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December 15, 2014

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Happy holidays!

 
























































Tis the Christmas season and I'm loving it as always. Aside from being busy and a lot going on in the past month - I left my job of 7 years and started my new full time counseling career on Monday!, passed my NCE counseling exam on Friday, and have been finishing up my last semester of grad school and applying for my licensure - I am super excited for Christmas! I always love shopping for presents for my loved ones... it's the best part!

And holiday cookies, of course!

This month we're taking a break from the Secret Recipe Club and some of us are participating in a Cookie Carnival. It's all about the cookies, baby!




 








 
I was assigned to Julie's blog, The Texan New Yorker. I've never been to Texas OR New York, so cool! We sound like we have something in common because she used to be a picky eater like me but has expanded her horizons and now enjoys all kinds of foods like I do! She had some tasty cookie recipes to choose from, but brown butter. That's all I gotta say. Brown butter. 

What better way to make a classic chocolate chip cookie even tastier? Add brown butter, that's how. You already know how I like to add brown butter to desserts. So I had to go with her Brown Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I actually did heaping tablespoons on one batch and they came out thicker and more cake-like. On the second batch I used tablespoons and flattened the dough and they came out crunchier and thinner obviously. PJ preferred the thick cake-like ones, but I also like the crunchy thin ones. Point is, they're good either way. 

 
Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
from The Texan New Yorker
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter; 1 stick needs to be at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 and 1/s teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon molasses
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 and 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
To brown the butter, melt 1 stick plus 1 tablespoon butter in a medium, silver-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Once completely melted, the butter will foam, froth, and make a crackling noise. This is the water cooking out. Swirl the pan gently and occasionally during this process. Once the water is cooked out, the butter will begin browning. This happens quickly, so do not walk away or attempt to muti-task here. Once the solids reach a rich, chestnut color, remove the butter from the heat and immediately pour it into a separate container. Scrape all the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. It should smell rich and nutty with no traces of anything burned. Let the butter cool a bit. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the remaining 1 stick softened butter with the granulated sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the vanilla extract and molasses; beat until incorporated. Once the brown butter has cooled somewhat, pour it into the creamed butter mixture, along with the brown sugar. Cream about 2 minutes until well incorporated. Add the egg and egg yolk, and beat for 1 more minute.


In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda. Add the flour mixture, all at once, to the butter mixture and beat on low speed just until the flour is incorporated. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and fold in the chocolate chips with a spatula. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.


Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 375 F. Line 2 baking sheets with silpats or parchment paper. Roll tablespoons of dough into balls and space about 2 inches apart on the baking sheets.


Bake cookies 12 to 14 minutes until lightly browned on the outside, but still soft and tender in the center. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes on the baking sheets. Then transfer the cookies to cooling racks. Eat warm or at room temperature.


Printable Recipe







Check back next month when we'll be back to our usual Secret Recipe Club posts  :)


Linking up here



Peace, and bacon grease!






November 26, 2014

Apple-Sage Stuffing Cups

Happy Thanksgiving eve!!












































Making Thanksgiving dinner can be quite intimidating! I made my first Thanksgiving turkey a couple of years ago and used Pioneer Woman's brine. The skin got a little burnt but it was so juicy and flavorful, unlike any turkey I've ever had! 



























This weekend we made a turkey breast but wanted to go simple, meaning no brine. We made a small 6-lb turkey breast rubbed in butter and herbs. Really easy to make, tasted good, but I could tell it wasn't brined. Next year, it's all about the brine, baby. Plus, turkey breasts are good and all but don't have that dark meat and this turkey breast didn't yield much drippings to make homemade gravy. I don't feel confident enough in the actual turkey recipes to post them just yet, but I hope to keep practicing so that I can eventually post a turkey recipe where I'm confident in the cooking time, temp, method etc. 




















Anyways, enough about turkey since I'm not sharing a turkey recipe. Today I've brought you Stuffing Muffins. Not just any stuffing muffins, but ones with apple and sage!

Stuffing Muffins are kind of a brilliant idea. They are the perfect little individual portions (let's be honest though, you can't eat just one). Plus they're adorable.

I'm more of a dry stuffing kinda girl myself, while PJ likes his wet and moist. I loved that these had crispy and moist parts. I loved the apple and onion in these too.  





Apple-Sage Stuffing Cups
adapted from Cooking Light 
  • 10.5 oz French baguette, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 and 1/2 cups diced Granny Smith apples
  • 1 and 1/4 cups yellow or white onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 and 3/4 cups unsalted chicken stock
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • cooking spray
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Arrange bread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until toasted, stirring after 8 minutes. Place bread in a large bowl.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add diced apples, onion, celery, sage, pepper and salt. Saute for 5 minutes or until tender. Add apple mixture to large bowl of bread cubes. Toss to combine. 

Combine stock and beaten eggs in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add stock mixture to the bread mixture, stirring gently to combine. 

Divide bread mixture evenly among 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray, about 1/2 cup each. Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

Printable Recipe

 

















What are you all having for Thanksgiving? What are you thankful for? 

I can't even begin to count them all  :)



Linking up here.


Peace, and bacon grease!  


November 19, 2014

Pumpkin Donut Mini Muffins

It's fall, yall! But quickly approaching winter so that means time to get in all the pumpkin we can!

 























































 

Fall, to me, means caramel apples and Thanksgiving turkey and sweet potatoes. But most of all, fall to me is all about pumpkin!

I gotta say, I love being a grown up (well, sometimes). Do you know how many times I would have gagged at the thought of pumpkin when I was a picky kid and teenager? Now, I know better. I'm so glad I'm willing to try more foods these days because if not, I wouldn't have discovered my love of pumpkin. 

Not all pumpkin flavored-things, let's be clear. But whether it's sweet or savory, I'm definitely on the pumpkin bandwagon.

While we enjoyed these, they didn't scream pumpkin flavor to me. Still good either way!




Pumpkin Donut Mini Muffins
adapted from Martha Stewart

For the Batter:
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 and 1/4 cups canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 and 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
For the Sugar Coating:   
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour mini muffin cups. 

To make the batter: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin spice. In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk and pumpkin puree. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, scraping down bowl as needed. With mixer on low, add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with two additions pumpkin mixture, and beat to combine.

Spoon batter into each muffin cup and bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean, checking at 12 minutes. It may take up to 17 minutes to cook through.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl combine granulated sugar and cinnamon. Let muffins cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Working with one at a time, remove muffins from pan, brush all over with melted butter, then toss to coat in sugar mixture. Let muffins cool completely on a wire rack.

Note: May need to use 2 mini muffin pans.


Printable Recipe


So how about you guys? How do you feel about pumpkin? Do you guys stock up on canned pumpkin like I do?


Linking up here


Peace, and bacon grease!



November 17, 2014

Jalapeno Popper Deviled Eggs

It's time for November's Secret Recipe Club.  :)

 






















































This month I was assigned to Debbi's blog, Debbi Does Dinner Healthy. Debbi has so many good recipes, it was hard to narrow it down to one! In the spirit of fall and pumpkin, I was so tempted to make her Pumpkin Pancakes, but I did just make a pancake recipe recently that will be on the blog soon. I just made some rice krispies recently too but her Cinnamon Roll Rice Crispy Treats are so adorable and I bet they taste amazing too. But I decided to go with something more savory. 

Ultimately, her Jalapeno Popper Deviled Eggs won me over.

Anything jalapenopopper-like is a sure thing for me. The perfect mix of spicy, salty and creamy! 

(My tip to nearly perfectly peeled hard boiled eggs immediately removing the pot to the sink and run in cold water to stop the cooking process. Then when ready to crack and peel, run warm water on the eggs as you crack them in the pot. Crack all over, allowing the warm water to help release the eggs from the cracked shells. I only had one mess up, I consider that an almost success.  :)  Do you guys have any tips for perfectly peeled hard boiled eggs?)

 
Jalapeno Popper Deviled Eggs
slightly modified from Debbie Does Dinner Healthy

  • 6 hard boiled eggs, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons mayo
  • 3 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tablespoons cheddar jack cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup pickled jarred jalapenos, diced
  • 4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (save some for garnish)
  • cheddar jack cheese, shredded, for topping
Preheat oven to broil. 

Cut the eggs in half lengthwise. Scoop the yolks out, add to a medium bowl. Mash the yolks and mix with the mayo, cream cheese, 3 tablespoons cheddar jack cheese, jalapenos and bacon. Place about a tablespoon of the mixture into the halved eggs. Sprinkle on cheddar jack cheese to top, place on a baking sheet and broil for a minute or so until cheese has melted. Top with additional bacon for garnish.

Printable Recipe

 























































PJ declared these the best deviled eggs he's had! I agree they are super good. You can use fresh jalapenos if you want, be we used the jarred stuff because I prefer them in deviled eggs. We used cheddar jack shredded cheese, a mix of cheddar and monterey jack. 

We loved that they were broiled for a minute too, cuz jalapeno poppers are served hot right?! Loved this twist on a deviled egg. Adding to the rotation :)


Check out my past Secret Recipe Club posts! 





Linking up here.
 

Peace, and bacon grease!



November 10, 2014

Restaurant Review: Senate in OTR

Oh, OTR. You've come a long way.

It's the cool, happenin place to be. I know, I'm like 4 years late lol. Lined with tons of cool restaurants and bars, all within walking distance, right by Washington Park... who cares that you sometimes have to wait 2 hours to get a table  :)



Senate has been on my list to try for quite some time. Gourmet hot dogs, people. I'm not much of a hot dog person, but pile on tons of delicious, creative and heart-attack inducing ingredients and I'm all for it. 

It's pretty small on the inside and if you go on a weekend, during lunch, or probably even a weeknight, you may have to wait for a table. There was already a wait on a Saturday for lunch at noon, so we decided to sit at the bar. Like I said, not a ton of room... tables are very close to each other so you can hear what your "neighbors" are talking about if you're nosy :) But it's worth it.

I mean, where else can you get a hot dog named after Nick Lachey, or one topped with braised short rib or grippos?!? 

I had their special for the day, The Kevin Bacon ($12). This beef hot dog came piled with some deep fried bacon, avocado, fried onion strings, and a special cheese sauce. All on a brioche bun. To be honest, I completely forgot it had bacon on it and thought I was just eating the fried onions, so wish I had tasted more of the bacon cuz let's face it, I LOVE BACON (see my sign off for proof). But either way I enjoyed it. It was huge though, I couldn't finish it!























































Look at that cheese sauce!

 
























































My friend, Mandy, got the Lindsay Lohan ($10) with goat cheese, caramelized onions, bacon, arugula, and balsamic. It looks and sounds way more fancy and put together than Lindsay Lohan lol. Mandy really liked it! I'll be trying that when I go back one day too!


















































We hadn't seen each other in awhile and were celebrating our recent successes.... graduating from Xavier's counseling program and getting new big-girl counseling jobs... and so that called for some dranks of course! I got the Tequila Olde Fashioned ($10), which is cazadores blanco tequila, brandied cherries, orange and grapefruit bitters (on the left). Mandy got the Gin Paloma ($9) with grapefruit, tanqueray, soda & St. Germain (on the right). Aren't they pretty? They tasted good too! They also have beer and wine if you're not a cocktail kinda person.



 
They're known for their hot dogs, but if you're iffy about the hot dogs, they've got other bites too (think Poutine Fries and Lobster BLT). I definitely have to go back to try lots more dogs + their other offerings. Plus dessert! Hello chocolate & bourbon bread pudding.

I definitely need to get my butt to OTR more often, and that means back to Senate.


Peace, and bacon grease!





Senate on Urbanspoon

October 30, 2014

Obsessions + Confessions: Pumpkin Edition!!!

Time for my latest obsessions + confessions, but this time it's pumpkin edition! All of my recent pumpkin obsessions (and a few pumpkin confessions).

Last week I made some of Veronica's Brown Butter Pumpkin Spice Krispies Treats and they were the domb.com. Recipe and post coming soon!

Then I went to photograph them. I had bought mini pumpkins to use as props in the photo. What do you know, they had gone bad and gotten moldy! Shoot! These were fresh mini pumpkins, so no clue why they had gone bad so quickly. According to Eat By Date, I should have been able to get a couple months out of em (unopened, fresh). No clue what happened there.

And now I'm scared to buy pumpkins for fear that they'll go bad on me. 

Oh well. At least I've got some of these fantastic Pumpkin Oreos. What do you know, again, PJ thought he wasn't a pumpkin fan but he liked these! 



 













































I'll be posting another pumpkin recipe soon too. I just need to get better photos. Think mini pies + bourbon. You're welcome :)


Now for my pumpkin obsessions! Let's start with the sweet pumpkin stuff.

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Caramel Sauce... because pumpkin + caramel is heaven on earth.


Pumpkin Cheesecake Truffle Mummies (No-Bake) ... super cute and easy enough to make in time for Halloween still!

Pumpkin Spice Macarons... never had a macaron in my life but I'm obsessed with them somehow.

Chocolate Pumpkin Fudge with Pecan Crunch... love the two-toned look!


Roasted Pumpkin Five Spice Ice Cream ... because sometimes fall and October call for ice cream.

Pumpkin Spice Oreo Balls... now you have another reason to buy some of those oreos!

Maple Glazed Pumpkin Coffee Cake... because cake for breakfast.

Pumpkin Toffee Angel Food Cake... I'm a sucker for Angel Food cake and that pumpkin layer.... oh no she didn't! (oh yes she did, and I thank her!)

Pumpkin Pancakes with Brown Butter Pecan Syrup or Cream Cheese Glaze... let's face it, this is basically dessert for breakfast. And I aint mad.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies... these "bake me happy." Get it? Cuz I used her blog name? I already know I'm corny.


And now for the savory pumpkin goodness.... 


Caramelized Onion, Bacon, & Pumpkin Dip... Anything served in a pumpkin has gotta be good. Plus bacon and caramelized onions, 2 of my favorite things. 


Pumpkin, Ginger & Kaffir Lime Soup... well aren't you pretty and fancy.

Healthy Bacon & Pumpkin Pasta... mmm the pumpkin looks just like cheese! Intrigued.


Spicy Slow Cooker Pumpkin Chili... pumpkin + chili scream fall! Plus served in a pumpkin.... adorbs.

Pumpkin Naan Pizza with Gruyere & Fresh Herbs... pizza + pumpkin. On naan bread. That is all.

Pumpkin Biscuits {with Pecan-Honey Butter}... the perfect side dish for some pumpkin chili!

Spicy Sausage and Pumpkin Mac & Cheese... + sage!

Pumpkin Braised Short Ribs... short ribs are seriously one of my fave things on earth. Never woulda thunk to add some pumpkin! Genius.

Skillet Pumpkin Cornbread... I bet it's amazing topped with that cinnamon butter!

Who's ready for Halloween? Not I! I don't have a costume, not that I need one this year since I won't be at our company's Halloween party. And I don't have any Halloween candy yet to pass out to the kiddos. The past few years only a handful of kids have showed up. And it's supposed to be crappy weather too. What are you all doing for Halloween? Any traditions? 


Peace, and bacon grease!



October 20, 2014

Salted Brown Butter Crispy Treats

Time for this month's Secret Recipe Club!



























































This month I was assigned to one of my fave blogs, Veronica's Cornucopia. I love Veronica! I've been a long time follower of her blog for a long time now and love her recipes, writing style, and all of her posts (when I get caught up on them months later, sorry V!). Plus she has the cutest little baby boy, Joshua!!! You can really get a sense of her fun personality here, I mean her glossary is awesome lol. I tend to have my own Desi language too :)  Her recipes are awesome... I've had so many on my list for awhile to try and have made some myself. This.... so tempting. I'm seriously making this salad asap. 

I've been wanting to try her Brown Butter Pumpkin Spice Krispies Treats forever! But dang it when I went to my grocery store, they didn't have the Pumpkin Spice marshmallows :(  Good thing I had seen another delicious rice crispy treat recipe on her blog too that I wanted to try... her Salted Brown Butter Crispy Treats

Ok... brown butter. I feel like people should be shouting from the rooftops about it. Ok maybe I'm going a little overboard, but it seriously makes everything better! Main dishes and desserts alike. 



Salted Brown Butter Crispy Treats
from Veronica's Cornucopia


  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 (10 oz) bag marshmallows
  • Heaping 1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 6 cups Rice Krispies cereal (about half a 12-ounce box)
Coat an 8x2-inch pan with non-stick spray.

In a large pot, melt butter over medium-low heat. It will melt, then foam, then turn clear golden and finally start to turn brown. Stir frequently, scraping up any bits from the bottom as you do. When the butter takes on a nutty color and the solids have turned a golden-brown, stir in the salt & marshmallows.

Turn off the heat once the marshmallows are melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove the pot from the stove and stir in the cereal. Quickly spread into prepared pan. You can use a piece of waxed/parchment paper sprayed with oil and press it firmly and evenly into the edges and corners, or use a silicone spatula.

Let cool, cut into squares and serve.



Printable Recipe


 




















































These rice crispy (rice krispie?) treats are sooooooooo good. SO much better than your standard rice crispy. That brown butter really makes a difference and gives it this amazing flavor. And I love a little saltiness to compliment all the sweet in my desserts, personally. So these were perfect.

A little too perfect. I couldn't stop eating them! Now I've gotta make more and try those Pumpkin ones before fall is over too.


Check out my past Secret Recipe Club posts!




Linking up here.
 

Peace, and bacon grease!