Wednesday, April 30, 2014

New York, New York....a look back

Well, this is certainly the week for introspection, isn't it? I'm sorry for the lack of foodstuffs-I completely understand if you want to skip reading through this long post. I promise I'll have more food for you soon. I am moving. I am leaving New York City. And this post is my goodbye letter, my look back at the past 5 and 1/2 years of my life that I've spent here. This is where I became an adult. This is where so much has happened, and I think it deserves a little walk down memory lane. (Note: this post is going to be missing so much. I don't think I could ever fully sum up my time here or accurately depict my feelings. But I'll just do my best. Plus, it's not going to include any pictures from my last couple weeks in NY-which sucks because I'm sure they're good ones. BUT I had to write this post in advance so. Yeah.)

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Cooking Actress' 3rd Blogaversary --Original Recipes round up!

The Cooking Actress' 3rd Blogaversary --Original Recipes round up!
WOW....3 years ago yesterday I hit publish on my first ever post on "The Cooking Actress". I was bored, lonely, obsessed with food and thought it might be fun. I tried to think of a unique name, and so I pulled The Cooking Actress out of my head. And I fully expected no one to read this.

3 years later I am in awe. I have made such an incredible group of food blogging friends, people who understand me better than 99% of people I've met outside of blogging. Some of the most talented, giving, awesome people in the world-true story (there aren't even words for the outpouring of support I've gotten at various stages of this process-not the least of which was the overwhelmingly sweet response to my engagement. Seriously was enough to get me all teared up.) I've grown so much as a cook, baker-and even photographer (although I still have a lot of room to grow!--step 1, get a DSLR). This little blog has grown so much bigger than I could have imagined, and I've been blessed to work with fantastic brands that I never would have guessed I'd be on their radar! It's been crazy amazing. I now plan days around when I can photograph a new recipe, editing pictures, writing posts, etc. etc. It's a lot of work but it is so much fun! I love every second of it and I am so so SO grateful for YOU! You, whoever is reading this, you have allowed me to find this outlet and have completely altered my life. I've gained confidence and purpose and friends. Any time I get a comment, or email, from one of you, any time someone pins one of my recipes, it genuinely brightens my day. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU so much for taking this crazy ride with me. I am looking forward to everything the future will bring, and I know it can only be more awesomeness. I'm stoked to see what happens next!

Now, to celebrate my 3 year Blogaversary, I thought I would share a round up of every original recipe that's here on the blog. Recipes that I developed/created. This is a skill that I've really just been beginning to feel comfortable with, and it garners so much pride. Any time I know I created a recipe and it's good...omgosh I am so excited. I'm hoping to grow in recipe development much more, but in the meantime, let's take a walk down memory lane of what I've created so far...

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Something Saturdays (4/26/14)

For those of you wondering about my going away party last didn't go great. It was ok but....well...5 out of the 50 people I invited showed (but most of them brought at least 1 other person)--and they were staggered over the course of 3 hours. There were usually only 2 people I'd invited (and their additions) at a time. I felt pretty lame and obviously people were expecting a bigger party and the bar was expecting more people hurt my feelings. I understood that not many people might come but there were people who RSVP'd yes and didn't show and just...I don't know. It just drove home one more reason I'm leaving. I just, for the most part, don't have any strong relationships with anyone here (sans my cousin Emily and a couple friends-and my food blogger buds!) So...yeah. I'm so grateful I was able to see the people I did, and I'm sad I couldn't see more people. But it's ok because....IN 4 DAYS I AM MOVING!

ohhhh my GAWD. S#!+ is getting reeeeeeeeeal!

It's going pretty well. I've arranged for the truck and set an appt. for cable/internet to get installed on Friday. I'm almost completely packed (although I have this whole weekend to do a lot of that). I think I have a few people on board to come help. Pretty much what's happening is this: Wednesday (eeearly morning) mom and Michael (and maybe his cousin Joe) will be driving here in my mom's van. They'll get here sometime late afternoon/early evening. Then we'll get the truck and pack up. Clean up and move on out. Depending on how late we get out we'll either just drive on home and pass out at my mom's or drive until we're in PA and crash in a hotel room and then head home in the morning on Thursday. We shall see. I'm really excited for the whole move to be over and to be with Michael again and be able to see everybody once we're back and to be in our beautiful new home.

But-I'm nervous. I'm not really sure what's gonna happen with my work stuff. And I'm gonna miss my cousin Emily. And-I'm gonna miss little Uma. She's the precious almost-2 year old I've been watching 3-4 days a week for the past 3 months and I have become pretty attached to her. My last day with her is Monday and I'm gonna try to mush her chubby widdle face and cuddle her and listen to her talk and watch her dance and make her laugh as much as possible. And, let's face it, I'm gonna miss NY. BUT I am very excited. And I'm feeling positive overall, I just have a variety of emotions right now lol.
This past Tuesday I met up with some of my NYC food blogger friends: Mallory (formerly of Total Noms, although she has a brand new SUPER exciting blog in the works), Jennifer (Bake or Break), Susan (The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen), Tara (Chip Chip Hooray), and Lauren (Keep it Sweet Desserts-not pictured because she had to leave a smidge early due to her current prego state :D) We met at Inside Park at St. Bart's--we met there because 1. It's adorable 2. The food is delicious and 3. I used to be a hostess there so there was a LOT of nostalgia-plus they took amazing care of us! It was so much fun and I'm glad I got to see these ladies one more time before leaving!

Oh aaaand tomorrow is this little blog's 3 year Blogaversary! Check back on Monday for a post alls about that!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Honey and Pretzel Peanut Butter Smoothie

Honey and Pretzel Peanut Butter Smoothie
Hooray! It is week 2 of the Knockout Peanut Butter Smoothie Sweepstakes. 

In case you're not up to speed: Peanut Butter & Co and Rocky on Broadway have teamed up with four food bloggers (including yours truly) to bring you 4 different smoothie recipes a week. From April 14th-May 9th, with 4 week-long entry periods, you're invited to vote for your favorite peanut butter smoothie recipe at and for a chance to win two tickets to see Rocky on Broadway and a year’s supply of Peanut Butter & Co. peanut butter (50 jars). Winners will be randomly selected, totaling four winners by the end of the promotion period. There is no purchase necessary to enter the sweepstakes. Certain restrictions apply.

Rocky on Broadway (which opened March 13, 2014 at the Winter Garden Theatre) brings the iconic story of Rocky Balboa (from the famous Rocky films) to the Broadway stage. I am totally loving it and if you want to read more about it you visit and you can also refer to my post from last week.

And, in case you didn't know about Peanut Butter & Co-in addition to being my favorite brand of peanut butter, Peanut Butter & Co. began in 1998 as a little sandwich shop here in NYC (which I've visited!) and is now one of the fastest growing natural/specialty food companies in the US. Their ten varieties of all natural, flavored peanut butters (made exclusively from USA-grown peanuts) are available in over 15,000 supermarkets and specialty retailers. And uhhhh yeah....tastiness.
“Whether you’re training for a boxing match or fueling up for a busy day, peanut butter smoothies can make everyone feel like a champ!” said Lee Zalben, Founder & President of Peanut Butter & Co. “We’re so excited to be partnering with Rocky on Broadway, which is sure to be a knockout hit!”
Honey and Pretzel Peanut Butter Smoothie
Anyways, this means 4 new delicious recipes from me (featuring one of Peanut Butter & Co.'s peanut butters)! Last week's smoothie was Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Green Monster Smoothie. And this week?

A super creative idea if I do say so myself!! Peanut Butter & Co.'s Bees Knees peanut butter, honey, and pretzels are the main flavor profiles at play here and it is so wonderfully subtly sweet and salty-and with such a thick, creamy texture-you are gonna LOVE IT!

Disclaimer: I was provided with product, tickets to a preview of Rocky on Broadway, and monetary compensation for my participation in this program. However, I was under no obligation to write a review and all opinions, as always, are my own.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Browned Butter Peanut Butter Cup Crunch Cookies with Sea Salt

Browned Butter Peanut Butter Cup Crunch Cookies with Sea Salt
Moving day is very quickly approaching. It's like stress levels to the max over here! My apartment is a mess of boxes and I'm just trying to keep calm and be ready for the fact that in 1 week...I'm gonna pack up and ship on out.

Emotional preparations aside, I also need to try to keep the stuff we have to bring with us to a minimum, so I've needed to do some pantry cleaning. That, my friends, is how these big, beautiful cookies were born.
Browned Butter Peanut Butter Cup Crunch Cookies with Sea Salt
I've had half a bag of crushed Butterfingers hanging out in my freezer since I made these and these. And I still had a good amount of mini peanut butter cups from this cookie recipe I made a little over a month ago. And those had to go! So I thought...hey...let's make some cookies. And I'll use that delicious cookie base recipe from Baker by Nature that I used for that cookie recipe I just mentioned-it's perfect for mix-ins! And...guys...they COULD NOT have turned out better!!
Browned Butter Peanut Butter Cup Crunch Cookies with Sea Salt
These are essentially a browned butter chocolate chip cookie base straddles the line between that and a peanut butter cookie. I added a couple tablespoons of peanut butter to the dough-just enough to highlight the flavors of the butterfingers and peanut butter cups, but to still let that yummy browned butter/brown sugar flavor shine through!

And they are BIG, sturdy, chewy, gooey, perfectly textured, perfectly delicious cookies. They'd be perfect to give or send someone as a gift. PLUS-they're pretttyyy, just look at those crackly tops! I DIE over crackly tops!
Browned Butter Peanut Butter Cup Crunch Cookies with Sea Salt
And the taste aghhhh! You bite in and you get the crunchy toffee-peanut butter flavor of the Butterfingers throughout, and these awesome chunks of a bigger chocolate peanut butter punch from the pb cups, and there's the complexity of the browned butter and that hint of peanut butter that lingers...and...of course...there's sea salt (I used some gorgeously large cyprus flakes). Sweet and salty allll the way!

Fun story: I had a giant cookie at a restaurant recently and all I could think the whole time I ate it was how much better it would've been with salt on top. I am an addict.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Microwave Caramel Popcorn

Microwave Caramel Popcorn
Caramel corn is super duper delish. It's portable, it's addictive, it's crunchy, it's sweet and salty and just....YUM!

But...ugh. It is a hassle to make! That is why this recipe is AWESOME! So much quicker and so much easier, it's a gift from the caramel corn gods!
Microwave Caramel Popcorn
Now, I will say, when it comes down to it: I still prefer my old favorite caramel corn recipe. BUT, like I said-a hassle. This recipe is my new go-to when I have a hankering and I just want to be able to whip up some caramel corn quickly and easily and without such a big mess and with A LOT less dishes! (woot! wooooot!)
Microwave Caramel Popcorn
Hey-when you say "caramel corn" do people ever think you mean candy corn? This has been a mixup that's happened a couple times in my life recently. It's like...nono I know candy corn is awful. I'm talking about CARAMEL know...popcorn....coated in caramel. Like from the circus or a fair or just that super cute gourmet popcorn kiosk in the mall?
Microwave Caramel Popcorn
Anyway. So. Here's what we've got: pop some popcorn in a brown bag (which we've talked about before), mix up some caramel in the microwave (surprisingly simple!), then-now, prepare yourself, this COULD get messy, make sure your brown paper bag is sturdy!-you pour that caramel in the bag with the popcorn and shake it until it's all coated, THEN microwave, THEEEN shake it, THENTHENTHEN microwave it some more. Then shake it again. Then lay it out and let it cool and harden. TA-DAAAA (or, as the little girl I babysit says "DAAAAAA!") you have caramel corn!!! It's going to be crunchy, but still a little sticky (so be prepared to find delicious leftover morsels in your teeth for the next couple hours :P). 

And there you have it: simple! Gotta love a microwave.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Something Saturdays (4/19/14)

Well this week has been an emotional rollercoaster. Michael's not doing so hot-he misses me oodles (awww) and his routine has been completely thrown off (which he does not deal well with) and he hasn't really been eating or sleeping very well aaaaand...he hates his job. Which...ya We knew it wasn't ideal but apparently it is quite awful-much more corrections (aka prison) than he wants (for the record, the amount of corrections he would like in a future job is pretty much 0. And this job is like 99%). Anyway, it's gotten to a point where I think he'll be able to bear it just long enough for us to find him something else. So that's ok I suppose.

Anyway, all of that compounded with me missing Michael (I forgot how lonely living here can be without him) and not looking forward to us having to job hunt for him again and the overwhelming-ness of the move and everything...I just hadn't really let myself feel those feelings and it culminated in a big sobbing fit on Monday. I feel much better now. Plus, on Wednesday I had a wonderful time with my cousin Emily and TONIGHT IS MY GOING AWAY PARTY!! I'm really excited but really nervous. Past experience of me throwing parties has not gone so well. I'm a smidge worried very few people will show. Buuuut....the fact that it'll be my last chance to see a lot of people will hopefully make some people come out.

yeah. I'll tell ya how it goes!

In other news: My mom said for future family functions (where generally my mom and her siblings bring food, not so much the grandkids) she'll just pay me money for ingredients and let me make the food that's "from her" OH MY GOSH I AM SO EXCITED! I'm gonna feed everyooooone!!!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Green Monster Smoothie

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Green Monster Smoothie
GUYS! Big big news! So, Peanut Butter & Co (which you may remember them as the peanut butter company I've gushed over this time and that time and also this other time), has teamed up with Rocky on Broadway (a new musical that I'll talk about in a bit) and four food bloggers (including MOI!) to bring a little thing called the Knockout Peanut Butter Smoothie Sweepstakes!

Basically, from Monday, April 14, 2014 to Friday, May 9, 2014, all you peoples are invited to vote for their favorite peanut butter smoothie recipe at and for a chance to win two tickets to see Rocky on Broadway and a year’s supply of Peanut Butter & Co. peanut butter (50 jars). There will be four week-long entry periods (with 4 different sets of 4 smoothie recipes for each week), during which winners will be randomly selected, totaling four winners by the end of the promotion period. There is no purchase necessary to enter the sweepstakes. Certain restrictions apply.

Rocky on Broadway (which opened March 13, 2014 at the Winter Garden Theatre) brings the iconic story of Rocky Balboa (from the famous Rocky films) to the Broadway stage. It has already garnered so much praise and I am NOT surprised. You guys...I was shocked by how much I loved this musical. It did the perfect job of translating the movie but being its own thing (and in case you were wondering-Andy Karl as Rocky did a fantastic job of being very true to the character but not a caricature of Sylvester Stallone. Could not have been a better performance.) and the way it finagled some of the things for stage was just....amazing. And the love story....I am a SUCKER for a good love story and Rocky on Broadway made me get all swoon-y. *sigh* Anyway. Obviously I'm hooked. For more info about the show check out
“Whether you’re training for a boxing match or fueling up for a busy day, peanut butter smoothies can make everyone feel like a champ!” said Lee Zalben, Founder & President of Peanut Butter & Co. “We’re so excited to be partnering with Rocky on Broadway, which is sure to be a knockout hit!”
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Green Monster Smoothie
Sooooo every week for the next 4 weeks you'll get to see a new, fun, smoothie recipe from me (featuring one of Peanut Butter & Co.'s peanut butters). And we are starting with my FAVORITE!

Green monster smoothies=the ultimate way to drink yourself some healthy spinach while thinking you're enjoying a sweet treat! This is my absolute favorite green smoothie recipe-it uses Peanut Butter and Co.'s Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter so it tastes so sweet and rich while still being refreshing. You really have got to try it!

Disclaimer: I was provided with product, tickets to a preview of Rocky on Broadway, and monetary compensation for my participation in this program. However, I was under no obligation to write a review and all opinions, as always, are my own.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Chocolate Peanut Butter Breakfast Pastries

Chocolate Peanut Butter Breakfast Pastries
Things are just getting too real for me.

Michael started his new job Sunday (which....he hates). In 2 weeks we'll be moving to Ohio. And my stress levels are through the roooof. times of great sometimes just need to revert to childhood. That's where these breakfast pastries come in. They're like the poptarts I so loved from my youth but...homemade. From scratch. And filled with delicious chocolate peanut butter instead of that weird chemical-y strawberry filling that I adored for some reason (ok...cuz it's tasty. But when I read what's in it I fuhreeeak out!)
Chocolate Peanut Butter Breakfast Pastries
Comfort. With less guilt (cuz I mean...they're still full of butter and all that good stuff.)

These pastries are incredibly flaky and melt in your mouth. And then...obviously...chocolate peanut butter is heaven on earth. Michael had some of these before he left and he said he really liked them (he just wishes the choc pb had been spread throughout the pastry a little more evenly. I agree. So keep that in mind when assembling these lovelies.)
Chocolate Peanut Butter Breakfast Pastries
Now...I know making pastries from scratch might sound intimidating and time intensive. But these really weren't. They were ridiculously simple to throw together-the hardest part was rolling them out and assembling them, but that still wasn't difficult. So impress your friends. Impress your S.O. Impress your mom (Mother's Day is in less than a month!). Impress that random dude on the corner. Impress whoever you choose to share these with! And if you don't want to share?

Impress yourself!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Baked French Fries with Rosemary

Baked French Fries with Rosemary
I LOVE FRENCH FRIES!!! I love 'em! They're crunchy and salty and you just wanna eat em and eat em up! But um...they're fried. So I know they're not good for me. *sigh* It's a very sad truth.

But hey...psst....guess what? You can make homemade, baked (NOT FRIED!), fries that are crispy and flavorful and PERFECT!
Baked French Fries with Rosemary
Lately I've also really been loving the combo of rosemary with fries, it's just a really yummy addition (especially if you've got an aioli dipping sauce--or a bearnaise...ooooh that sounds gooood!): I just so happened to have some rosemary olive oil hanging out in my pantry, so I used that for these fries. You totally can use normal oil but OH MAN it was a wonderfully tasty decision to use it!
Baked French Fries with Rosemary
Actually, now that I think about it, this recipe is crazy versatile. Instead of olive oil you could drizzle these fries with truffle oil. You can season them any way you want! And, of course, you can dip them in a number of sauces (including, of course, ketchup!). You can even put these in a sandwich, I hear that's a thing.
Baked French Fries with Rosemary
Omgee that just reminded me: there's this restaurant back home where they serve french fries with butter. At first you're all like "whaaaa? CRAZY!" But remember. They're potatoes. And then you take a bite. And it's like "mmmmmm." So...I forgot about that. Now I want to make these fries again and try them with butter. And garlic aioli. And Parmesan cheese. And paprika...

The french fry sky is the limit!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Something Saturdays (4/12/14)

Well. I'm alone. *le sigh* Michael is back in Ohio-he starts his new job tomorrow so he'll be there and I'll be here until the big move. And to make my sadness worse-I found out my favorite wedding photographer is booked for our wedding date (there are others that I love too but they're all much more expensive :() and I had to get a new credit card issued because my old one was compromised (luckily Chase caught it before anything happened and it's all fine but still...ugh.)--these are fairly minor things but they only compounded my missing Michael.


Nancy, one of my most favoritest blog friends, posted in her "random crap" post about something called a "Things I Don't Do" list. The idea is-there's a lot of social media envy going on these days. People always seem perfect and together and like their lives are awesome're only posting the good stuff. So this list is to give a little reality check. So here are my Things I Don't Do:
  1. I don't exercise (aside from walking out of necessity). It's not good. I should. I've put on weight. I know I need to exercise buuuut....I HATE IT.
  2. Don't judge me....I don't shower often. Like...I only shower usually if I have something I really want to look nice for (or sometimes if that time never comes...once a week). I know this sounds gross but I swear-it's not that bad! I don't really seem to smell (I promise people have vouched for this) and I don't really sweat (again, I have people to corroborate my story) and it takes about 3 days for my hair to get greasy (I have dry skin get the idea)-and then I just wear it in a bun. So yeah. There. I said it.
  3. I also don't wash the sheets, etc. very often. Having a washer/dryer in my home may change this.
  4. I don't think before I speak nearly often enough. Sometimes this makes me adorable and charming and unique. Sometimes it makes me annoying and obnoxious and suffering from "foot in mouth" syndrome.
  5. I don't go shopping (for clothes or accessories etc.) I WANT to go shopping but my life is one where I do not have a disposable income. I am consistently not having enough money-and that is because it all pays for our home and food and things we need. It sucks and I hope this changes in the not too distant future and my wardrobe hopes so too.
  6. I don't do a good job with twitter. I know. I'm sorry. 
  7. I don't do Google+. I have enough social media going on and I'm really not interested. I do, however, have an account. Against my will. My youtube account asked me if I wanted to make my username my actual name (Kayle Blogna) and I was like "Yeah, great. Make me even more legit for the acting stuffs." Um apparently that created me a google+ account I did not want and deleting said account would delete my youtube. Ughhhh. So I have it but I do not use it. So yeah.
  8. I don't go out. Like ever. Currently I've been making an effort due to the fact that I'm leaving NYC but uhhhhh I'm a big old homebody.
  9. I don't do cool. I am so not a cool girl. I'm jealous of the cool girls-the ones who drink beer and are chill and not like "girly and annoying n stuff" and wear band T-shirts but look crazy sexy in them. Ya know? I'm unapologetically loud and girly and emotional and usually overdressed and I don't even drink and I'm cool. And it kind of makes me sad sometimes. I envy the "cool girls". But, I also like me so *shrug*

Friday, April 11, 2014

Golden Potatoes

Golden Potatoes
I love finding new potato recipes. (I should probably make more actual vegetables buuuut....I love potatoes. 


Golden Potatoes
Can we talk about how much I empathize with the 21 month old I nanny? We're constantly battling trying to get her enough nutrition (sometimes all she wants is mac n cheese and yogurt #respect) and I just...I'm like..."Girl. I GET IT. I don't want those vegetables we're trying to trick you into eating either" And then sometimes, when we successfully trick her into eating something I think "hmm...I need to try to trick myself like this." And...I do. And I will! But first...potatoes.
Golden Potatoes
They're baked in buttahhhhhhhh (mmmm butter) and topped with Parmesan cheese (mmmm Parmesan cheese) and they're just tender and flavorful and awesome. Michael approves as well. 
Golden Potatoes
They're the perfect accompaniment to your fave dinner. They'd also be the an amazing dish to bring to any kind of potluck/party, etc. I know my family would certainly love them! (EEEE I cannot wait to be moved and back and able to feeeeeed people!)


*(funny story, I'm such an Italian woman who wants to feed people that I overfed my brother's friend's fish last time I was home. He asked me to feed it and when he got back he was like "Kayle! You fed him too much!" and I was like "...he seemed hungry." )

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

White Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese with Truffle Sea Salt

White Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese with Truffle Sea Salt
It's finally happened. Michael didn't complain about a macaroni and cheese recipe. STOP THE PRESSES!

You see....that crazy boy of mine is always all whiney about my baked mac n cheese recipes, saying they're not real mac n cheese and asking me why I can't just buy him Velveeta. #firstworldfoodbloggerhubbyprobs

I suppose I shouldn't have been SO surprised, this is a stovetop mac n cheese recipe, which means it's creamier and more what he's used to. IS delicious!
White Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese with Truffle Sea Salt
....and maybe there's some truffle flavor in it for me. But not so much that Michael got overwhelmed by it (or...even noticed it, for that matter).

You know what another benefit to the stovetop mac n cheese is (aside from silencing crankypants fiances')?

IT'S SO EASY. And quick. I used one pot to make the entire thing. (hooray minimal dishes)!
White Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese with Truffle Sea Salt
You make some of your favorite shaped pasta, then whip up a super creamy, super dreamy cheese sauce (that I healthified a bit by subbing in fat free half and half, instead of the original recipe's heavy cream. The downside was the sauce needed some thickening via a cornstarch mixture. I'd take that over the calories any dayyy though!) with a healthy dose of addictive truffle salt. It's lovely. Mmmmm. Get yourself a bowl a-tothe-sap!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Brown Butter Salted Pretzel and Toffee Peanut Butter Cup Stuffed Cookies

 Brown Butter Salted Pretzel and Toffee Peanut Butter Cup Stuffed Cookies
You know how there are cupcake bakeries (and now like doughnut ones too)? I sort of have a dream of having a cookie bakery. And by dream I sounds great in theory but then when I think about the amount of work, and the business stuffs, and being someone's boss....ugh. But I love the idea of baking and selling people cookies! Why can't life just be simple like that, hm? 
Brown Butter Salted Pretzel and Toffee Peanut Butter Cup Stuffed Cookies
Anyway, this comes up because these cookies would be PERFECT to sell at a cookie bakery. They're big, they're chewy, they're full of yummy deliciousness, they're sturdy, and-oh yeah-they're pretty! Look at those cute little pretzels on top of cookies! Adorbs. Heck, they're lovely even sans pretzel. (Because that pretzel is, in fact, entirely optional.) What is not optional, however, is the salt. I mean...I guess it is. But...cmon...haven't you realized by now how MIRACULOUS sea salt sprinkled on cookies is??! IT'S WONDEROUS!
Brown Butter Salted Pretzel and Toffee Peanut Butter Cup Stuffed Cookies
Anyway, let me break down this explosion of cookie deliciousness right heeere: browned butter. 2 sticks of it. Mandatory. Lots of toffee bits (I'm obsessed with toffee lately). Maybe some chocolate chips (if your toffee bits are naked-AKA sans chocolate-as mine were). Some little chopped up pieces of salty pretzels. Oh and a peanut butter cup surprise stuffed in the middle. And sea salt sprinkled on top of all 'o' that.

Brown Butter Salted Pretzel and Toffee Peanut Butter Cup Stuffed Cookies
It's like a taste-bud adventure. Each bite of this cookie is completely new and different, and awesome! 

Michael and I both agree that the pb cup is really not necessary-but then, we're sort of on a kick where browned butter and toffee and salt are really all we need in a cookie. We need to force variety upon ourselves, however, and the pb cups ARE a tasty little treat inside.

I am guilty of eating a minimum of 3 of these cookies for every day that we had them, until they ran out. plan to not be fat for my wedding is not off to a great start.

...whatever. WORTH IT!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Something Saturdays (4/5/14)

Well....let's see. This week we did much (but still not nearly enough) packing. We met up with our old high school drama club's trip to NYC (including Michael's best friend, who is a teacher, and his little sister, who is a sophomore). I did much babysitting. And have started getting sad that Michael will be leaving in less than a week. Oh! And, today, my mom goes to fill out the final (I hope!) bit of paperwork and then we will finally officially have our townhouse! woot! any of you watch Homestar Runner? I was OBSESSED when I was a pre-teen and the internet was young! The site has been updated for the first time in 4 years and IT IS AWESOME!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Southern Style Chicken and Dumplings (with Slow Cooker Method)

2019 update: I perfected the recipe with a slow cooker method that has a much thicker texture and is perfection!! It's a new favorite and I've added the instructions under the regular recipe. xoxo
Southern Style Chicken and Dumplings
Um...I don't know if maybe I did something wrong here? I'm just gonna 'fess up: I thought this recipe would be thicker but...for was kind of like soup. Now....that's totally cool. It's yummy soup! But I'm not sure if my perception was wrong or if I did something wrong? Regardless, I've slightly minimized the amount of chicken broth in this recipe.
Southern Style Chicken and Dumplings
ANYWAY. Now that we got that out of the way. I want to tell you that this is really comforting. And delicious. I've never been to the South (aside from driving through it and a couple family vacations in Virginia and Disney World-but I don't think Disney counts). But...I really feel like I'd enjoy the food. Comfort food. That's the thing. And that's what I AM ALL ABOUT!
Southern Style Chicken and Dumplings
And, uh, yeah....for the record...while we're on the subject: Ohio's not the South. Anyone actually from the South knows this but there are weird groups of people who do not. I'm always like "It's a pretty Northern state...sooo..." and then people tell me they love my southern accent and I'm like "I DON'T HAVE ONE?!" (I don't. Seriously. I took a whole class in school about sounding phonetically neutral and I am. I am accentless. There were 2 words when I went into the class that were just slightly Michigan/Chicago-esque. But those got fixed, sooo). Of course there are also the people who think I'm from Idaho. Or...that Ohio is Idaho. Or...I don't know. All I know is I tell people I'm from Ohio and (seriously, this exact phrase has come out of at least 20 different peoples' mouths) they say: "Oh. I love potatoes!" ...."That's Idaho." and then they're confused.
Southern Style Chicken and Dumplings
That tangent aside...

This recipe for chicken and dumplings is beautifully simple to make and it tastes so...mmmm. know? It's that warm, chicken-y, carb-y, comforting kind of flavor. I can't find a word for it. But you know what I'm saying, right? Of course you do. You're my people. You get me. Right?

Yeah. You do. You understand that this is the kind of meal that soothes your soul. Mmmhm.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Roasted Potato and Cheese Tater Tots

Roasted Potato and Cheese Tater Tots
Believe it or not-this is not the first time I've shared homemade tater tots on this blog. But they're super different! The last recipe I shared were much closer to traditional 'tots (but baked!), and this recipe's pictures are like a million times better.

But I digress.
Roasted Potato and Cheese Tater Tots
What both recipes have in common is that they're healthier than traditional tater tots! And this recipe is so simple to make. The ingredients list is beautifully short. We're highlighting the delicious potato flavors and just enhancing it with some cheese and scallions (I love scallions so much, btw.)

And that's it: no breading, no frying, very little fat. And they're pretty.
Roasted Potato and Cheese Tater Tots
Something that would be sort of fun to do if you were serving these tots to a group would be to have a bunch of different dipping sauces: maybe ketchup, ranch, sour cream, garlic aioli, etc. etc. you can get totally creative! I'm regretting that I didn't make some kind of roasted garlic dipping sauce for these...

well...guess it's time for another batch!
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I love it when you try & want to share recipes you found here! Please just rewrite in your own words, use your own photos, & always link back to me! Thanks!

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