Friday, February 28, 2014

Not Your Ordinary Cookies

It's here!! It's finally here! The end of February! Good Bye -22 degree days! See you later 20 inches of snow! Adios the days I can't drive anywhere or do anything outside of my house!...Wait, what's that? What did you just say? There's another huge storm coming this weekend? Ok, if you need me I'll be house hunting in Arizona!!

So I believe I had mentioned a while ago we do game night around here. Once a week on Wednesdays one of my little sisters and her boyfriend come over to play board games, watch sports games and mostly catch up on the latest gossip of our lives. I love these nights because it provides me with two more guinea pigs to be forced to try my stuff :)

I don't know why, but I was craving the heck out of cookies that night. But I couldn't decide what kind. Chocolate chip? Boring...but yet always amazing. Oatmeal? Nah, just wasn't feeling it. I mean I thought of probably 20 different kinds of cookies I could make but none of them sounded good. So I grabbed the purse and did what I usually do when I can't think of what to make...headed to the grocery store!

Since I was making cookies I decided to go straight to the candy aisle. If I didn't I could have easily wandered around for an hour looking for new random things. The grocery story, especially Meijer, is one of my favorite places. I know it might sound weird, but I always find something new and delicious to try. I could seriously spend hours just looking for new things to buy...then I'd probably also spend hundreds of dollars!

So I went right to the candy and saw these:
The Rolos reminded me of a Leprechaun's pot of gold and the Easter M&Ms looked too yummy to pass up. You know they're super fresh since they're seasonal, too! Mmmm... great now I need to go grab a handful!

Anyway, now that I had my inspiration, I headed home to come up with something awesome. I ended up with what you would call Not Your Ordinary Cookies:
These are the best cookies I think I've ever made. They're nice and crunchy on the outside, yet still chewy and chocolately in the middle. Just how I like it!
All I did was mix my butter and sugar, added an egg and some vanilla, and then stirred in my dry ingredients for the base of the cookie. Then I got out my awesome cookie dough scoop and put half a scoop on the cookie sheet. Next I added the chocolate to the half scoop and topped with another half scoop. I pressed the dough together on the sides and sealed it up to make a nice big ball.
Half my batch had the Rolos in them and half had the peanut butter eggs. Since I was completely experimenting with this recipe I didn't even think about how the shell of the M&M might not melt. Duh! Apparently I'm still a new baker. Oh well. Live and learn and laugh along!
These cookies still turned out flipping amazing! They're one of those cookies where you take a bite and you're like "Oh, these are good.". Then a few seconds later you're all like "Oh, Wow, these are really good!". The flavor sneaks up on you. I think it's the nutmeg.
Ingredients:
1/2 Cup butter, softened
1/2 Cup sugar
1/2 Cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 Cups flour
1 tsp hot water
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg

Chocolate Drizzle
1/2 Cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/4 Cup peanut butter

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.

Mix together the butter and sugars until smooth. Add in the egg until fully mixed in and then add the vanilla.

Combine the flour, cinnamon and nutmeg together in a small bowl.

Add the baking soda to the hot water to let it dissolve. Add to the butter mix. Then slowly add in the remaining dry ingredients.

Spoon half a cookie dough scoop of batter onto your cookie sheet. Add the candy onto the dough and top with another 1/2 scoop of dough.

Smoosh everything together until the dough forms a ball.

Bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool on the baking sheet.

While cooling, make the chocolate topping:

Melt the chocolate and peanut butter in a small bowl 30-45 seconds at a time, stirring each time until smooth enough to drizzle over the cookies.

Using a spoon, add small amounts of chocolate to the top of each cookie. Allow to cool and enjoy!!

Do you have game nights at your house? What's your favorite game to play? We need some ideas!! Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thanks for stopping by!

**I linked up to the homeacre hop, bloom designs, pin it thursday, full plate thursday, all things thursday, create it thursday, tasty tuesday, work it wednesday, inspire me wednesday, wicked awesome wednesday, too cute tuesday, tutorial tuesday, link party tuesday, create link inspire, share your stuff tuesdays, titus 2 tuesday, the scoop, the diy'ers, make it pretty monday, metamorphosis monday, made by you monday, frugal crafty home, much ado about monday, amaze me mondaybusy mondaysuper saturday link party

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop!

Hey All!! Thanks for joining us for another great party! In case you missed it...here's what I've been up to this week:

 St Patrick's Day Cheenies!
Cinnamon Biscotti with Cinnamon Chocolate Drizzle
A Burger's Favorite Sauce!

Now...on to the PARTAY!

Is this the final blog hop of February? How quickly time flies!
This week's most viewed post is a luscious dessert made by Cathy of Lemon Tree Dwelling. You can't gain weight just looking at it, can you? 

MOST VIEWED 



VERY POPULAR POSTS

Be sure to stop by to visit all of our February Co-hosts today
And let's take time to not only follow, like and comment 
but even boost some social media for our friends. 
Retweets, shares, likes, 1+ and pins help so so much! 
Let's be each other's best cheerleaders. :)
Help get the word out!  Tweet Here!

And now for our Wonderful Wednesday party!

Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop 
 on
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Simple Guidelines:
  • Please follow our host and co-hosts in as many ways possible (social media links below)
  • Add as many of your family-friendly posts as you would like, no giveaways please.
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Monday, February 24, 2014

Cinnamon Biscotti with Cinnamon Chocolate Drizzle

Hey Hey! Welcome to the last week in Febrrrrary!! Yes! It's almost over! There are so many things I'm looking forward to doing this spring. One thing I'm so pumped about is planting my own garden! I'm extremely nervous because I'm afraid I'm going to do everything wrong and it's not necessarily the cheapest investment. However, I've been scouring the internet looking for as many thrifty ways as possible to make our own little patch of happiness without breaking the bank. I want to do Romaine lettuce (will save us a ton!), cucumbers, strawberries, blueberries, maybe carrots and as many herbs as I can. No tomatoes you ask. No, because Hub and I don't like them.

I had a dream of planting fruit trees in the backyard, but after talking to my big sis it seems Indiana is not the ideal state for those. I wanted to do a lemon, an orange, a pear and an apple tree. I think I could possibly have success with the apple trees, but it sounds like all the others are unrealistic in our sporadic climate. If you live in Indiana, you know what I'm talking about. It's the only state I know where you can stay in the same town and experience all four seasons in one day...no matter what time of the year. My birthday is in April and one year it snowed in the morning and then was 64 by late afternoon! Crazy.

Another thing I am looking forward to is traveling! I've been cooped up in this house way too long and this lady needs to spread her wings and fly. Metaphorically speaking that is...this girl doesn't do well in airplanes. I grew up in a VERY large family and if we wanted to go anywhere, we drove. Those long car rides were some of the best times of my life. Half the memories we made on vacations were in the car. I say life is one big journey so enjoy the ride! One of our first trips this year is to Gatlinburg, TN! Hub and I go every year. And of course we drive. And with long car rides comes snacks! Lots and lots of snacks.

Since I'm the queen of finding anyway not to spend money frugality I decided this year I would make most of our snacks. I've already learned how to make my own homemade granola bars, but wanted something with a little more flavor. I thought about maybe some chocolate chip cookies, but those don't last too long and I wanted something that would still be just as good after our four day trip was over. So finally I landed on these: Cinnamon Biscotti with Cinnamon Chocolate Drizzle!
These things are amazing. Seriously. And honestly I'm not a big crunchy person. Unless it's a potato chip, I don't normally like snack foods that have a hard texture and was hesitant to try these. But I've never made Biscotti before, and therefore didn't know if I would like it or not, but decided to give them a try. I am so happy I did. These little cookies are so yummy and have just the right amount of flavor. And they last forever. Well, for at least a week :)
They travel well, too. They'll be perfect in the car. And they smell absolutely amazing! While they were baking our house was filled with cinnamon! Once they had cooled and came out of the fridge they were so hard to resist. Looks like we found a winner!
Just mix up your butter and sugar, add the wet ingredients, then the dry, form into logs and bake. After those have cooked, let them cool then slice 'em up. Bake on each side a few more minutes, top with melted cinnamon chocolate and you're done. I also added some of the sprinkles I used for my carrot cake cupcakes on these. Yes I sat there and hand picked out the orange pieces. Worth it!
 (pre-cooked)
Typically these are served with hot tea. Not sure how I'll manage that driving in the curvy mountains...but good thing these are terrific on their own!
After I cut mine up I had a ton of end pieces left. So while the sticks finished baking I cut up the scraps, added them to a bowl of milk and Hub and I went to town! It was like eating big fat pieces of cinnamon toast crunch! Awesome!
Ingredients:
1/2 Cup butter, softened
1 Cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 Cups flour
2 Tbsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

1/2 Cup white chocolate chips
1 Tbsp shortening
1 Tbsp cinnamon

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper and set aside.

Combine the butter and sugar in a mixer until smooth. Add in the two eggs until fully incorporated then add the vanilla.

Mix all the dry ingredients in a small bowl. Turn the mixer on medium and slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture.

The dough will be thick. Take big chunks of the dough and roll it into four separate logs about the length of your baking sheet. Pat them flat and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Let them cool for about 30 minutes.

Cut each log into 1/2 inch pieces and place them cut side down back on the baking sheet. Cook at the same temp for about 5 minutes, take them out and flip each one over. Cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from the baking sheet and let them cool on a wire rack.

For topping:
Melt white chocolate chips and shortening for about a minute, stirring half way. Once fully melted and easy to pour, stir in the cinnamon and drizzle all over these yummy crunchy sticks. Refrigerate for about 20-30 minutes or until chocolate is firm. Make a cup of tea, serve and devour!



So has anyone had luck growing fruit trees? Got any advice for a new gardener with the farthest thing from a green thumb?! I'll take it all!

Thanks for stopping by!

**I linked up to frugal crafty home, much ado about monday, amaze me monday, busy mondaysuper saturday link party, weekend bloggy readingweekend potluckfoodie fridayfreedom fridayskitchen fun and crafty fridaythursday stylefriday flash blogbloom designsthe homeacre hoppin it thursdayall things thursdayfull plate thursdaywicked awesome wednesday, whats cookin wednesday, wake up wednesdays, some2 tuesday, fluster buster, atozebracelebrations, too cute tuesday, tutorial tuesday, tuesday talent show, create link inspire, share your stuff tuesdays, titus 2 tuesday, the scoop

Sunday, February 23, 2014

A Burger's Favorite Sauce

Hey All! I hope you're having an amazing weekend! Ours was fun, but fast. Always too fast. Hub and I had a great time deepening the indents in our couch where we normally sit :) These are actually my favorite weekends. The ones where we sit together and do basically nothing. Hub plays some video games, I read some books, Hub plays more video games, I go in the kitchen and cook whatever sounds awesome at that time. It works for us.

I mentioned the other day I was craving fair food so bad because of all this cold weather, and yesterday I was hit with a craving for one of my favorite summertime foods...a big ol' cheeseburger! We ran out of propane right at the end of fall last year and haven't used the grill since, so it's been a while since I've had a juicy hand-pattied burger at home. I decided "What the Hey!" and heated up the frying pan.
While my beefy patties were sizzling away I felt like I wanted to kick these up a notch. My homemade burgers already had a lot of awesomeness going on (see recipe below), but I felt since it had been so long since I'd made one, I'd go all out. YOLO, right?! So I quickly whipped together what I like to call A Burger’s Favorite Sauce!
This stuff is amazing!! It's got just the right amount of tanginess (is that a word?) and adds the perfect amount of creaminess (totally hate that word) to any burger! It takes no time to make and you probably already have everything you need in your kitchen.
Just grab a small bowl, dump everything in and mix it up with a spoon. Use it with burgers, fries, potato chips, veggies, pretzels, chicken or even steak! Bacon? Sure! Chicken Nuggets? Yes. Anything you can think of! Popcorn?...ok maybe not anything :) Store whatever you have left in a glass jar in the fridge.
Ingredients:
1/4 Cup mayonnaise
1/4 Cup ketchup
1/4 Cup sour cream
1/8 Cup ranch dressing
1 Tbsp spicy brown mustard
1/2 Tbsp Worcestershire (I just did 3 big shakes)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp dill

Directions:
Mix everything together and spread over your favorite dish. Store leftovers in the fridge. I'm not sure how long it would last, but I'm guessing at least a week.

Burger Recipe:
Ingredients:
1 Pd Ground Chuck
1 egg
1/4 Cup BBQ sauce
1/4 Cup Breadcrumbs 
1/8-1/4 Cup Mozzarella cheese
1/8-1/4 Cup Cheddar cheese
1 piece of Bacon, crumbled
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
shake of salt and pepper

Directions:
Mix everything into a large bowl. Patty out 4-8 burgers, depending on how big you like them. 
Refrigerate for one hour (or skip this part if you're in a hurry).

Heat a frying pan to medium heat and add some butter to the pan. Place patties on melted butter and cover with a large metal bowl...I use a circular cake pan. Works just the same.

Add about a 1/4 cup of water to the pan. Fry on each side 5-6 minutes, or less if you like your burger more on the medium to medium rare side, while keeping covered with the bowl. 

Remove the bowl and add your juicy burger to a toasted bun, add a big spoonful of A Burger's Favorite Sauce and Enjoy!

Need some glass jars?

Know of anything else that would taste great with this? Lemme know cause I'm anxious to eat it again! Hope you all had a great weekend!

Thanks for stopping by!

**I linked up to super saturday link party, weekend bloggy reading, weekend potluck, friday favoritesfoodie friday, freedom fridays, kitchen fun and crafty friday, thursday style, friday flash blog, bloom designs, the homeacre hoppin it thursday, all things thursday, full plate thursday, wicked awesome wednesday, whats cookin wednesday, wake up wednesdays, some2 tuesday, fluster buster, atozebracelebrations, too cute tuesday tutorial tuesday, tuesday talent show, create link inspire, share your stuff tuesdays, titus 2 tuesday, the scoop, nifty thrifty tuesday, metamorphosis monday, make it pretty monday, the diy'ers, give me the goods, a frugal crafty hop, much ado about monday

Friday, February 21, 2014

St Patrick's Day Cheenies!

TGIF everyone!! Holy Crow I have been knocked out these past couple days. Seriously, I woke up Wednesday morning at 3am and could just tell something was wrong. I'll spare you the details, but it was a horrible day of stomach flu symptoms. It's seriously the worst 24 hours a person can go through physically. I couldn't eat or drink anything, I couldn't stand up because my stomach was in so much pain, and I could barely stay awake. Needless to say, it was terrible. I don't know what's going on, but I had stomach flu this week and a crazy head cold that lasted two weeks right before that. I mean it's so upsetting waking up everyday for weeks and just feeling exhausted and achey and everything hurts.

I'm sooo glad I'm feeling better now. I realized these past weeks that when I'm sick, I hate cooking. Especially if it's a big recipe and I have to stand for a long time, or if theres a ton of steps, my head gets foggy and I mess things up. Plus I feel like you get out of your recipes what you put in, so if you're standing over a mixing bowl blowing your nose, that meal immediately becomes unappetizing. And to top it all off, when I'm sick, I'm never hungry...so cooking is seriously last on my list of things to do. Halleluiah I'm feeling better! Can't wait to bake!!

So one of the few things I like about February, besides Hub's birthday, is that it's short. And that means March gets here that much sooner and that means March 20th gets here that much sooner...that would be the Spring Equinox!! That also means St Patrick's Day is almost here! YAY!!

No I'm not Full Irish on my mother's side or anything like that. My last name does not start with an O'. However, there is a small amount of Irish heritage in my family and I appreciate it. I think the Irish history is fascinating and love that we celebrate this fun holiday every year. Did you know St Patrick's Day was originally started to celebrate the death of St Patrick and has been a holiday for over 1000 years?! Did you also know up until the 1970's bars in Ireland were not permitted to be open on St Patrick's Day?! Crazy.

Since 2009, my Hub and I have been going downtown and celebrating St Patrick's Day like we just came from the Isles ourselves. We head out early in the morning with our good friends and usually make it home by early to late afternoon. We sing, we dance, we wear an obnoxious amount of green and our last stop is always to get some Bangers and Mash. Not my favorite dish, but the people I'm with want it, so I go. One thing I do like to make for the holiday are St Patrick's Day Cheenies!
What are Cheenies you ask? They are my could-be famous Cheesecake Brownies! I use my favorite Fudge Brownie recipe and top it with a quick and scrumptious Cheesecake recipe that is so easy to make. Throw in some green magic and boom! St Patrick's Day Cheenies!
The pictures don't show off just how pretty of a green these are. They kinda look blue on here...just ignore that :) I'm thinking I should bring some of these along for our Day downtown. It's always nice to have food to hand out when green beer is involved :) Personally I stick to the girly apple beers, and I believe this year I will be driving us home, so these can be my treat to myself for not drinking. Sounds great to me!
Ingredients:
Fudge Brownie Recipe
1/2 Cup flour
1/3 Cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 Cup butter
1 Cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
Cheesecake Recipe:
8oz Cream Cheese, softened
1 egg
1/3 Cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
6-8 drops of green food coloring

1/2 Cup semi sweet chocolate chips
Handful of green chocolate candies (I used M&Ms)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8x8 pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.

For brownies:
Mix together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, cinnamon and baking powder in a medium bowl.

Premix the two eggs just a little bit in a small bowl. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, remove from heat and stir in the sugar, mixed eggs and vanilla with a whisk.

Add in the dry ingredients and stir with the whisk until just combined. Pour the batter into your prepared pan.

For cheesecake mix:
Add cream cheese to your mixer and mix on medium for about 1 minute. Add the egg, sugar, vanilla and food coloring and mix for about 2 more minutes. Spoon cheesecake batter over brownie mix.

Sprinkle on the chocolate chips and candies and bake for 48-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the middle comes out clean.

Allow the pan to cool then place in the fridge until ready to serve. Cut up with a buttered knife and enjoy!!




Are you a St Patrick's Day lover like us? Do you take the day off and go to the local parade like we do? Come back soon for more yummy green treats!

Thanks for stopping by!

**I linked up to weekend potluck, foodie friday, freedom fridays, kitchen fun and crafty friday, thursday style, friday flash blog, bloom designs, the homeacre hoppin it thursday, all things thursday, full plate thursday, wicked awesome wednesday, whats cookin wednesday, wake up wednesdays, some2 tuesday, fluster buster, atozebracelebrations, too cute tuesday, tutorial tuesday, tuesday talent show, create link inspire, share your stuff tuesdays, titus 2 tuesday, the scoop, nifty thrifty tuesday, metamorphosis monday, make it pretty monday, the diy'ers, give me the goods, a frugal crafty hop, much ado about monday, craftomaniac, amaze me mondays, busy mondays, think pink sundays, the best of the weekend party

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop!

Welcome to Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop.

Hey All and Happy Tuesday!! Thanks for coming to another Wonderful Party! In case you missed it, here's some things I've been up to lately:

We are pleased to say last week's hop was so well-attended. It's a joy to have so many stop by every week. But this week we have some exciting news. Many of the most viewed from our last party were newcomers! Love our regulars but it is so special when the newbies get lots of attention, too.

So...
  1. Enjoy our features and pin them (from their blogs, plz.)
  2. Have fun adding and visiting the many many posts this week.
  3. And, before you go, take a little look at the new hop that Ducks 'n a Row is offering on weekends to feature our Facebook posts...which we can all agree need more views.  More information below, right before the hop begins.
MOST VIEWED




VERY POPULAR


About the NEW hop and WHY...
#boostyourpost


The Boost Your Post Party goes live 10:30 pm EST Fridays and stays up all weekend! 
Come let us give your Facebook posts a BOOST!

Please boost this post till all of Ducks 'n a Row's  FACEBOOK fans get to see it? BOOST HERE
"boost" = like, comment and/or share

And now for our Wonderful Wednesday party!
Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop 
 on
Ducks 'n a Row


Simple Guidelines:
  • Please follow our host and co-hosts in as many ways possible (social media links below)
  • Add as many of your family-friendly posts as you would like, no giveaways please.
  • Visit three or more others. Let them know you've been there!
  • When you are PINNING, remember to do it from the original post. 
  • If you are new, be sure to let us know in the comments so that we can follow you back. 
  • Thanks for joining us!
Ducks ‘n a Row
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