Do most women want to cook Christmas cookies more once they have kids? It’s crazy that my excitement for Christmas baking could have somehow increased, but it did. Especially with our new house and my awesome oven . . . Jack is not great at helping. To be honest I only let him help with the Christmas baking once, and then the rest happened during nap time. But he still enjoys it when he wakes up! That’s the fun part anyway, right! My favorite new cookie this year is this one – Caramel Apple Cookies. I didn’t say it below, but I love to add a little sea salt. The last time I made them I even added a chocolate drizzle. They remind me of the cookie version of the publix dark chocolate salted caramel bites.
- 1 c all-purpose flour (measured correctly)
- ¾ tsp baking powder
- ¾ tsp cornstarch
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted & cooled slightly
- 1 large egg
- 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ½ c light brown sugar
- 2 tbsp dried apple, diced
- 3 caramel squares, diced (such as Kraft)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cornstarch, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the butter, egg, and vanilla. Stir in the brown sugar, smearing out any clumps along the side of the bowl. Add in the flour mixture, stirring just until incorporated. Reserve about 1/3 of the diced apples and caramels, and fold the rest into the cookie dough.
- Drop the cookie dough into 12 rounded scoops onto the prepared baking sheet. Press the reserved diced apples and caramels into the tops, and flatten slightly. Bake at 350°F for 10-12 minutes. Cool on the pan for 10 minutes before turning out on to a wire rack.
Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and if you’re anything like me the sides are the most important part. I mean turkey is great and all, but your plate is mostly full of sides. For me it doesn’t matter how good that turkey is if the sides don’t compliment it well and taste just as delicious! So today I wanted to share one of my favorites. Broccoli Cheese casserole is something always on our holiday table. What’s great about it is with a few changes it can even be a fairly healthy family dinner year round.
the one with broccoli cheese cassarole
- 4 cups chopped broccoli
- 1 (10 ounce) can of cream of chicken soup
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup of butter melted (1/2 stick)
- 2 large eggs, slightly beaten
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 1/2 cups extra sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/2 sleeve of Ritz crackers, crushed
- Preheat oven to 350*F
- Place broccoli in a steaming basket on stove and steam for 5 minutes or until broccoli is tender to a fork.
- Remove broccoli from stove and chop into bite sized pieces. Place into a medium size mixing bowl.
- Add to broccoli, soup, mayonnaise, butter, eggs, onion, salt and pepper. Mix well.
- Add 3/4 cup of cheese to broccoli mixture and mix well.
- Pour entire contents into an 8x8" square baking dish.
- Top with remaining 3/4 cup of cheese and Ritz crackers.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and top is golden.
To make this a fairly healthy family dinner, I change the mayo to greek yogurt, change the soup to chicken stock, and leave out the crackers! Then I put some chicken on the side or mix it all in for a chicken casserole. easy peasy!
What is on your menu for Thanksgiving this year? We’re hosting so I’m thinking 2 green vegetables, 2 not green vegetables, turkey, stuffing, rolls, and lots of desserts! Maybe a salad for an appetizer. Our family is pretty easy . . . as long as you have the sides they want! But I always like to try and expand their tastes, and maybe even make it healthier! So send all your recs.
Today I wanted to share a very quick and easy recipe! Yogurt bites! This one is perfect for babies. It’s one I make for Jack quite often and he eats them up. Of course, it’s frozen yogurt so it melts quickly. That causes a mess . . . a big one. But guys, when they’re learning to eat, it’s all messy.
1 cup of yogurt
1/2 cup of favorite fruit
- blend fruit and yogurt together until it’s all the consistency of yogurt
- pour it into a ziplock baggie, then cut a little hole into the corner. That way it looks pastry bag.
- Next pour little drop over wax paper on a cookie sheet
- Then freeze for at least an hour!
- Last, enjoy!
You know I love easy recipes. So here’s one for you today! It’s for a chicken pesto sandwich that is both easy and delicious! It’s a little time consuming, which is not my usual. But it’s worth it for the tastiness! I usually just buy pre made pesto because . . . this is an easy recipe. But go ahead and make your own if you’re down. Ok here’s the recipe for the chicken pesto sandwich!
1/4 cup pesto
slice of mozzarella cheese
slice of bacon
- Bake chicken as you usually would with pesto poured over the top.
- When you have 5 minutes left place cheese on top of chicken. Bake last 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked and cheese is melted.
- While the chicken finished cooking, toast the bagel then cook the bacon.
- Then layer your sandwich together.
I have a huge sweet tooth. But now that Jack is eating what we eat I try not to keep too many sweets in the house. Of course, that means I end up just buying candy on the way home. But sometimes I follow through and find healthy alternatives. Watermelon salsa is one of those. I’ve made it a couple times this summer, and it gets better everytime I make it. This dessert works as an appetizer or a dessert, and takes a bit more time than my usual recipes do. But the cinnamon chips are worth it.
1/2 Small-Medium Seedless Watermelon, finely chopped
2 Cups Strawberries, finely chopped
2 Tbsp Fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
1 Lime, juice of
For Cinnamon Tortilla Chips:
1 package Whole wheat tortillas, 10″
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Combine Salsa ingredients in large bowl. Then let stand for about 30 minutes at room temperature before serving, to allow it to marinate. Of course, if you wanted to be fancy you could carve out half the watermelon and use that as the bowl.
For Cinnamon Tortilla Chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees c.
Then brush butter over one side of each tortilla.
Next, sprinkle lightly with cinnamon sugar.
Then, use a pizza cutter to divide each tortilla into wedge slices.
Place on a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes, or until golden brown.
Today I just want to drop by and delivery a quick and easy dessert for raspberry crumble bars! They’re like little raspberry cobblers but you don’t have to use a fork to eat! Plus, they’re super pretty!
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup old-fashioned whole-rolled oats
- pinch salt, optional and to taste
- about 12 ounces raspberry preserves – you could use a premade pie filling too
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-inch square pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray; set aside.
- To a large, microwave-safe bowl add the butter and heat on high power to melt, about 1 minute.
- Add the sugars, vanilla, and whisk to combine.
- Then add the flour, oats, optional salt, and stir to combine. Mixture will have some larger, well-formed crumble pieces as well as some sandier, dryer bits.
- Set 1 heaping cup mixture aside to be sprinkled on later as crumble topping.
- Transfer remaining mixture to prepared pan, and using a spatula or your fingers, hard-pack the mixture to create an even, smooth, flat crust.
- Then evenly spread the raspberry preserves over the crust making sure there’s complete coverage. Preserves should be about 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch thick.
- Evenly sprinkle with the reserved heaping 1 cup crumble topping mixture. Before sprinkling, I squeeze the mixture in my palm to encourage bigger crumble pieces to form.
- Bake for about 30 to 32 minutes, or until edges are set and center has just set and is lightly golden browned. Place pan on a wire rack and allow bars to cool for at least 2 hours before slicing and serving. Bars will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
My lactation consultant says that there are no foods which will help with milk production. However, a friend gave me some of her leftover brewers yeast so I decided to try one of the tons of recipes on pinterest. Since I’m so hungry all the time, I start my day with a big breakfast. So these banana lactation muffins were the best recipe to start with.
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 cup flour
2 tbsp brewers yeast
1/2 cup rolled oats
2 tbsp ground flax seeds
1 cup of your extras – chocolate chips, raisins, nuts
- Preheat oven to 350
- Put muffin papers in muffin pan – you can just spray it, but muffin papers make it easier
- Start by mashing up bananas with a fork.
- Then mix bananas and oil in a large bowl.
- Add vanilla, egg. Then the sugar.
- In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, brewers yeast, salt, and flax seed until well blended.
- Then add the banana mixture to the dry ingredients. Once it’s well blended add the oats and your extras.
- Once the oats and your extras are well combined, fill each muffin wrapper 3/4 full.
- Bake 25-30 minutes or until fork comes out clean.
The husband and I are trying to cut back on carbs for the new year. Not eliminate – just cut back. Which for me as the cook means no more sandwiches at lunch. So I finally decided to go ahead and jump on the mason jar salad train. The first one we tried was a simple version of a salad I make for us to have at dinner quite often. I like to call it the Parmesan Salmon Mason Jar Salad. The mason jar is newly added, obviously.
On our first attempt, which is when I took these pictures, I put the greens right next to the dressing. I learned that’s not recommended. But my greens weren’t soggy this time. My favorite way to cook salmon is actually with these dressing and some bread crumbs covering it. To make it I simply, rub some flour on, dip both sides in the dressing, dip both sides in bread crumbs and cook for 20 min at 350. But you can make yours anyway you prefer. You just a simple salmon recipe that won’t take away from the flavor of the dressing.
For the dressing:
1/3 cup Parmesan Cheese,grated
3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/2 Teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1/2 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Teaspoon sugar
* Place all the ingredients except the olive oil into a small bowl. Whisk the olive oil into the ingredients in the bowl in a slow steady stream until well incorporated. Then place any leftover dressing in an airtight container and refrigerate.
4 cups chopped romaine lettuce – or 1 bag of salad mix
1 cup almonds
12 ounces cooked, diced salmon cooked to your liking.
1 cup raisins
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
4 (16 ounce/pint-size) wide-mouth jars
- Start by placing an equal amount of dressing at the bottom of each jar.
- Then divide remaining ingredients among the jars, layering in the following order: almonds, raisins, cheese, fish, lettuce. Next, twist on the top to seal your salads and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- When you’re ready to eat, just dump the jar onto a large plate or bowl.
- Finally, enjoy!
I don’t drink many cocktails. Usually just a beer or a glass of wine, but there is one liquor I always have in my cupboard. Tequila. So over the holidays I decided to whip up my own concoction and combine my glass of wine with my tequila for a red wine sangrita! Turns out tequila and red wine go really well together especially when you have turkey or ham on the table. I;m not one of those girls that buys fruits seasonally – I should be, but I’m not. So I added whatever fruits I had on hand, but this would taste great with cranberries, grapefruits, or apples as well which are in season! So let’s get to the important stuff – recipe for red wine sangrita!
bottle of your favorite red wine
half bottle of lemon and lime soda
1 cup tequila
bottle of mango juice
ice to fill glasses
First, combine liquid ingredients in pitcher and stir until well mixed.
Add remaining ingredients.
Then chill for 4-6 hours or overnight.
Stir well and pour into individual glasses over ice.
Finally, Garnish as desired
What is your favorite red wine or tequila cocktail?
Now that I’m a mom the holidays have a whole new meaning. Jack is much too little to appreciate all the traditions we’re starting this year, but one day he’ll see the many pictures of his first Christmas. One of the things that I want him to remember is how the house always smelled like cookies at Christmas time. So about every other day I’m making cookies. That’s a lot of baking to do with a 3 month old. So today I wanted to share a easy and quick recipe that we’ve been loving lately. If you love snicker-doodles, you’ll love these. They’re basically very light and fluffy snicker doodles!
Cinnamon Ricotta Cookies!
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup sugar (plus half cup for rolling the cookie into before baking)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons cinnamon
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and prepare a baking sheet by lining it with a Silpat liner or parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, use a handheld mixer to beat together the butter and both sugars until they become light and fluffy.
- Then add the egg and incorporate well.
- Next up is the ricotta just beat into the mixture.
- Last add the dry ingredients, and with the mixer on a low speed, blend into the wet mixture. Just mix until combined; do not over beat the batter.
- Use a 1.5 tablespoon ice-cream scoop to portion the batter. Roll into balls and roll the balls into the extra half cup of sugar.
- Place the balls onto the cookie sheet, leaving room for growth.
- Bake for 13 minutes. Allow to cool for 1 minute on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire cooling rack to finish cooling.