Sunday, November 24, 2013

Peppermint Chocolate Heart

I saw a picture on Pinterest of a chocolate heart covered in peppermints on a stick. I thought it was a really cute idea so I decided to re-create it! The picture had white chocolate and what looked like red sprinkles, but I used milk chocolate and mashed peppermint pieces.

I wanted to experiment and just made one, so obviously multiply if you want more!

  • Kabob stick
  • 4 mini peppermint hooks (what are they called in that shape?)
  • 1/8 c. chocolate chips
  1. Cover cookie sheet with wax paper
  2. Align kebob and two of the peppermints so the tip of the kebob stick hits where the middle part of the heart falls
  3. Put the other two peppermints in a Ziploc bag and mash with a hammer to pieces
  4. Put chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl
  5. Microwave in 30 second intervals until melted
  6. CAREFULLY and slowly, pour or spoon chocolate into open space
  7. Top with peppermint pieces
  8. Put into refrigerator for at least 30 minutes
So I had a bit of a fail moment and poured the chocolate too quickly. I wanted a nice picture, so I wiped chocolate off with ear cleaning sticks :)



S'Mores Cookies

I love s'mores. They make me think of cold weather and snuggling up in a warm blanket. I also think that charred marshmallows are one of the greatest things ever.

I had some left over marshmallows from making Cake Batter Rice Krispies Treats, so I wanted to experiment with making a s'mores cookie. I actually just made 2, so double/triple/quadruple etc. if you want more!

I couldn't even let them cool they were so good. They completely fell apart when I ate them but I bet they would harden up if I had let them cool.

  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. graham cracker crumbs
  • Peanut butter cups (I buy the kind from Trader Joes)
  • Handful of marshmallows
  1. Set oven to 350 degrees
  2. Put butter in microwave safe bowl and microwave in 15 second intervals until melted
  3. Add in crumbs and stir together with fork
  4. Put cupcake liners in cupcake tin
  5. Press butter and crumb mixture into liner
  6. Bake for 7 minutes
  7. Take out, put cups in and top with marshmallows

  8. Turn oven to broiler
  9. Put tin in broiler for a few minutes. Watch carefully as the marshmallows burn very quickly! (though I like it that way) If you don't like that, skip the broiler and put back in the oven for a few minutes
  10. Remove from heat
  11. Let cool for a few minutes
  12. Transfer to a cooling rack - or eat right away like I did!


Healthy Dog Treats

Riggins is 9 months old tomorrow. I figured he deserved some delicious homemade treats for this mini-birthday! I loved the look of these, they're super simple, and they're full of healthy stuff!

(I also realized after that Riggs has 4 little paws not 3, if you want to be accurate :))

  • 1 c. white flour (plus more for rolling out dough)
  • 1 c. quick oats
  • 10 baby carrots
  • 1 apple, cored
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 c. water
  • Dash of parsley
  • 1/2 c. plain Greek yogurt
  1. Set oven to 400 degrees
  2. Add carrots and apple to mini food processor and chop into small pieces

  3. Combine carrots and apples, flour, oats, egg, parsley, and water
  4. Mix until well combined (it may feel dry to you but it mixes eventually)
  5. Roll out onto well floured surface
  6. Cut out pieces (I used a mini-cup to make circles)
  7. Bake for 25 minutes
  8. Let cool completely
  9. Add yogurt to Ziploc bag, press air out, and cut a small hole in the corner 
  10. Add yogurt to cookies 
  11. Put cookies in refrigerator or freezer to keep
I hope you and your pups enjoy these!


Original idea found here

Franks Red Hot and Blue Cheese Scrambled Eggs

The combination of red hot sauce and blue cheese is one of the greatest. So I thought I would add it to scrambled eggs. Loved it!

  • 1/2 tbsp. butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp. milk (I used skim)
  • 2 tbsp. Franks red hot sauce
  • 1/8 c. blue cheese
  1. Put nonstick skillet over medium heat and let butter melt
  2. Meanwhile, scramble eggs with milk and half of the red hot sauce and half of the cheese
  3. Add to skillet
  4. Cook until eggs start to set and scramble
  5. When eggs are done, top with rest of sauce and cheese


Peeled Almonds

I follow someone named Valentina Zelyaeva on Instagram, a Ralph Lauren spokesmodel. She posted something a few days ago that you can soak almonds for 8-12 hours and peel the skin off. I had never heard of that! So I wanted to try it. It's amazing how different it tastes from a regular almond! I loved it.

  • Raw almonds, however many you like
  • Water
  1. Put almonds in cup and cover in water
  2. Soak for at least 8 hours (I did 24)
  3. Drain
  4. Peel the skins off (Be prepared- this takes forever! Though it's sort of fun)


Macaroni and Cheese Pizza

Ian's Pizza in Madison, WI is a great place where they have pizza tipped with all sorts of things. The most classic and the best is the mac and cheese topped pizza. Two of my favorite things combined into one! Seeing as we don't live in Madison, I decided to try to make this for myself. Turned out delicious!

I didn't make the mac and cheese from scratch, nor did I make the pizza dough from scratch as I got home late, but certainly a good idea! If you want to do that, some ideas:

  • Box of macaroni and cheese (plus butter and milk to make)
  • Pizza dough (I buy mine at Trader Joes)
  • 1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
  1. Make macaroni and cheese according to box, putting in a little extra milk and butter to make creamier
  2. Roll out pizza dough on a floured surface
  3. Add macaroni cheese to the dough
  4. Top with shredded cheese
  5. Bake according to directions on pizza dough (until crust is brown and cheese is bubbly)
  6. Let cool a few minutes before cutting


Hot Vanilla Vodka Milk

I was in the mood for some spiked hot chocolate, but we don't have any cocoa powder, so I decided to try a hot vanilla milk. It turned out delicious! Topped with marshmallows left over from Cake Batter Rice Krispies Treats.

  • 1 c. milk (I used skim)
  • 1 tbsp. white sugar
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 shot vodka
  • 10 marshmallows
  • Dash of cinnamon
  1. Put milk in microwave safe cup and microwave on high for 1-2 minutes, until the hotness of your liking
  2. Stir in both sugars, vanilla extract, and vodka, and stir
  3. Top with marshmallows and cinnamon


Monday, November 18, 2013

Cake Batter Rice Krispies Treats

I am loving Rice Krispies treats right now. I read if you add some yellow cake mix and sprinkles to a typical Rice Krispies recipe, it tastes like birthday cake. Amazing!!

Other recipes to try:
Chocolate and Candy Coated Rice Krispies Treats
Browned Butter and Cinnamon Spice Rice Krispies Treats

  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 1 bag of mini marshmallows (10 oz.)
  • 1/4 c. boxed yellow cake mix
  • 6 c. Rice Krispies cereal
  • Small container of sprinkles
  1. Spray brownie pan with cooking spray and set aside
  2. In a large pan over low heat, melt butter (cut into cubes to melt faster)
  3. Add marshmallows and stir until they melt

  4. Slowly stir in cake mix until everything is well mixed
  5. Add in cereal slowly until everything is mixed
  6. Add 3/4 of all the sprinkles and mix everything
  7. Press lightly into the brownie pan (I sprayed my hand with cooking spray so it wouldn't stick)
  8. Top with the rest of the sprinkles
  9. Chill for 30 minutes
  10. Spray knife with cooking spray to make cutting easier


Lentil Soup with Rosemary Ham and Bacon


Making a big pot of lentil soup is one of my favorite things to do on a cold winter night. It's stocked full of vegetables, and is the perfect thing to bring to school for a filling lunch or an easy dinner. I've made Vegetable Lentil Soup before, but this time I wanted to add some meat. So I cooked some bacon and added some pre-cooked rosemary ham.

  • 1 c. chopped carrots
  • 1 c. chopped onion
  • 1 c. chopped celery
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bag lentils
  • 28 oz can tomatoes
  • 6 c. chicken broth (I use low sodium)
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme (or tsp. dried)
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste 
  • 5 cooked bacon strips
  • 1 package pre-cooked rosemary ham (from Trader Joes)
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
  1. Clean and chop vegetables

  2. Add olive oil to large pot over medium heat
  3. When hot (when a popcorn kernel pops), add garlic and vegetables and cook until soften
  4. Add lentils, broth, and seasoning
  5. Bring to a boil
  6. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 45 minutes or until lentils are soft
  7. Add tomatoes (drain first), tomato paste, cooked bacon and ham
  8. Simmer uncovered until thickened 


Caramelized Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Blue Cheese

I made caramelized salmon, and thought caramelized brussel sprouts would be the perfect pair! My Mom makes a shredded brussel sprout salad cooked in bacon fat with bacon bits for Thanksgiving and it's one of the greatest things I've ever eaten. Brussel sprouts with bacon and blue cheese sounded perfect.

  • 1 lb brussel sprouts
  • 6 strips of bacon
  • 1 c. chicken broth
  • 1/2 c. blue cheese
  • 1/2 c. balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Put aluminum foil on baking sheet and cooling rack on top
  2. Place bacon on top
  3. Place bacon in cold oven, turn to 400 degrees, and cook for 20 minutes
  4. Meanwhile, wash brussel sprouts and cut in half
  5. When bacon is done, collect bacon drippings, and add to nonstick pan over medium high heat
  6. Add brussel sprouts, cut side down (careful for shooting hot bacon fat)
  7. Cook for 6 minutes
  8. Flip and add chicken broth
  9. Cook for 12 mintutes
  10. While cooking, put balsamic vinegar in a small sauce pan, and cook over medium high heat until reduces by half, about 9 minutes 
  11. Chop bacon into small bits
  12. Combine cooked brussel sprouts, bacon, blue cheese, and salt and pepper, and give a quick stir
  13. Drizzle reduced balsamic vinegar on top
I ate this with Caramelized Salmon, and every bit was so delicious. 
Lunch the next day - amazing!


Original recipe here

Caramelized Salmon

I was having my sister over for dinner to discuss her Bachelorette Weekend (VEGAS!) and I wanted to make something delicious, but something simple enough I could cook while chatting. This was perfect. I LOVE the char it gave the salmon. Will definitely be making this over and over!

  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. table salt
  • Dash of pepper
  • 16 oz. salmon
  • Olive oil
  1. Combine sugar, salt, and pepper in bowl
  2. Cut salmon into filets (I made 3), keeping skin on
  3. Cover all sides of each filet in sugar mixture  
  4. Heat olive oil over medium on a nonstick skiller
  5. When oil is hot (hot enough to pop a popcorn kernel), put salmon on, skin side down
  6. Cook for 5 minutes
  7. Flip each filet and cook for another 5 minutes
  8. Preheat broiler to 450 degrees
  9. Sprinkle some sugar and salt on top of each filet
  10. Put salmon in broiler for about 7 minutes, checking often so the salmon doesn't burn


Lunch the next day - amazing!

Original recipe here

Nuts on a Log

When I was little, I loved ants on a log. Now, I don't really love raisins, so I was trying to think about what else I could put on the "log". Although this was a bit of a nut overload, I decided to use almonds and cashews. They both gave the snack a delicious crunch, and it was a delicious combination. Happy Peanut Butter Lovers Month!

  • Celery
  • Peanut butter
  • Nuts (like almonds and cashews)
  1. Wash celery and cut off ends
  2. Spread peanut butter in celery and top with nuts


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Mayonnaise Grilled Cheese


Apparently November 3rd was National Sandwich Day. How did I miss it?! I love sandwiches. Afterwards, I was reading some articles about sandwiches, and one suggested using mayonnaise on a grilled cheese instead of butter. This blew my mind. I had to try it.

Verdict: amazing! I almost think it was better than when I made Bacon Grilled Cheese and I grilled the sandwich in bacon fat. Maybe I'll have to do a blind taste test :)

  • 2 slices white bread (I always think white bread is better for grilled cheese)
  • 2 slices American cheese
  • 2 tbsp. mayonnaise
  1. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat
  2. Spread mayonnaise over one side of each slice of bread
  3. Put the mayonnaise sides of the breads together
  4. Top with cheese
  5. Pick up top slice of bread with cheese and put on skillet, mayo side down
  6. Top with other piece of bread, mayo side up
  7. Cook for about 3 minutes
  8. When brown, flip
  9. Cook for about 3 more minutes, or until cheese is melted and bread is browned