Spring cookies

It is always fun to make seasonal cookies.  It is even more fun to include children in this tradition.  Baking is a great way to get kids involved in the kitchen.  Measuring, pouring, cracking and mixing are all things that kids can do.  I was very excited to make some Easter cookies and include the pastel M & Ms inside the batter.  I have made this recipe many times and shared it with you earlier in the blog.  This sugar cookie recipe from @averiesunshine is simply the best!  Follow exactly what the recipe says, and do not skip placing the dough in the fridge.  Remove cookies from oven when they are just slightly golden around the edges.  From the top they don’t even look cooked, but I promise they are soft and chewy.  I added some pink, purple, green, yellow, blue jimmies and sprinkles to the batter.  I love the crunch that it gives this soft buttery cookie.

Happy baking,
Sara

Brownies vs. Blondies

What is your go to dessert?  Is it cake, pie, cookies or maybe a tray of brownies?  I have been thinking about if I enjoy a brownie or a blondie better, and I think I like the versatility of the blondie.  It is easier to add something extra to the blondie to change the flavour like candy or spice.  I have found some of my favourite recipes to share with you, but please let me know which do you like better?

Brownie:
Crazy brownies from @pioneerwoman these are insanely delicious.  I have made them several times, but make sure you serve these with a big glass of milk!
Best cocoa brownies from @smittenkitchen I have never made a recipe from Deb that I did not like!
Secretly healthy zucchini brownies from @yammiesnoshery you will not believe the calorie count of these!
New and improved healthy brownies from @ambitiouskitchen you will need to check this recipe out to see how she makes these good for you brownies!  They are gluten and dairy free.

Blondies:
Cake batter blondies from @sallysbakeblog these would be a very fun addition to any birthday party.
Peanut butter cup blondies from @alidaskitchen who does not love peanut butter cups?  These look amazing.
Salted caramel blondies from @addapinch I am in love with everything salted caramel and I am sure that these would not disappoint.
Snickerdoodle blondie bars from @bakedbyrachel there is something so delicious about the mixture of sugar and cinnamon.

Happy baking,
Sara

Leprechaun bait

The recipe that I used for the Leprechaun bait is another tried and tested recipe from my grandma Illa.  She made these every Christmas, rolled them in red and green sprinkles and kept them in a Christmas box.  I changed a few things with this recipe, but it is mainly the same one she used for many years.  Instead of making large popcorn balls, I made them kid size, and rolled them in all things green.

Marshmallow Popcorn Balls
1/4 cup of butter

32 large marshmallows
8 cups of popcorn (you can use an air popper or stove)
1/2 tsp salt
Sprinkles of any kind (I used shamrocks and green jimmies)

In the top of a double boiler heat butter and marshmallows till melted.  Place popcorn in a large mixing bowl.  When marshmallow mixture is melted add it to the popcorn.  Stir to combine.  Leave this mixture to cool for a few minutes as it is too difficult to form into balls when it is hot.  To make smaller popcorn balls I used a spoon slightly larger than a tablespoon(for ease of rolling cover your hands in butter).  The recipe made between 30-35 small balls.  Once formed roll in desired sprinkles.  Store in an airtight container, but really just eat them!

Happy baking,
Sara

Family time

During day-to-day life you can lose sight of the importance of spending quality time with the ones that you love.  Today my son said, “Mom we are getting low on protein balls, we’d better find a recipe and make some more.”  And just like that I was reminded to pause and spend some one-on-one time with my growing-up too fast little boy.  We sat together and looked for a picture that appealed to him, and then together we gathered ingredients, measured, mixed and rolled.  When we were finished he looked at me and said, “That was really fun!”  In our busy lives don’t forget to take time and spend time with those that you love.  Our newest protein ball recipe can be found here.

Enjoy your weekend,
Sara

Weekly meals Feb. 27-Mar. 3

Meal updates from last week:
All meals last week were very successful.  When making the sheet pan meatloaf I did not bake my potatoes in the oven as instructed.  Instead I made mashed potatoes like I normally do: boil then mash with milk and butter.  The turkey skillet was better this time than any other time I have made it, and we are not sure why?  I did not end up making the crock pot pulled chicken.  I will report back after I have made it.

It is a miracle!  We will be eating at home Monday-Friday.  The end of the week is supposed to get nicer, so I will be using the barbeque.

  • Greek sheet pan dinner from @skinnytaste.  This recipe is from her latest cookbook and cannot be found on her site, but I did find this link for the recipe.
  • Thai-style chicken legs from @smittenkitchen I will serve this with steamed broccoli and rice.  I don’t usually use legs, instead I use thighs and they work just the same.
  • Pork tenderloin with mustard sauce from @marthastewart I will serve this with roasted carrots and potatoes.
  • Blt salad with buttermilk dressing from @marthstewart don’t let this salad fool you.  It is filling and delicious and perfect for dinner.
  • Chicken caesar burgers from @iowagirleats I will serve this with some waffle fries.  Have you ever tried the Alexia waffle fries?  They are seasoned and delicious, a perfect pairing with this burger.

For snacks this week I will be trying another new energy ball from @twopeasandpod  This one is an oatmeal raisin version.  Last week I found a recipe for overnight oats that I had for breakfast twice.  It was a winner, so this week I will be making the coconut cream pie oats again.  I am going to top it with some banana and fresh mango.  If I have some extra time I will be making these!

Don’t forget to print the dinner-list-5 for ease at the grocery store.

Happy cooking,
Sara

Perfect pie crust

Growing up I was surrounded by amazing women who were masters in the kitchen.  Both of my grandmothers made cooking and baking look easy.  Arriving at their homes everything would be prepared, the table would be set and they would be wearing lipstick and pearls.  When it came to desserts their specialty was pie.  It did not matter the variety they were always amazing.  As I got older I learned the key to a great pie was the dough, and so I spent an afternoon in the kitchen with my grandma learning the secrets to the perfect dough.  In celebration of National Pie Day I will be sharing this family recipe with you.

Ingredients
1 lb of Crisco
1/2 cup of margarine
1 tbsp of white vinegar
1 cup of water
5 1/2-6 cups of all purpose flour

Directions
In a large bowl mix the crisco and margarine together.  Add the vinegar.  Next, add the water in small amounts until it is all incorporated.  This will take a little bit of muscle.  At first it may not seem like it will come together, but I promise that in the end it will.  Now it is time for the flour, using a fork not a spoon add the flour one cup at a time.  You do not want the dough to be dry, so as soon as it is holding together stop adding the flour.  Remember you can always add more flour when you roll your dough out.  Divide dough into four equal balls, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate or freeze until you are ready to make a pie.

Happy baking,

Sara