Thursday, March 26, 2015

Brussel Sprouts with Garlic Aoili

 Brussel sprouts have only recently come into my kitchen.  I'm not sure why...don't know if I was subconsciously intimated by them, who knows!  Anyhow, my searching for new recipes brought me across this recipe.  I had turkey burgers on the menu one week and thought this might be a fun change from sweet potato fries.  I thought these were great, and I may have eaten a couple too many! Enjoy :)

Brussel Sprouts with Garlic Aoili

For Brussel Sprouts:

20 Brussel Sprouts cut into wedges
Canola Oil
Salt & Pepper

For Aioli:

6 tbs mayonnaise
1/4 tsp garlic minced fine
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbs flat leaf parsley chopped fine

For Brussel Sprouts:

Place brussel sprouts on a baking sheet and drizzle with canola oil. Crack some fresh salt & pepper to taste. Mix around brussel sprouts on pan to ensure they all get nicely coated in the oil. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown on at least one side.

For Aioli:

Mix together mayonnaise, garlic, parsley and lemon juice. Serve in a ramekin.

Place ramekin of aioli on a plate and surround with brussel sprouts. If serving as an appetizer, put some toothpicks on the side for your guests. Enjoy!

Recipe Source:  Costa Kitchen

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Pozole Verde (with Chicken)

 I've talked about it many times, but where we live we are absolutely immersed in Mexican/Hispanic culture.  This is especially true at my hubby's work, where he works with 25 women that are from that background.  Needless to say, many of the potlucks that go on at their office have to do with delicious authentic Mexican dishes.  One potluck I went to recently was a pozole potluck where a few ladies brought their best recipes.  Both my hubs and I fell in love with a green pozole.  Since then, I've thought about it and never thought I could pull it off.  Well, I got brave :)

What is posole you say?  Pozole is a soup/stew that generally has pork or chicken, a delicious broth (mine included tomatillos), and hominy.  What is hominy, you say?  Wikipedia explains is as this: "To make hominy, field corn (maize) grain is dried, then treated by soaking and cooking the mature (hard) grain in a dilute solution of lye, slaked lime (calcium hydroxide) or wood ash, a process termed nixtamalization. The soaked maize is washed, and then ground into masa. When fresh masa is dried and powdered, it becomes masa seca or masa harina." And masa is made into corn tortillas. Hominy is catching it before the drying stage. Then it is all topped off with things like avocado, lime, radishes, cabbage, and cilantro to name a few.

After dinner, my hubby told me "not bad for a white girl!" I'm guessing he liked it!

Pozole Verde (with chicken)

-Two 15 ounce cans cooked hominy, or 4 cups home-cooked hominy (8 ounces dry will yield approximately 4 cups)
-1 large white onion, sliced thin lengthwise
-6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
-bay leaf
-3 pounds skinless boneless chicken thighs (I'm sure you could also use breast meat, but I don't think the resulting broth would be as flavorful)
-1/2 cup pepitas
-1 pound tomatillos, husks removed and rinsed with warm water
-1 -2 bunches fresh cilantro
-1 teaspoon dried epazote
-2 tablespoons canola oil

Delicious Garnishes:
-avocados, chopped and tossed with salt and lime juice
-radishes, chopped
-small white onion, chopped
-additional chopped cilantro
-lots of limes
-more epazote, or crushed oregano
-very thin-sliced cabbge

As I mentioned above, if you are using dried hominy, it needs to be soaked and cooked before you can make the pozole. I followed the instructions on the package. 

In a stockpot, bring 8 cups of water to a boil.  Add 1/2 sliced onion, 3 cloves garlic, bay, and a teaspoon of salt to the pot. Cover the pot, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Next, add the whole chicken thighs to the pot. Skim off any foam that forms. Simmer very gently, uncovered, for 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Use kitchen tongs to remove the chicken and set it on a platter to cool. Strain the broth and set it aside for later. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred it with your fingers and set aside.

Grind pepitas in a spice grinder or coffee grinder. ( I think it's brilliant that this recipe uses these ground pepitas for a thickener for the stew.) Set aside.

In a large saucepan, heat 3 cups water with remaining 1/2 onion and tomatillos over high heat. Bring to a boil, then simmer covered for 10 minutes, until veggies are tender. Discard the cooking liquid and place the cooked tomatillos and onions into a standing blender along with 1/4 cup cilantro, 3 more cloves garlic, epazote, and 1.5 teaspoons salt. Blend thoroughly.

Heat canola oil in a large stock pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the pureed veg to the hot pan - be careful as it will be splattery. Cook the sauce uncovered, stirring regularly until it thickens - about 10 minutes. Add the ground pepitas and 1 cup of the broth reserved from cooking the chicken, stir and cook another 5 minutes. 

Finally add the shredded chicken, cooked hominy, and 3 cups of reserved broth to the pot. Simmer partially covered for 20 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup chopped cilantro. Season with additional salt to taste - though keep in mind that adding freshly squeeze lime to soup will add a nice punch.

Scoop warm pozole into low bowls and serve with all the wonderful garnishes. Now that's good.

serves 6

Recipe Source:  Yummy Supper

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Copycat Swig Sugar Cookies

I haven't lived in Utah for almost 7 years.  That's weird.  I have missed out on so much growth taking off down there.  My hometown has just boomed since I moved away...all sorts of new yummy restaurants, things to do, much better shopping, etc.  Makes me want to go back all the time.  One of the places that has been popping up are drink stops, where you can apparently get some "dirty Diet Cokes" (Diet Coke with some coconut syrup) or whatever you desire.  These places have delicious cookies as well (or so I've heard).  I was tired of hearing about how fantastic these copycat cookies are from a drink-stop called Swig, so I made up my own batch.  Oh man are they good (I managed to limit myself to one and sent the rest with the hubs to work)!  Since trying this recipe I have since pinned 3 or 4 more variations to this cookie that I am so excited to try :)  

Copycat Swig Sugar Cookies

1 C Butter (room temperature)
3/4 C Vegetable Oil
1 1/4 C Sugar
3/4 C Powdered Sugar
2 T Water
2 Eggs
1/2 t Baking Soda
1/2 t Cream of Tarter
1 t Salt
5 1/2 C Flour

Cream together Butter, Vegetable Oil, Sugars, Water, and Eggs.  Combine dry ingredients and slowly add to butter mixture.  Mix until everything is combined.  Your dough should be a little crumbly and not sticky at all.  Roll a golf ball sized ball of dough and place it on your cookie sheet.

Put 1/4 c of sugar and a pinch of salt in a dish (this is in addition to the sugar and salt listed above.)  Stick the bottom of a glass in it.  This is going to be your cookie press.  Firmly press it into the center of your dough ball.  You want your dough to spill out over the sides of the glass.  If there is a lip its even better.  Bake at 350 for 8 minutes.  They should just barely be browning on the bottom.    Move cookies to a cooling rack.  Once they are cool put them in the fridge.  

Sour Cream Frosting

1/2 cup room temperature butter
3/4 C Sour Cream
Approx 1 2lb Package of Powdered Sugar (I never use the whole thing but love having extra on hand just incase I add to much milk!)
1 t salt
1/4 C Milk
Red Food Coloring

Start by creaming together butter and sour cream and salt.  Slowly add powdered sugar.  When it gets so thick its not frosting like add a splash of milk.  Alternate this process until your frosting is the desired consistency.  Add 1 drop of red food coloring and whip on high for 1 minute.

Keep cookies in a sealed container until they are ready to serve.  The magic of a Swig Sugar Cookie is that the cookies are cold and the frosting is room temperature.  Frost right before serving (if you make them in advance and need to refrigerate the frosting make sure you give it time to warm up before serving)

Recipe Source:  Vintage Revivals

Friday, February 20, 2015

Stick of Butter Oven Rice

I know...the title doesn't scream healthy eating like I've been talking about.  I recently needed a side dish, and I've been curious about this one for a while.  So I went for it.  It was nice just to throw it in the oven and forget it.  The taste was delicious, and I loved getting some of it along the edge where it was a little bit crispy.  YUM!  

Stick of Butter Oven Rice

1 c. uncooked white rice (NOT instant)
1 (10 oz) can of Condensed French Onion Soup
1 (10 oz) can of Beef Broth
1/2 c. of butter, sliced

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a 9x9 inch baking dish combine rice, soup and broth.  Cut butter into slices and place on top of the mixture.  Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove cover and bake 30 minutes more.

This can be doubled or tripled to feed more. Optional: small can of drained mushrooms can be added as well.

Recipe Source: Thirty Handmade Days

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Falafel Pita Sandwich with Yogurt Sauce

Not a week goes by that me and the hubs DON'T talk about our favorite places to eat in Ohio.  We haven't lived there for 2 1/2 years, and honestly we had so many favorite places and still crave them constantly!  One of these restaurants was 5 minutes down the road...the Olive Tree.  The first time we went was when I was in the really sick-y stages of pregnancy and did not love it.  Later on down the road I decided to give it another chance and seriously became obsessed.  We ate there at least 2 weekends a month, if not more.  We loved their shawarma, gyros, spicy feta, hummus, and tzatziki sauce to name a few.  My fav was definitely the falafel.  Falafel sandwich, salad, or straight up as an appetizer.  I have yet to find a place that makes Mediterranean food like the Olive Tree.
 I finally got the nerve to try making some myself.  Over the weekend we saw an episode of "Guys Big Bite" where he was making these, and I knew I just had to try!  My hubby has a deep-fryer, which makes cooking these a snap! 

And have you ever looked at the ingredients of falafel?  Beans, veggies, great for you!  (minus the frying part :)  This sandwich offers up more than half your day's worth of recommended fiber, so eat up!  Perfect choice for a Meatless Monday.  These really were so, so good!

Falafel Pita Sandwich with Yogurt Sauce

2 tablespoons canola oil, plus extra for frying
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
2 (14-ounce) cans chick peas, drained
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 egg
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
5 tablespoons flour
2 cups freshly chopped parsley leaves
3/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro leaves
Pitas, for sandwich
Toppings: shredded lettuce and chopped tomato, sliced cucumbers
Yogurt Dipping Sauce, recipe follows

Yogurt Dipping Sauce:

1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 tablespoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon freshly chopped cilantro leaves
2 teaspoons freshly chopped parsley leaves
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Kosher salt, as needed

In medium skillet over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons oil and sweat onion and peppers 2 to 3 minutes then garlic and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.

In a food processor, pulse together chick peas, red chili flakes, ground cumin, the egg, salt and black pepper to form a coarse consistency. Then add flour, parsley, and cilantro. Pulse until mixture starts pulling from the sides of the food processor.

Remove mixture to a large bowl and mix in the onion mixture. Chill falafel until ready to cook.

Roll falafel dough into 1-inch rounds. Then form rounds into an oblong quenelle shape, like a football.

In a thick-bottomed skillet heat 1/2 inch of canola oil over medium heat to 350 degrees F. Cook falafel balls a few at a time, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Be sure to turn them so they do not burn or stick to the bottom of the pan. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with salt while still hot.

Open the pita bread to make pockets. Place 3 to 4 falafels inside. Stuff with lettuce tomato and cucumbers and drizzle sauce generously on the inside. Serve immediately.

Yogurt Dipping Sauce:
Mix the yogurt, lemon zest, lemon juice, cilantro, parsley and cumin together in a small bowl. Add salt to taste. Chill until ready to use.

Yield: 1 cup

Recipe Source: Food Network

Monday, February 9, 2015

Nutella Banana Cookies

Well, we've been eating lots of veggies over here and limiting our sugar intake.  I am feeling stronger and more energetic the last few weeks.   On top of that, I have finally found a workout that is working well for me (outside of the gym of course).  Beachbody's T25 is such a great workout for the time.  I love Insanity, but it does a number on my knees.  I could never follow it fully, having to take days off.  This one is totally doable, and I feel it working already.  

Anyhow....I'm talking about healthy stuff and then have these cookies thrown in your face.  We had a few friends over recently and my hubby promised them dessert, so I made up a yummy lite trifle and these cookies for the kids.  These are so yummy!  Nutella is truly the star of this cookie.  Getting a little pocket of chocolate-y goodness is like winning the lottery ;)  Enjoy!

Nutella Banana Cookies

1½ cups flour
1 cup sugar
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
¾ cup shortening
2 large mashed ripe bananas
1 egg
1¾ cup oats
¼ cup Nutella

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

Sift flour, sugar, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl.

Beat in mashed ripe bananas and egg.  Cut in shortening.  Mix in oats.

Take a knife and "slice" nutella into batter with a knife. Don't mix it in completely, the stripes are what make them pretty!
Spoon "drops" onto a greased cookie sheet. 

Bake at 400 degrees F for about 8-10 minutes. (Note: this is a lot softer than normal cookie dough and will not form balls, hence spoon “drops”)

Recipe Source:  Chef In Training

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Strawberry Agua Fresca

I tell you what...ever since moving to Washington, I have been immersed in Mexican culture.  We live in a predominantly agricultural area, and as that goes there are many migrant workers here.  We have had some of the best food around here I have ever had. One of the farming communities around  has a huge Cinco de Mayo festival every year which we have loved attending.  There, we have had some legit enchiladas, churros, tamarindo apples, and some amazing tacos.  One of my favorite things I discovered in going to this festival is fantastic agua fresca.  Basically this is infused fruit water with a little sugar.  So, so good!  I'd rather have this than a soda any day.  This was my first attempt at this, and I am so excited to try some other varieties!

Strawberry Agua Fresca

2 cups ripe strawberries, hulled and sliced
½ cup granulated sugar
4 cups water
Sliced strawberries for garnish, optional

In a medium sized bowl, mash your strawberries, sugar and about a half cup of water, cover and place in your refrigerator.

After a couple of hours, take the strawberry mixture out of the refrigerator and blend.

Run the mixture through a fine mesh strainer, keeping the resulting strawberry juice and discarding the pulp and seeds.

Add the remaining water to the strawberry juice, chill and serve with ice and sliced strawberries for garnish!

Recipe Source:  A Night Owl Blog

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Banana Pudding Chewy Crinkle Cookies

I was scrolling through Instagram one day recently and saw that one of my friends had posted about a birthday of a family member.  She said her family member did not like cake, so they made him a cake out of his favorite cookies, these cookies.  I immediately went on a search for a recipe and came across these.  I am so glad I did!!  These cookies are so moist, and as an added bonus, you get small bits of vanilla wafer cookies right in the cookie!  

I had a friend come spend the night last week when her hubs was out of town.  I had to make a treat of course!  Perfect opportunity to test these babies out.  They were gobbled up by us and the kids in a hurry!  Enjoy :)

Banana Pudding Chewy Crinkle Cookies

2-1/4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
⅔ of 3.4 oz package of banana cream pudding mix
¼ tsp salt
¾ cup white granulated sugar
3 oz. cream cheese, room temperature, cut into small pieces
½ cup unsalted butter, melted and warm
1 large egg, room temperature
1 Tbsp. whole milk
About 8 vanilla wafer cookies, chopped (not crushed)
1 cup of powder sugar for rolling cookies

Preheat the oven to 350 and line the cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Place sugar and cream cheese in a large bowl.  Pour warm butter over sugar and cream cheese and whisk until all combined.  Add egg and milk, whisk until smooth.  Fold in chopped vanilla wafers.  Add flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and banana cream mix. Mix with rubber spatula until completely combined. (You may have to just use your hands once dry ingredients are folded into wet ingredients, to finish mixing the cookie dough.)

Form 1-inch balls and roll them in powder sugar.  Place cookie balls on the baking sheet about 2 inches apart.  Bake for 11-12 minutes.

Recipe Source:  Will Cook For Smiles

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Pear and Raspberry Salad

I went to a friend's house last week where we had some crepes.  She had bought the most beautiful raspberries to go on them, and they tasted so so good!  So when I got home, naturally I wanted to buy some myself...and I did.  I just happened across this recipe browsing Pinterest one morning and it sounded perfect!  It was a very light and refreshing lunch, perfect for any weekday or it would even impress dinner guests!  

Pear and Raspberry Salad
Servies 4-6

4 cups romaine, chopped
1 cup raspberries
2 pears, thinly sliced
½ cup shelled pistachios
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
Creamy Poppyseed Dressing:
⅓ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup 2% milk
3 tablespoons sugar
4 teaspoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons poppy seeds

To make the dressing: Whisk together in a small bowl mayonnaise, milk, sugar, cider vinegar, and poppyseeds. Set aside.

In a large bowl add tossed romaine, raspberries, pears, pistachios, and feta cheese. Toss the salad. Add the poppyseed dressing and carefully toss to coat all of the ingredients. Serve immediately.

Recipe Source:  The Recipe Critic

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Black Beans and Rice with Chicken and Apple Salsa

Well, it appears we are headed to Mexico this summer!  So excited for a little child-free time with the hubs :)  In conjunction with that, I am feeling more pressure than ever to get these baby pounds gone.  Did I mention my baby is 14 months?!  Ya, it's time.  Overall, I have been eating much better, but I just can't get rid of my love of baking.  Being able to send treats with the hubs to work has been my saving grace lately.

My hubs loves hearty meals, and things like this usually are not what he wants for dinner.  When he came in the door he said "that looks way too healthy!"  By the time he was done, he said "I stand corrected once again."  He compared the dish to beans and rice we got in Puerto Rico that he LOVED!

And don't turn your nose up at the apple salsa.  It brings everything together and gives it that "fresh" element. So, so good!

Black Beans and Rice with Chicken and Apple Salsa
Adapted from Bon Appetit, January 2012 

1 cup chopped peeled Granny Smith apple
1/4 cup chopped cilantro, divided
1/3 cup finely chopped red onion, divided
2 limes
1/3 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 teaspoon chili powder
3/4 teaspoons coriander
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 13.5 ounce can chicken broth
2 15-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cups cooked brown or white rice
1 rotisserie chicken, or 4 grilled chicken breasts
4-6 lime wedges

Combine apple, cilantro, 2 tablespoons onion, and the juice from half a lime.  Sprinkle with a little kosher salt and black pepper.  Set aside.

Combine remaining onion, bell pepper, and oil in a large skillet.  Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until completely softened, 6-7 minutes.  Add garlic and next 3 ingredients; stir constantly for 2 minutes.  Stir in broth and beans; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium; simmer briskly, mashing some of hte beans with the back of a spoon and stirring often, until sauce is thickened, 8-10 minutes (or longer if needed).  Season with salt and pepper to taste and a big squeeze of lime juice.  Divide rice and beans among plates.  Top with some chicken and apple salsa.  Garnish with additional cilantro and lime wedges.  Serves 4-6.

Recipe Source:  Our Best Bites

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Buckeye Brownie Cookies

Can I get a O-H?! Wahoo Buckeyes!!! What a game...I couldn't sleep last night, too excited!  My husband was actually AT the National Championship and I am SO SO bummed I did not go with him!  Instead, I was on my own couch screaming, jumping up and down, and yelling in my own family room by myself.  Oh well...they won is all that matters.  Oh how we miss Columbus and our Ohio family we made while there! #BuckeyeForLife

Anyhow, back to the recipe portion of the blog...for the game, I made these yummy Buckeye Brownie Cookies, and man oh man are they delicious!  Since the hubs was gone, I made up a plate of these cookies for a few of our neighbors and shared the Buckeye love so I wouldn't eat them all :)  We live in an area where we haven't met any other Buckeye fans, and we are in fact right across the border from Oregon, so Oregon fans abound!  No worries, I will convert them all ;)

Buckeye Brownie Cookies

1 box fudge brownie mix (19.5 ounce or family size)
¼ cup butter, melted
4 oz. (1/2 block) cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
4 blocks (about 4 ounces) chocolate Candiquik

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, beat the brownie mix, butter, cream cheese, and egg. The dough will be a little sticky. Scoop the dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet, making about 24 cookies. Smooth the edges of each to form a round cookie.

In a separate bowl, mix the powdered sugar and the peanut butter until it is completely combined. Form the mixture into about 1 inch balls. Make sure you have one ball for each cookie. Set aside.

Bake for the cookie dough 12 minutes, keeping an eye out to make sure the cookies doesn't over cook or undercook.

As soon as the cookies come out of the oven, press a peanut butter ball lightly into the center of each cookie. The peanut butter mixture will soften slightly, but that is OK. Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Melt the 4 blocks of chocolate in a microwavable bowl for 45 seconds. Stir the chocolate and melt for additional 15 seconds or until the chocolate is completely melted. (Candiquik comes in 16 ounce packages. When you open it, there are 16 blocks. Cut off 4 of these blocks for this recipe.) Spoon about ½ a tablespoon of melted chocolate on top of each cookie so it covers the peanut butter ball. Let the chocolate set. Store in an airtight container.

Recipe Source:  Tastes of Lizzy T

And just in case this wasn't enough Buckeye love for you, here are a few other Buckeye treats I have made and loved!

Pretzel Buckeye Bites


Thursday, January 1, 2015

King's Hawaiian Ham and Swiss Sliders

After we do all of our Christmas traveling, we usually have low-key New Year's festivities.  This year was no different.  We do puzzles and legos, and ring in the new year with a movie or two.  This year I fell asleep at 10:30 on the couch, and my 6-year old celebrated the ball dropping with my hubby instead of me.  Weird how that happens :)

Anyhow, I made these sliders a few years back for the Superbowl and never took a pic or blogged about them, and my husband has requested them a few times since.  They are super simple, and perfect for our little family if we halved it.  We had enough for lunch the next day as well and tasted even better the next day if you ask me.  Enjoy!

King's Hawaiian Ham and Swiss Sliders

24 slices of deli honey ham
6 Slices of swiss cheese, cut into fourths
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 1/2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1/2 cup butter melted
1 tablespoon Onion Powder
1/2 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
2 packages (12 count) KING'S HAWAIIAN Original Hawaiian Sweet Dinner Rolls

1. Cut rolls in half and spread mayo onto 1 side of the rolls. Place a slice or two of ham and slice of swiss cheese in roll. Replace the top of the rolls and bunch them closely together into a baking dish.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together poppy seeds, dijon mustard, melted butter, onion powder and worcestershire sauce.
3. Pour sauce over the rolls, just covering the tops. Cover with foil and let sit for 10 minutes.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Uncover and cook for additional 2 minutes until tops are slightly browned and crisp. Serve warm.

Recipe Source:  King's Hawaiian

Friday, December 5, 2014

Oreo Peppermint Crunch Cookies

 Today, I think I get the coolest wife award!  I made my husband not one, not two, but three treats to take into work for the staff to munch on while they were doing trainings today!  I am going to miss being home the two weeks prior to Christmas, so I guess I'm trying to get my love for holiday baking out of the way before we head out.  So stay tuned for the rest of those recipes :)  
 As I was mixing up the dough for these cookies, I thought there was no way they would turn out.  I was absolutely positive there were ten times for mix-ins than dough itself.  I mean we have peppermint crunch pieces, Oreos, and dark chocolate chips...and a lot of each!  I was happy to see that they actually baked up according to plan.  
They are delicious, super soft, and have a great mint flavor.  They are so perfect to take to neighbors or send out the door with your spouse when they have a meeting at work ;)  Or best yet, pour yourself a glass of milk and kick back to have one (or ten).

Oreo Peppermint Crunch Cookies

1 box white cake mix (15.25 oz.)(I use Pillsbury)
1 stick butter, melted (8 Tbsp.)
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup Oreo cookie chunks
1 cup Andes Peppermint Crunch pieces
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Combine the cake mix, melted butter, egg, and extracts. Beat until a soft dough forms. Add the cream cheese and beat in gently until combined. Stir in the peppermint crunch pieces and chocolate chips first. Then gently stir in the cookie pieces by hand being careful not to break up the cookie more. Refrigerate dough for at least 30 minutes.
Roll the dough into 36 balls. Bake on a cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 9 minutes. Do not over bake. The cookies will be very soft and look undone. Let them sit on the hot cookie sheet for 2 minutes, then gently remove them with a spatula to a piece of wax paper on the counter.
Very gently tap the tops of the cookies with the bottom of the spatula to even out the tops. Let them sit until completely cool. Store in a sealed container. Makes 36 cookies.

Recipe Source:  Inside Brew Crew Life

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Blueberry Breakfast Cake

I know I talk about it PLENTY....but I always have tons of blueberries at my house.  We load up in the summertime, and I love having them year-round for smoothies, baked goods, syrups, etc.  

I made this one night when I wanted some breakfast for dinner.  So after whipping this up and having some omlets, dinner was served...and it was AWESOME!  Enjoy :)

Blueberry Breakfast Cake

1/2 cup of unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp white sugar
Zest of one lemon
1 egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 cups of flour (divided)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup of buttermilk
2 cups of fresh blueberries
1 tbsp white sugar (for the top)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 8x8 baking dish with cooking spray.

Cream the butter, sugar, and lemon zest together with a mixer until creamy & smooth. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Add 2 tablespoons of flour to the blueberries and toss to coat evenly. Mix the remaining flour together with the baking powder and salt until well mixed. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture a little at a time alternating with the buttermilk. Fold in the blueberries gently. Spread batter into the pan evenly. Sprinkle the 1 tablespoon of sugar evenly on top of the batter. Side note: The batter will be very thick.

Place into the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let it cool for a few minutes before cutting and serving. Enjoy!

Recipe Source:  For the Love of Cooking

Friday, November 14, 2014

Copycat Lofthouse Sugar Cookies

I hate that we live far away from family.  I LOVE when they come visit :)  This time they came up to visit in the heart of October, so I tried to plan lots of fun fall time activities.  We went and pressed apple cider, decorated cookies, painted pumpkins, went hiking, and ate lots of good food.  We made these cookies, and they are soooo good!  Homemade frosting completed the yummy cookies, and it was great to have lots of helpers around to eat all these cookies...otherwise I would have!

Copycat Lofthouse Sugar Cookies

For the Cookies:
6 cups flour, divided
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup butter, at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups light sour cream

For the Frosting:
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar
6 tablespoons heavy cream
Several drops food coloring

In a medium bowl, whisk 5 cups of flour, baking soda, and baking powder; set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the flat beater attached, cream the butter and granulated sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the eggs, one at a time beating until each is incorporated. Add the vanilla and sour cream and beat at low speed until combined.

Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl as needed. Dough needs to obtain the right consistency for rolling, so add additional flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until this is achieved (up to 1 cup more flour). Divide dough into two sections. Flatten into rectangles about 1 1/2 inches thick, then wrap with plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator overnight.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or spray them with nonstick cooking spray, set aside.

Generously flour a work area and rolling pin. With a rolling pin, roll the dough out to 1/4-inch thickness. Using a 2 1/2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out circles and transfer to a baking sheet. Bake for 7-8 minutes, until pale golden. Immediately transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool.

To make the frosting, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and vanilla. Slowly beat in the powdered sugar. Once smooth and creamy, add in heavy cream, 1 tablespoon at a time until the desired spreading consistency is achieved. If desired, add food coloring and beat until combined.

Once cookies have cooled completely, frost and add sprinkles. Allow frosting to set, then store in an air-tight container. Let cookies sit for several hours before serving to allow the flavors to develop.

Recipe Source: Sweet Peas Kitchen