Friday, September 7, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookie Stuffed Oreos

TGIF!!  What a long/short week this has been!  Even though I only worked 3 days, it seemed to last forever!  The temperatures have been over 100 deg all week, so it's just miserable to even leave the house.  Thank goodness cooler weather is moving in tonight and the next 7 days look fantastic.  Looking forward to a cool, 10 mile run tomorrow morning at 6 a.m.  It may even be "cold"!

Speaking of running, next week starts week 7 of my 18 week marathon training.  Its been pretty normal to this point, only adding 1 extra day of running and a few extra miles to my typical workout schedule.  Next week, the miles start adding on and we start getting serious and down to business.  Between marathon training, school starting back up, and working, my baking has had to be moved to the back burner.  I have even had to turn a few people down, because I just couldn't fit it in.  And starting in 2 weeks, I will be going back to work 5 days instead of my usual 4.  I guess it's good to feel/be needed, but I will definitely miss that middle of the week day off!!
I was able to spend a little time in the kitchen last Friday night, but just haven't had a chance to blog about it.  I found these Chocolate Chip Cookie Stuffed Oreos that Jenny shared on her blog, Picky Palate.  These were so fun and easy to make - it is hard to eat just one!  Oreos are already hard to resist, but just think about Oreos on steroids!  A couple of changes that I made to her recipe:

1)  By looking at her photo, I think she used Double Stuffed Oreos, because she has more cream oozing out.  I used regular Oreos (to save a few calories).  Feel free to use either.
2)  I only used 1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips (also to save a few calories).
3)  My recipe made enough dough to put on 54 cookies, where as her yield was 32 cookies.  She must have put more dough on each Oreo than I did, but I was afraid that the dough would bake over the cookie.  

According to my recipe changes, each cookie has 100 calories - not too bad for a chocolaty snack.

Also, this past Wednesday was National Cheese Pizza Day.  I celebrated by making my family homemade pizza for dinner.  This is a favorite of theirs, but I usually only make it about once a month or so.  I made the boys a cheese pizza to share, my husband had an individual pizza with turkey sausage and black olives, and mine was an individual with grilled chicken and red bell peppers.  YUM-O!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Chocolate Whoopie Pies

It's incredible how fast this summer is flying by! And just how incredibly hot it is!! I just haven't had the desire to turn on the oven lately. That is linked to my lack of blogging as well as a busy schedule. 

Last week, my family went on vacation. We met up with my brother and his family in Destin, FL for a few days. It was so relaxing to just hang out at the beach and pool and enjoy each other's company! Then on Wednesday, we headed to Atlanta to spend a few days with some great friends that moved there last summer. We went to a Braves game, the Georgia Aquarium, Six Flags, and took in some shopping. It was a lot of fun to reconnect with them plus visit Atlanta and take in the sights!

This week has been spent getting back into a routine.  The boys have Orchestra Camp all week, so I had the entire day off all to myself. Started out at the gym this morning with an elliptical and bike workout (I am still out of running commission with my leg injury) then back home to shower and start some laundry. I met Thomas at Panera Bread (my favorite eating place) for lunch, then headed over to Hastings where I picked up the first season DVD's of Friends. I didn't watch the show when it was aired on TV, but I have been watching reruns on Nick at Nite lately and have been wanting to see it from the beginning.

After I came home, I decided today was a good day for some "kitchen therapy".  The first thing I made was a recipe for Frosty Chocolate Treat that is supposed to taste like a Wendy's frosty. It was very easy to make with very few ingredients, but it made a lot.  I had to do 2 1/2 different batches with my Cuisinart ice cream maker that makes 2 qts. at a time. The texture was very smooth and similar to the Frosty, but it was lacking in the chocolate flavor. I don't mind because I prefer the vanilla, but if you want a more chocolate flavor, you might want to add some chocolate syrup to the mix.
Next, I decided to whip up a batch of chocolate whoopie pies to send with the boys to youth group tonight. Several months ago, I bought a cute Nordic Ware Funny Face Treat pan from the clearance aisle at Target, but I haven't had the chance to use it yet. Today was the day!  I used the recipe that came with the pan. It has a more mild chocolate taste, so next time I will use a little dutch cocoa powder to give it a darker chocolate flavor. I loved the filling - it was a mixture of butter cream frosting with marshmallow cream mixed in. YUMMY!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

4th of July Festive Treats

I hope everyone had an awesome 4th of July.  It was a little strange not seeing or hearing fireworks go off in the neighborhood due to the burn ban and fireworks ban, but we watched some excellent displays on TV.  

Even though it's been a while since I last posted, I have been doing some baking in the kitchen.  I just haven't had a chance to blog about it.  Since yesterday was the 4th, I decided to make some goodies that would celebrate the festivities as well as summer.  My friend was having a Scentsy party and I had some recipes that I wanted to try, so I made them and brought them to the party to share.
The first treat I made is from the recipe for Jello Pinwheels that I shared with you on March 17.  I made 3 recipes and layered them. The first layer was strawberry, the second layer blue raspberry and the third layer strawberry again.  Allow each layer to set before adding the next on top.  After setting up, I took a star cutter and cut out shapes.  The final product, Jello Stars, has a layered effect representing the red, white and blue stars.
The second treat I made was a recipe I found a few days ago at Glorious Treats.  It is Watermelon Krispie Treats and they are so cute! I added them to my "make right away" recipe pile.  Homemade rice krispie treats are one of my favorite simple sweets, along with S'mores.  They are sweet and crispy and relatively low in calories.  I sliced mine into 24 slices and used mini chocolate chips for the watermelon seeds. These were very easy to make and my kids loved them!

These are two great recipes for summer that your kids will love without having to heat up the oven.  The Jello can be colored and adapted to any holiday or occasion.  Just change up the colors and the cutter shapes.  

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Peanut Butter Pie

Happy Father's Day to my dad, my father-in-law and my husband.  They are all great fathers and tremendous examples of love, commitment and godly leadership to their families.  I love you all!

My favorite gifts to give to each of them for Father's Day comes from my kitchen - homemade treats for each of them.  One of my dad's favorite is Strawberry Pie, which this is the perfect time of year to indulge in the abundance of sweet strawberries readily available.  My father in law loves my chocolate turtles, so it is a treat when he gets them on Father's Day.  He hides them from the rest of the family and ever so slowly savors them a little at a time to make them last.  He usually drops me some hints when he begins to run a little low!!  For Thomas, I usually like to experiment with a new recipe.  He likes just about everything that I make and doesn't really have a particular favorite when it comes to sweets.

A few weeks ago, I was sitting in the dentist office flipping through a Southern Living magazine and I saw this recipe for Peanut Butter-Banana Icebox Pie.  It looked delicious and in this summer heat, I tend to look for recipes that are light and cool and don't require much baking.  This was perfect.  Instead of ripping out the recipe in the magazine (that would be rude, then no one else could see and try this amazing pie!), I came home and looked it up online.  I found the recipe on the Southern Living website.  Here is the recipe link for Peanut Butter-Banana Icebox Pie that you must try.

This pie was just the right amount of peanut butter, with a slight hint of cinnamon in the crust and the perfect consistency.  Drizzle with a little chocolate syrup and a top with a dollop of whipped cream and you are in heaven!  I made a few changes to the original recipe to lighten it calorie wise, but it still was pretty high in calories.  Since tasting it, I have a few more changes to make that will help it out a little without affecting the taste, that I will try next time.

Sharla's recipe changes:
  1. I used regular graham cracker crumbs and added 1 tsp of cinnamon
  2. I did not use the chopped honey roasted peanuts (which saved a few calories)
  3. I used light butter (saving 400 calories) - light butter is usually not a good option in baked goods but it worked great in this recipe.
  4. I used milk chocolate chips in place of semisweet chocolate. 
  5. I used light cream cheese (saving 240 calories)
  6. I left out the bananas, because I didn't want them turning brown and getting mushy before we were able to finish eating the pie.
Slicing this pie into 10 slices, each slice weighed in at 585 calories, plus the whipped topping and chocolate syrup.  Definitely a once in a while treat!  But is was a great treat for Father's Day and Thomas loved it!

A few changes that I will make next time are:
  1. Make the crust a little thinner.
  2. Leave out the chocolate layer on bottom - I liked the peanut butter filling on it's own
  3. Use less whipping cream.  Half and half can be used for some of the cream.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Cinnamon Sour Cream Cake

Last week, I was going through my pantry and noticed I had a couple of bags of Hersheys cinnamon chips that were about to expire.  What a waste if I had to throw them out, so I got on the Hersheys website to see if they had any recipes posted that I could try out using the cinnamon chips.  My go to recipe for the chips is an Oatmeal Cinnamon Chip cookie that is absolutely delicious.  I was not really in the mood to make individual cookies. 

I came across a recipe for Cinnamon Sour Cream Cake.  First of all, it was a bundt cake - their is nothing easier to bake than a bundt cake.  Second, you know it will be moist when there is sour cream in the title. My initial observations turned out to be spot on correct.  The mix was very easy to put together, with minimal mess.  Pour into a bundt pan and pop it in the oven!

This cake was so moist and cinnamon-y delicious.  It tasted like a coffee cake - I didn't even top it with powdered sugar or a glaze.  It was delicious on it's own - especially warm from the oven.

I still have half a bag of cinnamon chips left over that I anticipate using in a new recipe this week (Snickerdoodle blondies).  Stay tuned for that.  :)

Cinnamon Sour Cream Cake
From: Hershey's website
Yield: 16 servings (450 calories per slice)


  • 3 cups plus 2 tbsp all purpose flour, divided
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 8 oz sour cream (I used light)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups butter, softened
  • 10 oz pkg Hershey's Cinnamon chips
  1. Pre heat oven to 350 deg.  Generously grease and flour a 12 cup bundt pan.
  2. Combine 3 cups flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Whisk sour cream, eggs and vanilla in a medium bowl until smooth.
  3. Add butter and 1 cup sour cream mixture to flour mixture. Beat on low speed until thoroughly combined. Beat one more minute on high speed.
  4. Add remaining sour cream mixture and beat on medium speed until fluffy. Stir together cinnamon chips and 2 tbsp flour until chips are coated; gently stir into batter.  Pour into prepared pan.
  5. Bake 60-70 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 20 minutes then remove from pan to wire rack to cool.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

White Chocolate Ice Cream

So, it's been over a week since I last posted, and though I have enjoyed a little break from the kitchen, life has still been crazy-busy! It has been 2 months since we had the hot water heater disaster, but we just got replacement wood floors installed this week. They came and removed the old floors on Wednesday, which took all day. Thursday was installation day and the installers didn't leave my house until 9:45 p.m.  They did an awesome job and I would highly recommend them to anyone! 

Thomas had Friday off so he and the boys headed to Russellville to do some fishing and visit his family. I joined them Friday night at my parents to spend some time with them and my brother and family who came in from Alabama for the weekend. We don't see each other but a few times each year, so it truly is nice to catch up and hang out. I especially enjoy the time that my boys get to spend with their cousins.  They are all growing up so fast and I wish they could be together more often!!

When we got home on Saturday afternoon, it was "get the house back in order time". All our furniture was stacked in the kitchen and some in the bedrooms. I enjoy rearranging and moving the furniture in different locations, so that was fun.  Everything was filthy and dusty from removing the floors so everything needed to be cleaned - what a mess!

Then I headed to the gym for an afternoon run. Saturdays are my long run days and right now I have been doing 6 miles. I was feeling so good that I just kept running and did 7 instead! I decided I would run until they kicked me out of the gym since they close at 4:30!! 

Today I want to share an ice cream recipe with you from my new book that I got for Mother's Day, The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz. I tried the White Chocolate Ice Cream.  It was very smooth and creamy, more like a custard than an ice cream.  Also, it was very high in calories, containing 2 cups of heavy cream. Next time, I will try it with 1 cup heavy cream and 1 cup half & half to save on the calories and cut down on the thick creaminess.  I like my ice cream a little lighter.  For a 1/2 cup serving, it was 400 calories, but it was very rich so a little goes a long way!

White Chocolate Ice Cream
From: The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz
Yield: ~ 1 quart (9 half cup servings)

  • 8 oz white chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  1. Put the chocolate pieces in a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top.
  2. Warm the milk, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks.  Slowly pour the warm milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
  3. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heat proof spatula, scraping the bottom as your stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer over the white chocolate. Stir until the white chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth, then stir in the cream. 
  4. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Random Thoughts & Announcements

This weekend has been an emotional roller coaster for me.  Here are some thoughts and decisions that have been on my mind to share with you.

1.  First, I started this blog as a way to sweeten my otherwise strict, bland diet and to enjoy life a little more. Along the way, I discovered that you, my readers, have enjoyed the recipes that I share with you, so I began to feel the pressure of needing to bake something everyday so that I could share that with you. It has been fun trying new recipes and making over old ones, but it is all beginning to catch up with me. I'll admit, it hasn't always been fun, especially those late nights that I was up baking something for the next day, or coming up with something just so I could share with you on this blog. It is very hard for me to make this decision, because I don't admit failure or give up very easy.  I am glad that I made it almost 5 months. I believe it is a smart thing that I am using the wisdom and discernment that God has given me to know when something is taking away from my family time or causing unnecessary stress, and that I can bow out gracefully.  You gotta know when to hold em and know when to fold em!!  I look forward to sharing many more food posts with you but just a little less frequently (maybe once or twice a week).  I appreciate all your support and sweet words, and I hope you will stick around.

2.  Second, most of you know about my addiction to running.  Running is such a part of my life that without it, I am pretty sure that I would not be able to function effectively.  My family would probably kick my moody self out of the house!!  Just this morning, I went out for a 6 mile run, and then came home and mowed and worked in the yard for another 2 hours.  I got my fair share of personal therapy and commented to Thomas that the rest of the day should be a good one!!  I have run dozens and dozens of 5k's, 2 10k's, and 2 half marathons.  After each of the half marathons, I told myself I never wanted to do that again!  But yet I just keep going back!  It is a competitive part of me that wants to push and push and just see how far I can go.  A full marathon has been on my bucket list for a while, but it just never seems the right time or I have a hard time committing. Well, I finally did it! Yesterday, I registered for the St. Jude's Memphis Marathon in December. This is something that I need to do at least once to push myself beyond what physical limits that I put on myself. This won't be easy and I know there will be times when I wonder what was I thinking!! But I am looking forward to the challenge and will be glad to share that with you as well.

3.  Last, Thomas and I have been leading the 5th/6th grade group at our church for the past 3 years.  We have been with them every Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night as well as lots of extra activities and mentoring.  We committed to this for the full 3 years and this month brings a close to that chapter of our lives. We are passing the torch on to other leaders who will do a fantastic job. Although we are ready for a little break, it is very bittersweet, not knowing what our future holds or where God will lead us to next.  We love this group of kids as if they were our own and would do anything for them. Praying that God will open our hearts and minds to whatever he has in store for us next and that he will fill the void left in our hearts and lives from this fabulous group of kids and parents.