Hot Chocolate Cookies & The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap

12 Dec

This is the second year I have been involved in The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap and neither year was I disappointed. Both years I have met and became friends with bloggers, found new and fun recipes, brainstormed like nobody’s business, and of course checked out the massive amounts of pictures on instagram and twitter.

I love that co-founders Lindsey and Julie are so passionate about this swap that they partnered with OXO and their charity, cookies for kids cancer. Each of us who signed up were given a super cute and fun spatula!


This year I sent cookies to –

Shelby of The Life & Loves of Grumpy’s Honeybunch

Rachel of Teacher-Chef

Jillian of Goodbye Fat, Hello Jill

I hope you enjoyed them ladies! And I hope they arrived safely!

I received cookies from –

1. Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies from Liz at YumAtFirstBite

2. Cranberry Almond Biscotti from Flavia at Flaviasflavors

3. Salted Vanilla Chip Oatmeal Cookies from LeAndra at LoveAndFlour


The shear variety of cookies I received this year completely astounded me! They were all incredibly delicious but in very different ways! Click on the links to the blogs above and see the recipes!

Now, for the recipe!


Hot Chocolate Cookies

  • 1 Box Devils Food Cake Mix
  • 1 1/4 Stick of Butter, melted
  • 2 packages Hot Chocolate Mix
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/2 package of mini marshmallows
  1. Preheat oven to 350, position your rake to the middle of your oven.
  2. Mix all ingredients in your stand mixer, except mini marshmallows and chips.
  3. When all ingredients are mixed, fold in chocolate chips.
  4. Drop, by teaspoons, onto a greased cookie sheet.
  5. Bake for 6 minutes
  6. Pull cookie sheet out of the oven and working quickly, press 2-3 mini marshmallows into the cookies.
  7. Return to the oven for 2-3 minutes, keep an eye on the cookies so the marshmallows don’t melt all over.
  8. Cool for about 10 minutes, and enjoy!

Want to join the swap next year? Click here!

PS – Did I tell you how I packaged my cookies? I worked on it for a very long time!


Salmon in Parchment

12 Nov

What if you had a fool-proof way to cook fish, would you use it? I just did. Parchment people. Parchment is the answer to perfect fish. It bakes the fish thoroughly without burning and it keeps the fish moist.

Salmon in Parchment (Serves 2)

  • 2 Salmon filets, rinsed and patted dry
  • Olive Oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry dill
  • 1 lemon, cut into 8 thin wheels
  • 2 large piece of parchment paper
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees, set rack in the middle of your oven.
  2. In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper, and dill. Stir to combine and set aside.
  3. Set salmon filets on separate pieces of parchment paper and brush lightly with olive oil.
  4. Take your salt, pepper, and dill combination and sprinkle evenly over each salmon filet.
  5. Top filets with 4 lemon wheels each.
  6. Fold parchment into a packet around the fish and make sure it is snug enough to keep all liquids in.
  7. Set both parchment packets on a baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the salmon flakes. You may need to open one packet to check.
  8. Serve with rice, asparagus, or potatoes. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from: Allrecipes

Angry Apple Pound Cake

1 Nov

Have you met my favorite beverage? It’s called Angry Orchard Crisp Cider and is SO YUMMY and wonderful. Crisp, sweet, and light. I have to admit I don’t drink alcohol more then maybe three times a month but when I do, this is what I drink. I was so excited when a light bulb went off and I decided to bake with it. The pound cake turned out moist and delicious! (Bonus! You’re only using half the bottle of cider, so you can drink the rest!)

Apple pound cake would be perfect on a cold day when you’re cuddling under your blankets! The alcohol bakes out but I would not give this pound cake to persons under 21. (Want an alcohol free version? Use sparkling apple cider!)

Angry Apple Pound Cake


  • 1 1/2 (3/4 cup) stick of softened salted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup Angry Orchard Crisp Apple Cider


  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Angry Orchard Crisp Cider

In your stand mixer, cream butter and sugar together. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add the rest of the cake ingredients into the mixer bowl except the cider. Turn on mixer and add the 1/2 cup of cider to the mixer slowly, until well combined. It will foam, but will mix together.

Pour into a  loaf pan that is lined with greased tin foil (for easy lift out, this cake is crumbly, so tin foil is a must.

Bake at 350 degrees F for about 55-60 minutes or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick can be inserted and comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Lift out of the pan, but keep in tin foil with the sides of the tin foil laying flat to catch excess glaze.

In a medium bowl, combine powdered sugar and cider. Too think? Add more cider. Too thin? Add more sugar. Wait (about 5 minutes) until glaze is firm, cut into slices and enjoy. (Responsibly! There is still alcohol in the glaze! 21 and older only please!)

Recipe adapted from: Chef in Training

Lemon-Rosemary Chicken Skewers

1 Oct

I am so happy that September is over. It has been a really hard month. My birthday was rough this year with a speeding ticket plus other things. My wonderful Grandma passed away on Labor day leaving me shocked yet at peace because she has been through so much.

In addition to some sadness, there was a promotion at work which is giving me a headache with amazing ideas. My job is amazing and I don’t think I could be anywhere else right now.

I haven’t had time to cook or browse recipes this past month, so when I found and made these Lemon-Rosemary Chicken Skewers and they were SO easy – I was in heaven. Tender with a splash of lemon. Delicious.

Lemon-Rosemary Chicken Skewers

  • 2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • Salt And Pepper
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Honey
  • 1 clove Minced Garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Rosemary Leaves
  • 4 wooden skewers, soaked in warm water for 15 minutes and dried

Cut chicken into 1 inch chunks. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Place chicken pieces in a shallow bowl. Squirt lemon juice over chicken chunks. Add olive oil, Dijon mustard, honey, garlic and chopped rosemary leaves; mix well. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the chicken marinate in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours, no longer.

Remove marinated chicken from the refrigerator. Skewer the chicken chunks onto four wooden skewers.

I used a Panini grill on low to grill my skewers, and sprayed the grill with Pam before I put the skewers on. Turn the skewers periodically, until the chicken chunks are cooked through and the meat is evenly grilled on the outside.

I served my skewers with steamed asparagus and roasted red potatoes. Easy weeknight meal!

Recipe Adapted from: Tasty Kitchen

From the Kitchen to the Bacon Trolley

24 Aug

It’s been a pretty exciting week! The Bacon Trolley, a food truck in St. Paul MN decided to start selling my desserts! It was a shock when they asked me to become one of their vendors, being as I have never done this for anyone but friends and family but of course I gladly accepted the offer!

The treat: A Maple Bacon Blondie! A brown sugar based brownie and is delicious sprinkled with bacon on top and maple extract! If you would like one, find out where the Bacon Trolley is here.

[Below is The Bacon Trolley’s menu for this week]


Salted Caramel Sauce

14 Aug

There are tons of recipes floating around Pinterest right now on the easiest ways to make caramel. “microwave it!” “only 2 ingredients!” “crock pot it!” while I have tried many of these recipes (and miserably failed at a lot of them) this recipe from Brown Eyed Baker stood out to me. I was nervous about the outcome. The sugar, like she said, was lumpy at first. My husband laughed at me trying to make it while my face was scrunched. “I am not giving up! The recipe said there will be lumps!” I almost prayed over those lumps of sugar. “Please sugar, please please please caramelize. Restore my faith in homemade caramel.”

The sugar did eventually unclump, but then the butter wouldn’t mix in! WHAT?! “Dear butter, mix with the sugar!” It was annoying. I started slowly pouring in the cream and took it off the heat. The cream is the magic. “Oh heavy cream, you are my saving grace!” (My husband was rolling his eyes at this point)

I let the caramel sit as long as I could before putting it on ice cream. I did pray over the ice cream. Asking the god of cream to be kind to me. One bite and my eyes were wide. “Oh. Wow.”

The nerve-racking 15 minutes at the stove where you believe this caramel won’t work are worth it when you eat it. Trust me. Don’t give up on this caramel!!!

I am not going to post a recipe for this because to change it would tilt the caramel world. It’s perfection. I dipped bananas in it. Swirled it over ice cream. I am thinking of making more and making truffles out of it. Yum yum yum. What did the world do before food blogs?

Recipe: Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce by Brown Eyed Baker

Easy Margarita Pizza

7 Aug

Never have I ever made anything with yeast….until now! At first I was afraid that it would take forever, but this pizza crust was so easy and so yummy that I am now a yeast believer. Will I move on to breads?? Hmmmmm, we shall see.

I am in love with pizza, Napoli pizza more than pizza hut pizza. But I had never made it. I stumbled across a few different crust and sauce recipes and decided to combine them. Who knew pizza making was SO easy?! And so yummy! Enjoy this pizza on a family night – the crust is versatile enough to make 4 mini pizzas, each can be different. Or trow a gourmet pizza party! When we move, this is sure to be apart of a housewarming party! YUM.

Margarita Pizza

For the crust: (Makes 2 crusts)

  • 1 1/8 cup flour
  • 1 package yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/8 cup Olive Oil

Put all ingredients except 1/8 cup of flour in a large bowl, and mix with a fork. add the rest of the flour and mix with your hands. Let sit 5 minutes, and roll out into a think crust. Put crust on cold pizza stone. Heat oven to 450 degrees.  Make the sauce.

[Crust recipe adapted from Cooking with Michelle]

For the sauce:

  • 1 can (28 oz) whole tomatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of dried oregano

In a medium bowl, combine tomatoes, pepper, salt, and oregano. Smash tomatoes with your fingers and combine. Spoon onto crust. Add toppings.

[Sauce Recipe adapted from Forno Bravo]


  • Fresh Basil
  • Fresh mozzarella
  • Drizzle of olive oil

Add toppings to pizza sauce and put in oven. Cook pizza for 10-12 minutes. When pizza is done, drizzle with olive oil and a few cracks of fresh pepper.  Enjoy!

My pizza before the oven

Pizza after I snagged a piece!

Foodie Pen Pals

31 Jul

I started this blog as a way to communicate recipes with people who asked for them. I would go to a party and bring something with me, cookies, fruit pizza, cakes, etc. and someone would ask for the recipe. I would tell them that since they requested the recipe, I would put my modified recipe up on the blog. I was loving the feedback! It made me try to come up with recipes and also, it made me dream. Big. Owning my own bakery big. But there are times in life, summer, where I think “why am I doing this?! I don’t have time!”

This past month has been a whirlwind especially. But I was so excited when my foodie pen pal match poped into my inbox. “Hi! My name is Jennifer and I am your foodie pen pal for July!” I was SO excited to get a pen pal box from her. Weird as it sounds, this foodie pen pal project had me slow down and think about 2 strangers this month. Jennifer (no blog yet, but soon!) who sent me a GREAT package and Lara (My Milk Glass Heart) who I sent a package to.

Jennifer sent me alllllll of this beautiful STUFF! 🙂

Her package was BRILLIANT! I was given all of the ingredients to make an Italian feast! (plus a recipe she has never shared with anyone!) I am making the lasagna this week! Risotto, a hand written card (a requirement of foodie pen pals), herbed olive oil, and more! It made my month! Thanks again Jennifer!

If you want to join foodie pen pals, CLICK HERE!

foodiepal stamp2 Foodie Penpals


Rustic Rosemary Flatbread

20 Jul

Have I told you about my obsession with Smitten Kitchen? Whenever I google anything, her site comes up. Today I realized I had TONS of fresh rosemary on my little plant that needed to be used. I googled herbed flatbread and her recipe came up. So, I made this flatbread at 1am. Cause I had to! And it was fantastic.

Rustic Rosemary Flatbread

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
  • Kosher Salt

Preheat oven to 450°F with a heavy baking sheet or pizza stone on a middle rack.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Make a well in center, then add water and oil and gradually stir into flour with a spatula until a dough forms. Knead dough gently until mixed and roll out (will make 2 large flatbreads)

Slide rolled out dough and parchment paper together onto the preheated baking sheet or stone, and bake about 5 minutes, until lightly golden. Leaving the oven on, remove tray from oven and quickly sprinkle with 1/4 of grated cheese. Bake an additional 3 to 4 minutes, until browned at edges and in thinner spots. Remove flatbreads from oven a final time, quickly drizzle each with honey , sprinkle with salt and garnish with rosemary. Cut each cracker width-wise into sections with a sharp knife. Repeat with remaining pieces of dough.

Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen

LA Eats

18 Jul

Over the fourth of July, my husband and I finally went on a much-needed vacation! We went to Los Angeles, CA for four days and it was a dream. I wanted to recap some of the things we did as well as the amazing food!

The Hollywood Sign! For some reason, I was SO excited to see this!

See the stars on the ground behind us? This is us at the Hollywood walk of fame 🙂

Us in front of Jinpachi – where I had the best sushi EVER

And also this yummy chocolate souffle!

Blu Benedict from The BluJam Cafe on Melrose Avenue!

One of the highlights of my trip! Sprinkles Cupcakes! A very famous cupcake bakery in Beverly Hills. I had one red velvet cupcake and one peanut butter chocolate. Best cupcake I have ever had.

Funny Story: When they told Kevin the total for our bill, he looked a little scared and gave them his card. Later he told me the cupcakes were $90! I was shocked! WHAT? Were they made of gold?! I asked to see his receipt and it said $9, not $90. When I asked Kevin why on earth he would pay $90 for 2 cupcakes he said “I love you!” I was kind of shocked, I don’t love myself enough to buy $90 cupcakes! My husband is awesome.

Let’s talk about this pizza. We wanted pizza and wanted to find the best spot in LA, so I googled it and found Bottega Louie, a place in downtown LA that was so crisp and clean I felt like I was eating in a hospital. It was beautiful. Open kitchen with copper pots, a food bloggers dream kitchen. This pizza was perfect. Crisp but soft at the same time! They also have a bakery. With a WALL of macaroons!

A WALL OF MACAROONS. French Macaroons. I bought two, a earl grey and a salted caramel. This place made a macaroon lover out of Kevin. I wish I would have boughten more.

This may be dumb but I have been hearing about Chic Fil A for years and how wonderful it is. I had chicken nuggets and they were really good!

We also went to Gramins Chinese Theater, Venice Beach, drove around the Hollywood Hills, and spent some time with my cousin and a friend of mine. The best part of this vacation was spending quality time with my husband. Really. It was great!

(Venice Beach)