Swirled Cherry Almond Pops -Guest Post from My Imperfect Kitchen

I can’t believe we are at the end of July already! My summer so far has been filled with gardening, swimming with my daughter, having her best friend here and watching them play (and fight) together, and a small issue with our pool which eventually caused us to have to drain and refill it. Being outside most of the summer, these Swirled Cherry Almond Pops from today’s guest, Sara from My Imperfect Kitchen, make a perfect treat!

You might remember Sara since we have guest posted for each other before, and her Philly Cheese Steak Stuffed Bell Peppers was one of the most popular guest posts of last summer. I think you will enjoy these pops just as much! Here’s Sara!

Hello everyone!  My name is Sara and I blog over at “My Imperfect Kitchen.” My motto is “Life isn’t perfect, but it should always be delicious!”  I want to thank Bernadette for allowing me the opportunity to share with you this week. It’s been pretty hot where I live lately and when it’s sweltering outside, there is nothing I like better than reaching inside the freezer for a cold treat. Of course, I like standing in front of the open freezer door too, but I think that has something to do with my age, more than the heat  ;-)  Anyway….now that you know more about me than you wanted,  here are my Swirled Cherry Almond Pops!
Swirled-Cherry-Almond-Pops
These pops are simple, delicious, and healthy. You probably have everything you need in your house right now! A great thing about these popsicles (aside from opening the freezer to get them!) is that they are incredibly versatile. You can use almost any type of fruit and switch the almond extract for vanilla extract, or leave it out! The honey gives you a little bit of sweet to balance the tart of the plain yogurt. Since the ingredients are simple, you can feel great giving these to your kids!
Swirled-Cherry-Almond-Pops-1

 

I’ve made these pops with blueberries and almond extract, strawberries with vanilla extract, peaches with vanilla extract and mango with coconut extract!  They’re all delicious!  You’ll have to let me know which ones are your favorite!

Swirled Cherry Almond Pops

2 cups fresh cherries, pitted. (alternately, you could use a 16 oz bag of frozen cherries that have been defrosted)

1 cup plain yogurt

2 TBLS honey

1/4 tsp almond extract

1. Place pitted cherries in a food processor or blender. Process until smooth, about 1 minute.

2. In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, honey and almond extract. Stir with a spoon until fully incorporated.

3. Pour a portion of the cherry puree into the bottom of the popsicle molds. Then, pour some of the yogurt honey mix on top. Repeat the process until the molds are full and you have nice layers of cherries and the yogurt mix. Lightly swirl the cherry puree and the yogurt together with a plastic chopstick or the handle of a plastic spoon, or just leave them in layers. I like to swirl mine because they look prettier in the pictures. HA!

4. Place the popsicle sticks inside the molds. Transfer to the freezer for at least 4 – 6 hours.

NOTE: To remove from the popsicles from their molds, pour warm water briefly over the outside of the molds and gently pull on the popsicle stick so it will release.

 

 

Swirled-Cherry-Almond-Pops-2

 

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Printable recipe:

Swirled Cherry Almond Pops
 
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Delicious ice pops perfect for hot summer days!
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert/Snack
Serves: makes 3 6 ounce pops
Ingredients
  • 2 cups fresh cherries, pitted. (alternately, you could use a 16 oz bag of frozen cherries that have been defrosted)
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 TBLS honey
  • ¼ tsp almond extract
Instructions
  1. Place pitted cherries in a food processor or blender. Process until smooth, about 1 minute.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, honey and almond extract. Stir with a spoon until fully incorporated.
  3. Pour a portion of the cherry puree into the bottom of the popsicle molds. Then, pour some of the yogurt honey mix on top. Repeat the process until the molds are full and you have nice layers of cherries and the yogurt mix. Lightly swirl the cherry puree and the yogurt together with a plastic chopstick or the handle of a plastic spoon, or just leave them in layers.
  4. Place the popsicle sticks inside the molds. Transfer to the freezer for at least 4 - 6 hours.
  5. NOTE: To remove from the popsicles from their molds, pour warm water briefly over the outside of the molds and gently pull on the popsicle stick so it will release.

 

Garlic Basil Lamb Chops

I never tried lamb growing up. I don’t think my mother or grandmother ever made it, but even if they had, I’m sure I wouldn’t have eaten it as a child. I was THE WORLD’S PICKIEST EATER! It wasn’t until much later, in my early twenties while working in the food service of a private boarding school that I finally tried it. The chef probably made it for the school Presidents Dinner or a function like that, and although I remember trying it then, I wouldn’t have it again for years. Then recently while I was grocery shopping I saw a few packages of lamb chops, and thought, why not?

 

Garlic-Basil-Lamb-Chops

 

The inspiration for this recipe came from my 50+ Quick Summer Dinners collection and the view from great island’s Lemon Thyme Lamb Chops. These lamb chops are quick, and really easy! I used basil because I grow it in my garden every summer, but thyme does work, too. I decided to roast slices of  lemon right along with the lamb, and served it over a bed of fresh spinach. The spinach you see on the plate was pretty much the extent of the spinach that grew this Spring. I’m going to try again in the Fall and see if it does better then. Last year when I planted spinach in the Spring nothing but weeds grew. Turns out, I am incredibly good at growing weeds.

Garlic Basil Lamb Chops
 
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Quick and easy lamb chops pan grilled with garlic and basil alongside lemon slices.
Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 4 lamb shoulder chops
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ⅛ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. In a large, shallow dish combine the chicken broth, olive oil, basil, garlic, and black pepper. Place the lamb chops and lemon slices in the dish, turn to coat. Cover and let stand for 15-20 minutes turning occasionally.
  2. Preheat a stove top cast iron grill pan over high heat. Remove the lamb chops and lemon slices from the marinade and place in the preheated pan. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook for 4 minutes without moving. Turn and cook for 4 minutes more, or until desired temperature. Serve immediately.
Notes
Adapted from the view from great island Lemon Thyme Lamb Chops

 

 

Sauteed Southern Collard Greens

I mentioned last week that I was selected for a fabulous opportunity to be a beta tester for IBM’s Chef Watson, and that I had also joined a CSA. In the CSA box last week was collard greens. Neither myself or my husband had ever had them before.  I live in Northeast Pennsylvania, have never been farther South than Maryland and Virginia, and don’t really know anyone Southern, so I decided to use Chef Watson to see what I could come up with.

 

Southern-Collard-Greens

 

I didn’t follow a recipe that I found on there exactly, more like used it for inspiration. I admittedly haven’t had a lot of time to play around with the app, but I can say that it is definitely still a beta that could use a few improvements. Here is how it works: Basically Chef Watson is a computer program that uses flavor compound algorithms to create recipes.   First it asks what ingredient you would like to use, so I entered “Collard Greens”. It also gives you the opportunity to enter ingredients that you do not want to use. Then it asks for the kind of dish you would like to make, and gives you several options such as sauteed, casserole, barbecue, etc. Of all the choices available sauteed was the only one I felt fit collard greens. There are a few options that I felt could be listed but were missing, such as baked. Next, it asks what style of recipe you want to try, and suggests you enter a few styles, so from the list I picked “Southern”, “Way Down South”, and “Cajun/Creole”.  Based on what you enter in these steps, you are then given a list of 100 recipe suggestions ranging from “Classic” to “Unique”, however these recipes suggestions vary only slightly. Chef Watson is teamed with Bon Appetit, so the recipe suggestions are based off of recipes from bonappetit.com, although they are different than the original. I was suggested “Way Down South Southern Collard Greens Sauteed”.

I’m keeping in mind that this is still in beta, and I’m even in a group on Facebook where we discuss the various issues we are seeing with the app so we can help them to improve it. While most of the ingredients listed are unique yet what you would expect, the instructions on many recipes are “off”. I know someone in the group received the instruction to “melt the chicken”. I love melted chicken, personally ;) My recipe suggestion told me to “season with carrot”. It’s fixable, just needs some more work. The goal of Chef Watson is to give the user unique ingredient combinations and let the cook themselves use them the way they like.  I can’t wait to see the improvements they are already working on, and I’m sure you’ll be seeing some more recipe ideas from them soon.

As for the collard greens that I made, they are slightly spicy and garlicky without being overpowering. Since I had never had any kind of collard greens before, I wasn’t sure what they tasted like. They are a little bitter, and remind me of kale more than spinach. My husband and I both liked them, and now I’m looking for different ways to make them, so if you have any suggestions, let me know!

Sauteed Southern Collard Greens
 
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Southern-style collard greens with chili pepper and garlic heat!
Author:
Recipe type: Side Dish
Cuisine: Southern
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 5 cups chopped collard greens (I just ripped them into pieces with my hands), middle tough stem removed
  • 1 whole garlic scape, sliced thin (or 2 cloves garlic, minced)
  • 1 small chili pepper, minced
  • ¼ cup butter
  • dash onion powder
  • salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Melt the butter in a pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic scapes and chili pepper, saute for about 3 minutes, stirring often.
  2. Add the chopped collard greens by the handful, stirring, until the collard greens are wilted and tender, about 10-15 minutes. Serve hot.

 

 

 

Flavoring with Lemon Instead of Salt: Lemon Herb Roasted Potatoes

Today’s post is being sponsored by Sunkist, but I truly do love their S’alternative campaign! I’ve never been a fan of adding salt while cooking, anyway. Yes, I know I often include it in ingredients lists in my recipes, probably too much. I will watch that from now on.

 

Roasted-Lemon-Herb-Potatoes

 

We all know that salt isn’t good for us, but for some it’s hard to avoid. It’s in most snack foods (processed foods contain the majority of the salt Americans consume every day), on restaurant french fries (for that matter, it’s in almost everything served in a restaurant), in juices and sauces, let’s face it, it’s everywhere. The Dietary Guidelines for Healthy Americans recommends 1.500-2,300 milligrams of sodium per day, but most people consume much more than that, on average 3,400 milligrams a day! If you are anything like me, you like flavor in your food, right? So how do you keep that flavor while reducing salt? Use lemons!

 

rel=”nofollow”Sunkist-Inforgraph

 

rel=”nofollow” Sunkist S’alternative is a great way to reduce the sodium in your diet without giving up the flavor. Because nobody wants to do that. Ever.

 

Sunkist-Lemons

 

You can visit the Sunkist S’alternative landing page for more recipes and information on sodium and sodium alternatives.

I knew I wanted to make roasted lemon potatoes, and I knew I wanted fresh herbs in it, so after a brief discussion with my husbands cousin over which herbs to use, I just went to my favorite source, Pinterest, to find a general recipe that could give me an idea on the roasting time. One particular recipe stuck out, this one from Rock Recipes. I did adapt it quite a bit, and they look nothing the same, but it did inspire me!

 

Small-Red-Potatoes

 

Chop up your scrubbed, clean potatoes into pieces about an inch big.

 

Cut-Red-Potatoes

 

Mix up your herbs, lemon zest, unpeeled garlic cloves, lemon juice, and olive oil in a big bowl.

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No, I’m not sure why the garlic peel is purple. It’s from my garden and I just pulled it from the ground last week. Anyone know?

Then combine the lemon/herb mixture with the chopped potatoes.
Uncooked-Red-Potatoes-with-Lemon-Herb

 

Pour into a preheated baking dish and bake a 400 degrees F for about 1 hour, stirring every 10 minutes to ensure it doesn’t stick.

Here’s the printable recipe:

 

Flavoring with Lemon Instead of Salt: Lemon Herb Roasted Potatoes
 
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Roasted red potatoes in a lemon herb marinade, flavorful, crispy potatoes without a hint of salt! #TableTheSalt
Author:
Recipe type: Side Dish
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 3 pounds small red potatoes, cut into small pieces (about 1 inch big)
  • 2 Sunkist lemons, juiced (about ¼ cup lemon juice)
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 whole head garlic, broken up and unpeeled
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup chopped basil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped thin chives
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • ⅛ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Place a pan large enough to hold the chopped potatoes in the oven (empty) and preheat oven to 400 degrees F. The preheated pan helps keep the potatoes from sticking immediately to the pan.
  2. Combine chopped basil, chives, parsley, lemon juice, garlic cloves, and lemon zest in a bowl and mix well. Pour the mixture over the potatoes, season with pepper, and mix well.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for about 1 hour, stirring every 10 minutes so the potatoes don't stick to the pan.
  4. To serve you can remove the garlic cloves, or chose to serve them along with the potatoes.
Notes
Adapted from Rock Recipes Lemon Herb Roasted Potato Nuggets

Creamy Garlic Scape Spinach Fettuccine

Creamy-Garlic-Scape-Fettuccine

 

Disclaimer: I received product in order to make this recipe. The recipe, photograph, and my opinions, as always are my own.

A few weeks ago I was sent some samples from The Flavor by Stephanie Izard to try out, and see what kind of recipes I could come up with. With tons of fresh produce available, Summer is the perfect time for trying out new, fresh, and flavorful recipes. I am entering this recipe in a contest, with the chance to win a KitchenAid Stand Mixer, using one of the products I was sent, and you can enter, too, by creating your own Summer recipe using The Flavor and submitting it to marketing@stephanieizard.com by September 1st, 2014. Just write out the recipe, step-by-step, and don’t forget to include a photo!  The recipe they chose as the winner will be featured on their website, and 1 winner will receive a KitchenAid Stand Mixer. Runners up will receive a full line of The Flavor, and a signed cookbook.

I was sent The Rub No. 3 , a cheesy, spicy rub with a hint of tomato flavor, and The Saute, which is a mixture of fish sauce, soy sauce, lemon juice, and spices, and is really good when added to sauteed vegetables. I had a bunch of garlic scapes I had cut from my garden, so I decided to make a creamy pasta sauce, using The Rub and the garlic scapes, and serving it over spinach fettuccine. If your not familiar with garlic scapes, they are the long, curly steam that grows in the middle of planted garlic. You cut them off at the base to allow the garlic bulbs to continue to grow, and then you can use the scapes in recipes just like you would garlic cloves. They are also good pickled! I think this sauce is fabulous, and would be really good with shrimp, or any kind of pasta. Or you could use it as a bread dip if you thicken it up a bit more. I used chicken broth in it, but if you want it vegetarian, substitute an equal amount of white wine.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Creamy Garlic Scape Spinach Fettuccine
 
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Creamy garlic scape pasta sauce tops spinach fettuccine. Finish with mozzarella cheese and sliced cherry tomatoes for a delicious dinner!
Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Italian American
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces spinach fettuccine (store-bought or homemade)
  • 8 ounces heavy cream
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • ½ cup thin sliced garlic scapes
  • ½ cup chopped green peppers
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons The Rub No.3
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella (optional, but I highly recommend it!)
  • sliced cherry tomatoes (optional), about 5
Instructions
  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions, or about 8 minutes in boiling, salted water with a few drops of olive oil in it.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Saute the garlic scapes and green peppers for about 5 minutes, or until just beginning to soften. Sprinkle The Rub No.3 and the flour over the vegetable mixture, stir constantly for 1 minute, then add the chicken broth. Cook for 1 minute, stirring, then add the cream and parsley.
  3. Divide the pasta equally on plates, top with the sauce, then sprinkle shredded mozzarella and sliced cherry tomatoes on top.

 

Overnight Oatmeal: Reusing Peanut Butter Jars -Guest Post from This Is How We Nerd

Overnight-Peanut-Butter-Oatmeal

 

I haven’t been blogging much this summer, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have some cool things going on behind the scene. I joined a CSA (community supported agriculture) run by Fertile Grounds last week, so I’m cooking with local, fresh produce! I was also accepted to be a beta tester for Chef Watson! Remember the computer Watson from Jeopardy!  a few years ago? That Watson! More on both in the coming weeks, because today I have a great overnight oatmeal recipe for you thanks to Samantha from This Is How We Nerd. I only know Samantha from a blogging group we both belong to, and she accepted my request for summer guest posters. Just one look at her site, and I found something fabulous, Shrimp and Bacon Stuffed Jalapeno Poppers!! Adding those to my “recipes to try” list right now! And today’s recipe sounds quick and easy, so without further ado, here’s Samantha:

 

Hi there “Rants From My Crazy Kitchen” readers!! My name is Samantha and I am over at “This Is How We Nerd” (previously Custom Taste). Where I not only blog about recipes and food, but also technology, frugality, gaming and everything in-between. I hope you’ll come visit me sometime. Today I am lending my kitchen to Bernadette for a fun, easy and frugal recipe! Hope you all enjoy!

Overnight Oatmeal: Reusing Peanut Butter Jars

We buy a lot of peanut butter in our home, like A LOT, and it can get pretty annoying when you get the majority of it last but have the pesky sides just slathered in peanut butter. Instead of spending time scraping the remains out, make Overnight Oatmeal! You can find tons of recipes out on the interwebs (pinterest being covered in them), the one I have today is very simple and can be easily altered before leaving it overnight for the next morning. Also, these can stay in your fridge for up to 5 days. So make them on one night and have them for the rest of the week!

So, first things first, round up your ingredients.

 

ingredientsshot

 

You will need;

Slightly empty peanut butter jars (of course)

Oats (rolled, steel cut, or both)

Milk (I use almond milk because I do not like the taste of animal milks)

Vanilla Extract

Oldish Banana

Raisins (optional)

Anything else you may desire.

Depending on how many jars you are wanting to make you may need more or less of the ingredients. For one standard sized peanut butter jar I used about ¾ cup of milk, ¼ of a banana, ½ cup oats, 1 tsp vanilla and sprinkle of raisins.

Start by mashing up your banana and mixing with the vanilla extract and milk.

 

liquidmixture

 

Pour about half of this mixture into the bottom of the jar.

Sprinkle in half your raisins and then add all of the oats.

Pour remaining liquid mixture on top, screw on cap and place into fridge.

That is it!  Told you it was super easy peasy. No shaking or stirring required.

When grabbing your jar for breakfast, do give a little bit of a mix just so you aren’t eating everything separately. I also like to add cinnamon as well for extra oopmh.

Overnight-Oatmeal

Thanks so much for reading, I hope you all will enjoy my recipe and thanks to Bernadette for letting me guest post!

Bye everyone!

 

Blueberries N Cream Roll Cake – Guest post from It’s Yummi

Blueberries-n-Cream-Roll-Cake-from-ItsYummi

Isn’t that a gorgeous cake? I’m so happy my friend Becca brought a blueberry dish to share with you today! I’ve had a blueberry bush in my garden for a few years now and have yet to see one blueberry. Maybe next year. Before I hand you off to Becca for the Blueberries N Cream Roll Cake, I want to publicly say Happy Birthday to my daughter, Amanda, who turned 5 on Sunday! We had a cookout for her birthday party, along with swimming and a small fireworks display at the end.

Here she is with her best friend, Jordyn, getting a chalk outline from my sister:

Amanda-and-Jordyn-5th-Birthday

 

I know she had a great day, and she was thrilled that Jordyn got to sleep over. They always have a great time together, in between the typical 5 year old fighting. They will get over it someday, I think.

Today’s guest post, like I mentioned, comes from my friend Becca. Becca has always been there for me, I’ve been following her blog for a few years now, and I’m so glad we got to know each other! She posts more healthy recipes than I do, and if you need some low-carb recipes she’s your lady. That doesn’t mean she can’t make an awesome dessert, though. I’m sure you will agree!

Blueberries-n-Cream-Roll-Cake-from-ItsYummi-2

 

​Hi, everyone! I’m so happy to be here with all of you today. I’m Chef Becca Heflin, from It’s Yummi. I graduated from culinary school 3 years ago, but instead of slaving over a hot commercial kitchen in a restaurant, I chose to pursue my passion for turning ordinary ingredients into extraordinary dishes on a my food blog! I love sharing my cooking knowledge and recipes with my readers. It’s a delightful job, and I feel blessed to have it! It was so nice of Bernadette to ask me to share a dessert recipe with you today, because it’s my son’s 22nd birthday. Happy 22nd birthday, TJ!

Unfortunately, he lives far away and we don’t see each other at all, so this blueberries n cream roll cake will have to suffice as his virtual celebration. Roll cakes look sort of intimidating, but truthfully, I find them to be much easier to make than traditional birthday cakes. See, I tend to drive myself a bit batty trying to slice a cake into perfect, even layers, because I have hand tremors. Now don’t get me wrong… I can bake up a cake and it’ll melt in your mouth because it’s so moist, but it’ll look like a 5 year-old made it! Want proof? Look at this delicious but disastrous chocolate layer cake (with the world’s BEST frosting) that I made last year. It’s awful looking! LOL

I think it’s much easier to make bundt cakes, like this pomegranate lime bundt cake, or rich and decadent cheesecakes like this whipped cream cheesecake, OR to put fluffy whipped cream on top of moist, tender sponge cake and roll that baby up into a beautiful, delicious dessert like this roll cake!

Roll cakes are really versatile, too. You can add flavored extracts like lemon or orange to your basic cake batter to give it a different flavor, and the filling options are endless. Roll your cake up with fresh fruits, preserves, chopped nuts, candies, chocolates, or just plain and simple whipped cream goodness. It’s completely up to your imagination and your taste buds.

No matter how you make your roll cake, I hope you enjoy it to the fullest!

How to make a blueberries n cream roll cake

Blueberries n Cream Roll Cake

Yield: 8-10 slices

INGREDIENTS

CAKE

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup sifted cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Confectioners’ sugar

CREAM FILLING

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup blueberry preserves
  • Fresh blueberries (optional)
  • Additional whipped cream (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat oven to 375°.
  2. Grease a standard size jelly roll pan, then line with waxed paper and grease the paper. That will assure that none of your cake will stick to the waxed paper.
  3. In the bowl of a hand or stand mixer, beat eggs and vanilla on high speed for 5 minutes, or until lemon-colored. Turn speed to medium and gradually add sugar, beating until dissolved.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Fold gently into egg mixture just until combined. Pour batter into prepared jelly roll pan and use a spatula to spread it evenly across the pan.
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until light brown and edges start to pull away from sides of pan. Turn hot cake out, waxed paper side up, onto a lint free, clean kitchen towel that has been well dusted with confectioners’ sugar. Peel waxed paper away from cake, Starting on short side of cake, roll up cake tightly into the towel and allow to cool completely.

FOR FILLING

  1. Place metal mixing bowl and whisk attachment (or beaters for a hand mixer) into the freezer for 10 minutes.
  2. Place heavy cream into chilled bowl and whip on high speed until soft peaks have been formed. With mixer still running on high speed, lightly sprinkle sugar into cream and continue mixing on high for 2 minutes, or until light and fluffy.

ASSEMBLY

  1. Unroll cake from towel and use a spatula to spread whipped cream evenly over the cake. Use an offset spatula or knife to apply jam in an even layer on top of whipped cream. Roll up the cake again and refrigerate for 2 hours before serving. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar and garnish with blueberries and additional whipped cream, if desired.

Recipe adapted from Taste of Home

Patriotic Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches -Guest Post From Frosting and A Smile

Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches

 

This week has been crazier than my usual level of crazy. I can’t even begin to tell you how grateful I am for my guest poster today, Laurie, and these Patriotic Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches. If you want to read about my crazy week, and why I’m now weeks behind on new recipes and reviews, you can read on. If you don’t, you can skip right to the recipe, I don’t blame you one bit!

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I’m very close to my daughter’s Godmother, Chelsea. She’s the daughter of two of my friend’s, and the niece of another, and many moons ago I lived with her and took care of her and her sister while her mother was in college and working. Her first baby, a boy named Ayden, was born on Wednesday after two days of labor. Even though I wasn’t going to be in the room when the baby was born, I wanted to be at the hospital, so I got the first phone call that she was going to the hospital last Tuesday at 3:30 in the morning. I never made it there before she was sent home, but I was wide awake from the phone call until midnight that night. She continued to have contractions, so I knew it would be soon, but by late Tuesday night I thought maybe not until the next day. I clearly remember writing a status on my personal Facebook at midnight that said “Okay, I’m going to bed now, nobody have a baby for the next two hours!” I should have know better, the phone rang at 12:53 AM! Thirteen hours later, Ayden finally made his appearance!

 

Chelsea-and-Ayden-Newborn

 

In the days following, I recovered from not sleeping for two days, put a ton of laundry away, spent time with my daughter and my sister, did garden work, and then our central air broke so I haven’t been cooking.  I’m coming back this week, though, so I will have more for you soon! For now I’ll hand you over to Laurie for this delicious dessert.

Hello everyone! I’m so happy to be hanging out with you here at Rants From My Crazy Kitchen. I’m visiting from Frosting and a Smile. This is the first guest post I have ever written. I hope I can do Bernadette and her site justice. From the first month I started blogging, Bernadette welcomed me like an old friend. She is so kind and generous with her time that there was no way I could say no when she asked me to write here.
I brought the instructions for Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches with me. We can whip up a batch while we chat.
We start with a soft and chewy chocolate chip cookie. It’s slightly adapted from the All Recipes Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie. There’s nothing as tasty as this from-scratch version but If you only slept three hours last night because the kids kept you up (I’ve totally been there) or it’s just too darn hot to turn on the oven (been there too), you can use store-bought cookies.
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To start, sift together your dry ingredients.
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Beat melted butter with brown sugar and white sugar. I’ll let you in on a kitchen secret; Melted butter is the key to perfectly chewy chocolate chip cookies.
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Add an egg, egg yolk, vanilla extract, and almond extract. The almond flavor doesn’t come across too strong. It just adds a little extra something special that makes people ask “what is that?” You can just tell them it’s your little secret.
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Gradually beat in the flour mixture.
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Stir in chocolate chips and sprinkles.
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Scoop the dough into tablespoon-sized balls. Dunk the top of each ball into sprinkles.
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Bake until golden brown.
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Once your cookies cool, turn half of them over and top them with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. You can use any flavor ice cream (or even frozen yogurt) you would like.
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Top each scoop of ice cream with another cookie, then roll the edges in sprinkles. Can you tell I have an absolute fascination with sprinkles? Confession; I’ve been known to order my ice cream sundaes with a double shot of sprinkles. Really, I don’t even need the ice cream. Just give me a big bowl of sprinkles swimming in whipped cream and I’m all set.
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These red, white, and blue sprinkles are great for Fourth of July or Memorial Day. You can change it up with any colors you like. Try mixing it up to match a holiday or party theme.
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Thank you for spending some time with me. I hope Bernadette will invite me for another visit. Until then, stop on over to visit me any time. Have a sweet day!
About the Author: Laurie helps you satisfy your sweet tooth on her blog Frosting And A Smile . She develops fun-to-share dessert recipes and breaks them down into simple steps so anyone can make them. Laurie is also a Parade.com contributor and three-time Emmy-nominated journalist. She is married and has a three-year-old son. You can follow her on PinterestFacebook or Google +.

(Baking with Kids) Easy Chocolate Cake -Guest Post from Baking Outside The Box

IF my daughter’s Godmother’s baby comes today (due two days ago and just got sent home from the hospital because her contractions weren’t progressing), Christa from Baking Outside The Box has brought the perfect recipe to share today, a chocolate cake! My birthday cake every year growing up was chocolate, and in a few years I will be able to teach the kids how to make this cake! I couldn’t ask for more. Plus, it looks delicious!  I’ve included the printable version at the end, with the prep time including the cooling time before frosting.

Easy-Chocolate-Cake

Hi, this is Christa from Baking Outside the Box, a blog all about making scratch
baking easier for the home cook. Today I want to share with you a great
recipe I use for teaching my kids about baking.

This chocolate cake is the easiest cake I’ve ever made, so it is perfect for baking with kids, since they can do most of the steps themselves. It rivals a box mix for speed and simplicity, but it really tastes great.

 

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3 Tablespoons cocoa powder

1 cup Sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

6 Tablespoons vegetable oil

1 Tablespoon white vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup cold water

 

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.

 

Grease an 8″ square casserole dish (for a round cake you can use one 9″ cake pan).

 

Sift the dry ingredients together and stir with a fork until well-mixed. Make three wells in the dry ingredients. Pour the oil into the first well, the vinegar into the second, and the vanilla into the third. Pour the cold water over the top of it all, then stir with a fork until well-blended. Pour into greased pan and bake at 350 for about 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let it cool, then frost.

 

Frosting:

4 Tablespoons Butter

2 Tablespoons cocoa powder

1 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar

dash of salt

2 Tablespoons milk

 

Cream together the butter, sugar, cocoa and salt until well-mixed. Add the liquid and beat until fluffy. You can do this by hand since it is such a small batch, you really don’t need to use a stand mixer for this.

 

Have some sprinkles handy for the kids to decorate it!

(Baking with Kids) Easy Chocolate Cake -Guest Post from Baking Outside The Box
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Easy homemade chocolate cake, great for baking with kids!
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 Tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cold water
  • Frosting:
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1½ Cups Powdered Sugar
  • dash of salt
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
Instructions
  1. Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease an 8" square casserole dish (for a round cake you can use one 9" cake pan).
  3. Sift the dry ingredients together and stir with a fork until well-mixed. Make three wells in the dry ingredients. Pour the oil into the first well, the vinegar into the second, and the vanilla into the third. Pour the cold water over the top of it all, then stir with a fork until well-blended. Pour into greased pan and bake at 350 for about 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let it cool, then frost.
  4. For the frosting:
  5. Cream together the butter, sugar, cocoa and salt until well-mixed. Add the liquid and beat until fluffy.

 

Cheesy Bacon Microwave Fajitas and National Recipe Contest

Cheesy-Bacon-Microwave-Fajitas

You could win $5000 and be featured at the New York City  Food Network Wine & Food Festival 

esa-recipe-contest-badge-350x300

Have you ever been traveling, staying in a hotel, and yet can’t afford to eat at a restaurant every single night? Have you ever stayed in a hotel that had kitchens right in the rooms? Extended Stay America has them, and even better, they are searching the nation for travel-friendly recipe in a recipe contest! These Cheesy Bacon Microwave Fajitas are quick ( around 20 minutes total to make), easy, delicious, and my entry in the contest. You can enter too, they aren’t just looking for professional cooks or recipe developers, but regular home cooks, just like me and you!

Away From Home Cooking is a recipe resource put together by Extended Stay America, and they are looking to add to it with YOUR recipe. Wait, it get’s better! Four finalists will win a trip to New York City to compete in a cooking challenge, with Food Network star Sunny Anderson and the grand prize winner will receive $5000 and a trip to the Food Network Wine & Food Festival and be featured along with Sunny! Ideal recipe submissions should be easy, able to be made in an Extended Stay America kitchen, which come equipped with a stove, refrigerator, and microwave (no oven, so no baking), and 10 ingredients or less. For complete contest details visit Contest.AwayFromHomeCooking.com. Contest updates are also posted on Extended Stay America’s social media channels including Facbook.com/ExtendedStayAmeric and  Twitter.com/ExtendedStay.  Voting doesn’t begin for a while yet, so I’ll let you know when it does. 

These fajitas only require a few plates to cook the bacon and onions and peppers in the microwave. Only the cilantro requires chopping, but you could use dried instead of fresh, just make sure to cut the amount to 1 teaspoon. Then you simply pile on the ingredients,fold the bottom over,

Folding-Cheesy-Bacon-Fajitas

 

and roll.

Rolling-Cheesy-Bacon-Fajitas

 

Place seam side down on a microwave safe plate,

Folded-Cheesy-Bacon-Fajita

 

Cook on high for 1 minute (for two fajitas), then turn and cook for 30 seconds more. Top with sour cream or guacamole, and you have a great dinner ready in 20 minutes or less!

 

Cheesy-Bacon-Microwave-Fajitas-2

Cheesy Bacon Microwave Fajitas and National Recipe Contest
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Quick and easy fajitas cooked entirely in the microwave.
Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 8 slices bacon
  • 4 fajita style tortillas
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • ½ cup frozen diced onions
  • ½ cup frozen diced peppers
  • 4 pickled jalapeno slices, diced fine
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • splash lime juice
Instructions
  1. Place the bacon, not overlapping, on a paper towel lined microwave safe plate and cover with two additional paper towels. Microwave on high for 6 mins, then transfer to another plate covered with paper towels and microwave, uncovered, for 1 minute more.
  2. While the bacon is cooking, place the frozen pepper and onion on a plate in a single layer to defrost slightly. Drizzle with melted butter, add the chopped cilantro and jalapenos, splash with lime juice, and stir. Microwave on high, uncovered, for 4 minutes, stopping and stirring once every minute. Evenly divide the mixture into 4 parts.
  3. Microwave tortillas , wrapped in a damp paper towel, for 20 seconds. Place two strips of bacon in the middle of each tortilla, top with onion/pepper mixture, and ⅓ cup shredded Mexican
  4. cheese.
  5. Roll tortillas by folding the bottom up and then over length-wise. Place two fajitas on a microwave safe plate, seam-side down. Microwave on high for 1 minute, turn, and microwave for 30 seconds more. Top with sour cream or guacamole.

 

This recipe is featured on Hun, What’s For Dinner Simple Supper Tuesday #68