52/52: Homemade Bagels

Do you notice anything special about this post title?! That’s right! 52/52! I have completed my goal. If you can’t remember, my very first blog post talked about my personal goal to post the equivalent of one post a week for the entire year. I have been blogging and creating cheesy little websites since I was really young {I was an 11 year old geek who taught herself the basics of html}. And well, believe it or not, I made it! Some weeks I posted twice, and sometimes I posted extra, quick, fun things… but regardless, I have completed my goal! I am so excited and proud of myself.

Oh yeah! ūüôā

So, to celebrate my goal completion I thought it was only proper to also accomplish a baking goal, and check another item off¬†my kitchen bucketlist! I have been wanting to make bagels for so long. I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love these little carb keepers! The thought of fresh, homemade bagels has always danced in my head. Over the years I have seen many recipes but this recipe seemed to easy, and too good to be true. And, well, I think it was! It was oober simple, took less than 2 hours and the result is pretty darn yummy. My bagels are a little funny shaped due to some silly mistakes on my part when boiling {I had a very difficult time getting them out of the water}, but they still taste yum!

Here are a few pics…

During…

After… {Plain, cinnamon & sugar and cheese!}

YUM!

Here’s how ya get the job done…

Homemade Bagels

Ingredients:

4 cups bread flour
1 T sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 T vegetable oil
2 tsp instant yeast
1 1/4 – 1 1/2 cups of warm water

Directions:

1. Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl. The dough should feel stiff, but if you can’t get all the flour incorporated add the extra bit of water.


2. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, or until uniform and smooth.


3. Cut the dough into 8 equal sized balls and rest for 10-20 minutes {A pizza cutter works great here}.


4. Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.
5. Now, we roll the dough into bagel shape, and there are several ways to do this. My favorite is to roll the dough back into a ball and poke through the center. This opens the dough and you can tug the round of dough into the shape of a bagel {This is how I did it, it was fun!}. OR Roll the dough into a little snake on the counter that is longer than the width of your two hands, then wrap it around your dominant rolling hand. Wrap the dough rope around your hand and squish the overlapping ends together.
6. Let the bagels-to-be rest on the counter for 20 minutes, grease a large baking tray {Or line with parchment}, and bring a pot of water to boil.

7. After the bagels have rested they will begin to look puffy and are ready to be boiled. Boil the bagels for a minute on each side, then let them dry out for a minute or two before placing them on the baking tray. Repeat until all the bagels are boiled.


8. Bake the bagels for 10 minutes, flip the bagels over, and bake for another 10 minutes… and Wah-LAH! Perfection. {Note: I baked bagels on the first side, flipped and then topped with the goodies! Think cheeses, cinnamon & sugar, sesame seeds, everything bagel seasons… endless possibilities. To add cinnamon & sugar, spray top with water first!}
9. Let the bagels cool for at least 20 minutes before eating them.

Source & Recipe: Life According to… Talia Christine

So simple. Love. In retrospect I should have rolled and smoothed out my little dough balls before letting them rest. I think that is why they’re so bumpy. But hey, it gives them character, right?! I have also read elsewhere if you boil for a little longer than 1 minute on each side that they will become chewier. I might try that next time. Although, the recipe I am DYING to try is this¬†cinnamon raisin one¬†from Annie’s Eats!

Well folks, thanks to everyone who has managed to stick with me and read my blog this year. I am feeling good about keeping this blog going, although posts might become much more sporadic with my taking over the classroom very soon! Hope you all have a fun and safe New Years. Speaking of, off to finish up hubby’s birthday dessert – Sour Cream Lemon Pie! He is a New Year’s Eve baby, so we’ll be celebrating tomorrow.

Until next time… Ciao!

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39/52: Shrimp, Chicken and Sausage Cajun Jambalya

Lately my favorite dishes seem to be the ones we re-create from a really good restaurant meal. The other day we were out and about and stopped into a restaurant for lunch. I ordered some disappointing buffalo chicken pizza {who puts BBQ sauce on a buffalo chicken pizza?! Wth?}, but my husband ordered some delicious jambalaya. I was honestly surprised because we were at a regular restaurant, but the jambalaya was surprisingly yummy! He decided we had to re-create it. After much searching we settled on a base recipe and altered it to our likings. I think the results were perfect. Next time we might try to develop the flavors a little differently, such as with smoked paprika. The thing I love about this dish is you can totally play around with the flavors¬†and get a different result every time. A totally easy dish, and one that screamed comfort food! I’d even venture to say that it was better than the restaurant version. Yum!

Mmm… shrimp, chicken and sausage?! Yum.

Shrimp, Chicken and Sausage Cajun Jambalaya

Ingredients:

2 tsp olive oil
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into pieces
8 ounces polska kielbasa or andouille sausage
15 small-medium shrimp
1 onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1/2 cup diced celery
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
2 T chopped garlic
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
3/4 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 T paprika
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups uncooked white rice
4 cups chicken stock
3 bay leaves
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp hot sauce

Directions:

1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Saute chicken and kielbasa until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

2. Stir in onion, bell pepper, celery, tomato and garlic. Season with cayenne, onion powder, paprika, salt and pepper to taste {the measurements here are just an estimate. We tend to season things like this with a lot of onion and garlic powder for extra flavor}. Cook for 5 minutes, or until onion is tender and translucent.

3. Add rice, then stir in chicken stock and bay leaves. Bring to a boil , reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until rice is tender.

4. Stir in Worcestershire sauce and hot pepper sauce and simmer for another few minutes.

5. Add shrimp. {We couldn’t find any good fresh shrimp so we used frozen already cooked shrimp. If you are using fresh shrimp, cook in the mixture until done. If using frozen just add them with enough time for them to warm up}

Source and recipe: Adapted from All Recipes.

Have an awesome weekend!

37/52: Turkey & Spinach Stuffed Shells *and* freezer meal tutorial!

Hello fellow foodies!

How has your week been? Fabulous¬†I hope. Mine has been… interesting.¬†The past two weeks have been¬†transition weeks for¬†me for certain.¬†Last week was the first week of fall semester so that means it was the first week of balancing my internship at the elementary school and classes on campus. Aside from the craziness on Tuesday {internship, class, back to internship site for meeting with university supervisor, groceries, home — crazy!} the week¬†was pretty good! Oh, and like usual PNW fashion, we¬†experienced the hottest weather of the “summer”. I say that with quotations because we are just now really getting summer. Boy oh boy, I do not even want to tell you about how warm our classrooms {at the elementary school, well campus classrooms too} were. Y-U-C-K. I do not have enough professional “summer” clothes in my wardrobe! This week has been even more interesting. Our school district has gone on strike and that means as student teachers we are staying neutral and have to stay away from our schools. I miss my kiddos! Hopefully this will be over by week’s end. Needless to say, trying to pin down a ‘routine’ has been… well, next to impossible! ūüėČ

A few weeks ago… in anticipation of my ever-changing schedule, I¬†decided it would be good to¬†try to “stock-up” on home cooked meals since I won’t have the time I used to cook in the evening. So, I bring to you my first ever… {attempt at a}¬†tutorial! I think knowing how to freeze meals is a great skill to have. One that I had never truly considered until talking with a past co-worker and reading many blogs. Not only is this a great skill to have for stocking up {think baby on the way, busy schedule approaching, gifts for expectant parents, etc.}, but a great skill when cooking for two. I cannot tell you how many times we have wasted 1/3 or even a 1/2 of a casserole in my house. Sometimes it just doesn’t pay to make half a recipe, especially when the recipe calls for a full can of this, or that. So what to do? Make 1/2 and freeze 1/2! Perfect!

This can be done with a lot of meals. I have successfully done this with: lasagna, stuffed shells, enchiladas and macaroni and cheese. Practically any casserole would work well. I am going to walk you through the steps of making stuffed shells, with baking 1/2 and freezing half.

First… the recipe! I have interjected freezing directions in with the normal directions. If you are making a full dish of stuffed shells, make them in a 13X9 casserole dish, not the 9X9. And omit the bold directions.

Turkey and Spinach Stuffed Shells

Ingredients:
12 oz. package large shell pasta
3 cloves garlic – minced
1 onion – chopped
1 lb ground turkey
dried basil
dried oregano
garlic powder
1 10 oz. pkg frozen spinach – thawed and drained
2 c ricotta cheese
1 c grated parmesan cheese
1-2 jars spaghetti sauce {I prefer Bertolli marinara — nothing fancy, just yummy spaghetti sauce!}
1-2 pkgs shredded mozzarella cheese
9X9 aluminum pan {if freezing half}

Directions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.¬†Cook shells al dente {8-10 minutes usually}, drain and set aside {Tip: Prior to stuffing, make sure they are dry inside the shell to reduce the chances of ‘watery’ shells}.
2. Saute garlic and onions. Add ground turkey. Season with salt and pepper, basil, oregano and garlic powder to taste. Remove from heat, add spinach, 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese and parmesan. I like to transfer mine into a bowl to combine at this point.



3. Stuff shells with mixture — place in baking dish.
*3b. Note: at this point if you are freezing, make sure you have a 9X9 casserole dish and a 9X9 aluminum catering pan for freezing. Stuff as many as possible into the casserole dish for dinner tonight, stuff the remaining shells into the aluminum pan — set aside aluminum pan once filled {do not top with sauce and cheese yet} until after step 4.


4. Cover the shells with sauce and remaining package of mozzarella cheese.

5. Cover with foil and bake 30-40 minutes {remove foil during the last 5-10 minutes to allow cheese to bubble}.
*5b. Now that dinner is in the oven, bring the aluminum pan back into the picture. You have two options here. 1) cover with marinara and mozzarella cheese so all you have to do is thaw and cook, or 2) freeze without sauce and cheese, and add right before baking.


6. While dinner is baking, cover the aluminum pan with foil — secure tightly around the edges. I like to secure with two pieces of foil. It is also helpful to write what dinner is in the pan, any re-heating instructions, etc. This is especially helpful in case my husband needs to pop dinner into the oven before I’m home! ūüôā {Or if I forget and am too lazy to look up the recipe.} Make sure to put the date on the foil! Your freezer meal should be good between 6-10 months in the freezer. To bake — pull out the night before and put in the fridge. Pull from fridge and follow heating instructions.


7. Serve with garlic bread, salad, green beans, etc… whatever you like with italian. Most importantly… enjoy!

Source & recipe: {Santies Sunnyside Up}

Freezing is so easy!

Quick “go-to” directions for freezing meals:

1. Make a full recipe of whatever you want to freeze all the way through the assembly portion.

2. At this point if you are making half a recipe for dinner, continue through cooking/baking directions. For the other half that will be frozen, cover with foil and write cooking/baking directions on the final piece of foil. {I tend to double cover mine to make sure that frost stays out}. If you are freezing both halves, follow directions for freezing.

3. Make sure you do not freeze dinners after baking! You want to only do the required “pre-cooking”.

4. Throw meal in freezer until ready to use!

5. To thaw: Remove at least one night before and thaw in fridge {if your fridge is like mine, you might need to leave out on the counter for a few hours prior to placing in fridge for final thaw}.

6. Cook/bake as directed on the recipe directions!

So easy! I love it. If you plan ahead, you can freeze a lot of goodies. I love knowing I have home cooked meals at my fingertips.

Oh hello frozen stuffed shells! … :Cough, cough: Please ignore the dis-organized freezer. ūüėČ I will bring you a yummy enchilada recipe in the near future. But I also wanted to quickly talk about cookie dough! You can just make cookie dough balls, freeze in a ziplock and pull out and bake. Just like the cookie dough you buy from school fundraisers, etc. BUT the best part?! You know everything that is already in the cookies, no preservatives.

This came in handy when I was baking August’s baking project. I forgot how big Nestle cookie dough recipes are! I got half way through the dough and realized we would never be able to finish the cookies. I decided to try freezing the dough. I used my cookie scoop to make cookie dough balls.¬†I placed them inside zip-locks in packs of 6,¬†I figured a half-dozen¬†cookies would be a perfect amount for hubby and I. Then I labeled the outside of the zip-lock with the date and type of dough!

Throw these babies into the freezer until ready to use! When ready to bake, place on a cookie sheet and bake as is. Just like you would with the frozen fundraiser cookie dough. So easy.

Although I must say it is almost way too tempting knowing that these are in the freezer. I am a sucker for cookie dough!

I hope this gives you some great ideas for saving wasted food or saving time! Let me know if you try freezing something yummy that I haven’t, or if you have had success with freezing something that I didn’t list! I am always looking for new ideas. ūüôā

Until next week…

33/52: Killin’ time & Butterscotch and White Chocolate Chip Chocolate Cookies

So the past few days have been… interesting. A learning experience if you will. I have worked since I was 16. I worked all the way through my college degree and most of the time even worked 2 jobs. Needless to say, I am used to working. I tend to be a workhorse and certainly take pride in all of my work. When I transitioned out of my job with NEP and into school I had about 2 weeks off but it felt like no time because we had so much to catch up on and Winston had his eye surgery. Right after that time off I jumped into school and it pretty much occupied all of my time so although I wasn’t bringing home a paycheck I still felt like I was working. Well… I have a few weeks off. It’s our “summer break”, meaning we are off from August 10-September-ish {whenever we start going into our prospective schools — PLU classes start September 6}.

The first few days, even the first week of this break I was smitten… time to catch my breath and re-organize/complete projects around the house. Awesome! Now? I am seriously starting to get bored. I am seriously learning how to not being doing something. Its hard! It also¬†doesn’t help that my lower back issues from May have started up again and my knees are acting up right along with it. I honestly feel like my body is that of a 40-year-old! Because I am not feeling the best and really have nothing to do as far as errands until tomorrow, I opted to stay in, ice my back and relax. Come 11am I was bored out of my mind… so naturally I thought, “I’LL BAKE!” Yeah… except our air conditioner went out 2 days ago and we’re waiting for the repair man to come out. After realizing that turning on the oven would make the temperature in my condo rise to ohh say about 85-90 degrees {inside!}, I decided to forgo that project. So I walked Winston a little… fiddled around and was still bored out of my mind. I checked the clock, surely it is close to 2:30 and then that means Johnny should be home in 30 minutes! Right?! Wrong. Soo wrong. I had only killed about 45 minutes.

Are you kidding me?! I bit the bullet. I have a serious¬†problem with baking, it is always my ‘go to’ hobby when I’m bored. So,¬†I quickly found a recipe to use up some of the chips in my baking cupboards and got to work. I have never really made chocolate cookies before. They honestly intimidate me a little. Regular cookies are so easy to see when they’re done, they get a little golden and then you just keep an eye on them. Chocolate cookies are a little tricky since they’re… already… brown. But, I think I gauged these just about right! I waited until they started to crack just slightly on the top. They seemed perfectly baked in the middle.

Side note: These cookies actually call for peanut butter chips which I think would be to-die-for in this recipe. But, I had butterscotch and white chips so that’s what I used! And I think these are pretty yummy. They aren’t chocolatey enough for my tastes personally but I think they are definitely a nice change from a traditional cookie. I am excited to send these off with my hubby to work tomorrow so his crew can have some Friday treats!

I love the texture on these cookies. They make me smile!

Butterscotch and White Chocolate Chip Chocolate Cookies

Ingredients:

1/2 c butter-flavored shortening
1/2 c butter
1 c brown sugar
1 c sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp espresso powder
1/2 tsp salt
6 T unsweetened cocoa powder
1 c butterscotch chips
1 c white chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Cream together butter, shortening, brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Add the vanilla and the eggs, one at a time.

3. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, soda, baking powder, salt, espresso powder and cocoa powder. Add flour mixture to the butter mixture a little at a time {so as to not tighten the dough} to combine and then mix in the chips.

4. Using a cookie scoop or a spoon, drop onto an ungreased or parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake for about 8-10 minutes. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes on the cookie sheet and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Source & Recipe: Slightly adapted from Our Best Bites cookbook

I am glad I sacrificed a few degrees in the condo to make these guys. Because baking makes me¬† t——h—— i——s happy! See?!

Hehe. So now, I have just a little time until my hubby gets home and hopefully I won’t chat his ear off when he walks in the door. You would think that I was living a completely secluded life the way I start rambling when he gets home. Poor guy. ūüėČ Off to ice my achin’ back and stretch out before the hubby gets home. I hope everyone has an awesome end of their week! I am ready for it to be Saturday, my bestie¬†from age 13 will be driving into town {she lives out of state and is visiting right now} and we get to spend some time together. Her hubby is going out with my John’s {Senior & Junior} and fishing on the sound and Kindle and I get a girls day! It is sure to be fabulous! What do you guys have planned for the weekend?

 

 

 

 

32/52: Growing up & Southwestern Stuffed Bell Peppers

Growing up is funny. When you’re a child all you can think about is: when I’m this age, I’ll do this… adults have it soo easy… being an adult is so much better than being a kid… etc. Looking back on my childhood and teen years, it seems like we were always in such a hurry to grow up. I recently went through quite a bit of stuff I had in storage at my dad’s place. It was like a blast from the past. It brought back all of those feelings of childhood where you just felt like the world/your parents were so unfair at times and like you never got to do what you want. Childhood is funny like that. Because now I look back and think, “What in the world was I thinking?!” I had it made! Haha. These memories made me wonder if my future kids will feel the same way I did. I bet they will. Funny stuff.

Also when I was going through the pictures I realized that my love of food went back to my very first years. Quite a few of the pictures of me when I was young were either taken in the kitchen, or with me playing in my toy kitchen in my room. I remember that I loved being in the kitchen with my mom while she was making dinner or cookies, pretty much anything.

I was even excited to help with dishes! ūüôā

Another memory surrounding food from my childhood is absolutely hating some things my mom cooked. She generally tried to cook things my dad liked and that meant certain things that totally grossed me out. There were times I think I stayed at the dinner table until it was my bed time, and went straight to bed because I didn’t eat my dinner. One of those dishes was stuffed peppers. Oh my goodness I would nearly cry whenever I saw my mom cooking them up for dinner. But alas, I have grown up and I’m not so picky anymore. In fact, one of my favorite dishes {Inspired by my hubby} now is stuffed peppers! But, not your typical stuffed peppers… they have a {of course} southwestern/mexican twist! Yum! This is my second time making these and this time I added in some ground turkey. But these are easily made vegetarian by excluding that, in fact that is what the original recipe calls for.

I’m honestly not sure why I despised stuffed peppers so much before. Probably just because they look weird. I don’t know if I even really tasted them. This recipe I make is so good. The inside is like mexican comfort food and the peppers are tender yet still slightly crisp… delicious! And, not to mention filling! I think I only ate half of my pepper before I gave the rest to Johnny. These should definitely be on your ‘to make’ list! Funny how your taste buds grow up too! I am thankful I now love stuffed peppers because these are now one of my favorite dinners!

Southwest Stuffed Bell Peppers

Ingredients:

4 very large or 6 medium sweet peppers {red, yellow, or orange}
1 Tbs salt
1/2 C white rice
2 Tbs olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 ‚Äď 1 jalapeno, minced {I included seeds for extra heat}
1 14oz can black beans, drained and rinsed {1 cup if you are using meat}
1/2 lb ground turkey, cooked
1 cup frozen corn kernels
2 green onions, sliced
1/2-1 tsp chili powder {you can start with 1/2 and add more to taste}
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/4 black pepper, plus more to taste
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, preferably fire roasted {drained}
1 1/4 C jack or pepperjack cheese, divided
3-4 Tbs chopped fresh cilantro
tortilla chips, just a handful and more for serving if desired.

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350.  Prepare peppers by washing, slicing tops off, and removing insides.  Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon salt.   Boil whole peppers for about 3-4 minutes, until they begin to soften.  Remove from water with tongs and place on paper towels to drain.

2. If you are adding turkey to this meal – make sure to cook it and lightly season it with pepper and salt. Then remove from pan and set aside until step 4.

3. Add rice to boiling water and cook until tender, about 13 minutes.  Drain thoroughly. {I pre-cooked my rice in a rice cooker}

4. Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onions, garlic, and jalapeno and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add corn, beans, turkey, green onions, chili powder, kosher salt, and pepper. Stir until corn and beans are heated through, about 5 minutes.  Place peppers in a baking dish.  Remove skillet from heat and add rice, tomatoes, 1 cup cheese, and cilantro.  Stir to combine well and give it a taste.  Add additional salt, pepper, and chili powder to your liking.  Then evenly divide mixture between peppers.

5. Top peppers with remaining 1/4 cup cheese (or more if you can fit it on there ūüôā and crushed tortilla chips.

6. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.

Source & Recipe: Slightly adapted from Our Best Bites <– Full tutorial here!

31/52: Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Macaroons with Patrina

Last month I introduced my new baking project — Long Distance Baking! {See tab at the top of the blog} To refresh your memory, the gist of the project is…My Aunt who lives in Colorado and I will alternate choosing baking projects each month, bake them on the same weekend and share pictures and thoughts about the recipes! Last month my Aunt chose Homemade Hostess Cupcakes. I would venture to say they are even better than the real thing! This month was my turn to choose the recipe.

I have tried to take over a new leaf lately, mostly to get ready and anticipate the lack of time that I will have come fall due¬†to my¬†full schedule of¬†full-time graduate school and my internship in the elementary school.¬†That concept combined with my hubby’s recent love of coconut macaroons and the desire to cross off another item on my Kitchen Bucket List led me to choose¬†Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Macaroons to bake¬†this month! We had some yummy coconut macaroons while in Vegas back in June, but I have loved coconut macaroons ever since I studied abroad in England and France during J-term 2008. I’m not sure that I had ever had a real macaroon until then. They were so chewy and delicious — an instant favorite.

Speaking of… That trip was ridiculously amazing. I have always had a thing for studying World War II. Probably because my grandfather served in the Navy as a fighter pilot over the Pacific during the war. I should make a post just about his story one of these days, it’s unbelievable. Anyway, when the opportunity came up to study World War II in England and France I wanted to go with everything in me. I had never left the country before. Thanks to my amazing mother it became a reality. I will never forget the experiences of seeing the impact¬†the war¬†had on London, and England as a whole or the experience of walking the beaches of Normandy¬†and seeing the battle field where so many of our men lost their lives on D-Day. Or, walking through the bunkers the Germans used {which still hold the guns they used},¬†or the many beaches where so many of our men fought for not only our freedom but that of the world, or walking through the American gravesite paying tribute to the soldiers… the memories are ones that I cannot truly put into words but they were most certainly life changing. I only have a few pictures from my travels because sadly the hard drive of my laptop crashed and I cannot find the backup CD. ūüė¶ Nonetheless, here are a few pics from the trip to England and France! Good and emotional times.

On the Thames River & Boardwalk

 

¬†Oxford – Christ’s Church {parts of HP were filmed here}

Stonehenge — so windy and cold!


Point du¬†Hoc, Normandy, France —¬†to the West of Omaha Beach

Me on Gold Beach {taking a picture of the mulberry}

Anyway… on with the macaroons. Sorry for that tangent! As I was saying while I was over in England/France I had amazing coconut macaroons and pain au chocolat {OH MY GOODNESS}.¬†To this day I have not been able to find anything that¬†is even comparable at bakeries or stores.¬†So¬†I’m not really¬†sure why it took me so long to want to re-create the macaroons, but alas a lightbulb went off and I started the search for the perfect recipe.¬†I was still apprehensive because I had this perfect ideal in my head of¬†what these macaroons should taste like.¬†And to my¬†present surprise¬†{and my Aunt’s too} this recipe did not disappoint! These macaroons are so easy; they are so good you would think they took hours to make. I will be making these again very soon because we have already devoured the recipe I made less than a week ago!!¬†You¬†need to make these and when you do¬†I’d love to hear what you all think? Be sure to let me know if you think they are as good as I do once you give them a try!!

Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Macaroons

Ingredients:

1 14-ounce package sweetened shredded coconut (about 5 cups)
4 large egg whites
2/3 C sugar
1/3 C All-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Approximately 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate or white chocolate {or both!}, melted {use double broiler method} and cooled to room temperature

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 325¬į F.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the coconut, egg whites, sugar, flour, salt, and vanilla.

3. Drop packed tablespoonfuls of the mixture onto parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing them 1 inch apart. {I used my cookie dough scoop, and it worked wonderfully but you could also just used a regular tablespoon}

4. Bake, rotating the baking sheets halfway through, until lightly golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool slightly on the baking sheets, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

5. When cool, dip the bottom of each macaroon in the chocolate and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Refrigerate until firm, 20 to 30 minutes. Store the macaroons in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 7 days – if they last that long!


{Tip: My condo tends to run warm all year round, so I¬†chose to keep mine in the fridge so the chocolate wouldn’t melt once firmed — if your chocolate starts melting, store them in the fridge in the same airtight container.}

Source & Recipe:
Real Simple

Happy Friday! I hope y’all enjoy your weekend!

26/52: Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

Happy 4th of July weekend everyone! I don’t know about you all, but I am ready to enjoy this long weekend by relaxing and celebrating time with my family. For me, it doesn’t get much better than that. ūüôā Whenever rhubarb season hits I start craving anything strawberry rhubarb — it is what I grew up with and what I know. It isn’t summer in my eyes until I’ve had a warm piece of strawberry rhubarb crisp or pie… yum! While I was on the other side of town picking up some shoes I had repaired I figured I should stop into Metropolitan Market and check out their produce. First thing when I walked in I was greeted with delicious looking, local strawberries. We were having a few friends over last night for dinner so I immediately picked up a 1/3 flat of strawberries and some rhubarb — what better way to end our dinner then with some yummy dessert?!

When I got home, somehow I didn’t realize I was out of brown sugar {rookie mistake… grocery shopping without a list}. So here I was, in the middle of assembling my crisp and I had to run up to the store for just¬†brown sugar. So needless to say the crisp didn’t turn out exactly like it should have. Normally you add your rhubarb into one bowl with sugar, add your strawberries into another and then¬†combine. I got that far and by the time I came home I had double the juice I normally would have {Normally your “juicy” edges are about half of what you see in the picture below}. Oops. ūüėČ Oh well, the dessert was still yummy¬†— it just looks more “juicy” then normal. Lets just say I didn’t have any complaints! ūüôā

Now as far as the recipe, I don’t have one from my family and I couldn’t find one online that I really liked so I just made one up myself! Enjoy.

Santie Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

Ingredients:

Filling:
2 c. rhubarb, cut into pieces
1 1/4 c. sugar
2 1/2 c. strawberries, sliced
3 T cornstarch
2 t fresh lemon juice
1 t vanilla

Topping:
1 stick butter, softened
1 1/2 c. dark brown sugar
1 1/2 c. flour
1 1/4 c. old-fashioned oats
3 T canola oil
1 1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t salt

Directions:

1. Filling: Toss rhubarb with 3/4 c. sugar and let stand for 15 minutes. Toss strawberries with 1/2 c. sugar and let stand for 10 minutes. Transfer rhubarb into strawberry mixture. Add cornstarch, lemon juice and vanilla – stir well. Transfer mixture into a 13X9 baking dish and set aside.

2. Topping: Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Using a pastry blender or fingers, mix until large crumbs begin to form. Sprinkle topping evenly over filling.

3. Pre-heat oven to 375¬į and bake crisp for 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325¬į, cover dish with foil and continue to bake crisp for another 30 minutes or until fruit is nice and bubbly and topping is browned. Let stand for at least 30-40 minutes prior to serving. Serve with a nice dollop¬†of home-made whipped cream and fresh strawberries!

This is such a fun, easy dessert. It’s refreshing and always a hit – a perfect dish for the fourth. I hope everyone has a fun, safe and enjoyable holiday weekend. Happy Fourth of July!