Monthly Archives: March 2013

On Kitchen Disasters

Some days I can’t cook anything right.  I’ve learned to deal with cooking disasters after having many!  After all, it’s just cheese straws.

I Can't CookWith nearly 100 cookie recipes, and dozens of desserts, snacks, and breakfast recipes on this site, one could get the idea that I am a never-ending stream of culinary brilliance.

I realize that you probably didn’t have that idea.  But I’m going to pretend you did.

The eternal scroll of gorgeous photos on Pinterest makes it feel like everyone else in the world lives in this idealized Utopian home, where the cupboards are always organized, the vases always have fresh flowers, the craft projects are beautiful and unique, and the food always reaches a nirvana-like perfection.  Then I look at my life: my overcrowded and poorly designed cupboards, my sad looking crafts and my empty vases.

And, to tell you the honest truth, my food basically never reaches Nirvana.  Well, almost never.

In fact, sometimes the food isn’t fit to feed to cats.  And you know how I feel about cats.

I really struggled with what gorgeous recipe to post for you today.  I racked my brain.  I asked my friends.  I asked my kids.  I asked my kids friends.  (I really was that desperate.)  My sister even sent me a long list of really fantastic ideas, which I’m sure will all make it on here at some point.

I just wasn’t “feeling” any of them, though.  I wasn’t in the mood for deviled eggs, or naan, or spinach cheese dip.

And I’m never not in the mood for spinach cheese dip.

cooking disasters

These cheese straws sounded pretty good, though, and I had all the ingredients on hand, so I went to work.  I made a batch of cheddar-parmesan rosemary straws, and feeling pretty proud of my concoction, I popped them in the oven.  They came out the most fragile and floury things you’ve ever eaten.  You literally can’t eat them without a huge glass of water nearby.  Not to mention, they absolutely refuse to stay in one piece.  Even my kids friends complained.

This is not my first kitchen disaster, and I was undeterred.  After a short trip to the gas station for Diet Coke, I started on batch number two. This batch came out of the oven looking beautiful… but they were just as fragile as the first batch, and less tasty.

It was kind of a blow.

On top of it all, I had this photo set-up all ready to go, and I was loving how it looked!  Plus, I just bought this crazy cute orange vase-jar-thingy and I could not wait to use it.  Can’t you just picture how cute these cheese straws would have looked in it? Gah!! The frustration!!

I can't cook

In the end, I scrapped the recipe, but not the post.  Because, just like bad hair days and food stuck in your teeth and accidental flatulence, kitchen disasters happen to everyone.  No matter what Pinterest says.

Broken cheese straws and spilled milk are not worth crying over.  They’re frustrating and embarrassing, but life moves on.  I will master these stupid cheese straws someday, but today I’m going back to the kitchen to make something else.  Or, I’ll spend an hour playing Subway Surfers, and we’ll have dinner out and forget the kitchen.

I’d love to hear your comments today.  Share your frustrating kitchen disasters and how you recovered.

Because, after all, it’s just cheese straws.

Brown Sugar Cake with Salted Caramel Dip

Brown sugar recipe; This brown sugar cake is covered in caramel sauce instead of frosting.  This brown sugar cake recipe is light and subtle and delicious.

brown sugar recipeConfession time.  Robb’s family loves to eat “cake and dip,” which is a white cake with chocolate sauce instead of frosting.  Initially, I was pretty grossed out by the idea, because the texture of soggy foods causes an instant gag reflex.

(Sidebar, my dad used to think warm milk with a piece of bread floating in it was a good dinner.  I’m not sure whether I hated the soggy bread or the warm milk more.  Can I get an “ewwww!!”)

However, I have learned, evolved, and grown to love cake and dip.  So, when I informed Robb of an upcoming dinner get-together, and asked what I should make for dessert, cake and dip was his idea.  Changing the chocolate dip to caramel dip was his idea, too.

Changing the white cake to brown sugar cake was my idea, though.  I’m taking full credit.

We’re a brilliant team, nay?

When the day of the dinner party came, though, it was chaos at my house.

brown sugar recipe

True Story: I went to get a load of laundry started, and discovered my laundry room floor was a lake.  Water everywhere.  I checked the walls and saw paint bubbling, and knew they were wet, too.  I immediately knew what the problem was, it was the hose, which is just outside the laundry room window.

That stupid hose bib has been nothing but trouble.  It keeps freezing and breaking, and we’ve been trying for years to work around some, shall we say, creative plumbing in that area?  The previous owners thought it would be an awesome idea to run their sprinklers through the hose.

My dad is a plumber.  I know better.

Trying to wrench the hose bib off, Robb broke the pipe… inside the wall.  Yep.

The upshot of all this is that the water was off for quite a while, while Robb and my dad made the necessary repairs.  And there’s a hole in my wall. *sigh*

caramel sauce

I figured I could still bake a cake without water, but have you ever tried cracking eggs without getting it on your hands?  It’s practically impossible.

It’s lucky there was a little water hanging around, it water bottles and such.

This salted caramel dip is seriously delicious.  It is kind of on the thin side, but it thickens as it cools.  You can warm it up for 30-60 seconds in the microwave to loosen it up again.

This brown sugar cake turned out quite delicious.  The flavor is light and subtle, not too overpowering.  The point of cake and dip is that you don’t need frosting.  However, if you want to use frosting instead of dip, I wouldn’t blame you.  I recommend trying this salted caramel frosting from Haniela or this one from Pineapple and Coconut.

And I recommend having water on hand when you make it.

Want more? Try these caramelized favorites!

brown sugar cookies
fruit dip
easy-caramel-cake-recipes

Brown Sugar Cake with Salted Caramel Dip
 
Cook time
Total time
 
A simple brown sugar cake with salted caramel sauce.
Author:
Recipe type: cake
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • ½ cup shortening
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1½ cups milk
  • 2¼ cups flour
FOR CARAMEL SAUCE:
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tabespoon coarse sea salt or fleur de sel
Instructions
  1. Cream shortening and sugars. Add eggs and sour cream and mix well.
  2. Add vanilla, salt, and baking powder, and mix well.
  3. Add milk alternately with flour, mixing until incorporated.
  4. Pour into a greased 9x13 cake pan, and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
  5. FOR CARAMEL SAUCE:
  6. Melt butter in a heavy 2-3 qt. saucepan, over high heat.
  7. Add brown sugar, and stir. Add cream slowly, stirring.
  8. Bring to a boil, and boil 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly.
  9. Remove from heat and add salt. Serve warm.
  10. Store in refrigerator. If needed, microwave for 30-60 seconds to warm before serving.

If you enjoy this recipe, you might also enjoy:

Cookie Butter Brown Sugar Streusel Bars from Averie Cooks
Brown Sugar Shortbread from Authentic Suburban Gourmet
Almond Brown Sugar Pumpkin Bread from Running with Tweezers

brown sugar recipe

caramel sauce

Monster Cookies

Large peanut butter cookies with oats and chocolate chips; Learn how to make monster cookies with peanut butter, oats, and chocolate chips!

Monster Cookies from JensFavoriteCookies.com  -  These large peanut butter oat cookies are sure to be a hit with your little monsters!Food Blogger Problems:  I have an addiction to purchasing food props.  I have a basket that is not just kind of overflowing with napkins and dishtowels.  I have a large cardboard box full of placemats and cookie cutters, paper napkins and seasonal glittery things.  I’m completely out of space on my shelves and in my cabinets for any more dishes or glasses or cake stands, but it doesn’t stop me from buying them.

Is there a 12-step program for this?

Here’s another one.  I feel compelled to pester everyone I know to give me ideas for new desserts and cookies.  What’s your favorite?  Do you prefer this or that?  Can you send me a recipe for that?

Or I pester them with all my latest photos.  What do you think of this picture?  How about this one?  How about this one?  Or this one?

I fear I’m becoming that friend.  The one you avoid because she cannot stop talking about her stupid blog.  I tell myself to tone it down all the time.

Monster Cookies from JensFavoriteCookies.com  -  These large peanut butter oat cookies are sure to be a hit with your little monsters!

My latest new Food Blogger Problem involves my children, and their propensity to volunteer me to make cookies for all their parties and activities.  Which, don’t get me wrong, is all well and good, but the timing for baking and photographing is rarely good.

And I photograph everything.  I literally can’t stand to bake cookies and not take pictures of them.

Monster Cookies from JensFavoriteCookies.com  -  These large peanut butter oat cookies are sure to be a hit with your little monsters!Monster Cookies from JensFavoriteCookies.com  -  These large peanut butter oat cookies are sure to be a hit with your little monsters!

This time, the offspring (and I suspect the church youth leaders) planned ahead.  They gave me notice, multiple reminders, and even recipe suggestions.  After some discussion and debate, we decided on these Monster Cookies.  Because of their monstrous size, and because they are chock full of everything.

When you have a house full of 30 teenagers, a dainty, delicate cookie is just not going to get the job done.  You need a big monstrous cookie that is chock full of everything.

Now I only have one more problem…

… keeping my kids’ grubby hands off of them!

crispy peanut butter cookiesPeanut Butter
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peanut butter cookiesPeanut Butter
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Lemon Pancakes with Lemon Syrup

Lemon syrup is easy and fast to make.  Recipe for Lemon pancakes with lemon syrup for breakfast.

lemon pancakesHaving a dog is like having a two-year old.

They never eat when or what you want them to, bath time is a huge mess, you have to clean up disgusting poop messes, and they never clean up their toys.

I’m so sick of stepping on dog toys, I can’t stand it.

I wish I could figure out how to train him to put his own toys away.  We keep a basket on the floor in the living room with his toys.  I have picked them all up, and then watched him drag every single toy out of the basket and scatter them around the living room within 10 minutes.  It’s enough to make me a cat lover.

Wait.  What am I saying?!  That’s crazy talk, I take it back.

lemon syrup

One of the worst times for having a little dog around is when I’m preparing meals.

The dog, naturally, wants to sniff everything.  He tries to climb on the counters (fortunately, he is too small).  He gets into the trash can.  He stands right by my feet so he can eat everything I drop.

I’ve stepped on him more than once.

Which is why pancakes are such a fantastic dinner choice.  There’s no chicken or bacon or cheese to make the dog crazy, and the kids love having pancakes.

lemon pancakes lemon syrup

Our family has loved this lemon syrup for a while now.  It’s one of my favorite creations.  We’ll put it on just about anything.

Lemon pancakes just seemed like an easy choice to compliment the lemon syrup.

I also considered adding some fresh herbs to these pancakes, maybe rosemary or thyme, but in the end… I forgot.  Dang it.  Next time I make them, I’m adding some rosemary.

I wonder what the dog will think of that?

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Funfetti Oreo Stacks

Funfetti Oreo Stacks; Funfetti cake layered with Oreo cookies, frosting, and sprinkles.  A great funfetti recipe for birthdays!

funfettiWhoever came up with the word “funfetti” was brilliant, because everyone knows sprinkles are more fun.

Since the neighbor and long time friend of the Hippie Chick was having a birthday, we wanted to celebrate with something, well… fun.  And, obviously it’s more fun if it has the word “fun” in it.

Or if it has Oreos.

And so I used both.

Truth be told, I’m not completely prepared for the upcoming birthday season at our house.  It begins in May and lasts until October.  It’s intense, it’s expensive, and it means my kids are getting old.

I keep thinking, if I plan early, if I prepare ahead of time with birthday cake recipes and party ideas, maybe the emotional blow my childrens’ birthdays are becoming to me will be easier to handle.

It probably won’t work.  But it’s all I’ve got.

funfetti cake

So, the Hippie Chick and I were having a conversation about this.

Me: Bean’s birthday is tomorrow.  Should we get her a gift?
Hippie Chick: Yes!
Me:  What should we get her?
HC: I don’t know.  I can’t think of anything good.
Me: Maybe we should bake her a treat?
HC: Yes!  Great idea!  Let’s make something vanilla.  Everyone likes vanilla.

I literally cannot break her of this belief.  Lord knows I’ve tried.

funfettifunfetti cake

The process is amazingly simple.  Get yourself a Funfetti box cake mix, and make it according to the package directions, except pour it into a sheet pan to bake, so you get this thin sheet cake with cute sprinkles.  Use a round cookie cutter to cut little circles from the cake, then layer them between Oreos with frosting.

Top with sprinkles.  Devour.  Repeat.

Happy Birthday, Miss Bean!

homemade oreoSmall Crispy Oreos pudding cookiesCookies-n-Cream Cookies vanilla cupcake recipeVanilla Cupcakes

Continue reading “Funfetti Oreo Stacks” »

Grasshopper Cookies

Grasshopper recipe; These mint oreo cookies are soft and easy to make, made with Oreo pudding mix.  Grasshopper Cookie Recipe.

Grasshopper recipeSometimes I wonder if my children are learning anything at school.

Take this recent example.  The Hippie Chick was struggling through her math, the same concept she has been taught over and over and over, and her brothers were trying to help her.  It wasn’t going too well, so Robb chimed in with some questions to get them thinking in the right direction.

“How many feet are in a yard?”
Silence.  “Thirteen?”
“Are you serious?”

Let’s move on.  “How much is in a gross?”
“Eight.”
“What?  You’ve obviously never bought fireworks.”  (Robb is from Wyoming.  Does it show?)

At this point it was becoming a game.  “How long is a fortnight?”
“Six.”
“Six what?”
“24 hours.”
“Not even close.”

mint oreo

“How much is two bits?”
“A dollar.”
*sigh* (followed by long conversation about the answers to all these questions.)

Later on, Robb looked up the history of “two bits,” which was actually pretty interesting, and which I’m sure the Fruitarian would have loved, had he not tired of the conversation long before.  It’s all about pieces of eight, which you’ll know all about it you’ve ever watched the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.  A piece of eight was like a silver dollar, and people frequently chopped them into eight pie-slice pieces, called bits, to have small change.  So two bits was basically a quarter dollar.

Learn something new every day.

Grasshopper recipes

Not that pirate coins or fortnights or even learning something new has anything to do with Grasshopper Cookies.  The Lizard is reading this over my shoulder as I write, and telling me so.

Umm, thanks dude.  I know.

There’s just only so much you can say about cookies, isn’t there?  I mean, it’s soft, it’s minty, it’s got chopped chocolate mint cookies in it, the entire batch disappeared in less than 24 hours… it’s basically the same old story.  The same old wonderful, delicious story.

With mint.

But I’m thrilled to see that he is picking up on some basic writing elements.  Perhaps there is hope for the future after all.

chocolate mintPeppermint
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Key Lime Fruit Dip

Fruit Dip made with key lime yogurt and lime juice; recipe for Cream Cheese Dip with lime juice for fruit and crackers.

key lime dip thumbI know I should feel flattered when my family says, “Wow, this is good!” with surprise in their voices, after trying my latest dessert/snack concoction.

But I don’t.  I feel kind of offended that they would be surprised.

Like, by now you still don’t expect it to be amazing?  I know I’m pretty much just making this stuff up, but still.

This was one of those days.  I whipped up this Key Lime Dip pretty quickly, having never made anything like it before, and I dipped some vanilla wafers in it, and gently forced everyone in the house to try it.

They were pleasantly surprised.  Jerks.

The Fruitarian was, as expected, happiest of all.  There was fresh fruit and sweet fruity dip in the house, and he was allowed to eat it all.  It was like heaven for that kid.

key lime dip tall2a

He then came up with these brilliant ideas:  “We should grow strawberries.  We should have fruit trees, like apples, and peaches, and cherries.  Can we have a banana tree?”

It’s not exactly banana weather here in Utah, but we did end up having quite a discussion about having a vegetable garden this year.  I think the Fruitarian will be the official family gardener this year.

Wish us all luck with that.

key lime dip diptych

This dip came together so fast and easy, even I couldn’t believe it.  It is really delicious, and would be perfect for just about any kind of fruit, cookies, graham crackers, etc.  It did turn out a little thin, but I thought if I added powdered sugar it would be too sweet, so if you don’t mind your dip a little drippy, the flavor is best this way.

Also, it makes a pretty big batch, so don’t be afraid to halve this one.  Or just keep leftovers in the fridge.

Of course, if you have a lot of fruit and fruit dip around, I could just lend you the Fruitarian for a day or so.  That skinny kid will take care of it for you!

key lime dip thumb
Print

Key Lime Fruit Dip

A lime flavored fruit and cracker dip.

Author Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 6-ounce containers lime flavored yogurt
  • 8 ounces pineapple flavored whipped cream cheese
  • 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • zest and juice of one lime

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients, mixing until smooth.

  2. Serve cold with fruit, crackers, or cookies.

Recipe Notes

I used Yoplait brand light key lime yogurt and Philadelphia brand pineapple whipped cream cheese.

 

Coconut Lime Poke Cake

Poke Cake is fun and delicious.  This Jello poke cake recipe is made with coconut cake and lime Jello.

coconut lime poke cake thumbI’ve been trying to dream up some green recipes, since it’s March and all, and the thing is, there just aren’t that many desserty flavors that are green.  I mean, you have pistachio, mint, lime, and that’s about it.

Avocados and spinach, while present on this blog, are not great for desserts.

Then I remembered the time I made Coconut Lime Sugar Cookies and decided I needed that flavor combination in my life again.

I went looking around the Pinter-webs for inspiration.  Which is when I realized that I have never actually made a poke cake.  In fact, I’ve obviously never even spoken about making a poke cake, because when I announced to the family that their dessert tonight would be poke cake, they all thought I said “pote cake.”

Robb: “What’s a pote cake?”
Me: “POKE.  Poke… Cake.  Because you poke it with a fork and pour jello over it.”
Robb: {look of bewilderment} “Hmm.  I’ve never heard of it.”

No kidding?  {Sarcasm becomes me.}

coconut lime poke cake tall1a

I have this thing where I like things to have more than one flavor.  I mean, why have banana muffins when you can have Banana Chocolate Chunk Oat Muffins?  Why have buttermilk scones when you can have Coconut White Chocolate Buttermilk Scones?  You see what I mean.

Unless the flavor is chocolate.  Then chocolate with more chocolate is just plain fine with me.

So it really could not be a lime poke cake.  It HAD to be a Coconut Lime Poke Cake.  It was the only choice.

coconut lime poke cake wide1

I did one thing which was brand new for me.  I made whipped coconut cream frosting, which you probably guessed is dairy-free.  I don’t really care about being dairy-free that much, but I do love me some coconut.  What you have to do is buy a can of coconut milk, and when you get it home, immediately put it in the fridge and Do. Not. Touch. it for a day-ish.

Don’t shake it, don’t stir it, don’t turn it upside down.  Move it as little as possible.  Because, just like real cream and milk, coconut cream will separate from the syrup.  You can just gently scoop the cream off the top, whip it up with some powdered sugar, and you have a might fine icing, my friends.

You’ll have to spread it thin, but it will taste mighty fine.  Especially on lime poke cake. Continue reading “Coconut Lime Poke Cake” »

Pistachio Caramel Cookies & St. Patrick’s Collection

Recipe for pistachio cookies with caramel centers;  These pudding cookies are soft, green, and easy to make.

pistachio cookiesI have this friend, we’ve known each other since Nixon was in office.

Well, maybe not Nixon, but you get the idea.

Anyway, I love her dearly, but she has terrible taste in ice cream.  Sometimes we go to this local ice cream place together.  It’s the kind of place where the small sundae is enough to feed two people, and the ice cream and toppings are dripping out over the sides of the glass.  The food there is nothing to write home about, but the ice cream is memorable.

I always get peppermint ice cream with hot fudge, because it’s the obvious best tasting choice.  I can’t think of one thing I like better than hot fudge, unless it’s hot fudge with peppermint ice cream.  It’s the stuff dreams are made of.

But my friend always gets pistachio ice cream with caramel sauce.

Actually, now that I think about it, it does sound pretty good.  Just nowhere near as good as peppermint and hot fudge.

Even though she is wrong about this important topic, she is one of my oldest and loyal-est friends, so these cookies are totally for her.

pistachio cookies

In addition to loving my old friends, I’m loving my new friends too.  One super cool thing about being a rich and famous food blogger is meeting people from all over the country.

Today, I joined up with some of my best bloggy friends to bring you this super-duper awesome collection of St. Patrick’s Day recipes.  It’s radical, as we used to say when Nixon was in office.

I hope you’ll take a minute to look through all these fun recipes, and send some love to the bloggers who made them!

St. Patrick's Day Recipes

1. Key Lime Pound Cake by Joan at Chocolate Chocolate & More
2. Mini Banoffee Pie Tarts by Kelly at Kelly Bakes
3. Chocolate Bailey’s Mousse Tart from Nancy at Gotta Get Baked
4. Irish Carbomb Cupcakes from Susan at Girl in the Little Red Kitchen
5. Pistachio Caramel Cookies from Jen at Jen’s Favorite Cookies
6. Guinness Stout Mini Bundt Cake from Shanna at Pineapple and Coconut
7. Irish Cheese and Bacon Cheesecake with Walnut Crust by Carla at Chocolate Moosey
8. Bailey’s Irish Cream Cheese Trifle from Anita at Hungry Couple NYC
9. Key Lime Pie Ice Cream from Renee at Magnolia Days
10. Pistachio Mousse Cups from Kim at Cravings of a Lunatic
11. Irish Eggs Benedict from Isabelle Crumb Blog
12. St. Patrick’s Day Cookie Stack from Angie at Big Bears Wife
13. Guinness Chocolate Cake from Jen at Juanita’s Cocina
14. Irish Potato Oatmeal Bread from Sarah at What Smells So Good

Continue reading “Pistachio Caramel Cookies & St. Patrick’s Collection” »

St. Patrick’s Day Infographics

When is St. Patrick’s Day?  Why, it’s March 17.  Which, this year (2013) is a Sunday.  What is St. Patrick’s Day?  Well, let me tell you.

I’ve researched this subject intensely.  And by that, I mean I spent 5 minutes doing a Google search.  I’d love to distill what I learned into some salient bullet points for you.

Because everyone loves bullet points, right?

  • Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland.  He is credited with bringing Christianity to the Irish.
  • He lived in the 5th century, which is like 16 centuries ago.
  • Legend has it that he used the three-leafed shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity.

I figured I would take a break from my normal posting of dessert recipes to bring you a little St. Patrick’s Day fun.  So, here are several infographics I found that share all kinds of awesome stuff about all things Irish and green, brought to you by people who probably have more than 3 bullet points to share.

First up, this graphic from Degree Search is all about Ireland’s influence on America.

What is St. Patrick's Day

Next is this fun one from Go Ireland, about Irish inventors.  And, wait… the Irish invented Guinness?!

Actually, I didn’t realize Guinness was quite that popular, but then, I’m not much of a drinker.  I’ll take the chocolate milk.

when is st. patricks day

Moving on, Degree Search also created this awesome graphic with 7 facts about luck.  And who doesn’t love luck?

what is st. patricks day

And, last but not least, this last graphic from Never Stop Learning is about all things green.  I think my favorite is the one from 1546 when Heywood suggests that the moon might be made of green cheese!

And I thought it was just my sons’ feet.  (They smell like green cheese.  Seriously.  Put some shoes on, already.)

what is st patricks day

In other news, I would love to invite you back on Monday, when I have a super fun St. Patrick’s themed post planned.  I won’t give away all the details now, but let’s just say, this event took some planning!  You’re going to love it!

Peppermint Popcorn Bark

Krispie treats plus popcorn, plus peppermint marshmallows, plus chocolate.  This recipe for chocolate peppermint popcorn krispie treat bark is no-bake, fast, easy, and tasty!

krispie treatsHaving blogging friends is the best.  They’re super friendly and helpful, and I have learned a mega-ton from my blogging friends.

One of the single most useful things I have done is join a Facebook group for food bloggers.  We talk about pretty much everything food-blogging-related.  I’ve made friends in this group, discovered amazing blogs with even more amazing recipes, and learned lots of technical stuff.  There’s no self-promotion allowed, so the discussions are always on topic.

I always know that if I’m up against a wall, I can go to this group for help.  If they don’t know the answer, they can usually help me figure out where else to look.

Since it is the first anniversary of this particular awesome-sauce facebook group, we’re celebrating with shoutouts.  Well, and food, of course.  So, this is the part where I give a big fat shoutout to Jessica at Oh Cake for organizing and administrating this group.  It’s probably one of the coolest things she has ever done.

Since I’m addicted to the Food Bloggers Network, and I’m addicted to popcorn, this recipe was a natural leap.  And I’m not joking about the popcorn part.  We literally eat popcorn at least twice a week.  It probably the largest source of fiber in my family’s diet.

TMI?  Maybe.

chocolate peppermint

I did learn something interesting making this treat, something I totally should have seen coming but totally didn’t.  Did you know that dry popcorn is really staticky?  I was worried that whole popcorn might be too chunky for this treat, so I decided to give it a rough chop with a knife.

Then tiny pieces of dry popcorn went everywhere and stuck to everything.  I couldn’t even scoop them into the garbage can, because they stuck to the cutting board, the knife, and my hand.

Perhaps, if the humidity level inside my house was higher than 2-and-a-half percent, the result would have been different.

In retrospect, I’m not sure the rough chop step was actually necessary, I’ll just leave that decision up to you.

krispie treats

At the risk of tooting my own horn even more than usual, let me tell you that this might be my most brilliant concoction ever.  I seriously could not stop eating it.  It was at least as bad as the Cream Cheese Mints I made a couple weeks ago.  The popcorn actually gave the treats a little bit of a marshmallow-like texture, which I know sounds weird, considering there are actual marshmallows in it, too.

I’ll be surprised if this lasts more than a day at your house.  It lasted only about half a day at mine!

Continue reading “Peppermint Popcorn Bark” »

Chocolate Frosted Cookies

These chocolate cookies are a lot like brownies, rich, moist, and delicious.  This chocolate cookie recipe uses buttermilk in both the cookie and the frosting.

chocolate cookiesWhen I first started this blog, my mom tracked down an old family recipe for a cakey, frosted chocolate cookie that my great-grandmother used to make.  In fact, it was one of the first cookies I shared with you.

Lately, I have been dreaming of that cookie, remembering how wonderfully rich and flavorful it was.  I’ve been meaning to make it again.

Then last week, my great aunt passed away.  We knew it was coming, but it was still sad.  She was an amazing woman, warm and caring, with 8 children and approximately 452 grandchildren.

Seriously.  They’re my cousins, and I don’t know who half of them are, because there are far too many to keep track of.

If the whole family was in high school together… the school would be overcrowded.  You get the idea.

chocolate cookies

The passing of beloved Aunt B was the final excuse I needed to bake chocolate cookies.  Well, I never need much of an excuse to make something chocolate.  Let me rephrase.  It was the final excuse I needed to make the family recipe.

Oh, hooray for family recipes that are chocolate!!

chocolate cookie recipe

I learned something new this time around, while chatting with my mom about the funeral and the cookies.  Mom said that Aunt B stopped making the cookies because they are a lot like brownies, and it’s easier to make brownies.

I might be the world’s biggest brownie fan, but honestly? I think I’d rather have these cookies.  They are deliciously cakey and moist and brownie-like, but please don’t let that stop you.

Besides, they are coated in the single tastiest chocolate frosting in the known universe.

I’m sure when I get to heaven, I’ll find both Aunt B and these cookies there.

buttermilk-wide

5.0 from 4 reviews
Chocolate Frosted Cookies
 
Cook time
Total time
 
A chewy, cakey chocolate cookie with chocolate frosting.
Recipe type: Cookies
Serves: 2-3 dozen
Ingredients
COOKIE:
  • ½ cup shortening
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 1⅔ cup flour
FROSTING:
  • 4 T. butter, melted
  • ½ tsp. vanilla
  • 1 T. cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. buttermilk
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
Instructions
  1. Cream shortening and sugar. Add egg, melted chocolate, and vanilla, and mix well.
  2. Add buttermilk, salt, and soda and mix well.
  3. Add flour, and mix just until combined.
  4. Drop spoonfuls onto baking sheet, and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Remove carefully and allow to cool completely before frosting.
  5. For frosting, combine all ingredients, mixing until smooth. Use a small amount of frosting on each cookie.
  6. Store in an airtight container between layers of wax paper.

Easy Cheesecake {Guest Post}

This easy no bake cheesecake recipe is quick and easy to make, with only 4 ingredients! This is one of the best cheesecake recipes I have found.

Easy No-Bake Cheesecake from JensFavoriteCookies.com - All you need is 10 minutes, 3 ingredients, and a graham cracker crust!Parenting is such a bear sometimes, isn’t it?  I mean, you just never know what kind of problem you’ll be dealing with until it slaps you in the face.

Then, just as soon as you start getting the hang of how to deal with some of these common issues, the kids up and grow, and bring you a whole new batch of issues.  And here I am, pining away for the diaper days.

I remember when my son was 4 years old, and one of our “big” issues was his proclivity for nudity, which always came in unexpected moments.  I would leave him for 5 minutes, and come back to find him naked.  I solved this problem by having a quick and quiet little chat about how great nudity is, and how it’s only appropriate in certain places, namely the bathroom and the bedroom.  With the door closed.

I then game him a little alone time in his bedroom, and he decided to stay naked for over THREE HOURS.

The payoff was well worth the investment.

Easy No-Bake Cheesecake from JensFavoriteCookies.com - All you need is 10 minutes, 3 ingredients, and a graham cracker crust!

Having teenagers is far more complicated.  Now we’re getting them prepared for driving (yikes!) and dealing with teachers and grades, and working on financial responsibility, and self-discipline around video games, just to name a few.  Every day is a new challenge, and one I frequently feel unprepared for.

I hate feeling unprepared.  I much prefer to plan ahead.

Easy No-Bake Cheesecake from JensFavoriteCookies.com - All you need is 10 minutes, 3 ingredients, and a graham cracker crust!

I learned a lesson from this cheesecake.  If I keep a few items on hand, I can always have a quick and easy dessert, no matter how unprepared I feel.  Having just a little foresight can save you a ton of worry and stress.

I try to keep just THREE ingredients plus a graham cracker crust on hand, and I can literally mix this up and have it ready to eat in 15 minutes.

Because when you are using every bit of your energy and emotion to get your kids through high school Biology, a no-fuss dessert is a Godsend.

And speaking of parenting, I’m guest posting on Parent Palace today!  I’ve posted the recipe here and also on their site, so feel free to click over there and check out what they have going!

chocolate cake recipe9 Minute Cake trifleChocolate Cherry Trifle SweetsCream Cheese Mints

 

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Grapefruit Soda

These non alcoholic drinks are delicious and simply made.  Combine grapefruit, lemon, and lime for this refreshing citrus soda.

non alcoholic drinks

While the neighbor kid (a.k.a. “Duct Tape”) was at our house today, he was describing to The Fruitarian and me about his big plans to be a YouTube star.  He’s going to have his own channel and everything.

I couldn’t quite get a grasp of what all these videos are going to be about, but apparently several scripts have been written, and at least one involves Duct Tape shaving off his coveted mustache.

I think he is the only 12 year old in the subdivision with a mustache.  You can understand his reluctance to shave it.

The one thing that will tie all these YouTube videos together is sandwiches.  Yes, sandwiches.  Grilled Cheese, mostly.  The videos that aren’t specifically about sandwiches will have sandwiches as a sub-theme or at least a prop.

It’s as good a prop as any, if you ask me, and is definitely appropriate for videos made by teenagers.

non alcoholic drinks

I, however, am not a teenager (as Robb kindly reminded me, by looking through old photo albums and saying, “Look how young you were!,” as if I am not young now.), so I require more adult props.  And my props aren’t for YouTube videos, they’re for real life.

And this blog.

Which, let’s face it, is a lot like YouTube but without the videos.
citrus soda

Truth be told, this particular life-prop isn’t adult in the afternoon-cocktail-no-kids-allowed sense, but more in the kids-prefer-grape-soda-to-grapefruit-soda sense.  I don’t mind if my kids drink this, but they probably won’t.

Which is just as well, because I prefer to keep this to myself anyway.  It just reminds me of a lazy summer day, which is something I could really use right about now.

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Lime and Thyme drinkLime Thyme Mocktail grapefruit sandwich cookie recipeGrapefruit Cookies

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