Monday, November 9, 2015

Fruity Pebble Cookies

 I am always excited to try new cookie recipes.  My almost two-year-old LOVES to "help Mom" more than my other kids ever did.  Recipes like this make it super easy for him to help me without stressing me out to the max.  We both had a fun time making these and they tasted yummy to boot!

Fruity Pebble Cookies

1 box Funfetti Cake mix (I actually had a rainbow chip mix with pudding, so I used that)
2 eggs
⅓ cup oil
1 cup Fruity Pebble Cereal

Preheat oven 350.  Mix all ingredients together gently until combined.  I oil my hands and roll the dough in balls and place on cookie sheet.  Bake about 8-10 minutes.
See it doesn't get any easier!!

Recipe Source:  Life With the Crust Cut Off

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Grilled Artichokes

This was my first attempt at cooking artichokes whole like this myself...I LOVE artichokes and order them when and where I can, so when I glanced and saw these at the store it clicked that I should finally try them.  

They were really easy, and they turned out really yummy.  The balsamic vinegar and the spicy aioli were perfect combo to the grill flavor.  These will be made again for sure at this house!

Grilled Artichokes

1/3 cup olive oil
3 T balsamic vinegar
2 T salt
1 T Black pepper
1/2 T white ground pepper (optional)
Cayenne pepper to taste
1/2 T Oregano flakes
+/- 1 1/2 T Lawery’s
1 T minced garlic

Spicy aoili:

1/2 cup mayo

tapatio hot sauce {or whatever your fave is.}

Cut the artichoke in half first, {so it doesn’t fall apart later}, then place in boiling water for about 20-25 minutes.

Spoon out the feathery middle part, without hurting the heart, the best part.  Spoon the marinade over the insides of the artichoke and let sit for at least 30 minutes.  Heat grill or indoor grill pan and cook for 5-10 minutes, turning every few minutes. Remove once there is a nice char.

Recipe Source:  Big Red Clifford

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Turkey Avocado Rollups

I have been a part of a few "get fit" groups over the last year, and going through the process of that, I have found some really great Instagram accounts on eating healthy/eating clean/whatever you want to call it.  Scrolling through one day I found this yummy idea and I'm pretty sure I ate this every day for lunch for about 2 weeks!  I wish I could remember which one it was and I'd give them some credit :)

Anyhow, this is another one of those lunch ideas, more-so than an actual recipe.  In any case, ENJOY!

Turkey Avocado Rollups

Deli turkey slices (I prefer the Columbus brand or Costco equivalent)
slices of avocado
slices of red bell pepper
light balsamic or light italian dressing

Just roll up your slices of pepper and avocado in 1/2 a turkey slice, place on a bed of spinach, and drizzle a bit of salad dressing on top.  Perfect lunch or snack!  

Monday, August 31, 2015

Jalapeno Jelly

 A few years back we planted about 6 jalapeno plants at a little farmhouse we were renting.  The problem was the place we were renting, the landlord did not have sprinklers set up, therefore no drip lines, and all the watering was on us.  Sometimes we'd forget, or go out of town, or our automatic timer for our small sprinkler would not work.  The plants did OK, and we got a decent amount of peppers, but no like when regular watering takes place.  

Fast forward 2 years and we now have our own new home with sprinklers, drip lines, the whole bit!  So this time I only bought one plant and put it in a pot since we don't have a dedicated garden yet.  This one plant EXPLODED!  I can only guess that over a few months time we have gotten over 100 peppers from this one plant.  
Needless to say, I needed to find a way to use our awesome harvest of peppers.  I had pinned a recipe for jalapeno jelly, and remembering the one time I had tried this stuff in the past I knew it was something I had to try :)  

So plucking 20 jalapenos off my plant, I set off on my jelly adventure.  It was super easy to make and canned up nicely.  When I was done, I busted out some Wheat Thins, some cream cheese, and lunch was served!  

Some ideas for this stuff is just like I said... crackers, cream cheese with a little jelly on top.  Or for a party, soften a whole block of this stuff and throw a whole jar on top and serve with crackers.  Use it as a sauce for chicken or steak.  Some people mentioned how great this is with coconut shrimp and even chicken nuggets.  The blogger that I got this recipe from loves it on her paninis as an alternate spread to the normal mustard.  I am willing to venture out and find some some uses for this delectable stuff!

I doubled up the recipe and got about 13-14 half pint jars.

Jalapeno Jelly

1 large red bell pepper
1 large green bell pepper
10 jalapenos (I leave about 1/2 the seeds in)
1 1/2 cups white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
5-6 cups granulated sugar (yep, you really need this much to combat the spice!)
1 3-ounce pouch liquid fruit pectin (like Certo)

Finely chop the bell peppers and jalapenos in a food processor fitted with a fine shredding blade (if you don't have a food processor, no worries, grab a knife and get started chopping up those peppers into little tiny pieces).

Add the peppers to a large pot (the jelly will foam when it first comes to a boil so use a pot at least 5-6 quarts for a single batch and larger if doubling the batch).

Stir in the vinegar, salt and sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil for 10 minutes, stirring often.

Add the liquid pectin and boil for 1 more minute.

Remove the pot from the heat. Pour the jelly to within 1/4-inch of the top of clean, warm canning jars. 

Wipe the rim of the jar with a damp rag. Place a lid and ring on each jar and process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes (you may need to add additional time if you live above sea level; the pectin box/info should give details).

Once removed from the water bath canner, let the jelly rest for 1-2 days to let it fully set up.

Recipe Source:  Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Homemade Peach or Strawberry Ice Cream

Well, summer is pretty much over and a part of me of SOOO okay with that.  I am ready for college football, apple cider, changing leaves, and pumpkin treats!  Not to mention my birthday celebrations ;)

Anyhow, last week we finally broke down and bought an ice cream maker.  I must say it was a fantastic purchase and my mind is overflowing with ideas I want to try in it.  After doing some research, we ended up with the 2-quart Cuisinart (found here).  Our first attempt was a simple vanilla ice cream, which was great...especially if you have REAL Mexican pure vanilla.  We picked some up down in Cancun earlier this summer.  

This was our second recipe, considering we had about 30+ pounds of peaches sitting around.  Not to mention peaches are by far my favorite fruit!  It turned out so so good, and it is always best when it first comes out of the ice cream maker.  So excited to try more flavors throughout the year :)  Enjoy!

Homemade Peach Ice Cream

3 cups fresh ripe strawberries/peaches, stemmed and sliced
4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1-1/2 cup sugar, divided
1-1/4 cups whole milk
2-3/4 cups heavy cream
1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

In a small bowl, combine the strawberries/peaches with the lemon juice and 1/2 cup of the sugar. Stir gently and allow the strawberries/peaches to macerate in the juices for 2 hours. Strain the berries/peaches, reserving juices. Mash or purée half the berries/peaches.

In a medium mixing bowl, use a hand mixer on low speed to combine the milk and remaining granulated sugar until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream, reserved strawberry/peach juice, mashed strawberries/peaches, and vanilla. Turn the machine on; pour the mixture into freezer bowl, and let mix until thickened, about 20 to 25 minutes. Five minutes before mixing is completed, add the reserved sliced strawberries/peaches and let mix in completely. The ice cream will have a soft, creamy texture. If a firmer consistency is desired, transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and place in freezer for about 2 hours. Remove from freezer about 15 minutes before serving.

Recipe Source:  Cuisinart

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Blackberry Lime Scones

 Well, we hit up our favorite berry farm for what feels like the 100th time.  We LOVE it!  I love that our freezer is always packed with frozen organic berries ready to use at my disposal.  But-it is even better when we first pick them!  Some of my blackberries were starting to look not-so-perfect anymore, so I thought I'd make us some yummy Saturday breakfast.  

The pairing of blackberries and lime was so great in these scones!  And for those of you that may think scones take way to much time, think again!  These took no more time than whipping up some muffin batter.  Not bad at all :)  These are super yummy, and the little pockets full of gooey berry are so so good.  Worth every carb ;)

Blackberry Lime Scones

Yields 8 large scones

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lime zest
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, VERY cold and cut into tiny pieces
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons whole milk
8 ounces blackberries, fresh or frozen (If using frozen, do not thaw first)
For the egg wash:
1 large egg, beaten
1 teaspoon milk or water
2 tablespoons sugar, for sprinkling
For glaze:
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3/4 cup confectioners sugar

Heat oven to 400°(F). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
In a large bowl, mix flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and lime zest.

Cut the butter into small cubes then work it into the mixture (using your fingers) until lit resembles a coarse meal.
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and milk, then add to flour and butter. Use the fork to stir everything together until just moistened.

Add blackberries and gently stir into dough. Don’t worry if some of the berries break up a bit.
Empty the loose dough out onto a clean, floured work surface, then shape the dough into an 8-inch circle.
Cut the dough into 8 wedges and carefully transfer to the prepared sheet.

Lightly brush each scones with the egg wash, then sprinkle the top of each scone with sugar.

Bake for about 16 minutes, or until light golden brown.

Cool for about 10 minutes, then make your glaze.

For the glaze:
In a small bowl whisk together the lime juice and confectioners sugar. Drizzle over warm scones and serve at once.

Recipe Source:  Baker By Nature

Monday, June 8, 2015

Copycat Chickfila Sandwiches

When we lived in Ohio, we lived less than 0.5 miles from Chickfila.  Needless to say, we went often.  I loved their sandwiches, nuggets, wraps, salads, the play place for the kids, the service, the lemonade, the breakfasts the get the point.  

Now I live in Eastern Washington where there are ZERO of one of our favorite restaurants.  So the time has come for me to make my own until they make their way here.  Here is my first attempt.  It turned out SO SO good!  I made up some nuggets for the kids and some copycat Chickfila sauce, and we had one happy house.  Enjoy!

Copycat Chickfila Sandwiches

4 hamburger buns, split
1 head green leaf lettuce, leaves separated
1 beefsteak tomato, sliced
20 dill pickle slices

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup dill pickle juice
1 1/2 cups milk, divided
1 cup peanut oil
1 large egg
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Place a chicken breast on a cutting board. With your hand flat on top of it, carefully slice the chicken in half horizontally. Trim excess fat as needed.
In a large shallow baking dish, combine chicken, pickle juice and 1/2 cup milk; marinate for at least 30 minutes. Drain well.

Heat peanut oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
In another large shallow baking dish, whisk together remaining 1 cup milk and egg. Stir in chicken to coat and drain excess milk mixture.

In a gallon size Ziploc bag or large bowl, combine chicken, flour and confectioners' sugar; season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Working in batches, add chicken to the skillet and cook until evenly golden and crispy, about 4-5 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.

Serve chicken immediately on burger buns with green leaf lettuce, tomato and pickles.

Recipe Source:  Damn Delicious

Chocolate Chip Cherry Bars

Cherry season has begun here in Washington!  Yipee!  We love our Washington cherries.  Nate's co-worker does some picking on the side for extra money and brought us our first batch of cherries from a local orchard.  So...I thought it was time to try some new recipes!  Here's my first cherry recipe of the season for you, and it is so good!

Chocolate Chip Cherry Bars 

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (1 stick)
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt, optional
3/4 to 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup cherries (or combination of raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries; fresh or frozen)

Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-by-8-inch pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.

In a medium microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter, about 60 seconds.  To the melted butter, add the brown sugar and stir to combine.

Add the egg, vanilla, and stir to combine. Add the flour, salt, and stir until just combined, taking care not to over mix or the blondies will be tough.

Fold in chocolate chips, fruit (I don't halve the cherries: I like them chunky and big), and pour batter into prepared pan, smoothing it lightly with a spatula or offset knife if necessary.

Bake for 27 to 32 minutes, or until edges begin to slightly pull away from sides of pan and center is set. Baking time will vary based on types of fruit used, fresh, frozen, and the moisture content of the fruit; and how gooey you like your blondies. A toothpick inserted into the middle may not come out clean due to the chocolate chips or juicy fruit. Allow bars to cool for at least 1 hour before slicing and serving. Blondies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 3 months.

Recipe Source:  Averie Cooks

Berry Cheesecake Salad

Sometimes in the summer we like to have or invited to last minute get-togethers.  Then comes the dilemma of what to take to these last minute get-togethers.  As long as you have these ingredients together, this delectable salad comes together in 10 minutes...TOPS.  

It was seriously so good, so addictive!  I may make this every week this summer :)  I have another similar recipe...(click here) that is super yummy as well.  Try both and tell me which one you prefer.  Enjoy!

Berry Cheesecake Salad

1 (8 ounce) cream cheese, softened
½ cup sugar
8 oz cool whip, thawed
6 cups berries, I used:
3 cups strawberries, sliced
1 cup blackberries
1 cup blueberries
1 cup raspberries

In a large bowl, beat together cream cheese and sugar until smooth and creamy. Fold in the thawed cool whip.

Add strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries. Fold carefully into the cream cheese mixture. Serve immediately.

Recipe Source:  The Recipe Critic

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Little Lemonies (Lemon Brownies)

Despite all my sweet posts lately, I am actually losing weight!  I had braces put on 2 weeks ago, and eating has been a challenge, so I'll just call it the bonus to having braces!  I have had to figure out which foods are too hard to eat with braces and avoid them (which is hard...I LOVE raw almonds, but they are just no bueno).  

I love all the citrus recipes that pop up this time of year.  I had a baby shower for a good friend this week and this was my contribution to the dessert table.  These are perfectly moist, no too lemony, and definitely crave-able!  Enjoy :)
Little Lemonies

 Lemon Batter:
1 cup (5 ounces/142 grams) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (5.5 ounces/155 grams) sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon lemon zest (from 1 large lemon)
1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Lemon Glaze:
3/4 cup (2.75 ounces/75 grams) powdered sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8X8-inch aluminum baking pan with parchment so that it hangs over two of the edges (to lift out the bars later - alternately, you can just grease the pan really well and slice them in the pan) and lightly coat the pan and parchment with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and lemon zest.
In a separate bowl or in a large liquid measuring cup, whisk together the butter, eggs and egg yolk, lemon juice and vanilla.

Stir the wet ingredients into the flour mixture and mix until combined.

Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.  Bake for 18-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with moist crumbs (the top of the bars should spring back lightly when gently pressed). Don't over bake or they might be dry.

For the glaze, whisk together the powdered sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest until smooth and combined.
After the bars have cooled completely in the pan, drizzle the glaze over the top (since the glaze layer is thin, it helps to pour it all across the bars instead of in one puddle before spreading) and use an offset spatula or knife to spread evenly over the bars.

Place the bars in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours to let the glaze set before lifting them from the pan (using the parchment overhang) and cutting into small squares. These taste best chilled, in my opinion, but can be served at room temperature also.

Recipe Source:  Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Looking for more lemony goodness?  Try clicking here for a few of my favs :)

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Banana Bread with Cinnamon Crumble

We eat bananas around here like crazy!  I'm surprised I had some brown up for once.  I decided to try a new recipe this time around, and I found this little number with the cinnamon crumb topping.  The pin I found was pinned over 13,000 times, so I figured it was probably a good one.  It was REAL tasty!  Enjoy :) 

Banana Bread with Cinnamon Crumble


1 egg
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 overripe bananas, mashed
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Crumb Topping:

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt

In a large bowl of a mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the sugar, egg and vanilla until combined. Add the butter and beat until smooth and the butter is fully incorporated. Beat in the buttermilk and bananas.

In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon. Slowly stir the dry ingredients into the wet until all the flour is incorporated. Spray a loaf pan with non-stick spray and pour in the batter. * Note that not all loaf pans are the same size. You may have extra batter, so just pour in enough so there is still about an inch or 2 of space before the top of the pan.

Make the crumb topping by combining the powdered sugar, flour, cinnamon salt and melted butter. Using your hands, crumble the mixture over the batter in the pan. Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 45 - 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

 Recipe Source:  Little Bits Of

Friday, May 22, 2015

Marshmallow Fruit Dip

 In my chruch, I am in charge of a group of 8-year olds, doing bi-weekly activities to help them progress towards finishing goals.  It is AWESOME!  I only get boy stuff at my house, so this is my time to let my girlie girl come out.  This last week we talked about personal hygiene, painted nails, and had some yummy "girlie" snacks.  This fruit dip is super simple, and makes plain 'ole fruit a little more exciting for the kiddos (who am I kidding, I LOVE it too :)
Marshmallow Fruit Dip

1 Jar Marshmallow Cream
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Mix all ingredients together with hand mixer, chill until ready to serve.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Chocolate Peanut Butter Swig Style Cookies

 Sometimes I just really really wish we lived in Utah with our family and friends.  We don't...probably never will again.  I am going to be ok with that someday (we've been away for 7 years)!  We have missed out on a lot of growth in the area I grew up the last 7 years.  When we go back to visit, we always hit up our favorite spots and rarely try new things.  

This Swig sensation that is sweeping across Utah is one thing we've missed out on, and so I decided to try a few copycat recipes so I don't feel like I'm missing out :)  I tried the original Swig copycat recipe a few months ago ( see here for that recipe). This version turned out delicious, just like that one, and it being my hubby's favorite combo of chocolate and peanut butter, this one definitely is #1 is his book :)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Swig Style Cookies

For Chocolate Cookie Dough:
½ cup butter, room temperature
½ cup shortening, (butter flavor is best)
1½ cups sugar
1 cup sour cream
½ teaspoon almond flavoring
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
3½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

For shaping cookies:
¼ cup granulated sugar
cooking spray
*glass with flat bottom, see notes below

For Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting:
½ cup butter, room temperature
½ cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup full fat sour cream
3-4 cups powdered sugar (or more to desired consistency)

Preheat oven to 350 or 325 on convection setting.

Cream butter, shortening and sugar together.  Add sour cream and almond flavoring. Mix. Add the cocoa and mix again until smooth. The mixture should be creamy, with no specks of white. Turn the mixer off.  Add the flour, baking powder and salt all at once. Mix just until all of the flour disappears, on the lowest setting. This should take about 20-30 seconds.

Using a 1¾ inch to 2 inch scoop, place the dough onto a lightly greased cookie sheet.
Lightly spray the bottom of a glass with cooking spray. First press the glass against a cookie, then dip the bottom of glass in sugar to flatten cookie a bit. Continue dipping the bottom of the glass into the sugar after flattening each cookie.

After all of the cookies are flattened a bit, go back and lightly sprinkle sugar on top of each cookie.  Bake for about 9-10 minutes at 325 convection, or about 10-12 minutes at 350.  The cookies should be barely firm on top. Do not over cook!  Let cool completely on cookie sheet. Frost when cool.

Yield about 18 large cookies or 30-32 small to medium cookies.

For Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting:

Cream butter until it lightens in color.  Add peanut butter, vanilla extract, salt and sour cream. Whip until very smooth 2-3 minutes.  Add powdered sugar one cup at a time, then mix on high until very smooth. Continue adding powdered sugar to the desired thickness. If you add too much powdered sugar add a little more sour cream to balance it out.

Recipe Source: Fresh and Happy

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Berry Mint Chocolate Bliss Smoothie

Well, after having my FANTASTIC Mint Juleps a few days ago for the Kentucky Derby, I had some mint left over.  And I just happened to see this recipe on my Ibotta App (do you Ibotta?  You should!  It is such an easy way to get cash back on groceries!).  Not to mention I am trying to clear out my freezer for fruit season coming up, so this was perfect :)  I love almond milk for smoothies, and it packs a whole lot less calories than milk.  So this is basically a win-win-win smoothie for me!!

Berry Mint Chocolate Bliss Smoothie

makes 1 serving

3/4 c. Almond Milk, any flavor
1 mint leaf
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1/2 c. frozen raspberries
1/2 Tbsp chocolate chips
1/2 Tbsp almonds

Mix all in blender and pour into glass. Garnish with mint leaf.

Recipe Source:  my Ibotta App

Monday, May 4, 2015

Grilled Thai Pork or Chicken Kabobs with Peanut Dipping Sauce

 We just busted out our first kabobs of the year.  There is seriously nothing more satisfying than grilling or smoking your own dinner outside and having it taste completely awesome!!  I love trying out new marinades with different meats to find tasty combinations.  This one was a winner indeed.  A little kick, and the peanut sauce on the side was fab.  We served it up with some grilled asparagus freshly picked from down the street and some couscous.  So, so good!

Grilled Thai Pork or Chicken Kabobs with Peanut Dipping Sauce

3 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons honey
Juice from 1 lime squeezed 
3 Cloves of minced garlic
1 Tablespoon of Siracha
Shake of red pepper flakes
1/4 cup of chopped fresh cilantro
Cubed chicken/pork

Mix all ingredients, place in freezer bag or large bowl.  Marinate for at least a few hours before grilling (Can be frozen for easy meal prep ahead of time).  

Recipe Source:  Ms. Simplicity

Peanut Dipping Sauce

3 Tbsp. creamy peanut butter
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. honey
½ tsp. minced garlic
½ tsp. siracha hot sauce
¼ cup water
chopped peanuts to taste

Recipe Source:  Favorite Family Recipes