Monthly Archives: January 2013

Game Day Dip Round-up

Dip is the perfect game day snack!  This collection of great dips is perfect for any get together, superbowl party, or Sunday afternoon.

mango salsaI couldn’t care less about football.  I really couldn’t.

You know what I like?  Superbowl party food.  That’s what I think about in late January.

Since Robb is no sports fan either, our one family football fan, The Lizard, has to watch his games alone, or at Grandpa’s house.  Thank goodness for grandpas.

Grandpa invited us over for Superbowl watching, and I excitedly searched high and low for great game day snacks.  I don’t even know which teams are playing, and please don’t tell me, because I don’t care.

But here is a far more interesting fact: Most of the game day snacks I found came in one of two forms.  Either A) nachos or B) dips.

Fine. With. Me.

Today I’m bringing you the best of the best… this collection has some of the tastiest dips and spreads I have found.  You’re certain to find several you can’t cheer your favorite team without!

fruit dipBrown Butter Dip cauliflower dipBuffalo Cauliflower Dip caramel apple dipCaramel Apple Dip
basil dipCreamy Basil Dip zucchini salsaZucchini Salsa roasted red pepper dipWhite Bean Red Pepper Dip
jalapeno dipJalapeno Popper Dip mango salsaMango Salsa spinach artichoke dipSpinach Artichoke Dip

You can find the recipes to all these amazing dips by clicking on the pictures, or on the links below.

Brown Butter Cream Cheese Dip from Jen’s Favorite Cookies
Buffalo Cauliflower Dip from Mother Thyme
Caramel Apple Butter Cheesecake Dip from Chocolate Moosey

Creamy Basil Dip from Overtime Cook
Zucchini Salsa from Closet Cooking
White Bean Roasted Red Pepper Dip from Smitten Kitchen

Jalapeno Popper Dip from Chocolate Moosey
Mango Salsa from Jen’s Favorite Cookies
Spinach Artichoke Dip from Gimme Some Oven

I hope you can find a dip or two that you can use for your own game day event, I truly do.  If you don’t please let me know.  I’ll be in the kitchen…

… dipping something.

P.S. Big Fat Thanks to all the amazing bloggers who allowed me to link to their awesome dips today.  All these blogs are fantastic, and you should totally spend some time diving into to each of them.  I know I will! Continue reading “Game Day Dip Round-up” »

Butter Cookies

Simple butter cookies are the best!  This butter cookie recipe makes a perfectly tasty everyday treat.

butter cookiesRobb and I have this new plan to talk about our problems differently.

Instead of saying, “The repairs on this car will cost more than our children,” we will say, “We can’t get the car repaired right now because the Bentley repair shop is not open weekends.”

Instead of “My boss won’t leave me alone about this problem I don’t know how to fix,” we’ll say, “My fans are clamoring for more amazing stuff from me.”

This could work.  Right?

In that spirit, I can tell you that it rained in Hawaii this week (we had some rare freezing rain, which put a thin sheet of very slick ice over absolutely everything, including my driveway, porch steps, and windshield.).

And our 5-star restaurant ran out of pork (my fridge was completely empty, and kind of smelly, and I had to improvise for dinner).

butter cookies

Yeah, I like this plan.

While I was shopping for new furniture for the mansion, I came across this too-cute-to-pass-up little turquoise cake stand.  I thought the family chef might like to use it for the upcoming ladies tea.

The chef and I put our heads together and came up with this cute and simple butter cookie to serve on the new stand.  Chef thought we should roll them in sugar, and keep them simple looking, but I said, “It’s almost February.  Let’s coat them in pink sprinkles.”

butter cookie recipebutter cookies

In his defense, Chef may have been right on this one.  (Which is okay, because Chef and I are the same person.  In case you didn’t follow this line of thought very well.)

Butter just gives the very best flavor to cookies, doesn’t it?  Robb is partial to simple flavors, uncomplicated, stand-alone.  It’s no surprise that this simple butter cookie is one of his very favorites.

Not sure how he felt about the sprinkles… but he did love the cookie.

In fact, he loved it so much, he gave the Chef a raise. Continue reading “Butter Cookies” »

Chocolate Protein Shake

Protein shake recipes are a must when trying to eat more protein.  This chocolate smoothie includes bananas, peanut butter, and chocolate protein powder.

protein shake recipesMy dad might be the whitest person I know.

And I’m not talking about his skin color, although it applies in that sense as well.

My kids just took this color-code personality test at school.  Did you ever take this test?  The colors represent different personality types.  Red is strong, dominant, independent, a take-charge leader.  Blue is mostly emotionally driven.  White is a peacemaker, non-confrontational, easy-going type.  Yellow is all fun, and focused on socialization.

The Lizard is a red-white, which sounds sort of impossible, since they are basically opposites, but it definitely didn’t surprise me.

The Fruitarian is white.  ALL white.  As in, I think there are 40 questions on the test, and 37 of them were white.  Did I mention he’s a middle child?  He’s one of the few people I know who can compete with my dad in white-ness.

chocolate smoothie

I’m a blue, by the way.  Robb says I should take the test again, just to be sure.  {He’s hinting that I’ve become more red with age.  But he’s wrong.  Obviously.}

Robb is pretty darn white himself, but The Lizard is convinced that he is red.  He cited some specific, and to be honest, rather compelling reasons why.  Most of them center around Robb’s nickname when dealing with the kids:  “The Hammer.”

Some time ago, The Hammer decided to pump up and strengthen his general sense of manliness with some weight lifting.

Which required protein powder.

Which required recipes.

chocolate smoothie

Seriously?  Have you ever tried to drink protein powder mixed in water?  You can’t plug your nose and gag it down!  Even the “good stuff” is terrible.  And thus, I have been on a quest to make whey protein palatable.

This recipe is by far my best effort.

I’m not going to lie.  There is no secret ingredient in the world that can mask that chalky aftertaste, but trust me when I tell you this is as close as you are going to get.

And, double bonus, drinking this shake made me feel full, and curbed my cravings for chocolate dipped Pecan Sandies for several hours.

Because not even this amazing shake can stop that craving forever!



Want more?  Try these blended beverages!

green smoothie recipescarrot-drinkOrange Julius featured

4.0 from 2 reviews
Chocolate Protein Shake
A chocolate banana shake made with protein powder.
Recipe type: beverages
Serves: 2
  • 1½ cups chocolate milk (or regular milk + 1 big squirt of chocolate syrup)
  • 2 scoops chocolate protein powder (I used Muscle Milk)
  • 1 banana
  • 1 T. peanut butter (I prefer creamy)
  • 3-4 ice cubes
  1. Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth.


Make some buckeyes for the big game! The buckeye recipe calls for chocolate, peanut butter, and no baking.

buckeyesLast weekend, we finally watched Fantastic Mr. Fox, which is one of the most well done kid-friendly shows I’ve seen in a long time.  We loved it.  In this show, they replaced every potentially offensive word with the word “cuss.”  The kids think it’s hysterical, and we’re now using the word “cuss” a lot around the house.  As in:

What the cuss is a buckeye?

I should just clarify up front that I am not from Ohio.  I’ve never lived in Ohio, I’ve never been to Ohio, I’ve never even been anywhere near Ohio.

Okay, that might have been a little more clarity than necessary.

I’m from Utah, and in Utah, we don’t make Buckeyes.  Well, we might make Buckeyes, but we certainly wouldn’t call them that.  We’d probably call them chocolate peanut butter balls, because we’re super creative that way.  Or we’d make them in the shape of a Beehive to show a little state pride.  {Utah is the “Beehive State.”}

buckeye recipe

So I will admit to not really knowing what a Buckeye was, until recently.  And now that I know, I have to be the one to tell you about it.  I’m a touch obsessive that way.


You will tell all your friends you heard it from me, right?

The state tree of Ohio is the buckeye tree.  It has this nut, which looks like this photo (right).

The nut is poisonous, so please don’t eat it.  You can’t make any Ohio-State-Pride treats with such a nut.  So the Ohiuns make this little ball of peanut butter dipped in chocolate, which looks a lot like the real Buckeye, but tastes much better and doesn’t give you indigestion.

This is really a very easy process.  You just make your peanut-butter-balls and pop them in the freezer while you melt some chocolate.

Then you dip the frozen peanut butter in the warm chocolate, and let them chill for a few more minutes.


I ended up with more chocolate than I needed and so I went searching through the kitchen for things to dip in the excess chocolate.  I mean, you can’t let chocolate go to waste right?  So in addition to buckeyes, we have chocolate dipped pecan sandies, chocolate dipped strawberries, and chocolate almonds.

(I used 1 cup chips and 2 T. shortening.  You may want to reduce to 3/4 cup chips and 1 1/2 T. shortening.)

Wait until after kickoff to bring these out.  Trust me.

Continue reading “Buckeyes” »

Pecan Sandies

Pecan Sandies are a favorite childhood memory.  We used to eat these fun nut cookies at my grandparents house, but these days I make them from scratch.

Pecan SandiesWhen I was a kid, we used to eat Pecan Sandies at my grandparents house.  We loved visiting them, because grandma filled us with treats and grandpa told us terrible jokes, the same three every time.

“Why does the fireman wear red suspenders?”
“To keep his pants up!”

His other favorite joke was, “If a rooster laid an egg on top of a house, which way would it roll?”  Once we figured out the answer to this riddle, {roosters don’t lay eggs} grandpa acted shocked and surprised every time we answered him.

Oh, those were the days.

Sometimes I wonder what kind of grandpa Robb will be.  I’m sure he’ll be great, because he is a phenomenal dad.  He loves to make terrible jokes and sing terrible songs at the top of his lungs.

nut cookie

One of our favorite moments was about a year or two ago, when our son The Fruitarian finally got the joke that was ten years in the making.  We were SO glad we were present to witness that grand moment.

Robb’s family sings a song, with the following lyrics:

There once was an Indian Maid, who laid in the shade all day,
She laid in the grass, with a feather in her… {pause} ear,
Oh, she was an Indian Maid.

Our kids have heard this song sung so many times, it never occurred to them that the lyrics don’t actually rhyme.  The day The Fruitarian got it was CLASSIC.

pecan sandies

I’m looking forward to being a grandma.  {far, far, FAR, forward!}  It will be great.  Robb will sing this Indian Maid song to a new batch of kids, and I’ll bake Pecan Sandies  and make cheese soup for dinner.

I hope the {future} grandkids like nuts. Continue reading “Pecan Sandies” »

Brown Butter Cream Cheese Dip

This cream cheese dip with browned butter has a rich, caramel flavor.  It makes a great fruit dip, also great on graham crackers.  You’re going to want to hide the mixing bowl from your kids.

fruit dipI have a confession to make.  I love my kids and all, but I really like having my days to myself when they’re at school.  It’s all silent, here, with just me and the dog.  No one is begging me for food or asking to play video games or leaving their snowy shoes right in front of the door where every one has to step on them to get in the house.


On the other hand, there are some real bonuses to those no-school days.  Like not packing cold lunches and not getting up at the butt-crack of dawn.

I’m not a morning person.

Today was one of those rare half-days, when they get out at noon.  There’s only a couple of them each year, and frankly, they are a great compromise. I still have to get up at o’-dark-thirty, but I don’t have to pack lunches.

Of course, they still come home hungry.  But when is that not the case?cream cheese dip

My sister recently sent me a recipe for cookie dough dip, which is basically just a euphemism for “just go ahead and buy some larger pants now, because we all know where this is going.”  But as I perused the short-but-sweet-and-fatty ingredient list, I just couldn’t stop thinking about brown butter.

I blame Annie.  I drooled over these cookies for 15 minutes straight this morning.

And thus, brown butter dip was born.

cream cheese dip

I was so disappointed {why does my blog still not have a sarcasm font?} when I had my photo shoot all set up, and then grabbed my camera and found that the battery was dead.  Disappointed because it gave me a few precious moments alone with what was left in the bottom of the mixing bowl, and what was left in the bottom of the graham cracker box.

Lawd have mercy, this stuff is good.

Do you like how I took pictures of myself with my snazzy super-red nails dipping an apple in this, like I totally ate this on an apple an not on my finger?

The kids didn’t know what hit them when they walked in the door at 12:30, and left their shoes and coats on the floor.  I was all “You guys are home already finally!”  Then I introduced them to brown butter dip, and they dove in face first.

Then I licked my fingers and headed to the computer to do some online shopping for new pants.

Brown Butter Cream Cheese Dip

A rich brown butter and cream cheese dip for fruit or crackers.
Author: Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies


  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 6 ounces cream cheese
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon


  • In a saucepan, melt butter, and cook until brown. Add brown sugar, and stir until dissolved.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese and powdered sugar. Add vanilla and cinnamon, and mix well.
  • Add butter mixture, and mix well. Serve with crackers or fruit.

Cherry Cookies with Vanilla Frosting Dip

These pink cookies are so fun to dip in vanilla frosting.  The cookies get their pink color from maraschino cherries, and the frosting is made a little thin, to be the perfect consistency for dipping.

pink cookiesConfession time.  Sometimes I fall flat on my face in the kitchen.  Not literally, although that would be really funny.

I mean sometimes my cookies are not all-that-and-a-bag-of-chips.  Recently, I had this brilliant {I thought} idea to make cookies with sunflower seeds.  I even broke one of my cardinal rules and put applesauce in them.

Then I was reminded why those rules are there in the first place.  I mean, applesauce in a cookie?  What was I thinking?!

I took these really beautiful photos, with sunflowers in the background.  It was a little heartbreaking to scrap them, to be honest.

I’ll put them on my facebook page anyway, because that’s the kind of vain person I cookies

My decision to scrap the cookie altogether came when my kids came home from school.  They emptied their lunchboxes of napkins and leftover baggies, and the only thing left uneaten… was the cookies.

I was obviously thrilled.  Robb told me to just throw the whole box of cookies away, because no one is going to eat that sorry excuse for a cookie in this house.

I hate when he’s right.

I went back to the drawing board with this idea that’s been floating around my head for a while, this idea for cute pink heart-shaped cherry cookies.

vanilla frosting vanilla frosting

The funny thing about this whole story is that I like sunflower seeds.  They’re delicious.  But they make a terrible cookie.  Maraschino cherries, on the other hand?  Gag.  I won’t even eat the one on top of my chocolate milkshake.  Maybe one of these days McDonald’s will get the hint and quit giving them to me.

But… maraschino cherries make really delicious cookies.  No joke.

You should know, and I promise I am not exaggerating about this, my kids ate almost the entire batch of cookies within the space of an hour.  Robb had to fight to get one for himself.

I know after you eat these, you are going to consider making them at other times of the year besides just Valentines Day.  Besides, the cherries are far better this way than on top of a milkshake.


Cherry Cookies with Vanilla Frosting Dip

A cherry flavored sugar cookie with vanilla frosting.
Cook Time9 mins
Author: Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies


For Cookies:

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 10-ounce jar maraschino cherries
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 5 cups flour + more for flour

For Frosting Dip:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • about 1 cup powdered sugar


  • Remove cherries from jar, reserving juice, and roughly chop them.
  • Cream shortening and sugar. Add eggs, cherries and cherry juice, and mix well.
    Add salt, soda, and baking powder, and mix well.
    Add flour and mix just until incorporated.
  • Wrap dough in plastic and chill for 3-4 hours. Roll dough on floured surface, to ½" thickness, and cut small shapes.
  • Bake cookies at 350 degrees for 7-10 minutes. (7 min for smaller cookies, and 9-10 for average size cookies) Place on a cooling rack and let cool before serving.
  • For frosting, melt butter, and combine all ingredients, mixing until smooth. Adjust consistency by adding more milk (to thin) or more powdered sugar (to thicken).

Simple Green Smoothie

Green Smoothie healthy recipes are easily found these days, and there are plenty of schools of thought on the subject.  Since I now have a green breakfast smoothie for breakfast almost every day, I’ll share a few of my thoughts about it.

Simple Green Smoothie from I was SO stoked the day I bought my new Blendtec blender!  My parents thought I was nuts, buying such an expensive blender, but trust me… I’m not nuts!  This blender is the bomb-diggety.  It’s the boss.  It’s completely bodacious.

Here’s the thing: if you’re going to make green smoothies, you’re going to want to have a really high-end blender, like the Blendtec or VitaMix.  The other blenders just can’t handle the green stuff very well.

No, this is not a review of the Blendtec.  But it is awesome.

Point B: Green smoothies are the best breakfast ever.

Simple Green Smoothie from

Followers of this blog have no doubt heard me complain frequently about the picky eaters in my family.  My dear husband will not let spinach come anywhere near his lips.  Which is too bad, because I really love spinach.

BUT… my picky eaters all love this green smoothie.  It’s like a Christmas Miracle.

I’m kind of a purist about the green smoothie.  I mean, if you’re going to bother with it, you should do it right.  And the right way is to add nothing too it… nothing but fruit, greens, and water or ice if you want.  No protein powder, no flaxseed, no greek yogurt.  You’ll get the best absorption into your system without any smoothie recipes

Honestly, besides the yummy fruity flavor, I absolutely love the way this green smoothie makes me feel.  If I drink two great big glasses of it, it squashes the sugar cravings, and the hunger, and gives me a little energy boost.  It’s my absolute favorite breakfast for that reason.

And, it’s the only way I can get any greens in my family!

More beverages you might enjoy:

protein shake recipesChocolate
Protein Shake
homemade orange juliusOrange Juice
orange-smoothie-3Orange Carrot


More fun drinks can be found on this “Beverages” Pinterest board!

Follow Jen’s Favorite Cookies’s board Beverages on Pinterest.

Continue reading “Simple Green Smoothie” »

Krispie Treat Pops

Krispie treats are just classic, aren’t they?  I mean, everyone likes a plain old rice krispie treat.  Everyone but me, that is.  I really have to dress them up to make them interesting.

krispie treatWhen I was a kid, my mom made this Christmas advent calendar.  It was a felt Christmas tree with little pockets for treats.  My mom filled the pockets with rice krispie treats with little service coupons attached.  My siblings and I took turns choosing treats.  We always loved seeing what services my parents would give, usually things like “Dad will take you out for ice cream” or “Mom will make your bed.”

Of course, the treats were awesome on December 1st, but not so much on December 24th.  By then, they were hard as a brick bat (as my Mother-in-law would say) and you only had the coupon to look forward too.

Or throwing a krispie treat rock at your brother’s head.

Not that I would ever do that.  Just sayin’.

krispie treat

Maybe it was those dry and hard 3-week old squares that turned me off this classic dessert, or maybe it was the lack of chocolate involved.  {probably the chocolate!}  Either way, I’ll be spicing up my krispie treats.

Today, I decided to spice them up with sucker sticks.  And white chocolate.

rice krispie treat recipe

I got a sweet deal on sucker sticks in the after-Christmas sale.  Is it weird to get excited about that?  I only spent a dollar on a package of 100 sticks. And therefore, I HAD to use them as quickly as possible.

I halved the classic rice krispie treat recipe and pressed it into a loaf pan for this treat.  I pushed the sucker sticks in right away, and once the treats were set, I cut them into cute little squares, and dipped them into almond bark.  I just love how cute and festive these look!  I think they would be so fun for a birthday party or holiday celebration.

And the real bonus about this whole thing is that there is no baking required! Continue reading “Krispie Treat Pops” »

Trail Mix Cookies

A healthy cookie recipe is hard to find these days.  The search is not for the faint of heart.  The real problem here is defining what a healthy cookie is.  Is it the presence of good stuff?  Or the absence of sugar?

healthy cookie recipeI’m of the opinion that it stops being a cookie the moment you remove the sugar.  Which is why sugar free cookies are not to be found on this site.

And thus, I decided to go with the presence of good stuff for my cookies.

Look for a good trail mix recipe and you will find a vast variety of combinations.  It really comes down to putting all your favorite things in a bag and shaking.

One of the first times Robb and I went on a road trip with little kids, I mixed up some of my favorite kid-friendly snacks in a big ziploc bag: goldfish crackers, pretzels, peanuts, raisins, licorice nibs, and m&m’s.  Robb thought it was a little weird, but I think that’s because he didn’t like cheese cracker crumbs on his licorice nibs.

It’s rough being picky.

healthy cookie recipe

The rest of us liked it just fine, and I made this famous “trail mix” for road trips many times over the years.

I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t make a fantastic cookie.  And yes, it’s sweet, but it would still make a fabulous snack for a hike or a camping trip, or even a long day at the ball field.  It has some nuts and fruits to pack a little extra energy, and some pretzels and granola to pack a little extra crunch.trail mix recipe

This is the kind of healthy cookie recipe I like.  It’s still recognizable as a cookie, but each bite has a healthy little surprise in it.  And feel free to substitute any ingredients from your favorite trail mix recipe.  I think these would be great with coconut, peanuts, cashews, or chocolate chips!

On a separate note, I would like to mention that I am now contributing a cookie recipe each month to my good friends at Waldron Publishing.  I’d love it if you would drop by and check out what they have to offer in awesome e-books! Continue reading “Trail Mix Cookies” »

Pumpkin Chip Oat Muffins

I made these pumpkin muffins for breakfast on Christmas Day.  I was looking for something quick and easy, something that didn’t require sitting at the breakfast table, and these did the trick.  Robb took a bite, and promptly gave me a thumbs-up.

pumpkin muffin

That’s code for, “Make these again.”

Now that it’s January, I feel kind of behind the times on the pumpkin recipes.  I mean, pumpkin recipes are SOOO 4-months-ago.  All the really cool bloggers did their pumpkin recipes last October.

I made pumpkin cookies last October, too, but I ask you, why should pumpkin be relegated to fall?  Shouldn’t truly delicious foods be eaten all year around?

That’s code for “Don’t think I’m not going to make this again in May.”

And July.

pumpkin bread

I ended up with a huge bowl full of left over goodies after Christmas.  The giant bowl that normally holds fresh fruit was temporarily filled with peppermint bark, and candy canes, and peanut brittle, and Almond Toffee.

After a while, you just crave some real food.  Something hearty and filling, something seasoned with spices rather than 5 kinds of sugar.  Something, oaty, perhaps?

pumpkin recipesmuffin recipe

Incidentally, this recipe is very similar to the banana chocolate chunk muffin recipe, except with pumpkin it has a little heavier texture.

I like a food you know you’ve eaten.  Don’t you? Continue reading “Pumpkin Chip Oat Muffins” »

Top 10 Posts from 2012

This list of top recipes from 2012 gets me kind of excited.  I’ve really enjoyed bringing them to you, and I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing them and making them for your own families.

Drumroll please…

Coming in at #10, these Molasses Bars are seriously chewy and delicious.  They were literally gone within hours of coming out of the oven.
At #9, these lovely Eggnog Bars with gingerbread crust sparked the holiday interest of a lot of people.
#8 was this super easy Almond Toffee, which makes a fantastic holiday treat.

molasses chocolate chip bars eggnog bars almond toffee

Molasses Snickerdoodles were #7, and it’s easy to see why.
These Pumpkin No-Bake Cookies were #6, and
#5 was a JFC favorite, Brown Sugar Cookies.

molasses cookies no bake cookie recipe brown sugar cookie recipe

Moving on to #4, this Coconut Ginger Granola was a big hit.
The Pumpkin Swirl Sugar Cookies came in at #3.
This crazy easy Chocolate Peppermint Fudge found it’s way on to Huffington Post this year, as well as  becoming the second most popular post on this site.

coconut ginger granola recipe pumpkin cookie recipe easy fudge recipe

And the single most popular recipe of 2012, with thousands of pageviews, is:

homemade halloween candy

That’s right, Homemade Gumdrops.  They were an instant hit, and you haven’t checked them out yet, you might want to take a look now!

top recipes

Thanks for allowing me to be a part of your life in 2012, and here’s to more of making life sweeter in 2013!