Cookie Butter

I know I’m not the only one who has a love of Biscoff spread.  There are pinterest boards dedicated to it!

I was in Williams Sonoma today and saw their Cookie Butters for the first time! Am I the only one that wasn’t aware these existed??

IMG_1422

The offer 3 flavors, Graham Cracker, Cookies & Cream and Vanilla Wafer.   I snagged a jar of Vanilla Wafer.  At $12.95, this is a splurge but I had to try it.

vanilla wafer butter one

It is delicious!  If you follow me on Instagram, then you know I had it for lunch :)

I have already started thinking of how to use it!  Frosting, fudges, Muddy Buddies!  Ice cream, pies?

vanilla wafer butter two

Has anyone else tried it?  How about other flavors?

Happy Humpday!

Black bean & Pork {Slow cooker Soup}

Happy Saturday!

This week the weather has been beautiful!  I welcomed back cooler evenings with this classic Black bean soup – slow cooked with pork, chipotle peppers & onions.

If you don’t have chipotle peppers on hand, I recommend it!  I use them a lot for flavoring beans or chili.  My husband loves to use the sauce as a condiment, too.  You probably will never use a full can for one recipe.  I use what is needed, then store the rest in a glass jar in the fridge (old spice jar or jam jar will work perfectly!).

Enjoy!

black bean pork slowcooker soup

Black Bean + Pork Slowcooker Soup

6C chicken broth
1 red onion, chopped
1lb dried black beans (rinsed)
4 cloves of garlic, minsed
1 tbsp chopped chipotle chiles + 2 tbsp of the chipotle sauce
2 tsp ground cumin
1.5lb pork shoulder (boneless)
kosher salt

for serving : sour cream, avocado, cilantro, red onion

Add all ingredients to slow cooker.  Cook on low for 8 hours (6 on high).
Remove pork and shred.
Using an immersion blender, puree beans until you reach deserved consistency.
Add shredded pork.
Top with sour cream, red onion, avocado & cilantro.

Bonus : Before pureeing the soup, I save around a cup of the beans and use them for Pork quesadillas for another night’s dinner!

Recipe adapted from Woman’s Day magazine.  I could not find a link online, so I retyped it here for you!

Homemade : Mozzarella Sticks

In our house, we love snacks and appetizers.  Dinner parties and cook-outs are perfect for whipping up our favorite guilty pleasures.  What other time can you justify a plate full of homemade-deep-fried-cheese-sticks?  Well, Sunday afternoon football might be the other time.  And we have taken advantage off both occasions with this delicious recipe!

Homemade mozzarella sticks (Bonus : marinara dipping sauce!)

homemade cheese sticks

These seriously are so easy to make!  And they taste way better than their mass produced cousins. Only 4 ingredients – cheese, bread crumbs, eggs and flour!  In fact, this one is really more technique than recipe.

1.  Take one block of mozzarella cheese, the big block, but not the fresh ball.  And get the whole milk version.  Trust me.  The low fat variety will yield a less tasty stick.  It’s not like you are gonna eat these every day.  Its ok.  :)   Cut the block into sticks.  I usually cut it into 1/4′s across then each slice into 4-5 pieces.
2.  In a bowl, whisk one egg and a splash of water.  On a separate plate, measure our 1 – 1.5c of flour.  Finally, on a 3rd plate 1.5 – 2c of italian breadcrumbs.
3.  Take each cheese stick, roll it in the flour, dip it into the egg, roll it in the bread crumbs.  Place on a freezer proof plate.
4.  Repeat with each piece of cheese.
5.  Ok, this is an important step – Freeze the sticks for 10-15 mins.  This helps the cheese stay together when fried.
6.  Warm (2-3 inches) oil in a deep fryer or dutch oven to 350 degrees.
7.  Fry each stick for just a few mins – until golden brown. Serve with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese!

If you want to, you can leave these sticks in the freezer, before frying, for a week or so.  We served them last weekend and had a few leftover that we fried today.  They came out just as yummy.  No thawing needed, but you will need to fry a little longer – so watch the temp to insure you don’t burn them!

Bonus : Marinara Dipping Sauce

1 14oz can of crushed tomatoes with basil
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp sugar (or to taste, depending on your tomatoes)
salt to taste
1/2c diced onion
1 tsp minced garlic

Saute onion and garlic together.
Add tomatoes, seasoning and sugar.
Let simmer together for 15 mins – or you can let it hang out until you are ready to use (on low setting). If it gets too thick, add a splash of water and stir!

Wake Up Wednesday link up here!

 

enJOY!

Pumpkin Ale Cake {Spiked Recipe Challenge}

Today I am linking up with This Gal Cooks and Frugal Foodie Mama for their Spiked Recipe Challenge : Fall Beers!

Fall marks the return of all those great things that we love.  Cooler days, crisper air, pumpkin spice lattes and seasonal beers!  We love craft beer year around, but there is something special about the flavors you can only get seasonally.  For this recipe, I chose the Cottonwood Pumpkin Ale brewed by Foothills Brewery in Winston-Salem, North Carolina!  This beer was the obvious choice since my husband works in the brewery at Foothills! : )

foothills pumpkin ale cake

I adapted my recipe from a cake that a good friend of mine introduced me to.  It’s a doctored up cake mix and her original version is ALWAYS a big hit whenever I make it.  So simple – can be mixed up and in the oven in no time!

pumpkinale3pumpkinale4

For my Spiked version, I made a few substitutions.

Pumpkin Ale instead of the water.

Canned pumpkin in place of the sour cream.

Butter pecan cake mix and vanilla pudding instead of her vanilla / chocolate version.

I kept the chocolate chips … their semi-sweetness is a nice balance to the sweetness of the cake.

The results were just as moist and amazing!  To finish this one off, I added a drizzle of caramel sauce.  And honestly, the cake is so moist, you can get by with just a sprinkle of powdered sugar, if you want to tone down the sweetness!

pumpkin6

Here’s the recipe!

Pumpkin Ale Cake

1 box butter pecan cake mix
1 small box vanilla instant pudding
1/2 c sugar
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
4 eggs
8oz canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
3/4 c oil
3/4 c Pumpkin Ale
6oz semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350
Mix all ingredients together. Stir in chocolate chips.
Pour into well greased bunt pan.
Bake for 45-50 mins.

To finish, drizzle 1/2 c caramel sauce OR a sprinkle of powdered sugar.

Thanks ladies for the challenge!

Kitchen Pantry List {printable}

A small house if full of charm and ultra small cabinets.  Tackling a tiny kitchen has been my battle for 5 years!  I have added bookcases and wall shelves.  I turned my laundry “nook” into additional kitchen/pantry space with industrial shelving.  The one area that hasn’t been touched is the very narrow built-in pantry cabinet.   The cabinet is only about 12″ wide and very deep.  This makes finding items in the back nearly impossible.  I am constantly shoving things back there only to find them in the “once-every-6-months” clean out.  UGH!   I forget what I have stored and I re-buy.  This is such a waist of time & money!

kitchen checklist banner

During my Fall Cleaning weekend, I decided it was time to find a solution to this issue.  I need a easy way to “see” what I had.  I keep like ingredients together – a shelf for sauces and spices, a baking shelf that holds all mixes, flours/sugars and add-ins.  And a shelf for coffee and tea bags (yes, we drink a lot!).  (Canned goods are stored in the laundry nook / pantry.)  I started with painting the inside of the cabinet door with chalkboard paint.    I like this option – it is one way to label the shelves.  Or note what I need on the next trip to the store.

kitchen checklist Collage

Next, I wanted way to record what baking neccesities I had on hand.  I created this checklist in illustrator. (you could easier make this in picmonkey or even just word, if you needed too)  I listed each of my categories : Cake Mixes, Flours/Sugars, Nuts & Chips (chocolate, butterscotch, PB), and Add-ins.    Allowed columns for flavor/style and quantity.   I left a space under each for items I may need to replace or items that I have seen in a recipe that I need to pick up.  Now I can check this before heading to the market.

I laminated it to make it re-usable.  Using a mini clipboard (spray painted bronze!), the list hangs perfectly inside my little pantry!

Here’s the PDF printable!  kitchen pantry list.-free-printabl

Tuesday Talent Show Link Up Here!

Washi Tape Cupcake Topper

I discovered Washi tape this past spring while exploring options for our wedding guestbook (coming soon).  I wanted a pretty alternative to, well, tape.  I love this stuff!  It is one of those small details that can make a big difference!

washi banner

I used it this weekend to make these cute little flags as cupcake toppers.  An easy (and inexpensive!) way to dress up these little confections.

easy washi one

 

I used 3 different designs (coordinating, of course!) and wrapped different lengths around toothpicks.  I like using different sizes to give visual interest.  I like variety.  Added a little notched end, voila!

easy washi tape flags

 

Wake Up Wednesday link up here!

enJOY!

Emily

Sharing Positive : Counting my Blessings

Today’s Sharing Positive is about counting my blessings.  Sometimes I think about all the dog hair I clean up, or the dishes I wash or the laundry that there is too be done.  And every now and then, I find myself wishing I didn’t have to do so much stuff.

sharingpositive

Think about it!  A house that doesn’t need to be cleaned, a tidy kitchen and an empty hamper.  How lovely that would be, right?  I could have that.  I could get rid of my dogs.  Never have food to cook or someone to cook it for.  Not have the fortune of a closet full of more clothes than I need.

Then I remember the cleaning is just another part of my very full life.  Full of love, happiness, people and pets that I adore – I am fortunate to have all of these things and therefore I should consider myself blessed that I get to take care of these things.

Today during my run (those, by the way, come few and far between these days!), I looked up to the bright Carolina blue sky and counted my blessings once again.  I was hot but blessed by a beautiful sunny day.  Sometimes I wish my thighs were smaller, but today I was blessed by the strength they carry to push me up hills.  It was a great feeling at the end – to feel so tired and know that I am blessed by the ability to go for a run.

Your blessings may not be the same as mine, but I know that we all have more to be thankful for than we realize.

Count your blessings.

Happy Saturday!