieces and Enjoy!

I was able to finish my Christmas shopping this weekend and still found time to make some soup and muffins to take to work tomorrow for the start of our holiday party week.  I will be sharing those recipes soon!

We are hoping to wake up to a dusting of snow tomorrow.  I am trying to not get my hopes up but I can’t wait to see what we end up with.  I have a big week coming up so I will try my best to post everyday.

Merry Christmas!

Holiday Bake Sale

6 Dec

Tina at Carrots ‘N’ Cake is having an online bake sale today to raise money for Team in Training which will benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  I have donated 2 dozen of my wonderful Holiday Chocolate Covered Pretzel Rods.  You can find these along with many other delicious treats on her blog post.

All of the rules and logistics are explained on her site.  I hope you get a chance to bid on a delicious treat and help raise money for such a great cause.  Good Luck and Happy Bidding.

Holiday Bake Sale:

I will be posting a recipe tutorial later this week!

%d bloggers like this: