Notebook favorites

Part of my path to organization (and stopping the on going list from running constantly in my head when I’m trying to go to sleep) is keeping great notebooks around. Here are my favorite planner, list book, and recipe index:

Favorite notebooks[Recipe book] [Notebook] [Planner]

I love the notebook because it’s pretty, but also has wide lines for making lots of lists (before I create a typed copy to hand out to family members…cause I do that.):

Notebook ListMy favorite thing about the planner (besides the tabbed edges) is that it has both full month view and day by day conversions:

Planner PlannerWhich is helpful if I need to organize day by day appointments or activities, but also to put items on the list for months out planning.

After years of using this recipe folder:

Recipe folderI needed something that was not as clunky and was updated with recipes we don’t use. I love the Kate Spade recipe book because it’s cute:

Recipe BookBut also super functional:

Recipe bookSo I can stop being kicked out of Pinterest when I try to make bagels:

BagelsWhich makes recipe conversion to my new book much easier! Happy organizing, planning, and baking!

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Lemon white chocolate chip cookies

Lemon white chocolate chip cookiesThese are the cookies that my husband brings for his work party every year, and every year they get eaten the fastest.

Lemon White Chocolate Chip Cookies*

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp of baking soda
  • 1 tsp of kosher salt
  • Zest of one large lemon
  • Juice of one large lemon
  • 1 cup softened unsalted butter
  • 3.4 oz vanilla pudding instant mix
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 11 oz bag of Ghiradelli white chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Cut butter into tablespoon slices and place in the bottom of the mixer. Set your egg out on the counter. Do this first then prep the rest of your ingredients
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with a Silpat mat or parchment paper.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, vanilla pudding. Set aside.
  4. Crack egg into a small cup and whisk with vanilla.
  5. On medium speed cream butter for about three minutes.
  6. Add sugars to butter and mix until light and fluffy about 3-4 minutes.
  7. Scrape down the sides and then add in the egg mixture. Mix until it resembles cottage cheese (so slightly lumpy, but well mixed).
  8. Add in lemon and lemon juice to butter mixture and mix until just blended.
  9. Add all of the flour mixture to the bowl. Mix just a little by hand (so it doesn’t puff out when you start the mixer), and then mix on low speed only until barely blended.
  10. Stir in white chocolate chips chocolate chips.
  11. Bake for nine minutes, then rotate the pan 180 degrees and bake for two additional minutes. Let cool on the pan for 3-4 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  12. Will keep in an air tight container at room temperature for 3-5 days.

*Recipe based on Picky Palate’s white chocolate lemon pudding cookies.

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Mint chocolate chip cookies remix

For Mother’s Day I got this book from the boys:

Cookie_LoveIt has terrific cookie recipes (the snickerdoodle is hands down my boys’ favorite of the book), but it also has great tips for creating a better cookie. With that in mind I applied several of the tips to one of my classic cookie recipes and thought I would share!

Mint chocolate chip cookiesMint Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp of kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (Ghiradelli’s is our favorite)
  • 1/2 cup softened unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Cut butter into tablespoon slices and place in the bottom of the mixer. Set your egg out on the counter. Do this first then prep the rest of your ingredients
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with a Silpat mat or parchment paper.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa. Set aside.
  4. Crack egg into a small cup and whisk with vanilla.
  5. On medium speed cream butter for about three minutes.
  6. Add sugars to butter and mix until light and fluffy about 3-4 minutes.
  7. Scrape down the sides and then add in the egg mixture. Mix until it resembles cottage cheese (so slightly lumpy, but well mixed.
  8. Add all of the flour mixture to the bowl. Mix just a little by hand (so it doesn’t puff out when you start the mixer), and then mix on low speed only until barely blended.
  9. Stir in mint chocolate chips.
  10. Bake for seven minutes, then rotate the pan 180 degrees and bake for two additional minutes. Let cool on the pan for 2 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  11. Will keep in an air tight container at room temperature for 3-5 days. In our house they rarely last that long.

As I stated, it’s not a huge difference from my original recipe, but the method has some additional steps. If you enjoy baking (even just at the holidays) I would highly recommend the book!

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Mexican Pizzas

As we were driving home from the lake this past weekend, B and I started talking about the time we got Taco Bell in the middle of no where and I ordered a Mexican pizza that was a hot mess. Then I said “I bet we could make the Mexican pizza at home”. I started looking up the ingredients (beans, taco meat, pizza sauce, tomatoes, cheese, corn tortillas). Easy enough. We picked up the ingredients, and this is a dinner you can put together in less than twenty minutes.

So here’s your easy assemble steps (after you heat the beans, and prep the taco meat):

Mexican Pizzas Mexican Pizza Mexican Pizza Mexican Pizza Mexican Pizza Mexican Pizza Mexican PizzaAfter you layer everything I just put them under the broiler until the cheese was melted. Easy! Mexican pizzas at home.

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Quinoa for Lunch

Quinoa LunchThis super easy lunch makes enough for 2, or for a wholesome dinner for 1. And it’ll be done in less than fifteen minutes

Ingredients

1/2 cup quinoa

15 roasted tomatoes sliced in half

5 portobello mushrooms sliced in quarters

1/4 cup crumbled feta

1 tbs of julianned basil and rosemary

2 tsp balsamic vinegar

olive oil, salt, and pepper

lemon (optional)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cook quinoa according to package directions. While the quinoa is cooking, sprinkle the tomatoes with olive oil, salt, and pepper and spread them evenly on a foil lined cookie sheet. Cook for 15 minutes. Then add the mushrooms (add some olive oil to them) and cook for another 5-7 minutes. Add all of the remaining ingredients (minus the basil and rosemary) to the cooked quinoa and mix well. Sprinkle the basil and rosemary across the top and finish with a splash of lemon. Refreshing!

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My Mom’s Rigatoni

 

RigatoniOver Christmas my Mom made rigatoni with her spaghetti sauce, and the boys ate it up. I  made a slow cooker version of the meal this past week and thought I would share the results!

First thing you assemble the ingredients. I browned the meat….

RigatoniPut together the sauce in a slow cooker…

RigatoniBoil the noodles to a minute under al dente, and then combine everything together and cook in the slow cooker for 3-4 hours on low…

RigatoniAnd that’s it! The list of ingredients and full directions are after the jump!

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Lemon Butter Chicken vs. Arozz con Pollo

This year I am trying new recipes that we could work into our monthly rotation of meals. I’ll share our favorites from the comparisons, as well as, ones our particularly picky kids choose. The first up is two chicken recipes that share one thing in common: one pot meals. The first, lemon butter chicken. You cook it in a oven safe skillet first on the stove and then finish it in the oven.

Lemon ChickenThe result? Creamy, lemony chicken. My only issue was the sauce did not thicken as much as I would have liked. We ended up using a slotted spoon to dish it out and then pouring a little of the sauce over top. I also made a side of mashed potatoes to go with it.

Second, arroz con pollo (the recipe is from the Dinner: A Love Story cookbook). This time you use a dutch oven and first brown the chicken and vegetables on the stove and then finish it with rice in the oven.

Arrozz con polloI made cheese quesadillas to go on the side, but they are certainly not a requirement. The chicken, rice, and vegetables in the pot are enough for an entire meal. It is supposed to cook for 30 minutes, I would check it at 25 minutes and then let it go five more if the chicken isn’t quite done. I also made it with an orange bell pepper to substitute for the onion requirement. It’s really flavorful without being too spicy. B already asked that we add it to our monthly rotation!

The winner for the adults? Tie. I definitely would make both again, and I’m determined to re-try the lemon butter chicken sauce to get it thicker the next time. They also both take about the same amount of time from start to finish (about an hour).

The winner for the kids? The arroz con pollo. A ate both, but asked for a second helping of the rice. J at least tried the rice from the arroz con pollo, while our best persuasive efforts couldn’t convince him to even try the lemon chicken.

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A’s Christmas Cookie Competition

Christmas Cookie CompetitionSo A has been making a long list of cookies he wants to make over the holidays. He has lots of cookie combination ideas (some crazier than others). He decided that he wanted to turn it into a “cookie competition” and he is the judge. Seriously. This kid. We are making a chart and everything. So may the best cookie win!
First up, A wanted to make a berry white chocolate chip cookie. Thanks to the benefit of Pinterest that exact cookie practically fell into my lap.

IMG_7059 IMG_7067These cherry vanilla chocolate chip cookies definitely lived up to A’s expectations! As it was stated in the recipe, these are definitely cookies that get better with age. The first day they were great, but the second and third day? Even better. You’re going to think the vanilla extract amount is crazy, but it works perfectly. The tartness from the cherries balances the sweetness of the white chocolate chip. You’re going to love it! Until the next cookie enters the competition!

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