Monday, December 31, 2012

Turkey & Black Bean Chili

I love chili and it's always an easy meal for a crowd, like maybe if you're hosting some friends tonight before enjoying a few tasty beverages to ring in the New Year.  I made this chili a few month's ago when our friends Felise and Nick came over for dinner.  Felise asked for the recipe and I thought that I'd already posted it, but alas, here I am two months later finally getting around to it.  We make this chili often and I love the black beans with the turkey, plus all the veggies and spicy flavor.  Like all chilis, you can adjust the intensity of the spice and heat based on the heat of your chili powder, or just use a little less.  Served up with corn bread or chips and topped with cheese or sour cream, you and your friends will enjoy this chili to line your belly for a night of fun!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Cranberry Orange Muffins

Stretch, stretch, yawn, stretch.  Don't hate me because I have the whole week off.  It's just one of the perks from working in higher education.  Besides, since I was able to sleep in a little, I made you these lovely muffins.  It's a peace offering of a light, spongy crumb, dotted with tart fresh cranberries and infused with orange flavor for a perfect breakfast bite to wake up your mouth and get your day going.  Because even if you have to go to work today, I want you to be happy.  And waking up to these tasty muffins will definitely make you happy.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Pulled Pork and BBQ Pork Sandwiches

Dave and I love barbeque.  Specifically, I love the vinegary barbeque flavor of North Carolina pulled pork.  Sandwiches are always a big with us, so when I saw a recipe showing me how to use my crock pot to roast a pork shoulder for the purpose of making my own pulled pork sandwiches, I was smitten.  I'll share with you a few other recipes from this flexible pulled pork over time, but this sandwich was the first one that caught our eyes.  Juicy, flavorful pork just falls apart and begs to be paired with a tangy sauce and piled high on a toasted bun.  If you're having a low key New Year's gathering but still want to serve the traditional pork meal for luck, this is a great alternative to a big sit down roast with trimmings.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

I hope you have had the pleasure of gathering with friends and family this holiday season, sharing memories, joy and hopefully delicious food.  I consider it a gift that you visit my blog and want to see the recipes of the tasty things I've shared with those I love.  Food is truly a gift from the heart that warms the soul when made with love, and I'm so glad to be able to share it with so many more people than fit around my kitchen table through this blog.

Wishing you a bright, happy and safe holiday!

Happy Baking,
The Cookie Princess

Monday, December 24, 2012

Red Velvet Shortbread Cookies

Twas the day before Christmas and all through the kitchen,
There was nothing to be stirred and the baker was itchin'.
The cookies were shipped to friends and family in tins,
But what to do now with leftover ingredients?
Cookies were nestled snug in the jar,
But what about something special for those near and not far?
With cocoa and sugar waiting for some mixing,
And chocolate with sprinkles ready for the fixin's.
A sweet shortbread cookie, a red velvet munchy,
Dipped in white chocolate and sprinkles and a little bit crunchy.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Enchilada Casserole

It's all about the simple stuff right now. Who has time to worry about dinner when there are presents to be wrapped (and bought), decorations to be hung, and carols to be sung?  And who has time to worry about dinner when there are cookies and other holiday sweets to eat?  Well, since cookies do not constitute dinner (apparently, according to my husband), you may find yourself in the position to cook an actual meal. So may I recommend this quick and hearty casserole with Mexican flavor and lots of pasta?  I love the sweetness of the corn coupled with the spice from the enchilada sauce, chiles and chili powder.  Plus, it's cheesy pasta, so you've got to love that.  I pulled this together in just over 30 minutes for a quick meal, complete with a salad I made while the casserole baked, before I had to run out for errands.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Mini Crescent Dog Wreath

Are you busy this week?  Yeah, I thought so.  Me, too.  Lot of parties and events to go to?  Always.  Need to make something to take to said parties?  Of course you do because you are a good party guest.  Want to make it easier on yourself?  Yeah, I figured.  How about an adorable, festive, tasty, two-ingredient appetizer garnished with easy veggies and served with your condiment of choice?  You're welcome because everyone loves crescent dogs, and this is simple to make and so adorable that people will think you spent way more time that you did.  In less than 10 minutes, you can have this assembled, let it bake for another 12 minutes while you freshen your make-up and in less than a half hour total, you're out the door and on your way to enjoy your friend's party with a appetizer that everyone will love.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Snickerdoodle Bread

The acceptable way to eat cookies for breakfast!  Turn them into bread!  Pure genius and absolutely delicious.  I love the crunchy cinnamon sugar top and the tender crumbed studded with cinnamon chips throughout.  A perfect addition to a holiday breakfast.  Or wouldn't it make a lovely teacher gift or hostess gift?  Who doesn't love a crunchy cinnamon sugar coated treat to pair with coffee or tea first thing in the morning? Served slightly warmed or room temperature, you'll wonder what other cookies you can turn into an acceptable breakfast good (I know I've been churning out some ideas).

Friday, December 14, 2012

Hot Cocoa Cookies

So what do you do if you love hot cocoa but it hasn't gotten chilly enough to whip up the warm beverage?  (By the way--don't rub it in lucky ducks who aren't waking up to cold mornings and frosty windows.)  The answer: make these tasty cookies with a bit of cocoa mix, mini chips and marshmallow bits.  Yes, they sell the marshmallow bits found in hot cocoa mix by the jarful (squee!).  They can be hard to find, but totally worth it, especially in these cookies.  The cookies have a slightly chocolatey flavor and the lovely mix-ins just make me smile.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Mint Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

Mint and chocolate are one of my favorite combinations, and this time of year I just can't get enough.  So when I saw this recipe and its abundance of peppermint extract and loads of chocolate, I needed to make them.  Lots of chocolate flavor with a cut of mint and crunchy enough to make these the perfect mate for a glass of milk, as well as perfect for holiday sharing.  Which is exactly why I chose this recipe to share with the 2nd Annual Great Food Blogger Cookie Exchange.  Like last year, I shared a dozen of these cookies with each of three different food bloggers and in return, I received three lovely packages, each containing a dozen cookies from three other food bloggers. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

White Chocolate Topped Gingerbread Cookies

Sweet, spiced, soft gingerbread is quintessential to the holidays.  But this year, rather than roll out, cut out and decorate my gingerbread, I thought this recipe for a tender cookie topped with a little unexpected white chocolate.  The mild white chocolate flavor pairs well with the cinnamon and spice of the cookie, but I do which the chips would have filled the cookies like a thunbprint, rather than bake up and spread a bit.  Regardless, the flavor is there and the cookies are a delicious alternative to the labor-intesive rolled cookies.  And the result is still a pretty, festive brown cookie with a little white decorative topping, just like the traditional little men of the flavor.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Brownie Covered Oreos

These are so sinful that I don't even care that they combine a store bought cookie and a prepackaged mix.  It's a busy time of year and every once and a while we just need to accept the shortcuts as they come, say thank and indulge in this chocolatey, fudgey goodness.  My only regret with these was that I didn't use Double Stuf Oreos.  I like that the Oreos still have a firmness to them and gently yield to the fudgy brownie, with a pop of the sweet filling inside.  Is there really anything else to say?  Let me sum up: an Oreo, dipped in brownie batter and baked up to yummy, fudgy goodness.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Fruit Cake Cookies

I know fruit cake gets a bad rap as a dense, badly flavored brick of a cake that no one wants to eat, but these cookies take what's good about it--fruit, nuts and flavor--and turn it into a soft, chewy cookie that you'll want to enjoy.  I was surprised by the lightness of this cookie and thoroughly enjoyed all the different bits of fruit scattered in each bite.  This is how fruit cake was meant to be enjoyed--on soft, chewy cookie at a time.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Funfetti Cut-Out Cookies

Now how fun and festive are these?  And besides being awesome due to sprinkles, they taste like cake.  Because they are made with a cake mix.  Hey, if you're going to make as many cookies as I do, sometimes you need to praise small favors that come in the form of a prepackaged mix.  The cookies are soft and full of cakey flavor, speckled with fun holiday sprinkles.  Rolled out into whatever shapes you like, these cookies are perfect for the holidays or can be customized for any celebration.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Polish Kolache

Growing up, my Mom wasn't a big holiday cookie baker (yeah, I'm still trying to figure out where I got the bug) since she spent so much time making chocolate into a variety of treats.  But one cookie she always made time to prepare were these kolache.  I would sit across from her at the kitchen table while she worked this dough by hand and then rolled out dozen upon dozen of these fruit-filled gems.  About ten years ago I decided to try my hand at these and failed miserable.  My dough wasn't the flaky, pastry-like dough Mom created but more, unfortunately, of a tough, overworked shortbread.  I gave up, determined to try again later but over the years never felt confident enough to try or altogether forgot about them.  Of course, I have to make them if my family is going to enjoy them now, so I pulled out the recipe and got to it.  The simplicity of this dough, flaky and just a touch of sweetness, allows you to pair it with whatever pastry filling makes your heart sing.  My family is traditionally used to raspberry and apricot, and I used both here, but Mom also used to make a nut filling and lukvar or prune filling, which only she, my grandfather and my brother liked.  My brother tried to get me on board with the prune fulling for that this year, but I took a pass.  I was already taking a risk with trying this recipe unguided.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Marbled Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

This week I'm bringing you a weeks worth of cookie recipes to help you prepare for any cookie swaps, holiday parties, or just getting geared up for Santa's midnight snack.  And I'm starting off with one of my favorite new recipes for this year.  I will never tire of finding a new way to enjoy this flavor combination.  And I particularly like this version because they are so pretty.  Swirled up and loaded with peanut butter and chocolate flavor, these cookies are a new take on one of my favorite cookies to make--the slice and bake.  Whip up two cookie doughs, roll them up together and slice into discs to make and interesting cookie.  I love to make swirled cookies and they always make it onto my Christmas cookie list, and these did not disappoint me by taking one of the coveted spots on this year's list.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Cherry Almond Bread

I always think that cherries and almonds shouldn't work together but they really do and the result is always perfect.  I think the almond flavors just really make the cherry shine as a true star.  And it's a rather holiday-like combination, so this bread seemed a perfect fit for gifting this season.  A bread with a moist crumb, dotted with almonds and sweet cherries, you'll love the smell and taste and know immediately it is meant to be shared.  Which is why I made this my treat to this month's recipient of my Foodie Pen Pal package.

The Lean Green Bean

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Butterfinger Blondies

Apparently my sister's house is the "good" house in her neighborhood.  The one that gives out full-sized bars for Halloween.  I know this because at Thanksgiving, there was a still a bucket of full-sized candy bars sitting in her dining room, waiting to be put out of their misery.  Amongst the orphaned candy bars were some Butterfingers.  "Don't worry," I said, "I'll take care of these little guys."  And it was a good thing because despite the three pies, blondies, various cookies, breads, fudge and pumpkin roll, these bars were the only dessert my sister, Amy, wanted that whole week.  And I can't say I blame her.  The sweet and salty combo in these blondies is perfect and the thick layer of frosting makes them stand apart from the typical bar.  The peanut butter and chocolate flavors are apparent and divine but not overwhelming or dominant.  Dave and my brother in law, Nate, also loved them, stating they were actually better than eating a Butterfinger in candy bar form.  Dave even went so far as to request them for his birthday baking next month (I totally smuggled three more Butterfingers out of Amy's house to do so).

Monday, November 26, 2012

Chicken Enchilada Chili

I love recipes that encompass many of my favorite things, like Mexican flavors, comforting chili and using my crock pot.  This chili is full of flavor and easy to make, plus it makes the whole house smell like yum as it cooks away all day.  The perfect meal for a crisp fall night, especially a busy weeknight, since you can toss everything in the crock pot in the morning and have dinner on the table quickly in the evening.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving and that you are able to celebrate with friends, family and wonderful food.  I'm thankful for many things this year, including my wonderful readers.  Thanks for visiting, commenting, and making it fun for me to bake and blog.

I'm at my sister's for the holiday and yesterday my niece Abi and I started making desserts with Pumpkin Pie Snickerdoodle Blondies.  Hope you have all the tasty treats you want and get to share them with people you love.

Happy Baking,
The Cookie Princess

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


It's another doodle!  As promised, this is a special doodle which is actually what would happen if a Snickerdoodle and a Gingersnap got married and had a baby.  You get the soft, cinnamony goodness of a Snickerdoodle on one side and the molassesy, ginger yummyness on the other, smooshed together in on lovely cookie. This is a wonderful holiday cookie combining two favorites and it's totally worth making. It might seem like you're working twice as much to get one cookie, what with making two kinds of dough and then rolling them twice, but I argue you're working half as hard to get two cookies in one.  Either way, you need these cookies for Santa this year.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Apple Pie Bread

As American, apple pie, where did you think I was going with this?  Are you hosting a bunch of people at your house for Thanksgiving and wondering what you're going to feed them for breakfast while you're busy with the bird?  Me neither, but my sister is (and I'm one of the lucky people who completely intends to drive her crazy (and be helpful) that day) so I came up with a delicious quick bread that's perfect for the holiday and can be made in advance and made for sharing, perhaps as a little hostess gift.  As in, it would be really nice of me to make this and bring it to my sister's house since we're staying there for a week.  (See, that's how I talk myself into more baking.)  The bread is soft with a tender, buttery crumb lending a nice "crust" effect.  Big chunks of apple are scattered throughout and a perfect cinnamon topping make this an excellent replica of pie.  It's like pie for breakfast.  Or a snack.  Or dessert.  Or whenever you want pie but want something a little more coffee-dunking friendly.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Cinnamon Cranberry Swirl Cookies

Swirled cookies are probably one of my absolute favorites.  To make, to eat, either way I love these cookies and they totally put me in a holiday mood.  And these particular swirl cookies are extra holiday mood inducing.  A perfect cinnamon-spiced dough wrapped around tart fresh cranberries with a perfect holiday coloring--yes, these will do just fine on my cookie tray.  One bite and it's a burst of holiday flavor in your mouth, with a subtle crunch and a perfect balance of tart and sweet in a simple cranberry sauce filling.  This cookie could easily be one of my new favorites.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


It may not be the prettiest thing to look at but boy is it tasty and it reminds me of home.  This is comfort food in my world.  Delicious and easy to prepare, this is one of those dishes you can count on being right every time.  But it's also one I don't think of making often and every time I do make it, I think, "I should make that more often," and then forget about it for a while and the cycle continues.  I went to the farm stand recently, saw a bunch of cabbages and immediately thought of this dish.  When I took my little cabbage to the register, the attendant said, "Isn't this a cute little cabbage?"  "Yes," I said, "I thought to myself, aw, I want to take you home and eat you."  And the attendant and I perfectly understood each other.  Yeah, we had a moment.  And even if you don't typically like cabbage, this dish might surprise you.  Cooked down, coated in butter and added to carbs?  Yeah, that's the way to eat cabbage.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Bourbon Chicken

You know that awesome feeling you get when you replicate a restaurant or take-out meal in your own kitchen?  The part of you that sings when someone tastes it and says, "This tastes exactly like the stuff you get at so-and-so?"  Yeah, get ready because that's exactly how you'll feel when you make this.  Ever get the bourbon chicken at the Chinese/Asian stand at the mall food court?  Or just sample it from the guy standing there with a tray of toothpicks with a chunk of saucy chicken on the end?  This is that chicken.  And it's amazing.  It's got a blend of a little sweet, a very mild spice and and overall sense of yum.  The chicken is juicy and flavorful, and the sauce has a great consistency of not too thin or too thick, so it goes great with the chicken over rice.

Secret Recipe Club

Did you notice that it's the second Tuesday of the month so it's Secret Recipe Club time again?  Cause it is!  By now, you probably know what that means.  Each Monday a group of bloggers post a recipe they've made from another blogger's repertoire.  Nobody knows who's featuring their blog until that day and it's a fun chance to visit new blogs and try something different. Visit some of the other bloggers in my group by checking out the blog hop at the bottom of this post.  To learn more about Secret Recipe Club, click here.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Pumpkin Roll

As you may know, I don't generally do cakes.  I've make a few here and there, but I don't have the patience for decorating, so I stick to the things I love--like cookies and muffins.  But, like any good Girl Scout, before I hang up my apron in defeat, I do like to give a good try to anything.  So the idea of baking a thin cake and spiraling it up with filling to make a rolled cake was a challenge I'd be willing to accept.  While seemingly difficult, I thought it was more about engineering that actual patience with details so since decoration was not necessary, I might be able to succeed here.  And who knew I could do it?  While there are a few tweaks I'll make for my next go around, I loved this cake and this process.  Dave was in awe and could have finished the whole thing if I'd have let him.  The cake has perfect texture with a lightness to it, not dense or heavy.  The cream cheese filling is sweet but not sickly and the addition of fiori di sicilia (like I did in the Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins) offers a slight citrus note the complements the pumpkin and spices, as well as the lightness of the cake.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Pumpkin Pie Milkshake

I'm a year-round ice cream eater.  I don't care how cold it is outside or how cold I complain that I am, if I want ice cream, I'm going to eat ice cream.  Additionally, ice cream is generally the cure for what ails you in my family.  Sore throat?  Cough medicine, plenty of fluids, and ice cream.  Headache?  Two ibuprofen and ice cream, with sprinkles.  When my dad broke his leg and my mom took a photo of him in his cast to send to us, he was conspicuously eating something out of a bowl.  Immediately my then-three-year-old niece said it must be ice cream (it totally was).  Because ice cream has healing powers.  Apparently.  I bought some ice cream, deciding vanilla would be a good choice because a) Dave loves vanilla; and b) I could turn it into any flavor milkshake I wanted.  So when I offered Dave a milkshake after spying some leftover pumpkin in the fridge, I had an ulterior motive.  Of course Dave accepted the offer and when I asked if he wanted a special flavor, he's ears perked.  He surprised me at wanting to try a pumpkin pie flavored milkshake, but we were both glad he did.  This milkshake tastes eerily similar to it's pie counterpart, tasting exactly like the creamy pie goodness, with a dash of graham cracker crust and a perfect dollop of whipped cream.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Pumpkin Cinnamon White Chocolate Bars

What had happened was I wanted to make a yummy pumpkin treat.  And I wanted a bar treat.  And I wanted something "in" said bars, like a chip or candy.  Perhaps of the white chocolate variety.  Oh, but cinnamon is so tasty with pumpkin.  Luckily I found this delicious recipe that yielded an amazing, soft cake-like bar that was a full-on pumpkin flavored treat with a smattering of white chocolate and cinnamon chips strewn throughout.  A delicious dessert, snack, breakfast (no judging!--pumpkin is healthy, right?) for you to enjoy and share.  I'm pretty sure Dave and I only shared these with each other--I honestly don't remember if Madaline and Ernie had any.  But still, it wasn't like I sat and ate the whole pan (cause I totally could have).  I love the texture and the combination of flavors is perfect for fall.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

These are deceptive little monsters.  Oh, they look so innocent with their perfect pumpkin hue and their tasty streusel-y topping, like a lovely little fiber-filled muffin with a little sweetness.  Then you bite it and bam!--cream cheesey goodness all wrapped up inside.  These muffins are amazing.  I took them to a meeting and they went untouched for a little while.  Then someone had one.  And someone else noticed they weren't "normal" so they grabbed one.  And of course the other side of the table caught wind of the hidden treasure in these muffins and before I knew it, well, let's just say I didn't bring any leftovers home.

Monday, November 5, 2012


Welcome to a week's worth of pumpkin recipes!  And I could have done something interesting like showed you how to make your own pumpkin puree or use pumpkin in a savory dish, but really?  We're gearing up for the holiday season in a house that churns out cookies like they're going out of style.  Of course, every recipe is going to be sweet, scrumptious, and perfect for your Thanksgiving (or other holiday) gatherings.  It you expected anything different, you clearly don't know me that well.  I basically live on sugar, butter and chocolate for two months straight and then wonder in January why my pants don't fit.  So you're welcome and enjoy these tasty pumpkiny treats!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Salted Caramel Pretzel Bark

This is a story about eating your stress.  A couple of weeks ago, my dear friends Rachel and John moved into their first home (yay!).  A delightful but stressful experience in general, this particular move was compounded by the fact that the in-laws decided to "help."  And while good intentions always come from the heart, they sometimes are not thought through to an extent allowing the recipients of those good intentions to truly appreciate the gesture.  Such as the in-laws deciding that they would come to the house before the movers came in that afternoon and start painting.  Let me repeat: putting in fresh paint, on walls, before and while the movers bring large boxes and miscellaneous furniture into the house on an already stress-filled day.  Dave and I had already invited Rachel and John to our house for dinner that night, thinking they'd want to get away from the boxes and mess, and in all likelihood, a kitchen unequipped to make ramen noodles let alone anything else until said boxes and mess were unpacked and put away.  So when Rachel burst through our doors venting about their overly-stressed day, before she even finished talking, I went to the fridge and pulled out a giant bowl of this delicious, satisfying, sweet, salty, crunchy bark that seemed to let the stress just melt away.  Yes, this bark has healing powers.  Or it's at least good enough to make you forget about your troubles, at least for a few hours.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Oatmeal Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Cookies

Have you ever found a recipe you just had to make immediately if not sooner and then spent the next week visiting 5 grocery stores and 2 Targets looking for the one elusive ingredient that sets that recipe apart from everything else only to not find it and then you finally look online and are so excited until you notice they want to charge you 300% more than the items costs just to ship it to you so you get sad and then angry and decide even if you do find that elusive ingredient you're never going to make that recipe?  Yeah, me neither.  (cough, lying, cough).  Instead I decided to make something more awesome than the original recipe because you know I love seasonal ingredients so I couldn't help myself when I saw the cinnamon milk chocolate M&Ms during my failed mission.  I decided to turn them into an amazing oatmeal cookie full of chocolate and cinnamon for an excellent fall cookie with a soft texture and tons of flavor.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Pretzel Dogs

Please allow me a moment to nom vigorously on these.

Ok, now that I've wiped the crumbs, I can share how amazing this hot dog wrapped in a perfect soft pretzel sprinkled with salt is: AMAZING.  Last month I went to two football games and both times I ordered a soft pretzel to enjoy with the game.  so the idea of stuffing a hot dog into that pretzel to enjoy while cheering on my team won me over in a heartbeat.  I whipped these up as a football lunch for Dave and I (he did help a lot) and we devoured them.  I packed the leftovers away in the freezer in two-packs so we could enjoy them later.  The pretzel has a perfect soft and chewy inside with a crusty, golden brown outside that is the perfect "bun" for a hot dog.  I eat my hot dogs with ketchup only, but if you're a mustard aficionado, you will be hard pressed to find something better to pair with your favorite spread.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Brownie Batter Truffles

Sigh.  As delicious as these treats are, I was sad to make them.  My coworker and friend Beth took another job, so we had a little going-away lunch for her.  Since I know she doesn't like cake (correction, she likes cake, she just has an obscene level of self-control and wouldn't indulge in something less than spectacular), I decided not to order one from our catering department (their cakes definitely qualify as less than spectacular).  So I searched for the perfect bite-sized treat that Beth (and I and everyone else) would love but wouldn't feel too indulgent about eating since they are tiny and not big slabs of greasy frosting coated dry cake (true, less than spectacular cake graces my workplace).  Clearly, the best alternative is a ball of eggless brownie batter dipped in chocolate and topped with seasonally appropriate sprinkles (see: seasonal baking item compulsion).  The catered lunch did come with brownies automatically.  When I spied one of my coworkers grabbing a brownie rather than one of my truffles, I (jokingly) said to him, "What the hell are you eating that for?"  Mildly ashamed he put the brownie down, grabbed a truffle and upon tasting it, he said, "Yeah, that was definitely the right question to ask me."  Tasty?  I think so.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Snickerdoodle Rice Krispies Treats

Confession: I can't resist seasonal ingredients  (damn you Target and your perfect seasonal displays!).  Especially in the fall.  Something overwhelms me when I see a regular bag of M&Ms, chocolate chips, or marshmallows has been transformed into something "special" for the fall holidays, be it with a simple color change, a design or shape adjustment or, my favorite, a new flavor.  So when I saw a bag of cinnamon bun flavored marshmallows, I scooped them up knowing there was only one end result for this new treat: rice krispies treats.  And they were awesome.  Every bit of a yummy cereal treat you expect, but with cinnamon flavor throughout and a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar on top.  The marshmallows were far more subtle than I expected, which was nice if you were just going to pop a few in your mouth, or maybe spice up a cup of hot chocolate. So they gave a nice cinnamon pop to regular cereal bars which Dave adored, seeing as how Snickerdoodles are one of his favorite cookies.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Vegetable and Turkey Loaf

It's harvest season.  And it's comfort food season.  I see no reason why these things can't be combined into a yummy, healthy, and satisfying dinner.  Agree?  Good because this recipe does just that, serving up delicious veggies in a meatloaf made healthy with ground turkey and seasoned up to tasty goodness.  This is a great fall dinner paired with mashed potatoes and veggies to leave everyone with a full belly and loaded up on in season veggies.  That's the beauty of this recipe--use whatever you have on hand to incorporate 2 full cups veggies into this meatloaf and you'll have a unique meal every time.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Cookie Butter Snaps

I made cookies...out of cookie butter.  Circle of life?  No?  Whatever, they're awesome.  Speculoos Cookie Butter or Biscoff spread, either way grab a jar and get in the kitchen.  These are super simple, crispy cookies that taste as close to an actual Biscoff cookie as I'm ever going to make.  I love the crunch, the snap and excellent buttery, slightly gingery flavor from these cookies. And did I say easy? Cause they are simple.  A bowl and a spatula and five ingredients.  Why isn't everyone making these cookies?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Peanut Butter & Jelly Cookie Sandwiches

Today is my nephew Aidan's birthday.  He turns 9.  And while it may seem obvious that children tend to enjoy peanut butter and jelly, this child has an addiction to the sandwich that cannot be satiated.  He will go to town on a PB&J.  And he's something of a jelly/jam/preserves connoisseur.  No lie, he'll take an orange marmalade over regular grape jelly anytime.  And other flavors one would think more refined for a 9 year old palate.  He takes this kid food to the next level.  So of course his birthday baking--sandwich themed this year with Abi's Cake Batter Sandwich Cookies and Elyse's Homemade Oreos--had to be a twist of turning his favorite sandwich into a sweet treat.  Soft peanut butter cookies smooshed together with peanut butter frosting and raspberry preserves sounded like the perfect cookie for this kid.  The preserves cut the peanut butter flavor so it's not overwhelming and the sweet frosting lets you know this is more than just a sandwich or a cookie.  It's a treat fitting of the birthday boy.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Breakfast Pizza

I enjoy making breakfast on a weekend morning, but I'm usually not a fan of making eggs.  I enjoy eggs, but if that's what's headed to the table, I usually have Dave make them.  Leave the pancakes, waffles, and muffins to me.  Or, something a bit more exciting.  Like this breakfast pizza of a crescent roll crust topped with sausage, cheese, hash browns and eggs.  Now this is a breakfast dish I'm happy to get up and make.  Which is exactly what happened last week when I got out of bed before everyone else and put this together for a hearty morning meal.  Filling and delicious, there is no doubt I'll get requests for this in the future

Friday, October 12, 2012

Apple Fritter Muffins

Quite possibly the perfect way to start a crisp fall morning.  A fluffy muffin chock full of apples and cinnamon, double dipped in a sweet glaze.  Paired with coffee or tea and you've got a lovely morning ahead of you.  You know I'm not the biggest fan of apple flavored desserts, so it must mean something that I adored these muffins.  Maybe it was the glaze.  The double glaze.  Or maybe it was just the perfect combination of flavors that let the apple mingle so nicely with everything else that it was apple baked good bliss.  Whatever it was, these muffins are excellent and they should be made in your kitchen before apple season ends.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Lumberjack Blossoms

Don't give me that look. These are not what you think.  Does it say peanut butter in the title?  No, because these aren't a rendition of Peanut Butter Blossoms.  They are a different flavor of cookie full of fall spices, soft cookie texture and a choice of two different kisses to bring a brand new pop of flavor.  The Lumberjack Cookie base was already a hit for us, so by topping them with Hershey's Kisses--in just the right flavors--how could I go wrong? 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Philly Cheese Steak Sloppy Joes

A pile of yum.  That might just be the best description there is.  I mean, Sloppy Joes are meant to be piled high, spill out of the bun and be delicious, but this variation with peppers, onions, mushrooms topped with melty provolone cheese is more than delicious.  There really is a distinct flavor of Philly cheese steak in these sandwiches and they are already a huge hit in my house.  I've made them twice to rave review and they make the house smell yummy on a chilly, rainy fall evening.  Comfort food without having to stand on a Philadelphia street corner.  Or drive to Philadelphia when you're about 4 and a half hours away.  Yes, this interpretation will due just fine when the mood strikes.  And dinner will be on the table in less than 30 minutes.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Corn & Black Bean Taquitos

Dave and I have a little infatuation with Mexican food and southwest flavors.  It's just so easy to make and super tasty that we often end up with it on the menu a few times a week.  So of course to have a little Mexican flare for football food, I jumped on these delicious taquitos.  They're vegetarian, but if you're inclined, a little shredded chicken wouldn't hurt.  They are actually pretty filling as is and a great party food.  Add a little salsa for dipping and you've got some amazing flavors going on.  I made these for dinner one night and all four of us enjoyed them.  Then I made a second batch to freeze so we could enjoy them on demand during football games.  Cheesy, a little heat and some crunch go a long way for these little treats.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Pepproni Pizza Puffs

Bite size treats are always a hit, whether for football games, parties, or just an appetizer for dinner.  I've made these a couple times now, once when I had a group of girlfriends over and again when Dave and I had a friend over for dinner.  I love that they are simple to make as well as delicious.  They are a hearty little bit with pepperoni and cheese mixed throughout, all in a pizza dough flavored nugget, perfect for dipping in sauce.  I like to add these to a appetizer buffet that needs something a little more substantial.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Cheddar Ale Spread

Doesn't this just sound delicious?  It's a great, cheesy spread with layers of flavor that really make it an upscale football food.  While it's a little thick for an actual dip, it's perfect spread on crackers or stuffed into celery.  I love the play of a touch of mustard with the beer and a fresh pop from the parsley mixed into a sharp cheddar base.  Just a few simple ingredients whirled in a food processor and you've got one tasty cheese dish for your football spread.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Pittsburgh Kielbasa

Oh, it's a thing.  A real thing that's just yummy and delicious that you really need to experience and enjoy all it's flavor glory.  I have a coworker who, knowing I am from Pittsburgh, asked me if I "do that thing with the kielbasa and beer and sauerkraut in the slow cooker" because he could eat the whole thing if his Pittsburgh friends would let him.  I responded with a resounding yes, and for a couple of weeks it's all I could think about making.  But I resisted.  Because of Dave.  See, Dave doesn't like sauerkraut.  He likes kielbasa.  He loves beer.  But despite his eastern Pennsylvania roots and both of his parents growing up with, and loving, sauerkraut, he won't eat it.  Finally, I said screw it and decided I'd make a dinner that Ernie, Madaline and I could enjoy and Dave would just have to fend for himself.  The sauerkraut is tempered with sweetness from the addition of brown sugar, so it's not as intense of a pickled flavor.  A good beer goes a long way to the depth of flavor and you can serve this piled high on sub rolls or just mixed up in a bowl, whatever your fancy.  And it's definitely a tailgate or game day food, especially when the Steelers are playing.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Cincinnati-Style Buffalo Chicken Chili

It's October, fall, and football season, so that means it's acceptable to serve chili again!  And this chili is unique and delicious, blending buffalo chicken  flavors and a Cincinnati-style serving.  Cincinnati-style means serves over pasta and topped with cheese.  It's really tasty and the different texture turns your chili into a stew while the pasta doesn't compete with the chili flavors the way tortilla chips sometimes can.  Serve any kind of chili this way and you'll suddenly have a wonderful new twist on the same-old chili recipe.

For the last year, Secret Recipe Club has been a wonderful blogging-family that I've enjoyed being a part of.  I've met many wonderful people through their blogs, tried many new recipes I otherwise would never have attempted, and have looked forward to seeing the delicious recipes my fellow Group B members put out each month.  So I was understandably saddened and shocked to learn that Daniel from The Haggis and The Herring passed suddenly last month.  Daniel was a kind man who took a lot of time to visit each members post in the blog hop and always had something positive, sweet or helpful to share for each of us.  It was an honor to know Daniel and I was moved by his wife Meredith's touching eulogy which she graciously shared with the online community.  By way of tribute, today is a special Secret Recipe Club reveal featuring recipes from The Haggis and The Herring.  I hope you'll take the opportunity to check out the blog hop below to see how many bloggers Daniel inspired and the beautiful and delicious dishes he and Meredith created for their family and friends.