Monday, November 25, 2013

Mint Chocoloate Cookies

I don't buy into the whole just because it's mint flavored it needs to be green business. In fact, I find most artificially colored green food very unappetizing. With that being said, these cookies are deliciously mint flavored without being green. One bite is like Christmas morning. Totally amazing recipe, pin it, save it, print it, just make it! ;)

  • 1 cup of butter
  • 1 3/4 cups of sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp of peppermint extract
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 cup of cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp of baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 3/4 cup of mint chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup of semi sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a kitchen aid beat together the butter and sugar, once smooth, add in the eggs and peppermint extract.

3. Add in the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt until a thick dough is formed. Mix in the chocolate chips.

4. Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place on baking sheet. Press each ball down slightly to form a disc. Bake for approx 9 mins. Make sure you don't over bake, cookies should be soft in the middle. Makes about 24 cookies.

These cookies taste great right out of the freezer! :)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

We All Worry Too Much

So we bought a house! Super exciting and super stressful all at the same time. Especially since we're simultaneously selling our condo. BIG learning experience for me. Anyone that knows me knows I have been a major stress case during this whole process. To those people - I apologize, and also thank you for you support! ;)

I've been watching Grey's Anatomy while Andrew has been gone and (Spoiler Alert) there is an episode where Teddy's husband dies and long story short they talk about how people say they are having the worst day because they got a speeding ticket, or spilled coffee on themselves etc. Basically first word problems. We don't know how good our problems really are until something actually awful happens to us, like losing a loved one or battling a disease. This hit home with me since I haven't been sleeping and crying over trivial things that coincide with the beautiful house we will soon get to live in. Basically feeling sorry for myself, because I can't put up my Christmas tree, and am overwhelmed with address changes and legal documents. It was a refreshing reality check that I very much needed.

So let's make a pack to try our best to stay positive and not to sweat the small stuff! :)

Friday, November 22, 2013

Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread

Last week I bought some gelato from a local shop that packaged it up in mason jars to help rebuild our Zoo (we had some major flooding in our city last spring which unfortunately damaged a lot of our city) At first I questioned the flavor "Banana Cinnamon Animal Cracker", but after trying it I got hooked. Needless to say that it inspired to wonder down the banana cinnamon road, which lead me to this yummy recipe.

A twist on a old favorite, delicious moist banana bread with a little cinnamon surprise in the middle.

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp of vanilla
  • 1/4 cup of light sour cream or greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp of skim milk
  • 2 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of baking soda
  • 1 cup of  flour
  • 4 tbsp of cinnamon mixed with white sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, grease a loaf pan.

2. In a large bowl or kitchen aid, combine sugar, egg, vanilla, sour cream/yogurt, milk and banana. Add the salt, baking soda and flour.

3. Pour half of the batter into the pan. Then evenly sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar mixture on top. I made mine so that no batter was showing, but it just depends how much pf a swirl you want. Pour the remaining batter over the cinnamon layer and bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool before cutting.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Cinnamon Sugar Flake Scones

If you've ever eaten a cinnamon scone from Cobbs bakery and have been in a constant search for the recipe ever since, welcome to the club! ;) This recipe is pretty darn close, so give it a whirl and see what you think!

It's all in those little cinnamon sugar flakes. It's a small extra step that makes a world of difference.
Instead of just having a cinnamon flavored scone, you get tasty little bits of business throughout.

For the cinnamon flakes -
  • 3 tbsp of sugar
  • 3 tbsp of cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp of water

1. In a small bowl, mix together the sugar (3tbsp) and cinnamon. Add the water, and mix it very well. It will develop into very dry paste. Add more water if required, but add only a few drops at a time.
2. Spread across a baking sheet and pop in the oven at 350 degrees. They need about 8-10 mins in the oven total, but you will need to scrape the pan with a spatula so that it doesn't harden into one giant piece. Do this a few times during the baking process.
3. Scrape the bits one last time and let cool completely.

For the scone base -
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder 
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 1 cold stick of butter (cut into 6 cubes)
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1/2 cup of yogurt or sour cream 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prep a baking sheet with parchment paper or cooking spray.

2. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt into a large mixing bowl and combine.

3. Toss in the cubes of butter and use your fingers to rub in the butter with the mixture until well combined. It should resemble a course meal.

4. Mix in the Cinnamon sugar flakes.

5. In another bowl mix together yogurt/sour cream and milk.

6. Pour the milk/yogurt mixture into the dry mixture then use both your hands to mix them together and form into a ball of dough, then pat into a 8 inch circle about 3/4 inch thick.

7. Cut into 8 triangles, place on the baking sheet and bake until golden, about 15-18 minutes.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Blackberry Pudding Cake

This little adventure came about because I bought some blackberries that ended up being a bit tart to eat on their own. So I decided to bake something with them. The trouble is I was out of butter and it was snowing pretty good so I decided my efforts would be better spent finding a recipe that used blackberries but not butter. And this is what I came up with -

I must say this is the STRANGEST recipe I have ever made in my life. When I put it in the oven to bake I laughed to myself thinking it was crazy. I re-read the recipe about 5 times to make sure I wasn’t missing a step. So now you know. Trust in this recipe!

You actually bake this in a glassware dish. I just put in the mason jars to store for individual servings, and since they are glass you would be able to heat them up in the microwave or oven because this one is best served warm and with ice cream! ;)

  • 2 cups of fresh blackberries
  • 1 tbsp of lemon juice
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 tsp of baking powder
  • 3 tbsp of coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1 cup of evaporated milk
  • 1 cup of boiling water
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 tbsp of cornstarch

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9 x 12 glass baking dish.

2. Mix the blackberries with the lemon juice and line the baking dish. In a separate bowl mix together flour, 1 cup of sugar, baking powder, coconut oil, vanilla, cinnamon and evaporated milk. it should be a thick batter, spread on top of blackberries.

3. In a separate bowl, combine sugar, boiling water and cornstarch. Pour this mixture over top of the batter in the dish and bake for approx 40 mins or until the top is golden and a toothpick comes out clean in the center. Serve warm. (This is where I thought it was strange, you basically have 1/2 inch of water on top of your batter, but it all somehow incorporates into this moist cinnamon, warm, berry winter cake like nothing I've ever tasted)

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Crock Pot Beef (or Chicken) & Broccoli

I friggin LOVE Chinese food! We don't get it very often which is actually a good thing because I have zero will power and I eat myself sick.

But this recipe is a nice compromise between all the deep friend yumminess that usually accompanies Chinese food while still kicking the Chinese food craving. Oh and I did I mention that it's super easy? ;)

I normally make it with beef, but this past time I tried out chicken and it's just as tasty in a totally different way. So put down that take out menu, get out your crock pot, and get cooking!

  • 1 pound of beef tips or chicken breast, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 cup of beef or chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup of soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup of  brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch or gravy flour
  • Fresh broccoli florets, as many as you like, steamed

1. Place beef or chicken in a crock pot. Add in the broth, soy suace, sugar, sesame oil, garlic, and ginger. Mix until beef or chicken is evenly coated.

2. Cook on high for approx 4 hours or low for 6 hours. Once the meat is complete cooked, add in the cornstarch or gravy flour to thicken the sauce.

3. Add in the broccoli (I steam mine before as I like it a little softer then just adding it to the pot raw)

4. Stir to combine and let it cook for another 30mins. Serve over hot cooked rice.

Friday, November 01, 2013

Bacon & Egg Muffins

Healthy? No. Tasty? Heck YES!

These little muffins make the perfect breakfast on the go. They are super easy and are one of those things that taste even better the next day!

I was going to make them for Andrew to take to work for breakfast but just as I was loading the groceries in the car I got a text saying he was heading out of town again come Monday. So I ended up making them for us to have on the weekend. I must admit, it’s nice to wake up to breakfast already made. We just popped a few into the microwave and enjoyed them with our morning coffee.

  • 1 can of Pillsbury Grands Biscuits
  • ½ package of bacon, cooked and cut into pieces
  • 1 cup of cheese, shredded (I used marble, but whatever floats your boat!)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, grease 10 cups of a muffin tin.

2. Separate each biscuit, stretch it out slightly, and press it into the muffin tin. Divide ¾ cup of the cheese and sprinkle it evenly on top of each biscuit.

3. Beat the eggs together in a measuring cup with a little S&P and pour egg mixture evenly into on top of the cheese on each biscuit. Then top that with the bacon, then the remaining ¼ of cheese.

4. Bake for approx. 16 minutes. Biscuits should be golden brown and egg should be firm.