Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Peanut Butter Swirled Chocolate Cookies

Peanut Butter Swirled Chocolate Cookies
First of all: I'd like to publicly thank my amazing cousin and bridesmaid Emily for the little cutting board and plate you see featured here: for my wedding gift (Michael got his own, mainly Batman-related, gifts from her) she got me a ton of food photography props from Fishs Eddy and it was pretty much the sweetest thing ever. So we can all thank her for how cute these pics turned out.
Peanut Butter Swirled Chocolate Cookies
Now, back to the food that is being featured on aforementioned food props. 

Michael needed me to bake cookies for him to bring to work again. And they wanted cookies that involved chocolate and peanut butter. And thus, these lovelies were made!
Peanut Butter Swirled Chocolate Cookies
These are some seriously chocolatey cookies. And they're perfect for gifting or shipping since they're sturdy BUT they're also delightfully soft and chewy when warm. And then...the beautiful surprise...peanut butter swirled throughout. And I may have used chocolate peanut butter for mine because...I mean...why not? Right?
Peanut Butter Swirled Chocolate Cookies
They went over super well with Michael's coworkers but the recipe makes a lot of cookies...so they also went over well with Michael's family a week later at Conneaut. And yesterday when Michael ate the last 2 in his lunch. So...they age well. But I still recommend eating them fresher. Freeze them if you must-they freeze great! 

Now, go forth and eat cookies!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Raw Sugar Salted Caramel Sauce-Guest Post at Golden Barrel

Raw Sugar Salted Caramel Sauce
By now we should all be aware of how enamored I am with salted caramel. So when it came time for me to have some more fun with Golden Barrel products for another blog post, I decided to use their raw sugar for an unprocessed, delicious twist on my fave caramel sauce recipe.
Raw Sugar Salted Caramel Sauce
You might be wondering--oh, is caramel sauce hard to make? The answer is: NO! It's actually pretty quick and easy, so long as you use a deep enough pot to cook it so it doesn't spatter and burn you. And you may also be wondering--does raw sugar make the caramel sauce difficult, because of the larger sugar crystals? Answer: NOPE again! Still easy!
Raw Sugar Salted Caramel Sauce
Really I mean...just look at that amber caramel perfection. It is so delicious. And makes your house smell fantastic. And makes you want to eat it with a spoon or maybe develop some recipes with it...? Hmmm...I suppose we'll have to wait and see :P
Raw Sugar Salted Caramel Sauce
Now, enough jibber jabber, do you want to make this caramel sauce??



Saturday, July 25, 2015

Something Saturdays (7/25/15)

Well I have been B-U-S-Y! Last Saturday, Michael's uncle & aunt's wedding, was super fun and sweet. And then we spent the next few days at Conneaut having lots of fun. Especially since, while there, Michael's cousin Chelsea got engaged! Here we go again :P I actually got super excited and had so much fun helping her out and giving her advice/info (girl is moving fast, she booked the church one day after they got engaged!) Otherwise we mostly just had fun family time.

On Wednesday Michael and I had to come home. First we stopped at this ADORABLE place called Campbell's Pottery (we had a wedding gift to exchange and they have only the one location-which was only half an hour from where we were but is a few hours from home). Later that night Michael's and my friend from NY, Christian, flew in and then we spent the next couple days eating and having fun! On Thursday we had breakfast at Flury's Cafe and then explored downtown Cuyahoga Falls before walking to JC Comics & Cards (He loves comic book stores!). We then ran a couple errands and had Swenson's (and Akron, OH area MUST) for lunch. We then just relaxed at the house for a little bit before heading to Hudson and checking out the shops there and then having dinner at FlipSide (yay burgers!). Yesterday we went to the Akron Zoo and then to Burntwood Tavern for lunch. Then I worked while the boys went to the free concert series they have downtown (yesterday's was a Billy Idol tribute band).

And today? Today is our "friendception"-a party that's just for fun and to celebrate our marriage with our friends (since the majority of them weren't invited to the wedding due to our massive families). I'm super excited and hope everyone has fun!

Monday, July 20, 2015

National Ice Cream Day!

Hi all!

I'm currently on vacation with Michael's family and I'm internet-less soooo...I know I'm still slacking since the whole wedding thing but I hope you can bear with my lack of posts this week!

But I'm not going to TOTALLY leave you guys hanging!

Yesterday (or today? Depends on who you ask) was/is National Ice Cream Day! To celebrate let's re-visit my roundup of no churn ice cream recipes:

National Ice Cream Day!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Something Saturdays (7/18/15)

This week was pretty full. Sunday I worked, went to my grandma's, and then to Michael's mom's. Monday we attended the grand opening for Savor (which I discussed on Wednesday's post). BUT-the big focus of the week was this: my brother, Josh, has decided to enlist in the airforce. He's been wanting to end up working in the FBI (he has a criminal justice degree--and apparently there are programs within the service for him to prepare for that) and he wants to travel and...I don't know-he has reasons. He's also not just like starting out at the bottom, due to his experience and education. So...he's excited. My family is divided on how they feel-but everyone is pretty much supportive. I was (and am...but I'm working on it) very upset. I'm going to miss him a lot and I'm very worried about him. But anyway, all of that business took up a lot of this week's mental and emotional allowance. And I'm just going to soak up all the time I have left with my brother.

Today is Michael's uncle's wedding (him and his soon-to-be wife Kimmy have been together for like...20 years or something and are finally tying the knot)-I'm so excited to sit back and enjoy a wedding, stress-free! :P And tomorrow we're heading to Conneaut Lake (where Michael's family spends a week every summer) to hang out with the Croffords and enjoy some family time :)

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Savor Restaurant Review {Fresh - Organic - Local} in Canton, Ohio

Savor Restaurant Review {Fresh - Organic - Local} in Canton, Ohio
There's a brand new restaurant in Canton, OH (where I went to high school and I still live near), it's called Savor, and it was opened by my cousin's husband. But let me just start off this review by saying: my opinions are not colored by that fact. All of my opinions are genuine and true (and I received nothing for writing this review-I just want to share my love of Savor!)
Savor Restaurant Review {Fresh - Organic - Local} in Canton, Ohio
Now, let me give you the lowdown on Savor: it is all about whole, natural foods (oftentimes organic). And this little paragraph from their website explains it best:
"You deserve to taste the food the way nature intended it to be, free from hormones, chemicals and additives - foods in their purest of forms and homemade dishes with the simplest of ingredients.  We source ingredients from local farms and farmers markets with local, organic meats and produce.  This not only insures you with the freshest, healthiest options but also helps our local economy.  We are a community driven, and look forward to serving delicious food curated in alignment with the farm-to-table movement."
Uh yeah, even if this wasn't family I would have been obsessed with Savor, it's everything that I love and want! Real, natural, GOOD food!

Monday, July 13, 2015

THE Levain Chocolate Chip Cookie Copycat Recipe

THE Levain Chocolate Chip Cookie Copycat Recipe
I've already posted a Levain copy cat recipe, years ago, before I'd even been to Levain (a NYC bakery that is famous for their GIANT and delicious cookies). And those cookies were good...great even. But Levain? They were not. Now I've been to Levain more than a few times (and miss it desperately). And I'm older. And wiser. And married (as if that has any impact on this but stay with me). And I can tell you that THESE COOKIES....are practically a perfect match to the originals (the recipe itself could be very different in all actuality but the end result-these cookies....they taste just like Levain in my opinion!)
THE Levain Chocolate Chip Cookie Copycat Recipe
A few notes: You pretty much NEED a stand mixer with a paddle attachment...I don't think you can properly cream the cold butter otherwise (trust me...in my pre-KA stand mixer days I tried and failed). You're also going to want decent quality chocolate chips (I'm a fan of Ghirardelli, personally). I let the cookie dough balls rest overnight--which might not be necessary but I'm guessing that for the best results it probably is. Also, walnuts: you could leave them out or not toast them if you so desire but again...might not be exactly the same. Still good, just not the same. Finally: a kitchen scale helps to ensure that you measure out 5.5-6 oz. dough balls but if you evenly divide the dough into 10 you should have about the correct amount. And yes, I know that 6 oz. is pretty giant for a cookie but that's what makes them Levain cookies! And entirely irresistible.
THE Levain Chocolate Chip Cookie Copycat Recipe
When you bake the cookies they will turn golden brown on the outside and still be somewhat underbaked on the inside-this is also how it should be! It's one of the things that makes the cookies great--but absolutely adjust the baking time to try to find the perfect amount of cooked in the middle for your liking. I felt like 16-17 minutes was usually the perfect amount.

*sigh of happiness* it's good to bake delightfully decadent desserts (especially cookies) again!
THE Levain Chocolate Chip Cookie Copycat Recipe
The cookies are big and sturdy on the outside and gooey and flavorful on the inside! They're full of delicious and gooey chocolate with little bites of toasted walnuts for texture and I definitely would say they are worthy of having a line out the door ;)

I'm so excited about this recipe...these cookies were everything I wanted them to be!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Something Saturdays (7/11/15)

Hiya guys!

Let's catch up:

Last weekend I had a super fun 4th of July with my family-but poor Michael wasn't feeling well so he stayed home :( But Sunday he was feeling better so we hung out at his mom's house with some of his siblings. And on Monday I got to have lunch with my brother and dad, which was nice. Tuesday night Michael and I had dinner at a really delicious Mexican place with his dad and stepmom. And Wednesday Michael got a flat tire and we learned his tire tread was abysmal (no surprise) so we just replaced all the tires. But then things got good again on Thursday-we had dinner and some hang out time with Michael's best friend. Yesterday, Michael and I finally got to explore the downtown area of Cuyahoga Falls (where we live) which is so pretty and cute and it was super fun! We even discovered this FANTASTIC little diner/cafe called Flury's Cafe that we CANNOT wait to go back to! We, unfortunately, weren't terribly hungry but we did split a peanut butter milkshake (which ohemgee was literally 2 full glasses even when split) and I had some tasty mac and cheese and Michael had the best sausage gravy + biscuits everrr (plus hashbrowns and eggs)--needless to say...there were leftovers.

This weekend I'm mostly just working! So...yepp!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Caramelized Onion Dip

Caramelized Onion Dip
Pretty much the only time I'll allow myself to try out a new dip recipe is when I'm going to a party. Because I know that, otherwise, I'll end up eating the whole dang thing myself. And then I'll be like "whyyyy do I do this to myself??!" so really it's just best for everyone if I share the appetizer love. And that is exactly what happened with this recipe for caramelized onion dip!
Caramelized Onion Dip
There are 2 main things that drew me into this recipe: caramelized onions (one of man's greatest creations :P) and the fact that it is slightly healthified thanks to Greek yogurt and reduced fat cream cheese. So, when I was told to bring an app/snack to the 4th of July with my family, I knew that this dip was getting made!
Caramelized Onion Dip
Now, unfortunately my uncle also brought chip dips so I had a bit of competition, but that's ok because everyone could tell that this was the superior dip. My brother said he had a difficult time eating it because, even though he knew it wasn't super bad for him, he said it tasted deliciously unhealthy so he was having an argument between his brain and his taste buds. My teen cousins also enjoyed digging in (even though my cousin Ethan was aghast at the fact that I hadn't made a dessert).
Caramelized Onion Dip
This dip is tangy, creamy, super flavorful, and full of onions that are soft and slightly sweet.

It's one of those things where once you have one bite...you're hooked!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Honeymoon Recap {at Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun in Riviera Maya}

Some photos from paradise...
Michael and I spent 7 nights at the all-inclusive, adults-only, Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun resort in Riviera Maya, Mexico. It was a small, mostly calm (but with plenty of activities and events) place and 100% perfect for what we wanted for our honeymoon! The staff were all exceptionally helpful and nice and...um...unlimited food guys. We ate a lot. And relaxed. And had fun.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Something Saturdays (7/4/15)

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!

HI GUYS!

It feels like forever since we talked. SO MUCH HAS HAPPENED! And I'm super sorry that I only posted once this week, I meant to share honeymoon photos and turns out that took more effort than post vacation me could handle. So that will be coming at you on Monday!

Now...who wants to hear a short summary of my wedding?
My wedding was beautiful and I loved it. Did it run smoothly and go flawlessly? Erm...no. Lol. It all started out great-I was excited and was hanging out with all my girls at my mom's house. And then...my hair and makeup team were an hour and a half late (through a series of unfortunate events and no real fault of their own). Due to this we were crazy rushed and weren't able to get 99% of the photos I wanted to get during that time and we ended up rushing to get me to the church on time (oh and when we rushed outside it was raining...ugh). This sort of set a bit of a frazzled tone for me for the rest of the day. Except...as soon as I hit the aisle and saw Michael, it was surreal. And I was so happy. And he was so happy and crying and seriously just the sweetest thing. The entire ceremony was beautiful and Michael just kept telling me how beautiful I looked and how much he loved me and just completely making me feel good about my decision to marry him :P (I must note that dealing with a train with all that sitting and standing is awfully complicated-I kept trying to adjust myself lol! Leave it to me to be awkward at my own wedding). The homily was really cute and involved the priest (our high school principal) reading from our transcripts and pointing out the similarities (good grades + drama/choir). After our triumphant walk back down the aisle...it was still raining. So we weren't able to have everyone throw the dried rose petals (which I've saved from our entire relationship-every rose Michael ever gave me) at us as we left the church. It's ok though because we did it at the end of the reception with everyone who was left there! So then we took a bunch of photos before getting back into the limo to go to the reception hall for photos outside--the continuous rain started to make me upset, but Michael's adorableness + our bridal party's general happiness lifted my spirits. And then the rain stopped when we got to Occasions, which felt like a mini miracle! We took lots of photos (which now I keep thinking of pictures I wish I'd thought to take but...obviously too late lol) and then we got to go to the reception. And that was pretty perfect. The dance floor was always full and the music was perfect! The food was delicious (and we're still hearing compliments), the cake was gorgeous and also delicious (of course we barely ate anything due to wedding bellies), the whole place was decorated beautifully....seriously I loved it. And everyone else seemed to like it too! I think it may have been the best wedding ever...though I'm a smidge biased :) I was so so happy, it was the most fun day with almost all of my favorite people in one place. My bridal party were all fantastic and they all got along so well! My brother insists that the wedding was the best day of his life and suggested we all get together to look at photos/the video and every year for our anniversary....which would actually be awesome if we could. After all the festivities we were driven to our hotel which is right on the airport and we slept for about 2 hours thanks to our super early flight and...well...that's another story that you'll hear more about on Monday ;) And I'll share wedding pictures once we have them!!

In other news: have you heard this version of Smells Like Teen Spirit? I heard it on the trailer for "the Gallows" and I think it sounds sooo cool!


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies with Toasted Coconut-Zainab of Blahnik Baker's Baby Shower!

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies with Toasted Coconut
In my years of blogging I have never had a close friendship develop so quickly as my friendship with Zainab of Blahnik Baker has. She is literally one of the sweetest people I've ever known. She is endlessly supportive, giving, funny, smart, and kind. I am so lucky to have "met" her (someday it will be in real life and no longer needing quotation marks for "met"!) And I am SO excited for her because SHE'S HAVING A BABY!!! And Zainab is going to be such an incredible mom, and just some of the reasons why are the ones I just listed (her hubby is going to be a great dad too, btw). Zainab supported me with guest posts when I moved and when I was busy wedding planning so of COURSE I had to be a part of her SURPRISE VIRTUAL BABY SHOWER!

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies with Toasted Coconut
I'm so excited that my first official recipe that I'm sharing post wedding is for Zainab and the celebration of her becoming the sweetest momma ever! And-since Zainab loves all things coconut-we decided to only share coconutty treats for this "party"! Up until semi-recently I wasn't a huge fan of coconut (with the exception of Samoas). But I have learned that, especially when toasted, I loooooove coconut. And it pairs so deliciously with chocolate. And...I love cookies. And cookies are my go-to when I'm bringing a treat to a party, like..oh say a baby shower! Which is why I threw together these lovelies!
Double Chocolate Chip Cookies with Toasted Coconut
These cookies are sturdy (so they're perfect to ship to loved ones or to bring to a paaaarty) and super chocolatey (and-when warm-deliciously gooey). They're made a smidge healthier thanks to the fact that we're using coconut oil instead of butter (mo' coconut=mo'betta!) and the toasted coconut flakes REALLY make them special! There's all kinds of delicious textures and they were a big hit with Michael's friends...Michael...and me!

I know Zainab would like them too and so will you!

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