September 29, 2014

Buttermilk Chocolate Chip Crumb Muffins

Monday again? Didn't we just have a Monday? 

It's OK, I'm going to give you a recipe that allows you to have chocolate for breakfast.  

In my many faulted attempts to find something for my daughter to eat for breakfast, I stumbled on this recipe.  How could she NOT love it? 

The muffins are light and fluffy with a yummy chocolate bite, the confectioners' sugar topping really adds a nice sweetness.  This recipe made enough that I was able to share with some neighbors, and their kids loved them too.  Maybe not the healthiest breakfast in the world but still probably better then a lot of the pre-made things you can get in the grocery store.  All in all it was a great muffin!
Buttermilk Chocolate Chip Crumb Muffins
Recipe from Love and Olive Oil

Ingredients - Topping
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cold butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Ingredients - Muffins
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cake flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • powdered sugar (for dusting)
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400º
  2. Line 2 cupcake/muffin pans with 18 cupcake papers
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour's, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Remove about 2 tsp of the flour mixture and put in a separate bowl and dump in 1/2 cup of the chocolate chips.  Mix together.  Set aside. 
  4. In the bowl of your stand mixer, add the butter and sugar and beat until light and fluffy on medium speed, about 2-3 minutes. 
  5. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing in between.  Add the vanilla extract and mix. 
  6. Incorporate the flour mixture and the buttermilk alternately.  Flour, buttermilk, flour, buttermilk, flour.  Fold in the mini chocolate chips that were stirred in with flour. 
  7. Place about 3 Tbsp of batter into each muffin cup.  Bake 12-15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. 
  8. Top with the remaining chocolate chips while the muffins are still hot. 
  9. Let cool on a cooling rack, then dust with powdered sugar. 

September 24, 2014

Peanut Butter Cup Cookie Bars

So, on Monday I mentioned that I was doing the Whole30 diet right? You're looking at the one item that made me plunge off my diet for an evening.  Well, here's the thing.  I made them to take with me and some friends when we went to a Brad Paisley concert.  I knew I'd have to be careful with them, I mean, it's chocolate and peanut butter for goodness sake.

So I intended to just take one quick bite so I could write about them.

Well, that didn't exactly work out the way I planned.

I ate a whole one before the concert.  Then I ate another one after the concert.  Yep, totally failed on my diet.  I admit it.

The good news is that they are freaking amazing.  Totally worth crash diving off my diet. I would do it again if I had the choice. My husbands exact words were "best dessert I've had in a long time".  I think he's right.

The cookie layer is chewy, with chunks of those peanut butter cups.  The topping is both chocolate and peanut butter so it is a perfect compliment to the cookie.  Just out of this world!  If I had more, I'd be eating them right now.  I don't.  I have to give them away, they were WAY to dangerous.

Peanut Butter Cup Cookie Bars
Recipe form My Baking Addiction

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 whole egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mini peanut butter cups
Chocolate Peanut Butter Topping
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3 Tbsp peanut butter
Cooking Directions
  1. Line an 8x8 inch pan with tin foil, then spray the tin foil with non-stick spray.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350º
  3. In a medium bowl add the flour, baking soda and baking powder and salt.  Stir together and set aside. 
  4. In the bowl of your stand mixer add the butter and brown sugar.  Blend well. 
  5. Add the egg and vanilla extract and blend. 
  6. Slowly add the flour mixture and blend until smooth. 
  7. Add the peanut butter cups and incorporate by hand so they stay in tact. 
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared dish, even out the top.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 
  9. Let cool.  While the cookies are cooling prepare the topping by putting the ingredients into a microwave safe dish and heating at 50% power for 30 seconds.  Stir, repeat until the mixture is smooth. 
  10. When the cookies are cool, pour the topping and smooth it out so its even.  Refrigerate for at least  30 minutes and then cut into bars and serve. 

September 22, 2014

Cider-Braised Cabbage

I know that some of you are probably going EEEEEWWWW cabbage!  I understand.  Well, actually I don't because I love cabbage and always have. But my husband doesn't and he totally ate this and didn't die or anything.  In fact, he said it was "good".

I'm doing the Whole30 diet so many of the recipes I'm trying now days are compliant to that diet (many aren't but we're not talking about those right now). I feel like I should also say that the non-compliant food was only made and a small bite taken to test, then it was given to others to enjoy.  OK, now that my conscience is clear we can continue.

Anyway, this cabbage dish is totally delish and so easy to make.  Great as a side to some grilled pork chops or even chicken.  I love the bite from the vinegar.  You have to be a vinegar fan to enjoy this but if you are, you will love it. There isn't much cabbage taste left once you're done.  The apple gives a nice sweet little bite and the onion adds the savory hint that really makes this a wonderful side dish.

Plus, you won't feel guilty eating it.  Just sayin.

Cider-Braised Cabbage
Recipe from Food Network Magazine March 2014

  • 1 medium red onion, sliced
  • 1 apple chopped and peeled
  • vegetable oil
  • 1/2 head red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
Cooking Directions
  1. In a dutch oven, add some vegetable oil then add the sliced onion and chopped apple. Cook about 5 minutes until tender.
  2. Add the cabbage and remaining ingredients and cook at a simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until tender.

September 17, 2014

Sesame Roasted Chickpeas

I don't know if you're like me, but about once a month or so I crave Chinese food.  Sadly, Chinese food isn't on my diet.  Happily, you can make a sesame flavored chickpea in your own house and get all the flavor you crave without taking a nosedive off the diet train.

Another benefit to roasted chickpeas is that you can take them with you for a snack during the day.  It's hard to do that with sesame noodles. People in line at the post office line might not understand if you whipped out your Chinese food and set up a picnic while waiting in line for stamps.

An easier option (and healthier) is these roasted chickpeas.  There are so many different flavor options available, just search the Internet to find some.  Pinterest gave me this one.  I love Pinterest.

You bake the chickpeas until they are dry and crisp.  Then you flavor them right out of the oven and you have a delicious little snack you can take anywhere. I love these things and can't wait to try some new flavors.

Sesame Roasted Chickpeas

  • 2 cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans) drained, rinsed
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp sesame seeds
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375º
  2. Rinse the chickpeas and place on a towel to dry.
  3. Put in a single layer on a cookie sheet, bake for 45-60 minutes. Test one at 45 minutes, if it's still slightly soft in the middle, keep cooking. You want them crunchy.
  4. While baking, combine the remaining ingredients .
  5. When the chickpeas have come out of the oven, immediately toss in the oil mixture and serve warm or at room temperature.
  6. Best if served that same day but can be kept up to 4 days in an airtight container.

September 15, 2014

Kids Favorite Brownies

Monday again. Can you believe it?

Guess what?

I'm either going to really help your week, or destroy it.

Brownies, it's what's for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Well, it SHOULD be.

Even though I'm on a diet and I can't exactly eat these, I did take a bite (for research purposes only, of course) just to make sure that I could write about this brownie with some first hand knowledge.  I mean, what kind of food blogger would I be if I didn't taste everything I made? Right?

So here it goes: Totally, completely, unequivocally DELICIOUS! I wish I'd made these prior to my diet because they are the perfect brownie for my tastes.  I don't like a lot of nuts in brownies and I love frosting on top.  The texture was perfection.  Not caky at all, just chewy and moist.  The frosting did just what it was supposed to do, sort of melt into the top layer.  The sweetness from the frosting was a perfect addition. I also liked that they make a 9x13 in dish, that way they aren't super thick but not thin either.  Why do some recipes only make an 8x8? That's only like 9 brownies!  Of course that would have made my resisting them much easier.

I made these for my daughter and some of her friends and the babysitter one night while I was going to be out. Considering that there weren't a whole lot of them left upon my return I'm going to assume they were a hit.  I also wrapped up the leftovers and sent them to a friends house to ensure I wouldn't eat them.

This is the perfect brownie for me!  I just love them!  Thanks "Cookies and Cups" for the recipe!!

Kids Favorite Brownies
Recipe from Cookies and Cups

Ingredients for Brownies
  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
Ingredients for Frosting
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350º
  2. Line a 9x13 inch dish with tin foil and spray with non-stick spray.
  3. In the bowl of your stand mixer, add the melted butter and cocoa powder and mix until smooth and no lumps.
  4. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix.
  5. Add the sugar and mix, then incorporate the flour. When smooth, pour into the prepared dish and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the middle is set (use a toothpick, when it comes out clean it's done).
  6. While the brownies are baking, make the frosting.
  7. Wash the bowl you were using for your stand mixer. Add the butter and cocoa powder and blend until smooth. Add the milk and confectioners' sugar and mix until smooth.
  8. Remove the brownies from the oven and let cool for about 15 minutes.
  9. Frost the brownies while they are still warm, the frosting will melt a little and that's just what you want. Let sit until cool. Cut and serve.

September 10, 2014

Strawberry Oatmeal Bars

Hump Day!  I never say that but It felt right today.  It's been a hectic week.  Well, we're almost done with it now.  Closer to Friday.  Yay!

My mornings can be a little hectic, how about yours?

This recipe was another attempt to make my morning less stressful.  I think I succeeded. These bars are fantastic.  Easy to throw together and so delicious. Use any flavor preserves you want!  The crumb top and bottom is so tender, with a nice texture from the oatmeal.  The sweetness of the filling is the perfect compliment.

I can see this as being one of my summer picnic foods too.  Nothing here that will melt away in the hot weather.  They are sturdy when kept cold so they'd pack nicely in a lunch box or as a snack. Plus you get the added benefit of the healthy oatmeal.

My husband couldn't get enough of these. Healthier than the store bought fruit bars and simple to make.

Strawberry Oatmeal Bars
Recipe from The Pioneer Woman

  • 1 3/4 stick butter, cold cut into pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups oatmeal, quick or old fashioned
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 jar (10 - 12 oz) strawberry preserves
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350º and butter a 9x13 inch dish.
  2. Stir together the flour, oatmeal, brown sugar, baking power and salt.  Cut in the cold butter with a pastry cutter or two forks. 
  3. Pour half the mixture into the prepared dish, pressing down slightly to pack it. 
  4. Smear the preserves over the top and spread out evenly. 
  5. Top with the other half of the mixture and press lightly. 
  6. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown on top. 
  7. Cool completely before serving. 

September 8, 2014

Homemade Marshmallows

Happy Monday!  I hope you all had an excellent weekend.  Our weekend was full of sports and parties.  Can't beat it in my opinion. 
Also, the weather is cooling down a little so I'm super excited about that. 
In honor of cooler weather, I made marshmallows for S'mores.  I brought them to a house party and was happy that the kids loved them.  Many of whom had never had a homemade marshmallow.  I was surprised at how many people wanted to know how they are made, so I took a lot of pictures to show you how easy it is. Marshmallows were the first food I made in high school Home Economics class. 

Cook the sugar syrup on medium until the sugar dissolves, then up the temp to medium high or high until the temperature reaches 240º. Remove from the heat. 

First things first, put the gelatin and water in the mixing bowl and let sit while you prepare the sugar syrup. (see below for ingredients and instructions). Next you pour the hot sugar syrup into the gelatin mixture with the mixer on low (whisk attachment). 

Slowly increase the speed of the mixer to high, let whip for about 15 minutes or until the mixture is white, fluffy and thick.  Add the vanilla and mix in. 

 Prepare your dish, then pour the mixture in and smooth out the top. Sprinkle with more confectioner's sugar and let sit uncovered overnight.

When dry, cut into squares and roll around in more confectioners' sugar so they aren't sticky.  My advice would be to cut them a little smaller than you might think.  They are thick and puff and melt a lot when toasted so bigger squares get really messy.

Another good thing to remember if your kids are toasting over a fire, they melt quicker then store bought so toasting them for a long period of time will just make the marshmallow fall off your stick.  I'd toast both large sides and call it good. They'll be melty inside, trust me. If you cut them a little smaller then I did you might have better luck getting the sides toasted too. 

There is nothing better then fresh marshmallows for your s'mores this fall. Even people who don't usually like marshmallows, like these. Enjoy!

Homemade Marshmallows
Recipe by Ina Garten

  • 3 packages unflavored gelatin
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • confectioners' sugar for dusting
Cooking Directions
  1. Add the unflavored gelatin to the bowl of your stand mixer and pour 1/2 cup cold water on top. Set aside.
  2. In a large heavy bottomed saucepan add the sugar, corn syrup and salt. Turn on medium heat until the sugar dissolves, then turn the heat to high and let the temperature come up to 240 degrees. Remove from the heat.
  3. Pour the hot syrup into the mixing bowl with the gelatin, slowly mix with the mixer on low and gradually increase the speed to high. Mix for about 15 minutes or until very thick and white. Add the vanilla and mix well.
  4. Use a sieve to generously coat a 9x13 or 8x11 inch dish with confectioners' sugar.
  5. Pour the marshmallow cream into the prepared dish and smooth out the top. Coat the top of the marshmallows with more confectioners' sugar.
  6. Let sit overnight, uncovered until it drys out.
  7. Use a knife to run along the edges of the dish to loosen the marshmallows, then turn upside-down to release them from the dish. If they stick a little, just use your hands to pull them out after cutting the size you want.  They'll stretch and pull out just fine. 
  8. Cut them into squares and coat with more confectioners' sugar so they aren't sticky. 

September 4, 2014

Cucumber Salad

I'm so looking forward to the weekend.  I'm just sayin', things have been tough this week.

I want it to be fall. Yet it's still like 90º here. Ugh.

OK, enough complaining.  Recently we had our Labor Day party in our neighborhood and I was too hot and tired to actually bake anything.  So I threw this together and brought it.  This was easy, and heat friendly.  Nothing in here will melt or go bad from the hot weather, making it a perfect picnic food!

I found that it was even better the next day.  The vinegar really has a chance to soak in and get better and better.  Very healthy and "diet friendly", definitely one to remember.

Cucumber Salad
Recipe modified slightly from Betty Crocker

  • 2 medium cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 pint grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1/3 cup cider or white vinegar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • chopped fresh dill or parsley (optional)
Cooking Directions
  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a medium sized bowl. Refrigerate and stir or shake periodically.
  2. Keep refrigerated for at least 3 hours, overnight is best.