Guest Post for Cookie Monday: Mallow Cookies by Jhuls of The Not So Creative Cook

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Mallow Cookies
by Jhuls of The Not So Creative Cook

Our cookie girl today really doesn’t need any introductions… Jhuls, of The Not So Creative Cook has made her way into the hearts of everyone. And I always have to chuckle at the name of her blog, because this girl is as creative as they come. Her talent in the kitchen always shines in every recipe that she posts.

It has been a pleasure watching her grow in the last year and a half, watching her come out of her shyness…and now? Well, she’s our little social butterfly! I’ve never met someone so supportive…and so loving… Jhuls is the glue that holds our huge community of bloggers together, cheering us on..reminding us to post on Fiesta Friday…

And most importantly..most impressive to me….Jhuls brings new bloggers under her wing… and helps them to get out into the blogging community… I’m just so proud of her for that, and I know that those bloggers will be forever grateful to her too.

Beautiful, both inside and out…Jhuls’ sweet nature will draw you in…and her delicious recipes will keep you there. I know that you will love her just as much as I do…and just as the whole blogging community does…

Thank you, Jhuls, for baking these delicious Mallow Cookies for me today…It means to world to me… You mean the world to me, little sweet pea.

Take it away my friend…
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Ahh, weekend! We always have something to look forward to – road trip, beach outing, long-term window shopping, quality time with yourself and with your loved ones, more time to cook and bake… a lot more. Of course, a time off from school and work. We enjoy so much during these days that we wish weekend would never end.

After weekend, what? Most of time, we get so grumpy. Like, Monday again? Many of us believe that Monday is the most hated day of the week (Poor Monday). Well, what did Monday did to us, anyway?

It’s all in the mind, peeps! We create our own happiness and we can’t prevent Monday to keep coming back… so we need something to look forward to.

For students, I think they could look forward to chatting with their BFFs… and without even noticing, school is over.

For workers, well… SALARY DAY. I know it’s not salary day every Monday, but at least you know that time runs and you’ll tell yourself, ‘Hey, its salary day.’ :D

For bloggers, we have lots of things to look forward to. One of them is this series by Prudy @ Butter Basil and Breadcrumbs called Just Another Cookie Monday. Ha! What would make us smile than a cookie in our hand and a glass milk on the other? :D

I am so happy that Prudy @ Butter, Basil and Breadcrumbs invited me to do a guest post for her Just Another Cookie Monday series. Prudy is one of the amazing bloggers I have ever known – she is one of the sunshines of the crowd. Her recipes are amazing, as well as her photos. Her stories, I just love them all. You’d never get tired of reading them. Prudy-Mallows1Mallow Cookies has been a favorite of mine since I was a child. They are cookies topped with cloudy marshmallow fluff and coated with chocolate. I never knew it’s not that difficult to do it. I am so thrilled when I found this recipe.

I just had encountered few problems:
Prudy-Mallows2(1) Some cookies are thick and some are thin. Either way, they are so delicious.
(2) Stiff peak? The egg whites/marshmallow fluff did not reach that. (#impatient) So if you compare the source recipe and mine, mine did not get that kisses look.
(3) I don’t know what did I do wrong, but the chocolate did not melt beautifully. I suspect that it has been overheated? So I added warm cream when I saw that the chocolate and butter mixture was so thick that it looks like a spread.

Instead of leaving them at room temperature to set when finally coated and all, I let them sit in the fridge until ready to consume.

But you don’t have to worry about that as I am providing you the source recipe. ;) You’d do better.
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Guest Post for Cookie Monday: Mallow Cookies by Jhuls of The Not So Creative Cook
Author: 
Recipe type: Cookie
 

Topped with cloudy marshmallow fluff and coated with chocolate, these cookies will become a favorite of both young and old… Recipe adapted from Tartelette.
Ingredients
For the Cookies:
  • 3 cups (375grams/13.23oz) all purpose flour
  • ½ cup (112.5grams/3.97oz) white sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ⅜ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 12 tablespoons (170grams/ 6 oz) unsalted butter
  • 3 eggs, whisked together
For the marshmallows:
  • ¼ cup (60ml) water
  • ¼ cup (60ml) light corn syrup
  • ¾ cup (170 grams) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon powdered gelatin
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 2 egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 whole vanilla bean, split open and seeded
For the chocolate glaze:
  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 2 ounces cocoa butter or vegetable oil
  • (I used 12 ounces of semisweet chocolate and 2 ounces butter)

Instructions
Prepare the cookies:
  1. In a mixer with the paddle attachment, blend the dry ingredients. On low speed, add the butter and mix until sandy. Add the eggs and mix until combine. Form the dough into a disk, wrap with clingfilm or parchment and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 3 days. When ready to bake, grease a cookie sheet or line it with parchment paper or a silicon mat.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Roll out the dough to ⅛-inch thickness, on a lightly floured surface. Use a 1 to 1½ inches cookie cutter to cut out small rounds of dough. Transfer to the prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Let cool to room temperature.
Prepare the marshmallows:
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the water, corn syrup, and sugar, bring to a boil until “soft-ball” stage, or 235 degrees on a candy thermometer. Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water and let dissolve. Remove the syrup from the heat, add the gelatin, and mix. Whip the whites until soft peaks form and pour the syrup into the whites. Add the vanilla seeds and continue whipping until stiff. Transfer to a pastry bag.
Prepare the chocolate glaze:
  1. Melt the chocolate and shortening together in the top of a double boiler or a bowl set over barely simmering water.
To assemble:
  1. Pipe a “kiss” of marshmallow onto each cookie. Let set at room temperature for 2 hours. Line a cookie sheet with parchment or silicon mat. One at a time, gently drop the marshmallow-topped cookies into the warm chocolate glaze. Lift out with a fork and let excess chocolate drip back into the bowl. Place on the prepared pan and let set at room temperature until the coating is firm, about 1 to 2 hours.

These are absolute heaven – I couldn’t stop myself from eating. Believe it or not, the next day after I made these, I went directly to the fridge as soon as I wake up and devoured four cookies. :D And I did that until the cookies are gone. Well, I did share some to my friends. They are lucky, I know. ;)

I hope you enjoy these heavenly treats.

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A Giveaway! Designer Jewelry & $125 Paypal Cash!!

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Tabler Party of Two  |  Katherines Corner  |  Epic Mommy Adventures  |  This N That with Olivia  |  God’s Growing Garden  |  Butter Basil and Breadcrumbs

I’m really excited today to be teaming up with five awesome bloggers to offer you the opportunity to win a beautiful bracelet from Caroles Art Etsy shop as well as $125 in Paypal cash! The designer behind the bracelet is Andrea’s (Tabler, Party of Two) mom, who gave an identical bracelet to Andrea for Christmas, and then is generously offering one for this giveaway!

She is a true artist….as the twists and twirls of this amazing copper wire art with turquoise magnesite bracelet (an $85 value) were done by Carole herself. To see more of her creations, check out this post and giveaway from last week. In fact, you can even enter to win two more pieces of Carole’s unique jewelry to add to your spring wardobe. Enter away below, and be sure to check out these lovely ladies as well as Caroles Art on Etsy!

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Entering this giveaway is easy. Simply scroll down to the Rafflecopter form below, and click on the boxes to enter. Please become an email follower or confirm you are already a follower of Tabler Party of Two via email (this will be verified) and enter as many entries as you would like. Giveaway starts today and ends February 16th.
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Yellow Cupcake with Chocolate Frosting Cocktail

Yellow Cupcake with Chocolate Frosting 5

celebration
a  party or a gathering of any people for reasons that are usually happy where the people interact and generally have a good time.  a celebration can be for a birthday, holiday, promotion. celebrations can also be for no reason other than to see friends.      ~~Urban Dictionary~~

Today, Fiesta Friday at The Novice Gardener celebrates its One Year Anniversary! Fiesta Friday has been a very large part of my blogging life… It’s a place where we all gather to share our lives, our loves, laughter, friendship, and good food… and it is where I became a part of the blogging community, meeting the people who have truly become such wonderful friends…

A special THANK YOU to Angie, the girl behind the scenes at The Novice Gardener…for all of her hard work and dedication and for taking time out of her busy schedule each week to host this wonderful event! It has been a blast, and I look forward to many more…

Here’s to you, Angie! Salud!

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Thanks to Julianna of Foodie on Board, and Hilda of Along the Grapevine for co-hosting this week…a special day for them, too…as they were the very first co-hosts way back when it all began.. It’s so fitting to have them here today!

And in celebration, I wanted to make a festive cocktail for starters…

Ryan (technically…Ryan is Katie’s boyfriend…but let’s face it…I love that boy…he’s totally a son to me… ) came over the other night, and I truly enjoyed spending time with him tossing ideas around, and coming up with different concoctions, until we agreed that this cocktail had to represent my most favorite thing in the world…

And…you all know how much I love yellow cupcakes with chocolate frosting with lots of sprinkles, so we thought that it was fitting to bring exactly that… but in a cocktail form!
Yellow Cupcake with Chocolate Frosting 4Once we had our minds made up, coming up with this recipe for this Yellow Cupcake with Chocolate Frosting Cocktail was so easy!

It’s filled with delicious Lady Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur, Amaretto, cake flavored vodka, and coconut milk! A ring of dark chocolate around the rim of the glass, dipped in colorful sprinkles makes a festive drink perfect for a celebration as special as this..

Life is Good. It’s a “Looking forward to many many more years of Fiesta Friday!” kind of good..

Yellow Cupcake with Chocolate frosting cocktail 2

Yellow Cupcake with Chocolate Frosting Cocktail
Author: 
Recipe type: Cocktail Beverage
Prep time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 6
 

Ingredients
  • 3 oz Cake Flavored Vodka
  • 3 oz White Chocolate Liqueur
  • 2 oz Amaretto
  • 1 oz Coconut Milk
  • 1 oz Heavy Cream
  • Handful of ice cubes
  • 3 tbsp. melted dark chocolate
  • Non-pareils (Sprinkles)

Instructions
  1. Dip the rims of six cordial glasses into the melted chocolate. Immediately dip the chocolate rimmed glasses into a bowl of non-pariels. Shake to remove any loose sprinkles so that they don’t discolor the drink. Set aside, and let dry.
  2. Add the vodka, white chocolate liqueur, amaretto, coconut milk, and heavy cream and ice into a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously for a minute or two.
  3. Strain into cordial glasses, carefully so that the beverage doesn’t touch the sprinkles on the rim of the glass.
  4. Serve immediately.
  5. Enjoy!

 

Italian Wedding Soup

Italian Wedding Soup 1So, I went to my favorite little bakery last week to buy a loaf of bread, and came out with a large loaf of bread, a little cake, a bottle of pop, and two sticks of pepperoni…

I’ve come to the conclusion that there are a couple of requirements to work at that bakery…
1) You have to be Italian.
2) You have to be a little cranky.
3) You have to be under 5 feet tall.

And to be their customer, there are a couple of requirements…
1) Know exactly what you want when you get up to the counter.
2) Don’t make small talk.
3) Don’t tell the lady who is waiting on you that you’re just going to run over and grab a pop out of the cooler, and then come back with a pop and a couple of sticks of pepperoni. You will get reprimanded, with a lot of grumbling under her breath.

Okay, in her defense … I did say that I was grabbing a pop out of the cooler. I didn’t mention pepperoni, therefore I should have come back only with pop.

But in my defense…I didn’t know the pepperoni was in the cooler… therefore I didn’t know I wanted it until I saw it.

Lesson learned. Know what you want, Prudy… don’t stray from the plan.
Italian Wedding Soup 3I jest, really… they’re lovely ladies… a little on the cranky side…yes…. But lovely nonetheless. There is one lady in particular that I’m a little petrified of… and I tend to say a little prayer that I don’t get her when I go in… and of course, I always do.

So, knowing that I’m going to get her… I usually practice in my head what I’m going to ask for before I get up to the counter. If I have questions, I practice how I’m going to ask them, so that I don’t come off as being stunad (stupid)…

“What flavor is that cake (that I cannot see under all that icing)?” I’ll ask her…. Which will usually end up with her throwing her hands up in the air in a wave of agitation, because I’m sure in her mind, I should know the flavor just by looking at the white icing with pink flowers that the cake is chocolate.

Another lesson learned. Just buy the cake, Prudy. It doesn’t matter what flavor it is.
Italian Wedding Soup 4And the final lesson of the day…always… ALWAYS… let her decide what kind of bread I want.

“Could I have that small loaf of sliced Italian, please” I asked.
“What you make?” She asked.
“Italian Wedding Soup”.. I answered.
“No. No slice. Large loaf.” … she decided for me.
“Oh…Okay. Thank you.” I said meekly…knowing full well that I had already pushed her to her limit with the pepperoni.

Honestly? I wouldn’t want her any other way….I really love that lady. I’m petrified of her. But I love her. She’s not fooling me….underneath that crotchety exterior, lies a good woman with a heart as big as her under 5 foot body. The funny thing is, is that she’s always spot on. She was absolutely right. A thick, warm slice of buttered bread was the perfect accompaniment for this soup. If I would have bought the small loaf that was already sliced, it wouldn’t have stood up to the depth of flavor that this soup has to offer.
Italian Wedding Soup 2And depth of flavor does it have! When you read what goes into my Italian Wedding Soup, you’re going to be skeptical, because there are so few ingredients…but they’re bold enough to pull off a most delicious soup with layers of flavor…hence its name “minestra maritata”…translated “married soup”… which references the perfect marriage of greens and meat in a soup.
Italian Wedding Soup 5Honestly? I think it’s all in the meatball. Yes, the carrots, onions, and celery are a very important layer to the flavor…. But it’s the parsley, the onion, the garlic, the romano cheese, and beef that brings so many levels to the pot. The spinach (or kale, or escarole, or whatever tickles your fancy..) plays a key role, and is truly a bonus for those of us who love greens in their soup… And those little Acini de Pepe? Well, they just soak up all of that gloriousness that the soup has to offer, and burst with flavor with every spoonful!

And the beauty of this? This is a shortcut version, made with store bought chicken stock, so you won’t be fumbling with cooking the chicken for hours and hours. I’m not going to lie, the meatballs do take the longest because you’re rolling out little bite sized balls…but believe me…it’s totally worth it in the end. This takes MAYBE two hours tops from start to finish! Throw it in your crockpot in the morning, and you’ll have a wonderful meal waiting for you when you get home that night!

The key to success, is to let the flavors do what the name of this soup suggests… marry. The longer they hang out together, the more delicious this soup will be.

Life is good.  It’s a “Don’t mess with short little Italian women…they’ll kick your ass every time…” kind of good..

Italian Wedding Soup 1

Italian Wedding Soup
Author: 
Recipe type: Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 6 servings
 

Minimal ingredients, yet bold enough to pull off a most delicious soup with layers of flavor…hence its name “minestra maritata”…translated “married soup”… which references the perfect marriage of greens and meat in a soup.
Ingredients
The Soup
  • 3 – 32 oz cartons chicken stock
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped into small cubes
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 12 oz fresh baby spinach, stems removed and torn into pieces
  • ½ cup Acini de Pepe, uncooked
The Meatballs
  • 1 pound beef, veal, pork mixture
  • 2 tbsp. onion, finely grated
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¾ cup romano cheese
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp. dried parsley
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil

Instructions
The Meatballs
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the beef mixture, onion, garlic, romano cheese, breadcrumbs, egg, parsley, salt and pepper. Mix with your hands until just blended.
  2. Roll the meat mixture into dime size meatballs.
  3. In a large sauté pan, cook the meatballs in batches, until they’re browned and fully cooked.
  4. Drain on a paper towel lined plate. Set aside until ready to throw into the soup.
The Soup
  1. Pour the chicken stock into a large soup pot. Add the onion, carrots, celery, salt and pepper. As soon as it comes to a boil, reduce the heat, and let the stock simmer until the vegetables are cooked. Add the cooked meatballs (Instructions below) and the spinach, and let simmer for about ½ hour.
  2. Add the Acini de Pepe, and cook until the pasta is al dente.
  3. Serve immediately with romano cheese, and a thick slice of bread! I say “serve immediately”, but I do maintain the longer this sits, the more delicious it is. Reheat it if you have time to let it sit, and then serve!
  4. Enjoy!

 

Guest Post for Cookie Monday: Linzer Cookies by Sally of Bewitching Kitchen

 

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Cookie Monday
with Sally from Bewitching Kitchen

It is truly a delight to have Sally from Bewitching Kitchen sharing her gorgeous Linzer cookies with us today!

If you don’t already know Sally, well, it won’t take you long to realize that within the first couple minutes of meeting her, that you’ve become smitten.

Sally is not only a talented cook, she is also a biochemist (so she’s really REALLY intelligent )…. and was born and raised in Brazil (so she’s really REALLY beautiful)…and about the size of a minute…but she’s bursting at the seams with so much infectious joy, that you cannot help but walk away smiling and happy after reading one of her posts.

Which, of course, is why she walked straight into my heart….I just love her to pieces!

I can’t tell you how happy I was when Sally agreed to bake some cookies for me, especially knowing just how busy her schedule is… and the fact that her husband Phil helped make the cookies it even more special!

Thank you, Sally for being here today, and sharing this awesome cookie recipe with us!  I can’t wait to give them a try, and only hope that mine turn out as pretty as yours!  It is truly an honor..

Take it away, my friend…

~~Sally, from Bewitching Kitchen~~

Sally from Bewitching KitchenFirst of all, let me say I am thrilled to participate in Prudy’s series “Cookie Monday!” Monday is probably the most dreaded day of the week because it means play is over, my friend, you are going back to work. But, here at Butter, Basil and Breadcrumbs, Monday brings Cookies, and who doesn’t love a cookie? ;-)

lizercookie2For my participation, I chose cookies originally from Austria, a sort of miniaturized version of the famous Linzer Torte. These were recently featured on the Food TV show “Best Thing I Ever Made“, in a segment with Alex Guarnaschelli. Phil walked into the room right when she came on, did not even blink: We gotta make those, Sally!And that’s what we did early on a Sunday morning. It was a lot of fun, they are a bit involved but really not too hard.

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Linzer Cookies
Recipe type: Cookies
 

A delightful jam filled sandwich cookie!
Ingredients
  • 2 + ½ sticks lightly salted butter
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 + ⅓ cups all-purpose flour, plus additional flour for rolling
  • ½ cup slivered almonds, ground
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup seedless raspberry jam
  • Powdered sugar, optional

Instructions
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip the butter until smooth. Add the sugar and continue mixing until the mixture becomes light and fluffy, 5 to 8 minutes. Do not skimp on this part.
  2. In another bowl, combine and mix the flour, almonds, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add to the butter/sugar mixture, incorporating it all by hand using a large rubber spatula. Because this dough has a good amount of butter, it needs resting time and needs to be rolled fairly quickly.
  3. Lay 3 large pieces of wax paper in a single layer on a flat surface. Sprinkle each one with a light coating of flour. Place one-third of the batter on each of the pieces of wax paper. Coat with another light layer of flour and top with another piece of wax paper of the same length to make 3 dough “sandwiches.” Press these wax paper and dough sandwiches down with your hands until the dough is fairly thin. This will save a lot of time on rolling later on. Place 2 of them in the refrigerator and work with them one at a time.
  4. Roll the first batch into as neat a shape as possible. What matters most is avoiding creases or cracks and rolling it about ⅛ inch-thick. When the first is rolled, refrigerate it and repeat the same process for the other 2. Let them chill at least 10 minutes.
  5. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  6. Make the cookie bottoms: Remove the first rolled sheet from the refrigerator and cut as many 1½-inch shapes as you can. Reserve the scraps in the refrigerator. Arrange them neatly in a single layer on a greased baking sheet. Repeat with the other 2 sheets, reserving any scraps.
  7. Make the cookie tops: Cut an opening with the smaller cutter, out of the center of half of all the cookies. Roll the scraps in between 2 of the pieces of wax paper and cut additional shapes, if desired. Be creative, cut out stars, rounds, hearts on the tops. Bake the cookies until they are lightly brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove the trays from the oven and allow them to cool slightly on the tray for a few minutes before gently transferring them to a flat surface.
  8. Place the raspberry jam in a small pot and bring it to a light simmer. Remove from the heat to cool slightly as well. Spoon ¼ to ½ a teaspoon raspberry jam on each bottom and place a top heart on squarely on each. Dust with powdered sugar if desired.
  9. ENJOY!

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Comments: We got better and better as we moved along making these. You can mix and match designs, Santa Claus is perfect for the holidays, heart-shaped cookies a great option for Valentine’s Day, which by the way is right around the corner!  Our heart-shaped cookies had to go with a star in the center, because we did not have the correct size of cutters for the top. Next time we’ll be ready…  You want enough opening in the top layer, but not too much because if the top layer is too open you will have a hard time moving the dough around to bake and it could end up distorted.  Those are small details that play a role in the end.

How did they taste? Wonderful!  The almond component of the dough makes the cookie itself very flavorful and with a  pleasant texture, but of course, the jam filling is what seals the deal. Next day they were even better, actually.

I hope you enjoyed this little tour on Linzer Cookies, and consider making them in the near future. They are a great project to tackle with kids, friends, or your favorite human being.

Prudy, thanks so much for the invitation, I absolutely loved composing this guest post for your site!

Hot Chocolate Smoothie

hot chocolate smoothie 5Have you ever played a game of Scrabble with a dictionary in hand? You know that’s against the rules, right?  Or played a game of Monopoly in which your opponent is completely out of money, and lands on your property… you break the rules and let him/her owe you the money until he/she passes “Go” and gets $200?

I have.
I’ve broken those Scrabble and Monopoly rules.
I’ve gone against the grain.
I’ve fought the system.
Created a ripple in the force…

Sometimes rules are made to be broken.
And sometimes, we think there are rules, when in fact, there are no rules at all…

Like Smoothies. Do they really have to be made with fruit? No. They don’t. People have been adding vegetables to their smoothies for a very long time so that they can get their daily intake of vitamins and nutrients.

But what if, just this once… I didn’t want a fruit and vegetable smoothie? What if I wanted something decadent.. made with yogurt, dark chocolate, and espresso? What if I want a little guilty pleasure?

Would that be breaking the rules?
Maybe.
Or…maybe not…

Hot Chocolate Smoothie 4Last week, I received an email, asking if I would be interested in participating in this week’s Williams-Sonoma Mission:

“Not Your Typical Smoothie”..

I tossed a few ideas around with my friends… but in the end, I knew full well that if I made a smoothie, there was going to be chocolate involved. It’s not that I don’t like fruit and vegetable smoothies, because I do… but this time, well… it had to be chocolate. It had to be different. It had to be breaking the rules.

This truly is a decadent smoothie..you know…filled with promises of love and satisfaction…and it delivers…baby… it delivers.
hot chocolate smoothie 3The creaminess from the yogurt and chocolate make it almost milkshake-like, but the ice and espresso gives it that slushiness that we all love in a smoothie. Swirl the dark chocolate espresso bottom throughout the smoothie for a little guilty pleasure with each sip you take.. and then top it off with a bite of that crunchy gooeyness of the toasted marshmallow!

Tomorrow…you can go back to your fruits and vegetables…but today…enjoy the deep rich flavor of hot chocolate and espresso together in a cup filled with icy goodness..

Because life is good.
It’s a “Rules were made to be broken..” kind of good…

hot chocolate smoothie 2

I’m always on Williams-Sonoma’s website checking out what they have new…and what bargain I just might find on clearance….  and while I was there, I was checking out their wide variety of blenders… it amazes me how far blenders have come!  Some of them are amazing… like need to have their own room because I swear they’re almost human with all of the things they can do!  It made me realize how badly I need a new blender!

Hot Chocolate Smoothie
Author: 
Recipe type: Smoothie
Prep time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 2
 

A deep rich flavor of hot chocolate and espresso together in a cup filled with icy goodness..
Ingredients
Hot Chocolate Smoothie
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips (or semi-sweet if you can’t find the dark chocolate)
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 cup ice
  • 3 tbsp prepared espresso
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Dark Chocolate Espresso Bottom
  • ¼ cup dark chocolate chips
  • 3 tbsp prepared espresso
Frothy Milk
  • ¼ cup warm milk
  • 2-toasted marshmallows for garnish

Instructions
  1. In a small saucepan, over medium heat..heat the heavy cream until bubbles begin to form around the edges of the pan. Don’t let it come to a boil. Remove from heat, and stir in the chocolate chips. Continue to stir until the chocolate chips are completely melted, and the chocolate is smooth and creamy.
  2. In a blender (or your blending appliance of choice) add the yogurt, the melted chocolate, milk, ice, espresso, and vanilla. Blend until completely mixed, and of slushy consistency. (Add more or less ice for your desired consistency)
  3. Add the ¼ cup chocolate chips and 3 tbsp of espresso to a small bowl. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Remove from microwave and stir. Depending on your microwave, you might have to heat it for a few more seconds until the chocolate is completely melted.
  4. Add the melted chocolate to the bottom of two cups, painting it up the sides of the cups with the spoon.
  5. Add the hot chocolate smoothie on top of the melted chocolate, to about ¼” from the top of the cup.
  6. Add the warm milk to a milk frother, and froth the milk according to the directions. Add the froth to the top of the frozen hot chocolate mixture.
  7. Top with toasted marshmallows.
  8. Serve immediately with a straw and a spoon.
  9. Enjoy!

A quick note…. a special Thank You to Williams-Sonoma for inviting me to participate in their mission to find the not so typical smoothie.  It truly was a pleasure.

While this post is all in fun with the Williams-Sonoma “Not Your Typical Smoothie” mission..  I was not paid or compensated in any way.  The smoothie idea is my own, created to go with their fun theme for this week.

Wouldn’t these be perfect to create your own smoothies?…

This Waring Milk Shake and Drink Mixer would be perfect for my hot chocolate smoothie..

For the Smoothie Party Animal… this Margaritaville Trio Frozen Concoction Maker would be the bomb! 

This Breville Hemisphere Twist Blender is really all you need to make a perfect smoothie!

 

 

Skillet Brownies

Skillet Brownies 1
I forgot to bring my lunch to work the other day. I forget to bring my lunch to work a lot. I wake up in the morning with great intentions of getting ready on schedule, but at the end, I’m always rushing out the door trying to get to work on time, ultimately, leaving everything I packed sitting on the island. So, I usually end up grabbing something out of the vending machine.

I know.
Not good.
But good enough, when you’re hungry.

As I was sitting there eating my microwave mac and cheese, one of my coworkers walked in, and stopped in his tracks… “Prudy, I can’t believe you’re eating fake mac and cheese! And you claim to be a food blogger…..”

Well…yeah.
I don’t claim to be…
I AM a food blogger.

I’m not sure if I need credentials to be called a certified blogger, but I can print up an official looking document if that helps… I think, though, he is confusing my being a blogger to a chef…

And while cooking is my passion, and I love to eat, and I love to try new foods, to try new techniques, and I have my face in cooking books all the time… learning, learning, learning… and when I cook, I write about it, and I take photos of the food I’ve prepared…

Well, sadly, I’m not a chef.
I am a food blogger.

And…as a food blogger…I prefer all of the food that I make to be homemade, and MOST of the time it is…

But reality is, I’m a normal girl going through a normal and busy life, using normal shortcuts like everybody else does. I still eat frozen meals, and microwave meals, and use boxed brownies and cake mixes. I have bagel bites, and mozzarella sticks, and frozen pizza in my freezer (mostly for the fuss budget male species in the house). And those darn little frozen round peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that are freaking delicious when they’re put in the microwave for about 20 seconds!

skillet brownies 2And…I do admit that I am a child of boxed cake mixes and brownies….and because I was used to boxed mixes while I was growing up, I didn’t like homemade brownies. I think it was the deep chocolate flavor that made them just too rich for my tastebuds.

I tend to like sweeter, rather than bitter.

So I’ve been on this mission to get away from boxed brownie mixes completely…and have been searching for a brownie recipe that has a deep fudgy flavor, but isn’t too bitter. And I think I finally found one from Tux, of Brooklyn Homemaker, who made these brownies that are to die for!! (Man, this guy can cook…)

I absolutely love these brownies! They have such a deliciously rich chocolate flavor, and that wonderful gooey fudgy texture that we all love about brownies. What makes them even more fun, is that you can bake them in a skillet, and the outer edges come out buttery and crispy, that everyone gets to enjoy!

skillet brownies 3This brownie is one that you can slice right out of the skillet and casually eat with your hands…or put it on a pretty plate, and eat it with a fork! Serve it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or berries and whipped cream, and you have a beautiful dessert that you can be proud to serve to your family or honored guests!

I added a little more sugar the second time I made this recipe…only because I’m more sweet than bitter… or maybe it’s because I’m so bitter I need sweet… either way, I’m pleased with the outcome of adding a little more sugar to the mix. But if you like that dark chocolate flavor, reduce the sugar by 1/4 cup!  And…while Tux isn’t nutty…I’m completely nuts. So, I added a cup of toasted walnuts to mine.

Seriously. Take the plunge into homemade….and make this brownie… you won’t go back to boxed. I promise!

Life is good. It’s a “There is no shame in using shortcuts in our busy lives… anything to make life easy is definitely okay in my book…” kind of good..

Skillet Brownies 1

Skillet Brownies
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 8
 

Served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or berries and whipped cream, these delicious brownies will be a beautiful dessert that you can be proud to serve to your family or honored guests!
Ingredients
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • ¾ cup unsweetened dutch-process cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners (powdered) sugar, for dusting

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Spread one cup of chopped walnuts on a baking sheet. Place in heated oven and bake for about six minutes. When you can smell the walnuts baking, they’re ready to come out of the oven. Set aside.
  3. Over medium heat, melt butter in an 8 or 9 inch cast iron skillet. Let cool slightly.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix the sugar, cocoa until combined. Stir in the melted butter, but leave a light coating of the butter in the skillet. Stir in vanilla and eggs, one at a time. Add flour and stir until combined (do not over-mix).
  5. Add ½ cup of the toasted walnuts, lightly stirring until they’re incorporated into the batter.
  6. Pour batter into buttered skillet and smooth the top. (If you don’t have a skillet, you can use a buttered 8×8 square baking dish).
  7. Top with remaining ½ cup of toasted walnuts.
  8. Bake until the top of the brownies begin to crack, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 30-35 minutes.
  9. Remove skillet from oven, and let cool. Dust with confectioners sugar.
  10. Serve cool or warm!
  11. Enjoy!

I’m sharing this recipe with the following parties:

Angie’s Fiesta Friday at The Novice Gardener, with her lovely co-hosts Jhuls of The Not So Creative Cook and Judi of Cooking with Aunt Juju!  This is such a great party, with so many wonderful bloggers showing off their talents.  You’ll love it there… they’ll make you feel right at home.

Susan’s Tuesday’s Table at Love in the Kitchen!  This party is always huge, and always filled with some great ideas and recipes!  You’ll meet some really wonderful bloggers there..

 Lou Lou Girls Fabulous Linky Party!  This party is HUGE!!  Grab a cup of hot cocoa, coffee, tea, a glass of wine or something yummy, and sit back, relax, and enjoy clicking through all of the bloggers who are sharing their talents!  You’ll find recipes, DIY’s, crafts, and all kinds of fun stuff there!
Two Cup Tuesday at Pint Size Baker!  Such a great party…I always find the most beautiful desserts and recipes there!  There are some really great bloggers who party at Two Cup Tuesday!
Tickle My Tastebuds at Lori’s Culinary Creations!  I’m kind of a newbie there…. but from clicking around the party, there are a lot of awesome links shared by some really great bloggers!  I was surprised to find a couple of my blog friends there!!
Treasure Box Tuesday at Memories by the Mile!  Big BIG party!!  Lots of great bloggers sharing so many great talents!!
Create Link Inspire Party at Kleinworth and Co.  Yet another great party… SO MANY wonderful bloggers, sharing a plethora of talent!!

Guest Post for Cookie Monday: Immune System Boosting Cookies by Nancy of Feasting with Friends

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Cookie Monday
with Nancy from Feasting with Friends

You know, it’s funny… It seems like when every Friday rolls around, I’m really excited about the upcoming weekend. But then I start to think about how fast the weekends come and go, there’s that little bit of a sinking feeling… until, of course, I think about Cookie Monday, and the wonderful people who are helping me to keep it going…and Mondays just don’t seem so bad anymore..

Honestly, this girl doesn’t need any introductions, but for those of you who don’t know her, I’m thrilled to introduce Nancy from Feasting with Friends!

Because we have so much in common, Nancy and I just hit it off immediately. She is the kind of blogging friend, who..when life pulls you both in different directions and you lose touch for a little while…and when you finally have the chance to catch up with each other… you fall right back into place as if you’ve been there all along. She has a beautiful food blog, a beautiful outlook on life, and such a generous and loving soul. She is truly an inspiration to me, and to all of the people who know her. We are truly blessed.

Thank you, Nancy, for sharing these awesome Immune System Boosting Cookies! There is no doubt that this is the time of year that we all should be baking batches of them! It means so much to have you here today… you mean so much to me…

Take it away, my friend..

~~Nancy, from Feasting with Friends~~
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Prudy has been a great friend of mine for the last year or so. Who discovered who’s blog first, I honestly can’t remember…what I do remember is we became fast friends. Prudy kindest souls I have ever encountered. It is heartwarming to know there are people in this world that can freely spread the love. ♥

When I started my blog 1+ years ago, I never dreamt that blogger friendships would be gained. What a pleasant surprise! Prudy is one of those magnificent bloggers I can now call friend. She always leaves the sweetest, most encouraging comments. And…Ms Prudence IS funny! Whether she means to be or not…she’ll encourage a giggle or two whether reading one of her posts or one of her comments.

Anyone else remember the necklace choking her?? Perhaps you remember the story of her unconscious ability to copy other people’s gait?? Prudy is definitely one of a kind…thank goodness!
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThank you, Prudy, for your continued friendship. And thank you for the invitation to participate in your Cookie Monday series of posts. I’m honored and excited!

Now on to the cookies…

I don’t know about anyone else, but Christmas 2014 put me in a baking frenzy. At last count, my cookie baking totaled 55 dozen. Yep…55 dozen! I don’t know what got into me. Somehow, I made it through the season with a minor 3 pound weight gain…not bad. It certainly helped that most of the cookies went out the door in gift boxes.

Now that the holiday season is behind us, it seems winter has officially arrived for those of us in the “snow zones”. Here, in Michigan, snow totals are quite low…but…a HUGE but…the temperatures are even lower. Brrrr….
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA(This cookie “marks the spot” of where I live in Michigan!)
The last week brought temperatures that felt like twenty degrees below zero with the wind chill. I wish the weatherman wouldn’t tell me that cruel bit of information! Unfortunately, the frigid weather seems to intensify the cold and flu season in my neck of the woods. Staying healthy this time of year can prove to be a challenge. What if I told you I could lend you a hand in staying healthy?
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHow does combating the cold and flu season with cookies sound to you? Better than Nyquil and tissues? If I had my choice, I’d choose a cookie every time! The trick to beating out the “downside” of winter (cold and flu), is to boost your immune system with whatever you have in your arsenal. In this case…it’s all about cookies.

Cookies with lots of good stuff.
Stuff like cinnamon and ginger. Raisins and cranberries. Pomegranate seeds. Walnuts and nutmeg and cloves. Yogurt and molasses. Lemon zest and oatmeal.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGood stuff…right? And so undeniably tasty. Sure…there’s a bit of butter and sugar…but there MUST be scientific proof somewhere that proves these cookies are GOOD for you…actual healthy cookies!

Don’t believe me? Hmmph… make them then. Prove me wrong. ;)

Hope you enjoy these Immune System Boosting Cookies! If you’re curious what health benefits the ingredients provide, you can see the list at my blog with the summary for this post.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHope 2015 brings you health and happiness…and lots of cookies… even if only on a Cookie Monday! Thank you again, Prudy. ♥

Immune System Boosting Cookies
Author: 
Recipe type: Cookies, Desserts
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 3 dozen
 

Nancy’s Immune System Boosting Cookies are a deliciously sweet way to stay healthy! Recipe Adapted from Food Network
Ingredients
  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1¼ cups whole wheat flour
  • 1¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup blackstrap molasses
  • ¼ cup 2% fat Greek yogurt (plain)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • ½ cup old-fashioned, rolled oats
  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1¼ cups golden raisins
  • 1¼ cups dried cranberries
  • 1¼ cups chopped walnuts, toasted (to toast, see here)

Instructions
  1. Line 3 large baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside
  2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.
  3. Beat the butter and brown sugar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 minutes.
  4. Beat in the eggs one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next.
  5. Add the molasses, yogurt, ginger and lemon zest and beat until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
  6. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in the flour mixture to make a sticky batter (do not overmix).
  7. Fold in the oats and half of the raisins, cranberries and walnuts. Fold in the pomegranate seeds.
  8. Mix the remaining dried fruit and nuts in a small bowl and set aside.
  9. Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of batter onto the prepared baking sheets.
  10. Top each with some of the reserved dried-fruit-and-nut mixture (push into top of dough) and chill for 30 minutes.
  11. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  12. Bake the cookies until dark golden brown but still soft, 10 to 12 minutes.
  13. Cool on a rack. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Recipe adapted from Food Network, here.

Toasted Walnuts, see here

Yogurt Lime Pork Skewers

Yogurt Lime Pork Skewers 1“The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion…and the will to help others.”
~~Albert Schweitzer~~

It was such a snowy and windy day yesterday…Mike was in the kitchen with me while I cleaning up the dishes from making the marinade for these skewers…and we were just chatting about nonsense…when I happened to look out the kitchen window in time to see an SUV that was driving by, lose control on some black ice, and wipe out in the field across the street from my house. The SUV hit the field, and slid around in a circle, and then came to a stop. I yelled out as I was watching, and Mike went running to the window to see what happened. The SUV sat there for a couple of seconds, and then started to drive forward…

“No, no no!” Mike yelled out…”There’s a ditch! They’re going to get stuck in the ditch!” I looked at him wondering how the heck he knew that, because we’ve lived in this house for 20 years, and I never noticed a ditch. Sure enough, the front tires of the SUV went deep into the ditch…and they were stuck.
yogurt lime pork skewers 3Mike looked at me… “Should we go out there?” he asked… and just as I was about to answer, a car pulled alongside the road. And then a truck. And another car. And another. I bet there were eight vehicles parked on either side of the road, and all of those people were there to help those two men in that SUV.

I thought for sure that they’d be calling a tow truck, but surprisingly, those people managed to help push them out. I stood there amazed…not only because they managed to get that SUV out of the ditch…but mostly because of the people who stopped to help others in need in a wind chill of zero degrees.

I looked at Mike and said “There are some really good people in this world”… And while I half expected some sort of snide remark from him… he looked at me and nodded his head in agreement.

A good lesson for him.
A good lesson for both of us.

As I watched the last ‘stranger’ walk back to his truck waving to the two guys in the SUV, I couldn’t help but think of the media today, and how it pretty much shows us all of the bad things in the world…and there are bad things…. but it’s events like this that tell me that there is more good, than bad.

I don’t know why they make it so complicated,
When it’s so simple…

Strangers helping strangers.
People helping people.
Human life…helping human life.
yogurt lime pork skewers 4Anyway…back to the marinade. I’ve decided that I’m going to marinate everything in yogurt from now on…especially this marinade. I mixed Chobani Plain Greek yogurt with fresh garlic, lime, and cilantro…cut some pork tenderloin into cubes, and marinated it in the yogurt overnight.

Grilling the yogurt covered pork creates such a great crust on the meat, and the thick yogurt keeps the bold flavor of garlic, lime, and cilantro.  Skewer them up…and a quick grill on a cast iron skillet… A garlic lime yogurt sauce added a delightfully creamy bold tang to the pork!

It’s light. It’s fresh. And it’s totally uncomplicated…

Life is truly good.
Yogurt Lime Pork Skewers 2

 

Yogurt Lime Pork Skewers
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 4
 

Grilled pork skewers make a bold and delicious light meal!
Ingredients
  • 2-lb pork tenderloin, cut into 1 inch cubes
Yogurt Lime Marinade
  • 1 cup Chobani Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 3 tbsp olive oil (a good quality oil, you don’t want a bitter aftertaste)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1 tbsp lime zest
  • 1 tbsp cilantro, chopped
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
Yogurt Lime Sauce
  • Same ingredients as Marinade

Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, combine the yogurt, olive oil, garlic, lime, lime zest, cilantro, salt, and pepper. Whisk until combined.
  2. Pour the marinade into a large ziplock bag, and add the cubed pork. Seal the bag tightly, and shake the bag to coat the pork cubes completely.
  3. Refrigerate for at least a couple of hours, or overnight. (Overnight is better).
To Grill
  1. Place the pork cubes on skewers.
  2. Heat a griddle over high heat.
  3. Place each skewer on the heated griddle and grill until fully cooked, turning the pork skewers after a few minutes of grilling on each side.
  4. Serve immediately with a light side, such as couscous, rice or pasta, and the yogurt lime sauce.
Yogurt Lime Sauce
  1. In a medium bowl, combine the yogurt, olive oil, garlic, lime, lime zest, cilantro, salt, and pepper. Whisk until combined.
  2. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Serve with pork skewers.

Yogurt Lime Pork Skewers 1

Go Contigo Giveaway!

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So, you know…I’m one of those people who is really bad at drinking water during the day. I’ll grab a cup of tea and sip that all morning, and by noon, I’ll start drinking a Life Water or Vitamin Water…and end up sipping that all afternoon.  I mean, yes, I do get thirsty at times, but I don’t grab a bottle of water like I should and drink it…instead, I’ll drink iced tea or something like that.  I think it’s just because the water is flavorless…which…isn’t a bad thing…but my palate is just spoiled and wants flavor, which ends up with me drinking needless calories or fake sugar chemicals.

So when I saw this pitcher set, I thought it would be perfect to have at my desk all day… I’d be getting the water that I need, and with lemons and limes and strawberries and such…my spoiled palate would be getting the flavor it wants too..free of calories and free of chemicals!  I found this really awesome app on my phone, called Waterlogged…. and it gives you reminders throughout the day to drink your water, and it records the amount you’re drinking during the day until you hit your desired intake.  I set mine at 64 oz, which I believe is the recommended amount. It has been working out really well for me, and I’m finally getting the amount of water that I need every day!

And….when I saw that Katherine from Katherines Corner is having her first giveaway of 2015, I just had to join her and a group of lovely bloggers to bring you the Go Contigo Giveaway!  Now, how cool would it be to own your own Autoseal Pitcher Set ~~AND~~  receive $200 in PayPal cash?!!  This is a really cool giveaway…one that I’m really excited to be apart of…

It’s so easy to enter… simply follow the instructions below!  Good luck…and I hope you win!!

go contigo giveaway

One winner will receive-

$200 in PayPal Cash! and $75 in Cortland Contigo Water Bottles and Auto Seal Pitcher

PayPal cash provided by Katherine and some of her bloggy friends

go contigo giveaway sponsors

listed in no specific order

Katherine- Katherines Corner

Angel- Sew Crafty Angel

Kim, Jessica, Cassie, and Amber- Lou Lou Girls

Angelique- Gods Growing Garden

Heather- Woods of Bell Trees

Prudy- Butter Basil and Breadcrumbs

Karren- Oh My Heartsie Girl

Sheila- Model Savings

Laura- Mouse In The Kitchen

Nina- Vintage Mamas Cottage

Diane-Mamal Diane Keepling Life Simple

Karren- Oh My Heartsie Girl

Linda- Crafts Ala Mode

Entering the Go Contigo Giveaway is easy, log into the entry form using your email address or facebook and click on the first entry on the rafflecopter form. Please read the terms and conditions and write yes. Become an email follower or confirm you are a follower of Katherines Corner via email ( this will be verified) and enter as many bonus entries as you would like.

Open to all over 18 where permitted . Giveaway starts today and ends January 30th

Copy the button for the Giveaway below and paste it to your blog with a link back to Katherines Corner for extra entries ( remember to let her know where to find it ).

go contigo giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway