Saturday, December 24, 2016

Aunt Denise's Sugar Cookie Cutouts

This is the best sugar cookie recipe in the world! No joke. They are soft, chewy, and oh so delicious. You could call my family sugar cookie snobs. We are constantly trying different sugar cookies and they are never as good as Aunt Denise's!

Thanksgiving 2016-Maui

I rarely post normal pictures on this blog. It's mostly (if you haven't noticed) for  recipes and glorious pictures of food. But, over this Thanksgiving break, my family went to Maui! It was the greatest thing ever, especially because my grandparents were able to come with us!  So there are essentially two reasons I am posting these, #1 because they are pretty pictures and I love them, and #2 because I want to remember the wonderful time we had forever. So sorry if this throws you off, it's my blog, I can do what I want! Hah! Jk please don't hate me, just enjoy these photos. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Chocolate Crack-up Cookies

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Good morning! Only 5 days until Christmas, which means that it is time to BAKE. Yay! I love baking, especially Christmas cookies! And these Chocolate Crack-ups are the definition of Christmas cookies. Aren't they just the cutest thing ever? I am a little bit obsessed with them, as you can tell by all the pictures! 

These cookies are greatest thing ever! They have a fudgey chocolate center that is balanced out by the twice dipped sugar outside that cracks when cooked. They may be the greatest cookie in the world, but then again I say that about every cookies because they are ALL wonderful in their own way!

Okay SORRY so many pictures, they are just so pretty! And they taste as good as they look! Enjoy!

Chocolate Crack-up Cookies
Makes about 3 dozen
Modified from Martha Stewart
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 cup cream (or 1/3 cup milk)
1 cup sugar
1 cup powdered sugar

1) Melt chocolate in a double broiler (or carefully in the microwave).
2) In a KitchenAid (or in a bowl with an electric mixer), beat butter and brown sugar for 2-3 minutes. Mix in eggs and vanilla, and then melted chocolate.
3) Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Reduce speed to low and mix in sifted dry ingredients alternating with cream.
4) Refrigerate dough until firm (a couple hours if you can).
5) Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Roll dough into 1 inch balls. Roll each ball in sugar and then powdered sugar. Bake until surfaces crack, about 14 minutes (try your best to not over bake them). Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Crock-Pot Barbecue Chicken

Well, finals week is among us! I actually finished all my finals yesterday, which is such a relief! It feels good to not have to worry about a million things, but I also kind of feel lazy hah! But yesterday, in the midst of all the crazy finals, I decided to make this super easy crock-pot barbecue chicken!

There are three reasons why I love this Crock-Pot Barbecue Chicken:
First, it is so easy! I mean just throw it all together and let it sit for 3-4 hours! What is better than that?!
Second, the clean up is SO fast. Like all you have to clean is a little bowl and a crock pot bowl... So easy and very essential when you are in finals mode.
Third and most importantly, this barbecue chicken is DELICIOUS! It is the greatest thing ever! I'm a sucker for pulled-anything sandwiches and this recipe fulfills all of those desires.

So, when you are running late and freaking out about not being able to cook, don't worry! Just grab some chicken and throw it in the crock-pot and then pick up some rolls on the way home along with the 3 ingredients for this wonderful COLESLAW. No one will ever know you were freaking out in the first place ;)

Crock-Pot Barbecue Chicken
Serves 4
3 large chicken breasts (about 1 pound)
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup Italian salad dressing
Salt and Pepper

In a small bowl, mix together barbecue sauce, brown sugar, salad dressing, and salt and pepper. Place chicken breasts in a Crock-Pot and pour sauce over chicken, stir to coat. Cook on high for 3-4 hours. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Best Caramel Popcorn

Welcome to the world of ooey gooey goodness. This caramel popcorn is so delicious you may just eat it all yourself. And beware, there's no stopping once you've started. It's like Cheetos. Once you eat one, you'll probably end up eating the whole darn bag. 

Today I was, (like most bloggers do) looking at my stats for last month. I am always a little surprised to see that among the popular posts is My First Post. It makes me laugh every time I read it. I love to think back to only a year and a half ago when I was starting this blog. I never thought I would have come this far. I had no idea it would mainly end up being recipes (but I love that it did haha). And I would have never guessed the amount of things I would learn from this wonderful journey.  

Everyday, even when my pictures turn out terrible (like today I took pictures of chicken noodle soup, oh my goodness who new it was so hard to take pictures of that stuff), I am ALWAYS thankful for this blog, for the things I have learned, and for the people I have helped. Every time someone tells me how they made something from this blog and loved it, it makes my day, no more like it makes my month. And those are the things that make me keep going and (even when my family hates me having to take pictures) I keep trying to be my best. 

So thank you for being here! Thank you for reading this and for trying these recipes! YOU are why I do this. 

Okay enough of that. Let's talk about this popcorn. OHHHH this popcorn! It is soooo wonderful! My mom used to make this for neighborhood Christmas gifts and my neighbors always raved about it. It really is so yummy. You don't have to add the chocolate, but it's like the icing to the cake. It makes it to die for! My dad says the chocolate is not optional hah! 

Caramel Popcorn
Serves 10-12 (two baking sheets full)
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/4 cup of butter (1/2 stick)
1/2 cup white Karo syrup
1/2 can sweetened condensed milk
Pinch of salt
4 quarts of (popped) popcorn, one giant bowl or two large
8 oz. semisweet chocolate, melted

1) In a large sauce pan, add brown sugar, butter, Karo syrup, sweetened condensed milk and salt. Bring mixture to a boil.
2) Place popped popcorn in one giant or two large bowls and pour caramel mixture evenly. Stir until coated and spread onto two baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
3) Drizzle melted chocolate on top of popcorn, while still a little hot. Let cool and enjoy!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas

These Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas are SO good! And guess what they are SO easy and fast too (an hour tops)! My mom must have loved me because this is what I would request for dinner on my birthday, lucky duck.

This recipe is very open to change. For example, we sometimes use turkey or different cheese, or a mix of canned beans! Somehow every time we make these enchiladas they are always so yummy (also they keep really well in the fridge, if you have leftovers). They are so good! I am obsessed with them okay, get it? Beware, you might become obsessed with them too ;)

Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas
1, 15 oz. can black beans, drained
2 cups shredded chicken (or turkey)
1/2 cup sour cream
1, 16 oz. can salsa
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
10 flour tortillas, cooked
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1) Preheat the oven 350° Fahrenheit. In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine beans, chicken, sour cream, and about 3/4 of your salsa, mix together well. Stir in basil, cumin and salt and pepper.
2) In a 9x13 pan (this 9x13 or 3 Quart Baking Dish is our favorite) pour a little bit of the extra salsa on the bottom (so that your enchiladas don't stick). Warm tortillas so they are easy to roll. Fill tortillas with bean and chicken mixture and shredded cheese, (saving about 1/2 cup of cheese to sprinkle on top of enchiladas). Place all prepared tortillas into pan.
3) Top prepared enchiladas with remaining salsa and cheese. Cover with tinfoil and bake for 45 minutes. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Soft and Chewy Gingersnaps

Happy December 1st! Can you believe it is already December?! I sure can't! Over Thanksgiving break, my family went to Maui. It was a balmy 85° most of the time, and let me tell you, coming home was such a shock! We landed in Salt Lake City and there was SNOW! I was still wearing my flip flops with my sun glasses on my head hah! But luckily, I like the snow (even if the cold is not so great right now) and my family got into the car and blared the Christmas music all the way home. 

These gingersnaps are perfect for the holiday season. I found this recipe while going through my mom's recipe card holder and decided to try them out. They were a success! And by success I mean I ate at least half of them by the time the rest of my family got to try one... Whoops!

Okay, okay, I'll let you go. Good luck on all your gingersnap journeys! These cookies are bound to fulfill all of your soft and chewy gingersnap needs. Trust me on this one and double the recipe! 

Soft and Chewy Gingersnaps
Yield: 2 dozen cookies
3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks), soft
1/4 cup molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup sugar, plus extra to dip tops in (about 1/2 cup)
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons soda
2 teaspoons ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt

1) Preheat oven to 375° Fahrenheit. In a medium mixing bowl with an Electric Hand Mixer (or in a KitchenAid), cream butter. Add molasses, vanilla, sugar and egg.
2) Sift together flour, soda, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. Add to butter mixture and stir until just incorporated.
3) Refrigerate batter for 15 minutes.
4) Roll into balls (about 1 to 1 1/2 inch wide) and dip tops in sugar. Bake for 10 minutes. Enjoy!