Monday, December 31, 2012

Top Recipes of 2012

Ahhh! I'm back! I had a really great time in Ohio, but it went by way too fast! 
And I totally missed you guys.

And OMG it's already New Year's Eve! 

I cannot believe 2012 is almost over. This year has been so amazing. 
I got to spend pretty much all year with my favorite guy, I've been acting and working a bunch, and this blog has grown and taken off in such big ways! I have made so many wonderful new friends through here, and I cannot tell me how happy that makes me and how lucky I am to be a part of your (virtual) lives! I cannot wait to see what 2013 has in store for me.  

Now, here I have a little round up of yours and my favorite recipes of the year. Aaaand...not surprisingly....cookies were very popular. Like so popular that nothing else even stood a chance. 2012 was the year of the cookie! Now go scroll down to see what you guys liked best and then continue to see my favorites that didn't make your favorites cut! (Because you guys have great taste, your favorites happen to be some of mine too!) And yes...I know the top #'s are random...just go with it...

Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Holidays!

Well my lovelies, I'm taking this week off to just enjoy my family and then dealing with coming back to NY and unpacking. I shall talk to you all next week, but I'll leave you with this:



HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Something Saturdays (12/22/12)

Hi guys!! Thank you all so much for your sweet well wishes for my time in Ohio with my family-so far it's been really busy, but fun and I have another super busy day ahead of me today! I can't wait! :D

Friday, December 21, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookies at Chelsea's Culinary Indulgence

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Hi all!!

So, as you know, I'm currently having lots of fun/business in Ohio right about now.

BUT I still really wanted to participate in Chelsea's Culinary Indulgence's 12 Days of Christmas Treats:

12 Days of Christmas Treats

For the 12 days leading up to Christmas, Chelsea is having some wonderful bloggers post some of their fave holiday goodies! And today is my day! Head on over to check out my Christmas-y post and my New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Mini Spinach and Goat Cheese Pies

Mini Spinach and Goat Cheese Pies
Ok you guys, prepare for a much less active Kayle-presence.

On Wednesday morning I will be getting on a bus to Ohio, where I will stay for about a week. I'm going to be crazy busy visiting with people and doing stuff and enjoying the holidays! I'll still try to get on here every now and again, and I have a post or two scheduled for while I'm gone, but I just wanted to give you a heads up. I'll miss you and I hope you all enjoy your holidays too!

Mini Spinach and Goat Cheese Pies
Now, on to the recipe!

Have you ever had Spanakopita? It's pretty amazing. The only thing Michael complains about with it(and I agree with) is that we wish there was more pie and less filling. That problem is totally solved with these mini pies!

No, this is not technically Spanakopita. It's goat cheese and spinach and such, not feta and what not.

And yes, if you prefer more filling and less pie-you can totally make these that way too.

This recipe is quite inexact as far as the crust options go, but stick through it. You can figure this out. And once you do you'll have these super amazing little pies that you can hold in your hand and that taste absolutely rich and flavorful and delicious. These would be a perfect thing to serve at a holiday party, methinks. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Browned Butter, Salted, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Browned Butter, Salted,  Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I mean, come on guys, I've gotta leave you with 1 more cookie recipe before Christmas!

Browned Butter, Salted,  Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ambitious Kitchen became one of my cookie idols when I saw this recipe.

Let's take stock, shall we?

Browned butter? 
Check.
Peanut butter?
Check.
Chocolate chips?
Check.
Sea salt?
Check.
Ginormous cookie, chock full of flavor?
CHECK!

Browned Butter, Salted,  Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I honestly don't know what else to tell you guys. 
These cookies are huge, chewy, and absolutely, wonderfully, perfectly delicious.

Do Santa a favor, and put these out for him (or you could just hoard them away and deal with him giving you coal...I'd say it's borderline worth it.)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Kristina & Kayle's Christmas Cookie Exchange Winners

That's it!

It's over!

Thank you so much to everyone that participated in mine and Kristina's Christmas Cookie Exchange this year! I'm totally drooling over all the delicious cookies you guys shared! I hope you've all discovered some new, fun, recipes to try out too!


Now, the official winner of Kristina & Kayle's Christmas Cookie Exchange and a $10 Starbuck's Gift Card is....
Stephie from Eat Your Heart Out's "Maureen's Rice Krispie Cookies"


 And... the winner of the Silpat Baking Mat Giveaway is...
Jennifer Drummond (Entry #138) of Peanut Butter & Peppers

Congrats Stephie and Jennifer! Both of you please e-mail me your mailing addresses to kristina.whippedbaking@gmail.com or cookingactress@yahoo.com so we can send you your prize!

We had so much fun, and hope you did too!

Happy Holidays and Happy Cookie Baking!


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Something Saturdays (12/15/12)

Ok you guys! This is it! Tomorrow ends the whole SHEBANG! So make sure to vote for your fave. cookies here and enter the Silpat giveaway here! I've had so much fun doing this whole thing with Kristina-thank you all for being a part of this!


Oh yeah, and since you guys were all like, "Kayle we wanna see YOU in the dress: here. It's kinda a crappy picture but whatever lol.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Molten Chocolate Lava Cake

Molten Chocolate Lava Cake
Do you need a show-stopper dessert for the upcoming (AHOMGSUPERSOON) holiday?
Do you want something that takes very little effort, and that you can even make ahead of time?
Do you want THE ABSOLUTE BEST LAVA CAKE I'VE POSSIBLY EVER HAD?!?

Yes?

Good, you're smart. I like that about you.

I've already waxed poetic about my very deep love for lava cakes...it's chocolate cake...with a melt-y chocolate lava center. 
So...yeah. 

At some point when it was just starting to get around that "Kayle likes to cook.", Michael's dad suggested I try out his wife, Jeanne's, recipe. She facebook messaged me the very simple recipe and I stored it away to try...at some point. To be honest, I wasn't that optimistic. I'm always nervous when trying a recipe that I don't have photos of or detailed instructions. But, I was in the mood to make some lava cake a couple weeks ago, and Michael suggested I try Jeanne's-I had all the ingredients so I figured, "Why not?" While I was baking these up I thought to myself, "Huh, there isn't that much chocolate in here, I wonder if these will be any good?"

Oh yeah past me, they are VERY good! AND you do not need to worry about whether or not they'll be underbaked enough or whatever so that the "lava" will come out: it will be perfect. The lava was the best part and it was no issue at all. These cakes are so so sooo perfect! And once you've portioned the batter into ramekins, you can cover and refrigerate until ready to bake. Since I like these best fresh, I just baked 2 at a time over the next few days (1 for Michael and 1 for me). I cannot say enough how perfect this recipe is. Amazing lava cakes. Just amazing. Jeanne is a smart lady.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Fluffy, Buttery, Rolls (Texas Roadhouse Copy Cat)

Fluffy, Buttery, Rolls (Texas Roadhouse Copy Cat)

So, these are the rolls I made for Thanksgiving.

And these are the rolls I intend to make for everything that I ever do, ever.

They are light, and chewy, and fluffy, and buttery, and ohhh so good.

When Michael had his first roll he was like...blown away. As was I. As shall you be.

Fluffy, Buttery, Rolls (Texas Roadhouse Copy Cat)

Now, I don't know if you've ever been to a Texas Roadhouse, they're pretty much just a steak chain. Not even my favorite, I'm generally an Outback kinda girl. But the big draw to Roadhouse isn't their steak-it's their rolls. They have the most amazing, wonderful, buttery-goodness, rolls (and they come with cinnamon honey butter, although I'm a crazy person who prefers just regular butter). They are the best rolls I've ever had in my life. And these rolls are a PERFECT copy cat recipe. So, if you-like me-are a slave to the wonder that is a Roadhouse roll, then you are about to flip your lid: because you can now make those exact rolls (and that exact cinnamon honey butter), in the comfort of your home.

Fluffy, Buttery, Rolls (Texas Roadhouse Copy Cat)

I'm not gonna tell ya what to do.
That's not what we do at this blog.

But I'm going to very strongly suggest that you make these rolls for the holidays.
Or just for a Thursday.

You know, whatever. Totally your choice. 
But believe me-you are gonna thank me. These rolls=game changers.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Kristina and Kayle's Cookie Exchange SILPAT GIVEAWAY! (CLOSED)

Hi everyone! Our cookie exchange is still in full swing (so head on over to link up, if you haven't already)! And today we have an extra special treat for you:
A SILPAT GIVEAWAY!

Any cookie baker worth their salt knows about, and uses, Silpat. Kristina uses them. And I have been lusting after them, giving forlorn gazes at the parchment paper I have been dealing with (up to this point). 

Now, in case you didn't know, here's some of what makes Silpats so awesome:
  1. They're the original non-stick baking mat. 
  2. Silpat Non-Stick Baking Mats are made of fiberglass and good grade silicone-they are completely food safe and FDA, NSF, and Kosher certified.
  3. Cookies get some sort of traction when baking from these baking mats, and they spread less (bigger cookies=better!)
  4. NOTHING sticks to these babies-be it gooey batter, caramel, taffy, dough, etc.! And there is no greasing required-just the mat.
  5. Silpat is effective in temperatures from -40 degrees (F) to 480 degrees (F).
  6. Unlike parchment paper, Silpat is reusable and cleans super easily! (OMG I'm going to save so much money not having to constantly buy more parchment!)
  7. Not just for cookies, they also produce Silpain (for bread) and Roul'Pat (for rolling out dough).
  8. They have even more products here!
Um so yeah...I'm super psyched to start using my new Silpat ALL. THE. TIME!
And oh yeah, you can get one too!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Something Saturdays (12/8/12)

Last week some of you guys wanted to know what the dress I got from Bloomingdales looks like, well here it is: http://www1.bloomingdales.com/shop/product/french-connection-dress-almonda-stretch?ID=663773&PseudoCat=se-xx-xx-xx.esn_results (but on me there's a lot more curviness...and cleavage :P)

Gahh 90's music was the best!! (Although there are some really amazing songs that are missing from this...hello?! Smells Like Teen Spirit?!)


Of course, this week kicked off:
You can still link up your cookie recipes here-voting doesn't begin until the 13th (and don't forget, the winner gets a $10 Starbucks gift card). And check back here on Monday for a GIVEAWAY!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Michael's Post-a-ma-thing


Hello there little bloglings,

It is I, Michael. I am taking an opportunity to impart upon you some of my impeccable taste and epicurean prowess. Normally my girlfriend Kayle, aka "The Cooking Actress", would give you a witty anecdote, some pretty pictures, and a fairly detailed recipe. Today, however, good peoples of the blogiverse, I will be at the helm of this expedition and we will be taking a road-less-traveled for some of you (Kayle included) by focusing on an efficient and literally zero mess method (if done correctly) for filling our hungry-hungry-hippo selves.

I bring to you today a fine delicacy from a can.

I bring to you, SpaghettiOs.

Now you may be thinking, "What!? I know how to make that! pour the can into a bowl and heat it up." Oh no my doe-eyed blogateers! The secret is far simpler than that! We will get to the end goal of satisfaction without all those pesky steps and minutes of waiting. TO THE "RECIPE"!

SpaghettiOs, The Right Way
Michael's Post-a-ma-thing
Ingredients:
  • Can of SpaghettiOs
Preparation:
Truly this is a 2 step process with more detailed sub-steps if you will.
  • Take a can opener and open the can of SpaghettiOs.
    -I personally prefer SpaghettiOs with "meatballs" which can make this a tad trickier, but be not afraid my brood of blogchilds, I am an expert at this.
    -The trick here is to open the top of the can and position it above ones gaping maw.
    -You may notice here that the congealed mass does not seem to be in as much of a rush as you clearly are at this point, merely trickling into your mouth or quite rudely not moving at all, making you look like a large odd looking baby bird waiting to be fed. There is a solution to this!
    -Much like the classy concept of shotgunning a beer, we must break the vacuum death grip the evil can has on our delicious ambrosia. What you do is take your can opener and puncture the bottom of the can as if you were going to open up the bottom of the can, but only just enough to break the seal.
    - It should be noted that at this point one should be ready to chow down greedily as it will start to really flow down one's gullet. Which leads us to official step 2...
  • Eat/drink up!
    -That's right! No dirtying a bowl or spoon. No waiting for it to heat up in the microwave. Open that bad boy up and chug down delicious cold SpaghettiOs.
Michael's Post-a-ma-thing

So there you have it my cadre of blogatrons. No dirty dishes, no waiting, just recycle the can when it's empty and you've just enjoyed a world class meal in the matter of a minute and a half! Now you have more time to pwn n00bs, perfect your army of robot-lizard warriors, perfect your band's style, teach koalas to play polo, and generally be the stylish and sophisticated man/woman-about-town that you are.  It has been my pleasure to take this little trip with you my intrepid bloginators.  I shall remember my time with you for at least 3 and a half weeks.  Until next we meet, may the force be with you, the grace of the Valar be with you, and have fun storming the castle.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Chocolate Chip and Peanut Butter Truffle Swirled Cookies and KRISTINA & KAYLE'S CHRISTMAS COOKIE EXCHANGE!

Ah December. This entire month is pretty much just about Christmas for me. In my head it's Christmas Christmas all the time! And living in New York City, the decorations are on par with my thoughts. 

Now, as I'm sure you've noticed I love cookies. Another awesome thing about this season.
Chocolate Chip and Peanut Butter Truffle Swirled Cookies
To celebrate this cookie-licious time of year, I am so excited to announce the official kick-off of...
 Kristina and Kayle's Christmas Cookie Exchange!

As you guys know, Kristina (of Whipped Baking) is my girl. And she and I were like, "Um, let's get everyone together to cyber-share their favorite cookie recipes!" Because we're (ok, it was Kristina's idea, I just jumped on board enthusiastically) brilliant like that.

So, starting today, December 5th, Kristina and I invite ALL OF YOU to join our Christmas Cookie Exchange! We want you to bring your favorite cookie recipe and link it up at the bottom of either my post below or over on Kristina's yummalicious blog to share your favorite recipes. Kristina and I are blogging a couple of our own cookie recipes today, so make sure to check hers out too, after you're done here!

*Cheesy announcer voice* But wait-there's more! Not only do you get tons of wonderful cookie recipes, there's also a priiize up for grabs! After you've all linked up your tastiest cookie recipes we're going to vote! And the winner gets (in addition to Cookie Queen/King bragging rights) a $10 Starbucks Gift Card! Voting begins on December 13th and ends December 15th (then the winner will be announced December 16th)!

Here's the agenda:
  1. Today (December 5th) starts Kristina & Kayle's Christmas Cookie exchange! Enter your favorite cookie recipes by linking up your cookie posts to either the bottom of my post here or over at Kristina's blog, Whipped Baking. You can use new or old posts as long as they're delicious cookies!
  2. December 10th a very special cookie related GIVEAWAY!
  3. December 13th starts the voting period where you all can vote on your favorite cookie recipe. You can vote by coming back to this post and clicking the 'vote' button below the individual pictures. Voting ends December 15th at 11:59pm.
  4. December 16th we will announce the winner of the Cookie Exchange Contest who will receive a Starbucks Gift Card for $10! And we'll also announce the winner of Monday (Dec. 10th)'s giveaway!
We'll also totally remind you on the 13th that it's time to vote, so don't worry about trying to remember!

Don't have a blog? Send Kristina a pic of your favorite cookie and the recipe to her e-mail, kristina.whippedbaking@gmail.com, and we'll share your pictures on our Facebook pages! Unfortunately you are not eligible for the gift card (because we have no way of voting for your recipe) but we would LOVE to be able to share your yummy recipes too!

Chocolate Chip and Peanut Butter Truffle Swirled Cookies

Now, on to the matter at hand-these cookies. When Michael's friend Katina was visiting, I decided I wanted to bake her up a special treat, and that was these cookies. They're a fairly basic (and delicious) chocolate chip cookie, but throughout it are swirls and chunks of amazing peanut butter truffle. These cookies were soft, chewy, and wonderful, with a fabulous marriage of sweet, rich, and just a hint of salt. They're a wonderful twist on a classic, just special enough to impress during this holiday season, yet traditional enough to please all members of your family (who like peanut butter, anyway). This cookie monster could have gobbled these all up in a heartbeat...but I had to share. And that was even better. :)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Crock-Pot Chicken and Dumplings

Crock-Pot Chicken and Dumplings
Well.
Winter is here.
It's cold. I now officially always wear long johns under my pants or leggings when leaving the house. My only shoes that are getting worn outside are boots. I'm even occasionally donning a hat and gloves (and boy oh boy I hate wearing gloves almost as much as I hate wearing socks-speaking of...) AND SOCKS! Ugh I'm wearing socks. Not all the time, mind you, but more than I would like. Now, don't get me wrong, there are some perks of winter.

Christmas. Gotta love that.

And comforting, happy, delicious food, that warms you from the inside out.
Crock-Pot Chicken and Dumplings
Like this slow cooker chicken and dumplings recipe. 

It is pretty darn simple, and at the end you have a big bowl of warmness. It's quite lovely. Michael and I both absolutely adored this (although it does make a lot so be prepared for a lot of leftovers, or maybe make sure you serve more than 2 people). Michael was especially fond of the dumplings. I adored it but felt it was missing something. So, I whipped up my simple biscuit recipe-but I added cheese, some herbs, even a little chicken bouillon granules in there for flavor, made them drop biscuits, and it was exactly what I feel it needed! The bite of the cheesy biscuits was just sooo good slathered in the rest of it. Mmmmm hmmm. Yes. Either way, you should totally take my word for it and make the most out of winter by making yourself some!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Something Saturdays (12/1/12)

Hello my friends!

This week has been sorta weird, like, I babysat, then I spent a full 3 hours wandering around Bloomingdales (and feeling very out of place, but then triumphant when I got to purchase a dress--which I'm being reimbursed for--that I love for a short film I'm starring in, and will then get to keep ^_^), then I thought I was going to be filming but that got canceled last minute, then I spent a good chunk of yesterday hanging out with a girl who was one of my best friends in grade/middle school who just moved here (which was SOMUCHFUN) and today I'm working and then tomorrow Michael and I are Christmas decoratiiiing! Yay!

And for you guys I have an extra special event coming up this week...a surprise party...if you will. Stay tuned on Wednesday to see what I have in store ;).

Friday, November 30, 2012

Pan Roasted Potatoes

Pan Roasted Potatoes
Ahhh ohemgee you guys!
Don't let the ugly photos fool you-this is one of my favorite potato recipes.

So simple. So quick. So easy. SO DELICIOUS!

These potatoes are super soft and buttery tasting on the inside, and delightfully crisp on the outside.

I make these all the time.
It doesn't get much better than this.

Get your side dish on!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Browned Butter Brownies

Browned Butter Brownies
Hi, my name is Kayle.
I'd like to introduce myself.
I love chocolate.
I also loved browned butter.
In case you didn't know.
Browned Butter Brownies
You guys...these are the best brownies I've ever made.
Possibly that I've ever eaten.

They are so chocolatey and dense and rich and fudgy. They have the wonderful crackly top we all love.

And um...browned butter. Super subtle but it adds such a delicious element.

Michael went gaga for these too. We both were absolutely smitten with these wonderful brownies.

I think you just might be too.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Homemade Whole Wheat Ritz Crackers

Homemade Whole Wheat Ritz Crackers
Me and Ritz crackers go way back.

When I was a kid (like...2nd-4th grades I believe) I used to have to go to the speech trailer at my school (which was a Catholic school, and I had to walk through the cemetery to get to the speech trailer)-I had difficulty pronouncing my "r's" correctly (they came out like "w's"..."wabbit"...etc.). Anyway, I had a great speech therapist and it was always fun and the problem was resolved, I can now say...well...resolved (not wesolved). One of my most vivid memories of going there was that I would always immediately attack a sleeve of Ritz crackers with glee. I don't know why. But they were there and I always ate them. And I loved it.

Now-a-days I use Ritz crackers in my cooking, as well as to occasionally spread some peanut butter on as a snack. But...you guys know me and processed stuff...it just...makes me feel ugh. Have you read the ingredients on Ritz crackers? Ugh!  Anywhozzle, one day I had a bunch of super salty homemade peanut butter at my disposal (accidentally used dry roasted peanuts) and I like really wanted to use it on Ritz crackers. But I didn't want to buy them. So I figured....how hard could they be to make? I did a little google-ing, found a recipe, and turns out-not very hard at all! These crackers definitely don't taste exactly like Ritz (although perhaps the fact that I healthified these by subbing in half whole wheat contributed) but they are still super good. Definitely best on the day they're made, but I always manage to eat them leftover too. And the best part is-I don't feel bad at all about eating them. Nothing but pure contentment here.

(That's pure contentment here...not puwe contentment hewe :P)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Something Saturdays (11/24/12)

My Thanksgiving.

Ahh! OMG you guys Thanksgiving is OVER. Do you know what this means??!! CHRISTMAS IS COMING! OMG OMG OMG OMG. I love Christmas...like...you don't even know. I go batty for the holiday. I'm so excited...I'm not sure if you can tell. :D

Friday, November 23, 2012

Healthy Oatmeal Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Healthy Oatmeal Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
 I don't know about you guys but after yesterday I feel...
well...fat.
I ate a bunch.

So I figure, let's share a healthier recipe today, shall we?

I mean...they're still cookies. 
It's not like I'm all like "Oh hey guys here's a recipe for roasted squash and kale and stuff"
Baby steps, you guys, baby steps. 

(Um...I really wish that I wanted to eat stuff like that though. Why can't I feel about veggies the way I do about cookieeees?!)
Healthy Oatmeal Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
These cookies are like super simple to put together.
And they taste pretty darn delish.
Chewy, nutty, chocolatey, tastiness.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Loaded Mashed Potatoes

Loaded Mashed Potatoes
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving!
And I have mashed potatoes!
You know...in case you wanna try a new recipe.
This is definitely one of my new favorites.
They're flavorful.
They're thick and lusciously potato-y.
I love em.
Loaded Mashed Potatoes
This recipe is courtesy of one of my many wonderful food blogger friends, Mallory (Total Noms). Mallory is NYC based, also, so I've had the pleasure of getting to hang out with her. Which brings me to my next point:
What I'm thankful for.

I'm thankful for my mom and my brother and all my family.
I'm thankful for my Michael.
I'm thankful I'm able to live my life, doing what I love to do.
I'm thankful any of you read this blog.
I'm thankful to be happy and healthy.
I'm thankful for my friends.
I'm thankful for all my new, blogg-y friends. There are so many of you now, and I hope you know who you are. The people whose comments always make me giggle, and blog posts I can't wait to read. Some of you have named my hand mixer. Some of you I've gotten to meet. Some of you I hope to meet soon. Some of you have bonded with me over shared loves and interests (Batman. Dessert. etc.) Some of you sent me gifts for my birthday (seriously...still speechless over the sweetness that was). Some of you may notice that it's you I just namelessly called out, and some of you may not-but I sincerely hope all of you know how much you mean to me and how much I truly think of you as friends, whether we've met in person or not. I love you all and am so thankful that you've come into my life.

What are you thankful for?

Oh and in case you were wondering, here is my Thanksgiving menu:
Cranberry sauce (the icky stuff from the can...for Michael lol)
Corn
Butterball turkey breasts
Pumpkin Pie-My favorite pie crust + the canned pumpkin recipe

Monday, November 19, 2012

"Snickers" Peanut Butter Caramel Corn

"Snickers" Peanut Butter Caramel Corn
I love sweets.
I love popcorn.
I love chocolate.
I love peanut butter.
I LOVE CARAMEL CORN!
"Snickers" Peanut Butter Caramel Corn
So like...I know Thanksgiving is this week, and I don't really know if caramel corn is a particularly Thanksgiving kinda thing but...I mean...corn was a big deal at the time, with the natives and such, ya know? So...yeah. That makes sense.

My beloved Kristina (from Whipped) shared this recipe around Halloween time. Because it's like candy. But somehow low-cal? I think it's because of the popcorn, I don't know. All I know is I wasted pretty much no time to get this in Michael's and my bellies. We were pretty darned excited. And it was delicious. And we ate it. A lot. And before we knew it...it was gone. Because popcorn is addictive like that.

I'm not gonna lie...this recipe is difficult...I think? I'm not 100% sure if making caramel corn is hard or if I just suck at it, but all I know is I can never evenly coat all the popcorn and the caramel is hot and I burn myself and I can't make it all sit on the pan evenly and when I try to mix it I make a mess and...yeah. But then all those annoyances fade away when I take the first bite. Kinda like how moms supposedly forget the pain of childbirth once they hold their baby in their arms (is that true? I sure hope so). You know? But yeah. You should make this. It's popcorn (popped in a big pot which is way more fun than I realized...heheeee all the lil kernels go "pop! pop! pop!"), a peanut butter caramel, and a yummalicious chocolate drizzle on top of it all. Oh yeah and peanuts. Sweet...salty....nummy.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Something Saturdays (11/17/12)

I am exhauuuusted! Just finished two, 12 hour days shooting that episode of "My Dirty Little Secret" for Investigation Discovery. So, I'm super sorry for being MIA-ish. And not having more to say for this Saturday post. All I gots to say is this stuff:

OHMAGAWD-this list is totally my middle school experience. Freaking me out. Oh yeah and this is elementary school.


Friday, November 16, 2012

Thanksgiving Menu Ideas

Where is the time going? It's like one second it's October, then it's my birthday, and now Thanksgiving is coming up!! For those of you looking for a little inspiration for your Thanksgiving menus (I'll post mine sometime later), you should definitely check out some of these options:

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

My Birthday: A Recap in Photos

So...I was gonna share a recipe with you guys today. Really, I was.
But...I'm tired.
I had a super fun/super busy birthday.

And today I've got an audition and some stuff to get done, because tomorrow and Friday I'm filming an episode of True Crime, and Saturday I have to work. So instead, you guys get to see some pictures of my birthday!!

Yay...!...?...!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Quick Wheat Baguettes-King Arthur Flour Review

Tomorrow is my birthday! To celebrate, we've got bread (I love bread. Ask anyone) and a giveaway! Yay!
Quick Wheat Baguettes
Tomorrow may be my actual birthday, but when I received 4 bags of King Arthur's organic flour to review-it certainly felt like that was my birthday! 

If you're not (for some crazy reason) familiar with the brand, King Arthur Flour is America’s oldest flour company, founded in Boston in 1790 to provide pure, high-quality flour for residents of the newly formed United States. More than 220 years later, they’re the nation’s premier baking resource, offering everything from top-quality baking products to inspiring educational programs—all backed by the passion and commitment of their dedicated employees and owners.
To learn more about King Arthur Flour, their philosophy and/or products, you can find them on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and Pinterest.  You can also sign up to receive e-mail updates that include everything from recipes to their latest product offers.  And don’t forget to check out their recipe page for fabulous step-by-step recipe ideas that use many of King Arthur Flour’s products! Their website alone is fab-they have so many amazing products and resources! 
And um, yeah, now they have ORGANIC FLOURS! I attempt to incorporate a lot of organic into my diet, and I use flour a lot so I was pretty ecstatic at the opportunity to try out King Arthur Flour's varieties. 
Here's a little run down about the flours I received and my (amazing) experiences with them:
King Arthur Organic (Unbleached) All-Purpose Flour: "A certified-organic all-purpose flour, produced from hard red winter & spring wheats. Slightly lower protein level of 11.8%." Obviously, all purpose flour is the go-to, it is the workhorse of flours in my kitchen. I've been using this flour like...almost daily, and everything turns out absolutely wonderfully!
King Arthur Organic (Unbleached) Bread Flour: "King Arthur’s organic unbleached high-gluten bread flour, milled from organically grown hard red spring wheat, is perfect for yeasted baked goods-bread, rolls, pizza, and more. 12.7% protein, a full point higher than other national brands. The higher the protein level, the stronger the rise. Use in recipes calling for bread flour, including bread machine recipes. Super when you're making rye or other whole-grain breads that have trouble rising their highest." Oddly enough, I've used this flour more in cookie recipes than bread ones (so far) but either way the cookies turned out thick and perfect, and the breads chewy and the whole wheat versions have a much higher rise than usual. Oh, and I used it for this bread recipe below. I'm officially in love with this bread flour :).
King Arthur 100% Organic (Unbleached) Whole Wheat Flour: "A certified-organic whole wheat flour produced from hard red spring wheat. King Arthur Organic Whole Wheat Flour works GREAT! Protein level: 14%. Ideal for all of your whole wheat baking." Whole wheat flour has been the 2nd most used flour in my kitchen, and I have absolutely loved the double layer of health (organic and whole wheat! woohoo!). And, this was another flour I used in the bread recipe below.
King Arthur 100% Organic (Unbleached) White Whole Wheat Flour: "King Arthur 100% Organic White Whole Wheat Flour, milled from a blend of hard white winter and spring wheats, tastes milder and bakes lighter than traditional whole wheat. Protein: 14.0%.Called "The new miracle flour" by First for Women: 'Bakers rejoice! Now you can make all your favorite recipes with white whole-wheat flour. Recently introduced by King Arthur Flour, 100% Organic White Whole Wheat tastes milder than traditional whole-wheat flour but incorporates the three key components of whole grains: bran (packed with fiber), endosperm (full of protein) and germ (rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber).'" This was probably my biggest surprise. I have been incorporating some white whole wheat flour into almost ALL of my baking--it barely (if at all) affects the flavor and texture, but I know that I'm getting the added nutrition! Possibly my new favorite flour, love love love it!
Quick Wheat Baguettes
Now. About this bread.
It's perty.
And chewy.
And hearty.
And like...good for you n stuff.

Honestly? This recipe is very similar to that other baguette recipe I've shared. The biggest difference is that the bread flour combined with the whole wheat flour keeps it chewy and from getting too dense (like happens when you use too much whole wheat in the other recipe). But it's quick, tasty, and a perfect accompaniment to dinner, soups, chili, whatevs! Keep reading for the recipe, then after that the details on the giveaway(CLOSED)!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Something Saturdays (11/10/12)

Heheheeee today is 11-10-12. 
Hilarious.

Also, Michael's friend from Ohio, Katina, is visiting this weekend! Which is just SO nice! I'm so excited. :)

Now, to wrap up COOKIE WEEK let's look at all the cookie recipes I've posted on the blog:
1. Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies 2. Candy Bar Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies 3. Browned Butter Peanut Butter Cookies 4. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls 5.Brown Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies 6. Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies (with coconut oil) 7. Lazy (Bisquick) Chocolate Chip Cookies 8. Chocolate Cookies and Cream Cookies 9. Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies 10. Butter-less Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies 11. Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies 12. Levain Chocolate Chip Cookie Copy Cat 13. The New York Times Best Chocolate Chip Cookie 14. Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cookies 15. Whole Wheat Butter-less Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies 16. S'mores Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies 17. Brown Butter Dark Chocolate and Toasted Pecan Cookies 18. Banana Oat Breakfast Cookies 19. Ultra Thick Chocolate Chip Cookies 20. Browned Butter Dark Chocolate and Marshmallow Cookies 21. Something Special Cookies 22. Healthy and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies with Nuts 23. Healthy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies 24. Momofuku's Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Cookies

I also had this conversation with Stephie from Eat Your Heart Out, about my new hand mixer:

Oh and you guys...next week...is MY BIRTHDAY! (which I love but am actually freaking out about turning...how old I'm turning. It's an inconsequential number but for some reason seems so much older than my current age. Plus people rarely mistake me for a teenager now, what's the deal with that? DO I LOOK OLD??!) You wanna know what I'll be doing for my birthday?? Well, for you guys I'll be doing a giveaway (so keep an eye on the blog Monday!). And for me, in real life, I'm going to be spending the day with my cousin Emily (3rd cousin tech. but we grew up very close and she goes to Columbia now!)-we're going to go to Levain Bakery where I will FINALLY have some of the famed cookies! Then, later, for dinner, me, Michael, Emily, and my friend Brandon are going to Outback Steakhouse for dinner (don't judge me it's nostalgic and I love their steak!). It'll be a very fun day :D.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Healthy and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies with Nuts

Healthy and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies with Nuts

 Sometimes you want cookies, but you don't wanna feel guilty about it (if you're the kinda person who does that). That's where these cookies come in. They're HEALTHY!

Healthy and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies with Nuts

Maybe this is my way for apologizing for giving you that totally not healthy breakfast "muffin" on Monday. Because honestly? These cookies are probably a much healthier breakfast.

Either way, let's not worry about it. Let's eat cookies and glare at people who look at us funny and then say "Um...these cookies are healthy. Kthanksbye."

Healthy and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies with Nuts

When you're eating these cookies, you will not feel like you are eating something healthy.

This will not feel like a sacrifice.

All you're gonna know is that these cookies are chewy, and have delicious chocolate chips and (in my case) peanuts, and that you love them and would like to eat a bunch. 

But guess what? There are about 8 tbsp. of sugar in these babies. TABLESPOONS.
And no butter, just 2 tbsp. of wonderful healthy coconut oil.
Oh yeah and they're gluten free-nothing but wonderful, filling oats.

This is insanity. These are so yummy, I have no clue how it's possible. But it is. You need to have these in your life.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Homemade Holiday Gift Ideas

I'm a little bit of a freak.

I've already gotten almost all of my Christmas presents, most are even wrapped.

One thing I'm super excited about this year is some of the homemade gifts I'm giving: some people are getting homemade cookies, a certain person is getting cookie dough (with instructions on how to bake), someone else is getting some homemade vanilla extract, and another person is getting homemade chocolate peanut butter. Oh yes. This is going to be good. If you like the idea of making some of your gifts this holiday season, I've listed a few ideas below:

Homemade Holiday Gift Ideas
For more ideas you can also check out my Homemade Gift Ideas board on Pinterest-I'm always updating it with new stuff I find, too!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Brown Butter Dark Chocolate and Toasted Pecan Cookies

Brown Butter Dark Chocolate and Toasted Pecan Cookies

Do you want a cookie that seems gourmet as all get out?

Do you want a cookie that tastes complex and comforting all at the same time?

Do you want thick cookies, with a soft center and wonderful little bites of crunch?

Do you want cookies with all the nutty, caramelized flavor of browned butter + the rich molasses goodness that is dark brown sugar + ooey gooey bites of dark chocolate + surprising bites of salt that create a yummilicious sweet/salty combo thing + the surprising perfection that is toasted pecans?

DO YA?

...yes. You do.
Trust me.
Brown Butter Dark Chocolate and Toasted Pecan Cookies
When I first saw this recipe on Baker Bettie, I was actually surprised by how intriguing I found them. But something about them just...sang to me. I knew I needed to try them. It took me a bit, but last week it finally happened. Now, I'm not sure if you've noticed but, as a general rule, I don't much enjoy nuts in my cookies (or brownies, etc.)-nut butters are always fair games, but usually nuts are just not accepted into my cookie-dom. Maybe you also feel this way, maybe you don't. Either way listen to me when I say: DO NOT OMIT THE PECANS FROM THIS RECIPE! I'm serious...the toasted pecans might be the best part. I actually used just slightly less pecans than the recipe calls for (a very scant amount less, but still)...I regret it. There was nothing more amazing than taking a big bite of cookie that encompassed chocolate, salt, cookie, and pecan. It is a perfect flavor marriage. This cookie without the pecans is just missing part of what makes it so amazing. It's like...Superman without the Kents, Batman without Alfred, Dean without "Baby" (aka The Impala), Damon without his eyebrows...you get the idea. I mean it when I say these cookies are like a whole 'nother level. They are incredibly unique and wonderful and amazing and delicious. They're like cookie masterpieces. You need to be a part of this. You need to make these. I mean it. 

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