Saturday, March 29, 2014

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Kind of a staple of comforting, warm, deliciousness in the winter months.  Even though it is technically supposed to be does not look or feel like spring here.  Oh well, I digress.  Back to nummy cookies!

2 Eggs
1 Cup raisins
1 1/4 Cup Flour
1 Tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp. Baking Soda
1/4 Tsp. Salt
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 Cup Butter
1/4 Cup coconut oil
1/4 Cup Sugar
¾ Cup Brown Sugar
1 Tsp. Vanilla
2 1/2 Cup Oats

If your raisin are not totally fresh, beat your eggs in a small bowl and then put the raisins in it and let soak.
Beat your sugars and butter/coconut oil.  You could just use butter but I thought the coconut oil would give it a nice flavor, which it did!  I buy mine at Costco.  It will look like the beginnings of any good cookie dough:

Add the vanilla into the mixture of butter and sugar.  Add the dry mixture (Flour, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Cinnamon and Salt.) in with the butter, sugar, and vanilla.  Add the raisins and egg mixture.  Last, stir in the oats.  

Use Pampered Chef medium scoop to put on pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

If you would like a printable copy, click HERE.

Mmm good!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Caramel Frappuccino Cupcakes

This morning I had the pleasure of making some delicious CCC (caramel, coffee, chocolate) cupcakes with my daughter!

We started by being inspired with multiple pins on pinterest and did some pulling from a bunch of them to come up with this amazing concoction!  Trust me, this is worth your time to make!!!

First, you need to bake some chocolate, coffee cupcakes. 

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup brewed coffee, room temp
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup Hersheys Special Dark chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa in a large bowl, set aside
  3. Combine coffee and vanilla, set aside.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the sugar and butter (approx 2 – 3 minutes).
  5. Add eggs to butter mixture, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  6. Gradually add dry ingredient mixture alternating with the coffee mixture to the batter.
  7. Fold in chocolate chips.
  8. Line 2 muffin pans with cupcake liners (18 liners total).
  9. Fill each liner with 3/4 cup of mixture.
  10. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

While they are cooling, make your filling.  

Whip up 1C of whipping cream and add about 4 TBSP powdered sugar and 1 tsp vanilla.  Add 1 TBSP coffee and whip into cream.  The filling doesn't need to be very sweet at all, it is a nice contrast to the frosting.

I took a strawberry huller to carve out a cavity to put the filling in.  Make it deep enough so you can fill in that nummy goodness!  Put your filling in a baggie, snip the end and fill 'em up!

What to do with the extra cake you pulled out and filling?  Mix them up and eat them!

Now you can make the frosting.  We choose a cinnamon cream cheese frosting to give a complimentary flavor.  I think this contrast gave the overall cupcake it's wow factor.  

2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
7 1/2 to 8 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp ground cinnamon

Blend softened cream cheese and butter together until smooth.  Add in vanilla and cinnamon, blending everything well.  Gradually add powdered sugar a cup at a time, blending mixture after each addition.  Put in a large baggie with a big star tip for a pretty design.  Frost the cupcakes in a circular pattern to give height to the cupcake. 

We used caramel ice cream topping, which was pretty runny so we put it in a baggie and snipped a ridiculously small hole in the corner to dispense.  This worked fine, but you could also use a thicker caramel to top for more control.  Cover the tops with a zig zag and place a  little straw on the side for the full frappuccino effect.

Dig in, you won't be sorry!!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Good book announcement!

I am happy to announce that a blogger I have been following has written a book!  Her blog is titled Women Living Well and her book shares the title. 

I was really lucky and got an advance copy of the book and it is fabulous!

I really like her book and website.  She speaks from the heart.  Not from the perspective that she has it all together, but much like all of us, she has great advice and sometimes forgets to follow it.  :-)

Regardless, she has so many wonderful tips on improving your marriage, parenting and your walk with God.  I must confess that I have been reading this book slower than other books but I feel like it is because I am absorbing so much information.  I can only take in so much in one sitting!

I really want to read the book again, specifically in a book study with other women as it would be so wonderful to hear what others are thinking throughout it!

Here is some good news for you....if you order a pre-order copy of the book before September 30, you get a 10 e-Book bundle!  Talk about getting your bookshelf or iPad ready for the winter months!

Do me a favor and go to her website and look at the list of wonderful books you will get by pre-ordering PLUS you will get this great book.  You won't be disappointed.  

Friday, September 20, 2013

Home made protein bars

I have been rather MIA for a long time.  I guess I just needed a break.  Regardless, I am back and boy do I have a treat for you.

Lately I have been obsessing researching natural protein bars.  I figured there has to be a better, cheaper, more delicious alternative.  Guess what?  There is!!

While researching, I happened on a blog called The Nourishing Home.  She has a great recipe to use and build from.   I decided to give it a go myself.  Her recipe calls for coconut flour and I was leery about using it only because I have never tried it and it was spendy.  So, I popped up to Whole Foods and was able to buy some buy weight, which is a much more cost effective way to try things.  

First you are to mix honey, coconut flour & almond butter.  I cheated and used peanut butter. :-)

Next, you add nuts, dried fruit, coconut flakes and chocolate if you like.

Line a 8x8 pan with parchment paper, leaving some hang over the edge so you can pull it out easier later.  

Put the mix in the pan and squish it down.  I used an extra piece of parchment to flatten it out.

Let them cool for about 45 minutes, then pop in the fridge for about an hour.  Cut into 8 servings. 


These are all pictures of the cherry chocolate bars.  Here is a pic of the apricot bars...still cooling in my kitchen.   

My advice?  Go make this right away.  You will not be disappointed.  I can't wait to start being creative with the ingredients.  Next, I think I will add pumpkin seeds to them...and white chocolate...or butterscotch...or...

Friday, May 31, 2013

Experimenting in the kitchen

I have been looking into a bunch of new, interesting things to make.  So, stay tuned to see what is going on.

First, I ordered some water kefir.  Go ahead and google it, I didn't really know anything about it until a week or so ago.  

Here is the plan, take these little fellas and make flavored water kefir soda.  

Why you ask?  
Um, why not.
Making soda with yeast like creatures...oooo sciency!
Pick your own flavors and bottle them in old school flip top bottles!
This type of soda also helps with digestion and tummy aches.
And finally, why not?

Here is step one of the experiment....Assemble the necessities.

  • Quart jar
  • Coffee filter
  • Rubber band
  • Water kefir
  • 4 cups water
  • 4-6 Tbsp sugar (duh I opted for 6)
  • Wooden spoon
Warm up some of the water and disolve the sugar in it.  Add the rest of the water and make sure it is room temp.
Add water kefir and stir with a wooden spoon (no metal allowed).  
Cover with coffee filter and rubber band so it can breathe but nothing can get in.
Wait 3-4 days.  Sigh...that part is not fun.

Oh well, check in later and see what happens next!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

I got MY peanut butter in MY chocolate

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Hello there, I have been off the radar lately!  No excuses.  Moving on, today I would like to share a nummy recipe for Peanut Butter Brownies.

It was the hubby's birthday recently and the ingredients he wanted me to work with were PB & chocolate.  Well that was last years secret items too!  I didn't want to make another layered cake with peanut butter frosting.  

One of his favorite cookies as a child were Nutter Butters.  I wondered if I could incorporate them in a dessert.

I was also itching to use my new Pampered Chef square muffin tin.  I bought it forever ago and have not used it.  Shame on me.  I don't know if they even sell it anymore.  

First I made some brownie batter using two Ghiradelli Triple Chocolate Brownie Mixes.  It's really a wonder there are other brownie mixes out there with a name like that one.  I filled the squares a little less than halfway with batter, topped with a cookie and then put more batter on top.

Ignore all the Pam over spray :-)
I took the rest and made a giant version with my 8x8 pan, which I promptly took a picture of.  Oh wait, no completely spaced that last part.

Here is where it got tricky.  How long do you bake them?  I set the oven to 325, if you use an 8x8 pan it is about 40-50 minutes.  I started at 20 minutes and then checked every 5.  I ended up baking them for  35 minutes but I think that was about 5 minutes too long because they do continue to bake while in the hot pan.

When they are cooled, mix up some ganache.  I have never made this before so I opted for the microwave version which turned out ok.  I think next time I will make the stove method.  It would be nice to see if cooking over the stove would allow it to be thicker without waiting so long to cool.  That aside, it tastes amazing!

Mix chocolate and heavy cream 1:1 ratio.  You need to use a scale for this.

Put in the microwave for a minute, whisk and repeat until completely integrated.  If it is too runny when you are done, wait for it to cool - it will thicken.

Then you top those bad boys with chocolate deliciousness....mmm

After this I didn't feel like they were quite done.  So I whipped up some peanut butter frosting and piped it over the top.  Just peanut butter, butter, milk and powdered sugar.  How pretty are they?

Just for an added touch of I dunno what, I popped little mini Reese's Peanut butter cups on the top.

The jury definitely liked these bad boys.  The Nutter Butter in the center was a great surprise when you bit in.  

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Womens History Month

I have been dabbling in my family history for a few months.  It is a pretty fun and interesting hobby.  If you haven't tried you should really give it a whirl.  There are loads of resources out there to help you.  

Recently, Olive Tree Genealogy had a challenge out for Women's History Month.  Write a blog about your favorite female ancestor.  Oooo, I am in!

My favorite female ancestor would have to be my Grandma Fries.  First, look at how beautiful she was:

I wish I could see her dress more in this picture.  I was told and I think you can see in this picture, she was super stylish.  I mean the pearls and the super dreamy fabric here is enough to confirm that!!!

I grew up living right next door to my grandparents.  First, there is nothing better than that.  I could walk over to their house any time of day or night and I was always welcome.  Grandma was a cook by profession and let me tell you, she was really good.  She could make anything and it would be wonderful.  Her cooking ability seemed like magic to me because nothing was written down and she certainly didn't own measuring cups.  I would love going over and smelling whatever she had going in the kitchen.  She cooked, baked, canned, you name it.  I think the most crazy memory I had was when she would make Crab Apple Jelly.  She would cook the apples and then put them in the cheese cloth to drip.  Imagine white cones of the fine fabric propped all over the kitchen and dining room with red goo dripping out of the bottom of them.  It was almost circus looking.

She was also a crafter.  Although I think most people of her generation were, but that made her no less special or inspiring to me.  Her and I would sew, make Christmas ornaments or whatever popped in our heads that day.  

I spent loads of time with her.  She was basically my daycare.  She would chat with me about anything and always had time to listen to my banter.  I also liked that she was protective of me.  If there were a threat, she would tell me to come over and sit real close to her.  The comfort and warmth of being near her was priceless.  
Like most grandmas she had pockets of advice that I thought was random....always keep a quarter with you in case you need to make a out for strangers, you're a pretty girl and someone might grab you (yep, she would say that!), or simply ah just ignore it, that will pass.

She gave me some of her costume jewelry and hankies which I now love to think about ... where did she wear such things?  I guess when she was a cook she would fold one of the delicate, embroidered hankies and fix it to her uniform with a lovely pin.  

She was a beautiful lady inside and out.  I loved spending time with her no matter what she was doing. It is good to have someone in your life you can simply just BE with and love it.  For me, that was her.

I love you Grandma, miss you.  XOXOXO