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S’mores Cookies

S'mores Cookies

We had a wonderful Memorial day weekend with lots of fun in the sun and tons of yummy food. We managed to BBQ all 3 days of the long weekend, some with friends, some with family and some by ourselves. We enjoyed so many delicious things, but one of my favorites were these amazing cookies! If you know me at all then you know that chocolate chip cookies are one of my FAVORITE things ever and s’mores are at the top of my favorite dessert list too. These are basically a chocolate chip cookie that has been married to a s’more. There are crushed up graham crackers in the crust along with mini chocolate chips and then topped off with Hershey’s milk chocolate bars and melted marshmallows. I mean, come on, these are out of this world AMAZING! They are soft and chewy with all the flavors of America’s favorite campfire treat. They have quickly moved to the top of my favorite cookie list. This will not be the last time I make these for sure!  If you love s’mores as much as I do then you have to try out this fun twist on the original! Happy Summer everyone and may you enjoy many s’mores in all different configurations this summer!

Smore’s Cookies
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Yield: About 3 Dozen

1 3/4 cups flour
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup/ 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups miniature chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
2 regular Hershey bars, roughly chopped

In a stand mixer, combine the butter and sugars and mix until fluffy. Mix in the eggs and vanilla until combined.

Add the flour, graham crackers, salt and baking soda and mix well. Stir in the chocolate chips then cover and refrigerate the dough for about one hour.

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Take a tablespoon of the dough, roll into a ball, and drop onto a greased baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of dough, leaving about 2 inches between each to allow it to spread. Bake for 6 minutes, then remove from the oven. Push a 3 – 5 marshmallows and a few pieces of a Hershey’s bar into each cookie. Return to oven and bake for another 2 – 3 minutes until golden brown and the marshmallows are a bit toasted. Cool on a wire rack and enjoy!

Found Recipe At: une duex senses

Happy Valentine's Day Trail Mix

My oldest daughter started preschool this year, so this is our first time putting together lots of Valentines to hand out to a class. I stumbled upon this adorable idea on Pinterest (one of the greatest addictions on the Internet!). As many food bloggers do, I love to make all kinds of fun food treats for my kids and their friends. When I came across this idea from the Spicy Perspective I just had to use it for my daughters class Valentines. I made a few minor changes to the ingredients, only because I couldn’t find the Strawberry Yogurt Cheerios, and I did find this adorable heart shaped cereal by Quaker. I also came across strawberry yogurt covered raisins, so I used those in place of the plain yogurt variety. One of the great things about this mix, is that you can personalize it with some of your favorite treats.

Happy Valentine's Day Trail Mix

Happy Valentine's Day Trail Mix

This is a fun and somewhat healthy snack for your little ones. They will love all the fun Valentine colors and goodies in each bag.

Happy Valentine's Day Trail Mix

The adorable bag tags were provided as a free printable on the Spicy Perspective blog as well. Check her page out for the link to the free printable.

Happy Valentine's Day Trail Mix

These turned out super cute and my daughter loved personalizing them with her name on the back of each one and handing them out to all of her classmates. Hope you all have a very Happy Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine's Day Trail Mix

Valentine’s Day Trail Mix

4 cups miniature pretzels
4 cups Quaker heart shaped cereal (or favorite cereal)
3 cups (1 box) Chocolate Teddy Grahams
2 cups dried cherries or cranberries
2 cups yogurt covered raisins
2 cups Valentine M&Ms

Dump all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix. Use a 1/2 cup scoop to pour into snack-size zip bags.

Number of servings (yield): 34 – 1/2 cup servings

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Spicy Vegetarian Chili

With the start of this new year my husband and I decided we wanted to make it a year about getting healthy and watching what we eat. To do this we decided to join Weight Watchers since we personally know so many people who have had great results with the program. We have been on the program now for a whole month and it has been amazing! I thought there wasn’t anything new that I could learn about eating healthy, but my eyes have been opened to some new truths. The biggest thing the program teaches you is portion sizes and just how to count and calculate what those are. For us it wasn’t so much a matter of what we were eating, but how much. And the other beautiful thing about the program is it allows room for everything in moderation! My birthday happened to fall within the first few weeks of joining the program and I indulged in an 11 point slice of cheesecake, when I am only allowed 26 points per day (and 49 extra points for the whole week), and I still lost 2 pounds that week! See you can have the cheesecake one day, just not every day! :)

Now about this delicious chili…this was on the cover of the Jan/Feb issue of Food Network Magazine, which just happens to be their “light” issue. This chili is completely meatless and you wouldn’t even know it. There is so much flavor and texture in this chili from all the wonderful vegetables and beans. The one thing about this chili that I would say is the “secret ingredient” is the grated cauliflower added toward the end of the cooking process. Cauliflower doesn’t have much taste to it, however in this dish it gives the look and texture of ground chicken or turkey. And for all you Weight Watchers members out there, one serving (about 1 1/2 cups) is only 4 points!

Spicy Vegetarian Chili

I brought this as a healthy option this past Sunday to our family Super Bowl party and it was liked by all who tried it. It is a little spicy, however I thought the spice level was perfect, but if you are not a fan of spicy you might want to adjust it by leaving out the chipotle chili or adjusting the amount of chili powder.

Spicy Vegetarian Chili

This is the perfect chili for others who are looking for a healthy way to start their year or to any one just looking to keep warm during these cold winther months.

Spicy Vegetarian Chili
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2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 large bell peppers (1 green, 1 red), chopped
3 medium carrots, finely chopped
Salt
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons dried oregano
½ to 1 chipotle chile pepper in adobo sauce, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
½ cup brewed coffee
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 15-ounce cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
½ head of cauliflower
½ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves (optional)

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell peppers, carrots and ½ teaspoon salt; cook, stirring frequently, until the carrots begin to soften, about 8 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook 2 more minutes.

Add the chili powder, cumin, coriander, oregano, chipotle, and tomato paste and cook, stirring until the tomato paste is brick red, about 4 minutes (add a splash of water if the mixture begins to stick).

Add the coffee and simmer until almost completely reduced, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes, pinto beans and 2 ½ cups of water and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chili thickens slightly, about 1 hour, 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, trim the large stems off the cauliflower and coarsely grate the florets on a box grater. About 10 minutes before the chili is done cooking, stir in the grated cauliflower. Cook 10 minutes, then remove from the heat. Stir in the chopped cilantro and season with salt. Add some water if the chili is too thick. Serve with your choice of toppings.

Servings: 6-8

Adapted from: Food Network Magazine, Jan/Feb 2012, Cover Recipe

Lemon Mini-Chocolate Chip Scones

These have become one of my very favorite things to bake. They are quick. They are easy. They are delicious. What more could you ask for in a scone? This recipe was originally from Hershey’s and I have seen a few bloggers put their twists on it and then I had to come along and change it again. I take this batch of dough and make it into three 5- 6 inch disks and cut those each into eight triangles with a dough cutter. This makes the scones more on the small side, like 2-3 bite scones, so I felt they were better off with some mini chocolate chips. I then added lemon zest and lemon sugar to the recipe and the combination of the lemon and the chocolate is simply magic!

If you have never tried to make home made scones, this is the perfect recipe for you! I mentioned that these were easy and nothing could be shorter from the truth. All the ingredients are mixed in one bowl and the dough comes together so quick. You could easily have a batch of these out of the oven and in your hand in around 30 minutes.

Lemon Mini-Chocolate Chip Scones

I can speak from experience that these are perfect for a road trip too. They are bite sized and go great with a latte in the car. However you like to eat a scone this recipe will fit the bill. Enjoy!

 

Lemon Chocolate Chip Scones
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Ingredients:
1½ cups plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
¼ cup lemon sugar (or granulated sugar)
2 tsp. baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp. butter, melted
Additional lemon sugar for sprinkling

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375˚ F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.  Combine the flour, lemon sugar, baking powder, salt and lemon zest in a medium bowl; stir to combine.  Toss in the chocolate chips and stir to blend.  Add the heavy cream to the flour mixture, stirring just until a dough forms and the dry ingredients are incorporated.  Turn mixture out onto lightly floured surface. Knead gently until soft dough forms (about 2 minutes). Divide dough into three equal balls. One ball at a time, flatten into 7-inch circle; cut into 8 triangles. Transfer triangles to prepared baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with additional lemon sugar. Bake 15-20 minutes, until lightly browned.

Adapted From: Annie’s Eats originally from Hershey’s Kitchens

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Lemon Sugar

Lemon Sugar

It is that time of year again where the lemons are in full abundance here in Southern California. Lemons are so versatile that they can be used in both savory and sweet dishes. They are a necessity to any cooks kitchen. I tend to favor them in sweet dishes like cookies, cakes and bars, but I have a special place in my heart for lemon pepper dishes as well. This post is more for those with a sweet tooth though. Last year I made a batch of this sugar and quickly found many delicious uses for it. It is very easy to make and it is a wonderful treat to have on hand. Later this week I will be sharing with you my favorite way to use this sugar, until then, I challenge you to find your favorite way to sweeten something up with this lemony treat!

Lemon Sugar
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3 Lemons
2 cups Sugar

Directions

Using a citrus zester, remove the zest. (Alternatively, using a paring knife or a vegetable peeler, remove the zest; then scrape as much of the bitter white pith off it as possible.) Roughly chop zest; transfer to a food processor, and add 1 cup sugar. Pulse until zest has been finely ground, about 3 minutes.

Transfer the ground mixture to a medium bowl. Add remaining cup sugar, and toss until evenly mixed.

Spread the lemon sugar on a baking pan, and let sit at room temperature until dry, about 1 hour.

From: Martha Stewart

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Eggnog Ice Cream

Eggnog Ice Cream

I know that Christmas is way in the past by now, but this year I have been feeling a big let down now that all the fun festivities are behind us. I LOVE Christmas and all the wonderful traditions that go with the holiday. I especially love seeing my girls react and soak up all the fun and joy that comes this time of year. I can’t believe just how fast the whole season flew this year! Also, we live in Southern California and it has been 80 degrees or so everyday since right before Christmas day. The day just didn’t feel right with such warm temperatures outside. It has been nice to have the warm weather since that though, we have been able to enjoy lots of parks and the beach.

Well, since I have been missing Christmas and it has been so warm here, I decided to whip up another quick batch of eggnog ice cream. I first made this ice cream last year and it was a huge hit and quickly became a family favorite. I searched around the web last year looking for the perfect recipe and never did find exactly what I was looking for. I ended up taking a standard Philadelphia style vanilla ice cream recipe and pretty much swapping out the heavy cream with eggnog. I tweaked the sugar and spices a little and ended up with exactly what I was looking for in an eggnog ice cream. This recipe is SUPER easy and amazingly delicious. If you have left over eggnog and are missing Christmas then this is the dessert for you.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and here’s to a beautiful and Happy New Year in 2012!!!

Eggnog Ice Cream

Eggnog Ice Cream
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2 cups eggnog
1 cup whole milk
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon nutmeg
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons rum (optional)

Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl until the sugar is completely dissolved. then churn the ice cream in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

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Nutella Cookies

Nutella Cookies

I love to bake Christmas cookies and this year I was able to make a lot and hand them out (just like I always hope to, but never have the time). So this year I decided to try a couple new recipes. Last year for my birthday my cousin got me a subscription to Cuisine at Home magazine and it is a wonderful magazine packed full of great recipes. I have been having fun all year long trying lots of new recipes. The last issue had a handful of cookie recipes and all of them looked amazing and I wanted to try them immediately! But the most mouthwatering of all the recipes were these Nutella cookies. They looked and sounded amazing, and let me just tell you that they definitely are AMAZING!

For those of you that have never tried Nutella or baked with it, you absolutely need to, and now! This stuff is addictive, and it is no wonder that the Internet is packed full of Nutella recipes in the last couple years. It is a creamy hazelnut spread combined with skim milk and cocoa. That’s right, it is a chocolate-nut spread, pretty much heaven in a jar!

These cookies bake up thin but chewy with the perfect crunchy outside. The original recipe called for them to be rolled in hazelnuts, and I am not a big fan of them and I had a huge bag of pecans in the freezer, so that is what I used, but feel free to use any nut that you have on hand. These cookies are fantastic and I have already had many very, very good reviews of them. The are definitely going on my Christmas cookie list for years to come. I highly recommend that you try this recipe, and it is up to you to decide whether or not to share them. :)

Nutella Cookies

Nutella Cookies
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2 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup (1 stick)  unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup Nutella
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Finely chopped hazelnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper

Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl; set aside.

Beat butter and sugar with a mixer on medium speed for about 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating to fully incorporate before adding the next. Add the Nutella and vanilla; beat until combined. Add flour mixture; mix just until combined. Chill dough 4 hours or overnight.

Scoop about 3 tablespoons of dough and roll into a ball then roll the ball into the chopped hazelnuts. Bake cookies, 6 at a time, until edges are set, about 15 minutes. Let cookies cool on baking sheets.

Adapted from: Cuisine at Home Magazine, Issue No. 90 December 2011

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Candy Cane Oreo Truffles

Oreo truffles have been circling around the web for a few years now and I have been wanting to try them for quite awhile. They have very few ingredients and require no cooking at all which equals a very quick and fun holiday treat to hand out to friends and family.

Candy Cane Joe-Joe's

This time of year also means the return of the amazingly delicious Candy Cane Joe-Joe’s at Trader Joe’s. These cookies are super addictive and they sell out of the stores very quickly. In case you don’t know what Candy Cane Joe-Joe’s are, they are an oreo like cookie that has candy cane candies crunched up into the cream centers. If you like mint and chocolate, then these cookies are for you! One of my favorite ways to eat them is crunched up on top of a bowl of vanilla ice cream. So simple, yet so divine!

Candy Cane Oreo Truffles

So, since I was able to stock up on these amazing cookies and I have been wanting to try out these Oreo truffles that are all over the web, I thought why not combine the two together into one delicious holiday treat. Then to top them off I pulsed some candy canes in my food processor and sprinkled those on top for a little extra crunch and peppermint flavor.

These little candies are absolutely delicious and so super simple to make. Any of your friends and family would love to get one of these little treats from you this holiday season. So if you need a quick, easy and delicious holiday treat for a party or to hand out, then look no further, this is the treat for you! Hope you all have a pepperminty Christmas this year! :)

Candy Cane Oreo Truffles

Candy Cane Oreo Truffles
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1 package Oreo cookies (I used Candy Cane Joe-Joe’s from Trader Joe’s)
8 ounces cream cheese, softened at room temperature
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Crushed candy canes

Crush the Oreos (pretty much the whole package, minus a handful, will do) until finely ground. A food processor does the best job, but if you don’t have one, you can put the cookies in a ziplock bag and use a rolling pin.

Transfer 3 cups of the Oreo crumbs to a bowl and add the cream cheese. Using a spoon, press, mix and stir until the cream cheese is completely mixed into the Oreo crumbs and you have a soft, homogeneous mixture. Using a small cookie scoop (or the equivalent of 2 teaspoons), scoop/roll balls of the Oreo/cream cheese mixture and place on a wax paper-lined baking sheet. Once you have scooped out all of the filling, refrigerate the baking sheet for at least 30 minutes, until firm.

In a small bowl, microwave the chocolate chips and oil in 30 second increments at 50% power, stirring after each, until completely melted and smooth. Working with one Oreo ball at a time, dip it into the melted chocolate, roll it around to cover completely, and then use a fork to remove it from the chocolate, letting any excess drip off. Place the dipped truffle back on the wax paper-lined sheet. Top with crushed candy cane (I crushed mine in the food processor). Repeat with all truffles; once finished, return the baking sheet to the refrigerator for another 30 minutes.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Adapted from: Brown Eyed Baker

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Pumpkin Scones

Pumpkin Scones

I made these delicious pumpkin scones to celebrate my 1 year Blogiversary! One year ago, on October 5th, I started this blog as a way to keep track of my recipes and share them with my friends and family. I never imagined that along the way I would meet so many wonderful food bloggers who I now think of as friends too. There are so many of you that I hope to meet some day and swap stories with over coffee and perhaps some yummy scones like these.

This is my absolute favorite time of year and most of the treats I think of involve pumpkin. I have been on a scone kick this past year also so when I came across this recipe I just had to give it a try. These are claimed to be a copy of the Starbucks pumpkin scone (which I have yet to try so I can’t really compare). The original recipe called for two glazes to be drizzled or brushed on top, one a simple sugar and milk glaze and the other a spice glaze. I chose to simplify and just do a cinnamon glaze. These have a wonderful pumpkin and spice flavor and the cinnamon glaze takes it to a whole other level of awesome! My whole house smelled like fall when they were baking…my favorite smell for sure! These are an amazing fall treat that I plan to make many more times during this wonderful fall season! Yeah for Fall!

Pumpkin Scones
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Scones Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
7 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
6 Tablespoons cold butter
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
3 Tablespoons half-and-half
1 large egg

Cinnamon Glaze Ingredients:
1 cup powdered sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
2 Tablespoons milk

Scones Directions:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly grease a cookie sheet or line with parchment paper.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices in a large mixing bowl. With a fork, pastry knife, or food processor, cut butter into the dry ingredients until mixture is crumbly and no big chunks of butter remain. Set aside.

In a separate mixing bowl, whisk pumpkin, half and half, and egg.

Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Form the dough into a ball. Pat out dough onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a 1-inch thick disk. Use a dough cutter or large knife to slice the dough into eight equal triangle portions. Place on prepared baking sheet and bake for 14–16 minutes until scones turn light brown. Place on wire rack to cool.

Sugar Glaze Directions:
Mix the powdered sugar, cinnamon and 2 Tablespoon milk together until smooth. Drizzle glaze over the top of each cooled scone.

Adapted from: Mom’s Who Think

Pumpkin Granola

Pumpkin Granola

Fall is here!! That means bring on the pumpkin! For weeks now the blogosphere has been overflowing with all kinds of fall recipes and I have been busy saving them and printing them to try very soon. I love pretty much all things pumpkin, especially baked goods. My list of recipes to try is getting very long, so I better get going before I blink and fall is over!

This is the first time I have made home made granola, and I have to say that it was just way to easy! Meaning, I shouldn’t have any excuses to try out some other varieties very soon. This pumpkin recipe was very quick and easy to whip up and the beauty part was that most of the ingredients are things I always have on hand. Like with any granola recipe, you can always customize however your mood strikes you.

Pumpkin Granola

This granola tastes just like a pumpkin pie! The pumpkin and spice blend are wonderful and the cranberries and pepitas (pumpkin seedsd) add the perfect flavors and textures to finish off this very tasty fall treat. The granola would be wonderful on top of yogurt or in a bowl with milk, however I plan to eat most of mine right out of the container. I am also planning to try some on top of a bowl of vanilla ice cream. I mean we all know how much I LOVE ice cream! However you like to eat your granola, I think you should give this pumpkin one a try this fall. It is fantastic!

Pumpkin Granola

Pumpkin Granola
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Ingredients:
5 cups rolled oats
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
¾ tsp. salt
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup pumpkin puree
¼ cup applesauce
¼ cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup pepitas

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 325° F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine oats, spices, and salt. Mix well.

In a medium bowl, whisk together brown sugar, pumpkin puree, applesauce, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth. Pour wet ingredients into oat mixture and stir until the oats are evenly coated. They will be moist. Evenly spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 20 minutes. Remove pan from the oven and stir. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until the granola is golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and stir in dried cranberries and pepitas. Let cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Adapted From: Two Peas & Their Pod

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