Cookie Pizza – football edition

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I am not the best baker.  But I LOVE eating dessert and so do my boys.  I started making this cookie pizza years ago and I never stopped because it is so good.  The first time I made it look like an actual pizza.  I shaped it in a circle, topped with melted chocolate, shredded coconut and mike and ikea.  I even got a pizza box to serve it in.  Most times, I make it with the chocolate chips in the dough.  For our big football parties I shape it in the shape of a football, top with melted chocolate and then use white icing to make the laces.  I serve it by cutting it into square pieces.  Be creative – it will always be tasty!


Cookie Pizza 

1/2 c butter or margarine, softened

1/c brown sugar

1/4 c granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 egg

1 1/4 c flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 c chocolate chips

2 T butter or margarine

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350º F. In large bowl, mix 1/2 cup butter, the brown sugar, granulated sugar, vanilla and egg until well blended. Stir in flour and baking soda (dough will be stiff).  Add chocolate chips if not melting for the top.
  2. Pat dough in ungreased 12-inch pizza pan or into 12-inch round on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool about 30 minutes.
  3. If you did not add the chocolate chips in batter, melt chocolate chips with two tablespoons butter in a glass bowl in the microwave.  Stir every 30 seconds.
  4. Spread chocolate mixture over baked layer. Immediately top with coconut or other toppings if using. Let stand until set.

Cranberry Pineapple Sauce

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Happy Thanksgiving!  If you are looking for a last minute, super easy side dish – this is it.  You probably have most of these ingredients in your pantry.  This sauce is so good with the turkey.


Cranberry Sauce
2 cans whole Cranberries

1 large can drained mandarin oranges

1 large can chopped Pineapple –drained

1 c smashed walnuts

Mix in Large bowl – Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.  Can be made 1 or 2 days in advance

Double if desired


 

 

Healthy Banana Muffins

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My husband and my oldest love muffins for breakfast.  A couple of days ago they both said “we haven’t had muffins in a while.”  I whipped these up super fast.  I adapted my recipe from The Ambitious Kitchen.  I omitted the chocolate chips because we are still eating halloween candy, and I added almond flour for protein and taste.  Everyone loved them!


Healthy Banana Muffins

1  c whole wheat flour

1/2 c almond flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

3 ripe banas

1/4 c raw honey

1 T olive oil

1 egg

1/2 c yogurt (I used blueberry because that is what I had – I think any flavor or type would work)

1 T milk of choice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray mini muffin tin with spray.  In a medium bowl, combine both flours, baking soda and salt.  Combine the rest of the ingredients in a blender.  Blend until well mixed.  Pour wet ingredients into dry.  Stir until combined.  Add two tablespoons of mixture to muffin tin.  Bake for 15-20 minutes until beginning to brown.  Cool for 5 minutes before removing.  Enjoy!

NaBloPoMo November 2014

Best Popcorn at Home

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I have already posted about the evils of microwave popcorn.  Seriously – never eat it!  You can use my healthy, easy microwave popcorn recipe or you can go with the non-microwave, slightly less healthy but super yummy stovetop recipe!

I have been using this recipe for years and I am always surprised with how delicious it is.  And so is my family!  This is a great recipe to make for a crowd because it really fills the whole pot

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Stovetop Popcorn Recipe

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 cup corn kernals

Put oil in large stock pot.  Add corn kernels.  Shake around so all kernels are covered with oil.  Turn heat on high.  Shake pan occasionally to keep kernels moving.  Once the first kernel pops reduce the heat to medium and put the cover on.  Keep shaking occasionally with the lid on.  Turn off heat once the kernels stop popping.  Remove from pot and enjoy.  You can eat it just this way or add fun toppings like sea salt, cinnamon and sugar or truffle oil!

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NaBloPoMo November 2014

Birthday Traditions #3 – Photo Cake

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In my mid-30ies with three boys, I know being honest with myself is my way to happiness.  I know I do certain things well and other things I do not.  I have this friend who makes these amazing cakes for her daughters, nieces, nephew and even friends.  One year her daughter was having joint birthday party with her niece.  She made the most amazing 1/2 Frozen cake (for her daughter) and a 1/2 The King and I cake (for her niece).  I love eating cake – but not making it.  I still want to make my boys feel like I spent some time in getting their cake to the party.  I also want them to feel like it is one of kind.  I go to one of my favorite things – pictures.  Depending on what my boys are into that year, what themes they want their party or what they were for halloween dictates whether I just use a picture or whether I get into photoshop.

The first picture was from my middle son’s (#2) 6th birthday party which was today!  We had his party at one of those indoor bouncy house places.  But he wanted a spy theme.  It is hard to make giant inflatable slides to have anything to do with spies.  I decided to focus on the cake and the party favors (I am going to do a post later in the week about my party favor ideas).  I did a photoshop project using just his head and a bunch of free clipart to make the spy design.  I had it printed on 8X10 paper and our local supermarket were able to put it on the cake.  If you can tell, it was actually a cupcake cake!

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Last year #1 was really into The Diary of The Wimpy Kid.  I used his head, turned it black and white and found the wimpy kid body and combined the two.  DSC02088

Last year #2 was all about superheros.  We had a superhero training birthday party at our house.  For his cake, all I did was email the ice cream store (yes – it is an ice cream cake!) the most recent halloween picture.

The boys face when they see their picture on their birthday cake is always priceless.

***If anyone is interested in having a custom photoshopped picture prepared for cake printing I am ready and willing.  Just get in touch!***
NaBloPoMo November 2014

DIY Almond Milk

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I love almond milk in my smoothies.  I always put it in my Basic Smoothie recipe and any variations.  There are some great store brands of almond milk.  I always prefer the ones that you can find in the freezer section versus the shelf stable ones.  Over Passover 2014 I was really trying to stick to my normal diet despite all the restrictions and temptations.  I couldn’t find any kosher for passover almond milk so I made my own.  I used the recipe from www.thekitchn.com.  I really love the consistency and freshness of it.  You have the ability to make it thick or thin – sweet or regular.

unnamed-2I soak my 1 c of almonds in a mason jar for 24 – 48 hours.  You then drain and rinse the almonds.

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I take 1/2 cup of the soaked almonds and combine with 1 cup of water in a blender.  Blend until it has a milky appearance.  You then strain the entire contents of the blender through a nut bag (worst name for a piece of kitchen equipment ever!).  Repeat with the rest of the almonds.  I find that if I try to do all the almonds and water at once it is a big mess.   Keep in refrigerator until using.  Mine usually lasts just under a week.

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NaBloPoMo November 2014

The Perfect Football Snack

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I love pinterest.com!  I have loved it since the moment I clicked on my first pin.  I have always loved to tear out recipes, design ideas and crafts from magazines.  I was just going through a long ignored drawer of old magazines and I found folder after folder of saved clippings.  But there was always the problem of how to use them.  When would I ever pull out that disorganized file of random torn papers?

I love pinterest so much.  Any time I come across a website with an article, recipe or craft I want to save for later I cut and copy the address into my pinterest account.  I so enjoy seeing what recipes my friends are thinking of trying or even see what is occupying their time – wedding planning, redesigning a kitchen, baby gear!  It is so searchable – if I remember somewhere back in my head that I had this great cookie recipe I wanted to try – I can search just my pins to find it.

I have over 1,000 pins on my personal account!  The majority are websites and links from other people.  This snack pin is an original from a recipe by my friend Lori.  Now that I am committing to this blog I will put my original posts on a interest account under Pickle Jinx and see how it goes.

If you want to pin this post click on the red “P” at the end of this post.

The Perfect Football Snack

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

On an ungreased cookie sheet arrange waffle pretzels in a single layer.

Unwrap millions (not really) of hershey kisses (this is the part that takes forever! little hands can be very helpful or do it front of the tv).

Top each pretzel with a hershey kiss.

Melt hershey kisses for 2 minutes in the oven.  DO NOT OVER MELT!  You might think that longer is better – in this instance it is not.  The chocolate becomes very hard and neither the pretzel nor the m&m will stick.

As soon as you take the pretzels out of the oven press m&m’s into each hershey kiss.

Cool in the fridge or even on the counter.  You can store in a freezer bag in the freezer for up to 3 months.

*** Make them your own – one of my friends swears by rollos instead of hershey kisses.  Try peanut m&m’s?  Use your favorite team colors for a sporting event.  We are die hard New England Patriots Fans so we had to use Blue and Red.

 
NaBloPoMo November 2014

Basic Green Smoothie

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Basic Green Smoothie

Ingredients:

1-1/2 c almond milk

1 c spinach or kale

1 c frozen fruit

1/2 frozen banana

1 scoop protein powder (optional)

Method:

Put greens and almond milk in blender.  Blend until most of greens are chopped up.  Add frozen fruit and protein powder.  Blend until desired consistent.

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This is my go to basic recipe.  I have found that I enjoy these portions of fruit to liquid.  It is important to blend the greens and the liquid before adding the frozen fruit.  This gives you the best chance of really chopping up the greens so you can drink it and not chew your smoothie.  The addition of the protein powder keeps me full until lunch time.

Enjoy!  I will post variations – but I always go back to my latest basic.

NaBloPoMo November 2014

Favorite Smoothie Equipment

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As I try to recover from my lack of will-power over my kids halloween candy – I am refocusing on starting my days out right.  That can only mean one thing…. SMOOTHIES!!!  I have been making smoothies for myself and my family for the last 15 years.  I have come along way with adjusting the taste, consistency and ingredients.  I started out using orange juice and sorbet!  Not exactly the picture of a healthy treat.  Over the last 6 months, I have been focusing more on almond milk, frozen fruit, greens and sometimes protein power.  Before I share my thoughts on exact recipes I wanted to share my favorite equipment.

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I have been very happy with this powerhouse of a blender, the Ninja Master Prep, which has been serving me well for the last two years.  At under $50 it is a great deal.  There are so many blenders out there and a variety of different prices.  I like this blender because the blades come out of the base, which makes cleaning really easy.  It comes with two bowls.  I use the big one for smoothies and the small one for blending nuts and making pesto.

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I usually drink my smoothies on the go.  Most often I am driving my kids to school – so it is the perfect grab and go breakfast.  My favorite container for my smoothies is a regular mason jar.  The colorful smoothies look super pretty through the mason jar glass.  The jar is sturdy, easy to clean in the dishwasher and I always have a ton of them!

I also love my stainless steel straws.  I have a thick straight one (seen in the first picture) and a thinner bent one (seen in the bottom picture).  The thick one is better for chuck smoothies and the thinner one is better to fit through the stainless steel lid.  I have experimented with different straws and containers – and this is what works for me.

Come back tomorrow for my basic smoothie recipe

NaBloPoMo November 2014

Snack Attack! Yogurt Buffet

Yogurt Buffet   With three hungry boys, I am always figuring out new and healthy options for snack.  Anything where they can create on their own is a bonus.  My boys and I love to watch the Food TV show Cupcake wars.  We make it our own with muffin wars, smoothie wars and now yogurt wars!!! Each boys started with a bowl of plain vanilla yogurt.  They then got to pick their toppings.  The ones I had for today was sliced bananas, raisins, and sliced almonds.  It was a huge hit!