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Chocolate Vanilla Swirl Icebox Cookies

chocolatevanillaswirliceboxcookies

Getting ready for the holidays, for me, means trying to do as many things in advance as possible.

Icebox cookies are a great option for planning ahead. You can make this dough and keep it in the refrigerator and bake as needed, freeze the dough and then bake as needed, or you can do what I’m doing which is bake them, and then freeze them.

This is a simple cookie as far as flavor goes, but they look all fancy and stuff. There is no reason  you couldn’t frost these and jazz them up a bit if you want, but honestly they are just great on their own. Delicious chocolate and vanilla flavor, crispy cookie, thin and relatively small makes them a perfect cookie to dress up the holidays!

Chocolate Vanilla Swirl Icebox Cookies

Recipe by Bakerita

Ingredients

Vanilla Dough

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup + 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp  salt

Chocolate Dough

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 large  egg yolk
  • 1 oz.  dark chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 1 tsp  vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp Dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Cooking Directions

  1. Make the vanilla dough first: Add the butter and both sugars to the mixing bowl and blend until light and fluffy. 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until blended. Put into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.
  3. Make the chocolate dough next: Add to the mixer the butter and both sugars, blend until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add the remaining ingredient and mix. Refrigerate in a seperate bowl for at least 1 hour.
  5. When cool, take about 2 Tbsp and roll the dough into a snake until about 8 inches long. Make three “ropes” in each flavor, 6 total. Now press them together and carefully smooth the sides by rolling on a surface until it’s smooth and about 2 inches in diameter.
  6. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour or up to 2 weeks. Continue the steps and wrap each in plastic wrap.
  7. When ready to bake, cut each roll into 1/4 inch slices and bake in a 325º oven for 12-15 minutes.

 

Succotash Stew

succotashstew

On our recent trip to Massachusetts, my family and I went to Plymouth Plantation and had the best time!  After our long day we ended up in the cafeteria where they had this delicious Succotash Stew, and when we got home I went right to work trying to replicate it. I think I did a pretty good job.  The only difference between theirs and mine was that they had pieces of ham in theirs.  I might have added that if I had any on hand.  But we loved it just the same.  Feel free to change-up the vegetables to whatever you have, and add meat too.  I don’t think you can go wrong with just winging it. I think they key flavors came from the Old Bay seasoning and the dried Thyme.

I love recipes that you can make your own and this is one of them.  Add more or less of whatever you like (or don’t like).  This is a great warm and cozy meal for the chilly nights ahead. Enjoy!

Succotash Stew

Recipe from Alissamay’s kitchen

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves, minced
  • 1 large turnip, peeled, diced
  • 1 small bag  frozen baby lima beans
  • 1 small bag frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1 small bag diced potatoes
  • 1 small bag frozen leeks
  • 1 small bag frozen corn
  • 1 small bag frozen okra
  • 1 – 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 – 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 – 32 oz box vegetable broth
  • 1 Tbsp old bay seasoning
  • 1 tsp dried thyme leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cooking Directions

  1. In a large stock pot or a dutch oven, add the oil and heat on medium heat.
  2. Add the onion and let soften.
  3. Add the garlic, and turnip.
  4. Once slightly softened add all the remaining ingredients and spices.
  5. Bring to a boil and then turn to simmer, put the lid on and let cook for about 30 minutes or until all veggies are soft.
  6. Check seasoning and modify if needed. Serve hot.

 

Pumpkin Bread

pumpkinbread

Being that it’s fall now, and cooler whether has finally come to the Carolina’s, I’m celebrating with my first pumpkin recipe of the year.

Can I tell you a secret? I’m not overly fond of pumpkin recipes. I’m not a fan of pumpkin pie.  I would never order a pumpkin latte from Starbucks. Pumpkin cheesecake doesn’t appeal to me at all. I’m pretty picky about what I want my pumpkin flavor to be in.  Pumpkin bread is one of them, I love it. I don’t love it all the time, just fall.  Yeah, I’m weird.

This recipe is labeled “The Best” by the author, and I do agree.  It’s the best I’ve had so far.  Moist (I know some of you just love that word), flavorful, perfect for fall. I’ll probably only make this recipe 10 more times this fall/winter. 🙂

Pumpkin Bread

Recipe by The Domestic Rebel

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 tsp  ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp  ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Cooking Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350º
  2. Spray a 8 or 9 inch loaf pan liberally with non-stick spray. Put on top of a cookie sheet to catch any drips.
  3. Blend together the butter and brown sugar until smooth.
  4. Add in the pumpkin puree, then the eggs and mix well.
  5. Add in the remaining ingredients and mix just until combined. Do not over mix.
  6. Pour into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 45-50 minutes. Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center. The toothpick should come out with wet crumbs on it, not wet dough.
  7. Cool in the loaf pan for 20 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to finish cooling.

 

Lentil Loaf

lentilloaf

So, in the interest of better health, we’ve been trying to eat vegan a couple of nights a week, and vegetarian most of the other time. It’s actually a lot easier than I thought it would be.  So, in case you’re not familiar with eating vegan or know what it is, I’ll try to summarize. Vegan is not eating any food that comes from an animal. Obviously that’s meat, but its also dairy, eggs, honey and so on. It’s not for everyone, but it has made us feel better. And I should mention, we’re not “hard-core” about it.  We have try to stick with at least a vegetarian diet, a couple days vegan and maybe 1 meal with meat. We might get to be full time vegans, but for now its baby steps.

Anyway, I was glad to find this recipe which can sort of replace a meatloaf.  I love trying new recipes so this was great.  Made from lentils and oatmeal and veggies, its got lots of yummy protein and flavor.  Clearly, this isn’t going to taste like meat-meatloaf but I still found it delicious and so did my carnivore loving husband.  The texture is great, as it does maintain it’s shape when cut. And you can feel good about having seconds. I loved the glaze over the top, in fact I went back and made extra just to use as a dip.  This was a very substantial meal that didn’t leave us one bit hungry or unsatisfied.  A must try!

Lentil Loaf

Recipe from The Simple Veganista

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dry lentils (green or brown)
  • 2 1/2 cups water or vegetable broth
  • 3 Tbsp flaxseed meal
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 medium carrot, finely diced or shredded
  • 1 stalk celery, finely diced
  • 3/4 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup oat flour, or oats finely ground in a food processor, or any flour
  • 1 heaping tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 heaping tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp each onion powder and garlic powder
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp chipotle pepper, optional
  • salt and pepper to taste

Glaze

  • 3 Tbsp organic ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup

Cooking Directions

  1. Rinse lentils. Add to a pot with the water or vegetable broth and bring to a boil, once at a boil cover and reduce heat to simmer and cook for 40 minutes. Then turn off the heat and let sit in the pan until it cools.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the flaxseed meal and water. Put in the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes.
  4. Add all of the diced and minced vegetables to a pan with the oil (or water) and saute for about 5 minutes. Add the spices and stir until coated, then turn off the heat and let cool.
  5. Use an immersion blender or a food processor to puree 3/4 of the cooked lentils. You can also use a fork to press them in the pan. This will help serve as a binder.
  6. Stir together all of the prepared ingredients, the lentils, vegetable mixture, flax egg mixture, oats and oat flour and stir together well.
  7. Place some parchment paper in a loaf pan so the sides hang over the edges and fill with the loaf mixture. Press down on the mixture, including the sides so its even on top. Prepare the glaze by mixing all the ingredients in a small dish.
  8. Pour the glaze over the loaf and bake for 45-50 minutes.
  9. You might want to prepare more glaze just to drizzle on the loaf when done, it’s so delicious.

 

Slow Cooker Creamy Tortellini Soup

slowcookercreamytortellinisoup

The weather is finally getting cooler, and I couldn’t be happier about it.  I might be in the minority but Southern summers are a long drawn out thing and I always welcome cooler weather. Fall is also my favorite time of the year, so bring it on!

This creamy tortellini soup was perfect and easy.  Slow cooker recipes are a must for me, all year long.  It makes weekdays so much easier.  I homeschool and if I can just prepare a recipe in the morning and then forget about it until dinner time, my day is much more pleasant.

I loved this recipe because I love both tortellini and sausage which are the prominent flavors.  Chunks of veggies and a creamy base don’t hurt either. My house smelled amazing all day long. It was also a nice change up from the usual soups that I make which tend to be broth based.  This would be great for a fall party or a for a house full of guests as it does make quite a bit.  Delicious!

Slow Cooker Creamy Tortellini Soup

Recipe from CafeDelites

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground sausage, browned
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 large  carrots, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 tsp beef boullion
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 cups beef broth (or chicken or vegetable)
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 – 12 ounce cans evaporated milk
  • 1 – 12 ounce package tortellini, dried or frozen (if using frozen you might not need as much evaporated milk)
  • 5 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1 cup milk

Cooking Directions

  1. Add the sausage, onion, carrots, celery and garlic to a 6 quart slow cooker.
  2. Add the Italian seasoning, beef boullion, salt and broth. Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 4 hours.
  3. Combine the cornstarch and water and whisk together, pour into the slow cooker and cook on high for 20 minutes until thickened.
  4. Add the evaporated milk, tortellini and cook until heated through.
  5. Add the baby spinach and cook about 5 minutes until wilted.
  6. Add milk until the soup reaches your desired consistency.

Simply Peach Fiery Mule

simplypeachfierymule

Have you noticed I like fruity drinks? I mean, I’m loving all the recipes I’m seeing for mules lately.  I’m sort of in love with Ginger Beer.  I’m also sort of in love with these copper mule mugs.  In summary, I’m loving this drink.

 

I do live in the south, so liking peaches is sort of a requirement.  I’m totally making that up, but living here and liking peaches is much more convenient.  You know what’s also convenient? Going to any store, any time of the year and just buying peach juice.  I mean, really, does it even get easier than that? So, making this drink can happen at any time of the year, but summer is probably best.

It’s sort of hard to describe the taste but I’ll give it a try.  The peach flavor is not super strong, it sort of blends in with the other flavors. Ginger beer (not ginger ale) is sort of spicy and pairs nicely with the peach.  The is lemon juice cuts through the sweetness a bit and the carbonation of the ginger beer is a great texture here. The ginger beer is unique and if you’ve never had it and aren’t opposed to trying new things, I recommend it. I got mine at Target, in the wine isle.  They are sold in a 4-pack of cans or a glass bottle. This is a refreshing drink that is great when its hot out.  I loved it and can’t wait to try more mule recipes while it’s still summer!

Simply Peach Fiery Mule

Recipe by Simplyorangejuice.com

Ingredients

  • 10 ounces Simply Peach juice
  • 6 ounces vodka
  • ice
  • 2  lemons, halved
  • 2 cups ginger beer (not ginger ale)
  • crystalized ginger, peach or lemon slices for garnish (optional)

Cooking Directions

  1. Fill 4 cups with ice. Use 1 half lemon per cup to pour the fresh juice over the ice.
  2. Fill a shaker with ice and add the juice and vodka. Shake vigorously till cold.
  3. Pour the juice mixture into the prepared cups and top with 1/2 cup of ginger beer per cup.
  4. Garnish with crystalized ginger, a peach slice and a lemon wedge (if desired)

Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake

cinnamonrollcoffeecake

Sometimes, you just want a cinnamon roll.  But usually, I haven’t thought about it far enough in advance to actually make them.  So a quick search of Pinterest usually fixes the problem, this is a perfect example of that.

My daughter loved this cake, and I only mention that because my daughter is super picky and doesn’t love very many things I make.  I used to be really sad over that, now I just expect it. Haha, I’m sure I’m not the only one with this problem.

We all loved this cake however, it tastes like a cinnamon roll so how could we not? The cake itself is moist and swirls of the cinnamon topping add depth of flavor, color and texture.  Then, you drizzle glaze over all that deliciousness and you get….devine.  Seriously.  This is a quick way to get that cinnamon roll flavor without actually having to make cinnamon rolls.  Loved it!

Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake

Recipe by Cakescottage.com

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp  salt
  • 1 1/2 cups milk

Topping

  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon

Glaze

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 5 Tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Cooking Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350º
  2. Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan, set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mix all the cake ingredients together until combined. Pour into the prepared baking pan.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the topping mixture and mix together. Spread on top the cake batter and swirl with a knife so some of the topping can seep into the batter.
  5. Bake for 35 minutes.
  6. Make the glaze while the coffee cake is baking.
  7. In a small dish, stir together the ingredients and whisk until it’s the consistency of pancake syrup.
  8. When the cake comes out of the oven, let cool for about 10 minutes and then drizzle the glaze over the top and serve