Gingerbread Cookies

I have gotten some requests for my awesome gingerbread cookie recipe… and here is my secret: Krusteaz’s. I know it’s a box mix but it’s super easy and they turn out great everytime! I have tried other box mix gingerbread cookies and this one is by far the best. So, if you’re looking to bring something to a holiday gathering last minute, these are super easy and always a delight!

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You’ll need:
 A box of Krusteaz’s Gingerbread mix
2 tablespoons of flour, plus more to coat your surface
2 tablespoons of butter
Icing to decorate if you want
Cookie cutters

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

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In a mixing bowl, combine gingerbread mix, 2 tablespoons flour, 2 tablespoons melted butter and 1/4 cup of very hot water.

If your mix is dry, add water one tablespoon at a time until fully mixed. This dough is a little dry in general so don’t fret.

Cover dough and let chill in the fridge for 30min.

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 Roll the dough out a handful at a time onto a floured surface. Use your cookie cutters!

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 Place the cookies onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or spray the pan with non-stick spray.

Bake at 375 degrees for 6-10 minutes. Mine only took 7 min! So keep an eye on them.

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Get your decorating supplies ready!

Let cookies cool before decorating.

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Have fun decorating! Merry Christmas!

Christmas Cocktail- Milk Punch

This drink came to me via Caroline Lomax from The New York Times. Simple and delicious goodness, this drink is sure to help you get through the holidays with your family.

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You’ll need:

1 quart whole milk
1 cup half and half
1 1/2 cups Bourbon (or whiskey or brandy)
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Nutmeg to garnish

Combine all the ingredients in a pitcher and place in freezer for 3-4 hours or until slushy. Store up to 24 hours.

Serve chilled and garnished with sprinkled nutmeg. This makes 10-12 servings.

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 It’s a stout drink! Check out Cranch’s blue nail polish haha

Hope this drink starts your Christmas week off with a bang!

Homemade Caramel Candies

So I realize I’m a little late to the game with the salted caramel trend but hey I had to try it! This recipe is super easy. Although, you do need some special supplies, parchment paper and a candy thermometer. Other than that it’s delicious, easy and perfect for sharing at Christmas time. I took these addictive little bites to my girls night dinner this week and it was a huge hit!

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You’ ll need:
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1 cup of heavy cream
1/2 cup of honey
1/2 stick of butter
1 teaspoon of vanilla
Sea salt for sprinkling

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Special supplies:
Parchment paper
Candy thermometer ( I got mine at bed bath and beyond)

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In a pot, combine sugar, honey and vanilla. Bring to a boil.

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In a separate pot, bring cup of heavy cream to a simmer.

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Honey, sugar and vanilla at a rolling boil.

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Slice the butter into little knobs and slowly add to honey mixture and melt.

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Whisk in knobs of butter.

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Once the butter is fully incorporated, whisk in the simmering cream.

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Creamy goodness.

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Bring this to a boil. This is where the thermometer comes in. Boil until the caramel reaches 240 degrees. This is very important. Be sure to keep stirring and don’t crank up the heat to high at first, you don’t want to burn it. Patience.

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 After it reaches 240 degrees, pour the caramel onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

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Let cool for 10 minutes.

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Then sprinkle with sea salt.

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Pretty.

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Let cool completely before slicing into bite size pieces.

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Cutting the caramel was tougher then I expected but no worries. It was delicious! A little sticky but delightful. Enjoy!!

Snickerdoodle Cake with Brown Sugar Buttercream Frosting

This is by far the most labor intensive and decadent thing I have ever made. And it was incredibly delicious. My friend, Caroline, sent me a request for her birthday cake 2 months before her birthday. When I received the recipe from her, I knew I had my work cut out for me. But I’m not one to shy away from a challenge and it was her birthday after all, so a baking I went!

This cake was so so so good and definitely rich and creamy. Well worth the time if you have it.

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For the cake, you’ll need:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 sticks of butter
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 eggs

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1 tablespoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups whole milk

Pre heat oven to 325 degrees and butter or spray with non-stick spray 2 8’in round pans.

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In a bowl, combine flours, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.

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In a separate bowl, mix butter and sugar until fluffy.

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It’ll look something like this.

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Beat in eggs one at a time. Mixing should become much easier at this point.

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Now it’s time to start adding the milk and dry mixture. Add a little milk and flour and mix. Repeat until its all combined and smooth.

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Add vanilla and mix.

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Divide into 2 well greased, round pans and bake for about 35 min at 325 degrees.

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Don’t forget to lick the bowl!

Ok now it’s time to start on the brown sugar buttercream frosting.

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For the homemade frosting, you’ll need:
4 1/2 sticks of butter
1 cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
8 cups of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup of half and half

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Beat butter and brown sugar until fluffy.

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This is what fluffy looks like.

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Add 6 cups of powdered sugar and the vanilla and beat until smooth.

Omg… This takes forever! Seriously my arm was getting sore but keep at it!!

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Don’t forget to add the last 2 cups of powdered sugar! I forgot and my frosting was soupy. Luckily, I later remembered and added the sugar and it was fine. Add in the half and half a little a time and that should help things beat more easily.

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Ta-Da!! Buttercream perfection!

Now your cakes should be about ready…

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Let your cakes cool completely before removing from pans or they will fall apart.

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Nice, cooled cakes resting. Once the cakes are completely cooled, you can cut each in half to make a four layer cake. I had trouble with this because my cakes were already pretty thin, so I only sliced one in half and left the other whole. I used that cake in the bottom because it was thicker.

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Now, almost time to frost. First, prep your cake platter by placing strips of wax paper on the bottom then place cake on top. Then when you are done frosting, you can gently pull the wax paper out from underneath and your plate will be nice and clean.

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Be generous with the frosting, because there is lots of it!!

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Layer and frost, layer and frost.

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What a beauty! Place in the fridge for at least an hour before slicing or it will fall apart. You also must refrigerate any leftover cake because it has milk in it.

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Make a cool design on top. Go
Crazy! There’s plenty of frosting!

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Yum! Yum!

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Birthday girl and her cake! Happy Birthday Caroline!

This recipe came to me via Caroline from Foodie with Family. Check it out, she writes a great blog!

Aunt Teri’s Zucchini Bread

Every year for Christmas my Aunt Teri makes this awesome zucchini bread, I literally look forward to it every Christmas. So this year, I decided to share her awesome recipe with all of you and of course make a couple loaves of this yumminess for myself and my co-workers. This zucchini bread is über moist, just the way I like it!

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You’ll need:

4 cups shredded zucchini
3 cups flour
2 ½ cups sugar
4 beaten eggs
1 ¼ cups oil
1 ½ tsp. salt
 1 Tbls. Plus 1 tsp. Vanilla
 1 Tbls. cinnamon
1 ½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
1 cup chopped pecans (I used more!)

This recipes yields 2 loaves of zucchini bread.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

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 Wash and slice up 4-5 zucchinis.

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 I used a food processor to shred my zucchinis but you could also use a cheese grater or some other creative method!

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It’ll look something like this once its all shredded.

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Now add all the other ingredients.

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Mix it all up. I did this by hand but you can use a mixer if you have one. Don’t forget to add the pecans!

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 Now pour the mixture into a well greased bread pan and bake at 325 degrees for about 50min or until it passes the toothpick test.

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 Let cool for about 5min then use a knife to loosen it up around the edges of the pan. Wait a few more minutes to remove from bread pan. It’s a moist bread so it needs to sit a little longer so it doesn’t fall apart.

Slice and enjoy! This will keep for a few days tightly wrapped up.

Party Popcorn

For my friend’s, Lauren Schumacher, birthday this past weekend I made this delicious and addicting popcorn. Omg… I couldn’t stop eating it! A few weeks ago she messaged me about this awesome popcorn she tried that had chocolate on it. So, I knew right away that for her birthday weekend down in Gruene, TX two big bowls of party popcorn would be the perfect snack.

There are so many ways you could change this up but I wanted this batch to have a “snickers” type flavor, so I went with peanuts.

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You’ll need:

1 bag of movie theater butter popcorn (I used 4 bags but I was making it for the masses)

Toffee pieces

Dip chocolate (the kind you dip strawberries in and it hardens)

Roasted Peanuts

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Pop the popcorn and immediately put into a large mixing bowl. Shake in about a half a cup of peanuts. I mixed in the toffee pieces but in hind sight wished I would have melted them first and then drizzled them over the popcorn.

To melt the toffee, put about a cup of pieces in a microwave safe bowl. Heat for 30 seconds and stir, repeat until completely melted.

Then drizzle over the popcorn and peanuts, stirring and mixing frequently.

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Now, heat up the dip chocolate according to the directions on the packaging. Usually very similar to above, heat for 30 seconds, stir and repeat until full melted.

Then with a fork, drizzle melted chocolate over popcorn mixture. Mix and drizzle frequently until it looks evenly dispersed throughout.

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Ta- Da!! Perfect sweet and salty snack for sharing!

Happy Birthday Schumacher!

Cinnamon Sugar Pull Apart Bread

Over the Thanksgiving Holiday, I just had to take the opportunity to use my parent’s Kitchen Aide stand mixer. Plus, I had never made bread before, so it was the perfect opportunity.

This delicious cinnamon sugar pull apart bread is a pretty basic bread recipe and the pull apart idea is very similiar to monkey bread. Monkey bread is made in a bundt cake pan by rolling the dough into balls whereas pull apart bread… well you get the point.

Lesson Learned this time: You can never have enough butter and sugar. When in doubt, use more. Especially when it comes to this yeast-y dough-y bundle of yumminess.

This recipe makes 2 loaves of bread, again cooking for the family so I made lots. You can half this…but it’s so good you might regret that later.

4 eggs

2 packs of Active Dry Yeast

5 1/2 cups of flour

2/3 cup whole milk

4oz butter for dough ( at least 6-8oz more for later)

1/2 cup sugar for the dough (extra for later!)

1/2 cup water

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 teaspoons nutmeg

lots of ground cinnamon

Beat eggs and set aside.

Melt 4oz of butter with 2/3 cup whole milk.

Melted butter and milk. Add vanilla now and set aside.

In mixing bowl, combine flour, salt, sugar and yeast. NOTE: you can mix this by hand but it might take a while…

Add butter and milk mixture. Then turn onto level 2 mixing using the hook attachment.

Then add beaten eggs.

Keep mixing until the dough is sticky and forms this ball.

Knead the dough on a floured surface.

Roll the dough into a ball and place in a well greased bowl.

Give the dough ball a couple of good punches to beat it down.

Cover the bowl with Saran wrap then wrap a kitchen towel over it. Place the bowl in a warm place and let the dough rise for about an hour or until it doubles in size. Baker’s trick: If there is not a sunny window to let the dough sit, preheat your oven and the let the dough rest near it.

Sleep tight baby, Mommy will be back in an hour!

Meanwhile, grease up your bread pans.

When the dough is almost finished rising, it will be time to brown the 6-8oz of butter. To brown butter, place in a pan on medium heat. As the butter melts, begin to froth it, making bubbles. Be careful not to burn the butter, this takes some time, patience my friend.

10-15 minnutes later, browned butter!

Take half of the now risen dough and place on a floured surface. Roll it out with a floured rolling pin.

Roll it out nice and flat.

Now smother the dough with browned butter, then top with plenty of sugar and cinnamon. Just when you think you added enough butter and sugar… add more. I didnt and I regretted it later. Top all of this with a few dashes of nutmeg.

With a pizza slicer, cut the dough into long strips.

Long strips of cinnamon sugar dough.

Then stack the long slices and slice into squares.

Place the slices into the bread pan and top with extra cinnamon and sugar and any extra browned butter you may have.

Now, the hard part… cover the bread again with a kitchen towel and place in a warm place to let rise for an additional 35 minutes or until doubles in size… again. Bread is definitely a labor of love.

Bake the bread for 35-40minutes at 350 degrees. It will be a nice brown color on top, this will ensure the bread is cooked properly all the way through.

Holy yum, it smelled so good!

What a beauty… so proud of this delicious little creation. I’d say my first time making bread (or anything with yeast for that matter) turned out quite well. With my fears of bread making subdued… I think I will try this again soon!!

Adapted from Joy the Baker

All Natural Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits

I have been meaning to post a dog treat post for a while. If you’re a dog lover like me or half the other people in Austin then you’ll appreciate this post. This recipe and awesomely adorable dog belong to Mrs. Kelly Weeks.

All-Natural Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits

You’ll need:
3 cups flour (I use garbanzo bean flour to make them hypoallergenic b/c our dog is special 🙂
1/2 cup organic smooth peanut butter
1 cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil (great for a shiny coat too!)

Mix all ingredients well, roll into balls and place on cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 20-25 mins.

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Today is this handsome fellas 2nd Birthday!! Happy Birthday Mack Weeks!

Peppermint Coffee

I topped my coffee yesterday off with some peppermint whipped cream yesterday. My mom always gets peppermint whipped cream during the holidays… I love the stuff. I put a little extra peppermint snow from Williams Sonoma on top.

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Enjoy!

Thanksgiving Sides and Desserts

I had to share all the awesome sides people brought to Friendsgiving last Sunday! This is not a complete list so if I left your dish off or I didnt get your recipe, please send those to me! I will keep updating this post for all you last minute Thanksgiving chefs!

Smoked Gouda Grits- Sara Hull

Ingredients:
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth or water
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
2 cups uncooked quick-cooking grits
1 2/3 cups shredded smoked Gouda cheese
3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Directions:
Bring first 4 ingredients to a boil in a medium saucepan; gradually whisk in grits. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes or until thickened. Add cheese and butter, stirring until melted.
Note:
Buy a 7-ounce wheel of smoked Gouda cheese to get the right amount.

Spinach Madeline- Caroline Lomax

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups whole milk
4 (10 ounce) boxes boxes frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry; reserve 1/2 cup liquid
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Salt and ground black pepper

Directions:
Combine milk, spinach liquid and garlic in a 1-quart microwave-safe measuring cup or small bowl covered with a saucer, and microwave (or heat slowly in a medium saucepan) until very hot and steamy. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes to soften garlic.
Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Whisk in flour. Add hot milk mixture all at once, then whisk until smooth. Stir in spinach; cook until sauce is thick and bubbly and spinach is tender but still green, about 5 minutes. Stir in cheese, nutmeg, and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper. Serve hot.

Broccoli Cheese Casserole- Katharine Keton

Yurko Family Cheesy Potatoes in Front and Conder Family Squash Casserole in the Back

Ingredients:
½ c. melted butter
1 (2 lb.) bag frozen hash browns thawed
2 c. chopped onions
2 c. grated cheddar cheese
1 tsp. salt  & ¼ tsp.  pepper
1 8 oz. carton sour cream
1 ¾ cans cream of chicken soup
¼ c. melted butter
2 c. corn flakes crumbs

Directions:

Mix in large bowl and place in a 9 x 13” baking dish.  Top with ¼ c. melted butter and crushed corn flake crumbs.  Bake 350 degrees for 50 minutes.  Serves 12

Italian Green Beans- Emily Songy

Ingredients:
green beans
1 pint grape tomatoes
fresh basil
italian bread crumbs
salt and pepper to taste
6 large balls of fresh water mozzarella
olive oil fresh grated romano cheese

Directions:
Blanch green beans. Add tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper to a casserole dish. Cover wil olive oil.
Drain green beans and add to tomato mixture along with bread crumbs. Slice mozzarella and cover tomato green bean mixture. Top with even more bread crumbs and fresh grated romano cheese. Bake uncovered for 30-40min at 375 degrees.

Chocolate Chip Cookies- Karen McCallum

Mini Pumpkin Pie Tarts- Kellie Ferro

Homemade Pies! Pecan - Alexandra Smith Pumpkin- Casey Laine

Laine Family Pumpkin Pie Recipe
Ingredients:
1 unbaked Pillsbury pie shell
1 can (15oz) Libby’s pumpkin filling
3/4 cup Carnation evaporated milk
2 eggs (beaten)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
dash of salt

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425F.
2. Roll out unbaked pie crust (at room temp) over ungreased dish.
3. Combine all ingredients and stir until uniform mixture.
4. Pour into pie shell.
5. Place pie in oven and lower temp to 350F.
6. Bake for 1 hour or until knife inserted into center comes out clean.
7. Cool on pie rack for 2 hours then serve or place in refrigerator.
8. Top with whip cream when served.

Fall Salad- Kayleigh Rust

Dueling Deviled Eggs... Peter Pevoto

Or do you like Luke Thompson's better?

Pumpkin Muffins

Ok y’all, I saw this on Pinterest and I just had to see if it actually turned out well. Pretty simple, one box of moist cake mix and one can of pumpkin pie filling. I have to admit I was quite skeptical… I thought they might turn out dry. Well, I was wrong. These are super moist! However, they don’t really taste that pumpkin-y. They taste more like über moist, stick to your mouth cupcakes. In the future, I will most likely add some nutmeg and cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice to the mix. These pumpkin pie filling muffins are great if you’re in a bind and need something festive to take to a potluck at the last minute.

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You’ll need:
1 box of moist yellow cake mix
1 can of pumpkin pie filling
Can add some nutmeg, cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice if you want a more pumpkin flavor.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

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Dump it all in a bowl and mix.

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The hardest part was getting it all mixed throughly. It gets a little thick and takes some elbow grease to get it smooth.

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Put in the cupcake pan. Bake for about 17min at 350 degrees.

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That’s it! Super simple! Enjoy these pumpkin muffins!

Ranch 616

Anyone want a margarita? Because I could sure use one. Especially this one from Ranch 616.

After an afternoon of game watching at J Black’s, Leah Pigg, Ellie Little, Luke Thompson and I decided to grab some dinner at Ranch 616. We got several different dishes and split everything, which is my favorite. I love being able to try several different things, especially when there are so many great choices!

After we ordered our drinks, we started things off with the Don Combo, fried oysters and bacon wrapped shrimp.

Close up of the bacon wrapped shrimp with ranch.

They kindly split our Ranch Slice of Ice, so this is a mini piece. Of course, extra pepper on mine!

This was a special, mahi mahi with tiger shrimp and topped with bananas. It was definitely different but awesome at the same time. Hopefully, I’ll make it back before they take this one off the menu!

Of course, bacon and cheese mashers on the side were gone in no time with this crowd.

This is Jalapeno Maize Chicken, quite delish.

They brought out these awesome biscuits at the end… not that I needed more carbs but I definitely helped myself 🙂

This picture didnt turn out as well but what would dinner be without dessert?

Happy Birthday to Me!!

Today is my 26th birthday!! and it’s 11/11/11 which according to my news sources is supposed to be the luckiest day this century! So, cross your fingers folks and let’s all make a wish.

Red Velvet Cake is my absolute FAVORITE cake, ever. Period. Every year my mom always gets me a red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting and since my mom isn’t here to give me that cake… my birthday present to myself is this post entirely dedicated to Red Velvet sweets. Oh and Madre, if youre reading this, you can get that cake when I come home for Thanksgiving, hint hint.

As I was writing this post, my dear friend Haley Terrill walks in with this huge Red Velvet Cupcake!

She knows me too well 😉 It really must be my lucky day!!

The following pictures I must admit, I did not take the photos or make the treats but they are serving as my birthday inspiration!!

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

Red Velvet Pancakes

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red Velvet Cheesecake

Pretty Red Velvet Cake

Red Velvet Brownies

Whole Foods Cooking Class

If I haven’t mentioned it before, I’m a huge Twitter fan. (you can follow me @natalieparamore) That being said, a few weeks ago I won a cooking class at Whole Foods by answering a trivia question via Twitter. Awesome! I got to bring a guest and the lovely Ms.Charisse Sayers came with me!

I wanted to share the all the great photos because these are the kinds of things that inspire my cooking. More importantly, I wanted to share what I learned about Whole Planet Foundation. It’s Whole Foods non-profit that gives micro loans to those in need in third world countries to establish their own businesses. If you’ve never heard of micro finance loans, I suggest you check it out. They are really cool programs!


Here is a picture of the menu. I have to admit, I was so hungry that I ate the Kenyan Style Tomatoes and Kale before I took a picture…oops! But it’s a dish that I will definitely be making for the blog, so be on the lookout.


When we arrived, we got to choose to between water or a variety of dry sodas. I chose lemongrass and it was surprisingly refreshing! I wasn’t sure what to expect but the best way I can describe it is as a flavored sparkling water.


The main dish was a Peruvian style chicken. We were actually served half of a chicken with green rice. The Peruvian spice rub wasn’t spicy but had a great flavor.

The coconut bread was what I was most excited about! When I read the menu before attending, I thought the coconut bread was going to be dessert. However, the bread wasn’t really sweet but instead had a hint of coconut flavor that accompanied the Peruvian spices quite well. The Chef demonstrated how to make the bread, even using live yeast! I have never made homemade bread before but I want to try it after tasting this bread!

At the end of the meal, we got these yummy frozen bananas dipped in dark chocolate. I want to make these ASAP!

Snickerdoodles

This recipe is taken straight from my Granny’s kitchen. Literally, she hand wrote the recipe for me from memory. So, I now have her recipe framed and in my kitchen. I love it.

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These cookies are my absolute favorite ever. No lie.

You’ll need:
1 cup of soft shortening part butter (that’s bakers talk for Crisco sticks, use the butter flavored ones. Can find this on the baking aisle)

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

2 3/4 cups flour

2 teaspoons cream of tarter

1 teaspoon of baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

Cinnamon ( for rolling dough)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sift the flour, cream of tarter, baking soda and salt.


Mix shortening, sugar and eggs.


Mix all together.


In a separate bowl, mix extra sugar and cinnamon together. You will roll the cookie dough balls in this before baking.


Place dough balls on a greased pan. I patted a little extra cinnamon sugar on the center of each cookie before baking. Bake for 8 to 10min at 400 degrees.

Enjoy!

Chocolate Coffee Milkshake

I am up waaay too early this Saturday for the early Longhorn kickoff and since I am challenging myself to participate in National Blog Posting Month #NaBloPoMo where you post a blog everyday… here goes…

Need a sweet pick-me-up this morning for the game? I suggest this iced coffee-chocolate-ice cream infused yumminess I made the other day!

You’ll need:

Ice cream

Chocolate- I used baker’s chocolate because we were out of chocolate syrup

Cold Coffee

Milk

Mexican Vanilla Extract- my grandma sent me awesome vanilla extract so I threw that in last minute, but regular vanilla or no vanilla will work too

In a blender, combine coffee, ice, and spoonful of baker’s chocolate or chocolate syrup if you have it. For the cold coffee, you cold cold brew it but of course I couldn’t wait that long… so I brewed my coffee the regular way and stuck the whole pot in the fridge until it cooled off. If you try and use the coffee while its still hot, it will turn this into a melty mess.

I used two heaping scoops of vanilla ice cream but adding more will only make this treat more creamy and delicious! The ice creams adds a lot of calories though, so I used less ice cream and added some skim milk instead.

For extra flavor, add some vanilla!!

Ta-Daa!! Now you have a great, sweet pick-me-up to help get you going this morning!

Chocolate Sno-Cap Cookies

I made these yummy cookies with the help of Kayleigh Rust! She lended her baking advice as well as some elbow grease to get these cookies made. As you can tell by the pictures, these are not your average cookies. First of all, they are huge and super moist and decadent. I hope you enjoy these cookies as much as Kayleigh and I did!

You’ll need:

Cookies:

2 sticks of butter
1¼ cup sugar
2 eggs
½ cup cocoa powder
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. coarse salt
1 tsp. baking powder

Frosting:

Powered Sugar

Vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


Mix butter and sugar. If you have a mixer you can use that, otherwise this might take a few minutes. Make sure they are blended well.

Next, add cocoa and eggs until well mixed.

Now, add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix until it looks like this.

Kayleigh came up with the genius idea to use an ice cream scooper, which gave the cookies that awesome shape. Beware, this will yield large cookies!

The cookies are ready to go in the oven. About 12-15minutes but keep and eye on them.

While the cookies were baking, we whipped up this homemade frosting. Mix powered sugar, tablespoon of water and teaspoon of vanilla.

When the cookies come out, drizzle the frosting over the cookies. We did this while they were still warm. They smelled so good, we couldn’t wait any longer!

Here’s the finished product! Quite delicious and will keep for a few days in a tupperwear. Enjoy!

Sliced Apples with Provolone and Cracked Pepper

Whenever I come home from work, I feel like a famished high school kid. Remember the days when your after school “snack” became the 4th meal of the day? Well, in an attempt to keep myself from starving until dinner time, I started making this delicious little snack. It’s healthy and easy and will tie you over until your next meal.

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You’ll need:

Granny Smith Apple

Couple slices of Provolone ( I got mine cut on #2 thickness at the deli counter)

Fresh Cracked Pepper

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Wash the apple (duh)

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Slice into relatively thin slices

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Add a few pieces of provolone

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Top it off with fresh cracked pepper and voila!! Perfect snack!!

Pumpkin Seeds

Top: Alexa Calligas, Kellie Ferro, Lauren Pou, Brooke Bannon, Natalie Paramore Bottom: Molly Mixon, Emily Songy, Caroline Lomax, Alex Smith

Plain and simple, my girlfriends hosted a pumpkin carving night and they helped me gather the seeds so that I could roast them! I tried a few different flavors, trying to get a little creative, haha.

Pre Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Rinse the seeds in a colander and try to get all the guts off.

Then I divided the seeds into batches. I didnt have any foil on hand but you could use foil to help separate the batches.

I used the following flavors:

Italian- I drizzled the seeds with olive oil and then sprinkled them with my favorite, McComick’s Perfect Pinch Italian Seasoning. Adding a little kosher salt would go nicely with these.

Tony Chacere’s- I again drizzled with olive oil and seasoning to taste.

Garlic Parmesan- I drizzled with olive oil and then sprinkled with Lawry’s Garlic Sea Salt and a little plain garlic powder. During the last 10min of baking I sprinkled the seeds with grated parmesan.

For those of you with a sweet tooth, I drizzled the last batch with vegetable oil and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. Watch out, the sugar starts to melt and get sticky as it cooks!

Roast the seeds in the oven for 40-50min or until they dry out and have a crunch to them. I stirred the seeds about half way through to ensure they all cooked evenly.

Pop them out of the oven, allow to cool and Enjoy! Here’s what they will look like when they are done!

Cinnamon Sugar

Italian

Garlic Parmesan

Tony Chacere's

Aspen, Colorado

I recently visited Aspen, CO for a friends wedding. The wedding was beyond gorgeous (see mountain top picture) and the food was delightfully inspiring! I wanted to share all the amazing photos and you will definitely be seeing me try to use some of these things in my cooking!

Check out some of the cool places I visited:

The Little Nell 

Junk Aspen

Mexican Mocha Freeze at Bouldin Creek Cafe

I am a huge coffee lover. Especially iced coffee. Not just for the caffeine jolt but I love the smell of coffee and all the rich flavors. I stopped off at my local coffee shop and just had to try this:

If you like coffee, chocolate and Mexican vanilla then this treat will not disappoint! Check out more at bouldincreekcafe.com

Wine Ice Cubes

It’s the dog days of summer if I do say so myself! With mercury creeping up in the 100’s for months now, everything is hot here in Austin. And for red wine lovers like my roomies and me this can be a conundrum. My roommate loves her drinks cold and has actually started putting ice cubes, yes ice cubes, in her red wine. I could not bare the thought of watering down this precious liquid so I took a cue from my friends at the Four Seasons in Austin. They make ice cubes out of tea for their iced tea and I thought why not make ice cubes out of wine?? What a simple solution for winos to beat the heat!

Bottle of your favorite wine
ice cube tray (ours makes star shapes)

Fill ice cube tray with your favorite wine, freeze and enjoy!

I have also tried with this with lemonade and tea.

Works great and never waters down your drinks! Im thinking of trying this with coffee for the perfect icy cold, summer pick me up!

Stay cool!

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

What can I say… its super moist and decadent! I am not a huge chocolate fan in general however the zucchini really balances the sweetness and makes the bread super yummy. If you like extra chocolate, you can add chocolate chips to this recipe. This was a huge hit with my friends and this recipe makes enough to share.

2 ½ cups flour

½ cup unsweetened cocoa

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 ½ cups sugar

3 eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 packed cups of grated zucchini (do not peel)

optional- powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease all nooks and crannies of bundt cake pan (6in). Can use a bread pan instead.

Stir flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt together.

Beat sugar and eggs until fluffy. Then add oil and vanilla.

Combine zucchini, dry ingredients and egg mixture.

Divide between 2 cake pans.

Bake for 35 minutes.

Wait until complete cool to remove from bundt cake pan. Or else it will break like my first try did :/

Place the chocolate zucchini bread on a plate and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Eat up!