Sweet and salty. One of the best flavor combinations on Earth. Not only is it amazingly delicious but salt is also known the heighten the taste of any food. So, why not put it on cookies? These cookies hide a little secret too. They have less sugar than your typical chocolate chip indulgence. While other cookies make you crave more, these leave you satisfied after one or two due to the lower sugar content and the addition of granola. They still disappear just as fast though. Making the Cookies Before you begin, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray two baking sheets with nonstick spray. Set one rack in the upper third of the oven and one rack in the lower third. Blend the granola in a food processor so that it resembles flour. Combine with the flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. In a large bowl, beat on low speed the melted butter (and cooled, don’t want to cook the egg!), brown sugar, egg and vanilla until well blended. Then, add the flour mixture and beat with the electric mixer until blended. Stir in the chocolate chips. Drop the dough in rounded tablespoons onto the baking sheets. Since these use less sugar, you need to flatten them before placing them in the oven. Dip the bottom of a glass in flour and press each cookie dough ball into round cookie shapes. Secret for Perfect Baking These cookies call for 9-11 minutes in a 350 degree oven. However, household ovens do not heat evenly. Usually, the back is warmer than the front. Depending on the age of the oven, your oven may also cook items faster than your friend’s oven. You just never know. So here’s what to do. Set your timer for 4 minutes once you pop the cookies inside. When the timer beeps (and using an oven mitt), take the cookie sheet on the top, turn it around so that now the cookies that were in front are now in back and place that cookie sheet on the bottom rack. Take the cookie sheet on the bottom rack, turn it around and place it on the top. This will ensure that all cookies have the best chance for getting equal amounts of heat. Set your timer for another 4 minutes and check your cookies. Look right at the edge of one cookie. Does it appear a touch browner? Has the texture changed to look more like a baked cookie instead of raw cookie dough? If you answered yes, its time to take those cookies out! If no, set your timer for another 1-2 minutes and check again. Once done, remove the cookie sheets from the oven and place the sheets on wire racks to cool for one minute. While they are cooling, sprinkle each cookie with a pinch of Maldon Salt. Maldon is flaky and has the perfect texture! I found my box of Maldon under spices in the grocery store. However, you can also order […]
Easy family meals, decadent sweets, crock pot meals, holiday sides - everything to make the kitchen a fun and easy place.
We want to have fun with our kids! However, when summer hits, so do the expenses. Kids activities are pricy, but entertainment doesn’t need to be expensive. During these Dollar Store Days of Summer, I’m sharing ten activities that use only supplies found at the Dollar Store. They are quick. They are easy. And most require little adult guidance and help. Just sit back and watch your kids play. Or.. jump in and join the fun! Did you know that the dollar store usually has a food aisle? It surprised me too! The aisle held a lot of brand name items that I usually buy in the grocery store for a lot more than a buck – like pudding! These popsicles are incredibly simple to make. So easy that kids can prepare them themselves while you supervise. Supplies From Dollar Store: pudding popsicle molds cookies How to Start My kids picked out the ingredients themselves. Since the inventory at the dollar store varies so much from week to week (and store to store), these pudding popsicles can be any flavor you desire using any mix-in that you choose. We created ours with vanilla pudding and lemon cookies. My six-year-old, Llama, spooned pudding into each popsicle mold while my two-year-old son watched. Dude also liked sneaking pieces of cookie into his mouth. We are very lucky that our popsicles had any cookie in them! Instead of mixing the cookies into the pudding, we chose to layer the popsicles, spooning in a little pudding and then sprinkling cookies on top. Once we filled the molds, we stuck them in the freezer. I let these freeze for 24 hours, however you can get by with as little as 6 hours. To get the popsicles out, I ran the molds under hot water until the frozen pudding separated from the sides. These were the perfect end to an afternoon swim session – especially during our recent heat wave. 115 degrees is no joke. And if by chance, the mold refuses to release the popsicle, they are perfectly delicious when eaten by spoon as well. Variations you can use for this are: Different flavors and mix ins! The possiblities are endless! Such as chocolate pudding with oreo, banana pudding with nilla wafers, vanilla mixed with nutella. Frozen treats are the perfect summer indulgence! When you use ready made ingredients like pudding, they become both an activity and a dessert. Don’t leave yet! Find many more ideas for Dollar Store fun! Even better, get the remaining activities delivered to your inbox between now and July 3rd!
When I look for a fun family activity in the Phoenix area, I want somewhere not too expensive, unique and that brings me happiness. Usually food tops the list. I jumped at the chance to visit the Queen Creek Olive Mill for a blogger event. Not only can you buy olive oil there, but you can also eat a delicious meal at their on-site cafe (and grill located outdoors), devour tasty baked goods made with olive oil, have a scoop of olive oil gelato or grab a coffee from Superstition Coffee company located inside. Superstition Coffee, Olive Oil ice cream and Olive Spa soap can all be found in the marketplace of the Queen Creek Olive Mill. Thank you for letting me visit @QColivemill! #QueenCreekOliveMill A photo posted by JoAnn (@awhimsiclelife) on May 14, 2015 at 12:07pm PDT Olive Oil 101 I admit, I never actually sampled olive oil. Prior to this experience, I only used my big bottle of EVOO from Costco for sautéing. I had no idea what olive oil should taste like nor how to distinguish a good oil. Just like wine, olive oil has attributes to look for: Fruitiness – You can detect this through your nose. Before you taste olive oil, you inhale, exhale and inhale again. Some good attributes are green apple, herbaceous or buttery. Bitterness – This you can taste on your tongue. Bitter doesn’t mean bad necessarily, it just describes the oil. Pungency – You feel this on the back of your throat. An oil with a strong pungent attribute will feel like hot peppers back there. You don’t want an olive oil to be: fusty – means the olives have fermented musty – olives are moldy earthy – the olives are dirty rancid – it’s spoiled Olive oil only lasts 1 year in the bottle. On average, it takes 3 months for olive oil from Italy to make it to the US and then it sits on a store shelf. Buying olive oil locally ensures you get a much fresher product that will keep for a longer period of time. Tasting Getting ready to do some olive oil tasting at #QueenCreekOliveMill! #whyaz @QCOliveMill A photo posted by JoAnn (@awhimsiclelife) on May 14, 2015 at 10:13am PDT I sampled 6 of Queen Creek Olive Mill’s Oils and glazes. To tell the truth, I did not want to sample olive oil. I thought that olive oil was only meant to be a necessary ingredient, but not have any real taste. I was dead wrong! This olive oil tasted extremely smooth and I loved it. I enjoyed the chocolate olive oil which would work really well as a butter substitute in baking. This is happening! Oh my gosh, this one smells fantastic!! #QueenCreekOliveMill #arizonabloggers A photo posted by JoAnn (@awhimsiclelife) on May 14, 2015 at 10:40am PDT I fell in love with the garlic olive oil. So much, I think I ate more than my fair share of the bread because I couldn’t stop dipping it that oil. I […]
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SpringIntoFlavor #CollectiveBias If I could eat french fries and onion rings every night for dinner, I would! Just thinking about opening the oven and stealing that first bite makes my mouth water. This healthy, fresh Mediterranean Rosemary Fry Salad incorporates fresh spring ingredients as well as french fries. Yes! French Fries on a salad! Genius, right? My family and I love going to a Greek Restaurant in town and ordering the Greek Fries as a side dish. These fries are loaded with fresh tomato and cucumber that is tossed in a greek vinaigrette and then layered over piping hot fries. Then, the chef sprinkles large chunks of feta cheese on top. I used those Greek fries as inspiration for this main course salad. In addition, I placed a few pieces of shrimp on top for a protein punch. While at Walmart I picked up three amazing Alexia products: Rosemary and Sea Salt Fries, Sweet Potato Fries with Sea Salt and crispy onion rings. I have been buying Alexia products for years and I love using them as a side dish to a juicy burger or sandwich. But, burgers and sandwiches aren’t the only food they go with as you will see with this salad. Each Alexia product is high quality and made with all natural ingredients. They are also incredibly yummy. Not only do they always have just the right amount of seasoning, but they are always perfectly crunchy every time I take them out of the oven. For this salad, I used the Alexia Rosemary Fries with Sea Salt. First, preheat your oven and cook the fries according to the instructions on the back of the package. While the fries are cooking, chop your tomatoes and cucumbers and combine both together in a small bowl. Then make your dressing by mixing onion powder, parsley, garlic powder, oregano, salt, pepper and red wine vinegar with the olive oil Mix in a 1/2 teaspoon of Dijon Mustard Toss the dressing with the tomatoes and cucumbers. Start assembling your salad so that you can start eating it the moment the Alexia fries come out of the oven. Place a layer of spinach leaves on your plate followed by the tomato and cucumber mixture. Now, for the shrimp. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan. Once hot, place the shrimp inside and watch them carefully. As soon as you see the bottoms turn pink (about 1-2 minutes) flip them and cook until the shrimp is completely pink. Take it off as soon as the gray color disappears. Overcooked shrimp tastes tough and rubbery. Don’t let that happen to you! 😀 Once the oven beeps, take out the fries and place them on the salad along with a few pieces of shrimp and a sprinkle of feta cheese. Then, dig in.Feel free to layer on a lot more fries than I did in the picture! This blend of fries with fresh […]
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #PutItOnARitz #CollectiveBias My favorite date night is at a wine cafe near my house called Postino. They sit you outside, pour you a glass of wine and bring the most amazing bruschetta to your table – thin, crisp slices of buttered bread topped high with fresh and amazing toppings. Two of my favorite bruschetta are the tomato, mozzarella & basil and the brie, fig jam and sliced apples. Now, while I would love to eat at Postino every night for dinner, that’s just not realistic. So I created a way to make the bruschetta at home that is both easy and fast. A 5-minute bruschetta board. As you might guess from the picture, I piled my ingredients on a RITZ® cracker. While I might not have fresh french bread on hand, my cupboards always have crackers. Think about it – pre-sized, crispy, buttery goodness. Also, it’s easy to sneak one of these around the kids and swallow it before they even know you are eating something – or get caught by your kids and feel compelled to share. That was me with these bites. If you have an amazing way to top a RITZ® cracker, you can enter for a chance to win one of forty $100 Walmart e-Gift Cards (10 per week) by uploading an Instagram photo of your RITZ®-topped creation with #putitonaritzcontest. Click HERE to enter the Snackify Challenge with your ownRITZ®-topped creation for a chance to win a $100 Gift Card! Ritz Snackify Challenge Instagram Contest I picked up a box of RITZ® crackers at Walmart during my last shopping trip. While I shopped, I was lucky enough to sample another RITZ® topping: peanut butter and marshmallow creme topped with a banana slice. Crazy sample time!! Snacking on peanut butter, marshmallow creme and banana on a Ritz @walmart #ad #putitonaritz A photo posted by JoAnn (@awhimsiclelife) on Apr 18, 2015 at 1:33pm PDT Both the varieties I made are also very easy to create! Tomato, Mozzarella & Basil Bruschetta Bites 1. Slice the tomato and mozzarella into pieces that would easily fit on a RITZ® cracker. I like both my tomato and mozzarella in thicker chunks. 2. Slice a few leaves of basil into thin strips. 3. Layer your ingredients on a RITZ cracker in the following order: tomato, mozzarella and few strips of basil. 4. Drizzle on balsamic vinegar and olive oil. 5. Sprinkle with salt. And then EAT IT.. EAT it all.. On second thought, exhibit a little self control and make the other variety of bruschetta for your board. Which is not what I did. Brie, Fig Jam & Macadamia Nut Bruschetta Bite While I love the apples on the Postino version, I am a big fan of salty and sweet. So I removed the apple and replaced it with macadamia nuts to get that crunch along with salty. No cutting required for this one! 1. Spread a little Brie cheese on your […]
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SnackPackMixins #CollectiveBias As I sit outside, watching my son splash at his water table, I look out over my garden. Everything is dead. I have a brown thumb. I’ve never been able to keep plants alive. I either forget to water them for a few days, over water them, or just look at them the wrong way. I’ve always wanted a garden. I love the colors. I want to walk out to my backyard and pick a flower for the kitchen table. I would love flowers on the table for Easter. All these Martha Stewart dreams and yet I don’t have an ounce of gardening prowess in my body. While I can’t grow flowers, I’m pretty good at crafting them. And what’s better than an edible craft? While at Walmart last week, both kids dove for the SUPER snack pack pudding. Llama couldn’t decide between chocolate and vanilla, so using her persuasive six-year-old powers, she convinced me to get both flavors. We also used this coupon for 50¢ off a 6-pack Super Snack Pack. When you go to Walmart, check your store for a special SUPER Snack Pack and Honey Maid Graham cracker display for Easter. It will have a recipe tear pad and even more recipe mix-in ideas for Easter. For this Easter Super Snack Pack recipe, we also bought Honey Maid Chocolate Graham crackers to crumble up for the top layer of our Easter Flower Snack Pack, a package of fruit chews for the flowers, and some Oreos to mix-in. Super Snack Packs have an easy open lid which makes them even more convenient as an after-school indulgent treat. The creamy chocolate flavor tasted delicious. It was the perfect remedy for my chocolate craving sweet tooth. My kids would have eaten an entire 6-pack if I let them.Making an Easter flower snack pack is easy and looks impressive when complete. My daughter helped me create them. First, we crumbled up two Oreo cookies and mixed them in with the chocolate pudding. Then, we crafted our flowers. No green thumb needed for these! I based the construction of the flowers off similar flowers I made from duck tape. I took four fruit chews and flattened them out into thin rectangles. I simply squished them with my fingers. I then cut each rectangle in half diagonally forming two triangles out of each. Each triangle is a petal of the flower. We curled the bottom two corners of the triangle toward each other as if we were wrapping it around an invisible flower stem. We then took another triangle and wrapped it around the first. As we added each petal, we shifted its placement slightly so that the top points would be adjacent instead of right on top of one another. This gives it the rose like appearance. The one below uses three of the triangles. Once we used all the triangles, we opened the petals slightly by pulling them away from the center […]
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #EggoWaffleBar #CollectiveBias Sunday mornings are the one day of the week where our family isn’t rushing to go somewhere. No school. No work. No Saturday morning dance practice. Time to relax. I wish I could say sleep in, but we have a one-year-old and he doesn’t know the meaning of the phrase. While I look forward to a decadent weekend breakfast, I often don’t have the energy to make one. This is why I found the EGGO Waffle Bar such a brilliant idea. This past Sunday, I groggily stumbled out of bed. It had been a rough night. My son woke up at midnight so I spent two hours sleeping on the floor of his bedroom. My hand hung through the slats of his crib and I patted his back as he fell back asleep. That only took a few minutes. But I fell asleep there. I made it back to my bed at 2am and then at 4:30am, he woke up again. My husband took this shift. At 6:30am, my hubby was still asleep on my son’s floor, but Dude was wide awake and ready for the day. I helped him out of his crib and he squirmed his way onto the floor. He ran back into my room and pointed at our coffee maker, “Ahhhh! Ahhh!” he grunted. He wanted to make Mommy and Daddy coffee to make up for his night of terror. How sweet! At least, I’ll keep repeating to myself that this was intentional. When my daughter woke up, we sauntered downstairs to prepare breakfast. Usually, my daughter has no interest in preparing meals, but this morning was special. All week I told that we would make an EGGO waffle bar. “Whaaat?!?” she exclaimed. While were at Walmart this past week, she chose the EGGO waffles for our breakfast. My favorites will always be the homestyle, but she loves strawberry, so we picked up a pack of each. For our breakfast on Sunday, Llama toasted the waffles while I prepared the waffle bar. I am all about simple, and the best thing about this waffle bar was that I could use food I already had on hand. Those gorgeous strawberries are actually frozen strawberries that I found at Walmart. Frozen fruit is one of my favorite waffle toppings because they are already pre-washed and stemmed, you can defrost them in the microwave, and the juice from the fruit soaks into the waffle and creates a fake-out kind of syrup. I also put out cookie butter, frozen whipped topping, chopped pecans, chocolate-hazelnut spread and a few sliced bananas. For my waffle, I spread a thin layer of cookie butter, placed a few strawberries and bananas on top, added a dollop of whipped topping and a sprinkle of pecans. My husband chose a little chocolate hazelnut spread with a few bananas and pecans. My daughter dove straight for the cookie butter and topped […]
Fried Snickers bars were once all the rage. When I was living in LA, fried junk food was popping up at county fairs all across the nation. Joining the fried Snickers was the fried twinkie, fried oreo and although not fried, yet equally horrifying, the fried chicken sandwich where instead of a hamburger bun, two halves of a Krispy Kreme Glazed Donut sandwiched the meat. I remember hearing about these concoctions and gagging. Heart attacks from a food booth. Who could eat these? All that changed one night at a friends house we decided to wrap snickers in dough and plunge it in the deep fryer. Oh. My. Gosh. They were one of the best desserts I ever tasted. Chocolately. Crispy. Gooey, yet savory. I still have memories of those fried Snickers bars. I don’t own a deep fryer, so I opted for a much simpler (and somewhat healthier) version by baking these. This recipe is so simple. All you need are Snickers minis and refrigerated pie dough. And yet, it produces this:And when you cut into one.. So incredibly simple, too. Roll out a sheet of pie dough. Use a cookie cutter to cut shapes. I used a heart and was able to make about 6 cookies (12 cutouts) from one sheet. Place one shape onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Place an unwrapped Snickers mini in the center of each heart. Lay another heart on top. Score with a fork to seal the edges and make an X in the middle with a knife to vent.Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 12-15 minutes until you see the edges of each heart lightly brown. These are best if served hot. They are even better with ice cream. [yumprint-recipe id=’7′]
I can’t get my kids to eat fruit anymore. In fact, as I prepared this yogurt fruit dip, my one-year-old broke into the pantry cabinet, helped himself to a cracker and then gave one to my daughter as well. At this point, my daughter screamed, “CRACKERS!!” and they both celebrated like they had just succeeded in a bank heist and were now enjoying their riches. Convincing kids to eat healthy is insanely hard. My thought is who can resist beautiful fruit?My kids – who see the marshmallow stash in the cupboard behind me and refuse to have anything else. Marshmallows actually inspired me to create this recipe. Most parties I host, I love making a fruit dip that is simply cream cheese and marshmallow creme. It’s unbelievable, but I can’t even pretend it’s healthy. In fact, it pretty much negates the nutritional value of the fruit. For this recipe, I removed the marshmallow creme and instead used a single serving yogurt like the one pictured below.I then tossed it in a blender along with a little bit of cream cheese, some cool whip and a splash of vanilla. I spooned it into a little bowl and licked the spatula. It tasted like cheesecake- however a much lower calorie version. But still…cheesecake!!I served it alongside some apples and strawberries for dipping. After I had a (cough) few (cough) dips, I let the kids attack.They devoured all of the fruit. In fact, my daughter requested I slice up another apple so that she could dip some more! My six-year-old wanted more fruit! Clearly, this cheesecake yogurt dip works miracles. Tasty, tasty miracles. [yumprint-recipe id=’6′]
It’s a “struggle” is an understatement when it comes to getting my kiddos to try new foods, let alone a seafood dish. Shrimp is a wonderful introduction to the fish world and this dish is not only satisfying, but it’s healthy as well. Buddy and Biggie couldn’t get a enough of it! [yumprint-recipe id=’3′]