PostHeaderIcon Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

I have missed baking these past few months and I was very excited to get back in the kitchen this past weekend. With that said, I wanted to ease myself back into baking with a simple recipe and these pumpkin snickerdoodles did just that. It was perfect since I made the dough during Audrey’s morning nap, played and went for a walk with her while the dough chilled, then baked the cookies during her afternoon nap. It couldn’t have worked out better.

I absolutely love snickerdoodles and these did not disappoint. In my opinion, the amount of pumpkin in them is just perfect. There’s just enough pumpkin in them to make it noticeable but not too much that it overpowers the wonderful cinnamon flavor. If you’re a pumpkin lover like I am, try these pumpkin cupcakes and pumpkin cream cheese muffins after these snickerdoodles, of course.

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

Ingredients:
For the cookies:
3¾ cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
¾ cup pumpkin puree
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the coating:
½ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions:
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Whisk to blend and set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugars on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Blend in the pumpkin puree.  Beat in the egg and vanilla until incorporated.  With the mixer on low speed add in the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated.  Cover and chill the dough for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.  Combine the sugar and cinnamon for the coating in a bowl and mix to blend.  Scoop the dough (about 2½ tablespoons) and roll into a ball.  Coat the dough ball in the cinnamon-sugar mixture and place on the prepared baking sheet.  Repeat with the remaining dough to fill the sheets, spacing the dough balls 2-3 inches apart.  Dip the bottom of a flat, heavy-bottomed drinking glass in water, then in the cinnamon-sugar mixture, and use the bottom to flatten the dough balls slightly.  Recoat the bottom of the glass in the sugar-spice mixture as needed.

Bake the cookies for 11-13 minutes, or until just set and baked through.  Let cool on the baking sheets about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Repeat with the remaining dough.  Store in an airtight container.

Source: Annie’s Eats, originally from dlyn

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PostHeaderIcon Crockpot White Bean Chicken Chili

Fall is by far my favorite season. Cool weather, comfy sweatshirts, pumpkin desserts, comfort food – what’s not to love? Since fall has arrived I decided to make some chili in my crock pot. This recipe could not have been easier……and tastier. It’s a simple four ingredient recipe that takes minutes to throw together. I have had this recipe saved for months and was thrilled to discover it was just as delicious as I had imagined. I garnished it with fresh tomatoes, avocados, and sour cream. Get creative and garnish it with whatever you’re craving. I made 1/2 the recipe and it made about four servings, it also made excellent leftovers. I will definitely be making this many more times this fall and winter. Fall, I’m glad you’re finally here.

White Bean Chicken Chili

Ingredients:

4 cans white beans, drained and rinsed (I used cannellini white kidney beans)
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of fat
8 ounces Pepper jack cheese
2 cups salsa

Directions:

Combine the beans, cheese, and salsa in a crockpot. Nestle the chicken breasts into the mixture, and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Remove chicken breasts, shred with a fork, and return to crockpot. Stir to combine, and serve with desired garnishes.

Source: Pink Parsley

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PostHeaderIcon Chocolate Chip Bars

I have a little confession to make. One that I’m not super proud of. While I was pregnant I only blogged at a certain time since that is when my creative juices flowed. I wish I could say it was always in the afternoon while sipping tea and eating scones. Sadly, it was not like that at all. My creative juices flowed at an odd time…..around 2 am. I’m not kidding. I always went to bed super early (like I do now) and it was around the third trimester that I always woke up at the exact same time, around 2 am, and CRAVED a huge glass of milk and something sweet. While eating I would jump on my computer and blog (How did I only gain 35 lbs while pregnant??). I wish I was joking but that was the only time when I had the energy and creativeness to blog. Now I have neither of them but I try my best to blog. Anyway, I do have a point to this – I wish I had this recipe back then. I know my pregnant self would have absolutely loved these bars at 2 am. However, I’m very glad I didn’t have this recipe because I would have a lot more weight to lose right now. :)

This recipe was passed on to me by my mother-in-law, who received it from her mother. I love making recipes passed on by family since you know that they’ll always turn out delicious. I was a little hesitant on making this recipe since it contains shortening (ewe!) but I got over my fear and used it. I’m sure it would be just as good with butter but it was darn good with shortening. This recipe is very simple – you just mix the first list of ingredients together and press it into a 9 x 13 pan for the crust. Then you top it with beaten egg whites, brown sugar, and chocolate chips. Yup, it does taste as good as it sounds!

 

Chocolate Chip Bars

Ingredients:
For the cookie base:
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 egg yolks (save the egg whites)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon water

For the topping:
3 egg whites
1 cup brown sugar
6 oz. chocolate chips

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray. Set aside.

For the cookie base – Mix ingredients in order given until well-combined. Evenly press the mixture into the 9×13 pan.

For the topping – Beat the egg whites together until peaks form. Gradually mix in the brown sugar and chocolate chips to the egg whites. Spread over the cookie base and sprinkle with chopped nuts, if desired.

Bake at 350°F for 25 – 30 minutes.

 

Source: Grandma Jane :)

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PostHeaderIcon Tequila Lime Chicken

Right now I’m all about super quick and easy meals. If I cook a nice dinner, which is rare at this point, the meal either has to be incredibly quick to make or I must be able to prepare it while Audrey is sleeping. I love this meal because it fits both those requirements. It takes minutes (if that) to prepare and should be prepared ahead of time so the chicken can marinate all day. This recipe is very similar to one of my favorite dinner recipes, island chicken. I will definitely be making this recipe again, however, I still think the island chicken recipe is my favorite. So go ahead and try both and let me know which is your favorite! :)

Tequila Lime Chicken

Ingredients:
3 limes, juiced
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 Tablespoons tequila
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 Tablespoon sugar
Freshly ground black pepper
2-4 chicken breasts

Directions:
Combine all ingredients except chicken in a mixing bowl or large airtight plastic bag.  Whisk or shake well until the marinade is well mixed.  Add the chicken breasts to the bowl or plastic bag so that they are covered by the marinade.  If using a bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap.  If using a plastic bag, press out all the excess air and seal the bag tightly.  Refrigerate and marinate up to 10 hours.

When ready to cook the chicken, preheat the oven to 350° F.  Place the chicken breasts in a baking dish and pour the excess marinade over them.  Bake in the oven until cooked through and the internal temperature reaches 165° F, about 45 minutes (exact time will vary).  Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

 

Source: Adapted from Peace, Love and French Fries and this island chicken recipe

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PostHeaderIcon Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes

Yes, I’m still alive! The past six weeks have been a bit of a blur but I definitely love being a mother. It’s A LOT of work but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I do miss blogging a lot, though. It seems like whenever I open my computer to create a new blog post Audrey starts crying and wants me to hold her. Maybe she can hear me type!? :) I wouldn’t put it past her, she’s a smart little lady. I’m not “officially” back in the kitchen but I do have a few recipes saved from before I had my daughter. So, needless to say this blog post is long overdue since it literally took me a few weeks to type and post.

I must admit something to you though, I’m not a big fan of cheesecake. I know, how can I have a baking blog and not like cheesecake, right? Even though it’s not my favorite thing this recipe jumped out at me the moment I saw it since I adore oreos and I’ll take any opportunity I have to eat them. If you love cheesecake you must make these cupcakes soon. They are so darn easy to make that I’m pretty sure I could even make them now with a baby in the house! Since there’s no frosting to add to the cupcake it makes it that much easier. Even though these aren’t my favorite cupcakes I did enjoy them a lot, and I know all you cheesecake lovers out there will definitely enjoy them!

From one sweet to another…….

My sweet little Audrey with her proud momma


Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes

Yield: 30 cupcakes

Ingredients:

42 Oreos – 30 left whole, and 12 coarsely chopped
2 lbs cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
pinch of salt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.  Line muffin tins with paper liners, and place 1 Oreo in the bottom of each cup.

With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the cream cheese until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Gradually add the sugar, and beat until smooth.  Beat in the vanilla, then drizzle in the eggs.  When well combined, mix in the sour cream and salt.  Stir in the chopped cookies by hand.

Divide the batter evenly among the muffin tins, filling each one almost to the top.  Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until the filling is just set, about 22 minutes.

Transfer the tins to wire racks to cool completely, then refrigerate (in tins) at least 4 hours.  Remove from tins just before serving.

 

Source: Pink Parsley, originally from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes

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PostHeaderIcon Welcome Audrey Ann!

I’m excited to announce that our daughter, Audrey Ann, was born July 17th at 9:12 am. We are completely in awe of her and she has instantly stolen our hearts. We are so lucky to have such a healthy, content, and beautiful daughter.

I hope to be back in the kitchen soon!

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PostHeaderIcon Chicken Parmesan

I always get excited when I find a new dinner recipe I can add to our rotation. I made this meal last Sunday and it was so darn good that I had to share it with you as soon as possible. The recipe is technically a “lighter” chicken parmesan since the chicken is baked and not fried, like the traditional version. The panko crumbs are toasted first on the stove with a little oil, then the breaded chicken is cooked at a very high temperature. I love this method for cooking the chicken, it’s very easy and the results are wonderful.

There’s not much else to say about this recipe except you must make it soon!

Lighter Chicken Parmesan

1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
Salt and pepper
3 large egg whites
1 tablespoon water
Vegetable cooking spray
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied and cut into halves (4 total)
2 cups marinara sauce , warmed
1/2 shredded mozzarella cheese
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 475 degrees. Combine the breadcrumbs and oil in a 12-inch skillet and toast over medium heat, stirring often, until golden, about 10 minutes. Spread the bread crumbs in a shallow dish and cool slightly; when cool, stir in the Parmesan.

In a second shallow dish, combine the flour, garlic powder, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper together. In a third shallow dish, whisk the egg whites and water together.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, place a wire rack on top, and spray the rack with vegetable oil spray. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Lightly dredge the cutlets in the flour, shaking off the excess, then dip into the egg whites, and finally coat with the bread crumbs, Press on the bread crumbs to make sure they adhere. Lay the chicken on the wire rack.

Spray the tops of the chicken with vegetable oil spray. Bake until the meat is no longer pink in the center and feels firm when pressed with a finger, about 15 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the oven. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the sauce onto the center of each cutlet and top the sauce with 2 tablespoons of the mozzarella. Return the chicken to the oven and continue to bake until the cheese has melted, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the basil and serve over noodles, with extra parmesan and marinara sauce.

 

Source: Brown Eyed Baker, originally from Cook’s Illustrated, October 2006

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PostHeaderIcon Cinnamon Glazed Baked Doughnuts

I couldn’t wait to make doughnuts again since I had such wonderful results the last time I made them. I’ve seen several recipes for baked doughnuts floating around but I knew this recipe would be the next I would try. Cinnamon doughnuts, smothered with a delicious powdered sugar glaze, and topped with sprinkles = my ideal doughnut.

These were very easy and fun to make. My favorite part was definitely adding the glaze and sprinkles. I drizzled the glaze on the doughnuts by placing them on a wire rack with foil under it (which made for very easy clean up!). Another tip, make sure you grease the doughnut pan very well. I thought I did but some of my doughnuts still stuck to the pan a little more than I would have liked. If you have a doughnut pan, you must make these soon (and if you don’t, you need to buy one)!

On a side note, I have less than two weeks left until my due date! I can’t believe I’ll be meeting my little girl so soon! I can’t add enough exclamation points to show how excited I am to finally hold her and become a mom! :) I’m trying to stay active as much as possible but I’m definitely getting more and more uncomfortable with each passing day……and the heat does not help. Please be patient with me as my posts will slow down a bit after I have her but I’ll be back in the kitchen soon.

Have a great weekend!

Cinnamon Glazed Baked Doughnuts

Yield: 6-8 doughnuts

Doughnuts:
Ingredients:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup canola oil

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 450.

Stir the flour, sugar, baking powder, and cinnamon together. Add the egg, vanilla, and milk. Whisk together for 1 minute. Add the oil and continue to whisk until well combined.

Grease the doughnut pan very well. Fill each 2/3 of the way. Bake for 7-9 minutes. Cool completely before icing.

Icing:
Ingredients:
1 1/8 cup powdered sugar
3/4 tbsp. light corn syrup
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1-3 tbsp. water

Directions:
Whisk the first three ingredients together. Add the water slowly until it reaches the desired consistency.

Spoon icing over doughnuts. Top with sprinkles.

 

Source: Stephanie Cooks

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PostHeaderIcon Island Chicken

This island chicken recipe is a staple in our household. I usually make it once or twice a month and my husband and I enjoy it every time. I have no idea why it’s called “island” chicken but since it’s so darn good I don’t really care. :) Granted, this isn’t the most lavish dish but it’s definitely very delicious and super easy to prepare. The recipe is a simple marinade that uses pantry staples. I love how this recipe is so flexible, you can either marinate the chicken for a couple hours or all day – either way, the results are wonderful. You must try this recipe!

Island Chicken

Ingredients:
½ cup vegetable oil
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
1½ Tablespoons soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
½ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2-4 chicken breasts

Directions:
Combine all ingredients except chicken in a mixing bowl or large airtight plastic bag.  Whisk or shake well until the marinade is well mixed.  Add the chicken breasts to the bowl or plastic bag so that they are covered by the marinade.  If using a bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap.  If using a plastic bag, press out all the excess air and seal the bag tightly.  Refrigerate and marinate up to 10 hours.

When ready to cook the chicken, preheat the oven to 350° F.  Place the chicken breasts in a baking dish and pour the excess marinade over them.  Bake in the oven until cooked through and the internal temperature reaches 165° F, about 45 minutes (exact time will vary).  Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

 

Source: Annie’s Eats

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PostHeaderIcon Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

This recipe is not new to my blog, but one that definitely deserved to be rescued from the archives. This recipe was one of my very first posts and since these cupcakes are a favorite around here I thought they deserved to be showcased again. They are so good that even my husband (who is not a chocolate fan) requested I make these for his birthday. I was hoping he would ask for a difficult dessert or a layered cake so I could try a new recipe but he wanted these, and for good reason, they are amazing! The base is a deliciously moist cupcake that tastes like a brownie on steroids. Soooo good! But what puts these over the edge is the frosting, it’s my favorite go-to vanilla buttercream frosting. I have spent hours perfecting the recipe and I couldn’t be happier with the results.

It’s best to make these cupcakes ahead of time, this enhances the flavor of both the cupcake and the frosting. It also allows the frosting to harden a bit, making it even more delicious. The recipe below is for regular size cupcakes. However, if you’re making mini cupcakes, which I did, the baking time decreases to about 11-13 minutes. Just keep a close eye on them after 10 minutes.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Yield: 24 cupcakes
Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. espresso powder
1 cup boiling water
½ cup sour cream
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
¾ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
16 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1¾ cups sugar
2 large eggs

Directions:

To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line two cupcake pans with paper liners (24 total).  Combine the cocoa powder and espresso powder in a small bowl.  Add the boiling water and whisk until the mixture is smooth.  Set aside and let cool to room temperature.  Once cool, whisk in the sour cream and vanilla extract.

Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.  Stir together with a fork to combine; set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar.  Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes.  Beat in the eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the bowl as needed.

With the mixer on low speed, mix in the dry ingredients in three additions, alternately with the cocoa-sour cream mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.  Beat each addition just until incorporated.  Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cupcake liners.  Bake 18-20 minutes (or 11-13 minutes if making mini cupcakes), until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Source: Annie’s Eats

My Favorite Vanilla Buttercream Frosting!

Yield: enough frosting for 24 cupcakes

Ingredients:

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

6 cups confectioners’ sugar

pinch of salt

2 Tablespoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup heavy cream

Directions:

In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat butter at medium-high speed until smooth, about 20 seconds.

Slowly add the rest of the ingredients a little at a time. I usually start by adding a cup of confectioners’ sugar along with the salt and vanilla extract. Then I add 1/4 cup heavy cream, slowly add in more confectioners’ sugar and heavy cream until all 6 cups (or so) of confectioners’ sugar and 1/2 cup of heavy cream are added. (Do not add all 6 cups of confectioners’ sugar at once or you’ll have a mess)

Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down the bowl once or twice.

Decorate cooled cupcakes as desired.

Source: Melissa Bakes Original

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