Wednesday, June 27, 2012

White Chocolate Butterscotch- Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

Wow, that's quite the cookie name huh? Try saying that 5 times fast. Just kidding! Sunday I got the itch to get in the kitchen and bake cookies, these were on my mind and no, they did not last long in our house.

A lot of my favorite cookie flavors are combined into one. You've got a nice chewy peanut butter oatmeal base. I then added in both white chocolate and butterscotch chips. It's quite the perfect combination if you ask me.

Don't those look yummy? Go make yourself a batch....right now. If they're gone within a day, I won't judge and I won't blame you.

It's going to get quite hot and humid here in the midwest these next few days. We'll definitely be spending any time outdoors in the early hours. I'm thinking lots of water play for the kids. It will also be interesting trying to keep my house cool as I have a good sized wedding to bake for on Thursday and Friday.  I'll share some pics on Monday. Stay cool!

White Chocolate Butterscotch- Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

1 1/4 c flour
1 c quick-cooking oats
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick butter
6 tbsp creamy peanut butter
1 c brown sugar
1/2 c granulated sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 c white chocolate chips
1/2 c butterscotch chips
Splash of milk, if needed

Melt butter and peanut butter together in the microwave, in 30 second intervels. Remove and let cool. Combine flour, oats, baking soda and salt in another bowl.  Mix butter and peanut butter with both sugars. Add in egg, egg yolk and vanilla. Gradually add in dry ingredients and mix well. Fold in white chocolate and butterscotch chips. If dough seems a little too dry add in a splash of milk, I did this with mine.

Using a medium sized cookie scoop, place dough balls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 13-15 minutes at 325 degrees. Let cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack. Makes about 2 1/2 dozen.

Adapted from: How Sweet It Is

Monday, June 25, 2012

Mini Omelets

Are those cute or what?! They're little omelets that I baked in a muffin tin and they happen to be the perfect size for kids. The kids and I had fun trying out some new recipes last week and these were one of them.

Talk about easy and an activity the whole family can join in on. Each person got to choose their own fillings and put them inside their own muffin well. I poured the egg mixture on top and baked them in the oven. Even my little daycare guy that never eats eggs for me gobbled this up! They were really yummy!

Definitely use whatever ingredients/toppings you have on hand for these. I had some leftover ham steak from dinner the night before so that was our meat choice. We added green peppers and cheddar cheese in as well.

Now while we're talking about kids, check out this fun activity we did outside this morning!

I made up some sidewalk chalk paint for the kids to pain the patio area with. They loved it and it's so simple to make, I know you'll have everything on hand for it. Simply mix 3T cornstarch with 3T water, then add in 5-6 drops of food coloring and mix all together. That's it, give them a paint brush and have at it. Some of the colors showed up a little better than others, but overall it was a frugal activity that they really enjoyed.

Mini Omelets

6 eggs
Splash of milk
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Chopped Ham
Diced Green Pepper
Grated Cheddar Cheese


Beat eggs in a medium sized bowl with milk, season with salt and pepper. Set aside. Grease 6-7 muffins wells, add in chopped ham, green pepper and cheese. Pour eggs over each well until 3/4 full. You don't want them to be too full because the eggs do puff up a little bit. Gently stir and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 15-17 minutes or until eggs have settled and are starting to turn golden brown around the edges. Let cool for 5 minutes and then remove from muffin tin. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Banana Berry Green Smoothie

Our family loves smoothies, especially during the summer months. The past two days have been a scorcher! With temps in the mid 90s and the humidity on top of it, we're enjoying more of these fruity drinks than normal.

I always try to keep our smoothie on the healthy side but this time I decided to jump on the "green smoothie bandwagon" and add some spinach to our batch. I can't believe how good they taste and you really can't tell the spinach is in there. I felt a little sneaky yesterday morning making them, I was trying to hide the spinach from the kids just in case they wouldn't give it a try. To my delight, they all sucked them right down! I love that my kids are getting extra nutrients and they love the taste, it's a win-win situation. We'll definitely be making our smoothies this way from now on.

Do you have a favorite smoothie recipe? Feel free to share, I'd love to hear!

Banana Berry Green Smoothie

1 large banana, chopped
2 cups strawberries, halved
1/2 cup blueberries
2 cups baby spinach
6 oz. vanilla yogurt
1/3 cup milk
Crushed ice

Add banana, strawberries, blueberries and milk to blender. Next add in yogurt. Finally add in the baby spinach, blend on high to get everything mixed up well. Lastly add in crushed ice for more of a slushy texture. Pour into cups and serve, I served 4 kids plus myself with this batch. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Vanilla Almond Pound Cake

A few months ago I came across this delightful cookbook. I think I read it all within one day, maybe two at most. Being a foodie, of course I love to "read" cookbooks but especially ones like this.

Besides containing some yummy looking cake recipes, you really get a glimpse into some of these southern communities and their love for the women they refer to as "cake ladies". Each story is truly unique and these women are simply amazing in the way they express their love and compassion through their decadent desserts.

I came across a lot of scrumptious looking cakes and I'm sure I'll be making more than a few of them in time! But I didn't get very far before I spotted my first recipe to try, in fact it was the very first story in the book. I knew it would be perfect for summer time berries and I made this cake for my mother's birthday a few weeks ago.

This cake was quite delicious I tell ya! I apologize for the crappy picture, we were up at the river for the weekend and the lighting was horrible. It was my first time making a pound cake and I think it turned out really well, I received so many compliments that night. You'll definitely like this if you don't want an overly sweet cake. It's topped with whipped cream, a mixed berry sauce and then additional fresh berries. This is a perfect summer treat and would look great on your table for the 4th of July coming up!

I really enjoyed this book and see myself coming back to it time and time again. Of course I'm sure I'll be trying out some of the other recipes too!

Vanilla Almond Pound Cake

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/2 c vegetable shortening
3 c sugar
5 large eggs, room temp
3 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 c whole milk, room temp
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract

Berry Sauce:
2 pints fresh berries (I used a mixture of strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries)
1/2 c sugar
Whipped cream


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a 10 x 6-inch tube pan with nonstick cooking spray. Cream butter and shortening together with an electric mixer on low speed. Add in sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating at low speed after each addition. Make sure to scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Beat for a total of  3-5 mins or until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beat until they are fully incorporated and entire mixture is light in color and texture.

Add flour and baking powder to a separate bowl, sift together and set aside. Add vanilla and almond extract to milk. Add 1 cup of dry ingredients to creamed mixture and beat on low just until incorporated. Add 1/2 c. of milk and extract mixture and beat on low. Continue alternating adding the dry mixture and milk mixture to the creamed mixture, ending with flour.

Pour batter into greased tube pan, smooth top with a spatula and shake pan slightly to settle the batter into edges of the pan. Bake for 1 hour 20 minutes or until top crust of cake is a deep golden brown, the surface springs back when touched with finger and sides of cake have pulled away from the pan. Allow cake to cool at least one hour in pan. To remove cake from pan, place a large heat-proof plate on top of the pan. Grasp both sides of pan and plate firmly, and quickly invert the pan into the plate. Remove the pan, leaving the cake to cool on the plate.

To make berry sauce, add berries and sugar to a bowl and mash until sugar dissolves.

To assemble cake, top with whipped cream. Spoon berry sauce on top of whipped cream. Top cake with additional fresh berries. Cut into slices and serve. If you don't plan to serve all of your cake at once, you can cut into slices and then top with whipped cream and berry sauce. Keep remaining cake covered at room temp.

Monday, June 11, 2012

PW's Sloppy Joes

I've mentioned before how much I enjoy reading through Pioneer Woman's cookbooks, especially her newest. Besides the step-by-step pictures, I love her approach to simple, good, down-home cooking. I don't think there's been a recipe yet I've tried that we haven't liked.

There's not any complicated ingredients in these, nor anything that really makes them special. I think they're just common staples that make up a good sloppy joe sandwich. My family likes to be boring and stick to just ketchup in theirs while I love to add extra ingredients like green peppers, mustard and brown sugar. I really enjoyed the extra touch of serving these on a toasted bun, it's not something I had thought to do before. It's that extra step that makes it really good!

Pioneer Woman's Sloppy Joes

1-1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1 green bell pepper, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 c. ketchup
1/2 c. water
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
Worcestershire sauce, to taste
Dash of hot sauce
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Hamburger buns


Brown ground beef in a large skillet over med-high heat until no longer pink. Drain fat and discard. Add green pepper and garlic, cook for a few minutes until peppers start to soften. Add in all seasonings and sauces, let simmer for 20 minutes and adjust seasonings if needed.
Spread butter on buns and brown on a griddle or skillet. Top with meat mixture and desired toppings such as cheese or pickles.

Adapted from: Pioneer Woman

Friday, June 8, 2012

Creamy Snickers Dip

I'm going to warn you, this dip is extremely good and addicting! I made this last weekend when we went up to the river. I always like to call a dessert a success when I bring home an empty container, this one was no exception.

This particular dip only requires 4 ingredients and came be made up in literally 5-10 minutes. The hardest part is the waiting to eat! It's certainly good without any extra chilling but if you have the time, let it sit in the fridge for 24 hours so the flavors all have time to blend together. That caramel in the snickers bars sort of melt into the cream cheese and whipped cream filling.....ooh it's so yummy! I like to serve this with pretzels for that wonderful sweet and salty combo. You can use fresh fruit, graham crackers, or just eat it by the spoonful! Just kidding, but it's seriously that good.

It's so good that I have made this twice in the past week. That rarely happens! I'm telling you, make this soon and be sure to let me know what you think!

Creamy Snickers Dip

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
3/4 c powdered sugar
1 tub Whipped topping
3 regular sized Snickers bars, chopped
Pretzels to serve with

In a large bowl using an electric mixer, combine cream cheese and powdered sugar. Add in whipped topping until well combined. Fold in chopped Snickers. Let chill for 24 hours for best results and serve with pretzels. I did use some of the extra chocolate shavings from the Snickers to garnish.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Summer Berry Pie

It's strawberry season here in Iowa! Well actually, it has been for a couple good weeks now due to our mild winter and wonderful spring temps we've been experiencing.

I took the girls out to Heartland Farms on Memorial Day for our annual strawberry picking. It was a beautiful morning and the strawberries were especially big this year!

One little girl spent more time eating rather than helping to fill our box.

We ended up with about 9 lbs. of strawberries and I'm sad to say they are long gone! We're planning another trip out to the farm this Thursday so I can fill my freezer with berries for smoothies and such.

I did however, get 2 batches of this strawberry freezer jam made and tucked away in the freezer. I first tried Ally's recipe last year and I will continue to make this each year!

We also made some smashed berry waffles for the freezer, I simply used my go-to waffle recipe and then added a mixture of smashed strawberries, blueberries and blackberries to the batter. The kids loved them!

Strawberry season isn't complete without strawberry slushies/smoothies! So of course we had to make those one afternoon and boy were they good. We ate our fair share of the ripe and luscious berries but I did make sure to save enough to make this pie for dessert last week. It was amazing!

I'm a sucker for anything with a graham cracker crust and all of those fresh berries were so good. I did spend most of my nap time putting this little concoction together but I think it was worth it. There's a wonderful thick berry puree down inside that you might not see in the picture, it's delicious and so worth the effort to make. We topped our slices with some whipped topping (of course the hubby had his with some vanilla ice cream) and I think we were in heaven for those 5 minutes while we devoured our pie!

Summer Berry Pie


Graham cracker crust:
9 graham crackers, broken into rough pieces
2 tbsp sugar
5 tbsp butter, melted and warm

Berry Filling:

2 1/2-3 c sliced strawberries
1- 6 oz. container blackberries
2 c  blueberries
1/2 c sugar
3 tbsp cornstarch
1/8 tsp salt
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp strawberry rhubarb jam (you could use just about any kind you have on hand)

Whipped topping or fresh whipped cream for topping
Ice Cream, optional


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. For the crust, in a food processor, process the graham crackers until evenly fine. Add sugar and pulse to combine. Continue to pulse while adding in warm butter, pulse until mixture resembles wet sand. Transfer crumbs to a 9-inch pie plate. Press crumbs evenly into bottom and up sides to form a crust. Bake for 15-18 mins, until crust is beginning to brown. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool while making the filling.

For the filling, combine berries in a colander and gently rinse, spread berries onto paper towels to dry. In a food processor, puree 2 1/2 c of the mixed berries until smooth. Strain the puree through a mesh strainer into a small saucepan, scraping and pressing on the seeds to extract as much puree as possible. You want to have about 1 1/4 c of the puree. Whisk the sugar, cornstarch and salt into the saucepan to combine. Bring the puree to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. When the mixtures reaches a boil and is thickened like pudding, remove from heat, stir in the lemon juice and set aside to cool slightly.

While the puree is cooling, place remaining berries in a bowl. Heat the jam in a small saucepan over low heat until fully melted.  Combine the jelly with berries.

To assemble the pie: Pour the berry puree over the cooled crust, spread into an even layer. Distribute the glazed berries over the puree. Loosely cover the pie with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 3 hours, until pie is chilled and puree has set. Serve pie with whipped cream and/or ice cream if desired.

Adapted from: Baking Illustrated

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