Last Minute Mother’s Day Ideas: Sweets and Sips

Looking for some last minute Mother’s Day ideas? I always have the hardest time figuring out what to get my mom. She loves shopping and clothes…but getting my mom clothes as a gift never seems quite right. Massage? Spa day? All nice, but isn’t the point of Mother’s Day to actually spend time together? So this year I went a little retro and decided to DIY a few of my mom’s favorite things: chocolate and cocktails.

These are perfect because they are handmade, moms love that! And they are easy to make and easy on your budget. Plus, you can never go wrong sharing a chocolate flower bouquet or mom-osa with your mama this weekend!

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I made this chocolate flower bouquet for my Madre. Surprise mom! This what I’m giving you!

It was really fun to make and I know my mom will adore these chocolate flower lollipops! For the full how-to click here !

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Pink Mama Martini- Grapefruit Thyme Fizz

What about sipping a cocktail with mom this morning? Even though I love to cook, I know that won’t happen this weekend because my Granny ALWAYS cooks for us on Mother’s Day. So before we indulge in brunch, I plan to shake up a few cocktails.

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Orange You Thankful for Your Mama- Cherry Orange Tequila Sunrise

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Sparking Strawberry Mom-osa!

For full recipes and step-by-step instructions for these mom-approved cocktails click here!

How are you celebrating your mama this weekend?

Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownies from Pinch of Yum

I made these tempting little morsels. And I don’t even like chocolate that much. But once this recipe showed up in my inbox, I knew they would be perfect for my dear friend Meredith Cranch’s Birthday! I mean, just look at them?

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I don’t bake often. But for Meredith Cranch, I bake.

This recipe and photos are from Lindsay of Pinch of Yum. She’s one of my favorite bloggers and always coming up with the best recipes. I have to admit, I didnt take pictures of my batch. Mainly because I decided to take on this project late on a Sunday evening and these took, what seemed forever, to finish baking. They are worth every minute though. These chocolate chip cookie brownies are super rich, dense and chocolatey. Dig in!

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Coconut Mango Lassi

The good people at Chobani sent me some of their delicious fare. I’ve been pondering what I should do with a wine fridge full of yogurt… I decided to start with something I’ve never tried before, a Mango Lassi!

This drink can be made savory or sweet, and originates from India. It’s traditionally made by mixing yogurt, spices and water. It can be made with salt, sweetened with honey or even kicked up with some cumin.

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I used this recipe from Pinch of Yum as my starting place. I used creamy coconut milk and vanilla extract to make it my own. This is technically a drink… but it’s so creamy and thick, like a milkshake, you can eat it with a spoon too. Whatever suits your fancy.

I love the tropical, nutty flavor the coconut adds. Ok, maybe I really just love coconut. Maybe I really am just craving some beach time… it’s always a good time for the beach, right? Pretty sure this sweet lassi will sweep you right off to somewhere blissfully bohemian.

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You’ll need:
1 1/2 cup fresh mango
1 cup Chobani Plain Greek Yogurt
1/4 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Serves two. Can be kept in the fridge for a day or two.

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Start by peeling and dicing the mango. Remove the stone.

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Add the mango to a blender.

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Next add the yogurt.

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Pour in the coconut milk. Be sure to shake it well before opening. I always forget to do this then wind up spilling the sweet nectar everywhere while I try to stir it.

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Blend well. This shouldn’t take more than 30-60 seconds. Sooo easy! Some people add cardamom on top. I went plain…and it was delish.

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Who is ready to runaway to India with me?

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Straw or spoon? That is the question. I obviously went with spoon.

Enjoy!

Sweetspiration

It’s been a really rough week for so many. Just watching the news is emotionally draining, I cannot even fathom those who have been affected. That being said, I thought we could all use a little something sweet to feast our eyes on.

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Strawberries Brûlée from Furey&The Feast .

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From I Heart Eating .

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Peach Lemonade from here .

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Kolaches West, TX style from Delish Blog

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Coconut Cake from Saveur .

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Banana Pudding with Salted Caramel from Just a Taste .

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Homemade Thin Mints from Top with Cinnamon.

I hope these sweets lift your spirits a tiny bit.

Ridiculously Colorful Cookies and an Exciting Announcement!

I have some exciting news! I am now contributing to an amazingly creative site Brit+Co. ! It was started up by a fellow Longhorn and I couldn’t be more giddy to be creating some fabulous content for this fun site. That being said, if you have any fantastically colorful or delicious recipes or DIYs you’d like to see, please let me know! I want to hear from you.

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My first original piece for Brit+Co. are these Ridiculously Colorful Sugar Cookies . They are perfect for your next spring soirée!

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Want to find out how I took this to…

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These little cuties? Just click here for the full tutorial!

Happy spring everyone!
Enjoy!

Paleo Fudge Cake from Three Diets, One Dinner

I thought we could all use a little something sweet this Monday. And what better than a Paleo Fudge Cake from Brittanie of Three Diets One Dinner . Brittanie is eating paleo in a family who isn’t. On her blog she shares about her journey to a paleo lifestyle and how it’s changed everything for her.

After a wine and cheese event last week, she told me about her delicious sounding paleo cake. I was so intrigued and asked if she would let me share her recipe with all of you. She said yes, so here it is!

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Doesn’t it look delicious? All photos and recipes shared on this post are from Three Diets One Dinner .

Paleo Fudge (Birthday) Cake
serves 8-12 (depends on your slicing!)
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup arrowroot starch (flour)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
4 Tablespoons butter, melted
2 Tablespoons canned coconut milk
3 eggs
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/4-1/3 cup maple syrup
Dark Chocolate Ganache (recipe follows)

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Preheat your oven to 350º and grease an 8″ round cake pan (or 8″ square brownie tin or a 12-muffin tin) with butter. In a food processor, pulse together the dry ingredients until there are no clumps. Coconut flour clumps easily, so make sure

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it is nice and smooth. In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients until well combined. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir with a rubber spatula until combined. Spread the batter evenly into the pan with your spatula. It will be thick, so you’ll have to be careful about smoothing it out. Bake for 30 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing it to cool on a wire rack. Cover with dark chocolate ganache and serve.

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Dark Chocolate Ganache:

3 ounces dark (70% +) chocolate, chopped
2 Tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

In a bowl, microwave all the ingredients for 2 minutes, stopping and stirring at 30-second intervals, until melted and smooth. Let cool before spreading on chocolate cake.

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Doesn’t this look amazing?? Brittanie says it tastes like a ding dong, I can’t wait to try it!

What are some of your favorite paleo recipes?

Blood Orange Fizz

It’s practically summer outside, right? So it’s time for some citrus-ing. I couldn’t help but pick up some blood oranges this week. Aren’t they gorgeous?

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This drink is super tart. I think it would be perfectly refreshing on a hot day.

I squeezed these little babies using a hand juicer. I used three blood oranges to every one lemon. And four parts sparkling water to one part citrus juice.

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I garnished with fresh mint but I think it would taste mighty fine if it was muddled in this spritzer.

Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Sugar Cookies

I made some cookies.

They were really good.

My friends told me so.

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And they were really easy to make.

My mom sent me home with a bunch of
food stuffs over the holidays, including a few cookie mixes.

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For the primere of Downton Abbey I made dinner and a few gal pals helped me finish the cookies.

We simply subbed extra crunchy peanut butter for half of the butter the recipe called for.

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It was a little sticky at first but they finally came together. Smooth peanut butter would work too. I just really love peanut butter, lets be honest. If I couldn’t mix the peanut butter into the cookies, I made have just slathered the peanut butter on top the cookies…. Oh there’s a good idea!

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This is just a simple substitution. Nothing fancy here.

I love peanut butter.

King’s Hawaiian Christmas Bread Balls

Doesn’t everyone love a cake ball? I mean seriously, they are everywhere! But cake balls can be a little labor intensive if you ask me. Remember the Snicker’s Cake balls? I decided to make these super easy, not too sweet, no-bake sweet bread balls with the help of my friends at King’s Hawaiian!

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Aren’t they cute? I think these would be especially fun to make with little kids. They are easy (no baking!) and fun to decorate. Plus, they are ready fast, so no impatient little ones.

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You’ll need:

1 King’s Hawaiian Original  Round Sweet Bread

1 package of melting white chocolate

Sprinkles and icing to decorate!

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Peel off pieces of bread and roll into golf ball sized balls. Roll them as tight as you can. The bread is so moist that this is really easy.

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Melt the white chocolate according to the directions on the package. Using a spoon, dip each King Hawaiian Bread ball into the chocolate. Place on parchment paper or wax paper to harden.

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Before the white chocolate hardens, sprinkle or decorate with fun sprinkle and icing!

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And there you have it! Super easy and fun bread balls!

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Yum! Have fun and Merry Christmas!

Basil Pomegranate Sippers with Tito’s Vodka

Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas!

It’s even more merrier when you make a jug of these Basil Pomegranate Sippers for you and your crew! I had some left over pomegranate and have been dying to make a cocktail with fresh basil ever since my trip this past summer. Plus, y’all know how much I love some Tito’s Vodka !

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For this recipe, you’ll need:

10 ounces Tito’s Vodka
30 ounces lite cranberry juice
1 1/2 ounces fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup of pomegranate seeds
1/2 cup of fresh basil leaves
1 cup ice + more for serving

Makes approximately 1 liter.

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Blend Tito’s Vodka, cranberry juice, lemon juice, 1/4 cup of pomegranate seeds, 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves and 1 cup ice until smooth. About 30 seconds on high speed.

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Pour cocktail over ice and garnish with remaining basil leaves, pomegranate seeds and tiny candy canes if you want to get really festive!

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Serve these Basil Pomegranate Sippers at your holiday party!

Enjoy!

Frozen Hot Chocolates and NYC!

Some days are just meant for sharing a few things. Others are for venting, eating, creating, recreating and celebrating. Today is a sharing kind of day. I spent a lovely weekend in New York City and wanted to share a few snapshots of the fun with you all. I mean, how can you not

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have in NYC during the holidays?!?

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These are some fantastic Frozen Hot Chocolates from Serendipity in NYC. There was a wait of 2.5 hrs to get one of these… And it was worth every minute! Thick and delicious, not too sweet but scrumptious none the less! The whip cream is to die for as well!

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I didn’t waste one second waiting in line, I headed down to Central Park for a stroll. Who knew Taylor Swift was there at the same time! Too bad I didn’t know that until afterwards, dangit!

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We had a delicious (and cramped!) dinner at Frank in the East Village. It was loud and fun and filling. Great thing about NYC? All your friends are there! Even besties from ATX!

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Try this Bloody Mary from Waverly Inn for brunch. Ask for it spicy and it comes loaded with fresh horseradish. More to come on Waverly Inn…

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Don’t forget the best part of all! The tree at Rockefeller Center! So gorgeous!

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend too!

Hershey’s Kisses Candy Cane Cookies

I bought a bag of Candy Cane Hershey’s Kisses on a Christmas shopping spree at the grocery store last week. I also bought a bunch of other candy cane paraphernalia along with a few boxes of White Fudge Covered Oreos. Those are a holiday family tradition I’ll have you know.

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I wasn’t quite sure what kind of cookies I wanted to make with the Candy Cane Hershey’s Kisses. I thought about making some chocolate thumbprint cookies but the recipe on the back of the bag caught my eye. I have previously made recipes on the back of Hershey’s boxes with great success, so I thought what the heck. They looked cute and a-baking I went!

20121126-221426.jpg I took this recipe right off the bag of Candy Cane Hershey’s Kisses. You can find it online here.

The official name of this recipe is KISSES Candy Cane Blossoms.

You’ll need: 1 bag HERSHEY’S KISSES Brand Candy Cane Mint Candies 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened 1 cup granulated sugar 1 egg 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 2 cups all-purpose flour 1/4 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons milk Red or green sugar crystals, granulated sugar or powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt.

20121126-221509.jpg Beat butter, granulated sugar, egg and vanilla in large bowl until well blended.

20121126-221550.jpg Add in milk.

20121126-221615.jpg Stir everything together until well blended. I called my friend Yurko to come over and help me make these. We mixed everything by hand because it seems every time I use my mixer, I get all excited and mix the cookie dough too long. This only happens with cookies though.

20121126-221726.jpg Roll the cookie dough in colored granulated sugar. Make the balls small, 1 inch. This is really hard for me. I have a heavy hand when it comes to cookies.

20121126-221816.jpg Bake for 8-10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. I used parchment paper to keep the cookies from sticking.

20121126-221901.jpg Let the cookies cool for 2-3 minutes then gently press the Hershey’s Kisses into the center of the cookies.

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20121126-222125.jpg They are pretty delicious.

20121126-222212.jpg And really not too hard to make. You could easily make these on a week night after work. Yurko and I also thought this would be a fun holiday activity for the kiddos.

20121126-222311.jpg I’m feeling the holiday spirit!

This is definitely on my top 10 favorite holiday commercials! Thought I would share with all of you!

Enjoy!

Vegan Pumpkin Bread made with Whole Wheat Flour

I have a guilty pleasure. Poundcakes and breads and more poundcakes. I just love them. Dense, moist and just the right balance of sweetness and vegetable. I eat them for breakfast, dessert… snack, really anytime I can find a reason to eat them. I give them away all the time. It’s great because most of these bread type recipes make two loaves. One for me, one for you. I took one over to my friend’s birthday party last night. The first loaf turned out pretty well. But I only have one bread pan (I should really cave and get another one). So after I made the first batch, I quickly took out that loaf and put the rest of the mixture in so it could bake. In true Natalie fashion, I was running late on a Friday night. Typical. The second loaf didn’t have time to finish baking, but I was already running late for the party, so I took it out, covered the pan in foil and stuck it in the toaster oven. This morning I woke up and the whole loaf had sunk. This makes for a sad Natalie. I thought, what the heck, I’m going to put this back in the oven and hope for the best. I figured it would just burn, but I didn’t have much to lose with a sunken loaf of pumpkin bread. Well, guess what!?! It started rise a little! Victory! The top got a little too brown and crunchy, but the middle rose up and the inside was still moist and delicious. I don’t recommend it as a first option, but it is in fact possible to revive a sunken loaf of bread. Holla atcha girl.

The whole wheat flour really gives this pumpkin bread a nice grit texture that you would not get with regular all-purpose flour. I adapted the recipe and didn’t make it quite as sweet. I love using pumpkin purée in recipes because it adds so much moisture. There is no need for butter or eggs. It also keeps the bread from drying out so quickly, so you have a few extra days of moist deliciousness.

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This recipe is adapted from Joy the Baker

Makes 2 loaves

You’ll need:

3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

2 cups brown sugar

1 1/3 vegetable oil

1 150z can of pure pumpkin purée

1/3 cup water

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 1/2 teaspoon allspice

OPTIONAL: 1 tablespoon powdered sugar for sprinkling

20121117-120525.jpg Whisk all of the dry ingredients together.

20121117-120559.jpg Whisk the pumpkin, oil and water together.

20121117-120639.jpg Combine and wet and dry ingredients. Make sure to scrape the bowl down and stir until there are no remaining flour bits.

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Divide the mixture evenly between two bread pans. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees.

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Let cool then sprinkle with powdered sugar.

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This smells incredible while baking!

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I think it goes great with a cup of coffee for breakfast. Just sayin’.

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Enjoy!

Gevalia Holiday Coffee Giveaway

This past weekend was my birthday and I was busy playing and eating with friends. More on that in a later post though. What I am most excited to share with you is a holiday coffee giveaway from Gevalia.

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A while back the good people over at Gevalia contacted me about trying out their coffee after stumbling across my Pumpkin Spice Frappucino  recipe. I thought about it for a while, and decided what better way to share about Gevalia than to give you fine folks some too!

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 Who is ready for some delicious holiday coffee? This dark roast blend was originally only offered by Gevalia during the holidays. But now you can get it anytime! This roast isn’t as dark as some dark roasts, so I think it is perfect for sharing with house guests this season or great as a gift as well.

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 Here is how the Gevalia coffee giveaway is going to work. Leave a comment below this post telling me your favorite holiday treat! It can be anything! A tradition, a dessert, a cocktail, a party… anything! I want to hear from you. Be sure to enter a valid email address so that I can contact you if you win. Don’t worry, I promise to not spam or sell your email address. It’s safe with me. Enter your comment on this post before midnight CST Saturday November 17th, 2012 to enter to win!

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 You will win a bag of whole bean Gevalia Royal Vinter coffee sponsored by Gevalia. If you don’t have a coffee bean grinder, I can grind it for you if you like. And because I think you’re all so wonderful I am going to give you all the ingredients for this holiday coffee drink as well! See the recipe below. If you’re local, I’ll throw in the whip cream, otherwise, I won’t be able to ship it without the whipped cream spoiling. But you’ll still get an amazing bag of holiday coffee and all the goodies!

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I had thought of making something super swanky and elaborate but after trying the coffee black, I thought it didn’t need much help. The beans are really great on their own so I only did a little holiday sprucing.

For two cups of coffee:
Add 1/8 teaspoon of unsweetened cocoa powder into the coffee before brewing.

If you like sweet coffee, add 1/2 teaspoon sugar or sweetener of your choice.

Instead of cream or milk, top with heavy whip cream and sprinkle with cinnamon. Garnish with a cinnamon stick if you want to get really fancy.

Enjoy!

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Thank you Gevalia for giving me a bag of Royal Vinter to share!

Salted Caramel Apple Slices

Who is ready for halloween?!? Are you planning on dressing up this weekend? I am! Keep an eye on my Instagram (@natalieparamore) to see what I am dressing up as this weekend.

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I have always loved the idea of caramel apples, but I usually wind up in a sticky mess after trying to eat one. I love this rendition of caramel apple slices. They are much easier to eat and still just as delicious! Plus the addition of kosher salt makes them the perfect sweet treat for grown ups. Afterwards I thought it would be fun to do one side dip chocolate and one side salted caramel. I hope someone tries this idea this weekend! If you do, send me a pic and I’ll post it!

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To make these salted caramel apple slices, you’ll need:
Apples – I used Granny Smith apples
Melting caramel or candy apple caramel wrappers
Kosher salt
 Wooden sticks- you can use craft sticks or wooden kebab skewers like me! I like to use items I already have around the house.
Parchment paper and non-stick spray

Option: dip chocolate

Start by washing and slicing the apples. Don’t use the slices that contain seeds or part of the core. I actually used the slices with seeds to test out the process. Make those your “practice” ones.

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Melt the caramel according to the packaging. I used caramel melting bits that I melted in the microwave with a little water. I found these in the baking aisle.

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Poke the skewer in the bottom of the apple then dip the slice into the caramel, covering all sides. Sprinkle the kosher salt on the caramel. Place on a sheet of parchment paper sprayed with non-stick spray. After you finish dipping all of your slices, let them harden in the fridge for about an hour.

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 If you try and rush the fridge part (like me, fail) your caramel will begin to slide off. This is another example of how patience pays off!

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The salted caramel apples tasted great! A very fun treat for Halloween.

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These would be fun to make at a party!

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Happy Halloween!

Candy Corn and Peanuts

Ahhh is fall finally here? Me thinks so. At least the appearance of candy corn makes me think so.

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If you’re like me, you might not be passing out candy to neighborhood kiddos but dressing up your pooch and planning on going out with your friends.

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Which do yall like best? Mimi the pumpkin Longhorn?

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Or Mimi the bumblebee?

Haha sorry Meems. She’s obviously not amused by her costumes, but they were too cute not to share!

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At recent meeting, one of the ladies brought candy corn and peanuts to share. Which reminded of when my mom would make this! Im totally addicted to this sweet and salty combo. Put it in a mason jar and tie a cute ribbon or twine around, and it’s the perfect hostess gift! Or maybe for a boss or client. Or maybe for your desk drawer… because my desk drawers are really snack drawers. Let’s be real.

I used sweet honey roasted peanuts because I’m very naughty. Salted dry roasted peanuts work great too. Be sure to get bites with both peanuts and candy corn for maximum sweet and salty tastiness.

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Happy Halloween snacking yall!

Pumpkin Cookies with Toasted Coconut

Y’all ready for the long awaited UT/Ole Miss match up this weekend??

Ok good, me too! I baked up these delicious pumpkin cookies with toasted coconut. Hello delicious, fall, burnt orange and white cookies!

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These cookies are fluffy and moist, that’s what a can of pure pumpkin purée will do!

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I adapted this recipe from Joy the Baker.

For these Pumpkin cookies with Toasted Coconut, you’ll need:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
15 ounces pure pumpkin purée
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

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Shift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and flour. Set aside.

Whisk together the sugar and eggs until fluffy. About 2-3 minutes on medium speed.

Add in the pumpkin purée, oil and vanilla, whisk until blended. 1-2 minutes.

Using a spatula, fold in the dry ingredients.

Spoon golf ball sized dollops onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Top with shredded coconut. Bake for about 12 minutes.

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And there you have it! Perfectly moist pumpkin cookies with toasted coconut!

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Now, let’s hope these babies travel well to Oxford, MS.

Hook ’em horns!

Good Pops

Who is ready for an afternoon treat? Oh me! Me! Me!

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I got the pleasure of trying out all 6 different favors of Good Pop thanks to my friends over at Austin Tidbits.

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Oh hey! It’s me and my swag!

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I just had to try out all the flavors. I was sure classic Strawberry would be my favorite, but Mango totally stole the show! Mmmm fresh and fruity!

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Is this picture making any ’90s kid nostalgic for the movie Beethoven and the scene where Rice shares the ice cream with the dog?

Haha me too!

I’m a sucker for anything coffee, that flavor was delish! But Banana Cinnamon… Get in my mouth! Mimi loved it as well. She gave Banana Cinnamon 2 paws up.

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I shared the Good Pop love with these sweet little girls. Good Pops are good for everyone!

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And if you follow Tito’s on Facebook, then you already know that this might be happening at ACL this year. Yeah, that’s right people Good Pop and Tito’s Vodka ! What more does one need? Your favorite flavor of Good Pop made into a delicious cocktail? Count me in!

What Good Pop and Tito’s flavor are you most excited to try?

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Frappucino

It has actually cooled off the past few days here in Austin… and by cooled off I mean highs of about 98 degrees. But hey, I’ll take what I can get.

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Needless to say, I’m ready for fall to be here, and what better way to welcome fall than with a Pumpkin Spice Frappucino ! This season, I decided to learn how to make my own pumpkin spice coffee, you can choose whether you’d like it as a latte or frappuccino.

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You’ll need:
1 cup milk
1 cup cold coffee
1 cup ice
2 heaping tablespoons of pumpkin
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon sugar (plus more to taste)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon all spice

Cool whip or whip cream for topping

*Be sure to get the canned pumpkin without any preservatives*

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Mix together the pumpkin, milk and spices in a pot over medium heat.

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Froth with a whisk. Bring to a simmer then turn off heat and set aside.

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In a blender combine the coffee and ice.

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Add in the milk and spices and blend until smooth.

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Give it a taste test and add more sugar or sweetener to your taste. Top with cool whip and whip cream and sprinkle with cinnamon.

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Enjoy!

If you prefer a latte, use hot coffee and no ice.

Hatch Chile Peach Jam

It’s hatch chile season y’all! And peach season! So many delicious fruits abound this time of year. I wanted to get creative with a hatch chile recipe this year and thought, why not jam?

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I knew I didn’t want to use pectin. After researching several different types of recipes and methods, I also realized I didn’t want 10 jars of jam either. This recipe makes one 8oz jar of hatch chile and peach jam. It’s hot and sweet, and perfect for toast or sandwiches, or anything you can think of!

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You’ll need:
3 large hatch chiles
3 medium peaches
1/2 cup of sugar

1 8oz glass jar and a lid.

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Start by bringing a large pot of water to a boil. Then drop in your peaches and hatch chiles. Let these boil for about 90 seconds.

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Once cool enough to touch, peel the skin off of the peaches. You can use a knife, but the skin should easily slide off.

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Slice open the hatch chile and remove the seeds. I tried to peel off as much of the skin as I could from the chiles, but their skin was much harder to remove.

At this point you will also want to place your glass jar and lid into a pot of boiling water. Since I plan to store my jam in the fridge, this isn’t as big of deal. However, if you plan to store the jam for a long period of time at room temperature, sterilizing the jar is very important. I boiled the jar and lid for a few minutes then carefully removed them with tongs. Do not touch the lid or jar rim with your hands or anything that is not sterilized. Sorry no pictures, this task required 2 hands.

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Dice the hatch chiles and peaches into small chunks.

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 Put the diced chiles and peaches into a pot. No water needed! Then pour in half a cup of sugar. Turn onto medium heat. Stir frequently and bring a boil. Be careful not to burn the sugar. Don’t rush the process.

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As everything cooks down, I used a spatula to break up any large chunks and mush everything up a bit. Boil for about 10-12 minutes.

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Now carefully spoon the jam into the jar, remember don’t use your hands! If you have a large mouth funnel, now would be the time to use it. I just used a sterilized spoon. Do not fill the jar to the top. Leave about an inch of space called head room.

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Seal the lid on tight and turn the jar upside down for about 10 minutes to process.

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Serve with toast or naan, or even on top of ice cream!

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Simple and easy, this is definitely a Texas treat! Great as a hostess or housewarming gift. Hope y’all enjoy this hatch chile peach jam!

Chocolate Bacon Pecans

Sweet and savory. Such a great combination, don’t ya think? I’ve seen it so much

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lately, salted caramel this and that. So, I thought why not chocolate covered bacon? And I’ll throw in some pecans just to switch it up a little bit.

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Pretty simple concept but these little bites are rich and flavorful.

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No secrets here, you’ll need just what the title says:
Bacon
Chocolate (use dip chocolate)
Pecans

One slice of fried bacon will cover 5-6 pecan halves. I made approximately 30. I used about half the chocolate in a Dolci Frutta microwave dip chocolate carton for all 30.

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I started by wrapping pecan halves in bacon.

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Once I popped these into the pan to fry, they kind of fell apart. So I revised my plan of action and just fried the bacon as usual. I would fry the bacon until crispy, chewy might not work so well in this situation. Transfer the bacon to a plate covered with a paper towel to cool.

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I assembled these little guys on a sheet of parchment paper. I broke the bacon into pieces roughly the same size as the pecan halves. Then I placed the pecans onto the bacon pieces. I globbed on a dime sized amount of melted dip chocolate on top. I made sure the dip chocolate covers at least part of the bacon and pecan because it will serve as your adhesive.

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Rows and rows of sweet and savory goodness. Let the chocolate completely harder before serving.

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Try not to eat half of these while making them like I did!

Enjoy y’all!

Oreo Icebox Pie

Yesterday was a pretty rough day for me. Like cry-in-your-car-during-lunch kind of day. Please tell me someone else has done this?

Sometimes I feel that I’ve hit a wall. Like what am I doing with my life? I’m 26 and feel like I haven’t accomplished anything and I’m a total failure. My life is going nowhere. It’s all over.

Ok, ok, that’s a bit dramatic. But sometimes that’s how I feel. Seriously. So, my logical-self tells my hopeless-self that nobody ever accomplished anything by feeling sorry for themselves so get off your butt and do something already. And in my defense, I have been trying to change my path in life, but have hit a lot of roadblocks. A lot of closed doors, a lot of negativity.

And what is the answer? Pie. Pie is always the answer. Ok, maybe not. But this pie did make me feel tremendously better, at least temporarily. Besides it’s melting hot in Austin lately, so baked pie wasn’t going to happen. But frozen chocolate pie with Oreos? Heck yea! That definitely happened!

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This pie is super simple to make. The hardest part is waiting for it to freeze!

You’ll need:
24 Oreos
1/2 stick of butter
1 box instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup cool whip
1 1/2 cups milk

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Place the Oreos in a large plastic bag. Use a rolling pen to crumble the cookies. You could use a meat maleate but the rolling pen method worked really well for me.

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Melt the butter and combine with the crushed Oreos in a large mixing bowl.
After completely mixed, press the Oreo mixture firmly into a 9 inch pie pan forming a crust. Place in freezer to harden.

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Meanwhile, let’s get started on the pie filling! In another large mixing bowl, combine the instant chocolate pudding mix with 1 1/2 cups milk. We reduce the amount of milk from the regular recipe so that the pie will be thicker.

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Now add the cool whip. You can mix this by hand or use an electric mixer. I used my stand mixer. I beat with the whisk on medium high speed for 2 minutes. I wanted the mixture to be a little fluffier.

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After fully incorporated, pour the chocolate pudding into the Oreo crumb pie crust. Freeze for 3 hours or until completely set.

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Now you are ready to enjoy your Oreo Icebox Pie!

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Who knew ice cold pie could be so comforting?

What are your favorite cold treats?

Tito’s Cherry Bomb

Fresh cherries: Check.

Big lemons: Check.

Topo Chico: Check.

Tito’s Vodka: Double Check.

 

Y’all ready for a sweet sip of smooth vodka? Ok good, me too.


Oh hello delicious cherries.


Grab some nice fresh lemons.


Ok let’s quit foolin’ around and get started. Grab your martini shaker and fill half way with ice.


Squeeze in the juice of one fresh lemon per serving.


Remove the pit from the cherry, then squeeze a little juice out of it. Drop the squished cherry into the shaker.


Add about 1/4 cup of Topo Chico.


Add a shot of the smoothest vodka you’ll ever find…


Give that a quick shake.


Pour that into a glass.


And there you have it folks, a delicious summer cocktail.


Enjoy!

Have y’all signed up to win ACL tickets from Tito’s? Click here for more details!

Lemon Lavender Cookies

Oh hello, happy Monday!

Sigh, Mondays after holiday weekends always seem extra long. Have no fear though, today I give you Lemon Lavender Cookies. They are soft and sweet, but with a kick of lemon and hint of fresh lavender. They are the perfect summer cookie in my opinion. The light and fresh flavors will get your Monday off to a great start.  

I have been dying to use fresh lavender all summer! I finally found some at Central Market last week and decided cookies were the perfect things to make first. I was so proud of myself too, because this is the first time I used my very own baking recipe! Now I have been baking more, and learning about flour to sugar ratios, I felt comfortable enough to venture out on my own.

Here goes!


You’ll need:
2 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) of butter
2 eggs

1 teaspoon of fresh lemon zest
1 teaspoon of fresh minced lavender

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


Start by combining all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.


Whisk the flour, salt, baking soda and cream of tartar together and set aside.


In a stand mixer, beat the eggs and sugar until fluffy.


Fluffy can be kind of sticky. Should look something like this.


Mince up fresh lavender.


Lemon zest.


Beat in the eggs, lemon zest and lavender. Beat on medium speed for 1-2 minutes.


All mixed up.


Add about half of the dry mixture and beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Then add the second half of the dry ingredients and beat until fully incorporated.


Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. The dough should be thick and heavy.

Place dough balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 12-14 minutes at 350 degrees. Edges should just barely be golden.


They smelled delicious! Wait for cookies to completely cool.


My little masterpiece!


I hope you all enjoy these scrumptious lemon lavender cookies.

Avocado Pound Cake

I did it! I made Avocado Pound Cake, and it tasted good!

Now, that being said, there were a few bumps along the way. Bumps in the road are nothing new around here. Anyone remember the Snickers cake ball debacle? How about the powdered sugar mess with the Almond Joy cupcakes Those still turned out delicious, and this Avocado Pound Cake did too!

My fear of baking is lessening. I’m learning more about the importance of ratios, like flour to sugar and eggs to liquids, that sort of thing. It reminds me of life sometimes– the balance between work and play, lovers and friends. Sometimes the balance gets thrown off because you get overzealous with the buttermilk, and the cake is entirely too gooey. You taste the gooey mess. It is not what you had planned, but you learn an important lesson. A bit of buttermilk goes a long way. Then the next time you bake, the cake is moist and not too gooey. Your confidence will be restored and you will feel you can be more adventurous in baking again.

Onto the pound cake and how I didn’t completely ruin it by not beating the eggs and sugar until fluffy.


This recipe is adapted from Joy the Baker‘s version. I halved it and only made one loaf of this tempting avocado pound cake.

You’ll need:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup of cornmeal
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 cup of butter
1 1/2 cups of sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 cup of buttermilk
3/4 cup of mashed up avocado


Right off the bat, I made my first mistake. Mixing the flour and the sugar. You’re totally not supposed to do that. Oops. You are supposed to mix all the dry ingredients EXCEPT the sugar. Oh well, moving on.


Add in the cornmeal.


And the salt.


A bit of baking powder.


Now add baking soda. Note to novice bakers: There is a difference between baking soda and baking powder!


Whisk all that together with a fork.


Add the mashed up avocado to a mixing bowl. You want to use ripe avocados. They will feel soft in your hand when you squeeze them. It’s ok if they are slightly brown on the inside.

This is where I realized my mistake: I was supposed to beat the eggs and the sugar until fluffy. But the sugar was already mixed up with all the ingredients! I didn’t want to throw everything away, so I decided to improvise. I beat the mashed up avocados with the eggs until they were as close to fluffy as they were going to get.

I used a stand mixer and mixed on medium for about 3 minutes using the paddle attachment.


Then I added the vanilla extract and mixed until incorporated.


Add in half of the dry mixture and mix for about 1 minute.


Pour in the buttermilk and mix for another minute.


Add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix on medium speed until everything is just barely incorporated.


Transfer the batter to a mixing bowl and finish incorporating by hand.

I’ve noticed many bakers advise against working the dough or batter too much. Head their advice and be careful!


Transfer the batter to a bread pan. I didn’t spray mine with non-stick spray. It turned out ok, but I recommend spraying it. I will use non-stick spray on mine next time.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Then turn the pan around and bake for another 30 minutes at 350 degrees.


After an hour of baking, check to see if it passes the knife test.


There you have it, avocado pound cake!


This is great for breakfast or dessert!


Even if you forget to beat the eggs and sugar together, your pound cake will still turn out well.


Enjoy.

Iced Lemon Cake

Like I said yesterday I want to start baking more… so pulled out some pictures of a cake that my Granny made me! Iced Lemon Cake. It’s definitely one of my favorite desserts. And my Granny bakes frequently so this will help inspire me to bake more too.


Oh my dear! Love that frosting dripping off the sides. Which reminds me… I need to get some cute little lacey doilies and plates for my food pictures… anyone have any suggestions on local Austin shops one could find such treasures?


I couldn’t resist snapping a picture of this vintage food scale with these gorgeous tomatoes. Granny’s house is a wonderland of treasures.


My Granny keeps old recipes that she found in newspapers or on boxes of flour and such. Although Granny knows almost all her recipes by heart now, she still keeps these clippings filed away in an old cookbook.

With the internet I can’t remember the last time I got a recipe from anywhere else? Oh there was that time I made those decadent chocolate cupcakes with recipe off the Hershey’s Cocoa box.


Ok back to the cake… time to take a bite.

I asked Granny what her secret recipe is, with a sly smile she replied Duncan

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Hines.

I’m Going to Start Baking More

Last week I had the pleasure of meeting Joy the Baker and I picked up a copy of her cookbook. We all know that I am not much of a baker but her cookbook (and blog!) are chalk full of creative baking recipes that I am excited to try. The recipe I am most excited to try?


This delicious looking Avocado Pound Cake!!

I hope that by trying out more of her recipes I will get this whole baking thing down.

Remember when I tried her recipe for Pull Apart Cinnamon Sugar Bread? I think it turned out pretty well! Her instructions are easy to understand and the pictures are gorgeous.

 

 
Not much of a baker either? Check out her cookbook! Sometimes I just like to look at the pictures. No joke.

There’s also a recipe in there for chocolate coffee ice box cake… def trying that one out soon!

 

 

Berry American

Happy Friday everyone! I am headed out this weekend to a bachelorette party so what better way to start this weekend than with a refreshing cocktail? You could easily leave out the Tito’s vodka and this would be one delicious smoothie… but why would you want to do that? Instead get your Tito’s on and some antioxidants too!


You’ll need:
Strawberries
Blueberries
Lime
Tito’s Vodka


Wash and dice up the strawberries.


Place about 1 1/2 cups of diced strawberries and 1/4 cup of fresh blueberries into a blender.


All mixed up!


Pour a shot of Tito’s over ice in a small cocktail glass.


Squeeze in some fresh lime and give it a good stir.


And there you have it… a very red, white and blue cocktail!

Enjoy!

Bananas Foster Bread Pudding

If I could redo my 5 Best Things I’ve Ever Made list , this Bananas Foster Bread Pudding would definitely be on it. Hands down this is the best dessert I have ever made. Seriously though. Like I blew my own socks off.

And as if it could get better, I made a few healthier substitutions to cut a few calories. Some chefs might disagree with me but I used skim milk instead of heavy cream. I also used an extra banana instead of that cup of sugar most recipes call for and only 2 eggs instead of 4. With the sweet and moist King’s Hawaiian Bread I didn’t need all that extra stuff like most recipes call for when you need to dress up french or challah bread. Trust me on this one y’all, get the King’s Hawaiian Bread. It really makes this dessert!


You’ll need:
1/2 a loaf of King’s Hawaiian Sweet Bread
3 bananas
1 1/2 cups skim milk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
2 tablespoons of vanilla extract
1 cup of brown sugar
1 stick of butter

Vanilla Ice cream to serve it with if you want!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


First, pour 1 1/2 cups of skim milk into the blender.


Next slice up 2 whole bananas into the blender.


Now its time to blend!


Nice and creamy. Set that aside for a hot minute.


In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 eggs with a teaspoon of cinnamon.


Add a teaspoon of nutmeg.


Add a tablespoon of vanilla extract.


Give that a quick whisk.


Pour in the blended bananas and milk. And mix all together.


Now time for the good stuff! The King’s Hawaiian Bread!


I used about half of a large round loaf of King’s Hawaiian Sweet Bread. Tear it up into bite sized pieces.


Put all the tore up pieces into the large mixing bowl with the egg and milk mixture.


Fold that all together, completely soaking each piece of the King’s Hawaiian bread. Cover and let that soak in the fridge for about an hour.


Mimi started going crazy the second after I opened the King’s Hawaiian Bread. She’s was trying so hard to sit still for her treat!


About an hour later, the bread should have soaked up a good amount of the mixture.


I used a bundt cake pan to bake my pudding. You can use a bread pan or round pan or whatever you have. Just be sure to coat it really well with non-stick spray or if you’re devilish, go for butter!


This is a small bundt cake pan, about 9 inches. Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour. Depending on the pan you use and your oven, baking times may vary. Start with 50 minutes at 350 degrees and then check to see how it’s doing.


In the last 10 minutes or so of your bread pudding baking, move to the stove to make the brown sugar topping. In a large skillet, melt 1 stick of butter, 1 cup of brown sugar and 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract.


Melt it over medium heat, constantly stirring. Be careful not to burn the sugar.


It will have a smooth, syrup-y like texture when its done.


Give

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the bundt cake bread pudding the knife test. If it comes out clean, it’s done! If it’s done, make little slits all over. Then pour the melted brown sugar over top of the bread pudding and let it soak in. Mmmmm.


You can serve bread pudding in bowls or on plates but I decided to put mine into a mason jar. Start with a nice layer of bananas foster bread pudding on the bottom.


Add a layer of sliced bananas and drizzle some melted brown sugar over.


Add a heaping scoop of vanilla ice cream. Then repeat the layers with more bread pudding and finish it with some sliced bananas and another drizzle of melted brown sugar.


Scrumptious! You can serve this hot, room temperature or cold. However, I think it’s best right out of the oven with the ice cream melting over everything. Sooooo good.


Eat up!


Here is a peak at the delicious layers of King’s Hawaiian Bread. Enjoy y’all!

Watermelon Jalapeno Martini

Happy Friday everyone! Are y’all as ready for the weekend as I am?

This started off as an idea for popsicles.

Then I got distracted by vodka. Tito’s vodka specifically.

Because that’s how normal people think. They start thinking about popsicles and then they want vodka… if you give a mouse a cookie…

So I did make some mini popsicles… and I then I made a martini. A watermelon jalapeño martini to start the weekend off right!


You’ll need:
Seedless Watermelon
1/2 Jalapeno
1 lime
Pinch of kosher salt
Tito’s Vodka

 First start by quartering the watermelon.


Use a spoon to scoop the watermelon into a blender. I used about a quarter of a watermelon to make about 4 servings.


Off to a good start!


Dice up a jalapeño. Jalapenos are hot this season, so beware! The coolness of the watermelon is great with a touch of heat. I used only half a jalapeño (with the seeds) and it was pretty hot!


Squeeze in the juice of half a lime.


Add in a pinch of kosher salt.


Love this color combo… so pretty. Now we are ready to liquify!


Awww yeah.


Pour the (nonalcoholic) pureed watermelon and jalapeño into ice cube trays. I did this in the sink, it can get sticky!


Then I added toothpicks to make mini watermelon jalapeño popsicles!


I made some bigger popsicles too… not sure what I am going to do with these yet but I know it will be good!


And into the freeze they go!


And then I thought hmmm what to do with the remaining watermelon and jalapeño purée?

Obvious answer. Add Tito’s vodka. Duh.


Into the martini glass you go mmm’dear.


Add a shot (or two) of ice cold Tito’s vodka.


Garnish with a lime wedge and jalapeño slice.


Sip and enjoy.


Have a great weekend everyone!

Almond Joy Cupcakes

I jumped at the chance to whip out my mixer and make these cupcakes for my friend Leah’s birthday. I mean, 25… she totally needs special cupcakes!

 

These have an awesome coconut frosting, enjoy!


You’ll need:
For the Cake:
1 box of chocolate cake mix
1 1/4 cups of coconut milk
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs

For the Coconut Frosting:
2 sticks of butter
3/4 cups of shortening
8 cups of powdered sugar
1/2 cup of coconut milk

This recipe is adapted from: Cookies and Cups

 


First, start by adding the chocolate cake mix to a mixing bowl. Then add in the 3 eggs.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


Then add in the shredded coconut.


Next add in the vegetable oil.


Then the coconut milk…


Now mixy mixy!


Pour the batter into cupcakes and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until they pass the toothpick test.

While those are baking, it’s onto the coconut frosting!


Rinse out the mixing bowl and add in the powdered sugar and butter.


and the shortening…


Turn on the mixer and… POOF! Powdered sugar everywhere! haha remember to start on a low setting to avoid this mess.


Good thing Mimi was there to help clean up!


As you’re mixing, pour in a little coconut milk at a time until you get the consistency you’re looking for. Use anywhere between 1/2 cup and 3/4 a cup.


And there you have it, coconut frosting. Easy as pie… now I want pie.


Ok the cupcakes should be about done… let them cool completely before frosting.


Time to frost these babies!


Yes, these were good.


Top with whole almonds.


Gorgeous little cupcakes!


Trying out new angles on the DSLR… aka my fancy camera.


Happy Birthday Leah!

Vietnamese Iced Coffee

Happy Thursday! I am so excited to share this recipe with you all! One of my favorite, favorite things in the world is iced coffee on the weekends. I love it. So just in time for the weekend, you all can brew up a tall pitcher of iced coffee to cure that Saturday morning wine-flu.


You’ll need:
Coffee Beans
Cold Water
Plastic Container
Cheese Cloth
Sweetened Condensed Milk (that’s what makes it Vietnamese!)


First, start by grinding up those coffee beans! Cold brew coffee calls for twice as much coffee to the water ratio. For example, I normally make 2 cups of coffee (Line 6 on my coffee pot) with 3 tablespoons of coffee beans. So for cold brew, I used 6 tablespoons of coffee beans for 2 cups of coffee. Or 12 tablespoons of coffee beans for 4 cups (Line 12 on the coffee pot)… you get the idea.

Chicory coffee beans are traditionally used for cold brew but honestly it’s just a matter of taste. I used these Hawaiian flavored beans I found at HEB and it turned out fantastic!


Dump the coffee grinds into a plastic container.


Pour cold water over the grinds.


Let that chill out in the fridge overnight.


The next day, its time to strain the coffee! Here is a little trick I picked up from the Pioneer Woman, use cheese cloth to strain the coffee. It works like a charm! You can also use your normal filters but this worked perfectly. You can find cheese cloth in the baking aisle.


Cut the cheese cloth and place it over your pitcher or whatever you want to serve your coffee out of. I used a rubber band to secure the cheese cloth over the pitcher.


Pour the coffee over the cheese cloth. You will wind up with this pile of coffee grinds.


Squeeze out any nectar of the gods that’s left in there!


Clean that up! You can rinse the cheese cloth and reuse or toss it.


Now the fun part!


Pour the cold coffee over ice.


Sweetened condensed milk is what makes Vietnamese coffee different. You can find sweetened condensed milk in the baking aisle. Scoop a big tablespoon (or two) into the glass and stir it up. You can cover the remaining condensed milk and store it in the fridge.


I’m drooling right now…


Creamy coffee goodness.


Slurp it up!

Enjoy y’all!

The 5 Best Things I’ve Ever Made

Its been about 9 months since I started this blog. So I figured it was time for a “Best Thing I Ever Made” inspired post. There’s been quite a few meals made during this time so I wanted to share some of my favorites. Other things I could have done in 9 months:

Hatched a human

Finished 2 semesters of college

Made a trip around the world on a boat

But instead I decided to write about my culinary

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adventures. Glad you all decided to come along on this adventure. My shameless self-plug: I am raising money for the Alzheimer’s association and am waaayy behind on my goal of $500… any donation is greatly appreciated! So go here and donate $5, $10, $15 if you can. A $25 donation gets you a ticket to the game on June 8th and entrance to the after party. Thanks for your support!

Now here are The 5 Best Things I’ve Ever Made:

5. Sourdough Stack

This breakfast came to be early on in my blog and you can see the progress I’ve made… especially the photography. Despite the photography, this dish was one of the more creative things I’ve made. I really like this one.

4. Snickerdoodle Cake with Brown Sugar Buttercream Frosting
The name explains why this is one of the best things I’ve ever made.

3. Buffalo Chicken Sliders with Ranch Coleslaw

I mean… seriously. These were AH-MAZ-ING! Sooooo deliciously spicy and good and perfect for any occasion.

2. Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread

Simply delicious. Not to mention this recipe is from one of my favorite, favorite bloggers, Joy the Baker.

1. Seared Tuna with Mango Salsa

Definitely the winner. Absolutely the Best Thing I’ve Ever Made. This dish was so fresh and the pineapple mango salsa could be used on so many other things. Searing tuna is not nearly as hard as it seems and is something I want to incorporate more often in my cooking rotation.

What is the Best Thing You’ve Ever Made?

Grilled Mango and Cantaloupe Dessert

I could not think of a good name for this dessert… anyone have any better ideas?

Been feeling a little brain dead lately. I blame allergies. But this fresh fruit dessert will have you feeling better in no time!


You’ll need:
Cantaloupe
Mango or other meaty fruit of your choice
Mascarpone cheese, ice cream yogurt or gelato!
Fresh Mint
Cayenne pepper
Honey

Dice up the fruit into medium sized chunks. Toss them with a little cayenne pepper.


Place fruit on the grill. Grill for about 5-6 minutes on medium flame or until fruit softens.

My grill was running low on propane… so it took a little longer than I expected. Sad, sad day when the propane runs out.


Nice grilled fruit!

This was only my 2nd time to try and kill someone with food. Chris neglected to tell me (or maybe I forgot to ask…) that he is allergic to cantaloupe. Luckily, its only a mild allergy and he opted for the mango so we all survived dessert.


Put the grilled fruit in a bowl with ice cream gelato or a little mascarpone cheese. Add a little fresh mint and drizzle with honey.


That’s it. Super simple and healthy dessert!


Perfect summer dessert!

Enjoy!

Jalapeno Infused Tito’s Vodka

Tequila and I… well, we have a very complicated relationship. I love a great margarita however tequila all by itself… has a tendency to come out my nose. It’s like my body rejects it or something. Sorry tequila but I just don’t think things are going to work out long-term. And just because its Cinco de Mayo doesn’t mean you have to drink tequila. In fact, grab yourself some Tito’s vodka and make this awesome Mexican inspired beverage this weekend!


You’ll need:
Tito’s Vodka
1 jalapeno
cucumber slices
Topo Chico
Candied ginger
Lemon

I infused my own Tito’s vodka. I must say… my vodka was über hot. Like fire on the back of your throat that stays too long. I put an entire jalapeno, seeds and everything, into a jar with about 6oz of vodka and let it soak for 24hrs. Hindsight, that was wayyyy too long or waaaayyyy too much jalapeno. So, you might want to use less jalapeno or only infuse the vodka for a few hours.


Start by washing and slicing the cucumber.


I did a little fancy peeling here… I’ll show you what I did with these later.


Pour the glass halfway to 3/4s full of ice cold Topo Chico.


Heres the über hot jalapeno infused Tito’s Vodka! Add about a shot.


Squeeze in a little bit of lemon juice. Not too much!


Now for the fun part! Decorating! Here’s how I used one the cucumber slices.


I sandwiched a piece of candied ginger in between vodka soaked jalapenos for this one!


I added some cucumber slices to my drink to balance out the heat of the jalapeno vodka. Like I said before, dont infuse too long or use too much jalapeno like I did!


Crisp and refreshing and icy cold to help you cool down this weekend.


It’s a fiesta y’all! Happy Cinco de Mayo!! Lets party! Arriba!

French Toast Waffles

Mmmmm french toast. I actually didn’t like french toast as kid, strange, I know. As an adult,  I do quite enjoy it. I hardly ever buy bread anymore mostly because I will eat it all with no reservations. After using King’s Hawaiian rolls last week, I mustered all my self-control to save these precious little sweet rolls for breakfast.

Saturday morning I woke up craving french toast and this is what I came up with. Super fast and easy breakfast!


You’ll need:
King’s Hawaiian Rolls
1 egg
2 tablespoons of milk
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Syrup
Butter

Waffle Iron and non-stick spray are needed as well!


In a mixing bowl, add 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract.


Add 1 tablespoon of brown sugar.


Add the milk.


Whisk that all together.


Tear a King’s Hawaiian Roll in half. You’ll need 2 rolls per serving.


Now for the fun part, dip each piece of King’s Hawaiian roll into the egg, milk mixture.


Make sure each piece gets nice and saturated with all the good stuff.


Place the rolls onto a hot waffle iron that is sprayed with non-stick spray. I heated my waffle iron on about medium.


I was super excited for this breakfast!


Close the iron and let the waffle cook for 1-2 minutes. These cook super fast! Which is awesome when you’re hungry in the morning.


Perfect golden, brown french toast waffles!


Are you ready for this!?!


The easiest french toast waffles you’ll ever make!


Add a little butter and syrup if you like and there you have it! Enjoy!

Arugula, Ginger Beer and Tito’s Vodka

After some long talks about cocktails during a recent trip to Santa Barbara, I have been dying to use arugula in a drink. I know you’re thinking, arugula, what? Why? Well, honestly, I’m not really sure why. It sounded fresh, a little spicy as far as greens go and not too sweet. If you’ve had the pleasure of seeing me out on the town in the past few months, then you are well aware of how much I love Moscow mules. These ginger beer infused vodka cocktails are served ice cold, often times in copper mugs. I love the tickle they give on the back of my throat.

Originally, I had the thought to use Gin and tonic for the base of this drink but then I went with Tito’s Vodka and ginger beer. I subbed a mason jar for the copper mug, added some arugula, lemon and club soda for extra fizz and called it a day.

 


You’ll need:
1 shot of Tito’s vodka
4 oz of ginger beer (I picked up this ginger beer at Whole Foods)
2-3 sprigs of fresh arugula
1/2 a lemon
dash of club soda
Crushed ice
Martini Shaker


Fill a martini shaker up half way with crushed ice. Then add about 4oz of ginger beer.


oohhh fizzy. Tickled my nose!


Add a shot of ice cold Tito’s Vodka.


Add a dash of club soda. Pour just for 1 second, literally just a dash.


Squeeze in the juice of half of a lemon. Be sure to remove the seeds.


Shake shake shake!


Pour the drink with the ice into a mason jar or serving glass of your choice. Then add the 2-3 sprigs of fresh arugula.


With a spoon lightly muddle the arugula into the drink. This means squish down the arugula leaves. Kind of like how mint is muddled in a Mojito, except do not completely crush the leaves, just a tad.


Super crisp and fresh just in time for patio season!


Enjoy!

I’m hoping to include more cocktails and fun summer drinks on Food Fetish, any suggestions on what you want to see?

I want to make Macarons

Ive been day dreaming a lot lately about macarons. I want to learn how to make these sweet little bites of heaven. With a little research, I stumbled up this awesome blog, Food Nouveau, with a step by step guide about how to make perfect macarons! I am thinking about using this recipe to make my first batch. Has anyone else out there ever made macarons? Have any tips about what worked or didnt? Let me know…

In the meantime, enjoy some of these gorgeous photos of spring-colored macarons I stumbled upon while researching…

So cute! What a lovely thank you gift idea!

Robin’s Egg Blue just perfect for spring time!

Love the vibrate colors!

Lemon macarons for breakfast? Yes please!

Too cute for words!

Hope everyone had a lovely Easter! And send your macaron tips and requests my way! Happy Monday everyone 🙂

Bananas Foster

For dinner this week I had a few friends over and the dear Mr. Taylor Byrd could not handle showing up empty handed even though I insisted I already had everything and it really was not a big deal. So, even though I usually don’t eat dessert, we decided he could handle that course. Well, boy was I surprised when he should up with all the supplies for my all-time favorite dessert EVER, Bananas Foster!!! I was literally giddy with excitement because this is my absolute favorite dessert and I’ve never made it before, so lucky me! How he knew this was my favorite, I’m not really sure, luck I guess. Maybe I should a buy a lottery ticket…

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Anyways for this awesome dessert you’ll need:
Whole fresh bananas
Dark Brown Sugar
Vanilla extract
Cinnamon
Rum
1.5 sticks of butter
Blue Bell vanilla ice cream

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First, melt the butter over medium heat. Be careful not to burn it!

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Peel the bananas then slice them longways.

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Purdy little ‘nanas. One banana per serving.

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Add about a cup of brown sugar to the pan with the butter.

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Stir that until the sugar melts.

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Nice melted brown sugar and butter.

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Add the bananas.

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Stir those around.

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Add cinnamon to taste and a tablespoon or so of vanilla extract.

Now, for the fun part… Turn off the fire so we don’t blow the place up.

Pour rum into the pan…

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After you finishing pouring the rum in, turn the fire back on. Tip the pan ever so slightly until BOOM! Light it on fire!

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Picture doesn’t really do justice to how awesome it was in person. But yes, folks Mr. Byrd lit my kitchen on fire!

Let the alcohol burn off.

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Scoop some vanilla ice cream into bowls.

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Add the bananas and brown sugar butter to the bowl.

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So delicious! Perfect way to end any meal!

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The firey hot bananas melt the ice cream quick so serve immediately.

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Thanks Taylor!!

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The Master at Work! Ladies you can catch this clean cut Southern gentleman cooking up mean meal (rumor has it he loves cooking as much as I do) or at The Liberty Bar on the eastside. And he’s definitely invited back to my house because not only did he make my favorite dessert but he did the dishes too. Get him while you can ladies!

Cinnamon Sugar Baked Pears

More from lessons on couch surfing: Make dinner for your friends, they will appreciate it!

But I say, Desserts First! This dessert was actually made for me by one of the moms I babysit for. Undoubtedly, hers turned out prettier than mine but hey, we’re still learning here. This dessert is super simple and can’t really go wrong with pie crust and cinnamon, just sayin’.

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You’ll need:
Pears (each whole pear makes 2 servings)
Uncooked pie crust
Cinnamon
Sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

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First, peel the skin off the pears. Thanks Burns for helping out on this one!

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Pretty little naked pears.

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Next slice pears in half.

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Slice off stems and butt of pears, don’t want your guests eating those!

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Next, cut pie crust around the edges of the pear and wrap around. I sprayed the pan with non-stick spray.

Option: brush egg whites over top of pie crust and pear before baking. This will give the dessert that shiny look. I had no egg, so no dice this go around.

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Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar overtop the pears.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15min or until golden brown.

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Voila! Don’t you LOVE the smell of baked cinnamon? Because I sure do!

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Good looking’ pear!

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Serve these hot!

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And serve with vanilla ice cream!

A dessert that’s not totally bad for you? I’ll take two 😉

Chocolate, Brie and Basil Panini

I got creative with paninis again. Really just love a grilled sandwich, although this is more like a dessert…

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You’ll need:
Bread (I used sourdough)
Brie cheese
Chocolate (milk or dark)
Fresh Basil
Butter

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Butter your bread!

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Slice the Brie. I left the rind on, personal preference.

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Heat up the panini maker! You can also use a George Foreman grill or make it in the skillet like a grilled cheese.

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Place bread butter side down. Stack on the Brie!

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Tear up some fresh basil and add it on.

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I’ve got a golden ticket!

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I used milk chocolate simply because I don’t care for the bitterness of dark chocolate. However, after trying this with the creaminess of the Brie, dark chocolate would have been a nice compliment.

I also sprinkled a little kosher salt and fresh pepper on, nice little salty and spice.

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Time to toast!

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Let that sit for a few minutes.

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Golden perfection.

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Slice in half.

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Enjoy this sweet, buttery panini!

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

This is such a pretty cake so I wanted to give it a try. The fluffy white cake, fruit and warm buttery brown sugar make this quite a treat!

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You’ll need:
1/4 cup of butter
2/3 cup of brown sugar
Pineapple slices
Maraschino cherries
1 1/3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup shortening
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup of milk
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

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Combine flour and granulated sugar in a bowl.

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Add in egg and baking powder.

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And the salt…

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Don’t forget the milk!

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Add the shortening and mix on low speed for 3 minutes.

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Let that sit aside while we prep the pan.

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Melt butter.

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I used a heart shaped foil pan since Valentine’s Day is tomorrow! Be sure and generously spray whatever pan you use with non-stick spray.

Then pour melted butter into pan.

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Sprinkle the brown sugar over the melted butter.

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Use a spatula to spread the butter and brown sugar evenly in the pan.

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Now for the pineapple slices!

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Use a fork and place pineapple slices evenly in the pan.

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Starting to come together.

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Put the stemless maraschino cherries in the holes of the pineapple slices.

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So pretty!

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Now pour the cake batter over the brown sugar, butter, pineapple and cherries.

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Bake for 50-55 minutes at 350 degrees until the cake passes the toothpick test.

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Nice and golden brown!

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If you are going to serve this cake immediately, place the cake on a serving platter. I wanted to put the cake back in the pan so I used parchment paper for this step.

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Immediately after removing the cake from the oven, turn it upside down on your serving platter or parchment paper.

Let is sit for 10 minutes allowing the brown sugar and butter to settle into the cake.

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Wooohoo so pretty!

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Now use a spatula or two to move the cake back into the pan. This maybe a little difficult because the cake is so moist. I let mine sit for over an hour before moving it back into the pan.

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Ta-Da!!

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Enjoy!

Snickers Cake Balls

Happy Birthday to some of my favorite people in the world!! My sister Melodie, and Cameron&Blair Conder!! I hope you are all having a great day!! Melodie, I wish you would have been here this weekend to share in all this great food with us!

My friends, Cameron and Blair, they’re twins for those of you who don’t know, came in town for their birthday this past weekend. To celebrate, I decided to tackle the cake ball. Easy to share and always a hit, they can’t be that hard, riiiight? Wrong! They are kind of labor intensive, there’s lots of steps! Plus, I also had a burned chocolate incident… I’ll tell you more about that later. It was a little bit of an adventure and we lost some good soldiers along the way but in the end the cake balls turned out great! These cake balls are super moist and almost doughy on the inside. I hope you all enjoy! And keep reading to see the awesome feast Mr. and Mrs. Conder made for us!

First, pick an extra moist box cake mix.

Prepare according to the directions on the box. For this one, add water.

And add in the oil…

The eggs.

Mix, mix, mix. I did this by hand until theyre arent too many lumps.

Bake according to the directions on the box. Most likely bake for about 30min at 350 degrees.

Let the cake cool completely. I actually let mine cool overnight.

Slice the cake into large pieces.

Now we are going to break the pieces into a fine, ugh, substance? Can’t find the right word to use here.

Here are the fine pieces we are seeking… make sure there are no large lumps.

Now, you’ll need:

8oz of cream cheese (room temperature)

3 tablespoons of butter (room temperature)

2 cups of powdered sugar

1-2 tablespoons of milk (maybe a little more)

In a large bowl, add in the cream cheese. I broke it up into little knobs.

Add in the butter.

And the powdered sugar…

Add in a tablespoon or two of milk. More as needed to get everything to blend. It takes a little while so be patient and dont add too much milk at first.

Mixy, mixy!

And here is the cake ball dough in all its glory.

Now roll the dough into bite sized balls and place on wax paper.

Man thats a lot of cake balls! Now, place the cake balls into the fridge for a few hours to chill. You can also put them into the freezer for 30-45min or even for a few days until you are ready to use them.

Now, for the icing shell on the cake balls. This is where things started to go south….

Heat in the microwave for one minute and stir. Then repeat at 30 second intervals until completely melted. This looks ok right? Well, it was super thick, so I…

Added a few drops of water to thin it out and re-heated it… This DOES NOT WORK! Never EVER add water to chocolate…

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So I, not ever wanting to accept defeat, decide to proceed with trying to cover the cake balls with lumpy frosting…

Ugly.

And I present to you… The ugliest cake balls ever made!

Well dont worry, they tasted great! But I realized this was NOT working… so onto Plan B. To the grocery store I went and came back with…

Dip Chocolate. Yup. In a pinch, a girls gotta do, what a girls gotta do.

Ahhh creamy goodness… now sink your cold cake balls into the warm chocolate.

SUCCESS!!!

I cut up snickers pieces and put those on top. You have to do this kinda quick before the chocolate hardens, so I enlisted the help of Lara and Kendall on this one. I dipped and they put the candy on top. Thanks gals!

Here is a side splice! These cake balls come out pretty doughy and moist, which seemed to be a big hit at the Birthday Dinner the Conders prepared for us.

For Cameron and Blair’s birthday, their awesome parents invited us all over for steaks… and they werent kidding around with these babies!

They made some awesome gucamole, which this picture really doesnt do it justice because we dove into this bowl upon arrival.

Just thought this was a great pic… beautiful tomatoes!

And these gorgeous flowers, loved them!

Dinner kept getting better when the chicken came out!

And then there were baked potatoes…

And sweet potatoes!

Delicious green beans.

One more delicious steak picture.

And then there were birthday cupcakes. I didnt even get a picture of the ice cream cakes but they had those too, oh my! No one was going hungry Saturday night!

And here are the snickers cake balls on display! Happy Birthday Cameron, Blair and Melodie!

A big thanks to The Conders for grilling that wonderful feast!

Red Velvet Cupcakes

For my dear

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friend Jessica Johnson’s birthday celebration, we had a host of treats. Of course, I made the cupcakes! She requested red velvet with cream cheese frosting and yellow cake with chocolate frosting. Red Velvet is literally my favorite, favorite cake ever! So, I’m very excited to share this recipe with you all!!

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You’ll need:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups oil
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
1 cup of buttermilk
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 oz of red food coloring

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.

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First mix all the dry ingredients.

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Add in the cocoa!

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Mix all the dry ingredients together well and set aside.

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In your mixer, begin combing the eggs and milk. Use a wire whisk.

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Pour in the oil.

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Add the vinegar and vanilla.

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Use the stir setting with the wire whisk. Or if mixing by hand, use a wire whisk or fork.

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Mixy, Mixy.

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Now add in the dry ingredients. Start mixing slowly, then up to medium high.

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Lots of red food coloring!

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And more red food coloring….

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Pour the red velvet batter into a cupcake pan and bake for 20-24 minutes at 350 degrees.

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I made the this cream cheese frosting that I used before. So delicious!

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So cute!

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JJ’s birthday cupcake spread!!

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Red Velvet with Cream Cheese Frosting! My absolute fav!!

Happy birthday JJ!!

Sara’s Scotch Shortbread Cookies

This recipe came to me from my dear friend Senator Judith Zaffirini. The recipe was originally her sister Sara’s, hence the name. The Senator is quite the baker herself and has lots of great recipes you can check out on her Facebook page in the Notes section.

These delightful little cookies are light and perfect for a not too sweet treat. And no, sorry guys, no scotch is actually included in these cookies. This recipe yields a ton of cookies, I think supposedly around 100 but I may have accidentally made my cookies a little bigger and wound up somewhere around 60… Still a lot! I took these little morsels to my office and they were gobbled up in a flash. You can half the recipe if you’re baking for a smaller crowd.

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You’ll need:
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup butter at room temperature
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar

Plus extra sugar and cinnamon for rolling

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

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I must say this recipe was made possible by an extremely generous and kind gift from the Senator. A Kitchen Aid Mixer! Seriously, I shrieked with excitement when I received this! I feel like I’ve been promoted to new a level of baking or something. Thank you Senator Zaffirini!!

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Ok, back to the recipe. You must sift the flour. I did not have a sifter, so I made due with a colander. Sift the flour before measuring then resift twice after measuring and adding the baking powder.

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All nice and sifty and pretty. Measure out your sugar and set these aside.

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Ok now for the fun part, creaming the butter! Which is 100 times more fun when you have a mixer!

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Start mixing the butter.

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Then gradually add in the sugar… It’s getting very creamy!

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It might start getting all stuck to the mixer so use a spatula to scrap it down.

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Move the mixer speed over to stir.

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Now begin to add the flour. Add it in 2 or 3 portions allowing everything to mix in between.

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You will wind up with a ball of dough like this.

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Now, time to knead the dough on a lightly floured surface. The more flour you use the less tender the cookies will be.

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Purdy little dough ball.

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Roll the dough into small balls, appox 1/4 inch in diameter. I have small hands so use your best estimating skills here.

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Place the dough balls on a greased cookie sheet and flatten them a little with your palm.

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Flattened vs Non- Flattened.
After you flatten them all, bake for 18-20min or until a very delicate color. I would check on these after 15min because ovens vary and you don’t want to burn these little babies.

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Mix some sugar and cinnamon in bowl and have that ready to go when the cookies come out of the oven.

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When they are done, this will be the delicate color you are looking for.

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While they are still hot, roll the cookies in the cinnamon sugar mix. Be careful!

Sorry, color came out a little weird in that pic.

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Let the cookies cool and they are ready to serve!

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They smell so good… Think hot cinnamon… Holy yum!

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Hope y’all enjoy these as much as I did! Thank you again Senator Zaffirini for the delicious recipe and the wonderful gift! Xoxo

Tiger Bark

This recipe was brought to me by the lovely Cranch sisters. And it was passed to them from the Delta Delta Delta house mom at LSU. So, I trusted that this would be a delicious addition to the BCS national championship party I will be attending this evening. It’s super easy and not many ingredients so you definitely still have time to make this for your party!

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You’ll need:
White Almond Bark
Chocolate chips
Peanut Butter

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Break up the almond bark. Look at that awesome hand model!

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Place the broken almond bark in a bowl and microwave for 1 minute.

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Mix it up even though it’ll be pretty chunky. Microwave for 15 second intervals, stirring in between until completely melted.

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Melty goodness.

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Add about 3 heaping spoonfuls of peanut butter.

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Starting to get a little tiger color there!

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Pour mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

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Smooth out with a spoon.

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Now time for the chocolate. Melt it the same way you did the almond bark.

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Once the chocolate is pretty hot, stir for a while before heating again. It might melt on its own as your stir. Chocolate burns easily so try not to overheat it.

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Pour melted chocolate over almond bark mixture.

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Smooth out with a spoon.

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Use a fork to draw in the “tiger stripes”.

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Place pan in the fridge and let completely cool. About 30min or so.

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Then use a knife and break into bite size pieces.

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This would also be great over pretzels or even cookie dough. Get creative!

Geaux Tigers!!