Cinnamon & Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Pie Cookies

Heeeeelllllo Fall! So it’s that season {yeah yeah yeah .. I’m so redundant in expressing my love of Fall, sorry if it gets annoying but I just can not help myself} for baking. Today I had three goals, #1 – Bake with pumpkin, #2 – make some goodies for our schools Fall Festival Cake Walk tomorrow and #3 – Appease my neighbor who has been relentless in reminding me that I have not made anything pumpkin for him yet. So I went to my recipe book¬†Pinterest and found these goodies which were over at Keep it Sweet Deserts. I whipped them up and of course had my delivery boy run them to the neighbors house which resulted in a text telling me that it was a keeper. Oh whew! ūüėČ Then I bagged them up for the cake fight. Oh yes, prior to these two things my taste tester and I sampled the goods and yes, this recipe is a keeper.

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Cinnamon & Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Pie Cookies

Yield: Makes 5 dozen cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks)¬†unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1 cup¬†granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup¬†packed light brown sugar
  • 2¬†eggs
  • 1 tablespoon¬†vanilla extract
  • 1 cup¬†canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 3 1/4 cups¬†all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon¬†salt
  • 1 teaspoon¬†baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon¬†pumpkin pie seasoning
  • 2 cups¬†semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup¬†cinnamon chips

Cooking Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking soda and pumpkin pie seasoning; set aside
  3. Using an electric mixer, beat together butter and sugars until light and fluffy
  4. Beat in eggs and vanilla; beat in pumpkin until well-combined
  5. Stir in dry ingredients just until combined
  6. Stir in chocolate and cinnamon chips
  7. Use a cookie dough scoop or tablespoon to place cookie dough mounds (about 1 1/2 tablespoons each) onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper about 1 inch apart
  8. Bake 9-11 minutes or until cookies are puffed up and no longer wet
  9. Allow cookies to cool on cooling rack before serving

Little Pieces of Fall

I know, I go on and on and on about how I heart Fall. I even have a hashtag for it on Instagram. #iheartfall. For real. I’m literally sitting here eating apple crisp while apple coffee cake bakes in the oven. At 10pm. #issues. I know I am not alone so I’ve compiled some of my favorite Fall things to share here with you. Your welcome and happy Fall ya’ll.

Fall collage 1

Felt leaves at 5 Orange Potatoes

Chai Pumpkin Spice Thumbprints at Pass the Sushi

Sweater Pumpkin at Confessions of a Plate Addict

Heart Shaped Leaves at The Berry

Fall Collage 2Cider Spiced Donut Holes at Honeybear Lane

Free Fall printable at I Should Be Mopping the Floor

Spicy Pumpkin Soup at A Spicy Perspective

Chevron Wreath at Crafty Texas Girls

Last year I shared all of these yummy pumpkin recipes and these free printables. Is Fall your favorite season or are you all about the hot summer days?

 

 

 

 

Crock Pot Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

I love Fall and one of my most favorite parts of this season is the food. Pumpkin and apple everything? Yes please! I also love crock-pot meals for the convenience. Chef Mommy nailed it with this delicious soup. It’s a crowd pleaser for sure. With a little bit of prep you can have this yummy soup simmering for dinner. Serve with a fresh loaf of french bread and a side salad and viola, dinner is served!

SoupSource – Chef Mommy

 

Crock Pot Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Ingredients:

4 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 package of Rice-a-Roni long grain and wild rice
1/2 tsp salt (plus more to taste)
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup butter
2 cups half and half (I used fat-free half and half)
1 cup grated carrots
1 cup diced celery

Directions:

Combine broth, water, carrots, celery, chicken and rice (along with seasoning packet) in a large slow cooker. Cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 4 hours. Take out chicken and shred with two forks and then add back into slow cooker. In a small bowl combine salt, pepper, and flour. In medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in flour mixture by tablespoon to form a roux. Whisk in cream, a little at a time, until fully incorporated and smooth. Stir cream mixture into slow cooker and then let cook on low for 15 more minutes.

Easy Peach Cobbler

Do you want a swoon worthy, super easy and delicious peach cobbler recipe? Well look no further. I whipped up this goodness served a la mode on Sunday for a BBQ and it was gone. No leftovers to be had which was a little sad. Lesson learned, next time I will make two. ūüėČ

Peach Cobbler recipe from My Recipes

Peach Cobbler

Photo Source

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup¬†unsalted butter
  • 1¬†cup¬†all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups¬†sugar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon¬†baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup¬†milk
  • 4 cups¬†fresh peaches, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon¬†lemon juice
  • Ground cinnamon or nutmeg (optional) a must!

Preparation

  1. Melt butter in a 13- x 9-inch baking dish.
  2. Combine flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt; add milk, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour batter over butter (do not stir).
  3. Bring remaining 1 cup sugar, peach slices, and lemon juice to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly; pour over batter (do not stir). Sprinkle with cinnamon, if desired.
  4. Bake at 375¬į for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. Serve cobbler warm or cool.

This was a crowd pleaser and made my house smell delicious. I think it will become my go to recipe for late summer entertaining. Do you have an easy desert recipe that you like to repeat?

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cakes

Ah summer. Backyard gardens. Lots of fresh zucchini. I have this giant zucchini that has been just starting me down. My kids don’t like zucchini but they do like chocolate. Shhhh. I am tricking them. Whatever. They are getting chocolate so it’s not that bad of a deal, right? I found this recipe over at Babble which has rave reviews and my house smells divine. Why is it that baking makes me feel like such a domestic goddess? I mean seriously. I feel like Wonder Woman right now. All because I baked a couple of cakes. I’m coming off of a bad run of a nasty migraine and feeling so behind on life stuff so if baking makes me feel awesome, I’ll take it ūüôā

Choc-Chip-Zucchini-Cake-1-1024x725Photo source

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cakes

Adapted from Food Network

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 packed cups grated zucchini (don’t peel it)
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven at 350 F. Spray two 9√ó5 inch pans with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

In a medium bowl, beat the sugar and eggs until light and fluffy. Add the oil and vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients along with the zucchini and chocolate chips. Stir just until combined, and divide between the loaf pans.

Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the tops are cracked and springy to the touch. Makes 2 cakes.

 

Whats your favorite zucchini recipe?

Caramelized Onion, Spinach and Gruyere Cheese Strata with Sauteed Cherry Tomatoes

Oh deliciousness!! I had a couple of girlfriends coming over for brunch on Sunday and I had to find something yummy to share. I did a little Strata search and found this over at the Cooking Channel. It’s a recipe from Bobby Flay who always seems to have share worthy recipes. ¬†It was so worth trying. My gal-pals loved it and I am about to enjoy the leftovers for lunch. Yum! The tomatoes are a great addition and make for a pretty presentation {if you like to have that ‘wow’ factor when plating your food}. Next time you are looking for a savory brunch meal, look no further cause this is a winner. My only change on this is that I used half of the spinach and I also used plain ol’ yellow onions.

StrataPhoto Source

Caramelized Onion, Spinach and Gruyere Cheese Strata with Sauteed Cherry Tomatoes

INGREDIENTS

STRATA:
  • 6¬†cups cubed day-old¬†French bread, with¬†crust
  • 2¬†tablespoons¬†unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
  • 1¬†tablespoon¬†canola oil
  • 2¬†large Spanish onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1¬†teaspoon sugar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • One 10-ounce box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 10¬†large¬†eggs
  • 2¬†cups grated aged¬†Gruyere cheese
  • 3¬†cups whole¬†milk
  • 1¬†cup heavy cream
  • 2¬†teaspoons¬†Dijon mustard
  • 1¬†tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/8¬†teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

SAUTEED CHERRY TOMATOES:

  • 3¬†tablespoons canola oil
  • 2¬†pints cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3¬†tablespoons finely sliced fresh¬†chives, plus more for¬†garnish

DIRECTIONS

For the strata: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Put the bread on a baking sheet and toast until lightly golden brown on both sides, about 10 minutes. Remove and let cool.

Combine the butter and oil in a large saute pan over medium heat and cook until it begins to shimmer. Add the onions, toss to coat in the butter, and then add the sugar and season with salt and pepper. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and caramelized, about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

In a large bowl, combine the bread cubes, onions and spinach. In another large bowl, whisk together the eggs, 1 1/2 cups cheese, milk, heavy cream, mustard, 1 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, thyme and nutmeg.

Butter a 9 by 13-inch decorative baking dish. Add the bread cubes to the baking dish, and then pour the egg mixture over the bread cubes and press down to make sure the bread is totally submerged.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Bake the strata uncovered until the mixture has puffed up slightly, is golden brown on top and doesn’t shimmy with uncooked¬†custardwhen you shake the pan, about 1 hour. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup cheese over the top during the last 10 minutes of baking. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

For the tomatoes: Heat oil in a large saute pan over high heat until it begins to shimmer. Add the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and cook until the tomatoes softened. Add the chives and remove from the heat.

Serve large spoonfuls of the strata onto plates and top with sauteed tomatoes.

I also served this wonderful coffee cake to add a bit of ‘sweet’ to compliment this savory strata.
Enjoy!

Hangtown Cooler

This easy little cocktail comes courtesy of one of the most beautiful wineries in our area. It’s called Boeger and it’s nestled up in Camino, which is also the home of Apple Hill. More about Apple Hill here. We try and make a trip to Boeger for their Sunset Sipping at least once a year. It’s a Friday night event which entails good friends, wine, a yummy picnic and a band. It’s always a full house and if you so desire, a family affair. I tried this drink there a few years ago and I’ve been making it ever since. It requires two ingredients: Boeger Hangtown Red and Squirt. Yep, that’s it! It’s a crowd pleaser and reminds me of sangria {without all the work}.

You need this which you can get at the winery or I picked mine up at Trader Joes {which is also where the fun photo below comes from and then I altered it using the fabulous new Rhonna Designs Photo App  and Pixlr {these photos apps are very addicting!!}

Hangtown cooler

I also found all of these other recipes on their website. I think I see some recipe sampling happening soon!

Cheers to summer and fun cocktails.

Summer Cocktails

It’s summertime and that means — yep, cocktails!! Not that you can’t have cocktails in the other seasons but there is something so refreshing about cocktails in the summertime. I love seeing how a slew of ingredients bring about something so yummy and delicious. I keep putting this post off assuming that I will pull it together and make/share a couple of my favorites and add pictures as well but … but … but .. you get the point. It’s not happening! The last time I had my two favorite concoctions was while camping and I just didn’t think to get photos. I will share the recipes with you though. You can just imagine how pretty they are in a glass with a cute lil straw.

Root-beer Float

My version doesn’t really entail any ice-cream but it tastes like a root-beer float. Anyone that has tried them is instantly hooked. First off, I am in love with these skinny glasses from Cost Plus. I have actually bought them for my girlfriends as they are a hot ticket around here. Add a straw and they are perfect for a pretty cocktail.

I add one shot of Whipped Vodka to a full glass of ice and then top with root beer. Voila. A simple and super tasty cocktail. Some people like to add whipped cream to the top. I think they are plenty sweet without.

Orange Julius with Whipped Vodka

These seem to be made a million different ways but this is how we make them. Now these are a main attraction while camping so they are served in non other then a Red Solo cup. I know, classy!

In a shaker combine: ice, 2 oz Whipped Cream Vodka, 1 oz Triple Sec, fill with OJ and then a squirt of canned whipping cream. Shake well and serve. This will serve two.

Both of these go down a little too easily so beware how quickly you feel the results if you know what I am saying.

I made this yummy sangria for the 4th of July. Again, I did not get a photo before it was all gone. What I loved the most is that it called for New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc which is the type of wine I always drink. It sold me on the recipe.

Summer Sangria at The Sassy Writer

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Of course have a Pinterest Board which is dedicated to Entertaining and that is where I save these little gems for later. Check out some of the yummy things I hope to make soon. All recipes can be accessed by clicking on the drink title and source above the photos.

Mexican Sangria at Design Sponge

Mexican Sangria

Sour Cherry Gin Slings at Food & Wine

Sour Cherry Gin Slings

Cherry Moon at Grey Goose

recipe-cherrynoir-cherry-moon-feature

Frozen Cherry Margarita at Girlfriend Getaways

Girls-Night-In-Drinks-Frozen-Cherry-Margarita

Gin & Tonic {one of my faves} at Drizzle and Dip

gin and tonic

Cayman Lemonade at Islands

cayman-lemonade

The Frenchy Cocktail at Intoxicology

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Marshmallow Cake-tini Cocktail at Tablespoon

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These look like tantalizing cocktails. I’d love to hear if you have tried any of these and what you think. Oh my last round up does not come with a photo {although I had two last weekend and I can tell you that they were delicious} is a drink called the Va Va Voom and it was at a local spot called Sauced. It had vodka, muddled mint and lime, simple syrup and hard cider and was served on the rocks. It tasted like a carbonated lemonade. It was so yummy {and it may have caused excessive dancing, just sayin’}.

Come on over and check out my million and one other pins at Pinterest ūüôā Just kidding, I only have 7, 257 ¬†pins.

Cheers to Summer my friends {even though I long for Fall}.

Baked Penne with Chicken, Broccoli, and Smoked Mozzarella

I love entertaining although it doesn’t happen too often — I think everyones busy lives often get in the way of get togethers. Bummer eh?? Anyway, I’ve been a bit of a kitchen slave I mean, er chef the past two days ūüėČ Lasagna yesterday and today I whipped up this¬†Baked Penne with Chicken, Broccoli, and Smoked Mozzarella for a dear friend and her girls that are visiting from out of state. Due to another mid day function, I made it earlier so all I have to do is put it in the oven and viola, it’s ready to go for dinner tonight. That with a simple side salad that has a zingy¬†homemade lemon vinaigrette. The original recipe seems to come from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe but their site appears to be down so I can’t do a link back at the moment. Boo! Anyway, check them out — I always want to give credit where credit is due!

Baked Penne

Baked Penne with Chicken, Broccoli, and Smoked Mozzarella

 

INGREDIENTS

TOPPING:

  • 3/4 cup bread crumbs (store-bought or make your own) ** see notes below
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

FILLING:

  • 1 bunch broccoli (about 1¬†1/2 pounds), stalks cut off, florets trimmed into 1-inch pieces
  • 12 ounces penne pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 6 medium garlic cloves, finely minced or pressed through a garlic press
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1¬†1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 3), trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 3 ounces smoked mozzarella, shredded
  • 8 ounce jar oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped into pieces

DIRECTIONS

1. In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs and butter and set aside. Lightly grease a 9X13-inch baking dish and set aside.
2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and make sure the oven rack is placed in the middle of the oven. In a large pot, bring the water for the pasta to a boil. Stir in one tablespoon salt and the broccoli. The broccoli cooks quickly so stay close! Cook the broccoli for 1 minute, until it is bright green. Quickly remove the broccoli with a slotted spoon to a plate. Return the water to a boil and add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 1-2 minutes less than how you would eat it normally (it will cook a bit more in the oven while baking). Drain the pasta in a colander and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Leave it in the colander and set it aside.
3. Wipe the pot dry. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and return to medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook until softened and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and thyme; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add the flour, salt and pepper, and cook, stirring constantly, until golden, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the broth and cream; bring to a simmer, whisking often. Add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked through, about 6-7 minutes. Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes and smoked mozzarella.
4. Add the cooked pasta and broccoli to the sauce; stir to combine. Transfer the pasta mixture to the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with the bread crumb topping. Bake until the casserole is bubbling and the crumbs are lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately.
This smells and looks divine. I typically don’t share recipes until I’ve tried them just in case they aren’t as good as they looked precooking BUT this one has so many delicious ingredients, I think it’s pretty safe to say it’s going to be fabulous!
** I made homemade breadcrumbs by throwing a few pieces of wheat bread and the melted butter in a food processor. 

Little Quinoa Patties

Hello friends!! I’m still knee deep in tax season and although most people in the office are working 10-12 hour days, I’m only putting in 8 but 8 is a lot for a recent stay at home mama. That being said 1) you full time mamas rock and 2) I can’t wait till the 15th when I can gain a few more ‘me hours’. I also have to say, as far as jobs go – I think I have a pretty good thing going. OK moving on ..

I found this recipe earlier this week and it seemed like a must try. I finally finished making them at 8pm. My fault. I got caught up in homework and throwing together tomorrows crock pot dinner. Tonights dinner would have been a bit faster but I had to make the quinoa and then cool it off. A bit of a process. So going forward, I think I would make this ahead of time and save myself the ‘night of work’. A few other things I’d do differently? I’d add more chives. I have decided that I am in love with chives so a recipe could always use more. I also think it would be good with some type of sauce. Maybe a Tzatziki¬†or some type of yogurt dip?

Enough talking, let me share these tasty morsels with you now. Yes, my side was a bit lazy but come on, it’s an 8pm dinner and I had to cut corners somewhere.

Little Quinoa Patties

Little Quinoa Patties

Recipe adapted from Whole Living

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups cooked quinoa, room temperature
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh chives
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Gruyere cheese
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup whole-grain bread crumbs, plus more if needed
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

  1. Combine the quinoa, eggs, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in the chives, onion, cheese, and garlic. Add the bread crumbs, stir, and let stand for a few minutes. Form mixture into twelve 1-inch thick patties. (Add more breadcrumbs if the mixture is too wet; add water if too dry.) Mixture can be kept covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
  2. Heat oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Working in batches, add patties, cover, and cook until bottoms are deeply browned, about 7 to 10 minutes. Increase heat to medium if there is no browning after 10 minutes and continue to cook until patties are browned. Flip patties with a spatula and cook the second sides until golden, about 7 minutes. Remove from skillet and cool on a wire rack. Repeat with remaining patties.

I’d love to hear your opinions, reviews, revisions, etc.