Category Archives: Recipes

Cake Pops!

Like I said, I’m a dreamer.

And, I gotta admit something I have been in denial about. Truth is, as much as I would like to, I probably won’t do all the things I say that I claim that I will do…

Like becoming famous for my dancing skills. (You can ‘Amen’ to that one if you have ever seen me dance..)

Or having a vacation house in every country.

Or owning my own safari park where I am friends with all the giraffes and zebras and elephants.

However, I wouldn’t bet against myself on doing realistic things like traveling to exotic places, being a successful entrepreneur, and making a lasting difference for the Kingdom of Christ. These dreams are already in the making thanks to my Jesus, so hold your horses folks. You don’t want to miss this. I, in fact, greatly enjoy doing the things that I say I would like to do. Like when I said I would make some of these:

  

We had our friend Megan over the other night for her birthday, and I got put in charge of dessert. (They knew me well when they dished out our duties.) I think that nine times out of ten, birthday cake is grooooss, and I about died over the cake pops at my brother’s wedding. I made a promise to myself to make some, and I was determined to keep it. So I did. They were kinda messy since it was my first go, but forget about the way they look…

Ok, I take that back. Don’t forget. They look delicious. And they were.

They were AWESOME. Moist. Perfectly vanilla-y, and perfectly chocalatey. Not too much, not too little. Cute. Happy. Wonderful. I cannot wait to make other flavors and decorative cake pops in the very near future.

If its your birthday, tell me, so I can make them for you.

Even if its not your birthday, tell me to make them for you.

Even if you don’t tell me to make them for you, I willl.

But I guess if you don’t want me to make them for you, make them yourself. Even though that might hurt my feelings. But I’ll forgive you and give you two ways to make these. You’re welcome!

The From Scratch Way Ingredients:

Vanilla Cake:

  • 1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup milk
Chocolate Frosting:
  • 1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons 1% milk
  • 1 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup butter
The Lazy Way Ingredients:
  • 1 box vanilla cake mix
  • 1 can of chocolate frosting
For Both:
  • Sprinkles
  • Chocolate you can melt (you can use white chocolate, semi-sweet, dark, whatever you like. I used Baker’s Semi-sweet squares)
  • Some kind of skewer to stick the cake balls in
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350.
For the Cake:
For the ‘From Scratch’ Way, mix the dry ingredients in a bowl.
In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. One at a time, mix the eggs in. Add vanilla.
Then add the milk and flour to the wet bowl, alternating between the two.
Pour the batter into a cake pan and bake for 15-25 minutes. (Use the toothpick method to see if its done.)
For the ‘Lazy Way‘, just make the cake however the box tells you.
Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool.
For the Frosting: 
For the ‘From Scratch‘ frosting, combine the sugar and cocoa first and then add the milk and vanilla. Stir together. Beat in the butter until light and fluffy frosting appears.
For the ‘Lazy Way‘, open the can. Nuff said.
Cake Pop Assembly:
  1. Once the cake has cooled, destroy it by breaking it into little pieces with your fingers until it looks like bread crumbs. Put in a bowl.
  2. Add in 2/3 of the frosting to the crumbs and mix well. (For the box mix, add little by little until the cake just sticks together well enough. You can eyeball it. Not hard.) Note: you can never have too much chocolate frosting so make it to your liking.
  3. Take a spoon and scoop out an even amount of cake/ frosting mixture and roll it into a ball. Set it aside and do the same with the rest of the mixture.
  4. To decorate, melt your melting chocolate in the microwave in 30 second increments until melted. Dip the end of a skewer in the chocolate, then stick it in a cake ball. (This helps the sticks not slide off.) Do the same with the rest of the skewers until all the cake balls have a skewer.
  5. Now, with each cake pop, dip it into the chocolate mixture, smooth it over with a knife or extra skewer, and coat with sprinkles. This is probably the hardest part, but you will figure out a method that works for you. Once you have chocolat-ized and sprinkled each cake pop, I suggest putting them in the fridge so the chocolate can harden. (Once the chocolate is hard, they can store outside of the fridge.)

Now, wave your cake pops in the air like you just don’t care and sing the happy birthday song to someone (even if its noones birthday..) Prepare to be amazed and feel like a professional baker. Enjoy!

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Couscous Tabbouleh.

I’m callin’ out all you lazy people with this one. Including me.

I, too, am guilty of buying pre-made sides and pre-made meals. Its obviously so much easier and some people come up with some pretty good stuff that I probably wouldn’t come up with on my own. But I learned a couple lessons with this recipe:

Lesson 1: Everything tastes better homemade. (I think its the secret ingredient – the satisfaction and accomplishment of doing it yourself – that makes it taste so good.) (Disclaimer: If you do it right. Things don’t taste better if you burn them or put salt in instead of sugar or something like that.)

Lesson 2: This recipe makes life easier. For 4 days I didn’t have to make a side, think about a side, or buy another pre-made side. This was just waiting for me in the fridge every day, just sitting there in its mediterranean deliciousness.

Lesson 3: I should move to Israel. I only learned this because I brought the leftovers to my G-ma’s house last night for our 4th of July party. She got really excited and exclaimed that I would eat great in Israel (she goes a lot and apparently they eat this there). So let me know if you would like to contribute to my plane ticket and house fund so I can eat my homemade tabbouleh in my Israeli villa.

So if you are looking for some self-satisfaction and sense of accomplishment, need a recipe for simplifying your life, and would like to move to Israel with me, make this:

Couscous Tabbouleh:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups couscous
  • 2 cups chopped fresh parsley or cilantro (I used cilantro and only used like 1/2 a cup, but you do what you want. Just feel it.)
  • 1 1/3 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup chopped cucumber
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp salt
Directions:
Cook the couscous according to the package directions and let cool. Stir in the rest of the ingredients.
Um, easiest thing ever. You can’t mess it up. Lazy ones, there are no excuses.
Get your couscous on!

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Mozzarella Grilled Pepper Salad.

Last night, man, I was pooped. I had been working and cleaning and doing laundry all day. Ick. But after our vacation, I was itchin’ to get in the kitchen. (Hey, that rhymed. Nicee.) Anyways, I decided I deserved something delicious and homemade. But it had to be:

1. Easy

2. Cold (I have this weird thing where I base my meal decisions on whether I want hot or cold food. Yeah… anyways.)

3. …and cheeeeesy. What can I say? I had a hankerin’.

As I always do when I’m looking for something simple and delicious to make, I opened up my most recent edition of Rachael Ray, and found this:

  

Cha-ching.

It met all the requirements…

1. Easyyy peasy. This is all it takes.

2. Cold. Nom nom nom on some freshhnesss. Yes.

3. Cheeesyy. I love me some fresh mozzarella any day. Coulda ate the whole log if I tried.

So if you’re having one of those days, and you want some cheese and garlic bread at its freshest and finest, make this.

Mozzarella Grilled Pepper Salad:

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 bell peppers (mixed colors to make it perty.)
  • 1/2 pint grape tomatoes, quartered lengthwise
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 large baguette, sliced crosswise into 3/4 inch- thick slices
  • 8 oz. mozzarella cheese, cubed
  • 1/3 cup torn basil leaves (I used cilantro cause that’s all I had. But basil and mozzarella are always a great team.)
Directions:
1. In a small bowl combine the garlic and EVOO. Let it sit while you prep and grill the bell peppers.
2. Preheat a grill to medium-high. Cut the bell peppers into flat panels and throw away the stems, cores, and seeds. Lightly oil the grill grate and grill the pepper pieces, covered and turning occasionally, until just softened, about 10 minutes. When they’re cool enough to handle, cut into 1-inch squares and transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in the tomatoes, onion, and vinegar; season with salt and pepper.
3. Brush the bread slices on both sides with the garlic oil. Grill, turning once, until well marked and toasted, 2-4 minutes. Cut into large cubes.
4. Stir the remaining garlic oil into the salad. Add the croutons, mozzarella and basil; toss. (I added some spinach too just for kicks.)
Finally, bask in the easy, cheesy, chilled goodness that is before you. Trust me, you will not be disappointed.
Note: this recipe is even better when you have fun making it. I sure did:

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Peach- Pecan Streusel Muffins.

If you read my father’s day post, you know I made these little morsels for my dad on Father’s Day. Here’s the recipe!

They were delicious. They tasted like little peach cobblers. For real. And who doesn’t LOVE cobbler? Please.

Ingredients:

Makes 12 muffins

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (I did half all-purpose/ half whole-wheat to make them a little heartier)

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter, melted

1/4 cup milk

1 egg

2 medium peaches, diced

For the Pecan Topping:

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/3 cup brown sugar, packed

1/4 cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons melted butter

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease and flour 12 muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners. Combine topping ingredients until mixture is crumbly; set aside. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk together butter, buttermilk, and egg in a separate bowl. Stir wet mixture into the flour mixture and blend just until moistened. Fold in diced peaches. Spoon into muffin cups; sprinkle evenly with topping mixture.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pan and cool completely. Enjoy!

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Two Summer Suppers.

Summer is here! I guess its not officially until June 21, but the weather is officially summer weather, and that means time for fun summer suppers on cool summer nights with the summer playlist playing and some good ol’ backyard football. There’s nothin’ like summer nights. Can I get an ‘Amen’?

 

Anyways, I’ve tried a few new recipes this week and found two that you just gotta try. They are summery, really flavorful, and super easy to make!

Here’s the first (and my new favorite!):

Spinach Artichoke and Tuna Tortellini: 

Note: This is probably my new favorite recipe! It was SO good. Bursting with flavor and a great combination. Make it. You know you want to. Props to Rachael Ray for this one. 

Ingredients (Serves 4):

  • 1 box (10 oz.) organic frozen chopped spinach
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 lb. cheese tortellini
  • 2 tbsp. EVOO
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 3–4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 can (14 oz.) quartered artichokes in water, drained
  • Nutmeg
  • 1 can (5 oz.) line-caught tuna, drained and flaked
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
Directions:
  • Defrost the spinach in the microwave, wring it dry and separate the leaves.
  • Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the tortellini and cook according to package directions. Drain and let cool.
  • In a large skillet, heat the EVOO, 2 turns of the pan, and butter over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the artichokes and spinach; season with a little salt and pepper and a hint of freshly grated nutmeg.
  • Add the tuna and pasta to a bowl. Top with the spinach and artichokes. Dress with the lemon juice and thyme. Serve or refrigerate for later.
And here’s number 2 (SUPER delicious as well!):

Shrimp Avocado Salad:

 Ingredients:

  • 12 shrimp, peeled and deveined (or 12 pre-cooked cocktail shrimp… I used cocktail shrimp. I am not a cheater.)
  • Splash of lime or lemon juice
  • Dash of red pepper flakes
  • Dash of garlic powder
  • Dash of salt and black pepper
  • Vinaigrette of your choice (I used a delicious Alpine Avocado Vinaigrette.)
  • 1/4 cup Feta cheese crumbles
  • 2 avocados, chopped
  • 1 cup corn (canned, frozen or fresh from the cob)
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • You can also add black beans and garbanzo beans. They were in the original recipe.
Directions:
  • Lightly coat a pan with cooking oil over medium heat.
  • Place the shrimp in the pan and add a splash of lemon or lime juice, red pepper flakes, garlic powder and salt & pepper.
  • Cook the shrimp for 2-3 minutes on each side until the shrimp turns pink.
  • Remove the shrimp from the heat and let them cool. (The shrimp can be cooked ahead of time and refrigerated. You can also use pre-cooked cocktail shrimp to save time.)
  • Toss all of the ingredients with the salad dressing.
  • Serve the salad immediately or let it chill in the refrigerator.
There ya have it! Now get summer cookin’ and take advantage of these beautiful summer days and summer nights! Nourish your heart and your body and enjoy some time with your family and friends over some delicious food!

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Homemade Granola Bars

Something you should know about me. I love granola bars. I think I would rather get an Easter basket full of yummy granola bars and fruity bars and chocolate bars (especially chocolate) than an Easter basket full of candy and bunnies. My stages of life are marked by my current granola bar brand. That is potentially embarrassing, but they are good stuff, fellow snackers. I trust that you won’t judge.

But I have a problem. I eat them so often that I get tired of the same ones day after day. Thankfully, there are a gajillion different kinds of bars out there so I have plenty variety to choose from. Some of my favorites now are Earnest Bars, ProBars, and the good old Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bars. They are all delicious and nutritious and come in loads of great flavors!

What’s on the top of your awesome bar list? Comment with your favorites and I’ll be sure to give it a try!

Anyways, yesterday I ran out of my last Earnest bar and didn’t want to go to the store, so I decided I should make my own. It was also another excuse to get some photography practice. I adapted these bars from Marci Gilbert. They turned out great. The only thing I might change is adding a little more cinnamon and maybe a little honey. The fun thing about them is that you can make them your own. Add chocolate chips, different kinds of fruit and nuts, coconut, or whatever else you like!

Homemade Granola Bars:

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats.
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup dried fruit (I used craisins and golden raisins.)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 egg
Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • In two separate bowls, mix wet and dry ingredients. Pour wet into dry, mixing until combined. (It will look kinda soupy, but no worries- the oats will soak up all the milk in the oven!)
  • Pour batter into a square baking dish lined with parchment paper. I used 9 x 9.
  • Bake for 30 minutes. Let them cool, then cut them into bars and serve!
Refrigerating them is probably the best way to keep them. Put the ones you’ll eat soon in the fridge and you can freeze the rest. They are delicious alone, but even better with some peanut butter or almond butter slathered on top! Enjoy!
My aunt also made some KILLER butterscotch cookies, so here’s a picture of those. I can’t even tell you how wonderfully mouth-watering our kitchen smelled.
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!
– Psalm 34:8

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A ‘Betta’ Feta & Spinach Turkey Burger.

Today I was craving a good burger. Everyone likes a good burger. I’m a turkey burger kinda gal, and tonight I made a turkey burger that trumped all the other burgers I’ve ever made. Mostly because its the first burger I’ve actually ever cooked on my own (which explains the over-adequately doneness of these babies), but also because it was so flavorful and moist I could have eaten the burger all by itself. The secret: FETA CHEESE. Inside of it AND on top.


One of my favorite mottos: Feta makes everything betta.

It truly does. Especially turkey, which tends to be a little lower on the flavor scale. Another great thing about these burgers: they’re so easy and don’t use very many ingredients. All you need is:

  • 1 lb. of ground turkey
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • A couple handfuls of spinach (frozen would work too)
  • 3/4 cup of feta
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Toasted buns, lettuce, ketchup, and mustard for serving
Mix the turkey, egg, spinach, and feta together and make them into 5-6 patties. Cook them in a skillet or on the grill about 7-8 minutes each side, or until you think they’re done. (Mine were suuper done, but better done than raw, right?)
Top the burgers with a little more feta (or alot), and serve them on the toasted buns with lettuce, ketchup, and mustard. (Or other toppings of your choice, but I seriously doubt you’ll want to add anything else.)
I enjoyed mine with an ice cold Grapefruit Izze and an episode of Reba. (: Happy Betta Feta Burgers y’all!

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