Friday, December 23, 2016

Peanut Butter Blossoms

Hey, hi, hello! I'd be willing to bet you need a quick, easy, delicious recipe for Christmas cookies. I have just the one for you, and it has a little twist to make this classic cookie extra special! 

This recipe adds chocolate chips to the cookie itself, and then the dough gets rolled in a crumbly mixture of peanut butter and powdered sugar. The mixture gives this cookie a crumbly outer texture, and more chocolate never hurt anyone.

Merry Christmas, friends! Thanks for reading! 

Peanut Butter Blossoms

makes about 3 dozen

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup creamy peanut butter, divided 
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
2/3 cup powdered sugar
chocolate kisses

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. 

In the bowl of a mixer cream together butter, 1/2 cup of peanut butter, and both sugars. Add in the egg and vanilla until just combined. 

In a separate bowl whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. 

With your mixer on low, add dry ingredients until just combined. 

Fold in mini chocolate chips. 

In a small bowl combine remaining 1/2 cup of peanut butter and powdered sugar making sure to break up any large clumps. 

Spoon out two teaspoons of the dough and roll in the peanut butter powdered sugar mixture prosily lightly to adhere. 

Bake on a cookie sheet spaced 2 inches apart for 9-11 minutes depending on how crispy you like your  cookies. 

Friday, November 11, 2016

Crockpot Apple Cider

Sooooo, today I have a multi-tasking recipe for you just in time for all these happy holidays that are on their way!

Not only is this recipe delicious, incredibly easy, and accidentally pink (!!!!), it will make your home smell AMAZING! Who doesn't want a holiday home that smells like delicious homemade cider and spices? I don't want to meet whoever that person is.

Now, I know these next few months are going to be bonkers insane for you with all the shopping and hosting and traveling, but all the effort this recipe requires is a few minutes cutting fruit into quarters and a little patience straining the cider once it's done. Between those two tasks all you have to do is let the fruits do their thing and fill your home with the best scent of all time! Truly, it's so good. 

The other really wonderful thing about this recipe is, next to the sugars in the fruit, we aren't adding any extra sugar. Personally, I love a tangy cider, but if you want a little extra sweetness the original recipe calls for a few tablespoons of maple syrup. Additionally, if you want to make any other changes DO IT! Add the fruits you like. Omit the fruits you don't. It's really that easy. 

My apples came from Carter Mountain Orchard in Charlottesville, VA. The orchard is a pick-your-own fruit place right off I-64 with sweeping views of the city. It's gorgeous and I'm obsessed. While I picked my apples I sipped on an apple cider slushy (OBSESSED) and bought two dozen apple cider donuts that were still warm despite being in their container. I was a happy gal. 

Crockpot Apple Cider

very slightly adapted from Half Baked Harvest

11 apples, quartered (I used Jonagold & Honeycrisp apples freshly picked from Carter Mountain Orchard)
1 pomegranate, quartered 
1 navel orange, quartered 
3 cinnamon sticks

Add all ingredients to your crockpot with 5 - 6 cups of filtered water. Cover with lid and let cook on high for 4-5 hours. Intermittently during cooking time, mash softened fruit to help it break down. 

Strain liquid into a pitcher (I strained mine 3 times and used cheesecloth during the final strain to remove most of the pulp) and discard pulp, fruit, and cinnamon sticks. 


  • Add in 2 - 6 tablespoons of maple syrup, depending on your preference, during cooking for a sweeter cider. Taste cider at the end and add more, if desired. 
  • Alternatively, you can simmer this on your stovetop until the apples begin to break down. 
  • This recipe would be perfect for my Caramel Apple Pie Floats. Do it friends!


Thursday, May 19, 2016

Rainy Day Cake

Today I'm sharing a chocolate cake! Not just any cake though. A cake with lavender honey tea in it. It's simple, but delicious and perfect for this rainy, gray, cold weather we've been having. 

Have you been having uncharacteristically cold weather where you live this spring? We certainly have! However, even though it's been rainy and cool, the light has been so beautiful lately! I love the way these gray days make the green of the trees look extra pretty. 

Anyway, back to CAKE. This cake in particular turned out much better than I expected. It's dense, moist (sorry about that word), and very chocolatey but the addition of tea pushes this cake over the edge. It's got a simple but extra special flavor. So, so good!

The original recipe for this cake (found on Shutterbean) calls for the addition of Earl Grey tea. I've made this cake multiple times with Earl Grey and it's perfection. However, on this particular day, I didn't have enough Earl Grey so I used Lavender Honey tea and found it to be a perfect addition as well. This recipe is so simple that you could easily sub out different teas depending on your specific tastes. Don't be afraid to experiment! 

Rainy Day Cake

adapted from Shutterbean

8 Honey Lavender Tea Bags (I used these)
1 cup boiling water
1 stick unsalted butter, softened 
3/4 cup egg whites
2 cups sugar
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder 
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt (not Greek)

For Topping
Powdered sugar
Freshly Whipped Cream

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a bundt pan with nonstick spray, set aside. 

In a large glass measuring cup steep tea bags in water for 5 - 7 minutes. Once steeped, remove tea bags. Set brewed tea aside. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter, egg whites, and sugar until fluffy. Blend in melted, cooled chocolate. 

Add in flour, baking soda and powder, salt, and yogurt. Slowly pour brewed tea into the cake batter mixture on low speed until incorporated. 

Spoon batter into prepared bundt pan and bake for 45 - 50 minutes.

Let cake completely cool before removing from pan and sprinkling with powdered sugar. 

I hope you enjoy this cake along with conversation with family and friends!


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

I have a confession. My resolution for 2016 was to get more comfortable with my body. I'm not so happy with how clothes are fitting and the amount of energy that I do not have. I did so well all of January, and then our first snow storm of the season hit dumping over 2 feet of snow on the ground. It seriously derailed all of my best laid plans. I went from meal planning every week to eating butter, chocolate, and carbs. SOMEONE HELP ME! 

This is mainly a public declaration to help me be more accountable, and as my invisible internet friends, you're all responsible for helping me stay on track. Ha! Just kidding. But seriously, the direction of this blog may take a turn as I attempt to keep myself on track by feeding myself real food and incorporating more exercise in my daily routine. Maybe I'll get my act together and start blogging about my weekly goals? Maybe I'll post more "real food" recipes? Maybe I'll do both? My main goal is to keep blogging, keep taking photos, and keep making this space my own. I hope you all stick around. 

I've made my meal plan for next week and I just ordered one of the new Fitbit Altas. I'm super excited that it has a feature that will remind me to move because I love to be all cozy on the couch with a book and nap after work, and that's probably not such a healthy habit. I'm also part of the Tone It Up community, and it's been a fantastic motivator for me. 

So, a few changes may show up in this space as I try to make some healthy changes in my own life, but today I have a cozy meal for you. Broccoli cheddar soup to be exact. It's what I made during the blizzard earlier this year where I was stuck in my house for an entire weekend. I hope you enjoy! 

This is honestly one of my favorite comfort meals, and I crave it once the weather turns colder. It's hearty, warms up nicely, and can be paired with little ham and cheese sliders brushed with savory herbed butter. Yes. Do that. 

This soup has everything you want in a comfort meal: cheese, butter, half and half, and more cheese. Oh, and it's easy, too. And really creamy. Are you sold yet? 

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

recipe from Simply Scratch 

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 small white onion, diced
1/2 cup pre-cut matchstick carrots
1/4 cup flour
2 cups half and half
2 cups vegetable broth
1 bunch broccoli, cut into florets 
8 ounces sharp cheddar, grated (please grate your really makes this soup phenomenal) 
salt & pepper to taste

In a medium pot melt 2 tablespoons butter and add in onion and carrots. Cook over medium heat until vegetables are fragrant and tender. 

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add in broccoli florets and cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove broccoli and place in a large bowl of ice water. Let broccoli rest until adding to the soup. 

Next, add in the remaining 1/4 cup of butter and allow to melt. Sprinkle flour over butter and stir constantly until cooked. Slowly add in the broth and half and half. Stir until combined. 

Drain and add broccoli to the soup cooking uncovered on medium heat for 15-20 minutes or until soup is thick and broccoli is tender. Do not let soup boil. Using an immersion blender, pulse broccoli florets until smooth, or until desired consistency is reached. 

Add in half of the cheese and stir until combined and creamy. Season with salt and pepper.