Have you noticed that there are a whole lot more impulse items to tempt customers who are standing in line waiting to check out at the grocery store lately? Retailers have gotten smarter about what they display to their captive audience trapped in that lane. What used to be just gum, candy bars and magazines has expanded to chapstick, batteries, pain relievers, hand sanitizer and even toys.
I honestly think that parents of toddlers who manage to get through that "aisle of temptation" without giving into to the pleading of their children - deserve a medal. I have a hard enough time stopping MYSELF from handing those $1 or $2. dollar "can't live without" items to the cashier as I check out. The one thing that I absolutely cant resist while I'm in the grocery store line, is a Scor bar. (Luckily I don't find it in many grocery store check out lanes.)
English toffee is my weakness so when I found this recipe for toffee squares, I HAD to make it. Obviously, this is not a traditional English Toffee but the buttery shortbread and salted almonds really take this toffee to a whole new level. If you are a toffee fanatic like me - my suggestion is to NOT make this recipe. (You may or may not eat the entire batch by yourself.) Hmmm...
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 Tablespoons butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup plain toffee bits
1 cup mini chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped almonds
Line 9x13 pan with 2 sheets of foil perpendicular to each other. Spray with cooking spray.
Press dough into prepared pan. Bake 20 minutes at 350.
Sprinkle almonds over chocolate.
Sprinkle with remaining toffee bits and let sit at room temperature 3 hours.
Cut into squares and serve.
These cookies are as beautiful as they are decadent.
I may or may not have over induldged in these toffee squares. Let me just say from experience that these are great with breakfast, lunch, dinner and everything in between. Don't judge. :)
My normal breakfast routine lately involves grabbing a cup of tea and a granola bar just before I head down to the basement to start my morning workout. (Pretty sure I do this half asleep most mornings.) Some days I eat a yogurt after my workout but I hardly ever treat myself to a proper breakfast.
I tend to change up my breakfast routines with the changing seasons too. Sometimes I get into an oatmeal routine, sometimes I make myself an egg in the morning, but this winter - I'm in a granola bar and yogurt pattern. (Honestly, it seems more like a summertime breakfast but, whatever.)
Even though it didn't fit into my current breakfast routine, when I saw the picture of this Lemon Blueberry Bread in my new Vera Bradley cookbook, I knew I had to give it a try . I just have to say that this bread was awesome and it didn't last long in this house.
Consider my morning routine changed. I am going to have to keep a loaf of this bread on hand to add to my usual granola bar breakfast.
Lemon Blueberry Bread
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoons salt
6 Tablespoons butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 cup blueberries, tossed with 2 teaspoons flour
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
Pour into a greased loaf pan.
Bake 55 minutes at 350.
Pierce warm bread with a skewer. Pour lemon glaze over bread. Cool in pan 30 minutes.
Move to a wire rack or cutting board to cool completely.
Slice and Serve.
I do recognize that this recipe is probably better suited for a Springtime blog post but I certainly didn't want to wait a couple more months before making it and I'm sure that wont want to wait either. This bread is delicious.
What is it about a warm bowl of hearty chicken soup that is so darn comforting? I don't know if it's the intoxicating aroma or the feel of the steam rising from the warm bowl or the overload of hearty vegetables in every bite but there is something about a bowl of chicken soup that I simply CANNOT resist.
I'm really not all that picky about my chicken soup either. As long as it has lots of chicken and a ton of really great vegetables - I'm a happy girl. I'm always on the lookout for new chicken soup recipes with interesting ingredients and flavors. I found this recipe in my Cooking Light magazine and it was right up my chicken soup alley - poblano pepper, fresh avocado slices, rotisserie chicken and crunchy tortilla chips. Oh my.
Chicken Poblano Tortilla Soup
2 Tablespoons oil
1 1/2 cups onion, chopped
1 cup sliced carrot
1 poblano pepper, diced
4 cups unsalted chicken stock
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
14.5 ounce can petite diced tomatoes
4 ounces tortilla chips
2 Tablespoons cilantro, chopped
12 ounces shredded rotisserie chicken
1 avocado, sliced
Heat oil in dutch oven. Add onion, carrot and poblano. Cook 8 minutes.
Add stock, salt, pepper and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer 8 minutes.
Crush half of tortilla chips and add to pot. Stir in cilantro and chicken.
Ladle into bowls and top with remaining tortilla chips.
Add a few fresh avocado slices.
I am so happy that its soup weather again - it makes my lunch decisions soooo much easier. The three of us ate this soup for dinner and we still had plenty left over for lunches for the rest of the week.
There is something awesome that happens when I turn my kitchen into a cupcake test kitchen. Cupcake experimenting day is NEVER a bad day. Turns out - even cupcake fails taste pretty great even if they don't look very pretty.
When you bake as many cupcakes as I do every week, sometimes you need to change things up - just to keep your sanity.
I was really not dissatisfied with my previous chocolate cupcake recipe but I decided to see if I could make some improvements on it. I didn't make any MAJOR changes to my recipe - just little tweeks. I swapped some of the white sugar with brown sugar, replaced the coffee with buttermilk and packed them with even more chocolate.
The biggest problem that I had with this recipe is that it made 11 jumbo cupcakes. Since it took me a while to get the ratios right, I didn't want to mess it up by trying to adjust the batter to make an even dozen. (I'll leave that for another cupcake experimentation day.)
1 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2/3 cup canola oil
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
Bake 22 minutes at 350.
Cool on wire racks.
Frost with Swiss Meringue Buttercream.
I am in love with these new chocolate cupcakes. I can't accurately articulate how these are different from my previous chocolate cupcake recipe but trust me when I say that they are REALLY good. (Super scientific of me - I know.)
I hope that you will have a cupcake experimentation day of your own. Try several of my cupcake flavors and let me know which ones you like the best. Happy baking.
I was given my first Cuisinart food processor from my parents - 23 years ago when I got married. It was really my first kitchen appliance that I used consistently and it was awesome. I used my Cuisinart to chop, slice, dice and knead. That machine lasted 20 years - until my wonderful husband upgraded my Cuisinart in 2014 to a newer model when mine started to give me problems. I completely expected an even more magnificent Cuisinart that would be even better than my previous Cuisinart. That is NOT what I got. Unfortunately, Cuisinart quality is NOT what it used to be. Within the 3 years that I owned my new food processor - I replaced every single part - at my own expense. It started with plastic pieces that were breaking off and then it advanced to more complex, motor issues. (None of which was under warranty.)
Ok, Rant about my disappointment in Cuisinart - over. Let me just say that in December, when my beloved Cuisinart quit working all together and I had to purchase a new food processor - I looked into other brands. I ended up with a Breville Food Processor and I LOVE it.
I found myself actually looking for recipes that would allow me to use my new food processor. The very first thing that I used my new Breville Food Processor for was to slice the potatoes for these Herb Potato Stacks. These were really tasty and they were super easy to put together - thanks to my new kitchen equipment.
Herb Potato Stacks
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 clove garlic, minced
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
4 small white or Yukon gold potatoes
¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Slice potatoes as thin as possible in food processor or using a mandolin.
Melt butter and add fresh herbs, garlic and salt.
Brush muffin tin with butter mixture. Layer potatoes in muffin cups, brushing with butter mixture between each layer. Fill to the top of cups.
Sprinkle parmesan over each potato stack.
Bake 40 minutes at 375.
Remove from pan and serve.
Admittedly I use my kitchen equipment more than the average cook but I still expect it to hold up to my high standards. If you are in the market for a new food processor - message me and I will give you all the details about my new Breville. I love it and I'm sure that you will too.
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