Thursday, October 4, 2012

Pumpkin Spice Pretzel Bites

Last week I bought a bag of the Pumpkin Spice Kisses with the intention of making cookies for a friend. Of course I completely forgot my house was being packed up so I had no cookie sheets to bake with and nothing to measure with, either! Bummer, because the two cookie recipes I have for these are AMAZING (see HERE and HERE).

Now, you could totally eat these kisses plain (I do!) but I wanted to do something with them. I love the sweet and salty combination so I made these little pretzel sandwiches. Needless to say, they didn't last long. SO YUMMY!

Just spread out some pretzels on a baking sheet or foil. Top with a kiss. Place in 350 degree oven for 2-4 minutes or until soft. Remove from oven and place another pretzel on top. Let cool and enjoy!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Pumpkin Bundt Cake with Cinnamon Butter Glaze

Amazing, moist, delicious, pumpkin-y, perfect, and gone in 2 days. Seriously, so good!!!! I think I'll have to make another one soon!

Pumpkin Bundt Cake with Cinnamon Butter Glaze
Recipe slightly adapted from Swappin' Spoons

3 cups sugar
1 cup canola oil
4 eggs, cold
15 oz can of pure pumpkin puree
1 tsp vanilla
3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp allspice
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp fresh ground cloves
2/3 cup warm water


2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 TBSP melted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup milk

Whisk together sugar through vanilla in medium bowl. In large bowl whisk together flour through cloves. Mix dry into wet until combined. Stir in warm water.

Pour batter into greased bundt pan. Bake at 350 for 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Let cool in pan for 10 minutes and then turn out onto wire rack and cool completely.

Mix glaze ingredients and pour onto cooled cake.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

I'm Thirty... A Cake Recipe and *30 by 30* Report

Yesterday I turned 30! I am so excited to be starting a new decade and am looking forward to what my 30s bring! Of course, me turning 30 has been a big thing over the last year with my *30 by 30* list. Before I get to the recipe for this AMAZING cake (which my husband and 2 kiddos made... impressive, right?) let me talk about my project from the past year.

Last September I made a list of 30 foods I wanted to make by 30. Of course I was optimistic that I would be able to finish this list since I baked so much. Unfortunately I didn't take into account the amount of sweets I put on the list... making that many desserts (in addition to baking group requirements) was going to be difficult.

To add to that, about 7 weeks ago my husband and I decided we wanted to be a little healthier and we started eating clean (more lean proteins, fruits & veggies, whole grains, etc). We have always been relatively good eaters but I was no longer feeling good about our diet. We cut out the majority of sugar (we still have treats every now and then) and I feel so much better.

All that to say I didn't finish my list. I have 9 items left and I would love to make them at some point. But, starting out my 30s healthier was much more important than finishing this list. :) And, as you can see by this cake, sugar isn't banned from the house... we just have it less often.

My husband and kiddos made this cake for me and I LOVED it! It is super rich and just a small sliver is all you need. I was super impressed with their baking skills and I am grateful that they put so much effort into this cake.

Chocolate Cake with Nutella Filling & Peanut Butter Nutella Frosting
Cake from Kevin & Amanda's Recipes
Frosting from Foodie with Family

1 box devils food cake mix
1 small package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups mini chocolate chips

Nutella, warmed in the microwave for easier spreading

1 stick butter, softened to room temperature
1/3 cup Nutella
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1 pound (4 cups) powdered sugar
2-4 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the cake:
Preheat oven to 350. Mix everything (except chocolate chips). Batter will be thick. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour into greased cake pans (I used 9" rounds) and bake for 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool while you prepare the frosting.
For the frosting:
Mix butter, Nutella, and peanut butter until creamy. Add powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla and beat until smooth.
To assemble:
Layer cakes together with Nutella in the middle. Frost with frosting. Decorate as desired.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Whole Wheat Lemon Zucchini Bread

I loved this zucchini bread! Super moist from the Greek yogurt and incredibly delicious! It didn't last long! :)

Whole Wheat Lemon Zucchini Bread

2 cups grated zucchini
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon lemon extract
3 cups whole wheat flour (or half whole wheat, half all purpose)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a bundt pan.

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, ypogurt, extracts, and sugar. Mix well and add the grated zucchini.

In another bowl add the flour, baking powder, soda, and salt and mix well.

Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients.Pour batter into bundt pan.

Bake for 50-60 minutes until done.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

4 years of blogging & Petit Fours (30 by 30)

4 years and 855 posts... Happy Blogiversary to me!

A lot has happened in 4 years. When I started this blog I was living in Germany with a newborn and a 3 year old and my husband was deployed. I am now in El Paso with a 7 year old and a 4 year old and we are getting ready to move once again (to HAWAII!!!!!). My posting has changed over the years, too. When I first started blogging I would post daily. Then we moved to El Paso and the blog took a back burner for a while... only a few posts a month. This back and forth has continued and I am back to posting not so often. I am definitely still cooking and baking but after 855 posts I am not always making new foods.

I have had so much fun with this blog. It has been a great outlet for me and I have "met" some fabulous people. I love having a place where I have all my recipes and I've even turned it into a book (well... 2 books so far!). I don't plan on stopping any time soon... we'll see where this blog takes me! Who knows when a daily posting will come back or if it will just be a post here and there. Either way I will be baking and cooking and enjoying life!

Thanks to my readers who have been here from the beginning and thank you to the new readers who are still discovering my blog. I appreciate you stopping by and love hearing from you!

And to celebrate my blogiversary I made some cute Petit Fours! They are from my 30 by 30 list and are so yummy! I won't post a recipe but there are hundreds out there. Pretty basic stuff, though. Take cake (regular or pound cake), cut it into squares, layer with jam, and top with ganache or poured fondant. Easy peasy and delicious!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

30 by 30: Bananas Foster

This was a super fun dessert to make... mostly because I got to start a fire! :) Start to finish this takes less than 10 minutes and is SO delicious! Lighting the rum on fire was pretty fun, too!

Bananas Foster
Recipe adapted from Food Network

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 2 under ripe bananas, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup dark rum

  • Melt butter in a 10-inch heavy skillet over low heat. Add brown sugar, allspice and nutmeg and stir until sugar dissolves. Bring sauce to simmer. Add bananas and cook for 1 minute on each side, carefully spooning sauce over bananas as they are cooking. Remove bananas from pan to a serving dish.

    Bring sauce to a simmer and carefully add the rum. If the sauce is very hot, the alcohol will flame on its own. If not, using stick flame, carefully ignite and continue cooking until flame dies out, approximately 1 to 2 minutes. If sauce is too thin, cook for 1 to 2 minutes until it is syrupy in consistency. Immediately spoon the sauce over bananas and serve. Serve with waffles, crepes, or ice cream.

    30 by 30: Buttermilk Fried Chicken

    This chicken was so amazingly delicious... I can't wait to make it again!!!

    Buttermilk Fried Chicken
    Recipe from Delish

    Buttermilk Soak
    • 3 cups buttermilk
    • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
    • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 2 teaspoonscayenne pepper
    • 4 pound medium chicken wings, thighs, and drumsticks
    Flour Dredge
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon onion powder
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    Vegetable oil for frying

    Make the buttermilk soak: In a large bowl, combine the buttermilk with the salt, black pepper, and cayenne. Add the chicken and stir to coat. Let stand at room temperature for 2 hours or refrigerate for 4 hours.

    Make the flour dredge: In a large, resealable plastic bag, mix the flour with the onion powder, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, and cayenne and shake to combine.

    Set a rack on a baking sheet. Working with one piece at a time, remove the chicken from the buttermilk soak, letting the excess drip back into the bowl. Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture, pressing so it adheres all over. Transfer the coated chicken to the rack and let stand for 30 minutes.

    In a deep skillet, heat 1 inch of oil to 350 degrees F. Set another rack over a baking sheet; line with paper towels. Fry the chicken in batches at 315 degrees F, turning once, until golden and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of each piece registers 160 degrees F, 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer the chicken to the paper-lined rack and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

    Thursday, July 12, 2012

    Banana Pecan Mini Muffins

    I had some bananas that were turning brown and my daughter suggested making banana bread. I didn't feel like waiting an hour for the bread to cook so mini muffins were the way to go! I usually don't add nuts to my banana bread but I LOVE the addition of pecans in this muffin. I will definitely be making these again!


    Banana Pecan Mini-Muffins
    Recipe slightly adapted from Chocolate & Zucchini
    Makes 48 mini muffins

    1 cup sugar
    1/2 cup butter, softened
    1 egg
    2 ripe bananas
    1/4 cup milk
    2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 tsp baking powder
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    1 cup pecans, chopped

    Preheat oven to 350 and grease mini muffin pan.

    Cream butter and sugar in bowl. Add egg, bananas, and milk; mix until well combined. Add dry ingredients; mix just until combined. Fold in pecans.

    Pour the batter into the muffin tins and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the muffins are nice and golden. Allow to cool for a few minutes then turn out on a rack to cool.

    Biscoff Oatmeal Cookies

    It was a rainy, gloomy afternoon yesterday so the kiddos and I decided to make some cookies. I was leaning towards oatmeal raisin cookies and then I remembered I had a jar of Biscoff in the pantry so Biscoff cookies were a no-brainer. These cookies are insanely delicious and I can't wait to make another batch!


    Biscoff Oatmeal Cookies
    Recipe from Two Peas & Their Pod

    1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
    1/2 cup all-purpose flour, plus 2 tablespoons of flour
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
    1/2 cup Biscoff Spread
    1/2 cup granulated sugar
    1/2 cup light brown sugar
    1 large egg
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

    2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oats, flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

    3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the butter, Biscoff spread, sugar, and brown sugar and beat on
    medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add the egg and vanilla extra and beat until smooth.

    4. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the dry ingredients, beating only until blended. Chill the dough 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

    5. Form the cookie dough into rounded tablespoons and place them 2 inches apart on the baking sheet.. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until cookies are golden and just firm around the edges. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes and then remove with a spatula onto a cooling rack.

    Sunday, July 8, 2012

    Baked Beans

    Okay, so it is hard to get a good picture of beans but let me tell you... these beans are AMAZING! I found the recipe at Pioneer Woman and I have to admit that I was a little hesitant because it uses pork and beans as the base. But, if PW says that it is better than soaking beans all night, then who am I to argue? I altered the recipe a tad (basically just to make it easier by throwing them in the crockpot) and they are the best baked beans ever! Seriously, we LOVED them! I can't wait to make them again!

    Baked Beans
    Recipe slightly altered from Pioneer Woman

    8 slices bacon, chopped
    1 medium onion, cut into small dice
    1/2 medium green pepper, cut into small dice
    3 large cans (28 ounces each) pork and beans
    3/4 cup barbecue sauce
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    1/4 cup distilled or cider vinegar
    2 tablespoons Dijon

    Fry bacon in large, deep sauté pan skillet until bacon has partially cooked and released about 1/4 cup drippings. Remove bacon from pan and drain on paper towels. Add onions and peppers to drippings in pan and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes.

    Mix beans through dijon in crock pot; add bacon, onion, and peppers. Cook on low until heated through.

    Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes

    You can't go wrong with chocolate banana pancakes!!! YUM!

    Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes

    1 1/2 cups flour
    2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1 egg
    1 1/2 cups buttermilk
    3 tablespoons oil
    2 bananas, mashed
    1/2 cup chocolate chips

    Mix dry ingredients in a bowl; set aside. Whisk together wet ingredients in another bowl. Mix wet into dry. Fold in chocolate chips.

    Cook pancakes on griddle until done.

    Blueberry Banana Bread

    A yummy twist on classic banana bread!

    Blueberry Banana Bread

    6 TBSP butter, softened
    1 1/2 cups sugar
    2 eggs
    4 bananas, mashed
    1/2 cup sour cream
    1 tsp vanilla
    1 tsp cinnamon
    1/4 tsp salt
    1 1/2 tsp baking soda
    2 1/4 cup flour
    1 cup blueberries (frozen or fresh)

    1/4 cup flour
    1/4 cup brown sugar
    2 TBSP butter

    Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs through vanilla, mix well. Add dry ingredients and mix just until comined. Fold in blueberries. Pour into greased loaf pan.

    Mix topping ingredients until crumbly. Sprinkle on top of bread.

    Bake at 350 for 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean.

    30 by 30: Cake Pops

    I finally got around to making cake pops! I made some patriotic pops for the 4th of July and they were a hit! I have made cake balls a hundred times before but finally put them on a stick! :) I won't be including a recipe because it really is just cake and frosting dipped in chocolate and there are so many tutorials out there that are better than what I could tell you! :) The picture is just proof that I knocked out a 30 by 30 recipe! 

    30 by 30: Blueberry Cream Cheese Hand Pies

    Hand pies are a quick and easy way to get the pie flavor without having to make an entire pie. Plus, you can carry these around and not have to worry about a plate & fork! :)

    Blueberry Cream Cheese Hand Pies
    Recipe from Tracey's Culinary Adventures

    Pie Dough2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    2 tablespoons sugar
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 cup (2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
    1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cold water

    8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
    3/4 cup sugar, divided
    2 teaspoons lemon zest
    1 large egg
    10 oz frozen blueberries
    1 tablespoon lemon juice
    2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

    For Assembly
    2 tablespoons heavy cream
    sanding sugar

    To make the pie dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the flour, sugar and salt on low speed just to combine. Add the butter, and mix, first on low and then increasing the speed to medium low, cutting the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. With the mixer on low, add the cold water, beating just until the dough comes together.

    Turn the dough out onto your work surface. Divide it in half and shape each piece into a disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using.

    Preheat oven to 400 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

    To make the filling: In a medium bowl mix the cream cheese, 1/2 cup of the sugar, the lemon zest and egg until smooth. In a second bowl, toss the blueberries with the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar, the lemon juice and flour.

    Place one of the disks of pie dough on a lightly floured work surface. Roll into a square about 1/8-inch thick - don't worry if it's not perfect, just trim the edges. My square was roughly 10x10-inches. Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces (so for me, it was four 5x5 squares). Spoon 1 heaping tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture into the center of each square, then top with about 2 tablespoons of the blueberry mixture. Brush the edges of the square with the heavy cream, then bring opposite corners together to form a triangle. Press the edges together, then use a fork to crimp them. Brush the top of the pie with heavy cream and sprinkle with sanding sugar. Repeat with the remaining 3 squares of dough, then do the same with the second disk of dough, making a total of 8 pies.

    {Note - I did have leftovers of both the cream cheese and blueberry fillings - I probably could have made several more pies.}

    Transfer the pies to the parchment-lined baking sheets. Cut a small vent or two in the top of each pie. Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through, or until the pies are golden brown (the filling may bubble out of the vents a little too). Transfer to a wire rack and allow the pies to cool completely.

    Macaroni Salad

    Pioneer Woman calls this the best macaroni salad ever and she is totally right! I made this for the 4th of July and then made it again on the 5th because it was gone WAY too quickly! I could eat this every day... so delicious! Definitely a keeper and it will be a regular at BBQs in the future!

    Macaroni Salad
    Recipe from Pioneer Woman

  • 4 cups Elbow Macaroni
  • 3 whole Roasted Red Peppers, Chopped (more To Taste, Can Also Use Pimentos)
  • ½ cups Black Olives, Chopped Fine
  • 6 whole Sweet/spicy Pickle Slices, Diced (about 1/2 Cup Diced)
  • 3 whole Green Onions, Sliced (white And Dark Green Parts)
  • ½ cups Mayonnaise
  • 1 Tablespoon Red Wine Or Distilled Vinegar
  • 3 teaspoons Sugar, More Or Less To Taste
  • ¼ teaspoons Salt, More To Taste
  • Plenty Of Black Pepper
  • ¼ cups Milk (more If Needed)
  • Splash Of Pickle Juice (spicy Sweet Pickles)
  • Extra Pickle Juice To Taste

  • Cook the macaroni in lightly salted water according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water to cool. Set aside.

    Mix together mayo, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper. Splash in enough milk to make it pourable. Splash in pickle juice for extra flavor. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Set aside.

    Place cooled macaroni in a large bowl and pour 3/4 of the dressing. Toss and add more dressing if you’d like. (Dressing will seem a little thin, but it will thicken up as salad chills.)

    Stir in olives, roasted red peppers (or pimentos), pickles, and green onions. Add more of any ingredient if you’d like more stuff going on! At the end, splash in a little more pickle juice and stir.

    Chill for at least 2 hours before serving. Sprinkle with sliced green onion to serve!

    30 by 30: Sourdough Bread

    I was very pleased with how this sourdough turned out. It had a great sour flavor even though it was the first loaf from my starter. The sourdough starter takes about a week to ferment before you can use it but it gets stronger the longer you feed it. I didn't keep my starter since we will be moving in a few months but I plan on making a new starter once we are settled in our new place!

    Recipe from AllRecipes


    1 (.25 oz) package active dry yeast
    2 cups water
    2 cups all purpose flour

    In a large non-metallic bowl mix together starter ingredients. Leave in a warm place to ferment for 4-8 days. When mixture is bubbly and has a pleasant sour smell, it is ready to use. (To continue growing the starter, replace with equal parts flour & water... for example, if you use 1 cup starter add in 1 cup water and 1 cup flour with a pinch of sugar. Leave to ferment again). Refrigerate starter once fermented.


    3/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C
    1 cup sourdough starter
    1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    2 2/3 cups bread flour
    1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

    Mix water and yeast; let sit until bubbly. Add remaining ingredients and knead until smooth and elastic. Let dough rise until doubled in size. Punch down and shape into loaf. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes.

    Tuesday, July 3, 2012

    TWD - BWJ: Hazelnut Biscotti

    You can tell by the picture that this is NOT hazelnut biscotti. I just didn't feel like going to the store to get hazelnuts and peel them so chocolate chip biscotti was the way to go! The recipe was super easy and very yummy!

    Thanks to Jodi of Homemade and Wholesome and Katrina of Baking and Boys for hosting this week. The recipe can be found at their blogs.

    Wednesday, June 20, 2012

    Fresh Cherry Streusel Muffins

    What do you do when you have a bag of cherries and are craving muffins? You make cherry muffins! YUM! :)

    Fresh Cherry Streusel Muffins
    Makes 6 Texas size muffins or 12 regular

    1/4 cup butter, melted
    3/4 cup milk
    1 egg
    1 tsp vanilla
    1 3/4 cup flour
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    1 TBSP baking powder
    1 teaspoon salt
    3/4 cup pitted & chopped cherries

    1/2 cup brown sugar
    1/2 cup flour
    1/4 cup butter
    1 TBSP water

    Preheat oven to 400. Grease large muffin tin or line with paper liners.

    Mix butter through vanilla in small bowl; set aside. Mix flour through salt; toss in cherries. Mix wet into dry just until combined. Spoon batter into tin.

    For topping, combine all ingredients until crumbly. Sprinkle on top of muffins.

    Bake for 20-25 minutes or until done.

    Tuesday, June 19, 2012

    TWD - BWJ: French Strawberry Cake

    This week's recipe was French Strawberry Cake and I was very excited for it! It starts with a basic genoise (sponge) cake and is layered with whipped cream and macerated strawberries. Basically a fancy strawberry shortcake. I opted against making a full sized cake (supposed to be an 8" round) and made mini cakes. Easy to eat and super delicious!

    Thanks to Sophia of Sophia Sweets and Allison of Think, Love, Sleep, Dine for hosting this week. The recipe can be found at their blogs.

    Sunday, June 10, 2012

    Cherry Chocolate Chip Pancakes

    Holy smokes... these pancakes were delicious!!! I used my basic buttermilk pancake recipe and added chopped cherries and chocolate chips. It tasted like chocolate covered cherries! Mmmmmm! I topped the pancakes with some whipped cream but you could totally use syrup if you wanted.


    Cherry Chocolate Chip Pancakes

    1 1/2 cups flour
    2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1 egg
    1 1/3 cups buttermilk
    3 tablespoons oil
    1 cup chopped frozen cherries
    1/2 cup chocolate chips

    Mix dry ingredients in a bowl; set aside. Whisk together wet ingredients in another bowl. Mix wet into dry. Fold in cherries and chocolate chips. Batter will be very thick.

    Cook pancakes on griddle until done.

    Thursday, June 7, 2012

    TWD-BWJ: Oasis Naan

    Okay, so this is 2 days late but I got it done! :) I loved the flavor of this naan with the salt, cumin, and green onions. I should've flattened it just a bit more but I loved the puffy, chewy outside.

    Thanks to Maggie of Always Add Butter and Phyl of Cabbages and King Cakes for hosting this week! The recipe can be found at their blogs.

    Monday, June 4, 2012

    Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

    I had a bunch of bananas that were going brown and was wanting something with a little chocolate so I came up with this recipe. Kills two birds with one stone and it is super yummy! :)

    Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

    2 cups flour
    1 tsp baking soda
    1/4 tsp salt
    1/2 cup butter, softened
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    2 eggs
    2 cups mashed bananas (about 6)
    1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    1 cup chocolate chips, divided

    Mix flour through salt in small bowl; set aside. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, bananas, and vanilla; mix thouroughly.  Stir in 3/4 cup chocolate chips.

    Pour into greased loaf pan. Top with remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips.

    Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

    Sunday, June 3, 2012

    Lemon Pancakes with Blueberry Syrup

    I absolutely love lemon and blueberries together (see THIS TART and THIS TRIFLE for 2 examples) so lemon pancakes with homemade blueberry syrup was a no-brainer. I tweaked my basic pancake recipe and came up with these. They are fantastic, fresh, and delicious! Enjoy!

    Lemon Pancakes with Blueberry Syrup


    1 1/2 cups flour
    1/4 cup sugar
    1 tsp salt
    1 TBSP baking powder
    Zest of 1 large lemon (about 2 TBSP)
    Juice of 1 large lemon (about 1/4 cup)
    1 1/4 cups milk
    1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    1/2 tsp lemon extract
    1 egg
    3 TBSP vegetable oil

    Mix flour through zest in large bowl. In a different bowl mix juice through oil. Mix wet into dry until combined.

    Spoon onto hot griddle and cook until done.


    2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
    1 cup sugar
    1/2 cup water
    1 TBSP lemon juice

    Mix blueberries, sugar, and water in saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce to simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice.

    Thursday, May 31, 2012

    30 by 30: Lattice Topped Pie

    This is one of those items that was on my 30 by 30 list not because of difficulty but because I had never done it and wanted to give it a shot. A lattice topped pie is no more difficult that a regular double crusted pie and it looks so pretty. I used a basic blueberry pie recipe and boy was it good! The pie didn't last long, that's for sure!


    Blueberry Pie
    Recipe adapted from AllRecipes

    3/4 cup white sugar
    5 tablespoons cornstarch
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    4 cups fresh blueberries
    1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
    1 tablespoon butter

    Preheat oven to 375.

    Mix sugar, cornstarch, salt, and cinnamon. Sprinkle over blueberries.

    Line dish with one pie crust. Pour berry mixture into crust and dot with butter. Cut remaining dough into wide strips and make a lattice top.

    Bake for 50 minutes or until crust is golden brown.


    Friday, May 25, 2012

    30 by 30: Risotto

    Risotto is one of those things that I have never made but really don't have a reason for not making. I mean, it is super easy and delicious. Yes, it requires more hands-on work since you need are stirring in the liquid a ladle at a time but it is worth it!

    This recipe is very basic... a little onion, some parmesan, and parsley. My family inhaled it and I am looking forward to making it again!

    Recipe from

    1½ cups arborio rice
    1 qt chicken stock
    ½ cup white wine
    1 medium shallot or ½ small onion, chopped (about ½ cup)
    3 Tbsp unsalted butter
    1 Tbsp vegetable oil
    ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
    1 Tbsp chopped Italian parsley
    Kosher salt, to taste

    Heat the stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan, then lower the heat so that the stock just stays hot.

    In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the oil and 1 Tbsp of the butter over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the chopped shallot or onion. Sauté for 2-3 minutes or until it is slightly translucent.

    Add the rice to the pot and stir it briskly with a wooden spoon so that the grains are coated with the oil and melted butter. Sauté for another minute or so, until there is a slightly nutty aroma. But don't let the rice turn brown.

    Add the wine and cook while stirring, until the liquid is fully absorbed.

    Add a ladle of hot chicken stock to the rice and stir until the liquid is fully absorbed. When the rice appears almost dry, add another ladle of stock and repeat the process.

    Note: It's important to stir constantly, especially while the hot stock gets absorbed, to prevent scorching, and add the next ladle as soon as the rice is almost dry.

    Continue adding ladles of hot stock and stirring the rice while the liquid is absorbed. As it cooks, you'll see that the rice will take on a creamy consistency as it begins to release its natural starches.

    Continue adding stock, a ladle at a time, for 20-30 minutes or until the grains are tender but still firm to the bite, without being crunchy. If you run out of stock and the risotto still isn't done, you can finish the cooking using hot water. Just add the water as you did with the stock, a ladle at a time, stirring while it's absorbed.

    Stir in the remaining 2 Tbsp butter, the parmesan cheese and the parsley, and season to taste with Kosher salt.

    Risotto turns glutinous if held for too long, you should serve it right away. A properly cooked risotto should form a soft, creamy mound on a dinner plate. It shouldn't run across the plate, nor should it be stiff or gluey.

    30 by 30: Chocolate Souffle

    My souffle rose beautifully but as you can see, I didn't get a picture quick enough and it fell. I read it is pretty normal for them to fall after 5-10 minutes but I didn't read that until after it fell. I didn't think I had a short amount of time to take a picture. Oh well! :) It was relatively easy to make and super yummy!

    Chocolate Souffle
    Recipe from Food Network

    7 ounces finely chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
    4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus for preparing the molds
    1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
    3 large egg yolks
    3 tablespoons warm water
    1/2 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
    8 large egg whites, room temperature
    1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
    Confectioners' sugar for garnish


    Brush 6 (6-ounce) ramekins with soft butter, then coat with sugar. Put the prepared ramekins in the freezer. (This can be done a day ahead.)

    Set an oven rack in lower third of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.

    Put the chocolate and butter in a medium heatproof bowl. Bring a saucepan filled with an inch or so
    of water to a very slow simmer; set the bowl over, but not touching, the water. Stir the chocolate occasionally until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Set aside.

    Combine the egg yolks and warm water in the bowl of a standing mixer or large bowl and beat until frothy. Gradually add 2 tablespoons sugar, and continue beating until ribbons form, about 5 minutes. Very lightly fold the yolks into the chocolate mixture. (Rinse the bowl well, if using for beating the egg whites.)

    Remove prepared ramekins from freezer. Put the egg whites in the bowl of a standing mixer, or large non-reactive bowl, add the lemon juice. Beat on medium until frothy; then gradually add the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and increase speed to high. Beat until the whites hold a stiff but not dry peak.

    Working quickly, fold about a third of the egg whites into the chocolate to lighten; then fold in remaining whites until blended. Gently ladle or spoon the souffle mixture into the ramekins, and place on a baking sheet. (Level off the surface with a straight edge, scraping any excess mixture back into the bowl.)

    Immediately bake until the souffle rises about 1 1/2 inches from the ramekins, and the tops are touched with brown, about 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven, dust with confectioners' sugar and serve immediately.

    Wednesday, May 23, 2012

    30 by 30: Popovers

     A popover is an egg dough that puffs up and hollows out. Super easy to make and a lot of fun to eat!

    Recipe from AllRecipes

    2 eggs
    1 cup all-purpose flour
    1 cup milk
    1/2 teaspoon salt

    Preheat oven to 450. Grease popover pan.              

    In a medium bowl beat eggs slightly, Beat in flour, milk and salt until just smooth; being careful not to overbeat. Fill custard cups 1/2 full.               

    Bake at 450  for 20 minutes. Decrease oven temperature to 350 and bake for 20 minutes more. Immediately remove from cups and serve piping hot.

    30 by 30: Boston Cream Pie

    Mmmmmm... Boston Cream Pie. I mean, seriously, there is NOTHING wrong with this cake. Two layers of yummy butter cake, a TON of pastry cream for the filling, and a chocolate ganache poured over the top. I am glad I made a mini version because had I made the full I would've eaten way more than I should have! :)

    Boston Cream Pie
    Recipe from Williams Sonoma

    For the cake:

    2 3/4 cups cake flour
    2 tsp baking powder
    1/4 tsp salt
    1 cup unsalted butter, at room temp
    2 cups sugar
    4 large eggs, at room temp
    2 tsp vanila extract
    1 cup whole milk, at room temp

    Sift dry ingredients; set aside. Beat butter and sugar untl light and airy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Add vanilla.

    Reduce speed to low and add 1/3 of the dry mixture and mix until incorporated. Next add 1/2 of the milk and mix until incorporated. Continue alternately adding the ingredients ending with the last 1/3 of the dry ingredients.

    Pour into prepared 9" cake pans. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

    Let cakes cool in pan for 15 minutes then invert onto cooling racks to cool completely.

    For the pastry cream:

    1 1/2 cups whole milk
    4 large egg yolks
    1/2 cup sugar
    2 TBSP cornstarch
    2 TBSP unsalted butter, at room temp
    1 tsp vanilla extract

    In a heavy bottomed saucepan warm the milk unitl tiny bubbles form along the edges. Remove from heat. In a bowl whisk together egg yolks and sugar until blended. Add cornstarch and whisk until smooth. Slowly pour the hot milk into the yolk mixture while whisking constantly.

    Slowly pour milk mixture back into pan and place over medium heat. Stir just until mixture thickens and just comes to a boil. Pour the hot pastry cream through a sieve placed over a bowl. Add the butter and vanilla and stir until butter melts. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the pastry cream. Refrigerate until well chilled.

    For the ganache:

    8 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
    1/2 cup butter, at room temp
    1 TBSP light corn syrup

    Place ingredients in bowl on top of simmering water. Stir until melted. Let glaze cool until it has thickened to a pourable consistency.

    To assemble:

    Place 1 layer of cake on serving plate. Hollow out center. Pour pastry cream into hole and top with other cake layer. Pour ganache over the top and spread to even out.

    Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies

    Yes, here is yet ANOTHER chocolate chip cookie. I will admit it... I have a problem. I mean, we probably all realized that after I did CCC Week but the fact that I am still seeking out new recipes is proof that I truly have a problem. :)

    I can't help it, though. Chocolate chip cookies are little bites of heaven and even though I have a favorite you just never know when a new favorite will come along.

    This recipe intrigued me because of the addition of cream cheese. I use cream cheese in my sugar cookie dough and I LOVE it. I thought it could only be a good thing in CCC's, too!

    These cookies were soft, chocolatey, and DELICIOUS! I will definitely be making these again!


    Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies
    Recipe from Sister Wisdom

    2 cups all-purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    1/8 teaspoon baking soda
    10 tablespoons butter (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons)
    1 cup sugar
    1 egg
    3 ounces cream cheese
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    12 ounces chocolate chips

    Preheat oven to 375.

    Combine dry ingredients (flour through soda) in a bowl and set aside. In mixer, blend butter, sugar,
    egg, cream cheese, and vanilla. Slowly add the dry ingredients, mixing with each addition, until all are incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips.

    Drop dough by the spoonful onto cookie sheet, at least 1 inch apart.

    Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown around edges.

    30 by 30: Salt Water Taffy

    Taffy is relatively easy to make but it is a process. After the ingredients are boiled until they reach about 250 degrees the taffy then has to be streched by hand to incorporate air. It took about 10 minutes and is quite the arm workout but it was fun!

    Salt Water Taffy
    Recipe from Vanilla & Lace

    Salt water taffy
    2 cups sugar
    2 T. Cornstarch
    1 cup light corn syrup
    3/4 cup water
    2 T. margarine/butter
    1 tsp. salt
    1/4 tsp. Flavoring oil
    (I didn't have flavoring oil so I used a tablespoon or more of Mint extract)

    Prepare a heat safe dish by lightly buttering it. If you are making more than one flavor, prep said amount of dishes. Also lightly butter a spatula for each flavor. And have each flavor and food color ready.

    In a saucepan, sift together sugar and cornstarch. Stir in corn syrup, water, salt and margarine. Place over medium heat and stir until sugar dissolves. Cover pan and bring to a boil for 2 or 3 minutes. Uncover, place thermometer in pan and cook to 256 - 266 degrees F. The lower temperature will result in a chewier taffy, the higher a more brittle texture. Remove from heat and add food color and flavoring. Stir gently, pour into prepared dish/pan.

    When cool enough to handle, grease hands and pull the warm candy with fingertips, pulling out to about 12 inches at first. Quickly turn candy back from fingertips of one hand to the other hand, then catch center and pull again. This will incorporate air into the candy. Continue pulling until taffy is light in color and has a satiny gloss, about twenty minutes. Pull into a long rope, cut with greased scissors and wrap in waxed paper squares, twisting ends.

    Monday, May 21, 2012

    Cheesy Chicken & Wild Rice Casserole

    I've probably said this a hundred times before but I'm not really a casserole person. I'm not sure why but it is what it is. :) I will make them occasionally but it definitely isn't what I normally gravitate towards.

    That being said, this casserole caught my eye. It is a take on the traditional chicken and rice and is much tastier. I love the veggies, the wild rice, and the cheese (of course!).


    Cheesy Chicken & Wild Rice Casserole
    Recipe from Picky Palate

    3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    1 medium onion, finely diced
    3 stalks celery, finely diced
    3 carrots, peeled and diced
    2 Tablespoons fresh minced garlic
    2 Cups shredded, cooked chicken breast
    2 Cups steamed white rice
    16 oz prepared wild rice
    1 teaspoon kosher salt
    1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

    Cheese Sauce
    4 Tablespoons butter
    1/4 Cup all purpose flour
    1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    2 Cups chicken broth
    2 Cups shredded cheddar cheese

    Top with 1 1/2 Cups shredded cheddar cheese

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat oil into a medium dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Saute onion, celery and carrots until softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in chicken, both rices, salt, pepper and garlic salt. Reduce heat to low.

    2. To prepare cheese sauce melt butter into a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Whisk in flour, salt and pepper then slowly pour in chicken broth whisking continuously. Whisk until thick and nearly boiling then stir in cheese until melted. Pour cheese sauce into rice mixture then transfer to a 9×13 inch baking dish. Top with additional cheddar cheese and bake for 25-30 minutes or until cheese is melted through. Serve.

    8-10 servings

    Friday, May 18, 2012

    Giant Blueberry Muffins

    I love a good muffin for breakfast and these were delicious. You can't go wrong with blueberries & lemon zest. YUM!

    Giant Blueberry Muffins

    1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    3/4 cup white sugar
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    Zest of 1 lemon
    1/3 cup butter, melted
    1 egg
    1/3 cup buttermilk
    1 cup fresh blueberries
    Turbinado sugar, for sprinkling

    Mix flour through lemon zest in bowl. Mix wet ingredients in seperate bowl; gently mix into dry ingredients. Fold in blueberries.

    Divide batter between large cupcake liners; sprinkle with Turbinado sugar.

    Bake at 400 for 20 minutes or until baked through.

    Thursday, May 17, 2012

    30 by 30: Funnel Cake

    I was looking through my 30 by 30 list this afternoon to see if there was anything I could make quickly with minimal ingredients. Funnel Cake was the only one left on there that could be done quickly so funnel cake it was! It was so super easy and practically identical to the carnival favorite! I looked through a bunch of different recipes, got an idea for ingredients, and created my own recipe. We loved the way it turned out!


    Funnel Cake
    Makes 4 large cakes

    1 1/2 cups flour
    1/2 tsp baking powder
    1/2 tsp salt
    2 TBSP sugar
    1 egg
    3/4 cup milk
    1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    1/2 tsp almond extract

    Vegetable oil, for frying
    Powdered sugar, for dusting

    Heat an inch of oil in large skillet.

    Mix dry ingredients in bowl; set aside. Mix wet ingredients and whisk into dry until well blended.

    Pour batter into pastry bag or ziploc bag; cut off corner.

    Squeeze batter into oil and cook until golden brown. Flip and cook other side.

    Drain on paper towels. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

    Wednesday, May 16, 2012

    Nutella Swirl Coffee Cake

    Nutella swirl coffee cake.... need I say more? :)

    Nutella Swirl Coffee Cake
    Recipe from Sugar Crafter

    1 1/2 sticks butter
    1 1/2 cups sugar
    1 1/2 tsp vanilla
    3 eggs
    3 cups flour
    1 1/2 tsp baking powder
    1 1/2 tsp baking soda
    3/4 tsp salt
    12 ounces plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
    1/2 cup nutella

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 10×4″ bundt pan. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar.

    Add in the vanilla and eggs, beating for about two minutes.

    In a smaller bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

    Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients alternately with the yogurt until well-blended.

    Layer 1/3 of the batter in the pan, and then drizzle 1/3 of the nutella on top. Put the nutella in the microwave for about 20 seconds so it is easier to drizzle. Swirl with a knife. Repeat two more times.

    Bake 45 minutes to an hour or until a knife inserted in the cake comes out clean. Let cool before removing from the pan. Store at room temperature in an airtight container or wrapped in aluminum foil.

    Tuesday, May 15, 2012

    TWD - BWJ: Pecan Sticky Buns

    This recipe is one of those recipes that is so amazing and yet SO bad for you! I think there was a total of 5 or 6 sticks of butter in the entire recipe but you know what? They were so delicious that I just didn't care!

    The recipe started with brioche dough... my absolute favorite dough to work with. The brioche is then laminated with more butter just like puff pastry. Then you top it with cinnamon and sugar, roll it up, put it in a pan with more butter and brown sugar, and bake it.

    They are AMAZING! I don't think I would ever make them just for a random weekend breakfast for my family but for a group of people I most definitely would!

    Thanks to Lynn of Eat Drink Man Woman Cats Dogs and Nicole of Cookies on Friday for hosting this week. The recipe can be found at their blogs.

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