Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Homemade Popcorn Seasoning

It's New Year's Eve and as new parents Dave and I will likely go to bed before the ball drops, but then Logan will probably wake us up so we'll be able to watch anyway. Otherwise, if we get a nap later today, we might stay up and watch a movie before ringing in the New Year. We love to cuddle up on the couch, watch movies and eat popcorn. Dave has been through a number of popcorn makers over the years--not because the machines don't work, but because he makes so much that they just wear out. To add a twist on the flavor for our popcorn, I made these homemade popcorn seasonings, which I also made into gifts for our friends Rachel and John who also love popcorn. The Cheesy Garlic flavor is a great twist on regular cheese popcorn and the Mexican Hot Chocolate is a fun, sweet option for a traditionally salty snack.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Homemade Easy Bake Oven Mixes

Did someone you know get an Easy Bake Oven from Santa? Or are you completely grossed out by how much the mixes cost to churn out goodies from the Easy Bake Oven? My niece Abi asked for more mixes for Christmas so I decided to stock her up with three different mixes, each good for several batches, and recipe cards explaining how to turn these homemade mixes into tasty cookies and cakes. I opted for chocolate chip cookie mix, chocolate cake and funfetti cake mixes, so Abi will have some variety. Since Abi is a frequent visitor to this blog, I had to wait until after she opened her gifts to post these recipes so as to not spoil the surprise. But now she'll have these recipes to replenish her supply after she's treated everyone to plenty of cake and cookies.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Cranberry Upside Down Bread

While most of your holiday activities might be over, there's always a reason to whip up a quick bread and this one is still seasonally appropriate. I think it would be perfect for New Year's Day brunch, although I've been sneaking pieces just because. This tender bread has a lovely vanilla flavor with a hint of orange and the cranberries really provide some tartness and tanginess, making every bite delicious. It's a really simple recipe and I was able to make it with a baby strapped to my chest in the Ergo carrier--nothing like a cozy baby snuggled up next to you and having your hands free to bake.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

If you follow me on Facebook, then you saw my announcement that Dave and I welcomed our little boy, Logan, two weeks ago. He's definitely the best Christmas gift and the only thing I asked for this year. We're all healthy and happy, though a bit tired. Little does Dave know that in a few years he'll lose his title as First Lieutenant in Charge of Sprinkles to a younger, cuter helper.

Thank you to all my loyal readers for the support, comments and blog love this year. Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas full of cookies, goodies and everything wonderful.

Happy Baking,
The Cookie Princess

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Soft Pretzel Bites

Sometimes you just need a snack that's salty, soft and pairs well with mustard. Enter these soft pretzel bites. They make the perfect appetizer, game day treat, or really just an excuse to eat salty pretzels. You could easily turn this recipe into regular full size pretzel twists, but I made them into bites when I took them to two different parties and they were a big hit. Just the right size to have a few but not be committed to a huge pretzel. Although I probably popped enough of these delicious and doughy snacks to qualify for a huge pretzel, but that's not the point and really who's counting? As bites, these do take a bit more time, but they certainly aren't complicated. And the dough is super easy to make. Get ready for New Year's Eve or playoff football with these awesome treats.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Brownie Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

We were invited to dinner with friends at their home and I wasn't about to go without cookies, because, well, cookies. Even though I made another bar dessert, I knew cookies would be expected. And since chocolate and peanut butter is always a win, of course I went with those. But not just any combo, a fudgy, brownie-like cookie dotted with peanut butter chips. And would it really get any easier than starting with a boxed brownie mix? Sometimes when you get invited somewhere at the last minute, you have to cut corners. And no one will fault you for that when the result is this delicious. Let's just say I'm glad these were easy to make because I certainly didn't eat enough of them while at dinner and most of the leftovers went to our friends.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Oatmeal Muffin Mix

Here's another homemade mix perfect for gifting. And I love this one. This mix is the one my mom first introduced me to and thought it can be used for bars, cookies and pancakes, I grew up using it exclusively for oatmeal muffins. I remember being 11 or 12 years old and waking up on a Sunday morning to pull out this mix and make oatmeal muffins for the family. To this day I still have a special place in my heart for oatmeal muffins. So when I wanted to package up some gifts created with homemade mixes and recipe cards, I knew I wanted to include this one. It makes about enough mix for 3 batches of muffins--and they're really good muffins, particularly warm and smeared with butter of jam--so be prepared to make more of this mix pretty quickly.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Cinnamon Pancake Mix

This recipe was a two-for. First, Dave is pretty handy in the kitchen and I knew he could make some pancakes when I'm busy with the baby, but I figured it be easier on both of us if I prepared some mix and he just needed to add the wet stuff. And then I thought how these would also make a great gift, along with some of my other homemade mixes. This mix is simple to make in a big batch, and super easy to turn into a gift, scooping portions into pretty bags or containers and adding a simple recipe card with the instructions for turning them into a great breakfast. And it makes a ton, so you can either stock your pantry or make a bunch of gifts (maybe you've got a bunch of teachers, coworkers or friends you want to share a little gift with) for plenty of pancakes to go around.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Salted Chocolate Truffle Cookies

Rich, fudgy and slightly salty. A delicious combination that is also decadent which makes it an amazing holiday cookie. Seriously, these take no extra time or skill than any other cookie on your holiday list (they're still basic drop cookies), but the flavor and texture will make them seem so much more amazing. This brownie-like cookie gets it's flavor from three types of chocolate and an extra special finish of sea salt intensifies all that chocolate goodness. I gave most of these away and Dave and I bartered for the remaining few. I was being generous in this pregnancy. In any case, I'm hoping to get a chance to make these again soon.

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2014

Friday, December 12, 2014

Fluffernutter Cupcakes

Dave's birthday is this weekend, but since our little guy is on his way any day now, I threw him a party a couple of weeks ago just to be sure we'd get a chance to celebrate. And to make sure I got an opportunity to make his birthday cupcakes. I think choosing his cupcakes from my insanely huge board on Pinterest is one of his favorite things about his birthday. He didn't have to scroll far to find these fluffernutter cupcakes--a peanut butter cupcake with a surprise inside, topped with a marshmallow buttercream (yup, marshmallow and butter!). What's the surprise? A full sized Reese's cup nestled into the bottom of each cupcake. These taste amazing and if you've ever sat with a jar of peanut butter, a jar of fluff and a spoon, these are your cupcakes. I'm told that when Dave was a toddler, he couldn't wait for someone to make him a fluffernutter sandwich, so he just sat on the floor with the jars and a spoon and helped himself. Although apparently he was kind enough to share with the dog as well. But going back to these cupcakes--they are tender on the inside, perfectly flavored with peanut butter and the frosting is spot on. A lot of fun and full of flavor, I'm guessing Dave will be asking for these again.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Peppermint Bark

Delicious? Easy? Perfect for an edible holiday gift? Yes, yes and yes. Peppermint candies and white chocolate are a wonderful holiday combination and I amped this on up with some holiday peppermint M&Ms, just for fun. Dave was particularly excited about this treat since he loves peppermint bark. Do you know what I didn't know? That Dave loves peppermint bark. Seriously, I've know him for over 15 years--you'd think I'd pick up on that. And he couldn't believe I'd never made it before. Know we're both wondering where he's been getting his fix all these years. But back to this bark: whip this up and you'll be able to break it up into deliciously big chunks, bag it up and share it as gifts--perfect for teachers, class treats, coworkers, anyone. Personally, I'm thinking some labor and delivery nurses might be the recipients of these treats--assuming our little guy arrives before Dave eats it all.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Chicken in Mushroom Sauce

In and amongst all these holiday treats, I realize that we all still need to eat dinner. And maybe that dinner should be relatively healthy, in addition to tasty and perhaps a little comforting. And wouldn't it be nice if it didn't take that long to make since we're all busy this time of year? I think this chicken and mushroom dinner covers those bases. Whipped up on a weeknight, this chicken and sauteed vegetables has a nice sauce that goes well with pasta (and would with rice) and really makes you feel all warm and cozy--perfect as these temperatures drop. It's a good thing I have my monthly Secret Recipe Club match, because otherwise I might not have found such a great dish!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Holiday Muddy Buddies

Surprisingly, I've never actually made muddy buddies. Or puppy chow as it is sometimes referred. But I have some friends who love it and I thought I'd give it a try for a party recently. So glad I did because this holiday version is amazing! It's got all kinds of fun flavor and a twist on the original because instead of peanut butter, this recipe uses chocolate-hazelnut spread (yup, Nutella). Add in M&Ms, yogurt covered raisins and sprinkles, then toss it all powdered sugar and you've got a deliciously messy sweet snack that's a little bit festive.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Stuffed Cherry Blossom Cookies

I love a cookie with a surprise inside. Whether it's an Oreo tucked inside, a cheesecake filling, or even peanut butter cream, there's something fun about biting into a cookie only to find a little something unexpected. And usually a sweet sugar cookie doesn't get to play those games. But these perfectly flavored sugar cookies with vanilla and almond extracts are getting in to the action, hiding a lovely maraschino cherry inside a soft cookie. Yum. Rolled in sugar for a little extra sweetness, these cookies are fun and festive and sure to please. I've got a few cherry-lovers on my cookie tin list and I know they are going to love these.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Chip & Chunk Cookies

These are what I like to call definitive holiday cookies. Seriously, they have all the bits of a perfect holiday cookies: cinnamon, chocolate, nuts and coconut. Baked up in a tender cookie with a lovely crunch to the exterior, these flavors really just remind me of the holidays, so they are perfect for your baking list this month. For an little extra flavor, toast that coconut first and you'll get a little more depth to these cookies. Coconut burns pretty quickly, so keep an eye on it while it toasts--I had to try twice since I forgot to pay attention the first time. Whoops.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Cinnamon Roll Bread

I've really been craving cinnamon rolls lately, but I've been to lazy/tired/pregnant to actually make them. But a quick bread that tastes like cinnamon rolls? Yeah, I can do that. Especially because it whipped up fast, makes the kitchen smell awesome and tastes amazing. A slightly sweet vanilla quick bread is marbled with a cinnamon-pecan gooey ripple throughout and a sweet glaze drizzled over the top. The crumb is light and the filling has so much gooey goodness, just like you'd expect from a cinnamon roll. Yes, I think this bread can take the place of cinnamon rolls just fine, thank you very much. And this recipe makes two loaves, one for you and one for a friend. But warning, give the second loaf away before you taste the first. Because otherwise you may not share.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Simple Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yes I realize I've shared a lot of pumpkin with you. Get over it because I'm loving all thing pumpkin right now and the growing human making me unable to eat most things is letting me eat all the pumpkin, so it's going to keep happening. No seriously, I get it. I told Dave I was going to make pancakes this weekend and when I asked him what flavor, all he said was not pumpkin. But I digress. These cookies may be pumpkin, but they also have chocolate chips. And they are only three ingredients, so how could you not make them? The perfect after school snack, last minute treat when you're invited to a pot luck or a quick and tasty gift for that person you forgot to put on your list. These cookies are soft, full of flavor and dotted with chocolate chips. Chocolate, of course, it quite an appropriate pairing with pumpkin, so I'll never hesitate to include it.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Red Velvet White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Red velvet is definitely a holiday flavor that gets to ride the wave straight from Christmas through to Valentine's Day. It's red. It's chocolate. It's delicious. And it goes so well with winter. I'll make just about any sort of cookie for the holidays, but I always want to include festive cookies that are specific for the holidays or ones that I wouldn't necessarily make some other time of the year. Enter these red velvet white chocolate chip cookies. They clearly say holiday and they are super tasty. Soft and tender, with the perfect level of chocolate flavor, and speckled with white chocolate chips, standing in for the standard cream cheese frosting you might expect on a red velvet cupcake. I love that they are puffy and I think they are adorable with the extra white chocolate chips pressed into the tops. That's a step I normally don't take, but I'm glad I did this time--it really makes for a holiday cookie with that extra special step.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Amish Sugar Cookies

Ok, so get ready for more cookies. It's official--I've completed the holiday cookie baking and came in at a total of 112.5 dozen cookies, which will go out to our friends and family in the next couple of weeks, but I still have some candy that I want to make and include. This year I finished a few weeks early since we'll need the space back in the freezer so I can prep a bunch of meals for when our little guy arrives sometime next month. These were one of the first cookies I added to this year's list as an alternative sugar cookie, and I love them. They have a nice crispy outside, but are still a soft, sweet sugar cookie that definitely compliments the holidays. The trick to these cookies is a combination of butter and sour cream as well as a combination of granulated and powdered sugars. Sprinkled with some colorful red sanding sugar, I think these would be perfect for Santa, don't you think?

Monday, November 10, 2014

Pumpkin Pie Muffins

Ok, so maybe there's been a high proportion of pumpkin recipes lately. But can you blame me? We're well into pumpkin season and they just taste so good. Almost makes the cooler weather (and rainy crap we've been getting) seem slightly more tolerable. But these muffins--these are brunch-worthy. Like holiday brunch-worthy. Maybe Thanksgiving morning? And they're super quick to make, so you can definitely squeeze these in on the big day between the turkey and the sweet potato casserole or just before everyone else wakes up on a lazy Sunday. Dave loved the streusel topping, which really brings the pumpkin pie style to these soft, flavorful muffins. If you don't have a stone muffin pan, I'll encourage you to put it on your holiday wish list--the result is a crisp exterior edge, which is this case seems almost crustlike.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Molasses Snickerdoodles

We are headed toward the holidays and the weather is a big indication of it. It's been rainy and chilly here--definitely coat weather. I'm too big (and too hot) for my coats thanks to the little bun in my oven (now I know why they call it an oven--I'm just an incubator right now!), so I've been able to get by with just hats and scarves (but still flip flops since my feet don't fit in all my shoes). And it's getting dark early now. So some comfort treats are what it's all about. And nothing says winter comfort like a sweet, spiced molasses cookie. Good thing I happened to make some. And in a snickerdoodle form, no less. I think this method really helped with the texture of this particular version of molasses cookie--after all snickerdoodles are pretty amazing anyway. They have a crisp outside and a tender inside and pair will with milk (and maybe ice cream. Or whipped cream. Or pie). Definitely a recipe worth taking the molasses spot on your holiday baking list.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Butterscotch Snickerdoodles

Butterscotch is one of those flavors that doesn't get enough attention. Fall is all about apples and pumpkin and winter gets cinnamon and ginger, but I think butterscotch needs to go into the holiday mix too. It's not quite right for spring or summer--not light and fresh enough. But right about now, butterscotch definitely works. Rich and flavorful, it lends itself to holiday treats. So a butterscotch enhanced cookie dough--which itself is soft and super tender--loaded with butterscotch chips and rolled in a cinnamon sugar coating sounds like an excellent idea for a holiday cookie. Dave really enjoyed these cookies (I did too), claiming they were the right notes of butterscotch and cinnamon, and really lending a new layer of delicious to the snickerdoodle family.

Monday, November 3, 2014


Seeing as how Oreos are by far my favorite packaged cookies, how could I not tackle this recipe (and subsequently gobble them up). Seriously these cookies are fantastic and definitely pair best with a tall glass of milk. These chocolatey cookies are slightly crisp on the outside with tons of extra Oreo dust encasing a gently tender cookie. Not only are these cookies rolled in Oreo crumbs, but they're dotted with crushed Oreos and chocolate chips inside, too. Now wonder a glass of milk is a must have with these guys.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Pumpkin Twinkies

I didn't intend for this to be a week of pumpkin goodies, but it is Halloween, so sure, why not? But about these twinkies--seriously so good. It's been a while since I made twinkies, so I figured a fall inspired flavor would be good. Soft and tender cakes are filled with a cream cheese and marshmallow cream filling.  Which is perfect for the pumpkin cakes. And super easy. It all starts with a prepackaged cake mix and a can of pumpkin. Boom, twinkies about a half hour later. Dave and I might trick or treat these over to some friends tonight. Unless we eat them all first. Which is a distinct possibility.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Pumpkin and Spice Molasses Cookies

Molasses cookies are a fall standard, but each year I try to find a slight different version. Enter these pumpkin and spice molasses cookies. The trick with these guys is that they have pumpkin in them, making them a little soft and chewy. Plus all the spices and flavors of a standard molasses cookie. And then they're dipped in white chocolate for a creamy finish. No, it's not too much going on, why would you say such things? These cookies are perfect, delicious and I can think of a handful of people who might want to see a few of these in their cookie tins this holiday season.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Pumpkin Cheesecake Snickerdoodles

Where do I start with these cookies? Pumpkin, so of course they taste like fall. Cheesecake, yup a creamy filling inside each cookie. And Snickerdoodle, because, hello? Snickerdoodles! But I need to be honest--these cookies are a touch time consuming and the dough will work against you a bit. But your patience will be rewarded with an amazingly good cookie. The cookie is soft, coated in cinnamon sugar and full of pumpkin flavor. Plus a creamy center surprises you with a lovely cheesecake filling. These would be a perfect cookie for a fall festival or even your Thanksgiving dessert table (I promise you, it is not to early to start thinking about your Thanksgiving menu!).

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Peanut Butter Pretzel Cookies

Ok, so I've talked about the little peanut butter pretzel nuggets I can't get enough of. So of course a cookie was in order. These chunky cookies offer two types of peanut butter flavor--actual peanut butter cookie dough and Reese's Pieces strewn throughout for crispy, crunchy fun. And the salty pretzels offer more crunch and flavor. These were a hit with the peanut butter feign in my house (that'd be Dave) and I loved everything about them too. Didn't even miss chocolate! All kinds of peanut butter goodness from a cookie with a tender inside and tons of crunch. Yum!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Root Beer Float Cookies

Since our little guy is schedule to arrive just before Christmas, cookie season has started, so get ready for lots of fun and delicious cookies coming your way. Both with recipes posted here and for my lucky friends and family, expect some tins to arrive a bit early this year (hey, I'll have to clear out the freezer to make way for dinners so Dave and I can remember/have time to eat once we're a family of three). But before I get into the holiday treats, these cookies were special birthday baking for my nephew Aidan who turned 11 last week! That boy is a root beer fan, so I wanted to make him a cookie in a favorite flavor. But I also wanted to make something new since I just make these Root Beer Sandwich Cookies. So I went with a root beer twist on chocolate chip, using white chocolate chips for the "float" flavor. The result is a delicious cookie with a slightly crisp edge and soft interior, packing lots of root beer flavor and studded with white chocolate to add sweetness and creaminess. Win!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Glazed Pumpkin Donuts

I may or may not have bought new donut pans specifically for this recipe. Ok, so I did. But I swear I'll use them for lots of other delicious donuts too! It's pumpkin season and I've had a hankering for donuts, but when did donuts get to be $1.29 each from the bakery at the grocery store? That definitely is highway robbery. So really, the pans are an investment. And they were rightfully christened with these delicious, cakey, pumpkin gems. Ok, first the donuts: perfect, tender, just the right amount of spice to enhance the pumpkin but not overdone and so soft and fluffy inside. Then they're topped of with a simple glaze (and some of them got double dipped because I had extra glaze!). Yes these are the baked pumpkin donut you've been waiting for.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Caramel Apple Cake

We are loving apple season right now. Beautiful, delicious, fresh apples have been abundant lately--one of my most favorite things about New England. We've been buying tons from the farm stand and last weekend went to the orchard to get them fresh off the tree. There's just something about eating an apple right off the tree while walking in the orchard that makes it taste that much better. Of course, with the abundance of apples, we've been eating a few a day (each!) but I've had my eye on some recipes as well. I'm not a huge baked fruit fan--like pies--but there are some recipes I can get behind, one of which is the awesome Caramel Apple Cake. That just sounds like fall, right? And I got to tell you, it's delicious. The cake is tender and full of flavor, with shredded apples throughout, a nice brown sugar boost and then topped with a caramel sauce drizzle, it doesn't need anything else. Well, maybe to be served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Yeah, that happened. And it was a very good thing. I'm so glad that I got to make this recipe for this month's Secret Recipe Club!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Pork Chops with Garlic and Lemon Sauce

You guys, I made an awesome dinner the other night. Seriously, we were both super satisfied with these amazing pork chops. Oodles of flavor and on the table in about 20 minutes.Seriously, what more could you ask for? The pork chops are delicious and tender, and the sauce has a good balance of lemon and garlic to offer something a little different and bright. What I enjoy of these stove top pork chops is how easy it is to keep them juicy and moist, which can sometimes be tricky when you're working with them on the grill--they can get dry so quickly. So in addition to a delicious chop, you also get a lovely sauce with this recipe. By the way, that sauce was pretty tasty when it made it's way to my baked potato, too.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Double Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

There's something about a chocolate cookie with chocolate chips that just makes me smile. And made that some dark chocolate--on both levels--and that's even better. Rich and delicious, soft and just begging for a glass of milk to be dunked in, these cookies are lovely and delicious. Definitely will make it on the Christmas baking list. A dark flavored cocoa paired with a dark chocolate chip makes it just a touch more elegant than a regular double chocolate cookie. It's the grown up version and as a chocolate feign, I love everything about it.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Beef and Barley Soup

It's definitely turned to fall this week. The leaves started to turn, then the cool weather, then the rain. Which means we're in one of my favorite cooking seasons! Bring on the crock pots and soup pots and fill them to the bring with chilis, stews and soups for hearty, heart-warming and deliciously cozy suppers. And this soup is one of our favorites for this season. It's wholesome, super tasty and can really fill you up without feeling heavy. The fresh vegetables are perfect and I must tell you--this recipe is what made me understand why good soup taste the way it does. The secret is leeks. Regular onion is great (and also in this recipe) but leeks just bring a whole other element and really set this dish apart from other homemade beef soups. Dave and I have been enjoying this recipe for five years and I've just become accustomed to doubling it. And we still fight over the leftovers.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Malted Chocolate Chip Cookies

I may or may not have made 3 batches of these cookies last month. For real these are good. I took a batch to my sister's surprise 40th birthday party and no one could get enough. One person even said they were the best chocolate chip cookies she's ever had. Sure, I'll take that compliment. These are soft chocolate chip cookies with just a bit of something extra thanks to the addition of malted milk powder. The flavor difference is subtle, but it's there and makes for a delicious treat. Plus, can we talk about the amount of chocolate chips in these cookies? It's a lot. Like several chips in every bite--yum! These cookies are going on the holiday list (keep an eye out people!)--sometimes it's good to have just a touch of an alternative to a chocolate chip cookie. And this is one that's a keeper.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Mushroom Smothered Pork Chops

Pork is a pretty frequent occurrence for dinner in our house. Pulled pork, tenderloin, kebabs, pork chops--they all work for us. And while I love a good pork chop, sometimes I struggle with how to prepare them. Sure we just season them up and throw them on the grill, but that can get old so I'm always looking for something different. Enter these mushroom and gravy smothered chops that come together super quick--definitely a weeknight meal. The chops stay tender and juicy and the mushrooms and sauce provide a ton of extra flavor that you just want to lick off the plate--or at least sop up with some crusty bread or mashed potatoes. Dave declared this dish amazing and it's definitely going to be in our regular rotation.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Funky Monkey Pancakes

My entire life I have thought that Ben and Jerry's Chunky Monkey ice cream was banana, chocolate and peanuts. So you can imagine my surprise when I was searching for a pancake recipe using those flavors, I kept coming up with versions of the same name using walnuts. Recipe after recipe, all with walnuts and not a single one using peanuts or peanut butter. I didn't understand how so many cooks would have the same variation, but not one was using (what I thought was) the "original" combination. Not that walnuts are bad, but I was now convinced peanut flavor was a necessity and my heart was set on it. So after confirming that after all these years I was wrong (what?!?), I decided my version needed to be made. Changing the name slightly was all it took, plus some peanut butter, to make me happy with the end result. Fluffy pancakes full of flavor with both bananas and peanut butter as well as a healthy speckling of chocolate chips thought.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Turkey Parm Meatball Subs

Between football season and my pregnancy cravings, meatball subs are exactly what I need this time of year. And these meatball subs are easy, delicious and hit all the right spots of what you want in a meatball sub: toasty, cheesy, saucy goodness. Perfect with a beer (Dave let me borrow his for the picture), or a root beer, and watching the game. I also love that these subs are quick to make (I can even just use my toaster oven for these guys), so they're perfect for Monday night football as well. Or a tasty weeknight meal any day of the week.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Coca-Cola Marinated Beef Tips

Beef is what's for dinner a lot around here. We just like it--a good steak, some beef tips, or a pot roast. All good things. And even better when I can take a break from the cooking and let Dave grill it to perfection outside. We usually come together and choose a tasty marinade then I let him doing the heavy lifting while preparing some simple sides. It works out pretty well, actually. And this marinade is sweet, but not overly so, with just a hint of spice and a lot of flavor. Perfect for beef, chicken or poultry, this is one simple way to add a tone of tastiness to an otherwise ho-hum piece of grilled meat. Plus, we don't usually drink "full octane" Coke (Coke Zero is usually around our fridge), so this was a great way to use up some leftovers from a party. Win-win!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Chocolate Pancakes

I already know my son will love pancakes. Because at least 3 or 4 nights a week, between 9 pm and 10 pm, I get a craving for pancakes. Like the kind of craving that if I don't have them before bed I'll think about them all night and then might be tempted to wake Dave up and make him get me pancakes. The good news is that since I make a whole batch of pancakes at least one morning each weekend and we package up the leftovers and toss them in the freezer for breakfasts later in the week. Or apparently bed time snacks. We typically have between 6-10 little freezer packs in a bag at any given time, but since I've been eating so many lately, I started making extra batches. Which is why I made these chocolate pancakes that I knew Dave wouldn't be particularly fond of for breakfast (chocolate chip--yes; straight chocolate--not so much). So the baby and I enjoy these while we catch up on Project Runway or some other fun TV. And we love them. Fluffy pancakes with pure chocolate flavor and we don't have to share. It's really the perfect snack. I imagine they'd be good for breakfast, but if I'm being honest I made them at two o'clock in the afternoon and straight to the freezer they went. Maybe one morning.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Chocolate Chip Cookie S'mores Bars

Holy crap, guys. Where do I begin with these bars? Tons of flavor, gooey, sweet, delicious and the perfect blend of chocolate chip cookie and classic s'mores in a perfect little bar dessert. This recipe is easy and comes together pretty quick. Plus I had all the ingredients in my pantry so you can always whip these up on the fly. My friend Cindy came over yesterday with her two kids and these bars got rave reviews all around. And I was happen to be able to send them home with some of these treats because otherwise I might have just eaten the whole pan myself.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Beer and Pretzel Cookies

Football season officially kicks off this weekend and I would like nothing more than to kick back with my feet up, beer in one hand and a salty snack in the other, while I cheer on my team and complain about my fantasy team results. Unfortunately, being 6 months pregnant means one of those things has to go. So instead, how about replacing that cold, frosty brew AND the salty snack with this cookie that also brings in some sweetness? The beer in these cookies reduces down and the alcohol is cooked off, so they can be enjoyed for flavor when your drinking mug is sidelined. The cookies are hefty but soft and the pairing of dark beer with sweet, chewy cookies, a bit of chocolate and some salty pretzels is exactly what I could handle as an arm chair quarterback. these cookies made the rounds--some for my brother for his birthday and some for Dave's cousin, Mike, and his wife Donna when we visited them after their son was born. I mean, cause when you have a baby you deserve cookies (HINT HINT). And if you're curious, the answer is no, you can't use a beer other than a stout. Number one, stout just has more flavor when you reduce it down, so you really get the essence that this recipe is going for. And b) stout and chocolate are made for each other. True fact.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Blueberry White Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Another sweet treat enhanced by the fruits of the season. Blueberries are just about out of season, but there are still some available in New England. I suggest if you can get your hands on some of the fresh, tart berries, grab them and immediately make these cookies. The soft cookies have all the good stuff. One of my top requests for cookies from my family, particularly my niece, Elyse, and my Dad, are my Oatmeal Cranberry cookies. And Elyse has a spot in her heart from fruit-flavored goodies. So when her birthday rolled around last month, I knew I needed to share these with her. These cookies are hearty but not heavy with a touch of sweetness added from white chocolate chips and fresh blueberries bursting throughout. And the pairing of oatmeal and blueberries seems to be the perfect way to bridge the gap between summer and fall.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies

After the amazing Cherry Chocolate Blondies I made earlier this month, I found a recipe for cookies bringing the same flavors together. And they are amazing. Soft, chewy cookies with sweet cherries and chocolate chips, they are the perfect way to use up the last few lingering cherries from summer. Of course the blondies were amazing, but come on, you know I will always go for a cookie. And of course, cherry and chocolate play well together, but the almond extract really brings it together. I love almonds and cherry so that was definitely the right addition to these cookies. If you've got some cherries leftover but they aren't quite fresh enough to just munch on, toss them in these cookies for a real treat.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

S'mores Snickerdoodles

Yes, you read that right. Say it with me now. S'mores. Snickerdoodles. Together in sheer cookie bliss. I'm a huge s'mores fan--to the point I have been known to save room for dessert because a restaurant serves up s'mores or a s'more inspired treat. Not to mention the brownies, whoopie pies, banana bread and other treats I've made from this chocolate-graham-marshmallow combo. And the doodle obsession is well documented with snickerdoodles in all kinds of flavors popping up here (with two other new ones I found that are definitely going to hit the the cookie tins this holiday). So of course without question I immediately set upon making this cookie infusing all the flavor bits I love about s'mores with all the best features of a snickerdoodle--soft and puffy inside and rolled in a wonderful coating to bake up to one amazing cookie. My friend Mere was the recipient of these cookies for her birthday last month--it really is a great summer birthday cookie, right? The cookie is light and tender, with chunks of graham cracker, marshmallows and chocolate chips throughout, not to mention a slightly cinnamon enhanced graham cracker crumb coating. I wasn't sure I'd love the traditional snickerdoodle cinnamon flavor paired with the classic s'mores palette, but I ran with it anyway. Which is good because the result is amazing. Seriously, these might be my new favorite cookie. For real.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

S'mores Krispies Treats

A few months ago, I posted the Vanilla Cookie Krispies Treats. When I shared them with Rachel and John, I mentioned I was toying with some ideas for S'mores Krispies and the first thing Rachel said was, "So you're making those next right?" Guess I had my marching orders! While they weren't the next thing I made, this flavor was the next krispie treat I made to share with Rachel and John. Chocolate krispies make the base, plus chunks of graham cracker, mini marshmallow bits and milk chocolate chips to round out all the flavor. Stuck together with some classic marshmallow gooey-ness and yes, this is the s'more krispie I've been waiting for. Right, Rach?

Monday, August 11, 2014

Lemon Raspberry Bread

Recently there were some delicious looking raspberries at the farm stand. After I bought a pint, Dave and I ate the entire thing in one sitting (maybe 10 minutes)--they were just the perfect combination of tart, sweet and juicy. So I went back to get another pint and paired those raspberries with some lemons for this amazing summer-flavored quick bread. This bread is amazing. Tart, sweet, soft and delicious. I made mini loaves, two of which Dave and I ate up right away. I shared one with Cindy since she needed some sweet lemony goodness in a bad way, and there's one left in the freezer, yet, but I'm not sure it'll be there much longer. This perfect summer recipe came from the best source--a Secret Recipe Club assignment!

Secret Recipe Club