Smoked Salmon Dip

One of my friends has a house on an island in Alaska. Her family convenes there every summer (at the least) and they fly back to the Pacific Northwest with as much fish as they can carry. Just kidding. I think they have the fish shipped back. When I lived in Portland, she was nice enough to share what she caught on many occasions. She had a smoker and was known to smoke at least some of the salmon that she caught.

There was at least one birthday (if not two) where she gave me some of her delicious smoked salmon as a gift. When Jen shared her smoked salmon it was the first time I had ever been inclined to try smoked salmon. Oh sure there were times growing up (holidays, mostly) where there would be a slab of smoked salmon plated as an appetizer. And one time when my sister and I lived together in a tiny garage converted into an apartment when she took me in after I first moved to Portland she used some store-bought (thin) smoked salmon in a pasta recipe. I opted for fresh salmon on my portion. Back to Jen’s salmon. For some reason when Jen introduced me to her smoked salmon I didn’t turn my nose up at it (like I had with all other smoked salmon before) and I fell in love.

I thought I was doomed to never have Jen-like smoked salmon again when I moved back down to Southern California and away from my fish source. But I have happily found several stores that carry smoked salmon that’s Jen-like. It’s thick at least. Which reminds me of Jen’s. So on occasion, whenever I’m in the mood for cheese and crackers, I’ll also buy smoked salmon and have that with water crackers, too.I’ve had some smoked salmon in my fridge for a few weeks now.

For the longest time I had been intending to make a smoked salmon dip. Jen once or twice made an outstanding smoked salmon dip that she served with sliced cucumbers. It was sooooooo good. So I tooled around on the internet trying to find the perfect recipe. Most recipes that I saw called for horseradish, which I don’t particularly like. Not that I would be opposed to using it in a recipe, but I didn’t have any anyway. I needed a recipe that used ingredients I actually had on hand. Finally I found a horseradish-less recipe at Natasha’s Kitchen that looked good enough to try.



  • 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 c. sour cream
  • 1/2 T. fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. salt or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp Tabasco hot sauce, or to taste (I used Sriracha Sauce)
  • 4 to 6 oz. smoked salmon, (about 1  to 1 1/2 cups, chopped)
  • 2 T. chives, chopped plus more for garnish
  • crackers, cucumber slices or French Bread Baguette, sliced (to serve)




  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine softened cream cheese, sour cream, lemon juice, salt and Tabasco sauce. Mix at medium speed until well blended, scraping down the sides and bottoms as needed.
  2. Add chopped salmon and chives and stir a few times just to combine. Check the taste and add more salt (and maybe some pepper!), if desired. Refrigerate at least two hours, the longer the better–overnight recommend, before serving. Spread over slices of bread, cucumbers or crackers. Be warned. It’s addicting!


I waited a full four hours with the dip chilling in my refrigerator before I tried it. But I couldn’t wait a minute longer to cut up the cucumbers I had purchased for the occasion. Instead I found some crackers I bought at Fresh and Easy a year ago that were garlic flavored (and slightly stale). I figured the dip would cover up the fact that the crackers were slightly stale.

This dip is GOOD. I can’t decide if it’s good as is OR if it could use a bit extra smoked salmon in it (I only used four ounces). It’s very creamy and very cream cheesy. But to me the star of the show should be the smoked salmon. If you agree, you should add another two or so ounces of smoked salmon to the recipe.

This recipe is one that I could see myself making over and over again. Why? Because it’s so GOOD. And because it’s so EASY. It would be perfect to take to work potluck. Or as an appetizer for a dinner party. Or for a snack when getting together with family or friends. It would be good for lunch. It would be good for dinner. I bet you could even eat this on a bagel and call it breakfast. It is that GOOD.

Luckily for me I have about half of the smoked salmon I purchased leftover so I can make another batch next weekend if the mood strikes.


Raspberries and Cream Warm Oats Bowl

I found raspberries for $1.50 (for 6 ounces) at the store this weekend and bought four containers thinking I would make a raspberry pie. Then I realized a few things. One, I have way too much to do to make a pie. Two, I have no tapioca. Three, nearly everyone I work with is on a diet. I needed to find “plan B” to use up all those raspberries. The easiest thing, I decided, was to incorporate it into a warm bowl of oats in the morning. Last week I ate Chunky Monkey Warm Oats Bowls for breakfast every morning. A raspberry-centric bowl of warm oats seemed like the best and easiest way to fit all those raspberries in.


  • 1/3 c. rolled oats
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 T. brown sugar
  • 1/4 to 1/2 c. half-and-half, milk or non-dairy milk of your choice
  • 3 to 4 ounces of fresh raspberries (thawed frozen raspberries would probably be fine too)
  • 1/2 T. chia seeds
  • 1/2 T. hemp hearts
  • 1/2 T. ground flaxseed
  • additional raspberries and milk for garnish


  1. Place the oats and salt in a microwavable dish. Add the milk and place in the fridge. If you can, soak your oats in the milk for a few hours (or overnight).
  2. Once ready to eat, heat in the microwave for 60 to 90 seconds. Add brown sugar, raspberries and seeds and mix to incorporate. Mash the raspberries with you spoon if you’d like.
  3. Top with additional raspberries and milk, if desired.

I’ve been eating a lot of oats lately so I consider myself a bit of warm oats expert. It’s my opinion that if you soak the oats in your liquid overnight (even a couple of hours will do) that the oats will be less likely to turn into a big bowl of mush when you microwave it. There’s something more aesthetically pleasing to me about eating oats that look like oats instead of oats that look like mush. So obviously it’s not necessary to do this step, but if you’re particular about what your food looks like (like I am), I promise you this is the way to go.

Using half-and-half, this warm bowl of oats comes in at 375 calories, 11.2 g protein, 9.1 g fiber and 14.6 g sugar. This flavor is one of my favorite yet!

“Cookie Dough” Protein Bites

Over a year ago I bought the cookbook Superfood Snacks by Julie Morris. I somehow stumbled upon this gem of a cookie book (Amazon suggestions, I believe) and this book has changed my life. In the year plus since I bought this cookbook, I’ve become obsessed with trying to sneak superfoods into my meals. Julie’s recipe for Cookie Dough Protein Bites was one of the first recipes I wanted to try when I first flipped through the pages of the book. I even bought Medjool dates specifically for the recipe. And then the dates sat in my cupboard for a year or so. I guess life got in the way or something.

But the recipe has been haunting me ever since. Every time I flip through the cookbook (which seems nearly daily these days) I glance at the recipe and stare longingly at it and want the cookie dough bites on the page opposite the recipe in my mouth. Immediately. Alas, I threw out the damn Medjool dates that I had in my cupboard for about a year some time ago in a cleaning frenzy. Today I stopped at Trader Joe’s to get some chicken for my dogs and passed Medjool dates at the end of the produce aisle. It was Kismet.

The first thing I did when I got home (other than feed and walk my dogs) was to whiz the ingredients together in my food processor. Then I pinched the dough together between my fingers to taste the creation and literally fell in love.

I am so pissed I waited this long to try this recipe. It’s the BEST RECIPE EVER. I’m serious. It tastes like cookie dough. But there’s nothing cookie dough about it in terms of ingredients (except for the vanilla extract maybe). I have no idea how these ingredients turn into the taste of cookie dough but they do. I would recommend to anyone to try these bites. Immediately if not sooner.


Below is my spin on Julie’s recipe.


  • 1 c. dried mulberries
  • 5  Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/3 c. cashew butter
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder (raw)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract (I never really measure how much vanilla extract I put in anything)
  • hefty pinch of salt
  • 1 oz. dried goji berries
  • 1/4 c. hemp seeds
  • 1/4 c. semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
  • 1/4 c. cacao nibs



  1. In a food processor, grind the mulberries until you have a coarse mixture. Add the dates, nut butter, protein powder, vanilla extract, and sea salt, and process until  combined.img_1365
  2.  Add the goji berries, hemp seeds, chocolate chips and cacao nibs. Briefly pulse to break down the ingredients; allow some large pieces to remain.img_1367
  3. You may need to add a touch of water to get the crumbs to bind when pinched together. I had to. If the dough is too wet, mix in a bit of protein powder.img_1368
  4. Julie recommends packing the dough into a cookie dough scoop. I always have difficulties getting regular cookie dough out of my scoop and this time was no different. I did use the cookie dough scoop to portion out the dough however. Then I rolled the dough into balls. I got 12 balls.
  5. Julie says you can store these bites at room temperature in an airtight container for several weeks (or in the freezer for several months!).


If my estimations are correct, each ball is approximately 180 calories, 5 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber. These bites are also high in vitamin C.

I cannot stress enough how EASY this recipe is. It’s just whirring and whizzing ingredients in your food processor. Seriously, people. It’s SO easy. Though it tastes like something that is so BAD for you, this is a snack you can feel good about eating.

Red Velvet Cookie Dough Bites

I was searching for a recipe for “red velvet oatmeal” when I came across a blog for Red Velvet Energy Bites at Namely Marly that got me intrigued. I’m a sucker for red velvet anything so I thought I would try to recreate the energy bites myself. I always like to source recipes and make sure I’m using the best one or combining the best of the best. Could you believe there are very few recipes for red velvet energy bites/balls/bars floating around the internet? Most of the other ones I found contain protein powder (meh) instead of real ingredients, which was not what I was looking for. So I decided to forge ahead using Marly’s recipe and tweaking it just a bit.


  • ½ large beet, roasted and pureed in its juice
  • 3 T. almond butter
  • ¼ c. dark brown sugar
  • 1 c. rolled oats
  • ½ c. almond meal
  • ¼ c. hemp seeds
  • ½ c. ground flaxseed
  • ½ c. unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 t. cacao powder
  • 3/4 c. mini chocolate chips
  • ½ c. cacao nibs
  • 1 oz. dried goji berries


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together the pureed beet, almond butter, cacao powder and dark brown sugar until mixed thoroughly.
  2. Add in the almond meal, rolled oats, seeds and coconut and stir until completely incorporated.
  3. Lastly, add in the cacoa nibs, chocolate chips and goji berries and stir to combine.
  4. Press dough down with wax paper and cover until thoroughly chilled. I chilled mine overnight but an hour or two will probably do.
  5. Roll into balls. I got 23 balls approximately 1.2 ounces a piece.
  6. Store in a sealed container in the fridge.


I wanted something small to snack on when I wake up in the morning before my morning bowl of oats. I don’t wake up hungry but find that I get hungry in between the time that I wake up, get ready for work and get to work (6 am). I don’t like to eat breakfast that early in the morning so I thought a small snack would help keep my hunger at bay until I can eat my breakfast at a decent hour (say 7 or 8 am).

Marly’s recipe does not contain sugar but contains ingredients that have more sugar (a larger amount of chocolate chips and possibly the coconut – the sweetness isn’t specified in the recipe). I tried making this recipe without sugar thinking the beets were sweet enough but … they weren’t. You can try omitting the sugar if you’d like, but I think the 1/4 cup of brown sugar doesn’t do much damage to the recipe, health-wise anyway. You could use something healthier in place of the brown sugar, like coconut sugar (which I forgot I have!), if you so choose.

Based on the 23 balls yielded in this recipe, each ball contains approximately 160 calories, 4 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber and 14 grams of carbohydrates (if you’re counting that).

I fed one to my coworker today and she said she loved it even though she hates beets. She said you can’t taste the beet taste at all and I have to say I agree. These cookie dough bites are perfectly sweet and great for that stretch of time in between (or before!) meals. My for coworker even thinks eating one helped stave off a headache!


Chunky Monkey Warm Oats Bowl


Maybe you’re reading the title of this blog (and thinking back to my Warm Oats Bowl with Superfoods blog) and wondering… what the hell is the difference between a warm oats bowl and oatmeal?

I like to think of warm oats bowls as oatmeal’s indulgent (yet still healthy) cousin. On weekends when I make these bowls I pour boiling water over the rolled oats, cover and let the water seep into the oats. OK maybe I give the bowl a little nudge by nuking it in the microwave for 30 seconds to absorb any remaining water but still I like the slower, lengthier process better. It ensures the oats do not turn to mush immediately and it gives me a chance to get my topping ingredients together.

The chunky monkey flavor tastes so indulgent it will feel like you’re eating something naughty; something you should only eat on the weekends. But coming in at approximately 500 calories, 14 grams of protein and 11 grams of fiber (based on adding 1 1/2 tablespoons peanut butter), you could probably eat this bowl for breakfast during the week, stay full until lunch and not feel guilty whatsoever.


  • 1/2 c. rolled oats
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 c. water
  • 1/2 T. hulled hemp hearts
  • 1/2 T. ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 T. cacoa nibs
  • 1 T. dried goji berries
  • 1 to 2 T. peanut butter
  • 1 T. honey


  1. Cook oatmeal according to standard directions. You should be able to find directions on the canister of oats you purchased but if you buy oats in bulk (like I do) you can used this basic recipe from Better Homes and Gardens. I let my oats steep in hot boiling water (covered) until the water had seeped into the oats.
  2. Top oatmeal with peanut butter, honey, cacoa nibs, hemp seeds, ground flaxseed and goji berries. If your oatmeal is too dry you can add some milk or cream to make it a bit more creamy.

Before I assembled this bowl, I was debating on adding cream and/or butter. I opted not to add either since the bowl was plenty calorie-rich without the two. I would have added cream at the end had my oats turned out too dry but the oats were plenty creamy by using the boiling water pour-over method to prepare the oatmeal. I microwaved the peanut butter and the honey to liquify them so that I could drizzle them over the bowl for aesthetic purposes but that wouldn’t be a necessary step (unless you’re taking pictures of you’re food too).


Cashew Butter Parsnip Fries

Still dreaming of foods crusted in seeds, I began looking for a french fry-like recipe that was healthy. I was leaning toward avocado french fries when I found a recipe for parsnip fries at Oh She Glows and I thought to myself … why the hell not. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a parsnip so I had no idea what to expect. I kept my expectations low because I’m not altogether a huge vegetable lover. I like a lot of vegetables. I love sweet potatoes. But I don’t really crave vegetables on a regular basis. I basically eat them because I know I should. Until now. This recipe may have made me a (vegetable) believer.


  • 3 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into thin fry-like strips
  • 3 T. nut butter (I used cashew butter)
  • 1 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt, or to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Peel and cut parsnips into fry-like strips. You can easily do this if you have a mandolin with a julienne attachment. Dump into a gallon-sized Ziploc baggy.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the nut butter, olive oil, and salt. Drizzle into the baggy filled with the parsnips. Shake the bag and rub the mixture into the fries. (You can use these immediately or store in the fridge for another day. I cooked mine about three days later.)
  3. Spread onto baking pan and cook for 25 to 50 minutes or until crisp. The length of time will depend on how thin you cut your fries. Mine were too well-done after 30 minutes.

Parsnips look like giant white carrots. This is what the cashier at Winco said to me when she held up the vegetable and ask me to identify it for her. She also asked me what one does with parsnips and, aside from putting them in some veggie broth once, I actually have no idea. I told her I was buying them to make healthy French fries.

I was annoyed when I took these out of the oven because I burnt what seemed like a good third or half of the batch. Whoops.

I bit into these fries and my first thought was: meh. Despite the fact that my first thought was “meh,” I continued to eat a few more and suddenly they were the best healthy fries I had ever had and I wanted to eat the whole pan. (Good thing half the fries were burnt.) The nut butter coating gives the effect of beer battered fries. Or double breaded fries. Just completely superb. I don’t know what parsnips taste like so I don’t know if the amazing flavor came from the parsnip or the cashew butter but regardless … these were some damn good fries.

Healthy Baked Chicken Fingers

I have to say that after creating my superfood-spiked morning oatmeal I have begun feeling inspired to create other meals using said superfoods. One of the biggest challenges I seem to face when trying to overhaul my normal diet (of hot chocolate, cookies and cake) is that I cannot seem to get enough fiber into my diet without having to manufacture it. I can eat copious amounts of low-carb tortillas which are high fiber. But it feels like fake, manufactured fiber to me–not fiber found in nature. Honestly, sometimes I will eat three low-carb tortillas in one day just to fit fiber into my diet.

I’m usually fine at sneaking fiber into my breakfast via smoothies. But I get sick of smoothies real fast. Plus I figured I needed to start sneaking fiber into my lunches and dinners (sans low-carb tortillas, that is). Also, my goal is to have slightly indulgent but still healthy foods. So I figured that baked chicken strips made with healthy seeds and nuts instead of flour and breadcrumbs and dunked in real ranch dressing would fit all the qualifications I am looking for in a meal.

There are several versions of seed-crusted chicken strips on the internet but the one at Gimme Some Oven seemed most tantalizing to me. I based my recipe off Ali’s  hemp-crusted version.


  • 1/4 c. hemp seeds
  • 2 T. chia seeds
  • 2 T. ground flax seed
  • 1/4 c. ground almonds or almond meal
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • pinch of ancho or cayenne pepper
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced into 1/4-inch thick strips
  • 2 large eggs
  • cooking spray (or you can also use olive oil in a Misto)



  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together seeds, almond flour, garlic powder, salt, pepper and ancho (or cayenne) pepper until evenly combined.
  3. Pile the chicken strips in a bowl or on a plate. Whisk eggs in a bowl and set next to the flour concoction.You need an assembly line here.
  4. Dip a chicken strip in the eggs until completely covered, then shake to let any extra egg drip off. Add the chicken strip to the flour mixture, and gently toss until the chicken strip is completely covered. Remove and transfer the chicken strip to the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining pieces of chicken.img_1247
  5. Lightly spray the chicken strips with cooking spray or mist with olive oil. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes, turning once halfway through, until the chicken is cooked and no longer pink inside. I broiled my chicken for the last few minutes attempting to brown the outside. (It didn’t work all that well.)
  6. Remove and serve warm with your desired dipping sauce.


I’m never one to claim that one of my recipes is the best recipe ever … unless it really is. This recipe is not one of the best recipes ever. The chicken strips looked anemic because they never browned. The chicken seemed a bit rubbery to me (could have been the quality chicken I bought?). And the “breading” didn’t completely stick though more breading stuck than the stuff that didn’t. But I will tell you this: this is an excellent recipe if you’re trying to mimic deep fried breaded chicken fingers and you want to make them healthy, healthy, healthy. I dipped mine in real ranch dressing (not vegan, not low-fat) and it was divine.

Chocolate Truffle Brownies

The past month or so I was busy studying for a work-related exam to gain an additional certification, which left me with little time to cook/bake/blog during my free time. Having aced the exam this past week, my free time opened back up and I was free to try this brownie recipe sent to me by my grandma.

There’s something about brownies that intrigue me. I’ve tried many a recipe in search of the perfect brownie, but admittedly, I don’t know what the perfect brownie looks like to me. I don’t think I’m in love with cake-like brownies. I like them more fudgy. At the same time I like when the brownie crusts over on top. This brownie has both.

The only thing I don’t love about this brownie is how thin it is. When I’m eating a brownie I want it to be thick/deep. This brownie was probably about half-an inch thick. I could have easily doubled the below recipe to make it thicker or baked the below recipe in a smaller pan, square pan. That’s the only thing I would change when making subsequent batches of this brownie. Other than that, it was pretty darn perfect.


  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 1 c. (2 sticks) butter
  • 6 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • powdered sugar (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare a 9×13-inch baking dish by greasing it generally.
  2. Over medium-low heat in a medium-sized heavy-duty pot melt butter and chocolate until completely smooth. Remove from heat and add sugar, using a whisk to incorporate. Whisk in eggs and vanilla. Stir in flour and salt.
  3. Pour into prepared pan and bake for about 40 minutes. The top will be crusted over but a toothpick inserted into the middle should come out with moist bits of brownie clinging to it.
  4. Cool completely before cutting. Garnish with powdered sugar, if desired.

One of the great things about making brownies is … how easy they are to make! I used one bowl (the pot) to make this dish and probably had the batter mixed up within 5 or 10 minutes. That’s it!

These brownies are very fudgy and tend to “stick” to anything when cutting. They stuck to my knife. They stuck to the spatula I used to try to remove them. They even stuck to each other a bit. I cut my brownies into 15 large-ish brownies (because I believe when you’re eating something such as a bar or brownie the portion should be humongous) but you can probably get 30 to 32 smaller pieces.


Warm Oats Bowl with Superfoods

I spent a week in Washington DC on business travel eating garbage. I don’t mean literal garbage, of course, but I did eat fast food nearly every night. No. It was every night. And it may have been “gourmet” fast food but it was fast food nonetheless. In fact, I ate Shake Shack twice! My last night there I gave up on not having fast food for the fifth night in a row after walking around downtown DC in the pouring rain going in and then immediately out of any decent looking sit-down restaurant I could find. They were all packed!

So I gave up and took the Metro back to Union Station and bought my second and last meal of Shake Shack for the trip. Then, when I got back to my hotel (Shake Shack bag and Crumbs bag in tow), a guy riding up in the elevator commented on my choice of dinner. I’m sure he was just trying to make conversation and I believed him to be somewhat tipsy but still I turned to him and said: Look. Don’t judge the fact that I have had Shake Shack twice in one week. This was a hard week. And this is my reward for passing an exam today. I said this jokingly but with a straight face. He looked bemused when he clarified that he was not judging me but was more jealous that I was eating Shake Shack and he wasn’t. He departed the floor before mine. My friend pointed out that in a rom-com I would have suggested another night that week where I could have my third meal of Shake Shack and invited him to join me before he got off the elevator. Ha!

I digress. After eating garbage all week long I began dreaming about eating healthy food to compensate. I will admit that it’s easier for me to eat something healthy if I feel like it’s also slightly indulgent. So I began dreaming about food that would be both. I came up with this oatmeal recipe sorta based on the fact that oatmeal was served for us the last day of our conference (with all sorts of toppings to dress it up) and the fact that oatmeal drowning in butter, brown sugar and half-and-half was described in a book I began reading on the flight home. It seemed like Kismet or some sort of sign for me to eat oatmeal, at the least.

So I figured I could add a small amount of butter, brown sugar and half-and-half into regular old morning oatmeal and then healthify it with superfoods to make a protein and fiber packed steaming morning bowl of cooked oats.

This bowl is relatively high calorie (almost 500 calories) but should keep you full about four hours. (That’s how long it was until I got hungry anyway.)


  • 1/2 c. rolled oats
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 c. water
  • 1 to 2 T. half-and-half (or your milk of choice)
  • 1/2 T. butter (optional)
  • 1/2 T. dark brown sugar (or your preferred sweetener)
  • 1 T. hulled hemp hearts
  • 1 T. ground flaxseed
  • 1 T. chia seeds
  • 1/2 oz. dried goji berries
  • acai berries or powder, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, dried mulberries and goldenberries, cacao nibs, coconut, almonds, cashews, walnuts, pistachios, sunflower seeds, and pepitas are other superfoods and nuts/seeds you could use, too


  1. Cook oatmeal according to standard directions. You should be able to find directions on the canister of oats you purchased but if you buy oats in bulk (like I do) you can used this basic recipe from Better Homes and Gardens. I made mine in a microwaveable bowl. I added the oats, salt and water to the bowl, covered with wax paper, and cooked the oatmeal on high for about two minutes two to three minutes. Note that you want your oatmeal to be somewhat running when you pull it out of the microwave because it will firm up as it sits. So if it’s dry when you pull it out, it’s only going to get more dry as it sits. No worries – just add more milk to up the creaminess factor.
  2. Top oatmeal with brown sugar, butter and half-and-half. Stir to incorporate. Stir in your superfoods. Adjust the creaminess by adding additional milk, if needed. Enjoy!

I considered adding protein powder to this recipe to increase the protein but didn’t for two reasons: 1) I wanted to use ingredients that added both protein and fiber 2) I don’t like the taste of protein powder. It makes things taste like … protein powder. This recipe has approximately 15 grams of protein and 14 grams of fiber, which I thought was pretty good for a breakfast that doesn’t contain eggs or meat!

You can easily and quickly make this meal before you head off for work. Or, if you’re like me and you do not wake up hungry, prepare some dishes the night before to take with you to work. You’ll need a container for the oats and salt (I used a mason jar), a container for the wet toppings (butter and milk) and a container for the dry ingredients (sugar and superfoods). Just add water and microwave while at work and you can have your warm oats with superfoods at your desk in the morning.

Buttermilk Biscuits

I have always been a big biscuit fan. Even as a little kid I remember going to McDonald’s and opting for the Bacon, Egg and Cheese Biscuit sandwich when everyone else was ordering Egg McMuffin sandwiches. It’s something about the density and the buttery goodness that would prompt me to choose a biscuit over an English muffin every single time. I don’t eat biscuits as often as I would like, which is probably a good thing. I reason with every biscuit you’re eating you can guarantee yourself you’re eating a tablespoon of butter. And that’s without adding any butter to the biscuit. But when I lived in Portland, Ore., I seemed to eat more biscuits than is usual for me. This was thanks to the fact that I tried biscuits and gravy at almost every breakfast joint I visited. When you live such a rainy, dreary climate as Portland’s tends to be in the fall and winter, trust me that you need yourself copious amounts of biscuits and gravy to stick to your ribs.

So I was surprised when I perused my biscuits and scones category to see that I did not have a plain buttermilk biscuit recipe/post. I found plenty of biscuit and scone recipes that included bacon and cheese — always a winning combination — but no trusty buttermilk biscuit recipe? Hmph. It was time to change that. I had decided that I needed some biscuits to sop up the extra portion of (noodle-less) chicken stroganoff sitting in my fridge. So I googled “buttermilk+biscuits” and was drawn to the pictures in this recipe.

This recipe is a winner. No seriously. Look no further. If you follow the directions below to a T, you will have yourself some nicely risen biscuits with flaky layers and a crispy, buttery bottom. I watched as my biscuits began to rise in the oven and the butter melted and seeped out of the rounds of dough giving the bottom a nice brown color and buttery taste.

I could not wait for the biscuits to be done. I wanted to whip something fabulous up to go with what I knew were going to be the best biscuits ever. I had nothing in my refrigerator to make a breakfast-y sandwich with (other than eggs, and trust me that I did debate on making a plain ‘ol egg and biscuit sandwich) so I instead ate two right out of the oven with plenty of butter. I sure did not need a second biscuit but realized as I was eating my way through the first one that I wanted to take pictures of the inside of the biscuit. So I had to eat another one in order to get proper pics. The sacrifices you make for your food blog, ya know?


  • 2 c. all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. fine salt (I used pink Himalayan salt)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 8 T. cold unsalted butter (1 stick), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 c. cold buttermilk


  1. Heat the oven to 425°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
  2. Whisk the measured flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda together in a large bowl to aerate and combine. Add the butter pieces and toss to just coat them in the flour mixture. Place the bowl in the freezer for 10 minutes.
  3. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, and working quickly so as not to soften the butter, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until it’s in pea-size pieces. Use your hands if you have to; I did. Drizzle in the buttermilk and stir just until a moist, shaggy dough comes together. Do not use your hands for this step! I did and could not get the dough off my hands.
  4. Generously dust a work surface with flour. Scrape the dough out onto the surface and dust the top with more flour. Using floured hands, gently pat the dough into a 1-inch-thick circle.
  5. Using a 2-1/2-inch round cutter dipped in flour, cut out as many biscuits as possible–I got eight biscuits. (Chowhound’s directions say to press straight down through the dough without twisting the cutter. Apparently the biscuits will not rise properly if you twist.)
  6. Transfer the biscuits to the prepared baking sheet, spacing them at least 1 inch apart. Gather the scraps into a ball, pat it into a 1-inch-thick circle, and cut out more biscuits. Repeat as needed discard any unused shreds of dough.
  7. Bake until the biscuits have risen and are golden brown on top, about 15 to 16 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly before serving.

I promptly succumbed to a carb coma after eating two biscuits in the name of food blogging and melted into the couch. But let me tell you, the carb coma is well worth it.

If I have any leftover biscuits (and I know I’m not able to eat the leftover biscuits immediately), oftentimes I will freeze them to take out for later use. Once frozen, you can allow them to come to room temperature and then throw into a 350-degree oven for a few minutes to imitate that just-out-of-the-oven taste and feel. I would not recommend microwaving to reheat unless you absolutely have to. I’m never a fan of microwaving any bread or bread product (such as leftover biscuits or pizza).

These biscuits were fabulous on their own and I know would make a phenomenal breakfast sammie, but I have to tell you they worked very nicely as a base for leftover chicken and biscuits. I cobbled together a chicken and biscuits-like dish using leftover chicken stroganoff.

{crockpot} Shredded Chicken Stroganoff

Have you ever asked someone if they’ve ever had hamburger stroganoff and gotten a blank look? Like they had absolutely no idea what “stroganoff” is? That happened to me once and I thought it was weird. I thought everyone grew up eating stroganoff on a regular basis. My mom made this classic dish my entire life. (Though I didn’t start eating it until my teens or 20s, however. As a child I ate very plain food and avoided vegetables such as mushrooms.) But in this person’s defense, he was born in another country (though grew up in the States since a young age). He may have grown up eating the old country’s food instead of classic American cuisine such as stroganoff.

The only stroganoff I ever encountered growing up was of the hamburger variety but found recently that there are many different types of stroganoff. Chicken, meatball, lamb, steak, etc. It’s like you can use any kind of meat in place of hamburger. I once made lamb-burger stroganoff–this was way before Pinterest revolutionized the sharing of recipes. I thought I was pretty clever for coming up with a spin on the classic hamburger recipe (and name)! I’ve also made ground turkey, browned butter hamburger and Italian sausage stroganoff. See? You really can make stroganoff using any meat!

Recently I found a recipe my grandma sent me for crockpot chicken stroganoff, which seemed like something I wanted to try. One, because I had most the ingredients already on hand. And two because crockpot cooking is so easy. And three because I need something to take to work for lunch and any recipe that yields a large amount will feed me for a week. Or more!

In a nutshell, stroganoff is comfort food–for those of you who’ve never had it. It’s a creamy noodle casserole often made with processed crap like condensed soup. I am not overly fond of recipes that use canned foods versus fresh and, actually, once made my own “condensed soup substitute” for stroganoff; however, I do think there is definitely a time and a place for canned goods and processed foods. Specifically for classic foods from my childhood days.

My recipe below is an adaptation of the one my grandma sent to me. I cannot actually find a link to the recipe like I usually can but I suspect she clipped it from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.


  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast, frozen
  • 1 can (10 3/4 oz) cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 can (10 3/4 oz) cream of chicken soup
  • 1 package (1 oz.) onion soup mix
  • 16 oz. mushrooms, washed and quartered
  • 1 small brown onion, diced into large pieces
  • 1 16 oz. container of sour cream
  • wide egg noodles (I used a 12 oz package and did not have enough noodles)


  1. Place chicken in a four-quart (or larger) crockpot. Add to the crockpot the cans of condense soup, onion soup mix, mushrooms and onions. (You could first mix all these ingredients together. I did not and the only thing I didn’t like is that the onions didn’t cook as much as I would have liked. But they probably would have had I had them covered by sauce.) Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
  2. When chicken is cooked (mine was around 6 or so hours), remove chicken and shred. Return to crockpot and stir until combined. Add sour cream.
  3. Make noodles according to package directions. Mix noodles with chicken mixture. (I did this in my noodle pot; I added enough of the chicken mixture until I felt as though there was a good ratio of noodles to chicken and sauce.) I found that 12 ounces of noodles was not enough–I had leftover chicken mixture.

So this recipe was good, but I wasn’t overly psyched at first. It didn’t remind me all that much of the hamburger stroganoff I grew to love. I had a few bites, took some pics and packaged up the rest for lunch. Honestly I was a bit overwhelmed by the amount of leftovers I had in my fridge. Later on I was sitting down to write this blog and I thought … eh … I’m still hungry. So I got the smallest container I had packaged from the fridge, and it was actually still warm. So I dove in. And remembered how much better stroganoff is after it sits for a bit and even cools down slightly. It gets thicker. And the flavors seem to meld. And then I was suddenly very satisfied with my choice and the recipe.

I was also stoked because I had some leftover chicken in sauce and my mind began drifting as to how I could use it. I figured I could make some biscuits and turn the leftovers into something like chicken and biscuits. Which I did. And it was even better with biscuits!

German Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache

I noticed when I began melting some butter for this cake that I had two different boxes of German chocolate in my possession. Oh it was the same kind of chocolate — the kind I needed for my cake — it was just that on the back of one was a recipe for German chocolate cake and on the back of the other was a recipe for German chocolate cupcakes. Admittedly, one of those boxes of chocolate (the one with the cake recipe on back) was a few months older than the one I bought at the store earlier this week, but I was perplexed nonetheless when I realized that the recipes on the back of each box were totally different! What’s a girl to do?

So I studied both recipes and made a split decision to follow the cupcake recipe but turn it into a layer cake instead. I had already started the recipe by melting the chocolate. And I remembered having used my other box of Chocolate back in March to make a German chocolate cake (that I did not blog) that got rave reviews with coworkers but … there was something about it I didn’t like. OK I’ll just be frank about it. The damn cake shrank! It’s what happens when you make a cake that uses egg whites folded into the batter. I’m not sure why it does this but it happens with tres leches cake too. And it annoys me. So I decided to use the whole egg recipe (cupcake recipe) so my 8-inch cake didn’t shrink to six inches as it cooled.

So there I was ready to set about on my German chocolate cake. I glanced at the frosting recipes on the back of both packages and smugly smiled to myself when I saw that at least those recipes matched. Then my smile turned into a grimace when I saw the recipe called for 1 12-ounce can of evaporate milk. Since I had two boxes of chocolate to double the cake recipe I was going to need to double the frosting recipe as well. As an aside, I think you can never go wrong by doubling the frosting recipe. I find that I like to frost my cakes with a relatively thick layer of frosting. I almost always run out of frosting way too early when I do not double the frosting recipe. At any rate, I looked in my newly organized cupboards and confirmed that I only had 1 12-ounce can of evaporated milk (plus one 5-ounce can of evaporated milk but obviously 12 + 5 does not = 24…). Grr.

So I set out to find a German chocolate cake recipe that used the traditional coconut frosting along with a chocolate frosting. Who doesn’t like a good chocolate frosting anyway? I figured I was increasing my cake’s stock by adding more chocolate. I set my mind on a nice ganache frosting and found a good-looking recipe quickly at Brown Eyed Baker’s website. But then I realized I do not have heavy cream in my refrigerator and I was trying to use only ingredients found in my refrigerator for this cake. (I decided this Thursday night after spending $135 at the grocery store. Really? Why does one person need to spend that much in one outing? Because of that bill I made a mental note to curb my food spending for the rest of the month.)

So I googled “how to make chocolate ganache without heavy cream” and lo and behold, I found information on making ganache with butter and milk instead of heavy cream. Logically I could not understand how melting butter into milk could substitute for heavy cream because most certainly the texture of melted butter + milk does not = the texture of heavy cream. Plus, Brown Eyed Baker’s ganache recipe used butter + heavy cream (+ chocolate + corn syrup). Ultimately when I went to the grocery store for chicken so I could make chicken jerky for my dogs, I ended up getting a pint of heavy cream since it wasn’t grotesquely overpriced.


 cake ingredients.

  • 2 packages (8 oz.) BAKER’S GERMAN’S Sweet Chocolate
  • 1 1/2 c. butter or margarine (I used 1 c. margarine + 1/2 c. butter)
  • 3 c. sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 4 c. flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 c. buttermilk

cake directions.

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Prepare three eight-inch cake pans the way you would normally prepare when baking a cake. For me, I grease with shortening. Then I put a parchment paper round in the bottom and grease again. For chocolate cakes I sprinkle with cocoa powder instead of flour.
  2. Microwave chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 2 min. or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is well blended. You can do this on the stove top as well; I did.
  3. Add sugar; beat with mixer until blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition. I was a bit afraid my eggs would scramble adding to the hot-ish chocolate mixture but they didn’t somehow. Blend in vanilla. Combine 1 cup flour, baking soda and salt. Add to chocolate mixture; mix well. Add remaining flour alternately with buttermilk, mixing well after each addition.
  4. Bake 30 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean-ish; it should not be liquid-y but some moist bits of cake are OK. Cool in pans 10 min. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.
  5. Fill with Coconut Filling and frost with Chocolate Ganache Frosting. Start making the ganache first and while the ganache is cooling in the fridge, start making your coconut filling. You can most likely make your filling and fill the cake by the time the ganache is about ready to spread onto the cake.

chocolate ganache frosting ingredients.

  • 16 oz. bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (I used a combo of both)
  • 1/4 c. light corn syrup
  • 6 T. butter
  • 2 c. heavy cream

chocolate ganache frosting directions.

  1. Place the chopped chocolate, corn syrup and butter in a medium bowl.
  2. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until it is hot and begins to get tiny bubbles along the edges; try not to let it boil. Remove from heat and pour over the chocolate. Let stand five minutes, then stir until smooth. If you find that when you’re stirring your chocolate is not melting into the heavy cream, you can nuke in the microwave at 30 second intervals until the chocolate starts melting.
  3. Cool to room temperature. Once the frosting has cooled to room temperature, refrigerate for 1 hour or so; after an hour in the fridge my frosting wasn’t quite thick enough for it to stick to the cake without wanting to slide off.

coconut filling ingredients.

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 12 oz can evaporated milk
  • 1/2 T. vanilla extract
  •  1 1/2 c. sugar
  •  3/4 c. butter or margarine
  • 5 c. flaked coconut (or 3 1/2 c. flaked coconut + 1 1/2 c. chopped pecans)

coconut filling ingredients.

  1. Beat egg yolks, milk and vanilla in large saucepan with whisk until blended.
  2. Add sugar and butter; cook on medium heat 12 min. or until thickened and golden brown, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
  3. Add coconut; mix well. Cool to desired spreading consistency.


cake assembly directions.

  1. I like to make my cakes a day before frosting them. I stick them in the freezer and when I’m about ready to frost will bring them out so they begin to defrost. It seems easier to slice the cakes in half when they are slightly frozen and/or cold.
  2. Make the ganache first. It’s time-consuming to allow it to cool in the fridge. You should be able to have the entire cake sliced and assembled by the time you’re ready to frost.
  3. Remove the cakes from the pan. Using a long serrated knife, slice off the domes of the layers. I like to save the domes and make my own mini-layer cake in a bowl. Slice layer in half using the serrated knife so that you get two layers instead of the one thicker layer. Repeat with the remaining layer cakes so that you have six layers total.
  4. I have a cake stand that rotates. I put my cakes on top a cardboard round and then put down three strips of wax paper in a triangle. The point of this is so that inevitably when I get frosting all over the bottom of the cake, I can later pull the wax paper off and have a clean-looking cake. This is especially important if you’re assembling your cake right on top of you cake platter.
  5. Set down the first cake layer and spread a modest amount of the coconut filling from the middle not quite to the edges. Leave about half an inch or so. You will need about six equal portions of the coconut filling so make sure you appropriately portion while you’re filling. Top the frosted cake with another layer of cake and repeat until you get to the last layer. Do not frost the top layer with filling. Reserve the remaining filling for later. You’re now ready to frost the cake with the ganache frosting.
  6. Make sure your layers are in line. If you need to, do some adjusting. I try to keep an eye on my layers when I’m adding them during the filling process because it can be hard to adjust six layers once everything is all stacked. I tend to slice the layers unevenly and try to match up the thick part of one layer with an equally thin part of another layer when I’m adding a cake layer on top. I will tell you that you can do wonders with frosting, however. With the right artistry, you can make leaning cake look like it’s leaning less or a sloping top layer look even.
  7. The ganache should be cool enough that you can spread it without dripping at this point. If not, you can wait for the ganache to cool more or you can try to spread the drippy ganache on your cake. It’s not impossible to do – the ganache will firm as it continues to cool – but it can be a mess. I frost the top of the cake first and then make my way down the sides using an offset spatula to press ganache into the crevices between the layers. You’ll want to frost your cake with at least two layers of frosting. In the first go round you’ll do a lot of filling in of cracks and crevices. You’ll see spots of your cake where the cake peeks through the frosting. That’s OK. That’s what the second layer is for. On the second layer of frosting you can make sure your cake is totally smooth. If there are any “bald” spots (or spots where the cake peeks through) just patch it up with a dab of ganache and blend into the rest of the cake.img_0941
  8. I had a ton of leftover ganache frosting. Leftover frosting is never a bad thing. You can use it for your individual layer cake. You can pipe more frosting on top in a decorative manner. That’s what I did in this instance. I piped frosting using a small perfectly round hole.Refrigerate to set the ganache. I didn’t time this step but I would say you may want to refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour.
  9. Once the ganache has set, take the remaining coconut and spread over the top of the cake. Alternatively you could probably frost the top with the remaining coconut and then do your decorative piping of the frosting.


A note about this cake: the traditional frosting calls for pecans. I don’t happen to love pecans in baked things but I actually would have added pecans to this recipe had I had any in my freezer. I had walnuts and almonds but no pecans.

I’ve made German chocolate cake before. Twice, I believe. But this version was by far the best of any of the ones I’ve ever made. I like the cake in this version much better than the version that uses beaten egg whites. Also, the addition of the ganache frosting (as opposed to using all coconut) makes the cake look and taste more polished.






No-Bake Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bars

I don’t know why raw cookie dough gets such a bad rap. I mean, scientifically, I get it, but realistically I’ve been eating raw cookie dough (in large quantities) for about the last 30 years and nothing adverse has ever happened to me. But whatever.

I was eyeing up recipes for no-bake cookie dough bars on Pinterest quite some time ago. And then again today. In the spirit of my coworkers asking me on Friday “what are you baking this weekend (and bringing in to share with us),” I decided I would try this no-bake dessert. There are several variations of this recipe floating around on the internet. The one I saw on Pinterest was from the Recipe Critic. I also found a recipe similar to the Recipe Critic’s at the view from great island site and another one at Family Feast and a healthy vegan, gluten-free option at Chocolate Covered Katie.These were the top four recipes on Google.

I tried making vegan, gluten-free cookie dough once using a recipe somewhat similar to the Chocolate Covered Katie healthy option one. I really can’t remember what inspired me other than the promise that the recipe tastes exactly like raw chocolate chip cookie dough. Snort! You can see the recipe never made my  blog which will tell you how I felt about it (if something isn’t blogged about it wasn’t good enough for sharing). I have this thing about healthy recipes that are trying to mimic unhealthy/classic recipes. Like making pizza dough out of cauliflower instead of flour. Yes, I have tried it. Yes, it even made my blog. But, no, in case you are wondering if you have never tried cauliflower pizza crust it tastes NOTHING like normal pizza crust. Have you ever had cauliflower?? It’s a very distinct taste. That’s what cauliflower pizza crust tastes like, and I won’t try to convince you of other. In fact, my cauliflower pizza crust blog did not try to persuade you that cauliflower pizza crust tastes as good or better than regular pizza crust. Anyway, back to the cookie dough. So basically I felt that the vegan, gluten-free cookie dough I made (and never blogged about) tasted nothing like real cookie dough. To be fair, it’s probably a decent substitute if you are vegan and/or gluten-free. But if you choose not to be vegan and/or you do not eat gluten-free, I would not suggest such a recipe.

So anyway, I discarded the healthy option (sorry, Katie!) because I was won over by the versions that contained sweetened condensed milk. I guess the sweetened condensed milk takes over for the egg in the cookie dough? Which confounds me because it seems like there’s way more milk in the recipe than there would be eggs and the texture and taste are totally different. But I guess when you’re not baking something it works? At any rate, I have had a mild obsession with sweetened condensed milk for over a year now. So I went with the Recipe Critic’s recipe as it contained peanut butter in the chocolate topping, and I had already decided to add peanut butter chips to my dough. Kismet!

So I happily set out to make these no-bake bars knowing they would be easy to make. Here’s what happens every time I clean my floors. I immediately get them dirty. So I cleaned my floors yesterday and this afternoon while I was making this recipe not only did the flour go flying out of my mixer and land all over my floors, cupboards and the stainless steel oven (that I happened to also polish yesterday right along with the floors I scrubbed) but also I walked away for a millisecond (crossed over to my dining room to grab some chocolate chips on a shelf) and in that millisecond the bowl to my stand mixer became dislodged and the spatula with all of its sticky dough and a thick strand of condensed milk went flying off the bowl and landed where else? You got it. On my once clean floor. Grr.

Once I got past the irritation of the messy floor I tasted the “dough” and became overwhelmed by the dichotomy of the taste versus the texture. It tastes just like normal cookie dough (after I added 5x the amount of salt to combat the sweetened condensed milk) but the texture is nothing like normal cookie dough. And I have to say … it’s not exactly a texture I like. So immediately I became annoyed and wanted to push past the three-hour chill time before I slapped the chocolate on top because I wanted to taste the finished product. I did not want to waste two whole sticks of butter and two whole cans of sweetened condensed milk on a bad dessert. That would make me really mad. I especially hate wasting butter. It’s so expensive and I’m nearly out!

Alas, it was late enough in the evening by the time I pressed the dough into my pan that I needed to wait until the following day to add my chocolate on top, let it chill again and then taste the finished product.


  • 1 c. (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
  •  1 1/2 c. packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 to 2 1/2 tsp. salt (the recipe calls for 1/2; I used 2 1/2 – go with your tastes here)
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 c. all-purpose flour (I probably used 4 1/2, at the least)
  • 2 (14 oz.) cans sweetened condensed mi
  • 2 c. mini chocolate chips
  • 2 c. peanut butter chips (or additional mini chocolate chips; I threw in a tiny amount of mini m&ms – those would be a good option too!)
  • 2 c.  milk chocolate chips (for the “frosting”)
  • 1 c. peanut butter (for the “frosting”)


  1. Cream the butter and sugar and salt together until fluffy. I use my stand mixer, but you don’t have to. Just beat it really good so it’s light and creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Mix in the vanilla extract.
  2. Beat in the condensed milk and the flour, alternately, mixing after each addition.
    Mix in the chocolate chips.
  3. Line a 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper and/or spray with cooking spray. Do this especially if you do not use the parchment paper.
  4. Dump the dough into the pan and pat down evenly with your hands or a spatula. You may want to flour your hands if the dough is sticky. Mine wasn’t. Smooth it out as evenly as possible. You can press down on the dough with your hands; cover with waxed paper to make a barrier between your hands and the dough.
  5. Cover and refrigerate until firm, (about 3  to 4 hours) or overnight if you like. The texture of these bars are similar to fudge.
  6. To make the chocolate topping, put the milk chocolate chips and peanut butter in a microwave safe bowl or measuring cup and microwave for one minute. Stir, and then, if needed, return to the microwave for short bursts of 15 seconds until the chocolate is totally smooth and melted. My frosting was ready to go after one minute.
  7. Pour the chocolate mixture over the dough. Spread out evenly. Return to the refrigerator until the topping is firm. Cut into squares. Refrigerate until ready to eat.

I was surprised/relieved to find out that the finish product was GOOD. I had talked myself out of liking the bars during the no-bake process. I will tell you this though: a little bit of this bar goes a long way; they are rich. I ate too many during the plating/staging/picture-taking process and felt a bit sick afterward (not in a good way). I also have a tendency to think this is a dessert women will like more so than men. Why? I guess I don’t know that many men who go ga-ga over cookie dough. Do you? Cookie dough seems kinda girly to me. Not that men won’t enjoy these treats; I just can’t see them gobbling these up.

The standard recipe you’ll find on the internet is for a small square pan. I doubled the recipe and threw it in a 9×13-inch pan. I also doubled the recipe for the chocolate topping which, in my opinion, worked out well. The topping on my bars is relatively thick. Some of the other bars I’ve seen floating around the internet and Pinterest contain a rather thin layer of chocolate on top. These bars are so rich I feel like they need a thicker chocolate topping. But you decide, you be the judge, when you try these out.

Like cookie dough? Try out these other cookie dough inspired treats:

Brown Butter Sour Cream Waffles

It’s that time of the month where I just paid my mortgage and I’m in shock over the lack of money in my checking account. It’s that time of month where I try to eat what’s in my fridge, freezer and cupboards without having to buy any groceries (if humanly possible).

I noticed last night that I have half of a half-gallon of milk in my fridge that expired approximately 10 days ago. Then I remembered seeing recipes for sour milk pancakes (etc.) in my grandma’s recipe box back in the day, so I googled “sour milk” to determine if sour milk actually was milk past its prime or … something else. And low and behold I found all this good stuff about how you can use milk that is past its prime. So I decided to try to find a recipe (or some recipes) to use up the “sour” milk in my fridge. On my search to find a perfectly good pancake recipe I stumbled upon a recipe for Vanilla Sour Cream Waffles at (a blog that’s right up my alley!) and decided to give it a go using sour milk for regular milk and browned butter for regular old melted butter.


1 + ¼ cups flour
2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
pinch of salt
2 eggs
½ c. sour cream
½ c. sour milk (or regular milk if you’re on top of your milk drinking)
1 T. vanilla extract
6 T. butter, browned


  1. Brown your butter (you know how to do this, right?) and set aside to cool.
  2. Heat your waffle maker, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. My waffle maker only has one setting-on. Preheat oven to at least 200 degrees–250 may be better.
  3. Place the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl, and stir with a whisk to combine.
  4. Add the eggs, sour cream and vanilla, and begin whisking them slowly into the flour. Stream in the milk, and mix everything together until you have a very thick batter. Pour in the butter slowly, and stir until completely incorporated.
  5. Scoop a heaping third of a cup of batter (or follow manufacturer’s guidance) into the middle of the grid, and then close the lid and let it cook according to manufacturer’s directions. When it’s ready, carefully remove the waffle, and place on a cooling rack (this keeps them from going soggy).
  6. Place the cooling rack on a tray and into a low oven to keep warm while you cook the rest of the waffles. Eat them how you like them with butter, syrup, fruit, whipped cream, etc. I like mine with butter and Lyle’s golden syrup.

It has been sooooooo long since I’ve made waffles (at least two years because I haven’t moved my waffle maker since I put it on the top shelf of my kitchen cupboard when I moved back to SoCal going on two years now) I stared at my waffle maker trying to remember the directions. Mine is one of the variety that you’re supposed to flip over (half-way through, I’m assuming). But it’s not one of those fancy ones. It’s kind of cheap. It took me a minute to figure out the appropriate amount of a batter to throw in the griddle (a heaping third cup) and how long to cook the waffles (approximately four to five minutes).

One of the reasons I always choose pancakes over waffles is … when do you ever see a stack of waffles? Never, right? Even when I was a kid and my mom would make me waffles, she would ask me if I wanted a second one after finishing my first. I mean, I get it – a waffle maker only makes one at a time. Or two to four depending on how big yours is. But still, I like things in tall stacks. Like six-layer cakes. This is why most often I opt for pancakes.

But this morning I thought … well I’ll just make myself a stack of waffles. Why not? I’m an adult. I can do what I want. Well it’s hard to make a stack of waffles, I figured out, because the waffle did not really want to remain whole; it broke itself into neat fourths when I tried to move it from iron to oven. Oh well. I tried.

I can’t tell you that I noticed the brown butter, sour cream or sour milk taste in these waffles but they were a solid waffle nonetheless. If they weren’t at least decent I wouldn’t even be telling you about them. (Much like the 15-minute pasta carbonara I made last night and threw out. Notice I’m not giving you that recipe?!)

Blondie Scotcheroos

Disaster is what happens when you over-commit yourself. Say … you commit yourself to making one six-layer cake for every day of the week of your birthday week. It’s also what happens when you decide to make something “quick” in the eleventh hour.

“I rather like having a large brownie for breakfast each morning,” I said to myself today. Having eaten through the pan of brownies I made last weekend, I decided I wanted to make something again this weekend after I realized there’s no possible way I can go low carb this week. (That idea lasted about three hours!) I simply do not have money to put into low-carb food at this point in time. But I have plenty of full-of-carb food in my condo to feed me without having to go to the store and spend more money. I decided I wanted to make some sort of sweet treat at about 5 pm Sunday night after spending the day studying for an exam I have coming up at the end of September. I should mention that my normal bedtime is between 8 pm and 9 pm, so making this realization at 5 pm did not give me a bunch of time to make something elaborate. So I pilfered through the recipes my grandma sent me and found one she had clipped from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that seemed easy.

Why, oh why, can’t I just settle for easy?

After having frosted brownies last week, I decided I wanted frosting on this week’s treat, too. I wanted to make a butterscotch-chocolate “ganache” like the one that goes on Scotcheroos. But I used all my butterscotch chips up in the blondie batter, dog-gone-it! So I had to come up with something else. My original idea was to have a peanut butter filling and then do a ganache. But I struck that idea as it seemed too time consuming. Plus I wanted a special butterscotch ganache. Not a regular ole chocolate ganache. Boring. So then decided I needed a frosting that was complimentary to butterscotch and peanut butter naturally came to mind as I had been thinking about it earlier anyway. So I borrowed a peanut butter frosting recipe from a brownie post found at

Let me be clear that this frosting recipe was supposed to be just that. A frosting. But whatever happened in my mixer did not produce a frosting texture whatsoever. I started out following the recipe but the consistency just didn’t look right to me. So I added another 1/3 cup of powdered sugar. Then some milk. And for a minute I had a glossy and smooth frosting consistency. I turned my back for a few seconds and when I went back to my mixer, which was still running, I no longer had a frosting. Whatever was going on in my bowl had a gravelly consistency. No one wants gravelly frosting! So I played around a bit more. Usually I can save these kitchen disasters. I was sure I could reconstitute a frosting consistency. But I couldn’t. No matter how much milk/powdered sugar I added, the consistency remained the same. (I refused to add more butter because I’m running low on butter.) It was then I decided to turn the “frosting” into a filling. Which was my original idea anyway that I had forgone out of laziness. Alas, the simple two-step process was not meant to be. I was meant to make a three-step blondie topped with a chocolate ganache.

blondie ingredients.

  • 1 c. (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
  • 1 c. lightly packed light brown sugar
  • ½ c. granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 package butterscotch chips

blondie directions.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 13-by-9-inch baking pan.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar with electric mixer on high speed 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Blend in vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, and mix well, scraping down bowl after each addition. In a small bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and salt. With mixer still on low, slowly add flour mixture to butter mixture. Fold in butterscotch chips and with a rubber spatula.
  3. Spread batter into prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake in preheated oven 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Don’t overbake! The toothpick may have melted chocolate on it, but it shouldn’t have wet batter. Cool completely in pan and cut into bars.

peanut butter frosting ingredients.

  • 1 c. creamy peanut butter (do not use old-fashioned or freshly ground)
  • 3 T. unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 c. powdered sugar + more to make your frosting into a disastrous filling
  • milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

peanut butter filling directions.

  1. Combine peanut butter and butter in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat until smooth. Add powdered sugar and vanilla extract and beat until well blended and smooth.
  2. Spread frosting evenly over blondies in pan.

chocolate ganache ingredients.

  • 16 oz. dark chocolate (I used a mixture of dark and semi-sweet)
  • 1 T. butter
  • 1-2 tsp. sea salt (I used Maldon’s flaky sea salt)

chocolate ganache directions.

  1. Melt the chocolate and butter using a double boiler or in a glass bowl placed over a pot of boiling water. (I have not used the double boiler method once and I am 1 for 2 on my attempts. Heed my warning.) Stir until melted.
  2. Pour and spread the chocolate over brownies/blondies/whatever you’re cooking that has cooled sufficiently.

Or, more correctly, I was meant to have a kitchen disaster tonight. After the peanut butter filling step, I decided to make a chocolate ganache from a recipe I just made about two weeks ago. The recipe was a success. The ganache was a success. Can’t go wrong, right?

Pfft. Somehow when I was ignoring the double-boiler directions (same as I had last time) I ended up scorching the chocolate and butter. I refused to toss 16 ounces of chocolate. So I began to add more butter to try to smooth it out. Well that never happened. Several butter and margarine additions later I got a thick, gravelly chocolate looking FROSTING. I was not intending for a FROSTING. This was supposed to be ganache! Grr. I spread it across the blondies anyway. And as I sat there staring at it, I knew that even if the chocolate “firmed up” it wasn’t going to look or taste like ganache. To cover up the embarrassment of my error, I threw a bunch of mini m&ms on top. Now this project was so belabored with so many different conflicting flavors I just knew it was an entire pan of blondies I probably wasn’t going to be able to share with anyone. Except for maybe a neighbor or two that I happen to dislike and wouldn’t care if they thought my blondies were bad/over-the-top/burnt. I was so horrified by the whole ordeal, I didn’t take any pictures along the way. I couldn’t have evidence of such failure mocking me on my phone.

But here’s the magic part in all of this. Oftentimes when something starts out as a disaster, it turns into something beautiful. Well. I can’t account for what happens in life but I will attest to this in cooking. These bars are amazing. After covering them in m&ms I was worried there would be too much going on in these bars but biting into them put my fears to rest. I forgot how much I loved the m&m donut from Voodoo donuts until I took the first heavenly bite of this bar and was reminded of just how much I love mini m&ms in dessert.

Originally I was going to call the bars Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Stuffed Butterscotch Blondies, which is an apt name to describe them but also a mouthful. Then I decided to change it to the ever simple Blondie Scotcheroos. I don’t know that “scotcheroo” is a technical cooking term but I find myself using the name to describe various desserts that involve peanut butter, chocolate and butterscotch. This blondie TASTES like Rice Krispies Scotcheroos. Or the Flapjack Scotcheroos I’ve made. (Side note, I should make a “scotcheroo” category for this blog. I think I’m onto something here!)

I texted my coworker/friend a bit after 10 pm tonight when I had finally cut into the bars after throwing them in the freezer for about an hour or so and asked her permission to bring them in to work tomorrow. She had proclaimed this upcoming work week to be the start of her new diet and I didn’t want to sabotage her efforts. Luckily for me, she gave me permission to bring them on in because I can’t be alone with these bars. I will eat the whole batch! Yep. They are that good.

This recipe is such an experiment gone awry I’m not sure I could ever recreate these as is. But I’m confident that whatever attempt to recreate these (yours or mine) would render a stunning/impressive result.

Bacon Blue Cheese Roasted Tomato Grilled Sandwich

For reasons I don’t care to get into in this blog, I found myself needing to use up bacon I had cooked. My first thought was, of course, grilled cheese. I don’t have much cheese in my fridge at this point. Some Dubliner, which doesn’t melt well. Not enough Tillamook Colby-Jack to make a good grilled cheese, a huge brick of Parmesan and blue cheese.

I often get blue cheese (and bacon) on a burger (whenever it’s an option), so I thought why not have the same flavors in a grilled cheese sandwich? I found a recipe that looked good on Martha Stewart’s website and decided to give it a try.


You can roast the tomatoes and cook the bacon in time to make this sandwich so that everything is hot. If you have pre-cooked bacon and pre-roasted tomatoes, don’t worry if they are cold. They’ll heat right back up again when you’re making this sandwich.

This recipe is for one sandwich but obviously do the math to make two or more sandwiches!


  • 3 slices bacon, cooked
  • 2 slices bread, your choice
  • 2 T. sweet onion jam (I used Balsamic Sweet Onion Jam)
  • blue cheese crumbles or sliced blue cheese (if you can find it)
  • cherry tomatoes, roasted


  1. One side of bread, spread 2 tablespoons onion jam. Butter the other side of the bread. Top the onion jam side of the bread with blue cheese. Set the bread down in a large pan, butter side down. Top with roasted tomatoes.

  2. Butter one side of the other piece of bread and place in pan, butter side down. Top with blue cheese and bacon.

  3. Cook over medium-low heat, covered, until golden brown on both sides and cheese has melted. Cut in halves or quarters, and serve hot.


This sandwich somehow seems to be messier than any other grilled cheese sandwich I’ve made. It also seemed to retain the heat much longer! Not sure if that happened or if I was trying to eat the sandwich too fast and my mind was playing tricks on me. The sweet onion jam is very complimentary to this sandwich. If you don’t have it or don’t want to use it, the sandwich will be fine without, I’m sure. But really, if you like onion, I urge you to get some onion jam to spread on your sandwich.


Hibachi Noodles

Begrudgingly I thought about going low carb next week for two reasons. One, my coworker whom I get hot chocolate with every morning at our company’s “Starbucks” announced last week that she’s gaining weight and needs to lay off the daily hot chocolate. Sigh. It’s no fun to drink hot chocolate alone, I tell you. Two, one of my dogs is diabetic and I’m cooking him no carb foods (eggs/egg whites and chicken). What I’ve noticed is that when I’m eating my normal dinner (chock full of carbs, usually), he still begs for food like the days when he used to be able to eat carbs and I used to feed them to him. So now I have to either feed my other dog the leftovers on the sly while my diabetic dog goes hungry or give my diabetic dog a no-carb treat while the other one happily gobbles up my leftovers. You see my conundrum?

 So I was looking on Pinterest the other night looking for a noodle recipe for my next food night with my friend Darrah and found this recipe. I’ve never actually had hibachi noodles, though I’ve had hibachi once or twice before. But I love any kind of noodles so I thought for my last hurrah for the weekend I would have myself a huge bowl of noodles. Or two. And some green grapes that I bought this morning before I somewhat committed to low carb.


  • 1 lb. linguine or noodles of your choice, cooked al dente
  • 3 T. butter
  • 1 T. garlic, minced
  • 3 T. sugar
  • 4 T. soy sauce
  • 1 T. teriyaki sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 T. sesame oil (I used hot sesame oil)
  • 1 T. sesame seeds


  1. Over medium high heat in a wok, melt the butter. (If you don’t have a wok, as I don’t, do this step in a small pot.) Toss in garlic and saute until fragrant. Toss in noodles and stir to mix. (Again, if you are wok-less, throw the garlic butter into the pot that you used to cook the noodles along with the noodles.)
  2. Add sugar, thin soy sauce, teriyaki sauce and combine. Season with salt pepper, if desired. I didn’t use either. Remove from heat and drizzle in sesame oil, tossing to mix. Dish and serve hot sprinkled with sesame seeds.


At first I was really excited to eat this dish. Then as I was adding the finishing touches to the dish (the sesame oil), my happiness eroded a bit. The noodles looked kind of blah when all was said and done. Who wants ho-hum noodles? I certainly don’t. But then after I took my noodle pics, I dug in with my chopsticks, which is not an easy feat. I’ve never been great with chopsticks though I can do fine with sushi. It’s noodle or rice dishes that perplex me. Anyway, I dug in with my chopsticks and low and behold, there was nothing ho-hum about this dish. It was amazing. I kept trying to shovel in big bites of the steaming hot pasta as best I could with the chopsticks, anyway. It took me a while to work halfway through the bowl and then I was sniffling either because it’s a bit spicy thanks tot the hot sesame oil I used or I ate too much. My body tends to tell me I overindulged by giving me the sniffles. This pasta dish is spicy, salt and sweet all at the same time. Normally I don’t like “sweet” entrees. Sweet should stick to dessert! But for these noodles I will make an exception.

And the best part? So. Easy. To. Make. Try them. If you like Asian-inspired food you will love these noodles.



Pioneer Woman’s Butternut Squash Mac ‘n Cheese


I love the Pioneer Woman’s recipes. Two of my favorites (and worst for you, I’m sure) are her Fettucine Alfredo and Broccoli-Cheese Soup. I have this darn butternut squash that’s been sitting on my cupboard for way too long, and I decided I need to do SOMETHING with it. Prior to glancing at my butternut squash, I had been planning on a simple lunch of Kraft Mac and Cheese with tuna mixed in. I begrudgingly decided I would have to delay my guilty pleasure boxed mac and cheese for the time being in favor of using up my butternut squash. So I searched the internet for butternut squash mac and cheese recipes (having seen many a recipe on Pinterest in the past). The first recipe to come up during my google search was the Pioneer Woman’s recipe. It was a no-brainer to try it; after previewing the recipe I didn’t bother to search for a different or better recipe. Because I was pretty sure one that fit that description didn’t even exist.



  • 12 ounces, weight macaroni (I used a 13.75 oz. box of whole wheat shells but ended up dropping some cooked noodles in the sink accidentally)
  • 1/2 whole butternut squash (approximately 4 c. pureeed)
  • olive oil
  • 2 whole yellow onions, sliced
  • 8 T. butter
  • 2 T.flour
  • 2 c. whole milk
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 c. grated cheese (I used a mixture of Colby Jack and Parmesan) plus more for topping the dish
  • 1/2 c. breadcrumbs



  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Carefully cut a whole butternut squash in half lengthwise. Drizzle half the squash with olive oil and place it on a rimmed baking sheet, cut side up. Roast it in the oven for 20 to 50 minutes (depending on the size) until fork tender, watching it to make sure the surface doesn’t get burned (it should have some brown areas.) Store the other half of the squash in the fridge for another use. When the squash is roasted and tender, scrape out the flesh and puree in a blender such as a Vitamix or in a food processor. You may have to add some liquid (water or milk) to get the puree nice and smooth. Sprinkle it with salt and pepper and set it aside.
  2. While you’re roasting the squash, add the onions and 2 tablespoons of the butter to a large, ovenproof skillet over low to medium-low heat. Stir occasionally, cooking the onions until they’re deep golden brown. Remove to a plate and set them aside.
  3. To the same skillet you used to cook the onions, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter over medium-low heat. Sprinkle over the flour and whisk it to make a thin paste. Cook it for 2 minutes, then whisk in the milk. Cook it, whisking gently, for a couple of minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  4. Meanwhile cook the macaroni until al dente. Drain, rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process, and set aside.
  5. Turn the heat to low and stir in the butternut squash puree. When it is warmed, stir in the cheese. If the sauce is overly thick when the cheese is melted, add a splash of milk. Keep stirring until the sauce is nice and hot, then stir in the macaroni. Taste and add more salt if needed.
  6. Melt the remaining butter and combine it with the breadcrumbs. Sprinkle onions, additional cheese, and the breadcrumbs over the macaroni and bake it (I do it straight in the skillet!) at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until the crumbs are golden and the edges bubbly.


I was on this butternut squash kick a few months back because it was an acceptable vegetable on a detox I was doing before my friend’s intended wedding. I forgot what I learned back that then: I’m not overly fond of butternut squash. It’s just a bit too sweet for me. That being said, I remembered that when I was making this dish. To counteract the sweetness I ended up adding a A LOT of salt. Maybe too much. What I briefly thought about doing and now wish I would have done was add bacon to this dish. I have some nice thick stuff in my freezer. The bacon would very nicely complement the sweetness of the squash.

If you like butternut squash and you like mac ‘n cheese and you want to try them together, I would recommend the Pioneer Woman’s recipe. I love how bright orange the dish looks because of the addition of the squash. Even if you don’t use a cheddar cheese, as I didn’t, the noodles still turn out bright orange. I wasn’t overly fond of this dish when it was straight out of the oven. It tasted too butternut squash-y to me. But I’m not one to waste leftovers, so I took them in my lunch to work the following week and I noticed that the butternut squash flavor seemed to calm down or meld with the caramelized onions, maybe. In short, I thought the leftovers were great! Just heat up with a little bit extra cream and butter and stir and you will recreate the original creaminess of the recipe.

Gail’s Frosted Brownies

img_0694My mom sent me this recipe earlier in the week for brownies she’s made and shared with old family friends. This is not the brownie recipe I remember from my youth but apparently they were so popular with one of my parents’ friends that they would make them all the time and they dubbed them “Gail’s Brownies” (after my mom). Since I didn’t remember the brownies at all, I decided to give the recipe a try. Plus it’s been a looooong time since I’ve made any brownie recipe.

brownie ingredients.

  • 1 c. butter, softened
  • 2 c. granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/3 c. sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 c. chopped nuts (optional)
  • 4 1 oz. squares unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 2 tsp. vanilla

brownie directions.

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare 9×13-inch pan by greasing or spraying with cooking spray.
  2. In a stand mixer cream butter until light and fluffy. Add sugar and cream until light and fluffy again. Mix in eggs, one at a time, and then vanilla. Stir in flour, melted chocolate and nuts (if using). Batter will be thick with a whipped-like consistency.
  3. Bake 30 minutes.

frosting ingredients.

  • 1/4 c. butter, room temperature
  • 2 c. powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 T. cocoa
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 T. coffee (I subbed coffee for malted milk powder and some milk)

brownie directions.

  1. Cream butter. Add powdered sugar and cream well. Add cocoa, salt, vanilla and coffee. Mix until smooth
  2. Spread on completely cooled brownies.


Somewhere in the midst of baking these brownies I turned the timer off. I don’t know how I did this. I walked over to the oven perhaps to turn the oven light on to glance inside and instead … off went the timer. I realized it a few minutes later and thought I remembered that there were 9 minutes left on the timer. At any rate, I reached into the oven and tested the brownies and found that a toothpick came out clean. So I pulled the pan out … having no idea how long the brownies had been in the oven.

I doubled the frosting recipe because when I was making it … it just didn’t seem like it was enough frosting. Also, instead of using coffee, I threw in some Ovaltine malt powder and milk. I’m obsessed with malt flavoring recently.

I wanted to throw some mini-chocolate chips on top these brownies. I swear I bought some at my last grocery store run but it appears I bought regular old semi-sweet chocolate chips instead. (I already have a Costco bag I’m still making my way through so another smaller bag wasn’t needed. Oh well.)


Cheesy Garlic Rolls

I was challenged to recreate these awesome garlic rolls that are a must when ordering pizza delivery from a local pizza joint, Broadway Pizza. OK. After having a conversation with a coworker about how great they are I basically challenged myself to make them. The rolls really are best if you eat them at the restaurant versus getting them less than piping hot when you order delivery. But admittedly staying in and enjoying your air conditioning, sweatpants and delivery is always so much more appealing than walking to the pizza place. At least in my mind. So I was convinced that a happy medium would be to make your own rolls at home.

I decided to use a no-fail pizza dough recipe that I’ve been using for about a year now. I actually had some dough in my freezer to use for this recipe but decided to make another batch because seriously you should always have this dough on hand. My grandma sent me the recipe, which is taken from a Penzey’s spices catalogue. This dough has served me well in the past when making grilled pizzas and has received lots of compliments. On top of that, it’s super easy to make. So I figured I would start my cheesy garlic rolls with the tried and true dough recipe and go from there.

The only thing I was thinking I would need for the toppings were butter, garlic, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese and maybe some Italian seasoning such as basil. (There’s already seasoning in the pizza dough.) I envisioned rolling the dough out into a rectangle, topping the dough with butter, garlic, and cheese, rolling the dough up and then slicing into pinwheels. I found a good recipe to imitate at which had directions to let the rolls rise for 30 minutes before baking. Sounded like a good idea to me!


  • 1/2 recipe pizza dough
  • 2 c. shredded cheese (I used a mixture of mozzarella with some cheddar in it and Parmesan)
  • 4 T. melted butter, divided
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder or 4 to 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. finely chopped garlic
  • ½ tsp. parsley


  1. Grease a baking tray or pie pan.
  2. Using a rolling pin on a floured surface roll the dough into a 9 x 13 inch rectangle.
  3. Mix two tablespoons melted butter with garlic powder and spread on the top of the rectangle of dough. Or just spread melted butter on the dough.If you’re using fresh minced garlic omit the garlic powder in this step and save the garlic for step 6. Evenly cover dough with 1 cup of the shredded cheese.
  4. Tightly roll the dough up starting at one of the 9 inch edges.
  5. Cut the dough into 12 pinwheels by first cutting it in half. Then cut the halves in half. Now cut each section into 3 pin wheels for a total of 12.
  6. Arrange on a baking tray or pie pan. Drizzle the reserved butter and minced garlic over the tops of the pinwheels. Only add minced garlic if you omitted the garlic powder in step 3. Loosely cover and let rise 30 minutes or until doubled.
  7. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 20 minutes.Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle the remaining cup of cheese over the top of the rolls.Return to oven and bake until cheese is melted about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and serve immediately.

These rolls turned out to be SUPER garlicky because I used both garlic powder and freshly minced garlic in my rolls. I LOVE garlic. But they were almost too garlicky for me. I don’t think I’ve said that about any dish ever before in my life! Which is why I make the suggestion to use one or the other in the above recipe.

I put the rolls in a pie pan all scrunched together like you would when making cinnamon rolls or some other type of sweet or savory roll. I decided after the fact that I would have rather have kept them individually separated because the dough doesn’t crisp up when they are all squished together and touching. The garlic rolls at Broadway pizza are crusty on the outside. All-in-all, my recipe was a good first try but not necessarily what I would have wanted it to be. Also, the part in the directions where it says to tightly roll the dough? Yeah. I don’t know how to do that. What I thought was “tight” ended up not being tight at all because when I cut into the roll to make slices the ingredients were all loose inside.

I guess I’ll have to try this recipe again with a few tweaks. Aside from the minor differences in appearance texture and the overly garlicky taste, these rolls were pretty darn good tasting. But anything with that much cheese pretty much has to be. Right?

Salted Caramel Squares

OMG. OMG. OMG. Why haven’t I tried this recipe sooner? I was sifting through a stack of recipes sent to me by my grandma when I came across this beauty. Let’s face it, salted caramel anything sounds amazing but how about caramel made with golden syrup? I don’t think I’ve seen a recipe outside of flapjacks, fruitcake or chicken legs that uses golden syrup so needless to say I was excited to see it called out in this recipe from Penzey’s.

This recipe was simple, simple, simple. I mean it’s harder than making toast or boiling water but comparatively it’s rather simple. You mix together the crust ingredients and bake it, make the caramel and bake again and throw together the chocolate ganache. It couldn’t have taken me more than 30 to 45 minutes total (not including melting time for the chocolate, maybe).

I ate three (er-maybe four-if you consider the fact that I saved some poor soul from having to eat the rounded corner pieces while I was cutting these bars into squares) of these squares straight away and I had to stop myself from eating more despite the fact that I was super full. They are THAT good.

Run, run, run to your kitchen and make these squares. I swear you won’t be disappointed. well, first you’ll probably need to run, run, run to a specialty grocery store that sells golden syrup. If you’re lucky enough to live in Portland, Oregon, I will let you know you can find golden syrup at QFC. Well. You could in 2014 anyway!

base ingredients.

  • 1 c. self-rising flour
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1 c. shredded coconut
  • 1/2 c. (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon (optional-I used a pinch)
  • pinch salt

caramel ingredients.

  • 1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 T. Lyle’s golden syrup
  • 1 T. butter
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

chocolate ganache ingredients.

  • 16 oz. dark chocolate (I used a mixture of dark and semi-sweet)
  • 1 T. butter
  • 1-2 tsp. sea salt (I used Maldon’s flaky sea salt)


  1. Preheat oven to 360°. In a large bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, coconut, butter, cinnamon (if using) and salt. Mix well on low. Press onto an ungreased rectangular baking sheet (about 10×14; a 9×13 pan would also work), about 1/4-inch thick. Bake at 360° for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool a bit.
  2. For the caramel, combine the milk, golden syrup and butter in a small heavy saucepan. Heat over medium, stirring constantly, until big bubbles form and the mix is thickened and a light caramel color, about 8-10 minutes. Stir in the vanilla—adding it at the beginning will make it much harder to tell when the milk turns a caramel color. Pour and gently spread over the base. Return to the oven for 10 minutes. Let cool.
  3. For the chocolate, melt the chocolate and butter using a double boiler or in a glass bowl placed over a pot of boiling water. Stir until melted. Pour and spread the chocolate over the cooled caramel. Sprinkle with the sea salt. Refrigerate until the chocolate has set, about 2 hours. Cut and serve or refrigerate the cut pieces in a cookie tin.

The Only Pizza Dough Recipe You will ever Need {Penzey’s}

About a year ago I was on a streak of making grilled pizza. I was both making them at home and taking the show on the road to make grilled pizza at other homes as well. My inspiration was a recipe my grandma sent me that she pulled from the Penzey’s Spices catalog. This is dough that you should always have on hand. The recipe makes two balls of dough that you can use immediately if you’re feeding a crowd or store in your refrigerator or freezer for later use. On top of that – it’s so simple to make!


  • 4 c. bread flour, plus 1/3-2/3 c. extra for kneading
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 2 1/4 tsp. yeast
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper,
  • 1 to 2 T. Italian seasoning (or something similar), to taste
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1 to 1 1/2 c. warm water


  1. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, sugar, yeast, pepper and seasoning. Stir to combine. Make a well in the center. Pour the olive oil in the well and mix with just enough warm water to form a soft dough. Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a lightly-floured surface. Knead for about 10 minutes, adding extra flour to the surface as required as long as the dough is sticky, kneading until smooth and elastic. (I did all the mixing and kneading in my stand mixer. I kneaded the dough at medium-high speed for approximately 5 minutes.)
  2. Place the dough in a lightly-greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place for about 1 hour or until doubled in size. You can cover and refrigerate overnight at this point if desired.

Old-Fashioned Iced Oatmeal Cookies



For years my Grandma has been clipping recipes from all sorts of sources (the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Parade magazine, Relish magazine, Penzey’s magazine etc.) and sending them to me. I pull out the ones I find immediately interesting and save the ones I don’t with the idea that my tastes are always changing and maybe some day I’ll find that particular recipe interesting. I have an entire drawer in guest bedroom night stand dedicated to the recipes I find interesting. And the drawer is mega-wide. I must have hundreds of clipped magazines in that drawer organized into piles such as “cookies” or “cakes” or “pies” or “Thanksgiving.”

I have all these eggs in my fridge right now. Winco had eggs on sale (a dozen for $.99) a few weeks ago and I bought three-dozen thinking I would be eating a lot of eggs, I suppose. But I haven’t been. So I’ve been trying to think of something to knock off a few eggs here and there and cookies will usually knock off one or two if you make a standard batch. So I began sifting through my piles of recipes to look for some good-looking and easy cookie recipes. I found this one. Oatmeal cookies are not a cookie I’d normally gravitate toward but I loved the simplicity of the recipe. Plus I figured these would be cookies I could easily share with coworkers.



  • 2 c. rolled old-fashioned oats
  • 2 1/2 c. flour (I used cake flour)
  • 1 T. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 c. (2 sticks) butter, browned, cooled
  • 1 c. packed brown sugar
  • ½ c. sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c. butterscotch chips (optional)
  • 1/2 c. cinnamon chips (optional)
  • 2 c. powdered sugar
  • 5 T. milk



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two cookie sheets. (I used parchment paper instead…)
  2. Brown your butter. In a small saucepan melt butter over medium low heat until it bubbles, the bubbles subside and then browned bits begin to float to the top. Don’t remove from the heat immediately but don’t let the butter burn either. Set aside to cool.
  3. In a large bowl, mix oats, flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  4. In another large bowl, beat together the melted butter and sugars. Add eggs, one at a time and vanilla. Mix in the dry oat mixture, stirring until thoroughly combined. Add in chips, if using.
  5. Drop heaping tablespoons onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake in preheated oven 14 to 16 minutes, or until browned, rotating halfway through. Let cookies rest on the baking sheets 5 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. Once cookies are completely cooled, whisk together the powdered sugar and milk until smooth. Generously frost each cookie.


So here’s what I changed about the recipe. The recipe called for melted butter so I decided to brown the butter. I always feel like browning the butter in any recipe that calls for melted butter makes the recipe that much butter. I added salt and vanilla because both ingredients seemed inconspicuously missing. I also believe every recipe should have call for salt in some capacity. I also decided to add some butterscotch and cinnamon chips because … I like the idea of a cookie containing some sort of “chip” as opposed to not.


I decided I was glad that I added the salt because you frost the cookies with a glaze. There’s so much sugary sweetness in the glaze (and the cookie!) you need the added salt to contrast. I probably would have added a touch more flour to these cookies to get them a bit thicker were I to make them again. Normally I never put the exact amount of flour into a cookie per the recipe directions. I always, always add additional flour until I get the consistency of dough that I like (slightly stiff, not sticky). Not sure why I didn’t this time, but I didn’t. The cookies flattened a wee bit more than I would have liked but they aren’t pancake-thin (or crepe-thin, rather) so I wasn’t totally annoyed.


Banana Bread & PB Chocolate Chip Cookies


Over a week ago I bought a bunch of bananas to make a bunch of banana “ice-cream.” I guess I was overzealous in my thoughts because after a week passed the bananas were still sitting on my counter only by then they were too brown to eat and past the point where I would want to freeze them for “ice-cream.” I’d unearthed some banana chips in my cupboard that I suspect are about a year old. I think I bought them with the intention of making some sort of Spirulina granola bar or something of that sort. In the same search where I unearthed those banana chips I also found two bags of almond flour/meal.

I took to Pinterest to try to find some recipes using banana chips. I was picturing peanut butter banana bread, to be honest. I found one recipe for peanut butter banana muffins. I’m not a muffin fan so I contemplated turning the muffin recipe into bread. But then I found a recipe for banana chocolate chip cookies and I was inspired to make cookies out of all the ingredients I had in my cupboard.

After finding the one recipe for banana chocolate chip cookies I perused a few more. I don’t normally go with the first recipe I see. I like to check out other recipes to make sure I’m going with the right one. What I found on the internet was a lot of either super thick or super thin cookies. Because of what I perceived the texture would be for the cookies (thanks to the banana) I didn’t want to go with a super thick cookie. And, in general, I’m not at all a fan of super thin cookies. So I stuck with the original recipe that I’d found and tweaked and tweaked from there.

Tweaking a recipe can sometimes be a bust. It’s happened to me many times but you’ve not heard about it because … well … I don’t generally blog my mistakes (unless I heroically fix them, of course). But the tweaks I made for these cookies turned out to be spot on. One of the things I added to the recipe was malted milk powder. I don’t advertise “malt” flavor in the title of these cookies because I really don’t think the malt comes through. I do think it gives the flavor profile more complexity, however. And it makes me wonder if I should try adding malt powder to other cookie recipes.



  • 4 c. almond flour/meal
  • 2 c. oat flour
  • 3 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 c. malted milk powder
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 T. corn starch
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. butter, softened
  • 4 ripe bananas, peeled
  • 2 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. peanut butter
  • 4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 c. chocolate chips, plus more for garnish
  • 1 c. peanut butter chips, plus more for garnish
  • 1 c. banana chips, plus more for garnish



  1. Whisk together the flours, malted milk powder, baking soda, corn starch, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
  2. Cream butter, and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add in peanut butter and vanilla extract, beat until combined. I dropped the bananas in whole, one at a time, and beat the batter at a high speed out of laziness (instead of mashing the bananas first). This technique seemed to work fine but you could always mash the bananas with a fork first if you are so inclined.
  3. Stir in the flour mixture just until combined. Stir in chips.
  4. Refrigerate dough for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 375F. Line three cookie sheets with parchment paper or lightly spray with cooking spray. (I did both, actually.)
  6. Use a tablespoon to spoon batter out of bowl and roll the dough into balls in your hand. You should be able to get 12 to 15 balls on a sheet. Flatten the balls slightly with the bottom of a juice or rocks glass. Place bits of banana chip and chocolate chips on top. img_0414
  7. Bake cookies for 8 to 10 minutes or just until they start to turn light, golden brown on the bottom. Let cookies cool a few minutes on the cookie sheets before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.I baked one sheet at a time, letting one sheet “cool” while I was prepping a third sheet. If you don’t have three cookie sheets, you can make it work with only two.

Closeup Overhead

These cookies taste like banana bread right out of the oven when you eat them still warm. That’s why I named them “banana bread” cookies instead of just … banana cookies. They taste best warm, in my opinion, so I’ll probably be reheating them in the microwave before eating them.



Garlicky Lemon Greek Yogurt Pasta with Smoked Salmon and Feta

It was determined after the Saturday night fat bomb late night snack that a lightened up dinner was needed on Sunday. I’ve always shied away from using Greek yogurt in pasta because… Why would I want to eat pasta unless it was full of fat? However, I was persuaded to try Greek yogurt in pasta just this one time if I could find a recipe that looked appealing. And then if I didn’t like it … I wouldn’t have to try it again. I have always said I’ll try anything food or drink-related at least once. So why not give Greek yogurt in pasta a whirl, right?

So of course I went to Pinterest for some immediate inspo and pretty immediately found a recipe that didn’t look half bad (because it happened to have lots of garlic in the recipe). I liked two things about the author of the website: 1) she lives in the state in which I was born and raised and 2) she likes garlic so much that she doubles the amount called for in whatever recipe she’s using (so do I!).

I’m not much on meatless pasta (unless you’re going with a classic fettucine alfredo), so I decided I wanted to add a meat. I happen to have a plethora of homemade smoked salmon on hand (which is a huge rarity), so I thought smoked salmon would be the way to go. Also, what’s pasta without cheese I thought to myself as I was dreaming up this recipe in my head. So in went a small container of crumbled feta and teeny-weeny bit of Parmesan cheese. It just feels wrong to me to eat pasta without Parmesan cheese. Know what I mean? Thus, the below creation was born.


  • 1 lb pasta cooked according to package directions, drained, pasta water reserved
  • 3 T. butter
  • 6 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 large lemon, juiced (or 2 small lemons)
  • 2 c. plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 8 oz. smoked salmon, torn into small pieces
  • 4 oz. crumbled feta
  • 1/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt, to taste


  1. In a large non-stick pan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Stir in garlic for 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Whisk in lemon juice.
  2. Remove from heat, and whisk in Greek yogurt, lemon zest, and salt to taste. Place back on low heat to warm.
  3. Poor in pasta and stir to combine. Add some of the reserved pasta if you need to thin out the sauce. (I added A LOT – the sauce was super thick.) Add in the smoked salmon, feta and Parmesan cheese and toss to combine. Garnish with additional smoked salmon and Parmesan cheese.
  4. Serve immediately.

Per Jennifer’s instructions, the pasta gets much drier the next day. I noticed this actually as the pasta started to cool. She suggests that you add extra Greek yogurt or butter when reheating. I think I’m going to go with butter and/or half-and-half

I’m not sure what I think of the combination of flavors in this dish. But I’ll be able to decide after a few more helpings – I have a few containers of leftovers. But I will tell you this: I am sold on Greek yogurt in pasta. When you stir in some of that pasta water it really looks like a nice, thick and creamy Alfredo sauce.