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Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls

August 6, 2012

I’ve been trying to find a good whole wheat cinnamon roll recipe for what seems like forever. I finally found one.

The past whole wheat cinnamon rolls I’ve made were too doughy or too heavy. Not these. They were pretty much perfect. Plus, they’re made with healthy things like whole wheat flour and honey. I also tried to cut down on the frosting, and what I got was more of a butter river than an actual frosting. Not that I’m complaining.

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls

recipe slightly adapted from Heavenly Homemakers

Ingredients:

For the dough:

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 T yeast
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 2 & 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 4 tsp sea salt
  • 8 cups whole wheat flour

For the “Innerds”:

  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar and 1/2 T cinamon, mixed

For the frosting:

  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 3 T milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-2 cups powdered sugar, depending on the consistency

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, mix the 1 cup warm water, yeast, and 2 tsp honey. Stir this together and then let it sit for a few minutes.
  2. Melt 1/2 cup butter in a large saucepan. Add 1/2 cup honey, 4 tsp salt, and 2 & 1/2 cups milk. Heat to 120 degrees. Pour milk mixture into yeast mixture, and stir. Stir in flour, 2 cups at a time, adding more if you need it.
  3. Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes, or until elastic-y and smooth. Put it in a bowl, cover it, and let it rise for 1-2 hours or until doubled.
  4. Punch down dough and get all the bubbles out. Cut the dough in half, setting one half to the side.
  5. On a well floured surface, roll the dough into a nice big rectangle, about 1/4-inch thick.
  6. Using a pastry brush, brush half of the melted butter over the dough, and then sprinkle half of the cinnamon/sugar mixture of the butter.
  7. Roll up the dough, and cut into thin slices, about 1/2-inch thick.
  8. Place rolls side-by-side in a baking pan.
  9. Repeat process with other dough.
  10. Allow dough to rise at least 30 minutes.
  11. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
  12. While rolls are baking, whisk together frosting ingredients, and frost rolls after they come out of the oven.
  13. Enjoy!

— the Jilb

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Strawberry Watermelon Floats

July 23, 2012

I saw this recipe awhile ago in Health magazine, and have been wanting to make it. Well, I finally got a chance to make them and they’re pretty good. I’ll admit that Reinman liked them more than I did, but they’re still pretty tasty for these hot days we’re having.

I think next time I make these I’ll try with Sprite or 7-Up instead of club soda. I think that may taste a little bit better, at least to me.

Strawberry Watermelon Floats

recipe from Health Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup 1/2-inch watermelon cubes
  • 1 cup chopped strawberries
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • lime or lemon sherbet
  • chilled club soda

Directions:

  1. Combine watermelon, strawberries, vinegar, and cayenne pepper in a medium bowl.
  2. Divide about 2/3 of the fruit into two tall glasses. Add 1-2 scoops of sherbet to each glass, and top with remaining fruit. Fill with club soda.
  3. Enjoy!

— the Jilb

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Cinnamon Chip Scones

July 13, 2012

Another yummy scone recipe. I really love scones. They’re perfect for breakfast, with coffee, or tea, for brunch. They’re so easy to make, and always a crowd pleaser.

These are full of cinnamon chips (which you can find by the chocolate chips at your grocery store), and sometimes you bite into a pocket of melt-y butter. Best thing ever.

We’ve been having really hot, ridiculous weather but that hasn’t stopped me from baking. I think I might have a problem. At least I do all my baking in the morning. That’s something, right?

Cinnamon Chip Scones

recipe adapted from The Coupon Project

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup cinnamon chips
  • 1/2 cup cold butter
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 3 T honey
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk (or 1/3 cup milk mixed with 1/2 tsp lemon juice)
  • 1-2 T sugar mixed with 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat mat.
  2. In a large bowl, mix your flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon chips. Grate in your butter and mix until crumbly.
  3. Separate the egg white and yolk. Set the egg white aside.
  4. In another bowl, mix your egg yolk, honey, and buttermilk. Add this to the dry ingredients and mix until everything is incorporated.
  5. On a slightly floured surface, knead the dough a few times to make sure everything is really mixed together. Then roll your dough into a ball, put on your lined baking sheet, and pat out until it’s a half inch thick and 8 inches in diameter. Cut into 8 equally-sized pieces.
  6. Whisk the egg whites until it’s foamy, and brush over tops of scones. Sprinkle cinnamon/sugar mixture on top.
  7. Bake 15-20 minutes or until scones are light brown and completely baked through.
  8. Enjoy!

— the Jilb

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Grilled Chicken with Pesto, Fresh Mozzarella, and Tomatoes

July 11, 2012

I’ve been thinking about this chicken for awhile. I wouldn’t exactly call it a recipe, but more of an idea. You can use whatever cheese you want, although you can’t go wrong with fresh, melty mozzarella.

Grilled chicken topped with pesto, fresh mozzarella, and tomatoes. The perfect summer dinner.

Grilled Chicken with Pesto, Fresh Mozzarella, and Tomatoes

recipe from me!

Ingredients:

  • chicken breasts
  • pesto (I used some of my basil and made homemade pesto, but you can easily find it in grocery stores)
  • fresh mozzarella
  • tomato slices

Directions:

  1. Grill your chicken on low heat until cooked through. Top with pesto, tomato slices, and mozzarella cheese. Grill until cheese is melted.
  2. Enjoy!

— the Jilb

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The Week That Was…

July 10, 2012

Daddy time…

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Beach time!

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Oh, the cookies…

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She really, really wanted root beer

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After the kids are in bed, it’s time for some cribbage (I won! This time anyways…)

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— the Jilb

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Iced Salted Caramel Mocha

July 9, 2012

So, next week is our one-year blog-aversary (I know it’s not a word, but I like it!). So, starting next Monday there will be a fun giveaway, along with some fun food. Stay tuned!

My favorite drink during the winter season is the Starbucks Salted Caramel Mocha. A few days ago I got to thinking about how I’ll probably post a homemade version of that this Fall, and then I thought why don’t I make an iced version for these hot days we’re having?

This drink is perfect for this crazy, hot weather we’re having. It’s chocolate-y with a hint of caramel. I sprinkled a mixture of sea salt and raw sugar on top of the whipped cream which gives it a really nice sweet and salty crunch.

Make this, and you won’t be disappointed. Really, how could you go wrong?

Iced Salted Caramel Mocha

recipe inspired from The Motherload

Ingredients:

  • ice
  • iced coffee
  • milk
  • 1/2 T cocoa powder (or more if you want more chocolate)
  • 1/2 T caramel coffee syrup (you find this in the coffee aisle at the supermarket. I’ve heard that the toffee syrup is supposed to be even better)
  • whipped cream
  • caramel syrup (like ice cream topping– i usually like to use homemade if I have it on hand)
  • sea salt/raw sugar mixture to sprinkle (I make this using 1/8 salt to sugar ratio– so, 1/8 tsp of salt to 1 tsp of raw sugar)

Directions:

  1. Fill a tall glass with ice. Fill another glass half with milk, and half with iced coffee. Mix in your cocoa and caramel syrup. Then pour over the glass with the ice in it. Top with whipped cream, caramel syrup, and then sprinkle with the salt/sugar mixture.
  2. Enjoy!

— the Jilb

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Dark Chocolate Strawberry Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

July 6, 2012

Yep, another cookie recipe. And it has dark chocolate in it. I think if I could, I would stick dark chocolate in everything. I’m thinking a dark chocolate panini with some sort of fruit should be happening in this house soon. And cheese. Dark chocolate, cheese, and fruit. Perfect.

If you eat these cookies straight out of the oven, it’s like eating a chocolate-covered strawberry. Oh, my.

Yep, they’re that good.

And if you wait awhile for them to cool you get all the other flavors of the cookie: banana, a hint of coconut oil, the crunchiness of the almonds.

Melted chocolate for breakfast? Yes, please!

So, do yourself a favor and make these. Eat them with coffee, or tea (if that’s your thing). And, hey, if you stumble across some dark chocolate, please send it my way.

Dark Chocolate Strawberry Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

recipe adapted from Tea with Me

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 T ground flax
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2 T honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chunks or chips
  • 1 cup strawberries, diced

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the oats, flour, flax, almonds, and salt.
  3. In another bowl, combine the bananas, coconut oil, honey, and vanilla extract. Pour banana mixture over oat mixture and mix well, until all is combined. Stir in chocolate. Then gently fold in strawberries.
  4. Using a tablespoon, place dough on the lined baking sheet. Bake 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned and fragrant. Cool on a wire rack.
  5. Enjoy!

— the Jilb

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It’s the Small Things

July 5, 2012

I find that it can be tough to slow down, to take those moments with my kids, to enjoy them. Instead, I get caught up in blogging, texting, emailing, and other social media. Those things aren’t bad, but I just need to remember to limit my time online.

So, this morning the Joker says to me, “Sit down next to me, Mommy.”

I do.

Then she says, “I love your hair, Mommy.”

I tell her I love her hair, too.

Then she touches my face very seriously, and says, “I love your face, Mommy.”

I expected her to say that she loves me, not my face, so I start laughing, and tell her I love her face, too.

One moment like that can make my morning. How blessed I am to be her Mommy.
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Blueberry Coconut Muffins

July 4, 2012

Well, I can’t believe it’s July 4th. This summer has been going by so fast! Our plans for the day are to relax outside, grill, eat, drink, and maybe play some backyard volleyball! I hope you all have a fabulous day!

I’ve been on a quest lately to find a yummy blueberry muffin recipe. I tried some Blueberry Cornmeal Muffins, but they didn’t turn out that good. Then a few weeks ago I bought a bag of unsweetened coconut because I’ve been itching to make these cookies and on the back of the bag was a recipe for Blueberry Coconut Muffins.

This is the first time I’ve used coconut ever, and I wasn’t disappointed. The coconut gave these muffins a little bit of a crunch. That with the sweet blueberries, and you are good to go!

I’ll be making these again, and probably soon. They were a favorite of the Baby’s. She ate 3.

So, if you like blueberry muffins, and you want something different give these a try. They’re sweet, crunchy, and pretty much awesome.

Blueberry Coconut Muffins

recipe adapted from Bob’s Red Mill

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (original recipe called for heavy cream but I didn’t have that, or I think greek yogurt would also be nice)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 & 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (I used fresh)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and line muffin pan with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in eggs one at a time, beating after each one.
  3. Beat in sour cream and vanilla extract.
  4. Then add in flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt, and beat on low until well-combined. Stir in coconut and gently fold in blueberries.
  5. Using an ice cream scoop, spoon batter into cups, and smooth tops.
  6. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of muffin comes out clean, and edges are golden brown, about 20 minutes.
  7. Makes 12 muffins.
  8. Enjoy!

— the Jilb

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The Week That Was…

July 3, 2012

This last week consisted mostly of wedding things. My sister-in-law got married on Saturday and that meant lots of wedding prep, visiting with friends from out of town, eating lots of yummy food, and no sleep. 🙂

The beautiful bride before the wedding

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Some of the 500 hundred cupcakes we made.

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Decorating…

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Bridesmaids!

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And now things get back to normal…

— the Jilb

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Strawberry Spinach Salad with Sesame Seed Vinaigrette

July 2, 2012

I’ve got a classic for you. Strawberry Spinach Salad. The first time I made this was a few weeks ago. I don’t know why I waited so long.

I always seem to have spinach on hand because of the smoothies so I make, and since strawberries are really good right now, this recipe is a no brainer. That along with a homemade poppy seed vinegarette, and you’re good to go!

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Sesame Seed Vinaigrette

recipe adapted from Allrecipes.com

Ingredients:

For the Vinaigrette:

  • 1 T sesame seeds
  • 1/2 T poppy seeds
  • 2 T honey
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 T distilled white vinegar
  • 1/8 tsp paprika
  • 1/8 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 T minced onion

For the salad:

  • 9 oz bag of fresh spinach
  • 1 quart strawberries, sliced
  • 1/4 cup almonds, sliced

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together all your vinaigrette ingredients. Cover, and chill for one hour.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the spinach, strawberries, and almonds. Pour dressing over salad (I always start with a little bit of a dressing at a time to make sure I don’t get too much), toss, and refrigerate for 10-15 minutes before serving.
  3. Enjoy!

— the Jilb

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Brown Butter Peach Crumble Bars

June 29, 2012

Peaches are one of my favorite fruits, so when they were on-sale a few weeks ago I knew I had to get a bunch of them. And then I stumbled across this recipe from How Sweet It Is and knew that I had to make them right away.

They are pretty crumbly, but that didn’t stop me from taking them to a church function. These also would go great with some vanilla ice cream. Next time I make these, that will be a must.

I cut out some of the sugar, and still thought they were a little bit too sweet. Next time I’m going to try to cut out even more sugar. I find that the peaches give these bars way more than enough sweetness.

Brown Butter Peach Crumble Bars

recipe slightly adapted from How Sweet It Is

Ingredients:

  • 1 & 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 4 ripe peaches, chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8×8 baking dish, and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the oats, flour, sugar, salt, and cinnamon until combined. Set aside.
  3. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir continuously until you see brown specks in the butter, and it starts to give off a nutty smell. Add the butter and vanilla to the oat mixture. Then fold in the peaches.
  4. Press the batter into your greased baking dish. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until it’s golden brown and set in the middle. Let cool completely before cutting.
  5. Enjoy!

— the Jilb

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What-We’ve-Been-Eating Thursday

June 28, 2012

Lots and lots of Strawberry Spinach Salad. It’s so good!

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I ate a whole box of these Spicy Buffalo Wheat Thins in 2 days.

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Dark Chocolate Strawberry Oatmeal Cookies. Almost like a chocolate-covered strawberry. Delish.

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Cinnamon Sugar Scones. A new fav in this house.

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Pizza! Lots and lots of pizza. I would eat it everyday if I could.

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Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls. Mmm…

— the Jilb

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Thai Chicken Wraps with Spicy Peanut Sauce

June 27, 2012

I made these chicken wraps a few weeks ago and really enjoyed them (and so did the Baby and the Joker). I was looking for something different to eat, and found it. We haven’t been big on Thai food in this house, except for this Thai Noodle Salad and I’m hoping to change that.

These chicken wraps are full of wonderfully healthy things like cucumber, carrots, bean sprouts, chicken, and some herbs. And I really love the peanut sauce. It was spicy, but not to the point where I wouldn’t give it to my kids because I was afraid it would be too hot for them.

Thai Chicken Wraps with Spicy Peanut Sauce

recipe adapted from Rachael Ray

Ingredients:

  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 1 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 T grill seasoning

for the salad:

  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, and thinly sliced at an angle
  • 2 cups fresh bean sprouts
  • 1 cup carrots, shredded
  • 12 basil leaves, chopped or torn
  • 3 T mint leaves, chopped
  • 1 T sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 T rice wine vinegar
  • salt, to taste

spicy peanut sauce:

  • 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter, at room temp
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 1 T rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 (12-inch) flour tortilla wraps

Directions:

  1. I threw in my chicken breasts in a crockpot along with the 1 T soy sauce, 1 T EVOO, and 1 T grill seasoning, on low for 6 hours until they were cooked through. Otherwise, you could toss chicken with the soy sauce, EVOO and grill seasoning and grill chicken until done.
  2. Then toss cucumber, bean sprouts, carrots, basil, mint, sesame seeds, sugar, and rice wine vinegar in a large bowl. Season salad with salt, to taste. Add in chicken.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar, cayenne pepper, and EVOO until well-blended.
  4. Pile chicken and veggies in wraps and drizzle with peanut sauce before wrapping and rolling.
  5. Enjoy!

— the Jilb

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The Week That Was…

June 26, 2012

This girl loves dresses and jewelry.

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Bike time!

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Coffee, coffee, coffee

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Cutest baby

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The Baby enjoying her blueberry muffin

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And then eating some of her sister’s.

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Collision!

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Beach time!

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— the Jilb

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Triple Chocolate Biscotti

June 25, 2012

We love, love, love biscotti in this house, especially with coffee. I’ve been meaning to put up a biscotti recipe since Christmas but never got around to it.

The original of this recipe comes from The Tummy Train, a food blog that I found awhile ago that has some of the tastiest recipes I’ve seen. I tweaked the recipe a bit, getting rid of some of the sugar, adding in some whole wheat pastry flour, and adding in some chocolate-covered almonds instead of the regular ones. The results? Perfect chocolate biscotti.

These Triple Chocolate Biscotti are chocolate-y (obviously), crunchy, and as I said perfect with a cup of coffee. I’ve found that they get better with age. I would make these a few days ahead of when you want to serve them. The first day they are still delicious, but not quite as crunchy as I would like.

Triple Chocolate Biscotti

recipe adapted from The Tummy Train

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tsps baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsps instant espresso or coffee powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup chocolate-covered almonds (or regular toasted whole almonds)
  • 1 T milk (if needed to bring dough together)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips, melted and then mixed with 1 tsp instant coffee granules (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the white chocolate chips, flours, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and coffee powder. Set aside.
  3. In another bowl, whisk the eggs and egg whites with the sugar and vanilla until well-blended. Stir in the flour and nuts. At this point I added in a tablespoon of milk to bring the dough together. You may be able to leave that out though depending on how sticky your dough is.
  4. Scrape the dough onto the lined baking sheet making two skinny strips, at least 1/2-inch apart. Use a spatula to even up the strips.
  5. Put the pan on the lowest rake and bake 35-40 minutes or until the loaves are firm but springy to the touch. Set the pan on a rack to cool for at least 15 minutes, leaving the oven on.
  6. Transfer the loaves to a cutting board. Use a sharp, serrated knife and cut the loaves on a diagonal, about 1/2-inch slices.
  7. Stand the slices back on the lined baking sheet, a 1/2-inch apart. Toast them 20-25 minutes. Cool completely when done.
  8. Once biscotti is cool, dip tops in the melted chocolate chips and stand on wax or parchment paper. Let chocolate harden and then store in the fridge.
  9. Enjoy!

— the Jilb

 

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Knock You Naked Brownies

June 22, 2012

I made these brownies awhile ago for a Church thing. They are the best brownies I have ever had. Really. They’re that good. I am SO glad I had a place to get rid of them or I probably would have eaten the whole batch.

I got this recipe from The Pioneer Woman. I don’t think she’s ever steered me wrong. Her recipes are so simple, and so delicious. I love her.

The only thing I changed about this recipe was that I didn’t add the pecans. I forgot them. Next time I will definitely add the pecans though. And I baked them in a 9×11 pan instead of the 9×9 pan that was called for.

Once the kids saw what I was baking, I had little fingers itching for a bite. I finally gave in, and gave each of them a little taste.

Recipe from The Pioneer Woman, which can be found here.

Enjoy!

— the Jilb

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Pepperoni Pizza Scones

June 20, 2012

Pizza+Scones=Perfection!

These scones are full of mini pepperoni, cheddar cheese, and mozzarella cheese. With these, you have yourself a portable pizza-like concoction. Pretty much perfect, I say.

We had these for lunch with a salad and some fruit, but I think these would be nice as a side or appetizer, and they are perfect dipped in some pizza sauce.

Pepperoni Pizza Scones

recipe slightly adapted from Lauren’s Latest

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/3 cup butter, cold
  • 1 & 1/4 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 4 oz. package mini turkey pepperoni
  • 1 cup milk

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix all your dry ingredients together. Grate in cold cheese, and then mix until you have a coarse, crumbly mixture.
  3. Stir in pepperoni and cheeses.
  4. Stir in milk until everything is moistened.
  5. Put dough on a lightly floured surface, and knead a few times. Then pat your dough down in a circle until it’s about 1 & 1/2-inchs thick. Transfer dough to lined baking sheet, and cut into 8 wedges.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned.
  7. Serve with pizza sauce, and enjoy!

— the Jilb

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Cinnamon Roll Cookies with Brown Butter Frosting

June 18, 2012

These cookies taste exactly like a cinnamon roll. They’re sweet, chewy, and have a hint of cinnamon.

These are the best cookies I’ve made lately. (And I don’t think it’s just because we’ve been on a “health” kick that excludes cookies made with sugar, butter, blah, blah, blah).

Sometimes you just need an old-fashion cookie that has sugar in it. Seriously.

When I took my first bite of one of these cookies, I had to sit down. And then I sighed. True story.

And then I thought about calling Reinman to get his butt home to try one of these. But then reality set in, and I just patiently waited for him to get home from work.

So, I did what any good wife and mother would do, I hid all the cookies until Reinman got home so we could eat them all after the kids went to bed. I’m that good.

Please make these cookies. You will not be disappointed!!

Cinnamon Roll Cookies with Brown Butter Frosting

recipe slightly adapted from Yes, I Want Cake

Ingredients:

Cookies:

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or whole wheat flour or you could do all all-purpose flour)
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsps cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup cinnamon chips

Frosting:

  • 2 T butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 2 T water (more if needed)

Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in your egg, milk, and vanilla, beating until well-combined.
  2. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
  3. Add flour mixture to butter mixture, mixing well. Add in cinnamon chips. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and using a tablespoon drop cookie dough about two inches apart on the baking sheet. Bake 7-8 minutes or until lightly brown. Remove to a wire rack and let cool completely.
  5. While cookies are cooling, melt your butter on medium heat in a small saucepan until golden brown (about 5 minutes). Take butter off heat, and stir in the powdered sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and water. Mix and if you need more water to make the frosting spreadable go ahead and add that now. Frost the cooled cookies and enjoy!!

— the Jilb

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Real Popcorn Chicken

June 15, 2012

I made this Popcorn Chicken last week and was in awe. Why had I never thought of using popcorn before in coating chicken strips? Well, that has changed and I’m never going back!

The popcorn gives the chicken a nice little crunch. I really also liked the flavor from the thyme. I don’t use it that much, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was good!

These are cooked on the stove instead of in the oven, which I like, especially since it’s been getting warmer out. I hate to turn on my oven during the summer, and since I love to bake, that’s a tough thing.

Real Popcorn Chicken

recipe from Parents Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups popped popcorn
  • 1 T fresh thyme
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1 T water
  • 3 T whole wheat flour
  • 1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 T butter
  • 1 T olive oil

Directions:

  1. Remove any unpopped popcorn kernels from popcorn. Put the popcorn in a food processor and pulse until coarsely ground. Place the popcorn in a shallow dish, along with the thyme, salt, and pepper.
  2. In another shallow dish, add the egg and water, and beat lightly with a fork.
  3. In another shallow dish, place the flour.
  4. Dredge the chicken in the flour, shaking off an excess, then the egg mixture, and then the popcorn mixture to coat.
  5. Put the butter and oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook 10-12 minutes or until fully cooked. Turn occasionally to brown.
  6. Enjoy!

— the Jilb

 

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Our Princess Has a Birthday

June 14, 2012

The Princess turns 5 today. Where did the time go? Seriously.

Only a few days old

The Princess was the easiest baby (something we didn’t realize until we had the twins). She was so easy-going, and hardly ever cried.

Me and my girl

First Birthday– begging like a puppy.

We have a very sweet, kind, and sensitive girl on our hands.

And she’s the best big sister. She loves to help out, and to boss them around. She sounds like a mini-me sometimes. Haha.

silly big sister

Happy Birthday to my Princess! We love you! 🙂

— Mommy

 

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Rosemary and Garlic Slow-Roasted Almonds

June 13, 2012

A few weeks ago, one of my favorite food blogs, Foodie with Family, came up with this recipe for Rosemary and Garlic Slow-Roasted Almonds. I immediately printed off the recipe, and then I even left a tab up with the recipe so I wouldn’t forget to make these. They looked so wonderful, I really could not resist.

I usually am not one to eat almonds. I don’t know why but they’re probably my least favorite nut. But when I saw the combo of the rosemary and garlic, my interest was peaked.

So, I got the few things I needed to make them, and set to roasting almonds in the middle of the day, even though our temps outside were in the 70s.

And let me tell you, these are probably the best snack ever! They were so addicting. I could not keep myself from sneaking an almond every time I walked by the oven.

These are my new go-to snack. I’m not afraid to admit that Reinman and I ate half the batch the night they were done.

These almonds will be going everywhere with me from now on. They’re perfect to have in my purse, or when I go to the movies, or to the beach. I can’t wait!

If you make these, I bet you will love them as much as we do.

Rosemary and Garlic Slow-Roasted Almonds

recipe from Foodie with Family

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups whole, raw almonds (out of the shell)
  • 1 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1 tsp kosher or sea salt
  • 3/4 tsp dried rosemary, crumbled between fingers to break into smaller pieces

Directions:

  1. Toss everything in a large bowl until evenly mixed. Pour the nuts onto a rimmed baking sheet and make sure they are in a single layer.
  2. Put in a cold oven and set temperature to around 170 degrees. Roast overnight (or around 8 hours) or until the oil is absorbed, and nuts appear matte.
  3. Remove from oven, cool nuts completely and store in a canning jar or another container with an airtight lid. If the seasonings fall off you can just put the seasonings in the jar as well.
  4. Enjoy!

— the Jilb

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The Week That Was…

June 12, 2012

Tuckered out.

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Play-doh!

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Cheddar Crackers

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“Cheese!”

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— the Jilb

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Blackberry Vanilla Breakfast Cake

June 11, 2012

Last month I got together with some other moms and kids and we ate lots of yummy food and drank lots of yummy coffee. I wanted to bring something really tasty to share, but couldn’t decide on what. For awhile I was going to bring chocolate biscotti. Then I thought about muffins, but it seems like I always make muffins. And then there was this Cherry Vanilla Breakfast Cake I saw over on Eat, Live, Run.

Once I saw it called for a vanilla bean, it was decided for me.

And cake for breakfast? A no brainer!

And fruit in breads, or cakes, or muffins, is like, the best thing ever. Seriously.

If you don’t have vanilla beans, that’s fine. You can always use vanilla extract. But then you’ll miss out on seeing the beautiful, tiny seeds like in this picture:

Did you see those tiny, black specks? Just looking at them makes me very happy.

So, about this cake. It’s moist, and light. And when you bite into a blackberry? Pure heaven.

Did I mention I love fruit in things? Yum!

So, make this for your next brunch, or if you just need a little love in the morning. Make it.

Blackberry Vanilla Breakfast Cake

recipe slightly adapted from Eat, Live, Run

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1 cup blackberries (or sweet cherries, blueberries…)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 T butter, melted
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped of seeds (or 2 tsp vanilla extract)
  • sugar to sprinkle on top (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease an 8×11 inch baking dish, and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.
  3. In another beat, beat eggs and butter until creamy. Add in the vanilla bean seeds (or extract), and milk. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until combined. Fold in blackberries until just mixed. Batter will be thick; don’t over mix.
  4. Spread batter into baking dish and sprinkle additional sugar over the cake. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden and sides begin to pull away from the pan.
  5. Enjoy!

— the Jilb

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Breakfast Burritos

June 8, 2012

I saw this post on Money Saving Mom awhile ago, and it’s been on the back of my mind for months that I needed to make these. I finally got to it about a few weeks ago, and, boy, I am so glad I did. We’ve had these Breakfast Burritos a few times, and every time we have them there’s no talking at the table, only lots of eating. That makes this mom very happy.

I find that it can be difficult to find something that all my kids love to eat. These Breakfast Burritos are eaten by everyone, and they always ask for more!

This time around I did eggs, cheese, and breakfast sausage for my ingredients, but you can easily use whatever you have on hand. We also like them with ham, onions, peppers, hamburger. Pretty much whatever you like, you can add. I love versatile recipes!

This recipe will make 10 burritos, but you can easily double that and freeze them, which I plan to do next time.

If you want an easy, healthy breakfast option, give these Breakfast Burritos a try.

Breakfast Burritos

recipe slightly adapted from Money Saving Mom

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup breakfast sausage, cooked (or other meat)
  • 1 T butter
  • 9 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup shredded cheese, plus more for topping
  • 10 flour tortillas

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Get out a 9×13 baking dish.
  2. In a large pan, melt butter over medium heat.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk eggs and milk together. When pan is hot, add your egg mixture. Cook until eggs are done.
  4. Mix in your sausage, salt, and pepper with your eggs.
  5. Mix in cheese until melted.
  6. Scoop 1/2 cup egg mixture onto tortillas. Fold ends under and roll up. Put in baking dish. (I got about 6 tortillas in my baking dish and froze the rest).
  7. Sprinkle extra cheese on burritos and bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
  8. Enjoy!

Freezer Directions:

  1. Wrap burrito in a paper towel, and then in a sheet of foil. Seal tightly and put in a freezer bag. When bag is full, remove all air, seal, and then freeze.
  2. When you want to eat them, remove foil and put burrito (with paper towel still on) in microwave. Heat for around a minute.
  3. Enjoy!

— the Jilb

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Sparkling Kids’ Sangria

June 6, 2012

This is something you need to make right away. Seriously. Best drink ever. Okay, second best drink ever. Nothing beats Iced Coffee.

This Sangria is perfect for summer. Light. Refreshing. And it is so addictive. You will want more, and more, and more. And I love that I can give it to my kids because it’s non-alcoholic. Perfect.

I will be making this all summer, and I can’t wait!

Sparkling Kids’ Sangria

recipe from Zim on a Whim

Ingredients:

  • 2 oranges, sliced and seeds removed
  • 4 limes, sliced and seeds removed
  • 1- 64 oz bottle of Cherry Juice (I used Juicy Juice Wild Cherry)
  • 1- 2L of 7up or Sprite (I used 7up)

Directions:

  1. Put your fruit at the bottom of a pitcher (I used a gallon pitcher and probably could have used something a little bit bigger).
  2. Add in your juice and soda and gently mix.
  3. Serve over ice, and enjoy!

— the Jilb

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The Week That Was…

June 5, 2012

Chocolate Cupcakes. (Yes, some of them are swimming in chocolate icing.)

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Bubbles!

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What I’m reading this week:

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The Princess on her new bike.

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A gallon of iced coffee. Perfect for the hot weather we’re going to have this week!

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— the Jilb

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Loaded Baked Potato Dip

June 4, 2012

I made this dip for the birthday party last week, and it was a huge hit. I probably should have doubled the recipe. Next time I make this, I’ll definitely do that.

This dip has crunchy bacon, chives, lots of cheese, and sour cream. You really can’t beat that combination. This went perfect with some chips or I bet it would even taste good with some waffle fries.

Loaded Baked Potato Dip

recipe from My Recipes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb of bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 16-oz sour cream
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup fresh chives, chopped
  • 2 tsp hot sauce (I forgot to add this in, but I bet it would be good!)

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, add all your ingredients and mix until well-combined. This is best kept in the fridge until you eat it.
  2. Enjoy!

— the Jilb

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Cheddar Crackers

June 1, 2012

The last few months I’ve really taken to making anything and everything that I can homemade.

Homemade Pizza Crust (that’s easy and sooo good)?

-No problem!

Homemade Iced Coffee?

-You know I had to do it!

Homemade Baked Chicken Tenders (so much better than anything you can find in the freezer section)?

-Easy and delicious!

Next up on my list were Cheddar Crackers. There are a few recipes floating around, and, of course, I tried them all. My favorite ones are from Eat, Live, Run. They’re cheesy, crispy, garlicky, and oh, so, yummy.

These do take a little work because you have to roll out the dough and cut out the crackers, but they are so worth it! They’re definitely better tasting than anything you can find in the store. Trust me. Or ask Reinman. The first time I made these he ate the whole batch. (I may or may not have helped him.)

I used extra sharp cheddar cheese for these. You can use whatever cheddar you want, but I believer sharper is better. Mmm…

Cheddar Crackers

recipe slightly adapted from Eat, Live, Run

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick butter,  melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, and set aside.
  2. Whisk together melted butter and eggs until creamy. Add the cheese and mix until combined. Add the rest of your ingredients, and mix with a wooden spoon until your dough comes together.
  3. Roll dough out onto lightly floured surface until it’s a little less than 1/4th-inch think (the thinner, the better I found). Cut out small circles with cookies cutters and place on lined baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
  5. Enjoy!

— the Jilb

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A Birthday Day

May 31, 2012

So, this is what my yesterday was like.

First, the kids opened their presents from us.

And then the fun began. Besides the Batman Cookies I talked about yesterday, I also made cake push-up pops. I did a yellow cake with a blueberry cream cheese frosting in some, and a white frosting dyed blue in others. So tasty, fun, and cute!

I also made a Loaded Baked Potato Dip that was so fab. I’ll have that on the blog next week. And also a Sparkling Kids’ Sangria. Mmm…

And then it was time to start decorating.

I then tried to get a few pictures of the birthday kids. They don’t like to cooperate. It’s kind of funny.

And then more presents!

Then we ended our night with some cake.

— the Jilb

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Batman Cookies (and some other ones, too)

May 30, 2012

So, birthday cookies. I’ve gotten real caught up in making and decorating sugar cookies lately. I’m kind of obsessed and it’s probably not a good thing, especially when I’m trying to cut out sugar. Ha!

The kids really wanted a Batman themed birthday party. We’ve done cupcakes, cake, and all that jazz, so I thought something different would be fun. In comes the Batman Cookies.

I figured I would decorate these like I did the last sugar cookies I made, which was to pipe an outline, flood the cookie with royal icing and then once that was dry (the next day), I would pipe an outline again and put sprinkles on them. Well, for the Batman cookies I was going to pipe the Batman logo, flood black icing in the middle of the logo, let that dry until the next day, and then pipe a yellow outline around the cookies, and then flood the rest of the cookie yellow. That seemed like a lot of work (which I was totally willing to do!), and then I stumbled across something that changed the way I ended up doing these. Over at Vanilla Bean Baker, she piped the Batman logo on wax paper, flooded it was black icing, and then let it sit overnight. Then the next day, I outlined my cookies in yellow, flood it with yellow icing, and after waiting a few minutes I put the black Batman logo on top of the icing.

You can see in the third picture what happens if you put your logos on right away. The icing went over the outline. So, I took one for the team and ate half of it. Pretty tasty. I found that if I waited at least 5 minutes before I put the logo on, I didn’t have any cookies problems.

I also decided to do some number cookies. The Princess will be turning 5 next month, and the Twins turned 3, so that’s what we did.

These were a piece of cake. I outlined the numbers first using piping icing, then I flooded them with flooding icing, and decorated them right away with leftover yellow piping icing from the Batman cookies. See the hearts in the purple “5” cookies? Those are my favorite. All I did was put a bunch of yellow dots in the middle of the cookie and then I took a toothpick and dragged it through the yellow dots. So easy and so cute!

If you’re thinking about making cookies like these you should head over to The Sweet Adventures of Sugar Belle. She’s where I got my Sugar Cookie recipe, my Royal Icing recipe, and the many, many tips on how to do cookies like these. I pretty much followed all her recipes, and tips to a T and these are what I got:

— the Jilb

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The Bear and The Joker Have a Birthday

May 30, 2012

Today, my sweet babies (okay, you’re not babies anymore) is your birthday. Three years ago you were born and our lives were forever changed. (For the better, I promise!) 😉

While things were mostly crazy that first year, and honestly, I don’t remember much of those first 6 months, I wouldn’t change anything.

You both are such a joy to us.

The Joker with her dancing, laughing, and running wild through the house, things are never dull around here.

The Bear with his goofiness, his wild pitches (that I blame Daddy for!), and also his love of running, our house is never boring.

Happy Birthday to two of my favorite people! Love you both soooo much!

— Mommy

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The Week That Was…

May 29, 2012

Because we’re nerds:

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Can you say comfy?

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The Princess got some paint-by-numbers for her birthday. She loved them!

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Batman Cookies!

Watching the rain.

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— the Jilb

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Raspberry Cheesecake Bars

May 28, 2012

Happy Memorial Day to you all! We’ve got a day with the kids, maybe some grilling if it’s nice out (it seems to always rain in MN on Memorial Day), and Reinman has a few softball games to finish the day off.

What I’ve got for you today is another dessert recipe. I really, really love sweets. I was able to make these without sugar, which made me very happy. Ever since we’ve cut out sugar (or at least cut wayyyyy down) I’ve been feeling so much better during the day, less tired, less crabby, and I have a lot more energy.

So, about these bars. They are excellent. If you like raspberries, you will love these. If you like cheesecake, you will love these. I even added a little lemon zest on the top of the bars, which gives them a nice zing.

Make these guys for your next party (unless you want to eat them all yourself! no judging from me!) and you will be a hit. I brought them to a school party for the Princess and they were gone in a flash.

Raspberry Cheesecake Bars

recipe adapted from My Kitchen Snippets

Ingredients:

for the graham cracker crust:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup honey

for the cheesecake layer:

  • 2 packages (8 oz each) low-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 & 1/2 T flour
  • 3 T lemon juice
  • 2 eggs

for the raspberry layer:

  • 1/2 cup raspberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 T honey
  • 2 T water
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper and lightly grease it.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together your flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda. In another bowl, mix together your melted butter and honey. Add honey butter to your flour mixture and mix until all ingredients are well-incorporated. Pat your graham cracker crumbs into the bottom of your baking dish and bake for 7-10 minutes or until middle is firm. Let cool. Turn oven down to 325 degrees.
  3. In a large bowl, beat your cream cheese, honey, flour, and lemon juice until mixed together. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Pour over crust.
  4. In a small saucepan, add your raspberries, honey, water, and lemon zest, cooking over low heat for 5-10 minutes until raspberries are broken down. Remove from heat and puree them in a blender or a food processor. Gently drop spoonfuls of the raspberry puree over the cheesecake layer. Cut through batter several times with a knife to get the swirl effect. I then sprinkled another teaspoon of lemon zest of the bars, but that’s optional.
  5. Bake at 325 for 40 minutes or until the center is set. Let cool, and then refrigerate at least 4 hours (I did overnight) before cutting.
  6. Enjoy!

— the Jilb

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Bite-Sized Brown Butter and Cinnamon Chip Cookies

May 25, 2012

Yep, another yummy cookie recipe.When it comes to cookies, I really can’t help myself. I probably bake one to two different kinds of cookies a week. And I have tiny mouths that will eat them all.

I adapted this recipe from Baker Bettie, a lovely blog with lots of fun recipes. As usual, I changed a few things about the recipe mainly because I was out of ingredients. Cinnamon chips in place of dark chocolate, and walnuts in place of pecans. From this recipe, I learned how to make oatmeal flour: put oatmeal in a blender and blend until it turns into flour. Easy!

Brown Butter and Cinnamon Chip Cookies

recipe adapted from Baker Bettie

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 T vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2/3 cup oatmeal flour (oats ground to a fine flour in a blender)
  • 1 T flax seed meal
  • 3/4 cup cinnamon chips (found in the baking aisle by the chocolate chips)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans

Directions:

  1. Heat butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Heat until butter melts and becomes an amber color, and gives off a nutty smell. Set aside to cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat until well mixed.
  4. Add baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon and mix until incorporated
  5. Mix in the flours and flax seed in small batches until a stiff dough forms.
  6. Fold in cinnamon chips and walnuts.
  7. Using a teaspoon as your scoop, put your dough an inch apart on your baking sheet. Press dough down a tiny bit, and then bake 5-6 minutes or until bottoms are golden brown.
  8. Move to a wire rack and let completely cool.
  9. Enjoy!

— the Jilb

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Chicken and Roasted Broccoli with Goat Cheese

May 23, 2012

Chicken. Roasted Broccoli (if you haven’t had Roasted Broccoli before you need to. Soon.). Goat Cheese. Red and Green Peppers. Garlic. Olive Oil. That’s the stuff dinner is made of.

This is another recipe from Perry’s Plate. I am loving her blog, and really want to make everything she blogs about.

A few things I would change about this recipe. First, next time I am going to double it. If I didn’t have any self-control, which sometimes I don’t, I probably would have eaten the whole bowl myself.

Second, next time maybe a little less goat cheese. I think the called for 3-4 ounces was just a little bit too much for us. Although, I really did love the melty, tangy goat cheese, so I suppose we’ll see. I might even try feta cheese next time. Mmm…

If you love broccoli, chicken, peppers, garlic, goat cheese (or another type if goat isn’t your thing!), you need to try this. It was so delicious, and so light. Perfect for a summertime meal (except for having to turn the oven on to 500 degrees.)

Chicken and Roasted Broccoli with Goat Cheese

recipe from Perry’s Plate

Ingredients:

For the roasted broccoli and peppers:

  • 1 large head of broccoli, (almost 2 lbs), cut into 1-2 inch florets
  • 1/2 green pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1/2 red pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • pepper to taste

For the rest:

  • 4 T olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • couple pinches of crushed red pepper flakes
  • pinch of dried oregano
  • juice from half a lemon
  • 2 cups chicken, cooked, and shredded
  • 3-4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled (next time I’m going to try half that)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees, and place a baking sheet on the lowest rack.
  2. Place broccoli and peppers in a large bowl and toss with olive oil, sugar, salt and pepper.
  3. Remove baking sheet from oven, spread the broccoli and peppers on the sheet in an even layer. Bake 7-10 minutes or until the broccoli is cooked through and some are caramelized. Watch them carefully because you don’t want them to burn.
  4. While the broccoli is roasting, in a medium-sized pan, put 2 T of olive oil, and your pepper flakes and garlic cloves. On medium-low heat, cook garlic and pepper flakes for 5-7 minutes or until garlic is golden brown. Add your chicken and cook another 3 minutes or until chicken is heated through. Remove from heat and add in lemon and oregano.
  5. In a large bowl, mix your broccoli, peppers, and chicken with 2 T of olive oil, and the goat cheese. Serve immediately.
  6. Enjoy!

— the Jilb

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The Week That Was: Cookie Edition

May 22, 2012

This past week all I did was bake cookies. And frost cookies. And eat cookies. Seriously. And I loved it.

With the help of a couple of girls, we made around 150 cookies for my sister-in-law’s bridal shower. We did cookies cut out in the shapes of flowers, the letter “J”, the letter “M”, and the letter “K.” It was a lot of work, but so worth it, and so fun!
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The recipe I used was from The Sweet Adventures of Sugar Belle. This is now my go-to cut out sugar cookie recipe. I’ll be using it again next week because we have a couple birthdays coming up and there has been a request for a certain caped crusader in cookie form. So, more pictures of that to come in a week or two. If you’re interesting in exactly what recipe I used here’s the link to the sugar cookie, and then here’s the link to the royal icing. They were a lot easier to make than I thought they would be.

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— the Jilb

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Mini Whole Wheat Pancake Muffins

May 21, 2012

Umm… so, these are amazing. Really, really tasty. We love pancakes in this house, but when you have to make pancakes for 6 people and those people will eat as many pancakes as they have fingers, making them doesn’t always sound that fun. So, I came across this recipe for pancake muffins, and knew right away that we had to try them out.

These Pancake Muffins were a giant hit. And it wasn’t just because I threw in some chocolate chips. Okay, maybe it was. Chocolate makes everything better.

I should mention these do taste like a pancake in muffin form. And I made them mini because anything small is so cute. Plus, I feel better eating three or four of something smaller, than eating even one normal-sized muffin.

Mini Whole Wheat Pancake Muffins

recipe slightly adapted from Baked Bree

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 T sugar
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 T pure maple syrup
  • 2 T butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4-1/2 cup chocolate chips (sometimes I do a 1/4, sometimes I do 1/2 depending on how chocolatey I want things)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a mini muffin pan and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together your flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and sugar.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together your buttermilk, egg, maple syrup, butter, and vanilla extract.
  4. Pour your wet ingredients into your dry ingredients and mix until well-combined. Mix in your chocolate chips.
  5. Put about a tablespoon of muffin batter into each mini muffin cup. I usually get around 18-24 muffins depending on how much I fill them.
  6. Bake 15-17 minutes or until muffins are golden brown, and spring back when lightly touched.
  7. Enjoy!!

— the Jilb

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Crockpot BBQ Beer Chicken

May 18, 2012

This is our go-to Crockpot BBQ Chicken recipe. I’ve made it a number of times and it has never failed me.

It does have beer in it, which I think makes for fantastic tasting chicken, but if you don’t want to use beer, you could use chicken stock, ginger ale, or even water. (Although, I haven’t tried any of those, so I can’t vouch for them 100%).

All four of our kids will eat this BBQ Beer Chicken with no complaints. So, you know it’s got to be good!

I can’t tell you all enough how good, how easy, and how much you will all love this. So, go make it! 🙂

Crockpot BBQ Beer Chicken

recipe from How Sweet It Is

Ingredients:

  • 6 large chicken breasts (about 3 lbs)
  • 1 T onion powder
  • 1 T paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 8 oz of beer (we use Guiness)
  • 32 oz of BBQ sauce (she recommends a thinner bbq sauce or add more liquid if you use something like Sweet Baby Ray’s. The day I made this I realized I was out of BBQ sauce, so I made this recipe and it was perfect.)

Directions:

  1. Season your chicken with the onion powder, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Add to crockpot, then add beer, and 24 oz of bbq sauce. Cook on low for 8 hours, then shred chicken, add the rest of your bbq sauce, toss chicken to coat, and then let it rest for 10-15 minutes to let everything absorb.
  2. Enjoy!

— the Jilb

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The Baby Who Can Never Have Enough

May 17, 2012

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I love her.

— the Jilb

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Raspberry Loaf Cake

May 16, 2012

Ever since I saw this recipe for Iced Raspberry Loaf Cake a few months ago, I really, really wanted to make it. I finally got to it last week, and am so glad I did!

I spent a ton of time trying to figure out how to make an icing that didn’t contain powdered sugar. Well, I tried a few different things and nothing turned out exactly how I planned so I left the icing off. And you know what? I don’t think this cake needs any icing. The raspberries, honey, and sugar make this cake sweet enough. Although if someone knows of a good icing or glaze recipe that doesn’t contain refined sugar I’d love to hear about it.


This cake (or maybe it could be called a bread?) was perfect for our mid-morning coffee break. I also think it would be great for dessert, a snack, or pretty much whenever you wanted it. It was really easy to make, sort of healthy because I cut most of the sugar out and added in more whole wheat flour, and most importantly it was a crowd-pleaser with the Baby eating three pieces.

Raspberry Loaf Cake

recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup bread flour (or all-purpose flour, or maybe even whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 1/2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 2 T ground flax seed
  • 2/3 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • 2 T butter, melted
  • 3 large eggs, plus 3 large egg yolks, at room temp
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup raspberries

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a loaf pan with non-stick spray, line it with parchment paper, and lightly coat again.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together flours, yeast, salt, and the flax seed. In a separate bowl, whisk together sour cream and butter.
  3. In a large bowl, beat eggs, yolks, sugar, honey, and vanilla with an electric mixer on medium speed until pale and thick, about 6 minutes. With a large rubber spatula, fold in flour mixture until all is well incorporated, then fold in raspberries, being careful not to overmix. Pour batter into pan.
  4. Bake 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, rotating the pan halfway through.
  5. Let cake cool in pan on a wire rack at least 20 minutes. Remove cake from pan and let cool completely on wire rack.
  6. Enjoy!

— the Jilb

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The Week That Was…

May 15, 2012

Brown Butter & Cinnamon Chip Cookies

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The Joker picked out a new ball and they love it.

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Hanging out on their really cute picnic table and reading Mommy’s magazine.

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Feet on the table is the only way to eat.

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Softball season started here and we love it!

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Enjoying a little snack at the game.

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— the Jilb

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Club Panini

May 14, 2012

We love making paninis, especially during the summer when it’s too hot out to make much else. We typically do turkey, cheese, and a sweet chili sauce (which is awesome, by the way!) so I thought it would be fun to switch it up by making Club Paninis.

These turned out pretty much perfect. The only problem I had was shutting the panini maker since the sandwiches were so big!

Turkey, ham, bacon, provolone and cheddar cheese, tomato, and a mix of mayo, mustard, and parsley and you have yourself a pretty awesome sandwich!

Club Paninis

recipe adapted from Food.com

Ingredients:

  • a loaf of unsliced Italian or French bread
  • sliced deli turkey
  • sliced deli ham
  • bacon, cooked
  • cheeses, whatever kind you want (this time I did provolone and cheddar)
  • tomatoes, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1 T parsley, chopped
  • olive oil for bread
  • seasonings for bread, I used an Italian Herb seasoning

Directions:

  1. Turn on your panini press.
  2. Mix your mayo, mustard and parsley together in a small bowl.
  3. Cut your bread into 1/2-inch slices. Brush olive oil on the outside of your bread slices and then sprinkle on seasonings.
  4. When your panini press is ready put one slice of bread down. Then put a few slices of turkey on your bread, followed by one kind of cheese, then top with bacon, then ham, then another cheese, then more bacon, then a tomato slice. Spread some of your mayo mixture on the inside of the top slice of bread, and then put that on top of the tomato. Push your panini press down, and let it cook until it’s golden brown. Repeat with the rest of the ingredients.
  5. Enjoy!!

— the Jilb

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Monster Cookies My Way

May 11, 2012

Last week I saw these monster cookies on Whisky Drinkin’ Chimney Sweep, and thought, “Oh, my goodness. I need to make these right away!” So, I did. With a few modifications.

I halved the recipe (because who needs 48 monster cookies!!! Okay, maybe I do), cut out most of the sugar, added some honey, walnuts, coconut oil, flaxseed meal, instant coffee grounds, and dark chocolate. Boo-ya!

These cookies didn’t spread out as much as the originals did, but I didn’t really care. They’re really filling, and very, very yummy. And healthy! (As healthy as cookies can be, except for maybe these Carrot Cookies.)

These are my new favorites. They might be almost 300 calories a cookie, but they’re so filling that I am satisfied with only one. And let me tell you that’s really hard to do. When making cookies I usually eat about 3 tablespoons of the cookie dough, then go on to eat anywhere from 1-10 cookies throughout the day. And then it’s time to say goodbye to my diet.

Since I have no self-control when it comes to cookies, I try not to make any. But you can see how that goes, seeing as I usually have a new cookie recipe each week.

Monster Cookies

recipe adapted from Whisky Drinkin’ Chimney Sweep

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, at room temp
  • 2 T coconut oil, melted at room temp
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 T vanilla extract
  • 3 cups oats (not instant)
  • 3/4 cup flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup flaxseed meal
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips (or whatever chocolate chips you want)
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate, chopped (I did 2 oz. of a chocolate baking bar)
  • 1 T instant coffee granules

Directions:

  1. Beat eggs, honey, brown sugar, butter, and coconut oil in a large bowl. Add peanut butter and beat until smooth. Then beat in vanilla extract.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk oats, flour, baking soda, salt, and flaxseed using a whisk. Stir flour mixture into peanut butter mixture using a wooden spoon. Then stir in walnuts, chocolate chips, dark chocolate, and coffee granules. Mix until everything is incorporated.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup put mounds of dough on the baking sheet. Cover and refrigerate at least two hours up to overnight.
  4. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Bake 6 cookies at a time for 17-20 minutes or until bottoms are brown. Let cool on baking sheet for a few minutes and then move to a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. Enjoy!!

— the Jilb

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Iced Coffee

May 9, 2012

This Iced Coffee recipe comes from The Pioneer Woman. When I first saw this recipe last year, I thought, “Genius!” I love getting iced coffees and iced lattes from coffee shops, but boy does it add up. Making your own is wonderful for your wallet, and it also tastes awesome! (I’ve come to find I prefer my own iced coffees to the coffee shops.)

This is really easy to make. All you do is put your coffee grounds in a water pitcher, add 9 cups of water, stir and let it sit overnight. That’s basically it.

I didn’t change the recipe at all, except to make the amounts smaller. If you need some add-in ideas for your coffee, PW has some on her blog. So yummy!

Pioneer Woman’s Iced Coffee

recipe from PW

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups ground coffee
  • 9 cups water
  • milk, sugar, cream, whatever you want to add to your coffee

Directions:

  1. Put your coffee in a water pitcher and add your water. Give it was a mix and then let it sit overnight on your counter. (I try not to let my coffee sit out more than 12-13 hours or it can get bitter.)
  2. Line a mesh strainer with cheesecloth and set over a container or another pitcher. Pour coffee/water mixture through the strainer, allowing all the liquid to run through. Throw away the grounds.
  3. Place coffee in fridge and allow to get cold.
  4. To make iced coffee: Fill a glass with ice, and pour as much coffee and other add-ins as you want. I usually do half coffee, half milk. If I’m feeling adventurous, I might add a little chocolate syrup.
  5. Enjoy!

— the Jilb

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The Week That Was…

May 8, 2012

Raspberry Yogurt Muffins: A Family Favorite!

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Enjoying the beautiful weather!

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Someone’s pretty excited about his book!

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Read of the week:

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Double Chocolate Walnut Brownies

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— the Jilb

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Roasted Taco Potatoes

May 7, 2012

I’ve got a really easy and yummy side dish for you all: Roasted Taco Potatoes.

These are the perfect side dish to whatever you’re having for dinner: pork tenderloins, chicken, or like we had that night– burgers on the grill.

They’re really simple to make, and as I found out they’re still delicious even after they’ve sat out for awhile. I made them in the early afternoon and then let them sit on the counter for a couple of hours and they still tasted absolutely yummy when we had them for dinner. The only bad thing about these potatoes? I didn’t make enough. Next time I am going to double the recipe.

Roasted Taco Potatoes

recipe inspired from The Family Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 5 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and cubed (I used Idaho)
  • 2 peppers, thinly sliced
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 cup cheese (I used some shredded Mexican cheese we had on hand)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease a baking dish and set aside.
  2. Put your potatoes and peppers in a large bowl. Toss with olive oil.
  3. In a small bowl, mix all your seasonings together. Add to potatoes and toss until well-coated.
  4. Put seasoned potatoes in greased baking dish.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes or until potatoes are done and a fork pierces them easily. Sprinkle cheese on top of potatoes and bake another 5 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.
  6. Serve immediately, and enjoy!!

— the Jilb

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Whole Wheat Strawberry and Almond Scones

May 4, 2012

I’ve got another scone recipe for you all. I’m kind of obsessed with scones,  maybe even more than cookies. (Okay, that’s probably a lie!).

These Whole Wheat Strawberry Almond Scones are the perfect breakfast treat. The almonds give off a really nice nutty taste. These scones are light and crumbly, bursting with strawberry flavor.

I don’t feel a bit bad eating one or two of these considering they’re sugar-free, full of oats and whole wheat flour, with a mix of almonds and flax seed meal and you’re pretty much ready to go. (Don’t mind all the butter– we’ll pretend it’s not there. Fat is good in moderation, right? And I suppose technically these aren’t sugar free because I sprinkled some raw sugar on top before baking but you could easily leave that part out and sprinkle more oats instead).

Whole Wheat Strawberry and Almond Scones

recipe slightly adapted from The Little Red House

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 6 T milk, plus more for brushing
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 2 & 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seed (I used flax seed meal)
  • 1 & 1/2 T baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 11 T unsalted butter, cold
  • 1 cup strawberries, diced
  • raw sugar, for sprinkling

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk your maple syrup, 6 T milk, and almond extract together. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together your flour, oats, almonds, flax seed, baking powder and salt. Grate in your cold butter with a hand grater or put everything in a food processor and pulse until you get coarse crumbs.
  4. Add your maple syrup mixture to the flour. Mix until you get a dough. If you need more milk, now is the time to add it. I added about an extra tablespoon of milk and that seemed to bring the dough together.
  5. Mix in your strawberries, being careful not to overmix.
  6. Put the dough on a floured surface and knead a time or two until you get the dough to come together. Put your dough onto your lined baking sheet and either make it into a circle and cut into even-sized pieces or do what I did and make your dough into a rectangle and cut into rectangles.
  7. Brush the tops of your scones with a little bit of milk and sprinkle with raw sugar or more oats.
  8. Bake 20-25 minutes or until baked all the way through.

— the Jilb

This recipe has been shared on Justa’s Fantastic Frugal Foods Link-Up! 🙂

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A New Trick

May 3, 2012

And it’s kind of ticking me off.

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She thinks she’s so funny! (Which she is. Don’t get me wrong!)

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I just wish I could find a way to keep her off the table…

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— the Jilb

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Avocado Bacon Parmesan Salad with Tangy Avocado Dressing

May 2, 2012

We’ve been trying to eat more salads. So, anytime I find a salad recipe that I think might be remotely tasty I make a note to add it into our dinner rotation because salads can be so boring. And I hate to be bored when it comes to food.

This Avocado Bacon Parmesan Salad is anything but boring.

This yummy salad recipe comes from Perry’s Plate, a lovely little blog that I stumbled across awhile ago that has really good, healthy recipes.

This salad was delicious! I really, really, really loved the tangy avocado dressing. It was my favorite part. I have a feeling I’ll be using the dressing a lot now. The saltiness of the bacon was a nice contrast to the avocados, and oh, the parmesan cheese! Yum! I used turkey bacon, but I know I will be using real bacon next time. I want the crunch that pork bacon gives you, and the taste. Mmm…

Avocado Bacon Parmesan Salad with Tangy Avocado Dressing

recipe from Perry’s Plate

Ingredient:

For the salad:

  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and chopped up
  • 6 oz. bacon, cooked and chopped up
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 12 oz salad greens

For the dressing:

  • 1/2 an avocado, peeled, pitted, and cut into large chunks
  • 3 T sour cream
  • 3 T low-fat mayo
  • 1 T apple cider vinegar
  • 1 T honey
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. For the dressing: Put all dressing ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Add salt and pepper.
  2. Put salad in a bowl, layer with bacon and avocado, top with dressing and cheese. Enjoy!
  3. This dressing makes enough for two salads. It’ll keep in the fridge for 2-3 days in an airtight container or you can just double your salad ingredients.
  4. Enjoy!

— the Jilb

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The Week That Was…

May 1, 2012

It’s finally iced coffee season here in northern MN. (Although I wouldn’t be surprised if we got snow in the next few weeks).

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Chillin’ outside.

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The Princess tucked in the twins for their “nap.”

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She just wants to do everything the big kids do:

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She wore that crown for a week.

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Me and my best friend, fried ice cream.

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My new sandals…

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The hotel the hubby and I splurged at this weekend. They had the best continental breakfast we’ve ever seen, that included a huge make your own waffle bar, yogurt parfaits, oatmeal, scrambled eggs and ham, and ton of other stuff. It was nice to get away for the night!

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We’re like two old biddies sitting on our chairs at night. Love!

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— the Jilb

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Chicken Curry…

April 30, 2012

… in a hurry is the name of this recipe. And besides the fact that it’s really fast to make, it’s something that I highly recommend that you go make right now.

This recipe was recommended to me by my in-laws. They basically said, “Make this and then blog about it.” So, here I am. It’s so tasty, and so easy. They were so right to recommend this. I have a feeling this Chicken Curry will be making a rotation through our weekly meals starting now.

And you know what would go great with this Chicken Curry? This Baked Brown Rice. Mmm… so good! A perfect pairing!

Chicken Curry

recipe from Food.com

Ingredients:

  • 2 T flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 & 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 T oil
  • 1 T curry powder
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 1 & 1/2 T tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt

Directions:

  1. Mix together flour, salt, and cayenne pepper in a large bag. Add chicken in small batches, shaking off the excess flour.
  2. Heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.
  3. Add chicken and cook until lightly brown. Add curry powder and toss to coat.
  4. Set the chicken aside and add onion and garlic to pan. Add a little more oil if you need too. Cook for two minutes and then add chicken brother, raisins and tomato paste.
  5. Add chicken back to pan with the other ingredients and simmer for 8 minutes or until chicken is completely cooked and sauced has thickened.
  6. Garnish with cilantro and a dollop of yogurt.
  7. Enjoy!

— the Jilb

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Carrot Oatmeal Cookies

April 27, 2012

To finish off our cookie week I figured I’d give you all something extra healthy: Carrot Oatmeal Cookies. Let me tell just because they’re healthy, doesn’t mean they lack flavor. These cookies are packed with really healthy things like carrots, oats, and walnuts. That mixed with the coconut oil and maple syrup and you really have yourself something. Something tasty, that is.

These Carrot Oatmeal Cookies are like carrot cake in cookie form. They’re soft. They’re nutty. And they’re really, really yummy.

These cookies are also very versatile. You could add in some unsweetened coconut. Lemon zest. Pecans instead of walnuts.

Out of all the sugar-free cookies I’ve tried, these have been my favorite. (And trust me when I say I’ve tried a lot!). Also, I got this recipe from 101 Cookbooks, where there are ton of healthy recipes that I cannot wait to try. Next, I want to try these cookies that are filled with chopped chocolate, bananas (sorry, Mom!), oats, and coconut.

Carrot Oatmeal Cookies

recipe from 101 Cookbooks

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • scant 1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt
  • 1 cup oats
  • 2/3 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup real maple syrup, at room temp
  • 1/2 cup unrefined (fragrant) coconut oil, warmed until just melted
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger (I used 1/2 tsp ground ginger)

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk your flour, baking powder, salt, and oats together. Mix in your shredded carrots and walnuts.
  3. In a separate smaller bowl, whisk your maple syrup, melted coconut oil, and ginger together. Mix this into your flour mixture and stir until just combined.
  4. Using a tablespoon as a scoop, drop your dough onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between cookies.
  5. Bake 10-12 minutes or until cookies are golden on top and bottom.
  6. Let cool a minute or two on baking sheet and then move to a wire rack.
  7. I got about 2 dozen cookies.
  8. Enjoy!
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Oatmeal-Flax Chocolate Chip Cookies

April 25, 2012

These cookies are so healthy and so good for you! Okay, maybe not exactly but a little flaxseed and oatmeal can’t hurt, right?

These Oatmeal-Flax Chocolate Chip Cookies are chewy, fluffy, and full of chocolately goodness. They were a huge hit with my kids, and I’m sure they would be with yours! (And if you don’t have kids, I won’t tell if you eat the whole recipe.)

I know I have a few chocolate chip cookie recipes on this blog, but I honestly don’t mind. Can you ever have too many chocolate chip cookie recipes? I didn’t think so.

So, you know what you need to do. Go. Make these cookies. And then eat them. Before you bake them, first you must try the dough. (If you’re into that sort of thing. I am so into that sort of thing. I LOVE cookie dough.) And then come back and thank me.

Oatmeal-Flax Chocolate Chip Cookies

recipe adapted from The Food Network Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (next time I am going to get rid of the AP flour and do all whole wheat. yum!)
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1/4 cup flaxseed, finely ground (I used flaxseed meal)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp coarse salt
  • 1 tsp instant coffee granules
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled (you could omit this and add 1/4 cup butter if you want)
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside.
  2. Whisk the flours, oats, flaxseed, baking soda, salt, coffee, and cinnamon in a bowl.
  3. Beat the butter, coconut oil, and sugars until fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add vanilla and beat some more.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix well. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  5. Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of dough onto lined baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake until golden brown, about 10-12 minutes (mine were perfect at 11). Let cookies cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, and then move to wire racks to cool completely.
  6. Enjoy!!

— the Jilb

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The Week That Was…

April 24, 2012

Birthday Blueberry Lemon Cupcakes!

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The Joker enjoying her tabbouleh.

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The Princess showing off her bear that she brought for teddy bear day at school.

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Making tortilla pizzas:

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Banana Walnut Muffins

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Homemade Pepperoni Pizza… So good!

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Nutty Butter Cookies

April 23, 2012

It’s Cookie Week here on Reini Days! I looooove cookies. They are my downfall. If I bake them, I will eat them. Unless I give the cookies away, I will eat every stinkin’ yummy one. So, that’s what I did. A few ladies I know had babies and I made them cookies (and, yes, I ate a few).

So, this week will be those recipes. And if you don’t like cookies I’m not sure why you’re visiting our blog. Just kidding! I love you all. 🙂

Up first: Nutty Butter Cookies. Eat one of these cookies and all will be well in the world.

I’m generally not a peanut butter cookie fan because most peanut butter cookies bore me. Not these. These are full of buttery oats, chopped nuts, peanut butter, a taste of honey, and whole wheat pastry flour (which I love, love, love!!)

The nice thing about these cookies? You can sub in whatever nut butter you want, or whatever chopped nuts you have on hand. (The original recipe says that the nut butter and the chopped nuts should be the same kind; i.e. peanut butter and peanuts, or almond butter and almonds.) The possibilities are endless!

These Nutty Butter Cookies are light, crumbly, soft, and full of peanut buttery goodness. Best peanut butter cookie. Ever. Seriously.

Nutty Butter Cookies

recipe adapted from The Food Network Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened and divided
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1 cup, plus 2 T whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp coarse salt
  • 2 T honey
  • 1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (or other nut butter)
  • 1/2 cup peanuts, chopped (or other nuts)

Directions:

  1. Melt 1/4 cup butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Add oats, and cook, until toasted, about 5-7 minutes. Spread oat mixture over parchment-lined baking sheet. Let cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.
  4. In another bowl, beat together remaining 1/4 cup butter, coconut oil, honey, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg, and beat again. Add peanut butter, and mix again until well-blended.
  5. Stir in the oat mixture and chopped nuts to the peanut butter mixture and mix well. Add flour mixture, and mix again until all is blended.
  6. Roll dough into 1 1/2-inch balls. Put cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet about an inch apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until cookies are golden brown. Let cool on pan for a few minutes, and then move to a wire rack.
  7. Enjoy!

— the Jilb

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Honey Lime Chicken with Baked Brown Rice

April 20, 2012

This dinner was the by far one of the best things I’ve made lately. And it’s so easy to make, which is a huge plus when you have four little kids running around wanting your attention.

You throw some frozen chicken breasts in a crock pot. Then you season it with salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. After that’s cooked you make a little honey lime sauce and let the chicken cook in it for awhile. Then you make up your rice, bake it for an hour, and dinner is served! Did I mention how easy this recipe is?

I know I’ll be making this chicken weekly. In fact, I really want it now. Right. Now.

The cayenne gives the chicken a little heat, and the honey gives the chicken just the littlest bit of sweetness. And the lime. Oh, the lime. I love lime! The cilantro is the icing on the cake. Seriously.

Honey Lime Chicken with Baked Brown Rice

recipe adapted from The Enchanted Cook and Food Network

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken breasts (mine were medium-sized)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 T honey
  • juice and zest of one lime
  • 1 & 1/2 cups brown rice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 & 1/2 cups chicken broth (you could do all water or all chicken broth too if you wanted)
  • 1 T butter
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

Directions:

  1. Season your chicken breasts with salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Cook on low in a crock pot until done 6-8 hours (I did the crock pot method because it’s easiest for me. But you also could marinate your chicken the night before in the salt, pepper, cayenne, honey, lime, and some olive oil and then throw it on the grill. I can’t wait to try it this way!)
  2. When your chicken is done mix your honey, lime juice, and zest in a small bowl. Mix that in with your chicken, and then I like to leave that in the crockpot on low or warm for a half hour or so to let the chicken marinate.
  3. To start your rice, preheat your oven to 375 degrees, and pour your rice in an 8-inch glass dish.
  4. Bring water, chicken broth, butter, and salt to a boil in a saucepan. Once boiling, pour the chicken broth mixture over the rice, stir to combine, and cover baking dish with aluminum foil.
  5. Bake for one hour. Then remove foil and fluff rice.
  6. Mix your chicken in with your rice, and sprinkle the cilantro on top.
  7. Enjoy!!
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Ham and Cheese Pretzel Bites

April 18, 2012

The first time I made these were way back in November when the Baby had her first birthday. They were a huge hit, and went very fast so I’ve been meaning to blog about them, but only got to it now. Time sure goes by fast!

These were a little time consuming to make, but easy. I’m coming to realize that I really enjoy spending time in the kitchen, and eating making things. This recipe was right up my alley. The kids loved them, and so did we!

These would be great for a party, for a snack, or for us in this case, for dinner! They’re best eaten right after they’re baked, but you can always reheat them if needed and they’re still pretty tasty.

And they go great dipped in mustard!

Ham and Cheese Pretzel Bites

recipe slightly adapted from Emily Bites

Ingredients:

  • 1 pkg (1/4 oz) active dry yeast
  • 2 T + 1 tsp packed brown sugar, divided
  • 1/4 cup warm tap water
  • 1 cup warm skim milk
  • 1 cup bread flour
  • 1 & 3/4 cups whole wheat flour (or you could do all white whole wheat flour if you wanted)
  • 3 oz finely diced deli ham
  • 2 oz sharp cheddar cheese
  • 6 c water
  • 4 tsp baking soda
  • 3 T butter, melted
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • olive oil or cooking spray

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine warm water, yeast and 1 tsp brown sugar. Let sit for about 7 minutes or until mixture is foamy. If it doesn’t foam, that means your yeast isn’t activated and you’ll have to start over (which is really no biggy).
  2. In a small bowl, pour your warm milk over the remaining 2 T of brown sugar and stir until sugar is dissolved. Add the milk mixture to the foamy yeast mixture, and then add your flour. Stir until combined.
  3. On a well-floured surface knead your dough for a minute or two. Form dough into a ball and put in a large bowl that has been coated with cooking spray or olive oil. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let sit for 2 hours until your dough has doubled in size.
  4. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  5. Split dough into 4 even-sized balls. On a lightly floured surface, roll out of the dough balls into a 12×4 inch rectangle, with the long side facing you. On the bottom third of the dough, sprinkle 1/4 of the cheese along with 1/4 of the ham. Starting with the side towards you (filled with ham and cheese), tightly roll dough over the filling into a tube shape and seal down edges. Cut the dough into 12 equal pieces and then place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the ingredients. Let pieces sit, uncovered for about 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  7. In a medium pot, bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and mix in the baking soda. Using a slotted spoon, add the pretzel bites a few at a time to the water. Boil for 20 seconds, flipping halfway through. Use the slotted spoon to drain excess water off and return pretzel bites back to the lined baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the pretzel bites.
  8. Bake the boiled pretzel bites for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and brush with melted butter, sprinkle with salt, and enjoy!
  9. If you want to reheat these, bake at 200 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until warm.

— the Jilb

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The Week That Was…

April 17, 2012

Block guns!

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Glow sticks (or lightsabers as the kids call them)

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My funny Bear

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Oatmeal-Flax Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Picture set-up for a cookie post

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Someone needs to tell this Baby that dollhouses aren’t meant to be stood on! (Oh, right, that should be me.)

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First sweet corn of the season! (And, oh, so yummy!!)

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— the Jilb

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Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars

April 16, 2012

So, I made some bars for a pot luck that we went to yesterday. Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars. I told myself I wouldn’t eat any. That lasted about 5 minutes.

These are a-mazing. Seriously.

I made my own graham cracker crust because I’m crazy like that. But you don’t have to. If you want, just use regular ol’ graham crackers, plus a little melted butter for your crust. (Although making your own graham crackers is soooooo easy, and tasty!). Maybe I’ll have a post soon about homemade graham crackers…

So, about these bars. They’re full of chocolate chip cookie dough. Full of cheesecake. Graham crackers. I’m pretty sure there’s nothing better. Or at least that’s what I told myself after eating my third bar…

I got this recipe from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen. I only made a few changes, like making my own crust and cutting down on the sugar. If you want the original recipe, please visit her blog! 🙂

Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars

recipe slightly adapted from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen

Ingredients:

Graham Cracker Crust:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup honey

Cookie Dough:

  • 5 T butter, at room temp
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 T granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Cheesecake Filling:

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temp
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, at room temp
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. To prepare the graham cracker crust: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray an 8-inch glass baking dish with non-stick spray, and then put a long piece of parchment paper in the bottom of the pan, letting it overhang over the short ends of the dish. Then spray the parchment paper with non-stick spray. This will really help to remove the bars after baking. In a small bowl, mix your flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda. In another bowl, mix your melted butter and honey. Pour your honey butter mixture in with your flour and mix until all ingredients are incorporated. Take your graham cracker crumbs and pat them down on the bottom of the baking dish. Bake for 7-10 minutes or until your crust is firm in the middle. Once crust is done, lower your oven temp to 325 degrees.
  2. While the crust is cooling, let’s make up the cookie dough. In a medium-sized bowl, beat the 5 T of butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt and vanilla until smooth, about a minute or so. Mix in your flour with a wooden spoon. Then mix in the chocolate chips, and set aside.
  3. For the cheesecake filling: in another bowl, cream your cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add egg and vanilla and beat until well-blended. Spread the cheesecake filling on top of the graham cracker crust.
  4. Then put the cookie dough on top of the cheesecake layer. Your cookie dough with cover most (if not all) of the cheesecake layer. Bake 25-30 minutes or until the cookie dough layer is dry and firm and if you shake the pan slightly the middle looks set. Let bars cool completely in baking dish on a wire rack.
  5. Lift bars out of the pan using the overhang of the parchment paper. Slice into desired size. If you don’t eat them all immediately (you might!), they can be stored in the refrigerator or on the counter in a tupperware.
  6. Enjoy! (I know you will!)

— the Jilb

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Petite Chocolate Chip Scones

April 13, 2012

I really love scones. Well, I really love any breakfast food, especially if it’s sweet. Muffins. Scones. French Toast Bakes. And honestly, I almost feel the need to have some sort of sweet thing for breakfast every morning.

I found this recipe in an old Food Network Magazine. There’s always good recipes in those magazines.

Back to these scones. They were the perfect, light snack to go with coffee. They’re sweet, but not overly sweet. I love the hint of chocolate that you get from the mini chocolate chips.

They’re really easy to make, and you get 16 petite scones. So, if you make these have some friends over. Or you could freeze half the dough to use another time. Or, in my case, have a bunch of kids who loves scones, and will eat them all. The Baby alone is known to devour many, many scones or whatever breakfast item I make.

Petite Chocolate Chip Scones

recipe adapted from The Food Network Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsps baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 2 T butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk, plus extra for brushing
  • 2 T raw sugar (turbinado sugar), for sprinkling

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside.
  2. Whisk the flours, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix in your mini chocolate chips.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together your melted butter, vanilla, and milk.
  4. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until combined.
  5. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth, about a minute, adding more flour if needed.
  6. Divide the dough into 2 balls. Roll out each ball into a 1/2-inch-to-3/4-inch disk.
  7. Move disks to baking sheet. Cut each disk into 8 wedges. Brush milk on top of wedges and sprinkle with raw sugar.
  8. Bake 12-16 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  9. Best eaten immediately.
  10. Enjoy!

— the Jilb

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Building a Blanket Fort

April 12, 2012

The kids love it when Grandma comes over and makes a fort.

They’re in and out of the thing like there’s no tomorrow.

Then the Baby has to take a break to give her favorite puppy a hug.

Then all the stuffed animals have to go in the fort.

And then their favorite part — Buzz comes to find them.

Oh, to be kids again!

— the Jilb

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Fusilli with Spinach-Nut Pesto

April 11, 2012

As I was browsing another Food Network magazine, I stumbled across this recipe for Fusilli with Spinach-Nut Pesto. I love pesto, and we’ve been eating a ton of spinach, so this pasta meal instantly went on my to-make list.

This dinner did not disappoint. The pesto had a lovely nutty flavor thanks to the peanuts I used. The cherry tomatoes gave it a slight burst of flavor, and the spinach was, well, spinach. I love spinach!

The dinner was a hit with everyone (except for the Princess, but she sure has turned picky in the last few months). This was pretty easy to make, and I have a feeling it’ll become something I can make again and again, subbing out different nuts and maybe adding some parmesan cheese to the pesto.

If you’re looking for something new and healthy to make for dinner, give this Fusilli with Spinach-Nut Pesto a try. You’ll love it!

Fusilli with Spinach-Nut Pesto

recipe slightly adapted from the Food Network magazine

Ingredients:

  • 1-13 oz box of fusilli
  • 1/2 cup of salted roasted peanuts, plus extra for topping
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 6 oz spinach, tough stems removed
  • zest and juice of one lemon
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

Directions:

  1. Cook fusilli according to directions on box. Drain and return to the pot.
  2. Make the pesto: Pulse the peanuts and garlic in a food processor (I don’t have a food processor so I used my mini chopper and did this in stages and it worked just fine) until coarsely chopped. Add the spinach in batches, pulsing until chopped. Then add the lemon zest and juice. Then add the olive oil and process until smooth, about a minute. Add salt, and pepper to taste.
  3. Add the pesto and tomatoes to the pot with the pasta. Season with more salt and pepper if you want, and toss.
  4. Divide among bowls, and drizzle with more olive oil, and top with chopped nuts.
  5. Enjoy!

— the Jilb

 

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The Week That Was…

April 10, 2012

Sticker Fun!

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Breaking up the concrete sidewalk in our backyard. Oops.

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An Iced Black Thai Tea Latte with no syrup. Delish!

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Loved this:
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Whole Wheat Graham Crackers. Mmm…
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This boy loves basketball. And turtles, apparently.
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She also loves her turtle.
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Mini Whole Wheat Pancake Muffins. So, so yummy!
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Buffalo Wing Hummus

April 9, 2012

Full of chickpeas, tahini, hot sauce, and a few other things this Buffalo Wing Hummus is a really simple, yet yummy snack.

And what is better paired with hummus than pita bread?

This Buffalo Wing Hummus was extremely easy to make, and tastes so good. I only put 2 tablespoons of hot sauce in mine and it gave the hummus a mild hot flavor. If you like yours hotter, go ahead and add another tablespoon.

I should mention that this recipe makes 4 cups, which is a lot in a house when only 2 people are eating it. So, have a party or you could even cut the recipe in half.

Buffalo Wing Hummus

recipe from The Food Network Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed, 1/2 cup liquid reserved
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 & 1/2 tsps paprika
  • 2 T barbecue sauce
  • 2-3 T hot sauce
  • 1 T distilled white vinegar
  • kosher salt

Directions:

  1. Put the chickpeas, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, paprika, barbecue sauce, hot sauce, vinegar and 1 & 1/2 tsps salt in a food processor. Puree until smooth and creamy.
  2. Enjoy!

— the Jilb

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Happy Easter!

April 8, 2012

We’re spending today visiting family, going to church to celebrate Jesus, and eating lots of yummy food!

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Hope everyone has a fabulous Easter!

— the Jilb and family

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Dark Chocolate Chunk Sandwich Cookies with a Beer Chocolate Filling

April 6, 2012

Wow. That’s a mouth full. Probably my longest title yet. I love it though. And I’m pretty proud of these little cookies.

These little babies came about when I saw a post on Danny’s Kitchen about a Cookie Wars Contest going on over at Baker Bettie. My interest was instantly peeked. There’s a few rules that you have to follow and one of them is using at least 2 of the listed ingredients that they have. Well, I chose beer, coffee, and dark chocolate. I don’t really like to drink beer, but I sure love to cook with it.

What I ended up with was a very soft, chewy cookie filled with a chocolate beer cream. You can barely, if at all, taste the beer. And, if you wish, you could leave it out. I used dark chocolate chunks in these cookies instead of chips and really enjoyed getting a taste of dark chocolate as I bit into these cookies. Also I used brewed coffee in the cookies, which you can slightly taste (and that’s okay in my book!).

If you’re looking for something fun and easy to do (and eat!), give these Dark Chocolate Chunk Sandwich Cookies with a Beer Chocolate Filling a try! You’ll love them!

Dark Chocolate Chunk Sandwich Cookies with a Beer Chocolate Filling

recipe inspired by (for the cookies) The Pioneer Woman and (for the filling) Allrecipes.com

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup brewed coffee
  • 1 cup plus 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp flaxseed meal (optional)
  • 3/4 cup dark chocolate chunks
  • for the filling: 1/4 cup butter (softened), 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips, and 1/4 cup dark beer

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, using a mixer or beaters, beat your butter and sugars together until blended. Add your vanilla and egg, and beat again. Add coffee and beat again until well-blended.
  2. Using a wooden spoon, mix in your flour, salt, and baking soda to your butter mixture. Mix until well-blended. Mix in flaxseed, and then chocolate chunks.
  3. Cover your bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate dough at least a half hour.
  4. At this point I made my filling, and let it sit to harden up. In a double boiler or in the microwave, melt your chocolate chips and butter together. Whisk in the beer, and let this mixture sit 10-20 minutes and it should harden up.
  5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Use a teaspoon to scoop out your cookie dough and put it on the lined baking sheet. (I choose to do smaller cookies than normal, so they wouldn’t be too big once they were sandwiches. You’ll get around 24 sandwiches using a teaspoon, but if you want the cookies bigger that’s fine too.) Put your cookies about 1-2 inches apart. I fit about 12 cookies at a time.
  7. Bake 5-7 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown. Allow to rest on baking sheet for a few minutes and then move to a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. Once cookies are completely cooled you can assemble your cookies. On the bottom of one cookie, spread your chocolate filling, and sandwich together with another cookie. Repeat until your done! Enjoy!

— the Jilb

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The Best Cheesy Garlic Bread Sticks. Ever.

April 4, 2012

These are the best bread sticks I have ever had. Seriously. The first time I made these, I almost died. I could not believe how good they were. And they were so easy to make!

We’ve had these a handful of times and we’ve never been disappointed. Ever. They’re even better if you have a side of pizza sauce to dip them in. That’s a must have!

Cheesy Garlic Bread Sticks

recipe from Lauren’s Latest (great food blog!)

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 of this pizza dough (or store bought. just have enough for a 12-inch pizza)
  • 2 T butter, softened
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  • salt and pepper, optional

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Get out a pizza stone or baking sheet, and set aside.
  2. On a piece of parchment paper, roll your dough into an 12-inch circle.
  3. Move your dough and paper to the pizza stone.
  4. Mix your butter and garlic in a small bowl. Then spread on pizza dough.
  5. Sprinkle your cheeses on top of the dough, and then salt and pepper.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until cheese is golden brown and bubbly.
  7. Enjoy!

— the Jilb

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The Week That Was…

April 3, 2012

Dancing

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There may or may not have been pee in that potty chair…

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Lots of running

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Hugs when someone gets hurt:

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Baking, baking, baking

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Coffee and reading (when I have time!)

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More Coffee (my favorite!)

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A birthday…

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Pizza Pockets

April 2, 2012

Pizza Pockets. Pretty easy to make. Very tasty to eat. A perfect dinner.

You can put whatever you want in these babies. I did the basics: pepperoni, cheese, and pizza sauce. But if you don’t like pepperoni, you could do sausage, hamburger, or a ham and pineapple, or broccoli and cheese. The possibilities are endless. I can’t wait to play around with these!

The kids just loved these. (And so did I!) We also had cheesy bread sticks (recipe coming Wednesday!) or I’m sure they would have wanted more pizza pockets.

I found that you really have to pinch the edges together on these Pizza Pockets or you get a cheesy, gooey, you-will-love-this-more-than-the-pocket mess. Seriously.

I may have eaten a pocket’s worth of cheese just from the leakage. Oops.

I have a feeling we’ll be having these often. They were pretty easy to make, and very, very tasty. You make these and you won’t regret it!

Pizza Pockets

recipe inspired from The Food Network Magazine

Ingredients:

  • Pizza dough (I used this recipe and it made 6 pizza pockets and some cheesy breadsticks.)
  • Pizza sauce (I used this recipe, and the amount was perfect for how many pockets I made)
  • 3-4 cups of cheese (I used a mix of cheddar and mozzarella, but any would do)
  • Pepperoni and other fixings
  • Olive oil, for brushing
  • Italian seasonings, for sprinkling

Directions:

  1. Make your pizza dough (or get the store bought stuff. I believe if you bought a tube of the Pillsbury French Bread Dough it would make 4 pockets.)
  2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, and set aside.
  3. If you’re making the homemade pizza sauce, make it now.
  4. Roll out your dough and shape it into approximately 8×5 rectangle. Put your pizza sauce in the middle of your dough, followed by some cheese and whatever fixings you want.
  5. Fold the shorter sides of the dough over your fixings, stretching the dough to cover. Fold the two long sides of the dough over to form a pocket. Pinch the edges to seal it all together. (Picture of this is above.) Move the pocket to a lined baking sheet, sealed side down. Make up the rest of the pockets.
  6. Put 4 pockets on a baking sheet at a time. Brush olive oil on top of pockets, and sprinkle Italian seasonings on top.
  7. Bake for about 15 minutes or until pockets are golden brown.
  8. Enjoy

— the Jilb

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Toasted Bread with Butter

April 1, 2012

I know this one is kind of a classic, but it’s so good, I figured it’s worth sharing anyway. Toasted Bread with Butter is great because it’s easy to make and yet very versatile. You can make it with any kind of bread, and — though I prefer regular old butter — you can use all sorts of different spreads: peanut butter, jam, cinnamon and sugar, you name it!

Most of us tend to associate Toasted Bread with Butter with breakfast, but let me tell you that it is always a welcome addition to any meal, regardless the time of day. And did I mention it’s easy to make? 😛

Go make some right now — you won’t regret it!

Toasted Bread with Butter

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices of bread
  • 2 tsp room-temperature butter

Directions:

  1. Place bread slices in toaster oven (or in a conventional “slice” toaster).
  2. Turn toaster oven to “toast” setting and heat for 4 minutes. Flip the slices after 2 minutes to ensure even toasting on both sides. (If using a “slice” toaster, simply lower the lever and wait. A “slice” toaster should automatically toast both sides evenly.)
  3. After approximately 4 minutes, check the slices — both sides should be crispy but not charred. Toast longer if necessary.
  4. When both sides are evenly toasted, spread butter on one side of each slice.
  5. Enjoy!

– Reinman

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Roasted Chickpeas Three Ways

March 30, 2012

I honestly can’t believe I’m even posting these recipes. Until about two months ago I didn’t even know what a chickpea was, let alone eat one. Sure shows you as to what eating healthy will do for you.

So, we’ve been eating a lot of chickpeas. The Baby in particular loves them. I think she’d eat a whole can if I let her. Silly Baby.

I’ve got three varieties of roasted chickpeas for you: Spiced, Honey Roasted, and Sweet and Salty. These are our favorites, although I’m always open to trying something new.

Out of the three chickpea recipes, I don’t really have a favorite. They’re so different and so good in their own way. Reinman says his favorites are the Spiced. The Honey Roasted Chickpeas remind of honey roasted peanuts. Love!

The Spiced ones have their own unique flavor. They’re a little spicy, and I like that.

And the Sweet and Salty have a really nice cinnamon-y flavor. I love cinnamon.

Roasted Chickpeas Three Ways

recipes adapted from Cupcake Project, and Allrecipes

Ingredients:

  • 15 oz can of Garbanzo beans (chickpeas) and one of the following:
  • Spiced: 1 T olive oil, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp paprika, pinch of salt, pinch of cayenne
  • Honey Roasted: 1 & 1/2 T honey, 1 tsp brown sugar, 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • Sweet and Salty: 2 tsp olive oil, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 & 1/2 tsp brown sugar, and 1/4 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Open your can of chickpeas. Drain, and rinse them. Pat dry with paper towel. Put chickpeas on the lined baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until chickpeas are crunchy. Mix halfway through.
  4. In a small bowl, add whatever version of the roasted chickpeas you want to make. If you are doing one with olive oil, I would recommend mixing your chickpeas with oil first, and then adding your spices.
  5. You’re all done and ready to have a yummy, healthy snack! I would recommend eating these the same day you make them.
  6. Enjoy!

— the Jilb

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Individual Whole Wheat Pear Galette

March 28, 2012

I have a thing for sweets. I realize there’s been a lot of dessert recipes on the blog lately. Oops. I’m only a tad bit sorry about that. Friday I’ll have something non-desserty for you. 🙂

These little Pear Galettes were sooo good! I can’t even tell you how fun and yummy they were.

The dough was a tad bit annoying to roll out because I stuck it in the fridge for a few hours, and probably should have left it on the counter to warm up a bit before I rolled it out. But that was my only issue with these galettes, and really the problem was short-lived as you can see. Look at how scrumptious these pear galettes look!

The original recipe called for the dough to be made into one galette, but I thought doing individual ones would be fun. So, you can either do one big galette or 4 individual ones. I also tweaked the original recipe by using whole wheat pastry flour instead of all-purpose and cutting back on the sugar. I found that using whole wheat pastry flour really made the crust taste like those pretzel-shaped Danish Butter Cookies that you can get around Christmas time. I loved this crust! I’m pretty sure I could have eaten only the baked crust and been a very happy girl.

Individual Whole Wheat Pear Galettes

recipe slightly adapted from 365 Days of Baking

Ingredients:

  • 1 & 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup white cornmeal
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup cold butter
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk, or 1/3 cup milk mixed with 1 tsp vinegar or lemon juice
  • 2 pears, cored and sliced thin
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 T turbinado sugar, for sprinkling

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, mix flour, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, cornmeal and salt. Grate in your cold butter using a handheld grater. Mix until your mixture resembles coarse meal. Add in buttermilk and stir until dough mixes together. At this point, I just used my hands to get everything to come together. Wrap dough in plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 45 minutes (or up to 3 days).
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Get out a pizza stone, and baking sheet, and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, mix your pears, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice.
  4. Remove dough from the fridge and if you want one huge galette just roll your dough out on the pizza stone. If you want individual galettes, divide your dough into 4 balls. Roll out each dough ball into a circle. Then distribute pear mixture onto the middle of each dough circle. Fold edges of dough circle over your pears, and make sure to seal tightly or you could have a mess when baking.
  5. Lightly brush the edge of each of your galettes with the beaten egg and then sprinkle the turbinado sugar on top.
  6. If you haven’t already, move each galette onto your pizza stone (I made my dough circles, and then moved three of them to the pizza stone, filled them with pears, closed them up, and then made my last dough ball into a circle and moved it to the pizza stone. Seemed easiest that way). Put your pizza stone on a baking sheet.
  7. Bake around 45 minutes or so for the individual galettes and an hour for one big galette. The crust should be golden brown, and the filling will be bubbly.
  8. Transfer baking sheet with galette to a wire rack and let cool 20 minutes before eating.
  9. Enjoy!

— the Jilb

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The Baby Plays the Piano

March 27, 2012

Yep…

She’s pretty happy about it.

I don’t have a picture, but what happened next was this: The Joker came over, stole the piano, a huge fight ensued, which I won because I threw the piano back down the stairs to our toy room where it belongs.

The End.

— the Jilb

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Brownie Petit Fours

March 26, 2012

I was looking in The Food Network Magazine (a friend gives me all her old magazines. Thanks, Tania!), and saw they had 50 ways to eat brownies. Oh, boy. Well, one way was to make them into petits fours. That got me thinking right away.

 

In their recipe, they had used just jam. Well, that wasn’t enough for me. I wanted more. So, I did some stuffed with a raspberry sauce, some with peanut butter, some with caramel, and some with a mocha frosting. Oh, my goodness! I definitely gained 5 lbs the day I made these.

I dipped the brownies in a variety of chocolate: milk chocolate, semi-sweet, and white chocolate. And then I decorated them with sprinkles and mini chocolate chips.

(Notice the Baby eyeing up the goodies. I am so thankful she didn’t pull everything off the table. She would have if she could have!)

They were so good, and I made them as easy as I could by using a box brownie mix instead of homemade ones. And I suppose using just one filling and one chocolate to dip them in would have made things easier, but look how fun and yummy they turned out!

The only thing I would change about this recipe is to make the petits fours smaller. The original recipe calls for the brownies to be cut into one inch squares, then layered with a sauce or peanut butter, and then another one inch brownie put on top. After you dip that in chocolate you really have a big brownie petit four, which isn’t bad. But I would like them to be more bite-sized.

Brownie Petit Fours

recipe idea from The Food Network Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 1 brownie box mix (I did a family size dark chocolate brownie mix)
  • egg, oil, and water for brownie mix
  • peanut butter
  • jam or another berry sauce
  • caramel sauce (this is the recipe I use)
  • mocha frosting (1 tsp instant coffee granules, 1 T water, 1/4 cup softened butter, 1/2 cup powdered sugar)
  • chocolate chips for dipping, white, semi-sweet, milk chocolate
  • sprinkles, mini chocolate chips, or whatever you want to decorate with

Directions:

  1. Mix and bake brownies according to box. Let cool completely.
  2. To make mocha frosting: mix your coffee granules and water. Beat in butter and powdered sugar until well-blended.
  3. Set out your other fillings: peanut butter, caramel sauce, berry sauce, and mocha frosting.
  4. Once brownies are completely cool, cut them into one inch squares (or smaller if you want). Take one brownie, put a layer of whatever filling you want on it, and then top with another brownie. Kind of smoosh them together. And I would recommend putting a thick layer of filling between the two brownies. Do this with the rest of your brownies.
  5. Melt your chocolate chips. (I used approximately 4 cups of chocolate chips)
  6. Dip each brownie petit four into the melted chocolate, making sure to scrap any excess off. Decorate with sprinkles or mini chocolate chips (or whatever you have on hand). Let sit for a few minutes, and then I stuck mine in the freezer for 10 minutes to help the hardening process.
  7. Finish with the rest of the petits fours, and keep in the fridge.
  8. Enjoy!

— the Jilb

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Danish Sugar Cookies

March 23, 2012

These cookies are my favorite sugar cookie.

These melt in your mouth, and are so full of sugary goodness that you can’t stop at just one cookie. Trust me I’ve tried. And failed.

This recipe comes from my mom. She tends to make these for holidays. All holidays in fact. Red and pink sprinkles for Valentine’s Day. Green and red for Christmas. Pastel colors for Easter. Mom, I think there may be a problem. 😉

Luckily, we have four little kids who love these cookies, and will eat them anytime they’re made. (And, fine, the adults like them, too. Probably too much.)

These cookies are perfect for Easter (or any holiday as you know). They’re light, fall apart as soon as you take a bite, and are pretty much the best sugar cookie ever.

Danish Sugar Cookies

recipe from my mom (and from one of her cookbooks)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • colored sugar, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside.
  2. Beat your shortening and sugar together until well-blended. Add the egg and extracts. Beat again.
  3. Mix in your flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Mix until well-blended.
  4. Roll dough into balls, flatten in the colored sugar, and put on your baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until edges are light brown.
  5. Let cool on baking sheet for a minute or two, and then move to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. Enjoy!!

— the Jilb

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Whole Wheat Rocky Road Muffins

March 21, 2012

Whole Wheat Rocky Road Muffins. If they’re whole wheat, they’re healthy, right? At least that’s what I like to tell myself.

Reinman and his family told me these muffins taste like CoCo Wheats. Seeing as how I’ve never had CoCo Wheats, I guess I’ll just have to take them at their word. 😉 All I know was that these muffins were yummy. Full of chocolate, marshmallows, and whole wheat goodness, these muffins can’t be beat.

I subbed out the all-purpose flour for whole wheat pastry flour and half the butter for applesauce. You could do all butter or oil if you wanted and stick with the all-purpose flour if that’s your thing.

Whole Wheat Rocky Road Muffins

recipe adapted from 1001 Cupcakes, Cookies, and Other Tempting Treats

Ingredients:

  • 1 & 2/3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 T baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup mini marshmallows
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 T butter, melted and cooled
  • 3 T applesauce
  • 1 cup milk

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 12-hole muffin pan with non-stick spray or line with cupcake liners.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Mix in sugar, chocolate chips, and marshmallows.
  3. In another bowl, beat eggs. Then beat in the milk, butter, and applesauce.
  4. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and add in your liquid ingredients. Stir gently until just combined. You don’t want to overmix.
  5. Spoon the batter in the muffin pan. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, and then remove to a wire rack.
  6. Enjoy!

— the Jilb

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A Little Family Visit

March 20, 2012

My dad and family visited us this weekend. The weather was unbelievably warm, 60s and 70s everyday, so we spent as much time outside as we could. It was perfect!

— the Jilb

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Mac and Cheese Bites

March 19, 2012

I’ve got a really fun recipe for you all: Mac and Cheese Bites!

They’re kind of putzy to put together, but as a fun little thing I think making these every once in awhile would be fun. 🙂

The kids gobbled them up, and really who can blame them? Tiny, cheesy, handheld bites of macaroni ? Oh, yum! So, if you’re looking for something different and fun to do for dinner, give these Mac and Cheese Bites a try. You’ll love them!

Mac and Cheese Bites

recipe from FoodandWine.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. of pasta (I used shells)
  • 3 T butter
  • 4 T flour
  • 1 & 1/2 cups of milk
  • 4 cups of cheese, shredded (I used a mix of cheddar, swiss, and mozzarella)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • non-stick spray

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a mini muffin pan with a non-stick spray, and set aside.
  2. Cook pasta until al dente. I cooked mine around 6 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  3. In the same pot you cooked your pasta, add your butter. On medium heat cook your butter until it’s melted, and then whisk in your flour. Continue whisking for 2 minutes.
  4. Whisk in your milk, and keep whisking another 5 minutes or until milk starts to boil.
  5. Add in your cheese, and mix until your cheese is melted.
  6. Take your cheese mixture off the heat, and mix in your egg yolks, and paprika.
  7. Mix in your pasta, and mix well or until everything is combined.
  8. In a small bowl, mix your breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese together.
  9. Using a tablespoon, spoon your mac and cheese into the mini muffin pan cups. Press down on the tops of the mac and cheese, and then sprinkle a little breadcrumb mixture on top of your mac and cheese.
  10. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.
  11. Let mac and cheese bites cool at least 5 minutes before taking them out of the muffin cups. Then use a spoon to carefully lift the mac and cheese bites out.
  12. Enjoy!

— the Jilb

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Triple Chocolate Truffle Cake

March 16, 2012

Today is Reinman’s birthday.

Happy Birthday, Reinman! I love you!

Birthdays mean cake in this house, or cupcakes, pie, basically anything sweet.

I asked Reinman what he wanted for his birthday and he answered, “Whatever you want. I don’t care.”

Tell that to a girl and watch out! Back when I had asked him this we were really into eating Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Truffle (now we LOVE their Sea Salt Soiree–best chocolate ever!!!)

So, I found a recipe and made a Triple Chocolate Truffle Cake. Oh. My. Goodness.

A rich, almost-fudge like cake, with a chocolate ganache poured on top, followed by a sprinkling of white chocolate and then topped with raspberries. I can die happy now.

And the kicker? This cake was sooooo easy to make! You all know how much I love an easy recipe.

The original recipe said that there would be leftover ganache. Well, I didn’t really think about that and poured the whole stinkin’ thing on my cake. Wow. I am so glad I did. There was a river of chocolate circling the cake because of this. Yum!

You know what you need to do. Make this. And soon!

Triple Chocolate Truffle Cake

recipe from Allrecipes.com

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup butter, at room temp.
  • 8 eggs, chilled
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • while chocolate baking bar, for garnish
  • raspberries, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9 by 2-inch round cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  2. In a heatproof bowl over barely boiling water melt the semi-sweet chocolate chips and butter. Stir occasionally until smooth. Let cool a little bit.
  3. While that is going on, in a large bowl add your eggs and salt. Beat with an electric mixer for about 5 minutes or until eggs have doubled in volume. Gently fold the eggs, a third at a time, into your chocolate mixture. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  4. Make a water bath for the cake by placing your cake pan in a larger pan, and fill the larger pan with hot water about half way up sides of the cake pan.
  5. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the cake edges are pulling away and the center is set.
  6. Remove the cake from the water bath, leaving it in its pan, cool on a wire rack. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  7. To remove the cake from the pan, dip the bottom of the pan in hot water. Then use a butter knife to release the edges and gently flip over onto a plate or serving dish. Don’t forget to remove the parchment paper.
  8. To make the ganache: in a small saucepan put your heavy cream. Simmer gently for a few minutes.
  9. In a small bowl add your milk chocolate chips. Then add your heavy cream and mix until chips are completely melted.
  10. When the ganache is still warm to the touch, pour over top of cake. Chill for 30 minutes, and then to garnish grate the white chocolate bar on top and add your raspberries.
  11. Enjoy!!

— the Jilb

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Is Summer Here?

March 15, 2012

Or maybe I should say Spring. We’ve been having crazy warm weather here in northern Minnesota. The day I took these pictures I think the high’s were in 50s, maybe even 60s. Crazy!

So, we’ve been taking the kids outside while we can because I’m sure we’ll get snow any day now…

Hope you all have been enjoying the weather as much as we have!
— the Jilb

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Baked Chicken Tenders

March 14, 2012

I finally found a Chicken Tender recipe that I love, the kids love, and I don’t feel a bit guilty feeding it to them.

These Chicken Tenders are coated in olive oil, and then bread crumbs and Panko Italian Style Bread Crumbs. That it’s! Easy, and, oh, so delicious!

What really gives these chicken tenders their awesome flavor is the Panko Italian Style Bread Crumbs. You need the Italian flavor (or I’m sure you could mix in your own Italian flavors if you want). It makes these so yummy, and so easy with only two steps for coating. Love it!

Baked Chicken Tenders

recipe inspired from skinnytaste

Ingredients:

  • 3 large chicken breasts, cut into strips
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Bread Crumbs
  • 1/2 cup Panko Italian Style Bread Crumbs

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Get out a baking sheet and a wire rack. Spray the wire rack with non-stick spray and put it on your baking sheet. Set aside.
  2. In one bowl, put your olive oil. In another bowl, mix your bread crumbs and Panko bread crumbs.
  3. Dip your chicken strips into your olive oil, make sure they’re coated well, and then dip into your bread crumbs. Then put on your wire rack on the baking sheet. Finish up with other chicken.
  4. Bake 10 minutes, and then flip over and cook another 6-10 minutes or until they’re fully cooked.
  5. Enjoy!
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Baby Fight Club: Silly Clothes Edition

March 13, 2012

We have funny kids.

Very funny.

They really like to fight.

As you already know.

Boy, do they make me laugh.

— the Jilb

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Berry Green Smoothie

March 12, 2012

This is our go-to smoothie. We’ve been having it for breakfast almost every morning for the past month. That’s how much we love it.

My kids love these smoothies. Seriously. The Baby screams for it once she sees it. If I don’t give her a smoothie…well, you don’t want to know what happens.

This smoothie is so, so, soooo healthy for you and SO good. Berries, milk, yogurt, spinach (which you can’t taste at all!), flaxseed, banana… This can’t get any better! So, you need to make this. And soon!

Berry Green Smoothie

recipe from somewhere, but I can’t remember where. Oops…

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup frozen berries
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 tsp flaxseed, optional

Directions:

  1. Throw your berries in the bottom of your blender, then add the rest of your ingredients. Blend away until you reach the desired consistency.
  2. This recipe makes enough for 2 adults, and a little bit extra that I split between the kids.
  3. Enjoy!

— the Jilb

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Mini Corn Dog Muffins

March 9, 2012

These Mini Corn Dog Muffins are so perfect if you have kids (and let’s be honest here, even if you don’t!).

They’re pretty healthy, very dippable, and they really do taste like a corn dog, minus the stick.

My kids ate these up like they were hot cakes, except the Baby. She took the hot dog out of each muffin and whined until I gave her another one. Silly baby.

Mini Corn Dog Muffins

recipe adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 8-10 hot dogs, cut into 1″ pieces

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a mini muffin pan with non-stick spray and set aside.
  2. Whisk butter and applesauce in a medium-sized bowl. Add eggs and whisk some more. Then add buttermilk and you guessed it, whisk some more!
  3. In another bowl, mix your baking soda, cornmeal, flours, and salt until well-blended. Add flour mixture to milk mixture in 2 batches.
  4. Spoon 1 Tablespoon of batter into each mini muffin cups. Press in one hot dog piece into each cup.
  5. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until muffins are golden brown. Cool in muffin tins 5 minutes before removing.
  6. Store leftovers in refrigerator, and reheat for 10-20 seconds before eating.
  7. Enjoy!

— the Jilb

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A Boy and His Hat

March 8, 2012

The Bear loves hats.

But he doesn’t like getting his picture taken.

And once he notices you taking his picture, he won’t be happy.

He’ll take his hat off in disgust. (And he’ll get what we like to call his “turd face.”)

Then he’ll relax because, you know, the Bear needs his nap.

— the Jilb

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Buffalo Chicken Dip

March 7, 2012

I LOVE this Buffalo Chicken Dip! It’s so easy to put together, and tastes so, sooooo yummy. I would like it again right now. Yum!

I made this for the Super Bowl, and it was a huge hit so I had to make it again. Really I only needed the tiniest excuse to have people over, and then I get to make this. So, I made it for the Oscars. Lovely.

You need to make this soon. And you don’t need to invite people over if you don’t want to. If you want/need to eat the whole pan, I understand. Seriously though, make this. And make it soon!

Buffalo Chicken Dip

recipe from Healthy and Sane

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
  • 2 (8 oz) pkgs of neufchatel cream cheese
  • 1 cup light sour cream
  • 3/4 cup buffalo hot sauce
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 & 1/2 cups shredded cheese (I used mozzarella and cheddar), divided
  • tortilla chips, pita chips, baby carrots, or whatever you desire for dipping

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×5 loaf pan (I used a glass baking dish this time, but have used the loaf pan before) with non-stick spray.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat your cream cheese, sour cream, hot sauce, and garlic powder until mixed.
  3. Using a wooden spoon, mix in your chicken and 1 cup of shredded cheese.
  4. Pour your chicken dip into your baking pan and top with remaining cheese.
  5. Bake 15 minutes. Broil for another couple of minutes or until your cheese is golden brown and bubbly.
  6. Enjoy!

— the Jilb

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Waterpark Weekend

March 6, 2012

We spent this past weekend at The Edge Resort and Waterpark in Duluth. Despite the kids getting sick, and a few other snafus, we had a great time hanging with the kids, each other, and family. 🙂

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The Baby hanging with Daddy. She's always so smiley!

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The Princess watching TV and getting comfy after a long day of swimming.

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The Princess going across the ropes with a little help from the Grandparents.

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Oh, the Joker. She LOVED these slides.

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We got a little free time, so we played water hoops. Haha

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Go Reinman! Hehe.

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All the Bear could talk about all weekend was playing basketball. He makes his daddy proud. 🙂

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Us and the kiddies. We're so blessed! 🙂

— the Jilb

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Compost Cookies

March 5, 2012

I know “compost” is a weird name for a cookie. Don’t be fooled. These cookies are to-die for. Chocolate chips. Crackers. Coffee. Oatmeal. Oh. My. You need to make these now!

The first time I heard about these cookies was while watching Regis and Kelly. Regis was gone for the day, and Anderson Cooper was filling in. He talked about this place in New York called Momofuku Milk Bar, and there they had his favorite cookie, the Compost Cookie. Well, I forgot about this until a few weeks ago when I stumbled across this recipe for the Compost Cookie. I was hooked.

I thought about these cookies for two days straight and finally gave in. I used milk chocolate chips, but I think next time I’ll try them with white chocolate chips since that’s what’s recommended. I used crushed up crackers for the salty portion, and I think next time I’ll add in some crushed up pretzels also.

If you make these, you will not be disappointed. I know I wasn’t. I can’t wait to make them again!

Compost Cookies

recipe from Whisked

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, at room temp.
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 T brown sugar
  • 1/2 T corn syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup and 2 T all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup baking chips (white chocolate chips, semi-sweet, milk, butterscotch…whatever you want)
  • 1/4 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup crushed snack foods (pretzels, crackers, chips…)
  • 1 and 1/2 T coffee granules

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, cream butter, sugars, and corn syrup on medium high speed for 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  2. Add egg and vanilla and mix again on medium high speed for 10 minutes (I did about 7 minutes.).
  3. Add your flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and mix for about a minute or until your dough forms. Be careful not to over mix.
  4. Add in your baking chips, oats, and coffee granules. Mix briefly.
  5. Add in your crushed snack foods and barely mix. You want your dough to stay chunky and you don’t want to break up your salty snacks too much.
  6. Get out a baking sheet and line with parchment paper. Using an ice cream scoop, make your dough into balls, and set on lined baking sheet.
  7. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour.
  8. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  9. Arrange cookies so they have room to spread (I baked 6 cookies at a time) and bake 8-10 minutes or until the edges are brown. (I baked mine for 10 minutes and that was perfect.)
  10. Let cool a few minutes on baking sheet and then move to a wire rack to cool completely.
  11. I got 11 cookies, but probably would have gotten an even dozen if I wouldn’t have eaten any dough. Hehe.
  12. Enjoy!

— the Jilb

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Strawberry Salsa & Cinnamon Chips

March 2, 2012

Boy, do I have a treat for you. Strawberry salsa. This snack, dessert, or whatever you want to call it is SO good. And it’s good for you!

Another family favorite, this salsa is perfect for summer. I know it’s not summer yet, but we just got hit with a bunch of snow last week, and I really needed something that reminded me of summer. So, strawberry salsa it is!

Also this is the perfect party food. Really. You cut up all your fruit, add a little honey, and let it sit in the fridge for awhile to marry, and then you make your cinnamon chips, and you are good to go!

Make this and you won’t regret it. Ever. And everybody will thank you!

Strawberry Salsa and Cinnamon Chips

recipe from BeckyMom, who I believe got it from Sparkpeople

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb strawberries, chopped
  • 1 kiwi, cut up
  • 2 apples, peeled and chopped
  • zest of one orange
  • 2 T honey
  • wheat or white tortillas
  • non-stick spray
  • cinnamon (and sugar if you want)

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, mix all your fruit and orange zest. Mix in your honey and then refrigerate for at least an hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line tortillas on a baking sheet. Spray with non-stick spray and then sprinkle cinnamon (and sugar if wanted) on top of tortillas. Cut tortillas into triangles and bake for 8-10 minutes until crispy.
  3. Enjoy!!

— the Jilb

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Healthy Raspberry Yogurt Muffins

February 29, 2012

I am so excited to share this recipe with all of you! For weeks I’ve been on the hunt for a really good, sugar free muffin recipe and could not find anything. I tried a pumpkin recipe, banana nut, blueberry, and apple cinnamon (all of these were okay). All those recipes lacked something, though I’m not sure what. Well, I finally found something I love and so does Reinman! Raspberry Yogurt Muffins! Yum.

I replaced the sugar with honey, the sour cream with Greek yogurt (my new best friend), and did half white, half whole wheat pastry flour (although you could use all white flour if you want).

When I first made these muffins, I used fresh blackberries. This time around I used frozen raspberries. The tartness of the raspberries mixed with the Greek yogurt is a wonderful thing. Plus, I love using frozen fruit. It’s so easy! The Blackberry Muffins were very tasty though, and you can really use whatever berry you want, frozen or fresh.

Blackberry Muffins, anybody?

We love these muffins. If you give them a try, I bet you’ll love them as much as we do. In fact, you’ll probably do what I did and eat like 7 of them. Seriously. (Although they were mini muffins… hehe).

Healthy Raspberry Yogurt Muffins

recipe inspired by The Curvy Carrot

Ingredients:

Muffins:

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 T butter, at room temp
  • 1/4 cup honey (or 1/2 cup sugar)
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup berries (fresh or frozen, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries…whatever your heart desires!)

Crumb topping:

  • 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/8 cup honey (or 1/4 cup sugar)
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 T butter, cubed

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line your muffin pan with paper liners or spray with non-stick spray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk your flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat your butter, honey, and almond extract on medium speed for a couple of minutes, or until light and fluffy.
  4. Add egg, and beat again.
  5. Add in half your Greek yogurt and beat until creamy.
  6. Using a spatula, mix in half your dry ingredients with the wet ones.
  7. Then add the remaining yogurt.
  8. Then add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix until everything is incorporated.
  9. Add in your berries being careful not too mix too much. You don’t want to break up your berries.
  10. Divide batter among muffin cups. If you use the mini muffin pan you’ll get about 24 mini muffins. If you use the regular size muffin pan, you’ll get 6-8 muffins.
  11. In a small bowl, mix your crumb topping together. You’ll get almost a paste, which is fine. Then crumble it on top of the muffins.
  12. Bake for about 17 minutes for mini muffins, and 25-30 minutes for normal size muffins, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  13. Enjoy!

— the Jilb

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Not Such a Baby Anymore

February 28, 2012

I mean, look at her!

When there’s something on TV she loves, she will not look away for anything.

Such a pretty girl.

— the Jilb

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No-Bake Energy Bites

February 27, 2012

I stumbled across this awesome recipe a few weeks ago that I thought I would share. These little energy bites are so awesome, and they are healthy so eating one or two or three leaves me feeling not too guilty.

The really nice thing about these energy bites? They are so versatile you can put whatever you want in them. Next time I make these I plan on adding some mini chocolate chips. Yum!

No-Bake Energy Bites

recipe slightly adapted from Smashed Peas and Carrots

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed or wheat bran
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 T cocoa powder

Directions:

  1. Mix everything in a large bowl until well-combined. Refrigerate for a half hour. Once chilled, roll into balls!
  2. Keep in an airtight container up to a week in the refrigerator.
  3. Enjoy!

— the Jilb

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Chicken, Apple, and Walnut Salad

February 24, 2012

Reinman and I have been on a bit of a health binge lately, and it’s been going pretty well. Hence the lack of sweet recipes, and the arrival of more healthy recipes than what is typically seen on Reini Days.

This salad is my new favorite go-to salad. The tartness of the apples mixed with the chicken, lime juice, and cilantro is pretty much out of this world. Especially for a salad.

Add in a lite mayo dressing and you really have yourself something here. If you want something light for lunch, or dinner, this is perfect. And our kids loved it too, which is always a huge plus in this house.

Chicken, Apple, and Walnut Salad

recipe slightly adapted from Allyou.com

Ingredients:

  • 3 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (or you can even do a rotisserie chicken)
  • 3 medium Granny Smith apples, cored, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 2 T. fresh lime juice
  • 2 T. red onion, finely chopped (I omitted this just because I don’t like onion)
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 2 T. finely chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • salt, to taste
  • 8 cups mixed salad greens
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped

Directions:

  1. Toss apples with 1 tablespoon lime juice in a large bowl. Add chicken and red onion.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together mayo, cilantro, red pepper, 1/2 tsp. salt, and remaining 1 tablespoon lime juice. Stir dressing into chicken mixture to coat. Season with salt.
  3. Throw salad greens in a large bowl and toss with chicken salad. Top with walnuts.
  4. Enjoy!

— the Jilb

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Artists

February 23, 2012

A couple months ago the Princess was given a really cute butterfly pen. Now, the Princess is really good at coloring. The Bear and the Joker? Not so much.

Okay, they are good at coloring, especially when it comes to coloring on the table. Somehow ink always ends up off the coloring books and onto our table. It’s really hard for me to get upset though because they LOVE to color.

So, what’s a mom to do? Take away the pens?

“Never!” As the Joker would say. It’s a good thing ink comes off of our table pretty easily because I really can’t resist these faces.

— the Jilb

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Cranberry Bliss Cookies

February 22, 2012

These cookies taste just like those Cranberry Bliss bars you can get at Starbucks. Exactly.

I found this recipe when I was searching for something to make with all these oranges I had sitting around. I found a Cranberry Orange Cookie, tweaked it to add some other ingredients I had, and ended up with these yummy cookies.

In these cookies are craisins, white chocolate chips, orange zest, and freshly squeezed orange juice. You can’t go wrong with any of those ingredients!

Cranberry Bliss Cookies

recipe inspired from Allrecipes.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 orange, zested
  • juice of one orange, about 2 T
  • 2 & 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup craisins or cranberries
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Icing:

  • 1 & 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp grated orange zest
  • juice of one orange, about 2 T

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, cream together your sugars and butter. Beat in the egg until well-combined. Mix in the 2 T orange juice, and zest of one orange.
  2. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Stir into the orange mixture. Mix in your craisins and white chocolate chips.
  3. Refrigerate dough for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  5. On a lined baking sheet, drop dough by tablespoonfuls. Press down on tops of dough a little bit.
  6. Bake 12-14 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.
  7. Remove from cookie sheets to wire racks until cooled completely.
  8. In a small bowl, mix your powdered sugar, zest, and orange juice until smooth. Drizzle over the top of cooled cookies. Let stand until set.
  9. Enjoy!

— the Jilb

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The Puzzling Ethics of Chutes and Ladders

February 21, 2012

Here’s how Chutes and Ladders works (just in case you’ve been living your entire life hidden away in some place where you have not had an opportunity to play the board game Chutes and Ladders): The objective is to make it to the last space on the board, and along the way, you’re hindered by slides (“chutes”) and aided by ladders (“ladders”).

But the real point of the game is to teach you lessons.

The “lessons” part makes a lot more sense if you play Snakes and Ladders (which I used to think was a third-party knock-off of Chutes and Ladders, but — according to leading scientists and Wikipedia — Snakes and Ladders was played in ancient India, a period that, in my opinion, predates 1943 America).

Snakes makes more sense than chutes because climbing a ladder will always be kind of a drag, but it’s a whole lot better than being gobbled up and pooped out by a giant, neon-blue python.

Chutes and Ladders, on the other hand, sends mixed messages. This is evident while playing with The Princess, who, like most four-year-olds, is a world-class cheater. She moves to whatever space she desires, regardless of what the spinner says.

This, I can handle. But the problem is, she “cheats” by landing on as many chutes as possible because going down slides is fun.

THE PRINCESS (spinning the spinner): Three!

She zig-zags her pawn two rows down and four spaces over so she can land on top of the longest slide on the board.

ME: No, no, you have to go up. Don’t you want to go up so you can win the game?

THE PRINCESS: Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

The problem is further complicated by the final space, which, in Chutes and Ladders, isn’t all that enticing. In the original, Indian version of Snakes and Ladders, the final space (“100”) represents Moksha — eternal union with God or the highest perfection of existence.

In Chutes and Ladders, the final space is a blue ribbon that says “winner.”

The next best thing to the highest perfection of existence

But, more than anything, it is the lessons themselves that makes the ethics of Chutes and Ladders so confusing.

In Snakes and Ladders, each ladder represents a different virtue (Faith, Generosity, Knowledge, etc.), and each snake represents a different vice (Theft, Lying, Murder, etc.). This leaves little room for ambiguity. (Murder is bad. Go back 30 spaces.)

There are no such labels, however, in Chutes and Ladders. Rather, the lessons are graphically depicted — each chute or ladder a two-act morality play. For instance, one chute begins with a boy who is reading a comic book instead of doing his homework. At the bottom of the slide is his punishment — he is forced to sit through a mind-numbingly boring birthday party.

Only a dunce would go to such a lame party

Not every chute or ladder, though, is this clear-cut. Indeed, in most cases, there seems to be no rhyme or reason regarding the degree of consequnces or even whether or act should be considered a virtue or a vice.

For instance, one chute shows a girl eating a box of chocolates and becoming sick. So sweets are bad for you. It goes against everything this blog stands for, but fair enough — I can see where they’re coming from. But then, what’s the reward at the top of two separate ladders? A heaping vanilla/chocolate/strawberry ice cream sundae and an entire freaking cake. WTF, 1979 Milton Bradley Co. Version of Chutes and Ladders?

All for ME!

What follows is a breakdown of all the chutes in Chutes in Ladders (1979 ed.) from shortest to longest. One would think that the longer the chute, the more dastardly the deed, but as you’ll see, that’s far from the case.

Chutes

Act Consequence Spaces Lost
Stomping barefoot in a puddle A cold 3
Screwing around on a bike A broken arm 4
Reading comics instead of studying Wear an awesome, pointy hat 10
Coloring on a wall Wash the wall 20
Breaking a window while playing baseball Pay for the window 20
Grabbing a cat by the tail Get clawed on the arms and face 20
Skating on thin ice Death 21
Eating a box of chocolates A tummy ache 38
Putting away too many dishes at once Broken dishes 43
Sneaking into a cookie jar on a shelf Falling down and breaking the jar 63

So, according to Chutes and Ladders, breaking a cookie jar is three times worse than (literally) skating on thin ice and crashing through to a watery grave.

(What’s that — we don’t know for sure the kid drowned? Yeah, great point — you win. Okay, kids, next thaw, find the nearest lake and skate away! Strawman says it’s all right!)

I also find it curious that the two longest slides both revolve around broken dishes. Apparently, broken kitchenware is worse than a broken arm, pneumonia, and death.

I would analyze all the ladders next, but I already discussed a couple of the dubious rewards, and the rest are pretty boring (things like, if you plant flowers, then you will get flowers and if you eat food, then you will become at least as tall as a yard-stick).

It is worth commenting, though, on the longest ladder in the game (56 spaces). Those familiar with the game know that, in just about every version, the longest chute and longest ladder are positioned close together on the same rows, so that it’s possible to enter into an endless loop of climbing and falling, sometimes even in consecutive turns.

And in the 1979 version, they are linked thematically as well — namely, by when it is and isn’t okay to climb something. Compare.

Longest Chute

Spaces Lost: 63

Act: Climbing up on a four-foot shelf to sneak a cookie from a cookie jar

Consequence: Falling down and breaking the jar

Longest Ladder

Spaces Gained: 56

Act: Climbing up a thirty-foot tree to “rescue” a feral cat

Reward: Rabies

* * *

Okay, that’s all. Next up in Ranting About Specific Versions of Board Games: The castration of Gloopy and the occasionally ambiguous connection between Middle East and East Africa.

— Reinman

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Cucumber Mint Water

February 20, 2012

While I was browsing Pinterest, pictures of this Cucumber Mint Water kept popping up. It’s supposed to aid with weight loss, and all that stuff.

Well, I can’t say that I miraculously lost 5 lbs the days that I drank it, but I did find it very refreshing. Since I drank this a few weeks ago, I tend to make it for Mondays after I’ve had a bad weekend of eating too much food. It’s almost like a detox, and I pretty much love it. If you are looking for a refreshing drink, or have trouble drinking water, then I say make this Cucumber Mint Water. It’s so good. And so easy. And calorie free!

Cucumber Mint Water

recipe from all over Pinterest

Ingredients:

  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 lemon
  • 8-10 mint leaves (I used dried mint because I couldn’t find mint leaves)
  • 2 L water

Directions:

  1. In a large water pitcher add your 2 L of water. Cut up your cucumber and lemon and add that also. Then add mint. Let it sit overnight, and you’re good to go!
  2. Enjoy!

— the Jilb

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Cheddar Rosemary Scones

February 17, 2012

A savory scone. With my love of scones, I don’t know why I didn’t think of these earlier.

These are so good. I mean, so good! They’re light and buttery. There’s a hint of rosemary, and that mixed with the cheddar is to die for! Yes!

These scones are the perfect side to pretty much anything you’re having for dinner. So, go make them. Do it soon!

Cheddar Rosemary Scones

recipe slightly adapted from Eat, Live, Run

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary, finely minced
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 6 T cold butter
  • 3/4 cup milk, cream, or half and half (I used cream)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, salt, rosemary, black pepper, and baking powder together. Add the cheese and mix well. Using a grater, grate your cold butter into your flour mixture. Mix until you get coarse crumbs. Add the cream and mix until just combined.
  3. Pat dough into and 8-inch circle, and slice into 8 triangles. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until just golden brown.
  4. Enjoy!

— the Jilb

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Sick Kids and Movies

February 16, 2012

Our kids were sick for like a week, maybe even longer. I’m pretty sure we watched 2-3 movies a day, if not more.

I know, bad parenting. They all started out with colds, runny noses and the like. That’s not so bad, but then it turned to puking. (TMI. Sorry).

I could tell that they were getting antsy, wanting to burn off energy, but every time they would start running a coughing fit would ensue and then came the puking. Yuck. You would hear me yelling, “Stop running! You’re going to get sick! Sit down and watch a movie.” Never thought I would say those words.

They’re all feeling better now though. Thank God! The weather has been nice, which means days of running outside, and soon summer will be here. I can’t wait!

— the Jilb

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Baked Tortellini

February 15, 2012

This Baked Tortellini is soooooo good. It’s full of cheese, pasta, and a creamy homemade alfredo sauce. So, if you’re on a diet or watching your weight you might want to quit reading right now. Just kidding!

What I can say is that Reinman said this is the best pasta I’ve made yet. Score!

So, if you are looking for something crazy yummy, cheesy, garlicky, and that has tons of flavor this dish is for you! This would be perfect for date night, or if you’re having guests over, or if you just want some comfort food. This is comfort food at its finest.

Baked Tortellini

recipe from Turbo Chef

Ingredients:

  • 20 oz. tortellini, cheese-filled
  • Garlic Alfredo Sauce (recipe to follow)
  • 4 oz. prosciutto, minced
  • 4 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Get out a 2 quart baking dish and set aside.
  2. Boil tortellini according to package directions, and set aside. Cut the prosciutto into small pieces.
  3. Spread a 1/4 cup of alfredo sauce on bottom of baking dish.
  4. In a large bowl, mix your tortellini, prosciutto and the remaining alfredo sauce. Poor your pasta mixture into your baking dish. Top with mozzarella cheese, and bake for approximately 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Turn your broiler on, and while watching, broil for a few minutes to get your cheese a little crispy.
  5. Enjoy!

—————————————————–

Garlic Alfredo Sauce

recipe adapted from Tasty Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 4 T butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 cup milk (I used heavy cream)
  • 3 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 pinch Kosher salt

Directions:

  1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes.
  2. Add cream cheese and whisk until smooth. Slowly add in milk, whisking constantly until smooth.
  3. Stir in parmesan and pepper. Season with kosher salt, if needed.
  4. Remove from heat when desired consistency is reached.
  5. Enjoy!

— the Jilb

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

February 14, 2012

Saturday my Mom came over and spoiled the kids with some Valentine’s Day fun.

And then came the cookie decorating craziness began.

And then we made some crafts.

Hope everyone has a fabulous Valentine’s Day!

— the Jilb

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Triple Chocolate Cake Batter Cookies

February 13, 2012

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day! Yay! So, I made you some cookies. Some extra chocolate, really rich, you-better-go-get-yourself-a-glass-of-milk-or-a-cup-of-coffee cookies.

These cookies were inspired from this recipe that I found that used cake mix and pudding in their cookie recipe. Genius! What you get are soft, chocolatey cookies. They’re almost like brownies. Yum!

Triple Chocolate Cake Batter Cookies

recipe inspired by Chef in Training

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 (3.4 oz) box instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 3/4 cup dark chocolate cake mix
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 & 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, stir your flour, salt and baking soda together and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream your butter and sugars together.
  4. Add in pudding package and cake mix and beat until well blended. Add in cocoa powder and mix well.
  5. Add in your eggs and vanilla extract and mix until smooth.
  6. Add flour mixture slowly into butter mixture until well-incorporated. Add in your chocolate chips until just blended.
  7. Roll into 1 inch balls and place on lined baking sheet. Bake for about 9 minutes or until cookies are just baked through. Let rest on baking sheets for a couple of minutes and then move to wire racks.
  8. Enjoy!

— the Jilb

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Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes

February 10, 2012

I saw these cupcakes on Pinterest awhile ago, and have been waiting to make them until Valentine’s Day was closer. Since that day is almost here, I figured it was time to post this recipe.

The original recipe is on Allrecipes.com. No surprise there! A brownie box mix is used as the bottom of the cupcake and then whatever cake mix you choose goes on top. Going with our Valentine’s theme, I chose a strawberry cake mix.

This cupcake recipe was really easy to put together. A box of brownie mix, a box of cake mix, with whatever frosting you like, and there ya go! The only problem I ran into with this recipe is that on a few of my cupcakes the brownie bottom was still a tad bit gooey. I can’t complain though because it tasted awesome!

I chose my favorite frosting recipe, but made the chocolate version. Oh. My. Goodness. It’s really light, creamy and basically tastes like chocolate mousse. Yum!

A lot of the reviews I read for this cupcake recipe said they used a box of white cake mix and then a peanut butter frosting. I am definitely going to try that next!

Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes

recipe from Allrecipes.com and Our Best Bites

Ingredients:

Cupcakes:

  • 1 (19.5 oz) pkg of brownie mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 (18.25 oz) cake mix, (I chose strawberry, but any would be good!)
  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • 1 & 1/3 cup water
  • 3 egg whites

Chocolate Frosting:

  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 3 T unsweetened cocoa powder (I ended up using 2 more tablespoons at the end.)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • more cocoa powder if you want more chocolate flavor

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 (some got up to 36 cupcakes. I must like big ones!) muffin cups with paper liners.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, mix your brownie mix, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, and 1/4 cup water. Mix until it’s all incorporated.
  3. In another bowl, mix the cake mix, 2 T vegetable oil, 1 & 1/3 cup water, and 3 egg whites using an electric mixer until combined. Then mix for another 2 minutes on medium speed.
  4. Here I used an ice cream scoop, and did one scoop of brownie batter for the bottom, and one scoop of cake batter for the top. It makes about 24 cupcakes, with a little bit of cake batter left over that I made into mini strawberry cupcakes for the kids.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes or until the tops spring back when touched. I also recommend using a toothpick to make sure the brownie part is done.
  6. Enjoy!

— the Jilb

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These Twins Crack Me Up

February 9, 2012

In a good way. Really.

All day long they want to wear their outside stuff: hats, mittens, and boots.

My favorite part though? Finding the Bear with a toy knife that he turns into a gun, or a sword, or a lightsaber.

Watch out ’cause he’ll get ya!

— the Jilb

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Caramel Apple Pork Chops

February 8, 2012

Last week pork chops were on-sale, so I picked some up. I have never baked or done anything with them except have Reinman throw them on the grill during the summer. So, I was kind of at a loss at what to do with them.

My go-to when I need to find a recipe is Allrecipes.com. I love how they have all the reviews right there for you to read. With 1,300 reviews and 4 1/2 out of 5 stars, I knew this pork chop recipe would be a hit. I tweaked it a bit by following some of the reviews that I read, and yep, I was right. This recipe is a definite keeper!

We loved this recipe so much that I made it twice in a week. Reinman told me that these are really good for leftovers. I imagine the sauce the pork chops lay in overnight just make it that much sweeter, and yummier.

So, if you need something new to do with your pork chops (or even if you don’t!), I suggest you give this recipe a try. It’s to die for. And it makes your house smell wonderful! (Which is a definite plus in our house, considering all the diapers we change.)

Caramel Apple Pork Chops

recipe from Allrecipes.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 6 pork chops
  • 6 T brown sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 6 T butter
  • 4 tart apples, peeled and sliced
  • 6 T pecans (optional)

Directions:

  1. Put your pork chops in a ziploc baggy and add your apple juice and soy sauce. Put your bag of pork chops in a baking dish, so you catch any leaks. Refrigerate overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. In a large frying pan, cook your pork chops over medium-high heat for 6-7 minutes on each side. Once your pork chops are done, place them in a large baking dish or two depending on how many pork chops you have.
  4. In a small bowl, mix your brown sugar, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
  5. In the same pan you used to cook the pork chops, melt your butter over medium heat. Then add your brown sugar mixture. Then add apples and cook over low heat for 5 minutes or until apples start to get tender.
  6. Pour your caramel apple mixture over your pork chops and cover baking dish with aluminum foil. Bake for 20-25 minutes, and then take the foil off, add your pecans, and bake another 15 minutes or until done.
  7. Enjoy!

— the Jilb

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A Super Bowl Party

February 7, 2012

Even with our kids being sick, we still managed to have a great Super Bowl party. We had tons of food and Reinman made up a game to where winners got prizes during every quarter and at the end. We all got a sheet of paper with a ton of questions to answer like who was the MVP, what team won, what songs Madonna sang, and many more questions that I can’t even remember now. I was so glad for this game because I really didn’t care who won, and this game gave me a reason to watch the Super Bowl and enjoy it.

Colonol Havoc had the most right answers at the end so he got the beloved trophy and a Target gift card.

The Joker had a great time eating lots and lots of watermelon.

The Princess and the Bear spent as much time as they could on the iPads. Silly kids.

And the rest of us ate delicious, delicious food that included French Dip sliders, Chicken Buffalo Dip, Hummus and Pita Bread, various Cupcakes, Homemade Rosemary Potato Chips, and veggies.

Hope everyone else had a great Super Bowl day! 🙂

— the Jilb

 

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Strawberry Delights

February 6, 2012

What they really should be called is Chocolate Covered Cheesecake Filled Strawberries. But that is wayyyyyy too long for a name.

If you make these, you will be delighted. And so will anyone you feed them too. (That is if you want to share. If you don’t, I don’t blame you at all.)

I think these little guys would be perfect for Valentine’s Day. They’re easy to make, perfectly sweet and yummy!

We had these for dessert last week, and as soon as the Baby saw them she cried and whined until I gave her one… ahem, or three. Needless to say, I think I’ll have to make these again soon or I won’t hear the end of the whining (and boy, can that Baby whine!).

I also just wanted to say that if you do make these, make sure you make alot. They will go like hot cakes, and you’ll be left wanting more. Seriously.

Strawberry Delights (Chocolate Covered Cheesecake Filled Strawberries)

recipe inspired from The Sweets Life

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. fresh strawberries
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 2 T powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • chocolate, melted (I used white chocolate chips and milk chocolate chips)
  • sprinkles, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Wash your strawberries, cut the tops off and use a paring knife to cut out the middle. Set aside on a paper plate lined with paper towels.
  2. In a small bowl, cream your cream cheese, sugar and vanilla extract together until all mixed together. Put cream cheese mixture in a piping bag or a small ziploc bag with the corner snipped off. (In the original recipe she doubled her cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla extract. The holes in my strawberries weren’t that big, so I halved it. Do what you think is best.)
  3. Fill strawberries with cream cheese mixture.
  4. Dip the tops of your cheesecake filled strawberries in your chocolate. Set on wax paper until chocolate is set and dry. Keep in refrigerator until ready to eat.
  5. Enjoy!

— the Jilb

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New Banner

February 5, 2012

(Look up)

As loyal readers have likely noticed, the primary content of this blog has changed quite a bit over the past several months.

So, the Jilb and I figured it was about time to update the banner in order to accurately reflect what this blog is primarily about — namely, amateur Photoshopping and varying shades of blue rectangles.

— Reinman

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Football Food: Crack Bread

February 3, 2012

This recipe for Cheddar Bacon Ranch Pulls is all over Pinterest. After I found out the recipe comes from Plain Chicken, a really good food blog I found recently, I knew this would be a hit. And, of course, it was.

This bread lives up to its name. I made it for lunch and the kids could not stop eating it. And neither could I. I told myself I was only going to have a couple of pieces, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I ate a third of it. It’s really good, and you guessed it, really easy!

Make this delicious, yet simple bread for your next football party. You won’t be disappointed.

Crack Bread

recipe from Plain Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 1 unsliced loaf of sourdough bread
  • 8 oz. cheddar cheese, sliced or shredded
  • 3 oz. bag Oscar Mayer Real Bacon bits
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 T Ranch dressing mix

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside.
  2. Using a bread knife cut your bread going both ways, but make sure not to cut through the bread.
  3. Put a piece of aluminum foil on your lined baking sheet. Put bread on aluminum foil.
  4. Sprinkle bacon bits on bread, making sure to get them in between the cuts.
  5. Mix your butter and ranch mix in a small bowl. Pour ranch butter all over bread.
  6. Wrap bread in foil, and bake for 15 minutes. Take off foil, and bake for another 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.
  7. Enjoy!

— the Jilb

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Sweet and Salty Popcorn Balls

February 1, 2012

We eat a lot of popcorn in this house. It’s always our go-to snack after the kids go to bed. Most nights it’s the simple homemade popcorn using our popcorn maker with a little bit of butter and salt. I generally don’t feel bad eating a few cups of this before bed.

And then there’s those nights when I want popcorn, but I also want something sweet. And that turns into caramel corn. Or a recipe I have for Cinnabun Popcorn. Or these little Sweet and Salty Popcorn Balls.

I saw this recipe in an All You Magazine, and because of my love of popcorn knew I would make them. I just didn’t realize how addicting and yummy they would be. They’re sweet, and yet salty. The white chocolate chips I used melted slightly, and what a wonderful thing that is. The recipe also called for toffee bits, which I left out, but I bet they would be even better with them.

Sweet and Salty Popcorn Balls

recipe from All You Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 4 T. butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 7 oz. sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 10 cups popped popcorn
  • 1/2 cup salted peanuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup toffee bits
  • 1/2 cu white chocolate chips
  • coarse sea salt, optional

Directions:

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside.
  2. In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, combine your butter, sugar, and corn syrup. After butter is melted, bring to a boil, and then add condensed milk. Continue to boil for 5 minutes, continuously stirring to prevent scorching. Remove from heat and add vanilla extract.
  3. Place popcorn in a large bowl. Pour butter mixture over popcorn, stirring until coated completely. Set aside until mixture has cooled enough where you can handle it. Toss in peanuts, toffee, and chocolate chips.
  4. Spray your hands with a non-stick spray and roll popcorn into 2-inch balls. (Which is about 1/4 cup per ball.) Place balls on baking sheet, and sprinkle with salt. Let cool completely.
  5. Enjoy!
  6. Makes about 30 balls.

— the Jilb

 

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Baby Fight Club: Take 2

January 31, 2012

The kids have been at it again.

I think they’re bored.

Not that I blame them. There’s not a whole lot to do when it’s cold outside.

I suppose I should start thinking about other indoor activities besides fighting. Anyone have any ideas?

— the Jilb

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Sausage, Egg and Cheese Bake

January 30, 2012

This Sausage, Egg and Cheese Bake was a huge hit at one of our Saturday morning get togethers with Reinman’s family. Even the kids gobbled it up, and wanted more, especially the Baby.

This bake has all the flavors of a McDonald’s Sausage, Egg, and Cheese McMuffin. The best part? You can make it the night before and just pop it in the oven the next morning. No hassle. No fuss. I love it!

Sausage, Egg and Cheese Bake

recipe from Brown Eyed Baker

Ingredients:

  • 9 eggs
  • 9 slices of Italian Bread, about an inch thick, crusts removed (I used 16 slices of a presliced loaf of Italian Bread)
  • 1 lb breakfast sausage
  • 3/4 cup shredded swiss cheese
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 & 1/2 tsps. salt

Directions:

  1. Crumble and cook sausage according to package directions, and set aside.
  2. Whisk your eggs in a large bowl, and then add your bread, cheeses, milk and salt.
  3. Then add your sausage.
  4. Pour the mixture into a greased 9×13 dish. Cover and refrigerate overnight or at least 8 hours.
  5. The next morning preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Bake, uncovered for 45 minutes.
  6. Enjoy!

— the Jilb

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Football Food: Stromboli

January 27, 2012

This Stromboli is the perfect food to have at your next football game. It’s so easy to put together and it can feed an army! (Okay, maybe not an army, especially if that “army” consists of a bunch of male twenty-somethings or if you have a couple of toddlers in your house that can eat more than you do at any given meal). Let’s say this Stromboli is the perfect appetizer!

This Stromboli is full of cheesy-goodness. Just looking at that picture makes me want another slice. It also has ham and pepperoni, which happens to be a great combination!

Stromboli

recipe from Liv Life

Ingredients:

  • 1- 16 oz loaf frozen bread dough, thawed (or 1/4 of this homemade pizza dough)
  • 1/4 lb. thinly sliced ham
  • 1/4 lb. pepperoni (I used turkey pepperoni to cut the grease)
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano- divided
  • 1/2 tsp. basil- divided
  • 3 oz. sliced provolone cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 T butter, melted
  • 1 tsp. cornmeal
  • Italian seasoning

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Place bread dough on a greased or lined baking sheet. If you’re using homemade pizza dough, roll it out on the counter. Then add your ham slices down the length of your dough. Add your pepperoni on top of the ham.
  3. Put a 1/4 tsp. of oregano and 1/4 tsp. basil on top of your meats.
  4. Place your provolone cheese on top of the herbs. Then add your mozzarella cheese on top of the provolone cheese.
  5. Moisten all ends of dough with water. Bring each edge of dough to the center, starting with the long edges. You really want to secure these well or else your cheese will seep out (which really isn’t a bad thing.).
  6. Brush 1 T of melted butter on the dough, then sprinkle your cornmeal on the butter. Then you want to carefully invert your dough so the seam is face down on your cookie sheet. Brush with remaining butter, and I like to sprinkle whatever Italian seasonings I have on hand on top of the dough.
  7. Bake 20-25 minutes or until your Stromboli is golden brown.
  8. Enjoy!!

— the Jilb

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Better Than Sex Cookies (or Turtle Cookies)

January 25, 2012

You can call these cookies whatever you want, but I will tell you one thing: They are the best cookies I have ever made!

My favorite cake by far is the Better Than Sex Cake. I love it, and will eat half of a pan if I make it. So, we don’t have it very often.

Last week I got to thinking about that cake. And then I wondered if there was a cookie recipe similar to it. And there isn’t. Can you believe that?! I couldn’t believe it. Well, friends, there is now a Better Than Sex Cookie recipe. And you should all make them. And then give them away before you gain 5 lbs.

The cookie recipe I found and used is basically a Devil’s Food Cake mix with a Rolo in it. How genius is that?! And then I started to think about what type of frosting I wanted. I knew I wanted something similar to Cool Whip, but I wanted and needed an icing or frosting that would hold up on a cookie. And I found it. I tweaked it a bit by adding some sweetened condensed milk because, you know, that’s what goes in the cake. Yum!

So, you have a caramel cookie cooled and slightly warm, add your frosting, some warm caramel sauce on top of that, some toffee bits to top it off, and you have yourself some Better Than Sex Cookies. Sigh.

Better Than Sex Cookies

recipe adapted from Very Culinary and Food.com

Ingredients:

for the cookies:

  • 1 box Devil’s Food Cake Mix, sifted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • Rolos (12 oz bag)

for the frosting:

  • 1 tsp. unflavored gelatin
  • 4 tsps. cold water
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1-2 T sweetened condensed milk (I used 2 T but it depends on how sweet you want your frosting)
  • Caramel sauce (I had this one on hand or you could use store bought ice cream caramel sauce)
  • toffee bits

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix your cake mix, eggs, and vegetable oil. Your mixture will be thick, no worries. Take about a 1/2 tablespoon of your cookie dough, and form a ball around the Rolo.
  3. Place on a cookie sheet, and bake for 10 minutes. Once out of the oven press cookie down lightly. Let cool for a few minutes on your cookie sheet, and then move to a wire rack.
  4. To make the frosting: In a small sauce pan mix your gelatin and cold water; let stand until thick.
  5. Place over low heat, and constantly mix gelatin until it dissolves. Remove from heat, and allow to cool.
  6. While that is cooling, whip your cream and powdered sugar until slightly thick. Add your gelatin, and mix again. If you get clumps after you add the gelatin, mix it more and if need be throw those chunks out. (You could leave the gelatin out completely, but I’m not sure how the frosting would be without it. I have a feeling the frosting wouldn’t be as firm.)
  7. Add your sweetened condensed milk to the whip cream mixture. Whip at high speed until you get stiff peaks.
  8. Warm up your caramel sauce, and after the cookies are cooled, top them with frosting, then caramel sauce, and finally with toffee bits.
  9. Enjoy! And try not to die of happiness.

— the Jilb

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America’s Next Top Baby!

January 24, 2012

Okay. She’s not really a baby anymore, even though she sometimes acts like it.

It’s nice to know she’s not always like this:

But can be like this:

And this:

She’s so cute!

— the Jilb

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Mini Donut Muffins

January 23, 2012

Update: Since we’ve been trying to eat healthier I’ve made a few tweaks to this recipe. I’ll leave the original recipe as it is, and put the healthy ingredients in bold next to the original ones. And I must say that we’ve really enjoyed the healthified muffins more than the original sugary ones. Happy eating!

This Mini Donut Muffin recipe is a family favorite in our house. I make it at least twice a week, if not more.

It’s buttery, sugary, with a touch of cinnamon and nutmeg. Trust me when I say that you must make these soon (I know I say that about a lot of recipes). They go perfect with a cup of coffee. And you get the mini donut taste without having to deep fry anything. I love that!

Mini Donut Muffins

recipe from Allrecipes.com

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup white sugar ( 1/4 cup sugar or you could probably do honey although I haven’t tried it)
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted (2 T melted butter and 2 T natural applesauce)
  • 3/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (1 cup whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a mini-muffin pan. I usually get 18 muffins from this recipe, so that’s how many I grease.
  2. Mix 1/2 cup sugar, butter, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Stir in the milk, then add in your baking powder and flour. Fill the prepared muffin pan cups about half full.
  3. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown (I do mine for 15 minutes).
  4. After the muffins are done baking, place your butter in one bowl, and mix your 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon in another bowl. Dip your muffins in the butter and then roll in the cinnamon and sugar. I usually only dip and roll the tops in the cinnamon and sugar or else it gets too sweet. If you want to roll the whole muffin, go right ahead. I’ve done that a few times, and it is delicious!
  5. Enjoy!

— the Jilb

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Football Food: Buffalo Chicken Bites

January 20, 2012

I’ve never really been into spicy foods. I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that I’ve been constantly (okay, maybe not constantly, but pretty close!) pregnant for the last 4 years, and was always afraid that spicy foods would bug the baby. With one bite of a buffalo chicken wing, all that changed.

BeckyMom brought over her super yummy Buffalo Chicken Wings for our New Years Eve party. I ate one and decided it was still too spicy. After everyone left the party, I realized there was still a ton of wings, so I ate one. Then two. Three. You get the picture. I ate them all except three that I left for Reinman. I was hooked.

So, I’ve been on the hunt for Buffalo recipes. I found these. And they are awesome! They are a little bit of work, but as soon as I ate one I was in love. Any annoyances with these were soon forgotten. So, go. Make them. Everyone will love you for it. Guaranteed.

Buffalo Chicken Bites

recipe from Pennies on a Platter

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups chicken, cooked and shredded
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup hot sauce (I did 1/2 cup, but you can do more or less if you want!)
  • 3 & 1/2 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 & 3/4 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup green onions, sliced (I left these out)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 3-4 cups corn flakes cereal, crushed

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix your chicken, cream cheese and hot sauce until combined. Add in your cheddar cheese and onions.
  3. Using an ice cream scoop, spoon out the chicken mixture and roll into balls (I used my hands to get them to stay together really well.) Place on a separate baking sheet until ready to dip.
  4. In three separate bowls, set out your flour, eggs, and corn flakes. Dip each chicken ball into the flour, then the egg, and then the corn flakes. Place on lined baking sheet and bake 20-25 minutes.
  5. Serve warm with ranch or blue cheese dressing.
  6. Enjoy!
  7. Note: I haven’t tried it, but you can freeze these. Put your dipped chicken balls (not cooked) on your lined baking sheet and flash freeze for 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a freezer bag and leave in freezer until ready to use. To bake, place the frozen chicken balls back on a lined baking sheet, and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

— the Jilb

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Daily Adventures with a Baby

January 19, 2012

This Baby of ours loves life. What she really loves in sitting on her big brother’s potty chair. At least this time she wasn’t trying to help us empty it.

And she also loves to stick things in her mouth.

Lately, her favorite game has been to go in our hutch and take all our food out.

If the doors won’t open (which rarely happens!), she is not a happy girl.

But, oh, the joy when she gets it open!

— the Jilb

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No Bake Reese’s Bars

January 18, 2012

Are you ready for a winner?! These No Bake Reese’s Bars are awesome! And really, really easy to make. (Have you noticed that I’m all about easy on this blog?)

I got this recipe from my friend, Mel, and she got them from her mom. Mel brought these bars to our book club meeting once, and I literally ate like 5. Ugh. They are so, so good! If you have a problem with self-control, you might not want to make these.

No Bake Reese’s Bars

recipe adapted from Mel’s mom

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter, at room temp.
  • 1 & 1/2 cups peanut butter
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 cups graham crackers, crushed
  • 1 & 1/2 cups chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet)

Directions:

  1. Grease a 9×13 pan, and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream your butter and peanut butter. Mix in your powdered sugar. Then add in your graham crackers.
  3. Pat this mixture into your greased pan.
  4. Melt your chocolate chips, and spread across the top of your peanut butter bar mixture. Refrigerate at least one hour to set chocolate.
  5. These bars should be left in the fridge until you’re ready to eat them.
  6. Enjoy!

— the Jilb

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Masking Tape Race Track

January 17, 2012

I saw this on Krazy Coupon Lady, and knew that I needed to do it for my kids.

So, I did.

The kids get so bored, and so riled up being stuck in the house, so anything to keep them happy and content is a must.

Please ignore my dirty carpet. Haha.

Their favorite part, I think, was pulling the tape off the carpet when they were done. Makes for an easy clean-up!

— the Jilb

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Cilantro Lime Rice

January 16, 2012

This is a recipe that we use almost on a weekly basis. It’s that good.

It tastes pretty close to the rice that Chipotle uses. Like really close. It has hints of cilantro (my favorite!), and lime. And is pretty much wonderful. The next time you have fajitas (or any Mexican dish) make this rice, and you will not be disappointed!

Cilantro Lime Rice

recipe from Skinnytaste

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup extra long grain rice
  • 1/2 lime, juice of
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 T fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 3 tsp. vegetable oil

Directions:

  1. In a small saucepan, add your rice, water, salt, and 1 tsp. oil. Boil on high until most of the water evaporates. When the water just skims the top of the rice, reduce heat to low, cover for about 15 minutes.
  2. After the 15 minutes, shut off flame, keep the cover on, and let sit another 5 minutes.
  3. In a serving bowl, put your cilantro, lime juice, and the rest of your vegetable oil. Add your rice and toss until completely mixed.
  4. Enjoy!

— the Jilb

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Football Food: Tebow Cupcakes!

January 13, 2012

I am so excited to bring this recipe to you guys! I had so, so much fun making these, and I bet you will too! I present to you, my friends: Tebow Cupcakes!

We love Tim Tebow in this house. After the Broncos crazy win last Saturday I immediately started to think about what kind of food I could make for tomorrow’s game, and these babies were born!

I used this cupcake and frosting recipe for the Baby’s birthday back in November, but tweaked the colors a bit to suit my fancy. And, really, you could use any colors you like: green and yellow, purple and gold, or whatever you want. This cupcake recipe is super easy. You start with a cake mix and add a few things to it, bake it like normal, and you’re done. The frosting recipe is also pretty easy.

Tebow Cupcakes

recipe from Our Best Bites

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 1 white cake mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream (or yogurt)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/3 vegetable oil

For the frosting:

  • 6 T flour
  • 1 cup milk (whole milk is best, but non-fat is okay, too)
  • 1 cup real butter
  • 1 cup sugar (granulated, not powdered)
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

For the cupcake:

  1. Mix your cake mix, eggs, sour cream, milk, and vegetable oil in a large bowl. Beat for 1-2 minutes on medium-high speed.
  2. Divide your batter into how many colors you want. I used two colors so it was quite easy. When I made the Baby’s birthday cake, I did four colors, and it ended up to be about a cup and a half of batter in each bowl.
  3. Add food coloring to batter to get your desired color.
  4. If you want the layered stripes like I have you just put a spoonful of each batter into each cupcake tin. The batter is thick, so you’ll have to spread it on your own. I put out a bowl of water and dip my finger into the water and then spread the batter around that way. It won’t stick to your finger, and you’ll get a nice, layered look.
  5. Bake your cupcakes according to box directions. Then let them cool.

For the frosting:

  1. Whisk your flour and milk together in a medium-sized sauce pan on medium heat. Whisk constantly until your flour mixture starts to thicken. Once your flour mixture is almost like a paste it’s done.
  2. Next, using a mesh strainer and a spatula push the flour paste into a bowl to get all the lumps out. Then put this in the fridge until it’s cool.
  3. Then beat your sugar and butter together for a minute until well-combined. Then add your flour mixture and vanilla extract and beat on medium-high for 7-8 minutes until you have a beautiful, fluffy frosting! If you eat a little bit, I promise not to tell.

To decorate the cupcakes:

  1. I took half of the frosting and separated it into two bowls, and added my food coloring. So, you’ll have three bowls of frosting: your white, and your two colors.
  2. To get the swirly effect I added half of the white frosting to one side of a pastry bag fitted with a tip. Then I filled the other side of the pastry bag with one of my colors. I piped a test streak to make sure I got the swirled colors, and there ya go! And once I was done with those colors, I repeated with the other ones.
  3. Enjoy!

— the Jilb

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Look and Feel

January 12, 2012

Last week, I could feel a zit forming on my nose. I couldn’t yet see it, but I knew it was there because it hurt like a madman. (Like a madman who was punching me in the nose.)

So, I tried to nip the problem in the butt, as they say. I squeezed the crap out of that zit. Actually, I wish I had, in fact, squeezed the crap out of that zit. Instead, what happened is I squeezed and squeezed and nothing happened.

With the bridge of my nose still throbbing, I took drastic measures and began digging at that nasty, invisible little zit with my fingernails until I was certain that it had been excavated.

Also, if you don’t like reading about gross things, you should probably skip the preceding paragraphs.

Unearthing the zit, of course, left a sizable scab on my nose. It didn’t hurt, but for a few days, I looked like a rather well-known, red-nosed creature.

Anyway, the whole ordeal left me reflecting on the fact that I often will trade appearances for comfort. In other words, I was willing to walk around with a clown-nose for a few days (poor appearance) if it meant relief from the newly forming zit that hurt slightly if I poked at it in just the right place (comfort).

It’s the same reason I never wear “skinny” jeans, and why “sweat” is my favorite variety of pant (provided sweatpants are even remotely socially acceptable, given the occasion — taking out the garbage, midnight runs to Walmart, my sister’s wedding, etc.).

It’s why I wear glasses instead of contacts. I’d rather look like a dork in glasses than have to regularly endure the uncomfortable sensation of touching my own eyeball. Also, shut up — my mom says glasses are cool.

Some would say this is why I wore Velcro shoes during my freshman year of college. But I didn’t wear Velcro shoes because they were any more comfortable than shoes with laces — I wore them because they were so incredibly cool. Like glasses.

I blame this — my preference for comfort over appearance — for why I didn’t exactly kill it with the ladies in high school. (Also this, this, and this.)

One exception, though, does come to the top of my head — mostly, because I wear it on the top of my head. I put on a thin, silver and black stocking cap when I play football in the winter. I have other hats that are warmer and/or more comfortable, but I wear this particular hat because it matches my silver and black Randy Moss Oakland Raiders jersey (which, according to jersey-experts, is the fifth-most popular Moss jersey ever sold).

Why do I make this one exception? It’s because if there’s one thing I know about guys who play football, it’s that they would mercilessly ridicule me if my costume were not perfectly color-coordinated from head to toe.

Uniform. I meant to say uniform.

Or, my special playtime outfit.

— Reinman

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Chicken Pesto Pizza

January 11, 2012

This pizza can be super easy (read store bought items), or a little complicated, but worth the extra effort.

You pick.

Either way you can’t lose.

I’ve included at the end of this post the homemade pizza crust that I make on a weekly basis because it’s that awesome, and the homemade pizza sauce that I make on a weekly basis because, once again, it’s that awesome. And they are so easy to make. You really should try it.

I saw this pizza recipe from Plain Chicken (another food site that I love, by the way!), and seeing how easy it was, it had to go on my to-make food list (which is getting longer, and longer, and longer. I don’t think I’ll have a problem with blogging about food. Ever.). I tweaked the recipe a bit, using my homemade stuff and was very pleased. So, was Reinman. This will definitely become a staple in our house.

Chicken Pesto Pizza

recipe adapted from Plain Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 1 premade store bought pizza crust (like Boboli) or homemade pizza crust (1/4 of the recipe at the end of this post)
  • 4 frozen chicken breasts
  • 4 oz. store bought prepared pesto
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce (recipe at the end of this post)
  • 1 & 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

Directions:

  1. Throw your frozen chicken breasts and pesto in a crockpot with the setting on low for 6-8 hours or until chicken is completely cooked. (Or you could buy already cooked chicken and mix it with your pesto. I found, though, that leaving my chicken on low in the crock pot all day with the pesto sauce really made the chicken tender and oh, so tasty.)
  2. If you have store bought ingredients you can preheat your oven to 450 degrees now. If not, make sure you make your pizza crust a day ahead and chill it in the fridge.
  3. Put your store bought dough or homemade dough on a pizza pan, or a pizza stone if you happen to have one. If you’re using the homemade dough, you’ll have to use some extra flour and roll that baby out to the size of your pan or about 12 inches. Spread your sauce on top of dough. Add your mozzarella cheese and then top with chicken. Bake for approximately 15 minutes, or until cheese is golden brown.
  4. I should add also that I ended up having extra chicken leftover after I made this pizza but didn’t mind. If you don’t want any leftover chicken, you can half it. 🙂
  5. Enjoy!

——————————————————————–

Homemade Olive Oil Pizza Dough

recipe from My Baking Addiction

Ingredients:

  • 2 & 3/4 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 & 1/2 T granulated yeast (2 packages)
  • 1 & 1/2 T Kosher salt
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, using a wooden spoon, mix your yeast, salt, sugar, and oil with the water.
  2. Next mix in the flour without kneading. Right now is where a stand mixer comes in handy, but if you don’t have one you can wet your hands in order to incorporate all the flour into the rest of the mix.
  3. Transfer dough to a large bowl or lidded food container. Cover (not airtight), and allow to rest at room temp until dough rises and collapses, about 2 hours.
  4. You can use the dough immediately or store in the fridge for up to 12 days. I find that the dough is easier to use if it’s chilled.
  5. This recipe makes 4-1 lb loafs (or 4- 12 inch pizzas)
  6. Enjoy!

——————————————————————

homemade pizza sauce

Homemade Pizza Sauce

recipe from Handle the Heat

Ingredients:

  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. fennel seed (I leave this out, only because we don’t have it)
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper (I also leave this out. See above reason)
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp. sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pizza
  • 1/8 tsp. all spice

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  2. This pizza sauce will make your kitchen smell AWESOME!
  3. For me, this sauce is enough for 2 pizzas, so adjust accordingly.
  4. Enjoy!

— the Jilb

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The Two That Love Each Other

January 10, 2012

(Not that the kids don’t all love one another, but these two seem to really enjoy spending time together).

The Bear and the Princess love to play together.

When one has sunglasses, the other must too.

They are so cool. And too silly.

Especially the Bear. As soon as I try to pull his shirt down, he has to pull it up, and laugh, and laugh, and laugh.

And then the hugging starts.

I love watching them play together. It makes my heart happy. 🙂

I hope everyone has a fabulous day!

— the Jilb

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Brown Butter and Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies

January 9, 2012

I’ve been meaning to try this recipe for awhile now. It has brown butter. Sea salt. Chocolate chips. Seriously, I could not resist!

This recipe has a few steps, but I didn’t mind. You make the dough, and then put it in the fridge for an hour. Then you make the dough into balls, and fridge it again for at least 2 hours. I like recipes where I can do a step, and then leave it for awhile. The kids are usually running around and crazy, so it’s nice not to be stuck in the kitchen all day long.

So, if you want something kind of different (brown butter and sea salt anyone!), give these a try. They are super good. The sea salt brings out all the cookie flavor. And you can never, I mean never, go wrong with brown butter. It’s probably the best thing out there. Really.

Brown Butter and Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies

recipe from Kelly Neil

Ingredients:

  • 1 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cake flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup minus 2 T white sugar
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed tight (I only had light brown sugar, so that’s what I used)
  • 3 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 pkg (225 g) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup nuts or toffee bits (optional, and I didn’t use either)
  • sea salt, for sprinkling

Directions:

  1. Place butter in a pan, and melt on low until browned. This will take about 10-15 minutes. Your butter will foam and bubble. It’ll get that nutty smell, and have some dark spots in it when it’s done. Take the butter off the heat, and let cool completely, about 20 minutes.
  2. While the butter is cooling, whisk your flours, baking soda, baking powder, and kosher salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
  3. Put your sugars and vanilla in another bowl. Add cooled butter, and beat using a stand mixer or a hand mixer for 2 minutes.
  4. Add one egg at a time, and beat for a minute after each egg.
  5. On low speed, gradually add flour mixture to your butter mixture until mixed well. Make sure to scrap down the sides. Once all the flour is mixed in, beat on medium speed for another minute.
  6. Add your chocolate chips, and mix them in by hand.
  7. Put your mixing bowl in the fridge for an hour to firm up the dough.
  8. Roll the dough into balls a little smaller than a golf ball, and then put the balls back into the fridge to chill for at least 2 more hours.
  9. When the balls are chilled, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, and when the oven is ready, take 12 chilled balls out of the fridge and space them out on the cookie sheet. Sprinkle them liberally with sea salt and bake for 11-12 minutes. Cool them on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes, and then move them to a wire rack.
  10. Enjoy!!

— the Jilb

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Football Food: Ham and Cheese Sliders

January 6, 2012

I’ve decided to dedicate Friday posts to Football Food until the Super Bowl. So, for the next 4 Fridays I’ll have football friendly food for you all. The first up: Ham and Cheese Sliders!

I found these babies over at Annie’s Eats. The same food blog that I got my Turkey Pesto Sliders from. Annie’s got a ton of fun and yummy food over at her site. I highly suggest you check her out.

I made a few changes to her recipe. I couldn’t find sliders buns, so I just used regular buns from the deli section. Our grocery stores typically have slider buns during the summer, so I’ll be making them again once it starts to get warm out! I’ve made these sandwiches twice: once using deli ham, and the second time using real ham. They both taste excellent but I think I prefer the deli ham a little bit more. What’s pictured today is the real ham.

Anyways, I think these little guys would be perfect for the Super Bowl or for any football game. They’re easy to assemble, you can make them ahead of time, they make a ton, and they are SO good! Seriously, this is probably the best sandwich I’ve made ever. It’s true.

Ham and Cheese Sliders

recipe from Annie’s Eats

Ingredients:

  • 24 slider rolls (I used 12 regular rolls)
  • 24 slices deli ham (I used 1 container of deli ham per 12 rolls)
  • 24 small Swiss cheese slices (I used big Swiss cheese slices, and put half a slice of cheese on each sandwich. Next time: more cheese!)
  • Mayo

For the sauce:

  • 1 & 1/2 T yellow mustard
  • 8 T butter, melted
  • 1 T onion, finely minced
  • 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • Poppy seeds, for sprinkling

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. (If you are making these ahead of time, leave them in the fridge, and start your oven once you’re ready to bake them).
  2. Split the slider rolls and spread mayo on the inside top of the bun. Fold a slice of ham to fit on each bun, and then top with a piece of cheese. Once you’re done assembling the sandwiches, place them in a baking dish.
  3. Now you make the sauce. Melt your butter, and then add the mustard, onion, and Worcestershire sauce to it. Mix thoroughly. Then drizzle the sauce over the top of the buns. Sprinkle with poppy seeds.
  4. Cover with foil, and bake for 10 minutes. (I found that if my sandwiches had been sitting in the fridge all day, they needed almost 20 minutes to bake or until the ham was hot.) Once your cheese is melted, take off foil, and bake for another 2 minutes.
  5. Enjoy!!

— the Jilb

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SOAP Trailer (or, How I Spent My Summer Vacation)

January 5, 2012

You’re probably already somewhat confused, so let me begin by clarifying one point: the snow you see in the SOAP trailer is fake — it doesn’t (often) snow in Hibbing, MN in the summer.

The trailer itself is not fake. It exists. You can watch it. See, I just posted it on this blog.

There is, however, no SOAP movie. That should be obvious after watching the trailer. If there were a SOAP movie, and if I were the director, and if I didn’t have any control over the trailer, and then I watched the trailer, I’d be kinda T.O.’d at the trailer.

I mean, the trailer gives away every single plot “twist” as well as the entire ending. A trailer for a real movie would never, ever do that. (It seemed as though “never, ever do that” should have linked to a trailer that does, in fact, do just that, but I was too lazy to look one up, so I just underlined the phrase instead to sort of make it look like a link — then I included this note to undermine my own efforts.)

Anyway, if there were a SOAP movie, the trailer would never, ever show that, at the end, Sam builds a fake friend out of construction material, only to realize that his true friends had been in front of him the entire time. Also, if you haven’t seen the trailer yet, SPOILER ALERT.

And, once again for the sake of clarity, I should point out one inaccuracy in the title of this post. The alternate title is “How I Spent My Summer Vacation,” which implies, incorrectly, that the SOAP trailer was created by me. It wasn’t. My contribution to the project was to gather some supplies and then drive back and forth across town after forgetting to bring the supplies.

A. Reini (a.k.a “the Hermit,” a.k.a. “BB2,” a.k.a. “Manny Ramir-Andrew Bank One Ball-Andrew,” a.k.a. “Doogie — no, not that ‘Doogie'”) shot and edited the video — seriously, I think he spent something like 10,000 hours just tweaking the color of “Cop #2’s” moustache. (Also, if you see Dan Scally, don’t mention that he was “Cop #2.”)

So A. Reini gets the credit (blame?) for this. You can thank him by going to his funny and clever blog. As of now, 50 percent of his posts are about James Bond — which, as most blog-experts will tell you, is the perfect ratio.

— Reinman

SOAP is daily Bible reading program. This video was created to promote the program at First Assembly of God in Hibbing, MN.

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Oh, Where Is My Hair Brush?

January 4, 2012

In the Joker’s hand. And she is not letting go.

She will brush your hair all day long…

… even if you don’t want it.

No matter where you go…

… she’ll be there waiting brush in hand.

Eventually, she’ll give up chasing after you, and brush her own hair.

— the Jilb

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Chicken Parmesan Bake

January 3, 2012

Chicken Parmesan Bake. My new favorite chicken recipe. Okay. Honestly, my new favorite dinner. Ever.

I love that you hardly dirty any dishes making this. Seriously. Easiest, tastiest thing ever! You must make this now. This guy is a genius. If you visit his blog, he even has a video on how to make the chicken parmesan bake (not that you need it. This recipe is so, so easy!!)

The croutons give you that crunch without having to fry your chicken (no dredging in breadcrumbs and eggs in this recipe either!). And, of course, you have all that cheesy goodness. And then the fresh basil. Lovely.

Chicken Parmesan Bake

recipe from Chef John at Food Wishes

Ingredients:

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • hot red pepper flakes, to taste (I left these out, but I’m sure adding them gives a little extra zing!)
  • 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • 1/4 cup basil, chopped
  • 8 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 4 oz. parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 (5-oz.) package garl