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Monday, December 2, 2013

Chocolate Sugar Cookies

So a tiny little amount might have passed since I last posted.  I have eaten a ton of good food in the last 11 months, much of it sugar based.  And it all was in the name of serving those who read this blog(all of you I can count on my one hand)!  Even if I didn't blog all the many treats I ate, I thought about blogging them, so really, it is totally a service I was performing.  
The holiday season is upon us and as I was searching for some new cookies to bake and eat, I mean to take to all of my friends, I came across this.  The cookies sounded really good and had a great picture, and let's face it, so much of whether we try a new recipe we see is based on the picture.  But these definitely did not disappoint.  They are full of chocolatey flavor, chewy, and oh so yummy.  And there is no rolling, cutti
ng, flouring, etc.  Which, hello, is a total winner for me.  You know my motto, the easier the better! 

Chocolate Sugar cookies
found on: Mel's Kitchen Cafe


  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 14 tablespoons butter
  • 1 3/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk


Preheat the oven to 350.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder and set aside.
Put granulated sugar in shallow bowl and set aside.
In a large bowl, melt 10 tbsp of butter carefully, do not overheat.  As soon as it is melted, remove and add 4 additional tbsp of butter and stir until all is melted.  Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes, until it is about 90 or 95 degrees.  If no thermometer, just allow the full 10 minutes.
The butter should be warm but not hot.
Whisk the brown sugar, vanilla, and salt into butter mixture until completely smooth.  Whisk in egg and egg yolk until smooth.  Add flour mixture and stir until just combined.
Roll the dough into 2 tbsp balls, roll in sugar, then place on lightly greased or lined baking sheets.  Using the bottom of a glass, flatten into about 1/4 in and sprinkle additional sugar on top.
Bake for about 12-14 minutes, until they have cracks running along the top, then transfer to cooling rack.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Banana Smoothie

Happy New Year!
 I really like having a place where I can quickly lay my hands on all of my favorite recipes.  So, as part of my New Years Goals, I want to blog more of my favorite food things.  Since eating healthy is always on the top of everyone's Resolutions as well at the New Year, I knew this would be my first post of the year.
I found this smoothie by doing a google search for banana milkshakes.  I was looking for a decadent, fattening, and totally satisfying milkshake.  However, I actually was having trouble finding anything.  I randomly checked a site called Pinch My Salt because seriously, how cute is that name for a food blog?

I was a little skeptical because hello, where was the ice cream?  I decided to try it anyway.  I didn't have any frozen bananas so I just used a regular banana.  And I got banana milk which actually  tasted pretty good.  So I froze some bananas right away so I could try the actual frozen treat.  Total side note, the first time freezing bananas, did anyone else leave the peel on?  Oops.  

Anyway, I LOVE this smoothie.  It tastes seriously good and is so much healthier than the original banana milkshake I was looking for.  You can make it as healthy as you want it, substituting truvia for the sugar and uisng fat free milk.  You can even add protein to it.  But any way, it is delicious!!

Banana Smoothie
from:   Pinch My Salt

One frozen banana, cut into chunks(i just break it into pieces with my hands, I am just that strong)
One cup milk 
1-2 tbsp sugar (I always use just one and it is plenty sweet)
1/8 tsp vanilla

Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth, usually about 15-20 seconds.  Pour into glass and enjoy!!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Pistachio-Coconut Pie

The hospital where my husband works is sponsoring a "biggest loser" type of contest and my husband was really excited to participate. He has always loved working out but the last year and a half have been difficult to find the time as his workload is extremely heavy, it is very high stress, and his work hours are not normal.

As I said, he has always had no difficulty with the working out part of getting healthy. However, he has struggled with the eating part. And that, of course, is such a huge part. But I have literally been floored with how dedicated he has been. I have not been able to keep a soda in the refrigerator for more than a few hours our whole entire marriage. I have one that has been in there since he started his new regime. Caffeine is usually how he keeps awake when he works a 24 hour shift so I don't know how he is doing it now, but he says he feels great.

I was interested to see how he would do for Easter dinner, as he is known for his heaping plates. But again, he proved his dedication to getting totally healthy! He didn't go crazy, just ate regular size portions, with lots of veggies. I was in charge of dessert and my father in law had requested this banana cream pie, as it is a favorite among our family. However, I also wanted to make something that my husband has been wanting me to make for awhile and I hadn't yet, just as a little reward for good behavior! Here is to good and healthy eating! (Ok, I know this pie isn't healthy, that is just in general people!)

Pistachio-Coconut Pie
by Pillsbury

1 package 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 box (4 serving size) pistachio instant pudding and pie filling mix
1 container (8 oz) Cool Whip, thawed
1/2 c flaked coconut, toasted
1 shortbread crumb crust (6 oz)

In an electric mixer, beat cream cheese on medium speed until fluffy. Gradually beat in milk and vanilla until mixture is smooth and well blended. Add pudding mix; beat on low speed for 2 minutes.

With rubber spatula, fold in whipped topping and 1/4 c of the coconut. Spoon into crust.
Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 c coconut. Refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours.

To toast the coconut, spread it on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it is light golden brown.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Orzo Salad

Have I ever mentioned my pure hatred of peas? Who would think that a small, green, mushy vegetable could cause such venom in my heart but they do. I think of them and shudder. My mother in law actually shares my point of view and swears that they must taste totally different to her than to other people because no one would like them if they really tasted like that. My kids had actually never seen peas in our house since they NEVER make an appearance in any meal I serve. My oldest daughter is 7 without ever having been subjected to having peas. Lucky girl.

My church had a function celebrating Esther and with it, some of us brought Jewish dishes. I had signed up for an orzo salad. I didn't actually see the recipe but salads are easy enough so I thought I would be safe. Then I saw the ingredients. And guess what was included? Peas, my mortal enemy! I actually had to buy peas and support their existence.

Other than the dreaded ingredient, the salad was really easy and came together really quickly which is how I like it. I even tried it, making sure no peas were included in my bite. I really liked it. And then, I even became adventurous at the actual event and tried it with the peas. And it still tasted good. Now, I didn't become a lover of peas that night, it was just that their flavor was really masked. Who would of thought that anything that included peas would not only be edible, but actually be good?

Orzo Salad
found on

3 cups cooked orzo (1 1/2 cups dry pasta)
1 c frozen and thawed green peas
1/2 c black olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
3/4c feta cheese, crumbled (the recipe says optional but hello, it is feta, totally needed in my humble opinion)
1/4 c chopped fresh parsley, dill or your favorite herb (I used parsley)
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp vinegar (balsamic, red wine, your choice)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 garlic clove, minced (or 1/4 tsp garlic powder)
If desired, sprinkle 1/4 tsp dried Greek oregano over top of salad

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and cool.

Mix cooled pasta with all ingredients. The recipe didn't say to refrigerate before but I did for about and hour.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Easy Parmesan Garlic Chicken

My food budget is pretty small. And with food prices soaring I find it difficult to feed my family healthy and filling meals while also keeping it fresh and new. Because meat is kind of expensive, we don't have it every night. And when we do, I can't get crazy and try recipes that call for a lot of ingredients. There are so many recipes out there that look amazing but after seeing what I would have to buy, I just have to say to myself that maybe eventually I can try it but not right now. It is a good lesson in discipline, but not always an easy one because sometimes I just want to make something yummy, no matter the cost!

When I ran across this recipe, I was totally willing to try it because it was ingredients I would mostly already have in my pantry and it was, of course, EASY! I was so happy I did try it because it was really good and most importantly, my kids love it!

Easy Parmesan Garlic Chicken
by Kraft Foods

4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breast(just depending on how much you want to make and how big the chicken breasts are)
1/2 c grated Parmesan Cheese
1 envelope Good Seasons Italian Dressing Mix
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Preheat oven to 400.

In a medium bowl, mix together cheese, dressing mix, and garlic powder. Wet the chicken breasts with water and coat with cheese mixture. Place in shallow 9X13 baking pan.

Cook for 25-30 minutes or until chicken juices run clear. For a nice golden brown, place under broiler for 2-4 minutes. Add some asparagus or other vegetable and some bread and you have a pretty cheap, easy meal!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Ranch Dressing

It has been amazing weather here lately. High 70s, even into the 80s. I am totally loving this March weather. The only downside is that for some reason, my family all switched to summer mode. My kids are going to bed late, playing outside for hours when I suddenly realize that homework is unfinished, showers need to be taken. Well, March Madness also might have a little to do with that as well.

Summer brings thoughts of fresh fruit, grilling, dinners eaten outdoors, yummy fresh salads. And when I think of salads, I think of Ranch dressing. Now I love Ranch and will eat the bottled stuff but I always find it lacking somewhat. I finally searched online and found an Outback copycat recipe. I was so not disappointed. It is my new official Ranch I will use, I am never buying the bottled stuff again. And with just a few ingredients, this comes together in a snap!

Ranch Dressing
Outback copycat recipe found on

1 tbsp Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix
1 c mayo
1/2 c buttermilk(is it bad I had to do a search to see how long past the expiration date I could use buttermilk?)
1/4 tsp coarse black pepper
1/8 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp garlic powder

Instructions: (See if you can follow these)
In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients and mix together. Chill at least 1/2 hour to allow flavors to meld. Sometimes I can do this, sometimes not. It tastes pretty good right away if you ask me.

*Can substitute cayenne pepper for paprika for a little extra kick

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Sweet Raspberry Biscuits

Growing up, there was one item that always had me running to the dinner table. It didn't matter what else we were having. Its presence was enough. Its presence made me happy. Its presence made me tell my mom she was the best mom ever. And that was her sweet raspberry biscuits.

This tastes like you are being naughty and having dessert with dinner. And really, who doesn't want dessert with dinner? And to totally get away with it, to have my parents smiling, telling me what a great dinner I was eating as I stuffed my face with a fourth biscuit made my heart happy.

I have always had a soft spot for red raspberry preserves. And that is just the store bought stuff. I am sure I would actually begin to pass out if eating homemade stuff. But for me, putting it on anything makes it feel like I am eating dessert. So the combination of the biscuit, red raspberry preserves, and vanilla glaze make myItalic eyes glaze. I could have these with every meal.

Sweet Raspberry Biscuits
by Terri Schaeffer

for biscuits
2 c Bisquick Baking Mix
1/4 c butter, softened
2 tbsp sugar
2/3 c milk
1/4 c red raspberry preserves

for glaze
1/2 c powdered sugar
1 tbsp warm water
1/4 tsp vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 450.

Line muffin pan with liners (recipe will make 12 biscuits, you can always double for 24).

In a medium bowl, mix baking mix, sugar, and butter until crumbly. You can do this by hand or with an electric mixer. Add milk and mix until dough forms. Once dough forms, mix 15 times(I accidentally wrote 15 years first! that would have been interesting).

Place 1 tbsp dough in each muffin cup. Top with 1 tbsp preserves. Drop remaining dough on top of preserves, again about 1 tbsp per muffin cup(Is it muffin cup? Just wondering...).

Bake until golden brown, 10-15 minutes.

Remove immediately to cooling rack.

While biscuits are baking, in a medium bowl, mix powdered sugar, water, and vanilla together and stir until smooth. This can be done by hand.

While the biscuits are still warm, drizzle glaze on each one.