Monthly Archives: November 2012

Orange Juice Smoothie

How to make a smoothie; This copycat orange julius recipe is quick, easy, and refreshing! How to make an orange smoothie.

orange julius recipeWhen we were first married, let’s just say we were fans of a certain refreshing frothy orange flavored beverage sold at a certain fast food chain with the same name.

Only we were too poor to purchase this fun treat as often as we would like.

And so, we frequently opted for the homemade variety.

To avoid having to look the recipe for the 500th time this month, I made up a rhyme to help Robb and me both remember.  Want to hear it?

A cup, A cup, a half a cup,
A half a can, a capful. 

Those were the days.  It has literally been years since I made one of these delightful homemade treats.  Years.  I blame my blender for dying.  And my subsequent smoothie maker also for dying.  I decided the next blender in my home would be a keeper.  And hence, my home is now blessed with a Blendtec blender with the WildSide Jar, and let me tell you…  it is possibly my favorite thing I own.  It’s awesome.  How awesome?

If someone held a gun to my head and made me choose between giving him my blender or giving him one of my children, I might have a hard time choosing.

how to make a smoothie

Okay, no I wouldn’t.  I’d hand over the blender.  But the kid would hear about it for the rest of his life.

Luckily, that’s not the way it’s going to go down.  The way it’s going to go down is the kids are going to come home from school, and in 30 seconds I will whip up enough of this frothy beverage for the four of us in the awesome blender, and then the kids will be so happy and sing my praises and brag to their friends about how amazing their mom is. Continue reading “Orange Juice Smoothie” »

Almond Toffee

Simple toffee recipe;  This homemade english toffee recipe is simple and delicious.  There’s no need to be afraid of candy making with this basic toffee recipe!

toffee recipeI don’t know about your house, but at mine, the chores get done really quickly.  Really well, too. *ahem*

Just today, The Lizard asked permission to go to a friends, and I replied by asking whether his chores were done, the chores he knows need to be done every week, or every day.  The chores that should be done before he even asks permission.

And he replied with a grunt of frustration, and headed off to practice the piano.

He is so amazingly efficient, he managed to practice three songs, plus his scales and arpeggios, in less than 10 minutes.  And sadly, it still may have been the best practicing he has done all week.

He proceeded to clean his room {from whence a seriously funky smell was emanating} which took less than 5 minutes.  Who knew a room could be cleaned so quickly?

He was both shocked and angry when I sent him back for a second try.

english toffee recipe

Some famous argument lines:
“Why does my room need to be vacuumed?”
“I already did that!”
“You make it really hard to go to my friends!”

Sigh.  Parenthood is not for the faint of heart.

While the holiday season does not exactly give one a break from the joys of parenthood, it does provide a change of schedule and scenery, which by itself is often enough to recharge the disciplinary batteries.

And if that doesn’t work… I usually opt for homemade candy. Continue reading “Almond Toffee” »

Chocolate Oatmeal Cinnamon Chip Cookies

chocolate oatmeal cookieNext month will be the 3 year anniversary of my very first Jen’s Favorite Cookies blog post.  *bow*

3 years of cookie recipes.  This recipe here is my 82nd cookie recipe.  Wowza.

I used to worry that I would run out of ideas for new cookies, but lately I have realized just exactly how infinite the possibilities are.  In fact, there are products and ingredients out there that I have never even used.

Cinnamon chips being just one example.  This is my first recipe using cinnamon chips, because this is my first time ever purchasing them.  I guess I just never had a reason before.

But, reason schmeason.  They were on sale and I picked some up and decided I would figure out how to use them later.

Chocolate oatmeal cinnamon chip cookie recipe

Of course, my first thought was about my favorite classic Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies.  But just using cinnamon chips in place of chocolate chips seemed a little… boring.

And the last thing I want to be is boring. Continue reading “Chocolate Oatmeal Cinnamon Chip Cookies” »

20 Great Christmas Cookies

Nothing says “Christmas” like baked goods.  And gifts.  And gifted baked goods.

Since the big holiday looms ever closer, and since this is Jen’s Favorite Cookies, it only makes sense that I help you prepare with a list of Christmas cookie ideas that’s longer than your arm.

And, if you choose to make them for some other religious holiday, or non-religious holiday, or just because it’s Wednesday, well, I don’t think anyone would blame you.

I’m obviously not making all of these for my own family this year.  If you’re curious about what’s actually on my own holiday baking roster, I’ll be sharing that on my Facebook page, and some may even have updated photos.  Please join the conversation, because I’d love to know what you’re baking, too.


Recipes, top to bottom:

1: Peppermint Meltaways
2: Nutmeg Buttermilk Cookies
3: Gingerbread
4: Salted Dark Chocolate Cookies
5: Dulce de Leche Cookies
6: Brown Sugar Cookies
7: Apple Pie Cookies with Salted Caramel Frosting
8: Peppermint Meringues
9: Chocolate Marshmallow Cookies
10: Molasses Snickerdoodles

Not pictured:

11: Chocolate Crinkles
12: Chocolate Gingersnaps
13: Soft Sugar Cookies
14:  Pumpkin Swirl Cookies
15:  Coconut Cream Cookies
16: Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
17: Giant Ginger Cookies
18: Cranberry Pistachio Cookies
19: Oreo Cookies
20: Coconut Crispies

This post linked up at: Flour Me With Love; I Should Be Mopping the Floor; Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms; Delightfully Dowling; Beyer Beware; Between Naps on the Porch; Skip to My Lou; Our Delightful Home; Naptime Creations; Bowl Full of Lemons; Inside BruCrew Life; Mandy’s Recipe Box; Hope Studios; Gingersnap Crafts; Lil Luna; Someday Crafts; Lady Behind the Curtain; Back For Seconds; Katherine’s Corner; Domessblissity; Miz Helen’s Country Cottage;

Peppermint Bark

chocolateI don’t even listen to the radio that much.  And yet, I know all the words to basically all five of the songs they play over and over.  Check me out.

“Under my umber-ella-ella-ella-ay-ay-ay”
“We-eee are never, ever, ever, getting back together.”
“I got the moves like Jagger, I got the moves like Jagger…


That was me, singing loudly while driving, for the express purpose of embarrassing all the carpool kids.  It’s so much fun, messing with teenagers.

Listening to teens have conversations, on the other hand, not nearly as fun.

For instance, one day, they were complaining about the horrors of having your sibling in the very same class as you.  Which conversation led to this song:  “We-eee are never, ever, ever, having class together!” Continue reading “Peppermint Bark” »

Nutmeg Buttermilk Cookies

Is it nerdy for grown women to have a battle of one-upmanship on a cell phone game?  Cuz that’s what’s happening with my friend and I on Temple Run.

I was feeling all awesome-sauce and big-headed about my score of 2.19 million, and bragging my face off to her.

Her: Is that real?  How did you get a score that high?
Me:  Being amazing.  Also, resurrection wings.  The permanent ones.

Two days later, she sent me a screenshot of her new high score, 2.88 million.


Me: Crud! You KNOW I have to beat that score now.
Her:  Bring it.

And I immediately set a new high score for myself… 2.22 million.  Not high enough.  I may or may not have then spent about 50,000 Temple Run Coins, and an hour and a half of real time trying to beat that score.

nutmeg cookie recipe


Welcome to my life.  It’s this exact sort of thinking that explains the rise of Farmville and the demise of soap operas.  I mean, we could be watching Days of Our Lives and eating nachos, but instead, we’re getting tips from our teenage sons on how to beat our friends at cell phone games. Continue reading “Nutmeg Buttermilk Cookies” »

Eggnog Bars

eggnog cheesecakeIt’s a winter wonderland here today.

Two days ago, it was 65 degrees and sunny, then the wind started blowing (hard!) and it began snowing.  It snowed for a day and a half, solid.

I am neither joking nor exaggerating when I tell you that this weather is completely normal for Utah.  I’m pretty sure Utah is bi-polar.  Can we get the state of Utah some prescription drugs, people?  Please?

I will tell you that when I look out the window and watch it snow and snow, I really feel like baking.  I want to reach for molasses and butter and cinnamon and cream.

And Diet Coke.  Just being honest, here.

eggnog bars

I bought my first jug of eggnog today, too.  Robb really prefers the thinner, homemade variety, but alas, my blender is broken.  And, let’s just say, the next blender I’m planning to own is the type you save up for.   Continue reading “Eggnog Bars” »


A few things have changed since I made this recipe last year.

We got a dog, for one.  A dog that loves the snow.  And when I say loves, I mean loves the snow.

As in beg-hourly-to-be-let-out love.  As in I’m-not-coming-in-until-someone-plays-in-the-snow-with-me love.  And today?  Roll-my-face-in-it-until-I’m-completely-blind-from-caked-on-snow love.

I’m not going to lie.  We laughed at him and took some pictures before we put him in some warm water.

I mean, a dog that willingly makes himself blind is pretty funny.

A few things have not changed since last year.

Hippie Chick still scrunches up her nose at the cloves, and she still likes to mend broken people-shaped cookies, and Kristen Stewart is still making Twilight movies, and Martha Stewart still has multiple recipes for the same thing. Continue reading “Gingerbread” »

Pumpkin Spice Krispie Treats

Let me preface this story by telling you that Robb and I get along great.  We really do.

But, our differing personalities being what they are, sometimes the way we get along doesn’t look like getting along, exactly.

For example, Robb has this burning desire to take his humor one step to far.  No, desire is not a strong enough word.  It’s a need.  An addiction.  A mental illness, if you will.

Let’s say he starts out with a funny joke, we laugh, we talk about it some more, his joking turns slightly rude and offensive, and I stop laughing.

This, my friends, THIS is the moment when Robb cannot physically stop himself from pushing the joke one more step into the range of offensive.  He can’t do it.

I simultaneously love and hate him for it.

crispy treats

Now, if Robb were here, he would probably mention to you my affinity for picking fights.  It’s not that I actually want to fight, it’s more like I want someone to get involved, get emotional, challenge me, push me.  Robb just never fights with me when I want him to.  It’s SO annoying.

But Robb is not here, so I guess I can tell you that just today, HE picked a fight with me, and he was really looking forward to the “so there!” moment, but I was super sweet and didn’t fight with him, and he got no satisfaction at all.

So there.

Continue reading “Pumpkin Spice Krispie Treats” »

Pomegranate Ice Cream Topping

Is it possible to die of fright?  If so, my son (The Fruitarian) nearly met his maker tonight when a big spider ran out from behind the toilet.  Not only does he hate spiders, but he kind of startles easily, too.  It was a double whammy.

How about dying of boredom?  That one I don’t believe is possible, because only boring people are bored, as I am apt to tell my children.  I’m never bored, because I always have so much to do.  I barely have time to read anymore.

I have, however, been dying of envy lately, when my parents made a trip to Europe to attend my sister’s destination wedding.  After the wedding, they went on a two-week Mediterranean cruise, mostly around Greece and Croatia.  I stayed home and enjoyed a thunder-snow-storm, among other amazing things.


On the other hand, I think they were dying of homesickness before they got home.  Thanks to a combination of Frankenstorm and stand-by tickets, they were stuck in Europe an extra 5 days.  And not the warm part of Europe.

I asked my brother, who works for an airline, whether he could get them some actual tickets.  He said, Sure, for $3500.  Ouch.

Upon returning home, my Dad, one of the world’s great cheapskates, reported about the price of hamburgers in Zurich.  Around $13 US at McDonald’s, and more like $30 US in the hotel restaurant.  His solution was to purchase his lunch at Costco on his first day home, a hot dog and a drink for $1.50.  It makes him feel more like himself.

I told my Dad to get himself some ice cream at the grocery store, and I would contribute some ice cream topping.  He was thrilled to get a little jar of this yummy Pomegranate Syrup.  I was a little sad to let it out of my sight.

Who knew that mixing pomegranate arils with some sugar and water, and just a touch of my favorite thing EVER, almond extract, would yield such amazing {and dare I say, beautiful?!} results?  I mean, let’s just say you’re not a big fan of chocolate syrup or hot fudge on your ice cream…

..I don’t see any reason in the world why that would ever happen, but let’s just say.

If that were the case, you would be so happy to have pomegranate syrup for your ice cream.  Or your pancakes.  It’s not just me that believes dessert foods are breakfast foods, is it?

Pomegranate Ice Cream Topping
Cook time
Total time
A simple pomegranate syrup makes an excellent ice cream topping.
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 4
  • 1 cup pomegranate arils
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ tsp. almond extract
  1. Combine pomegranate arils, sugar, and water in a pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10-12 minutes, until syrup thickens and has a dark purple color.
  2. Remove from heat and add almond extract.
  3. Serve warm or cold over ice cream.

If you enjoy this recipe, you might also enjoy:

Hot Fudge Sauce from Jen’s Favorite Cookies

Pomegranate Panna Cotta from Easy Cook

Yogurt & Pomegranate Dessert from JungleFrog Cooking

This post linked up at: Shabby Nest; Romantic Home; Rattlebridge Farm; I Should Be Mopping the Floor; Skip to my Lou; Between Naps on the Porch; Hope Studios; Mandy’s Recipe Box; Not Just a Housewife; Sugar Bee Crafts; Lady Behind the Curtain; Back For Seconds;

Chunky Taco Dip

taco dipI like making lists for my kids.  They hate it, because the lists are always lists of chores to be done, and never lists of ice cream places we’re visiting or lists of video games we’re planning to purchase.

After showing a dear friend my new list-making-system, she confessed that her husband loves lists.  She makes lists for him, and he happily goes about checking things off.  She also admitted that if he did the same for her, she would be… well,… let’s just say it would not end well.

Which got me thinking.  I asked Robb whether he would like me to make him a list, and his reply was an emphatic “No.”  I tried to remind him how much he loved the extensive and detailed lists I have made in the past when I have gone out of town and left him home alone with the children.  He claims he only likes those lists because I have so much stuff to do.  {Welcome to my world.}

I feel I have a new thing to tease Robb about, and let’s be honest, teasing Robb brings me so much joy.

chips & dip recipe

This same friend and her family came to our house for an evening of chatting and chatting and board games and more chatting, fueled by Mexican food and Dr. Pepper, and lots and lots of cookies.  And guess what?  It wasn’t me that made the cookies this time. Continue reading “Chunky Taco Dip” »

Spice Cake Scotchies

cake mix cookiesOne of my best buds is doing a 9-day cleanse.  I kind of think she’s nuts for spending that amount of money on diet food you drink, but on the other hand, she’ll probably lose 5 pounds this week, and I won’t.

I considered messing with her by sending her a plate of cookies on day 3.

But I didn’t.  Because who else can I have a conversation like this with?
Her: Remind me why I’m doing this 9-day cleanse?
Me: I’m so tired of not being on Food Gawker.
Her: Oh yeah, so I’ll quit gaining weight.
Me: Nevermind, they just accepted my pic.

I didn’t really need her to say anything, just to be there. And she was.

spice cake mix

Cake mix cookies are all the rage these days, and with good reason.  I’ve used them to make homemade Oreos, which are, in a word, AH-mazing.  And, although I am partial to chocolate, I thought it best to try something non-chocolatey this time.  I searched the pantry and found this spice cake mix, which I am obviously never going to actually make into a cake.

I am, however, going to use it as an excellent delivery system for butterscotch chips. Continue reading “Spice Cake Scotchies” »

Chocolate Peppermint Fudge

Easiest fudge recipe ever! This fudge with condensed milk is very easy to make, and seasonal with peppermint chips.

Easy Chocolate Peppermint Fudge from - made with condensed milk, this is the easiest fudge you'll ever have!There’s this old house in the town where I live, that used to belong to my great-great grandparents.  My mom has memories of this very tiny old house being filled with close to a hundred family members.

Now, it’s a museum.  It used to house the family dairy business, and now it houses old typewriters and pictures of the winning church basketball team from 1981.

In my head, these hundred cramped family members were treated to a spread of foods, cakes, cookies, and candies.  But when I asked my mom what desserts she remembered, she replied, “Fudge.  Just fudge.  And divinity.”  Apparently, the cookies and cakes only existed in my head.

I’ve never really been a pro at fudge.  There are so many different versions, and so many different preferences about this popular candy.  My mom prefers hers a little stiff, and always with walnuts.  Always.  It was the same with brownies.  “Don’t make it without walnuts,” she instructed us.  “Just don’t.”

Robb’s family makes a less sweet version, what has come to be known as “dirt fudge” in the annals of family history.  This is because when Robb’s sister gave family fudge to a friend as a “secret Santa” gift, her friend, not realizing who it was from, commented, “This fudge tastes like dirt.”

Easy Chocolate Peppermint Fudge from - made with condensed milk, this is the easiest fudge you'll ever have!

Since I’m sort of new at this whole fudge making thing, I figured I would start small and make the easiest fudge I could find.  Which turned out to be the Bittersweet Cinnamon Fudge by Giada de Laurentiis.  This stuff is so easy, she literally gives you the entire recipe and process during a commercial.

Just my speed.

What’s not my speed? Washing my pan while the fudge was cooking, because someone left it in the fridge with one tiny piece of meatloaf in it, rather than put the leftovers in a baggie or in their mouth, and putting the pan in the sink like a normal person.  I can complain, because for once, it wasn’t me.

Easy Chocolate Peppermint Fudge from - made with condensed milk, this is the easiest fudge you'll ever have!

Easy Chocolate Peppermint Fudge from - made with condensed milk, this is the easiest fudge you'll ever have!

One nice thing about fudge is that if you have a hundred family members to greet during the holidays, you can cut the fudge into little pieces, put it in a box, and it makes a nice gift.  You can even make your own box out of scrapbook paper or cardstock and make it super-duper cute.

gift tagBy the way, Giada was right that this can be made during a commercial break.  It really is that easy!

Grab your Free Printable Gift Tags here.  They’re going to look adorable with your scrapbook paper boxes!



Here are a few other quick and easy holiday favorites!

condensed milk cookiesCondensed Milk Cookies chocolatePeppermint Bark chocolate cream pie ballsAlmond Balls


Chocolate Peppermint Fudge
Cook time
Total time
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cups (1 pkg) bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup peppermint baking chips or crushed peppermint candies
  1. Place milk in a glass bowl over a pot of boiling water (to create a double boiler). Add chocolate chips. Heat and stir until chocolate is completely melted.
  2. Remove from heat, add vanilla and ½ cup peppermint chips. Stir to incorporate.
  3. Pour into an 8x8 pan lined with greased foil. Press remaining peppermint chips on the top of the fudge.
  4. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours. Use foil to remove fudge from the pan. Cut into squares.