Monday, August 19, 2013

Cookie Crazy

Bailey is two weeks into his cancer treatment and we brought him home for the weekend for a break.  Clearly my husband and I weren't the only ones happy to have Bailey home...



We're halfway done with the radiation and it's been hard having Bailey be away from us the past two weeks.  The only thing getting us through is the vets at NC State.  They've been so helpful and understanding.  They've called every day with updates, sent pictures and answered my emails even on the weekends.  So I decided to bake them some sweets for taking care of my sweet Bailey.




First up Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies


I've never been great at baking cookies.  They always come out too flat and crispy.  These cookies are the thick, gooey, chewy kind!  The secret...pudding!

1 cup (2 sticks) Butter, softened
3/4 cup Organic Brown Sugar
1/4 cup White or Demerara Sugar
1 small pkg Sugar Free Instant Vanilla Pudding mix
2 eggs (or 1/2 cup egg beaters) 
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 1/4 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 pkg ( 12 oz) Milk Chocolate Chips

DIRECTIONS:  Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Beat the butter and both sugars until creamy and fluffy.  Add in pudding mix, eggs and vanilla. Beat until creamy and fluffy.  In a separate bowl whisk the flour and baking soda.  Mix the dry ingredients into the wet. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop by tablespoonfuls, onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment. Bake for 9-10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool about 10 minutes before eating...if you can hold out!

I used a different kind of sugar for these cookies called Demerara Sugar. Demerara has a natural caramel-like flavor that hasn't been refined out.  You can use normal refined white sugar but this gave the cookies even more flavor.

mmmmm!




The recipe is very similar to the other cookie but you get to use butterscotch pudding and THREE types of chips!  Butterscotch, white chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate chips all go in.

Ingredients:
2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup White sugar or Demerara Sugar
1 package sugar free butterscotch instant pudding mix
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips

DIRECTIONS:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat the butter and both sugars until creamy and fluffy.  Add in pudding mix, eggs and vanilla. Beat until creamy and fluffy.  In a separate bowl whisk the flour, salt and baking soda.  Mix the dry ingredients into the wet. Stir in the three different chips. Drop by tablespoonfuls, onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment. Bake for 10 minutes.


You won't be able to forget about these cookies- Trust me!


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Coconut Coconut Coconut Cake

Since I love to bake I'm normally the one who makes all the desserts in our house and my husband helps out by eating them.  One day of the year though he bakes for me...on my birthday!



This year I asked him to make me a Coconut Coconut Coconut cake found here.  It's triple the coconut and triple the goodness!

Plus, it's so easy.  He gets bonus points for baking without all the stress of making a cake from scratch.

Recipe:
-1 box of white cake mix.  Bake as directed except substitute 1 1/4 cup coconut milk for water in the mix.
-While the cake is still warm poke holes in it with a skewer.  Heat a 15oz can of cream of coconut in the microwave for one minute and pour over the cake.
-Chill the cake in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.
-Frost with a container of thawed Cool Whip.
-Sprinkle Shredded Sweetened Coconut on top.

That's it!  It's so moist (yes I hate that word but it's the only way to describe this cake!) 



One small change I like to do is substitute unsweetened applesauce for oil in the box recipe.  It cuts back on calories and fat and adds even more moistness (ack that word again!) 

We've tried this cake in two 8 inch pans- doesn't work. Stick to a 9x13 pan. 

This cake is clearly a hit with everyone!


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Black Bean, Egg and Spinach Wrap

I love Pinterest...that's been established if you've read my blog over the last year!  

I have so much fun trying out new recipes and learning to cook new things.  I also LOVE grocery shopping. I know, call me crazy, but I enjoy browsing the aisles in grocery stores looking for new ingredients and things to try.



The downside to all of this...my budget!   I end up buying ingredients for one recipe that I never use again. (I'm looking at you thyme!)  

So this month I decided to try to come up with new recipes of my own...but here's the catch...I could only use ingredients that I already had.  EEK!

I still consulted good 'ol Pinterest for some inspiration.  Because, let's face it, I'm a "follow the recipe exactly or it's a disaster" kinda cook.

I found this pin for an Egg, Bean and Veggie Wrap YUM!  I only had about 1/2 the ingredients though.  That's ok.  Using my new philosophy I just raided the fridge and came up with this Egg, Bean and Spinach Wrap.


I started off by heating up a little oil and sauteing my spinach.  I drained a can of black beans I found in the pantry and added them in with the spinach.  Once those were nice and heated I threw in some lemon juice and cumin for flavor.

Next up, my eggs. I was almost out of egg beaters so I used 1/4 cup egg beaters and 1/4 cup egg whites.  I scrambled those over low heat and added salt and pepper to taste at the end.  



I used a whole wheat flax burrito and I even had a little avocado left over from another meal that I added for a bit more Mexican flavor.  Being a vegetarian, one thing I get asked a lot is "how do you get protein." Like this!  Beans, eggs and flaxseeds are great sources of protein.  Spinach gives me iron and Avocado is an uber good healthy fat. 

Topped with some cheese this was a great breakfast for lunch...breakfast for dinner...breakfast any time meal! 

Amen, Ron Swanson, Amen!