Pin It Party #3

 

 

 

I know technically it is the fourth Pin It Party, but I didn’t participate in the very first one, so this is my third. Thanks to Lindsay for hosting this wonderful round-up, I hope you find a post you love while you are here! You can check my first and second posts if you have the time.

550x550xpin-it-party.jpg.pagespeed.ic.G_lk4frwus

 

So what is a Pin It Party? I share five of my favorite pin worthy posts with you, and link up on Lindsay’s blog. Once you write a post make sure you pin 5 blogs posts to support your fellow bloggers! Click on the photos to get to the post.

1. Toddler Time Workout

photo 4

A quick and sweaty workout at home!

2. Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap: Koulourakia

IMG_3803.JPGMy favorite Greek Christmas cookie

3. Stocking Stuffer Guide for the Host

cookingcollage

I know the holidays are over, but these are fun gifts to keep in your back pocket when you need to give a gift to someone who loves to cook, bake, host or all of the above. All of these items are under $20 so it won’t break the bank either!

4. My Favorite Books of 2013

FIOScover

I made reading more of a priority in 2013 and I picked 5 books that I read that I absolutely loved.

5. Cold Weather Necessities

Cold Weather Necissites.jpg

I have extremely dry skin, couple that with this dry winter air and the coldness of the polar vortex? I have been employing every strategy possible to keep my skin from cracking and bleeding.

Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap: Koulourakia

I was so excited to finally participate in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap! This is the third year of this event, but the first year I have been able to participate. First I need to mention that Lindsay and Julie were amazing, they always responded fast to any questions, and they sent emails along the way to make sure everyone was on track. The idea is that you make 3 dozen cookies and send 1 dozen to 3 different bloggers, and you receive 1 dozen cookies from 3 other bloggers. If you want to participate next year sign up here to get on the mailing list! Side note: that is what I did after I realized I missed the 2012 deadline because I didn’t want to miss it again!

Second, when you registered you donated $4 to Cookies for Kid’s Cancer with those fees, extra contributions, and the contributions from the brand sponsors who generously matched the donations the Food Blogger Cookie Swap raised over $13,000. What a wonderful thing! The amazing sponsors are: Oxo, Dixie Crystals, Gold Medal Flour, and Grandma Molasses.

cookieswaplogo2013

Now onto the cookies!

IMG 3802

This is a traditional Greek cookie, Nick’s mom gave me the recipe, and she got the recipe from his Nouna (Godmother). I will warn you, they are addictive, and this recipe makes an obnoxious amount of cookies.
They are great for dipping in your coffee or just eating as a dessert. I have to pat myself on the back this year, even Nick’s mom said they taste just like hers. And that is quite the compliment.

IMG 3803
Packed in cute little Gingerbread House themed boxes!

Before I get to the recipe, I want you to know this really does make a lot of cookies, roughly 7-8 dozen depending on how big you make your cookies. This is great for a large cookie swap, to bring to work, or to put into gift packages. If you are making for a smaller group, I highly suggest halving the recipe.

Ingredients:

8 Eggs + 2 more
1 lb Sweet Butter, softened
2 cups Sugar
3 Tb Crisco
1/2 cup Mazzola (corn) Oil
3 tsp Vanilla
5 tsp Baking Powder
1 Tb Orange Zest (I zested one large orange)
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
8 – 10 cups of Flour

Instructions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Beat the 8 eggs, butter, sugar, crisco and mazzola oil until well mixed.
3. Add vanilla, baking powder, orange zest*, nutmeg and cinnamon until just mixed.
4. Add 8 – 10 cups of flour*.
5. This is the most tedious step, the braid. Roll into snake and twist twice*.
6. Crack 1-2 eggs and brush the tops of all the cookies*.
7. Decorate with fun and festive sprinkles.
8. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes. The cookies should be light brown on the bottom and gold on the top.

Notes:
1. I used one large orange to zest, and that was the perfect amount, last year I only did a half an orange and you couldn’t really taste any of the orange notes.
2. I usually only use 8 cups of flour, use your best judgment. Add the flour one cup at a time until each cup is just mixed.
3. My mother-in-law is a pro at the braids, they all look the exact same. As you can tell, mine are not. Honestly, it is tiring and I am still new at this. It comes with practice, don’t worry if they aren’t all perfect.
4. I forgot the egg wash this time, which is why the sprinkles are lacking, whoops.

I sent these cookies to Lynsey, Jill, and Megan!

I received gingerbread madelines from Jen, Red Velvet Cookies from Alison, and Chocolate Pinwheel Icebox cookies from Catherine. They were all so different, and all so good, I liked that I was able to try so many different flavors. I put them out at my cookie swap and they were all gone before people started leaving! Thank you ladies for sending me such wonderful cookies! Make sure you check out their blog posts for the recipes!

Have you ever had any type of Greek cookies?

Pin It Party #2

Before we get to anything today, I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of your heartfelt comments, emails, texts, phone calls and messages on yesterday’s post. They mean so much to my family and I.

550x550xpin-it-party.jpg.pagespeed.ic.G_lk4frwus

 

Lindsay is once again hosting a PIN IT PARTY, I joined in on the fun for the second one and I can’t wait to join the second. A pin it party is where we write a post with five posts (of our own) that we’d love to see pinned on pinterest. Then link up on Lindsay’s blog and see some other posts!

Without further ado, here are my 5 posts:

Designer Whey Chocolate PB & Jelly Protein Smoothie

IMG_6262.JPG

I still think this is my favorite smoothie!

Sweet Potato Bread

The best picture I ever got, sorry! I guess I will just have to make it again.

The best picture I ever got, sorry! I guess I will just have to make it again.

 

Joy the Baker’s Perfect Cup of Hot Chocolate

The perfect cup.

The perfect cup.

Flour’s Oatmeal Maple Scone

flouroatmealscone

I’ve never made the glaze, but it is still wonderful!

Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies

Not pretty, but very tasty.

Not pretty, but very tasty.

Did any of these recipes strike your fancy? I can’t wait to see what you all linked up!

WIAW: Weekend Snacks & a cookie recipe

This weekend was full of new recipes and treats. I made the traditional corned beef and cabbage. I also tried my hand at Guinness cupcakes with a baileys cream cheese frosting. I made almond flour cookies and we tried a new at home popcorn recipe.

I was contacted by Swanson Health Products to try some of their products.

The first product was California Almond Flour. I have wanted to try almond flour for a very long time. The first thing I made was a coconut chocolate chip almond flour cookie.

First you need almond flour, obviously.

IMG 1370

Mix:

1 1/2 cups of almond flour

1/2 cup unsweetned coconut

1/2 tsp of baking soda

1/4 tsp of salt

IMG 1373

In a separate bowl mix:

1/4 cup melted unsalted butter

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 tsp of vanilla

IMG 1372

Combine the wet and dry ingredients, then add 3/4 cup of chocolate chips.

I used a meatball baller to make the cookies, and placed them on an ungreased cookie sheet. I put them in the oven at 350F for approximately 10 minutes.

IMG 1377

The cookies essentially kept their shape and tasted like toasted macaroons, I honestly wouldn’t know that they were made with almond flour instead of regular flour. I won’t lie, every single cookie is gone. In the future I can only make these when we have guests or else I will eat every single one.

In good news they are only 89 calories per cookie.

The other product I tried was coconut oil. Nick has been after me for almost a year to get some. The only place I can find it around here is Whole Foods, and it is so expensive there. So, I jumped at the chance to get it from Swanson.

IMG 1383

The reason Nick wanted it was for popcorn. We have a whirly-pop

So we always make our own popcorn, Nick however is the type of guy who researches everything, including popcorn. He read that it was best to use coconut oil instead of regular olive oil. Seriously this is the best popcorn I have ever had. I don’t think I will ever be able to eat movie theater popcorn again. I don’t think it needs any extra butter or salt.

IMG 1381

I can’t wait to make other delicious items with the coconut oil.

Lastly, I made a Guinness cupcake with bailey’s cream cheese frosting.

IMG 1378

Recipe for the cupcake, baked oatmeal and a coconut flour biscuit to come next week!

And of course everything is better with this guy around.

IMG 1339

All products were provided by Swanson Health products, all opinions are my own.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

I went to my in-laws the weekend before Christmas because my husband had an obligation. My sister-in-law came over one of the nights and we had a baking party. We made a couple things, but the one I want to highlight today was pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.

I still had cans of pure pumpkin from Thanksgiving because we didn’t use all of ours for Thanksgiving. I followed a recipe I found on pinterest.

This is the recipe.

We followed it to a T. The cookies did come out very muffin like.

They didn’t even make it a week, they were gone a few days before Christmas. If you make any cookie, make this one, it is phenomenal.

IMG 1857

What’s the best dessert you’ve eaten lately?

Cookie Swap

So I put together a cookie swap for a bunch of friends. I had never done one before, but I have always wanted to. However I don’t really have the space, nor am I centrally located to most of my friends.

My friends Erin & Colleen offered to host at their place. I forgot my camera that day, so all I have is pictures of my cookie.

Erin & Col had set-up a table with drinks, I brought pretzels and tortilla chi[s with salsa. I also had Spanakopita (Phyllo Dough with Spinach and Cheese) and Tyropita (Phyllo Dough with cheese). I figured we would need to have some salt to cut the sweetness.

December is hard to get people together but we had a great turnout and many different types of cookies. Every single one was delicious. We had:
Chocolate Chip
Peanut Butter Kisses
Jam Thumbprint with 3 different types of jam
Chocolate Chip/ Chocolate Chocolate Chip Half-Moons
Frosted Sugar Cookies
Chocolate Mint Snow-Top Cookies
Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookie
Italian Tri-Color Cookies
Koulouria

I brought the Koulouria, a Greek cookie, and I can’t even share the recipe since it’s a family recipe my mother-in-law shared with me!

It was a great day of catching up with my girlfriends! I am so glad I was able to do this and Erin & Col were able to host.

IMG 0518

What’s your favorite cookie to make & eat around the holidays?

Superbowl, Super Dessert

As our last weekend in the land of no pantry, I decided to make a simple dessert for our Superbowl party. I made an old favorite, a cookie I made all the time as a kid. The No Bake Cookie. I love oats, I love chocolate and I LOVE peanut butter, this is a sure fire winner.

I got all my ingredients together and measured everything out.

IMG 0017

In a small saucepan, and I admit I should have used a larger one, I combined
1 3/4 cups of sugar
1/2 cup of milk – I used 1%, and used skim growing up, use whatever kind you have in your fridge it shouldn’t make a difference.
1/2 cup of butter
4 Tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa

I brought the ingredients to a boil and let them boil for 90 seconds.

IMG 0020

Remove from the pan from heat. Now here is where I messed up, you are supposed to add the last 3 ingredients to the pot but I clearly did not have enough room so I transferred all ingredients to a separate bowl.

In the bowl I combined
3 cups of quick cooking oats
1/2 cup of Peanut Butter – most recipes say to us chunky, I have always used smooth, I think it tastes better.
1 teaspoon of Vanilla – I used 2, because I love vanilla.

I then added the chocolate mixture to the dry mixture, and stirred until all the oats were covered and the peanut butter had melted.
IMG 0021

I then used mini and regular cupcake tins to portion out cookie sizes. Using parchment paper or tin foil on a cookie sheet will also work just fine.

I then stuck the cookies on the fridge for a few hours, now time to enjoy the Superbowl and snacks.

IMG 0024

-Kelly

Today’s Question: What is your favorite recipe to make that is simple?

Every Party Needs a Cupcake

I am that girl that always needs to bring a dessert to any event I attend. Luckily, my friends don’t seem to mind. So when a couple of ours announced their annual Holiday party and the request for the guests to bring desserts or apps, I was more than ready.

Since my pantry supplies were pretty much gone, thank you pesky moths. I had to go with the using a box mix. I decided to do a holiday twist on some favorites, the Cookies and Cream Cupcake. In advance, I apologize for the lack of step-by-step pictures. I am still learning to bake and blog.

First you start with 12 Oreos, I usually go with the regular flavor, but today I went with the Holiday edition, they were red instead of white. Split the cookies in half, trying to make sure the cream is on both sides. Put one half of a cookie in a cupcake tin.

IMG_1273.jpg

 

I use the rest of the Oreos, and you can use as much or as little as you desire. I place them in a ziploc bag and use a rolling pin to crush the Oreos in tiny pieces.

 

I then make my batter. I usually use a Vanilla cupcake recipe, so for the purpose of not having extra flour around, I used a White Cake box mix. I poured the dry mix in, and instead of oil and eggs I used 12 oz of diet sprite and 8 oz of plain yogurt. I believe that the sprite and yogurt makes the cake fluffier. Once the mix and wet ingredients were well blended, I added the remaining Oreos. You can do two things with the crushed Oreos, you can add them all to the mix or you can add some and save the rest for garnish.

IMG_1275.JPG

Then I just followed the baking directions on the box. For the frosting I used what I had leftover from my last baking expedition. I had Chocolate Buttercream and Cream Cheese Frosting. I did half the cupcakes in each frosting. Unfortunately I have no pictures of my final masterpieces, as I ran to the party immediately following frosting. But I can tell you they were absolutely delicious.  

 

Today’s Question: What’s your favorite dessert to bring to a party?