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07

Sep

Holy shiz these are amazing Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Cookies

Let me tell you.  One thing I have learned throughout my few months of cooking escapades: READ THE DIRECTIONS.  Reading the directions really pays off when it comes to baking.  And it really paid off baking these ridiculously good Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Cookies.  

chocolate peanut butter pretzel cookie

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour

1/2 tsp. of salt

1/4 tsp. of baking soda

1/2 cup of butter at room temperature

1/2 cup of tightly packed light brown sugar

1/3 cup of granulated sugar

1 egg (beaten)

1 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup peanut butter chips

1/2 cup broken up pretzel pieces

Directions:

1. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars together on medium speed until light and fluffy. On low speed, slowly add the beaten egg and vanilla extract. 

3. Add the flour mixture and beat until thoroughly blended. 

4.  Stir in the chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, and pretzels. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour or so. 

5. Preheat the oven to 350F.  Thoroughly butter a cookie sheet.  **These cookies don’t spread much while baking.  Scoop balls of dough onto pan and press into cookie shape.  Leave about 2 inches between each cookies. Bake for 12 minutes.  Allow cookies to cool before serving. 


01

Sep

who do you love like this?

10

Aug

Perfect eyeliner.

I promise, I’m not the president of the Kim K fan club - but let’s be honest, sister knows how to wear some eye make up. 

kim kardashian smokey eye

Thanks to her make up artist’s tutorial, I’ve nearly mastered the perfect smokey eye.  The only thing that’s stopped me is finding the right eye liner, that doesn’t run underneath my eyes.  

Until now.  Thankfully I’ve found the most perfect eyeliner.  It’s from Victoria’s Secret (I know, crazy, right?) and it’s only $12.  

Run, don’t walk to VS and getchaself some of that eyeliner.  Grab some of their lipgloss while you’re there - it’s the best (I’m not saying it’s the most long lasting - but the colors are gorg and, most importantly, it tastes great).

Roasted beets.

Oven roasted beets have quickly become by favorite food.   They are insanely easy to make.  The one small downside is that they take a good 45 minutes to roast.  But it’s worth the wait.  

oven roasted beets

Ingredients:

Fresh beets

Olive oil 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Cut off the long leafy stems as far down as possible.

Rinse beets. 

Place beet in tin foil square and brush beet with olive oil. 

Completely wrap beet in foil. 

Place foil wrapped beets directly in oven. 

Cook for appox. 45 min.

Remove from the oven and let cool.  

Peel off the skins … they’re ready to eat.

Common sense tips:

Beets bleed.  And stain.  This may seem obvious, but if you’re a newbie to cooking, like myself, you may ruin a beautiful white blouse or fav pair of white jeans.  Wear an apron and dark colors.  ;) 

06

Aug

The perfect smokey eye

Just like Houston’s House-Made Veggie Burger

I’ve been a vegetarian for nearly 16 years, so it’s safe to say I’ve had a LOT of veggie burgers in my life.  The best veggie burger I’ve ever had - hands down, no contest - is from Houston’s.  Finally, after years of wondering - and thanks to Google - I found a recipe that makes a veggie burger that is as close as it comes to Houston’s.    Prepare to have your world rocked. 

Houston's veggie burger

Ingredients:

8 tablespoons hickory barbecue sauce

2 tablespoons molasses

1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained

2 cups cooked brown rice*

1 tablespoon oat bran

2 tablespoons onions, finely chopped

1 tablespoon beets*

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon jalapeno pepper, chopped (don’t forget your gloves)

1 egg white, add more if needed (to bind)

4 slices monterey jack cheese 

Directions:


1. Stir together barbecue sauce and molasses. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl mash beans. Stir in 4 tablespoons of the barbecue mixture*, rice, oat bran, onions, beets, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper, jalapeno, and egg white.*

3. Form mixture into four patties.  Brush with left over barbecue mixture.  Grill to perfection.  Top with Monterey Jack cheese.

(Alternative cooking method: Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium. Grill burgers for 5 minutes on one side. Turn and brush with remaining barbecue/molasses mixture.  Top with Monterey Jack and grill for another 2 minutes or until cheese is melted.)

Helpful hints

1. I used instant rice - quick and easy. 

2. The recipe I initially used called for canned beets.  But I couldn’t do it.  I love beets - so I roasted some beats and used the fresh, roasted beets in my burgers. 

3. You’ll have more than enough barbecue mix, it makes a great topping after the burger is cooked. 

4. Once I had all my ingredients in a large bowl, I threw on some gloves and mixed them all together with my hands.  Helped with the consistency and making patties was easy. 

Modified from a Danielle Omar recipe

03

Aug

Love never fails.  

23

Jul

Pepper burn remedy.

There isn’t one. 

Holy shiz I wish there was.  While making the best guacamole ever, I de-seeded and sliced a jalapeno with my bare hands … about thirty minutes later my hands were on fire.  

I wish I could give an explanation that would do the burning sensation justice - but I don’t think that’s possible.  On the “pain scale” I’d say it’s a 7 - somewhere between “miserable and distressing” and “intense, dreadful, and horrible.”  

My sweet husband googled every remedy possible and we tried them all.  And although there was nothing, other than time, that made the pain stop, here is a list of things that provided temporary relief.  I pray you never need any of these, but if you do - here’s where to start: 

Soak hand/fingers in a boil of half and half or milk

Soak hand/fingers in sour cream

Rub hand/fingers with Purell hand sanitizer 

Google and the internet also recommended salt + lime juice, white vinegar, bleach, baking soda, and warm water.  None of these worked for me.

The sour cream was really the most practical remedy for me.  Because of its thick consistency it stayed on my hand while I was able to finish preparing dinner for our guests.

I wish one of the websites would have come out and told me the straight truth: 

Nothing will stop the pain, only ease it and the pain will last for over 5 hours.  Sorry, the truth hurts

The best - finger burning - guacamole ever.

This really is the best guacamole I’ve ever had.  

I burnt the fool out of my fingers when I was slicing the jalapeno for this recipe.  My hand was on fire for at least five hours.  Please wear gloves. 

Ingredients:

2 cloves garlic

1 jalapeno, seeded

a tiny handful of cilantro

3 large ripe Hass avocados

1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped

2 limes 

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Pinch freshly ground pepper , or to taste

Directions:

1. Finely chop garlic, jalapeño and cilantro, set aside.

2. Halve avocados and remove pits. 

3. With a spoon, scoop out avocados into a large bowl 

4. Squeeze the lime juice from the two limes into the bowl with avocados.

5. Add cilantro mixture and remainder of ingredients to the mix. 

6. Mash with a potato masher or back of a fork. 

7. Cover surface of guacamole with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Helpful hints:

1. WEAR GLOVES WHEN CUTTING THE JALAPENOS!  *I can’t stress this enough. 

2. I kept one of the avocado pits in the bowl with the guacamole to keep it from turning brown.  *Two days later it held it’s beautiful green color while my husband enjoyed the left overs. 

3. I served the guac with a mix of black bean chips and terra chips - they were a hit! 

*Modified from an Oprah.com recipe

WTF banana pudding.

One cooking lesson I’m learning the hard way is to READ THE RECIPE BEFORE STARTING TO COOK.  In fact, read the full recipe before even purchasing the ingredients.  I recently wanted to make a simple banana pudding - so I googled “southern banana pudding” thinking I was going to make the jello pudding + bananas + vanilla wafers version.  My first clue should have been that there was no jello pudding in the ingredient list.  Unfortunately, I was 10 minutes into stirring homemade custard from scratch when I thought to myself, “Wait, where’s the jello?”  That’s when I read the recipe.  I wasn’t just making good ole’ banana pudding.  I was making homemade, hand made, from scratch banana pudding with merengue on top! WTF?!

Let me tell you, it was worth the trouble.  I couldn’t have been more proud of myself and my dinner guests were very impressed!  They all had seconds.  *And the merengue was surprising simple (just takes patience, which I’m gaining with every recipe I attempt).  

Ingredients:

3 large eggs, separated

3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided to 1/2 and 1/4 cups

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

Dash salt

3 cups whole milk

1 overflowing teaspoon of pure vanilla extract

1 box of Nilla Vanilla Wafers, you won’t use every one them

6 to 8 ripe bananas, sliced (as many as you want)

Pinch cream of tartar

Instructions:

1. Separate the eggs and set aside the whites to come to room temperature for meringue. 

Making the custard/filling:

1. In the top of a double boiler (see helpful hints below), whisk together 1/2 cup of the sugar with the flour, salt, and milk. Whisk in the yolks and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and mixture reaches 170 degrees (see helpful hints). 

Remove from heat, stir in the vanilla and set aside, to cool slightly. 

Building the pudding:

1. In a 1-1/2 quart baking dish begin layering. Spoon a small amount of the custard on the bottom of your dish; add a layer of the wafers on top of the custard and also around the outside of bowl with the rounded tops facing out, if desired. Continue to layer wafers, bananas and custard for a total of 2 to 3 layers, ending with custard on top. Set aside.

Preparing the meringue topping:

Read over this website before attempting to make the meringue: 

http://www.deepsouthdish.com/2008/01/how-to-make-homemade-meringue.html

2.Prepare meringue by whipping the egg whites with the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and a pinch of cream of tartar and add to top of the pudding, spreading to the edges. 

3.Place into a preheated 350 degrees F oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until the peaks of the meringue brown. Remove and let sit for about at least 1 hour, or refrigerate for up to 4 hours before serving. Garnish with a sprinkling of crushed wafers just before serving, if desired.

Helpful hints:

1. If you’re like me, you’ve never even heard of a double broiler.  Thank the Lord for google.  I was able to rig a make-shift double broiler with two pots.  I filled a smaller pot with water and brought it to a boil - the put a larger pot on top to make the custard in.  

2. My custard never reached 170 degrees, I just kept heating and stirring until it was pretty thick.

*Modified from a Deep South Dish recipe.