Monday, January 27, 2014

gluten free brownie cookies.

I realize this is never a good way to start off a sentence but I'm doing it anyway... 
Please don't call me close-minded but I always figured gluten free meant, well...yuck. I imagined gluten free cookies would be gritty and bland- something definitely not worth the calories. 

These cookies are anything but yuck. They are amazing! They are soft, chewy, rich, and just plain tasty. Perfect for the gluten free person in your life! :)

So, rest assured- my mind has been opened and I will definitely consider trying more gluten free desserts in the future.


1/2 cup butter, room temp.
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup white chocolate chips*
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips*


  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. 
  2. Mix together the butter and sugars. 
  3. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until combined. Mix together the soda, salt, and cocoa and add to the wet ingredients, mixing until combined. 
  4. Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts. 
  5. Bake for about 10 minutes or until they look done.
*I used 1 cup chocolate chips because I didn't have any white chips.

Recipe Source:

Sunday, January 26, 2014

eggplant lasagna.

I just love lasagna but I don't love all the carbs that go along with it. Especially since eating it with garlic bread is mandatory- i.e. even more carbs. I was thrilled to find that eggplant makes for a great, healthy noodle substitute.  With this recipe, you still get the rich beefy, cheesy combination that lasagna offers plus healthy veggies too! Big thanks to my husband Grant for not complaining [too much] about this seemingly scary dinner!


Olive oil (I used my Misto sprayer)
1 eggplant, chopped
Salt and black pepper
1 1/2 cups marinara sauce
1/2-1 pound cooked and drained ground beef (optional)
large egg
7.5 oz ricotta or cottage cheese
1-2 teaspoons dried oregano, garlic, and basil
1-2 cups grated mozzarella 
1/4-1/2 cup grated Parmesan 


  1. Heat oven to 450° F.  Spray or pour olive oil on baking sheet. Arrange the eggplant in a single layer on the baking sheet and turn to coat in the oil; season with salt and pepper.
  2. Bake the eggplant, rotating the baking sheets halfway through, until soft and beginning to brown, 12 to 15 minutes; let cool. Reduce heat to 400° F.
  3. Meanwhile, cook and drain ground beef and combine with marinara sauce. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, ricotta, oregano, salt, and pepper.
  4. Arrange layer of sauce/beef, layer of eggplant, layer of egg/ricotta mixture, layer of mozzarella, and finally a layer of parmesan. 
  5. Repeat until all ingredients are used, ending with a layer of sauce/beef. Sprinkle more oregano, garlic, and basil on top, if desired.
  6. Bake until the cheese has melted and the sauce is bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Recipe Inspired by

Thursday, January 23, 2014

blueberry crumb cake.

Basically... blueberry muffins in cake form. 

I know this is totally a summer recipe but I don't care...blueberries were on sale at the store and I wanted to make a blueberry dessert! This recipe was super easy to whip up and gave me time to get other things done while it was baking- bonus! The cake part turned out amazingly moist, and I added a crumb topping which made it even more buttery and delicious- another bonus! 



for the cake batter:

  • 1.5 cups sugar 
  • 1 cup shortening (I used butter)
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/3 cups milk
  • Blueberries (somewhere between 1 pint and 1 quart)
for the crumb topping (optional):
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • about 1/4 cup sugar
  • about 1/2 cup flour


  1. cream together sugar and shortening. 
  2. mix together 4 cups flour, 3 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp salt
  3. beat 1 egg together with 1 1/3 cups milk
  4. alternate adding flour mixture and milk mixture to the sugar
  5. mix in blueberries
  6. pour into 9x13 pan
  7. after butter is melted (for crumb topping), mix it together with sugar and flour
  8. crumble all over cake
  9. bake for 50 min in 350 degree oven

Recipe Source:

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

cranberry bliss cookies.

These cookies are pure bliss, just like their name says. 

These cranberry-white chocolate chip cookies are soft, moist, and perfect. Added bonus? They are smothered with a cream cheese frosting that has white chocolate in it! Did you know cream cheese frosting could get any better?  I sure didn't.

Try these now! You won't be disappointed.  


  • 3/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs*
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • Frosting
  • 6 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips, melted
  • Topping
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips, melted
  1. In bowl of stand mixer cream butter and cream cheese together until smooth.
  2. Beat in brown sugar for 1-2 minutes until fluffy.
  3. Add in eggs, vanilla, baking soda and salt and beat until evenly mixed. Turn mixer to low and add in flour.
  4. Stir in white chocolate chips and chopped cranberries. Chill dough for 2 hours or overnight.**
  5. Preheat oven to 375°. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  6. Drop dough on baking sheet about 2 inches apart and bake for 9-11 minutes, until edges are golden and centers are just set.
  7. Transfer to wire rack to cool.
  8. Frosting
  9. Beat cream cheese and butter together until smooth. Mix in powdered sugar and beat until creamy. Finally mix in melted white chocolate, beating until incorporated.
  10. Spread frosting on top of cookies.
  11. Topping
  12. To garnish, sprinkle remaining chopped dried cranberries on top of cookies, evenly distributing them among all the cookies. Finally, drizzle melted chocolate on top.***

*I ran out of eggs so I substituted applesauce. I used 1/3 cup applesauce per egg. You can also use these substitutions:

**I would recommend chilling them longer than 2 hours, possibly even overnight (if you can wait that long). My first batch in the oven spread a lot so I froze each scoop of cookie dough on a baking sheet for about 10 minutes before I baked them.

***As you can see, I didn't do this step because I was feeling a little lazy. They were just fine without the drizzled chocolate but the extra chocolate definitely wouldn't hurt!

Thank you Cookies and Cups for this yummy cookie recipe!

cookie dough pretzel bites.

What's better than a chocolate chip cookie? 
A spoonful of cookie dough, of course!

This safe-to-eat cookie dough recipe is probably the best excuse you'll ever have to just eat the cookie dough.  The recipe calls for milk or cream instead of an egg. There are also no leavening agents. Other than that, it is your honest to goodness chocolate chip cookie recipe.  Here's the best don't have to bake anything!

The first step is making the cookie dough. The second step is assembling the cookie dough between 2 pretzels. Next, FREEZE the cookie dough pretzel sandwiches for at least 20 minutes. This is an important step to make sure they will not fall apart while dunking them in the melted chocolate.  Then, melt your chocolate and dunk away. I dunked mine about halfway but some got a little more chocolate than others. :) After this, you will freeze them yet again.  I know it will be difficult because you WILL want to eat them...right away. So I apologize in advance for that step.  Lastly, enjoy these incredible cookie dough pretzel bites and store in the fridge in between eating sessions.  Now, go make these now!!


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons milk or cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 40-50 pretzels
  • 8 oz semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon shortening, optional


  1. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar together on medium speed until light and creamy. Add the milk and vanilla extract and mix until combined. Turn the mixer off and add the flour and salt. Mix on low speed at first, then turn the mixer up to medium speed and mix until combined. The dough will be thick and crumbly, just keep mixing until it comes together. Mix in mini chocolate chips.
  3. Roll the dough into balls, 2 tsp is recommended. You can make them however thick or thin you prefer! Sandwich balls between two pretzels and place on prepared baking sheet. Freeze for 20 minutes (this is important).
  4. While the pretzel bites are chilling, break up the chocolate and melt with the shortening for about 1 minute in microwave, stirring every 20 seconds. The shortening helps thin out the chocolate out. Dip the pretzel bites halfway into the melted chocolate and place bites back on baking sheet. Refrigerate the dipped bites for at least 10 minutes to allow the chocolate to set (this is important). Cover and store pretzel bites in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Thank you to Sallys Baking Addiction for this amazing recipe!

Monday, January 20, 2014

banana chocolate chip muffins.

Mmm bananas. Mmm chocolate chips. Mmm muffins.

If you were lucky(?) enough to get snowed in a couple weeks ago, what did you do during the "snowpocalypse" or the "polar vortex"? Here's what I did: I baked. And baked some more. And baked again. This was one of the 4 recipes I tried. Here are a couple of the other recipes I made: cookie dough pretzel bites and cranberry bliss cookies.

I've made several banana chocolate chip muffin variations but these, oh these muffins, are just simply stellar. I wouldn't change a thing about this recipe because they are perfect just the way they are.  

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large or 3 small/medium ripe bananas, mashed
1 large egg
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (if you only have salted butter, leave out the salt)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup milk
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, as well as more for sprinkling
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper or foil liners.*
  2. Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. In a separate medium bowl, mix the mashed bananas, egg, butter, vanilla extract and milk. Stir the banana mixture into the dry ingredients just until combined (do not overmix). Stir in chocolate chips.
  3. Fill muffin liners about 3/4 full (you can also choose to decrease the number of muffins if you like larger muffins). Sprinkle extra chocolate chips on top, if desired.
  4. Bake for about 32 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the center is free of crumbs. Cool on a wire rack.

*The ingredient amounts listed below only make a dozen but I'm sure it could be easily doubled if you needed more.

Recipe Source

kale chips.

In the last few weeks, I have (tried) to start a new routine at the grocery store.  Every week, I am (trying to) buy a different vegetable to eat. Sometimes in the evening when I think about the food I've eaten that day, I realized I haven't consumed any veggies. Talk about yikes!

One veggie I bought was kale. You know what I am talking about, it's leafy, green, bitter, kinda scary.  I thought to myself "What am I supposed to do with kale?!"

And then I remembered kale chips- a supposedly awesome, healthy snack that I had seen literally all over Pinterest. I chose this specific recipe to use because the ingredients were simple and the instructions were detailed and easy to understand.

Let me tell you what- I devoured these. I am not exaggerating when I say I literally ate 2 whole pans of these things. They are incredible. You have to try them! 



1. Kale
2. Salt and/or your favorite seasonings – I loaded mine with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil


1. Preheat your oven to 275 degrees.
2. Rinse and dry your kale well. I used my salad spinner and it was just the ticket.
3. Break up each big leaf into bite-sized pieces. Tear the leaf along the thick spine, and throw away the spine afterwards. It’s a bit tough to chew on compared to the flaky leaf parts.
4. Toss all the kale into a big bowl, and drizzle olive oil over it – the amount depends on preference and how much kale you’re cooking, but be sure that each leaf is coated. Season to your liking, but don’t be shy with the salt! The salt helps with the natural bitterness. 
5. Arrange the pieces on a cookie sheet. Try not to let the pieces overlap but it's ok if they do because the kale shrinks a lot while baking. 
6. Put your cookie sheet into the oven, and bake for 20 minutes. Halfway through, pull the tray(s) out, and flip each piece of kale to ensure even crisping.
7. After 20 minutes, check on your kale to see if each piece is entirely dried out. 
8. You're done! Now you can enjoy this healthy, delicious, addictive snack!!