Brie and Bacon Jam Bites

You’ve really hit the jackpot when you stumble upon the perfect bite-sized appetizer. I think the biggest challenge with cocktail party foods is finding something that’s delicious yet easy to eat. Just take a few minutes to scroll Pinterest and you’ll find a plethora of foods that are adorable but their functionality falls flat.

Well, not these little babies.

Sweet and salty bacon jam baked on top of melty brie cheese in a crispy phyllo cup. They’re easy, they’re delicious, they’re easy to eat and still carry on a conversation. If you’re still perfecting your New Year’s Eve party may I suggest adding these to your menu.

Oh, I highly recommend making a double match of these.

-8 slices of bacon, chopped
-1/3 cup apricot preserves
-1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
-6oz wedge of Brie cheese, frozen for 1 hour
-15 phyllo cups

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a frying pan over medium high heat, cook the chopped bacon until crispy. Drain the fat and return chopped pieces to the pan. Add the preserves and vinegar, stir until incorporated and simmer for 6-8 minutes.

3. While mixture is simmering, dice the cheese into chunks. Lightly grease a baking sheet and place the phyllo cups. Fill each cup with a piece of cheese and top with the bacon jam. Bake for 10 minutes.
Source: Wry Toast Eats

Pumpkin Biscuits with Cinnamon Honey Butter

So I took a little time off from blogging because I was cooking up something a little different. My precious little baby made her arrival on October 6th! Giving birth to her was the best experience of my life…yes I can say that even after the pain of labor, delivery, and postpartum healing. I wanted to share a few “I wish I knew that before” things about labor and delivery for other women since I feel like there is still so much we don’t share about the process and then we’re surprised with “That happens?!” in the moment.

  •  Everyone will try and tell you what the pain of contraction feels like. From bad menstrual cramps to bad gas, I heard so many different explanations of what to expect. So what does it feel like? Well, first it will be different for everyone because we all have different levels of pain tolerance and the intensity of contraction pain is different. I can tell you since I was induced the pain was unlike anything I ever experienced or could even imagine. Imagine all your abdominal muscles being twisted into a tight knot and pulled to it’s tightest…then repeat that every few minutes for hours upon hours. Oh….and the pain might be so bad that you throw up! That was fun.
  • You most likely will need a catheter if you get an epidural. But, you won’t feel it since the epidural is already in place. 
  • You can get the shakes from all the hormones. Once my epidural was working I got the shakes, bad! Thankfully what helped was touch. My husband and doula took turns rubbing my legs and eventually the shaking subsided. 
  • Pushing is completely exhausting. So by the time you get to the “Ok, it’s time to push!” you’ve endured hours and hours of exhausting labor, and now you need to get through the most physically demanding part. Pushing is taking a deep breath and then holding it as you push like you’re going #2 for 10 seconds, and do that 3 times in a row. There were many times I couldn’t get to the 3rd time I was so out of breath and thought I’d pass out if I tried for the third time. 
  • You’re going to tear. Ok so some people don’t tear. I don’t know how, but expect that will happen. The good news? (Yes, there’s good news!) If you have an epidural you don’t feel it at all. And, the mindset now is that natural tearing is better than getting an episiotomy, so it’s less common to have to have your doctor make an aggressive incision. 
  • The doctor needs to clean out your uterus. Ok, this was the biggest one I was not prepared for. After delivering the placenta the doctor reaches in a few times and cleans out anything leftover. Ouch!
  • The next day. The forceful pushing will make it feel like the baby came out of your butt. There’s no delicate way to phrase that. You used that muscle so much that it’s tired and feels heavy and makes sitting down, rolling over, standing up, laughing, coughing, pretty much anything painful. Oh, and you probably pushed out a hemorrhoid in the process as well. 
  • You can’t prepare for how much you’ll love this little baby. If there’s ever a time that love at first sight is true, it’s giving birth. While I’m no where near ready to say “Let’s do that again!” having that much love for a little itty bitty body that’s just a few seconds old is the most overwhelming feeling!

So after all that, who’s hungry?

This was my first post-baby baking. These pumpkin biscuits are super easy and only have a mild pumpkin flavor, it’s not overpowering.The cinnamon honey butter is the perfect topping for these and take these from being a plain pumpkin biscuit to something much more delectable!

Ingredients- Yields 8 drop biscuits
-2 cups flour
-1 teaspoon salt
-1 1/4 tablespoons baking powder
-1 teaspoon ginger
-1 stick butter, softened and cubed
-1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
-1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
-1 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
-1/2 tablespoon honey
-1/4 cup milk
Honey Butter Ingredients
-3 tablespoons butter, softened
-1/2 tablespoon honey
-1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1. Preheat oven to 400, grease cooking sheet. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cubed butter.
2. In another bowl, combine the pumpkin and honey. Pour into flour mixture and add milk. Stir with wooden spoon until dough has formed. Drop biscuits onto greased cookie sheet and bake 20-25 minutes.
3. For the honey butter, combine the softened butter, honey, and cinnamon and stir until smooth. You can serve like that, or…Optional: Drop butter into wax paper and roll to form a log. Roll in wax paper and place in fridge 20-30 minutes.
Sources: Always With Butter, and Taste of Home Magazine February/March 2012

Banana Coffee Cake

I always seem to have a banana conundrum. I try to buy bunches in various stages of ripeness so they don’t all turn at the same time. But lately, I find myself left with several super ripe bananas that no one wants to eat. I can’t bring myself to throw them out so I’ve been trying to find ways to use up extra ripe nanas.

This banana coffee cake is the perfect treat with your morning or afternoon coffee. Be generous with the crumb topping!

-4 medium or large rip bananas
-2 tablespoons brown sugar
-1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
-1/2 cup butter, softened
-1 cup white sugar
-2 eggs
-2 cups flour
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-2 tablespoon sour cream

For the topping
-1 teaspoon cinnamon
-1 cup flour
-1 cup brown sugar
-6 tablespoons butter

1. Heat oven to 350. Grease an 8×8 pan.

2. In a bowl, mash the bananas, brown sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. In another bowl, cream the butter and white sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs and beat until combined.

3. To the wet ingredients, sift in the flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir until combined, then add in the sour cream and stir.

4. Pour in the mashed banana mix and stir until combined.

5. To make the crumb topping, combine the cinnamon, flour, and brown sugar. Cut in the butter until the mix looks like coarse crumbs. Honestly, I always struggle with this a bit. Sometimes it helps if the butter is a tad softened and I use my hands and a fork too.

6. Sprinkle the topping onto the batter and bake for 35-40 minutes. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes before eating.

Source: Link

Lemon Crumb Bars

I’ve been getting into a chocolate rut. Not that there’s anything wrong with chocolate or lots of it, but I noticed every time I went to bake a dessert item it almost always was 100% chocolate based.

Cue the lemons!

Lemon bars have been on my “must make” list for quite a while, and since I buy lemons almost every time I go food shopping I found that I had more than enough stock piled to make a zesty and fresh recipe. After searching around I landed on this one. What really stuck out to me was the crumble on top, the crust, and the creamy center. These were a huge hit in the house, but you definitely want to eat these cold. They are OK warm out of the oven, but sticking them in the fridge for a bit and eating them nice and cool is definitely the way to go.

-1 1/4 cups flour
-1 1/4 cups old fashioned oats
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1/2 cup baking soda
-1/2 cup white sugar
-1/2 cup packed brown sugar (I always use dark)
-3/4 cup butter, melted
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk
-2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
-1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
-2 large egg yolks

1. Heat oven to 350. Grease an 8×8 baking dish.

2. In a large bowl combine the flour, oats, salt, and baking soda. Mix in the white and brown sugar. Combine the vanilla and melted butter together then add it into the dry ingredients.

3. Take half of this mixture and press it firmly into the bottom of your baking dish. Bake for 15 minutes.

4. Mix together the condensed milk, lemon zest, lemon juice, and egg yolks. Once the crust is done baking, pour filling on top of the baked crust. Take remaining crumble and sprinkle it over top.

5. Bake 20 minutes. Let cool and then refrigerate.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

One of the biggest let downs is biting into a chocolate chip cookie and waiting for that delicious hit of chocolate, only to find out those chocolate morsels are raisins. You don’t have a chocolate chip cookie, you actually have a crappy oatmeal raisin cookie.

Don’t worry, these cookies won’t let you down one bit. They are so rich, so peanut buttery, and so chocolatey. And if you’re one of those people who would prefer an oatmeal raisin cookie to one of these bad boys, well I suggest you just move right along to another blog.

-1 cup peanut butter
-1/2 cup butter, softened
-1/2 cup white sugar
-1/2 cup brown sugar
-1 egg
-3 tablespoons milk
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-1 1/2 cups flour
-3/4 teaspoon baking powder
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Cream together the butter and white sugar. Beat in the egg, milk, and vanilla.

2. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mix to the peanut butter mix and stir until combined. Lastly, stir in the brown sugar and chocolate chips.

3. Bake for 9 minutes in a 375 degree oven.

Source: Butter with a Side of Bread

Nutella Brownies

As if brownies aren’t perfect on their own, there is a way to make them even better: Nutella.

I mean, doesn’t Nutella make just about everything better? Let’s see…wheat toast? Add Nutella! Animal crackers? Add Nutella! Empty spoon? Add Nutella! See how that works?

These are super moist and super fudgey, but the Nutella flavor isn’t over powering. I added a bit more at the end and swirled it through the batter since I did want to taste the flavor. If you want to get real silly with it, smooth some on the warm brownies right of the oven!

-1 cup butter
-2 cups sugar
-1/2 cup Nutella + 3 tablespoons
-4 large eggs
– 1 1/4 cup cocoa powder
-1 teaspoon salt
-1 teaspoon baking powder
-1 tablespoon vanilla extract
-1 1/2 cup flour
-10 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Heat oven to 350. Grease a 9×13 baking dish.

2. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Stir in the sugar and cook an additional 1-2 minutes. Don’t boil!

3. Remove from heat and stir in the 1/2 cup of Nutella. Pour mixture into a large bowl and beat in the cocoa powder, eggs, salt, baking powder, and vanilla.

4, Stir in the flour and chocolate chips until combined. Spread into your pan. Now, take the 3 tablespoons of Nutella and sporadically swirl it trough the top.

5. Bake for 30-35 minutes.

Source: Buns in My Oven

Easy Breakfast Biscuits

Nothing says Sunday morning quite like a freshly baked Southern biscuit. I’ll admit my motivation to make these wasn’t that I woke up and was bit by the culinary bug. The truth is, we didn’t have any bread left to go with our eggs and bacon and neither one of was felt like going to the store for more. So, lucky for us I did have all the fixins for a biscuit recipe. These little breakfast delectables really are the ideal Southern biscuit! And I’ll admit, now that I’ve had these I’m glad we were out of bread that morning.

-2 cups flour
-1 teaspoon sugar
-1 tablespoon baking powder
-1 teaspoon salt
-8 tablespoons butter, cubed
-3/4 cup milk

1. Heat oven to 425.

2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut butter into the mixture and knead in until it looks like cornmeal. (I eventually used my hands to do this.)

3. Make a well in the middle of the flour mix and slowly add the milk into the middle. Flour your hands a bit and knead dough with your fingers. Lightly flour your counter and roll dough onto surface to desired thickness. Cut biscuits with a small biscuit cutter. (You can use a round cookie cutter too. I actually have neither so just used a knife to cut out circles).

4.  Place on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.

Source: Paula Deen

Spinach Banana Shake

First let me say, this doesn’t taste like spinach at all. Don’t roll your eyes! It really doesn’t, and it even has 2 cups of fresh spinach.

This is a fantastic way to start your day. It’s delicious, jam packed with vitamins, and you’ll feel great after drinking it. It’s even great as your mid-morning or afternoon snack, and you don’t have to feel guilty about enjoying it! While I mostly use all spinach, you can easily use kale instead or do a combination or kale and spinach. The only think I ask (ok, demand) is don’t use real milk, stick with the almond milk, it’s so much better for you!

– 2 cups (or more if you want) of fresh spinach (or kale)
-1 large ripe banana
-2 tablespoons peanut butter
-8oz unsweetened almond milk
-3-4 ice cubes

1. Combine all ingredients in a blender or Nutribullet. If you’re getting too much of a ‘planty’ taste, just add a tad more peanut butter and that will do the trick!

Apple Crisp

There’s no wrong time of the year to enjoy a delicious apple crisp. Who cares that it’s not Fall, the combination of sweet apples, warm cinnamon, and cool vanilla ice cream makes the perfect dessert (or breakfast) year round!

-6-7 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced to medium thickness (not too thin so it isn’t mushy, but not too thick where they are difficult to eat)
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed orange juice
-1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
-1/2 cup white sugar
-2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
-1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
-1 1/2 cups flour
-3/4 cup white sugar 
-3/4 cup brown sugar (light or dark is fine)
-1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
-1 cup oatmeal
-2 sticks butter, diced
1. Heat oven to 350. Butter a 9×9 baking dish. You can use larger too, but I like mine thick and a thick crumble. You can also use a 9×13 rectangle dish or a 9×14 oval dish.
2. Combine the apple slices, juices, sugar, and spices. If mixture looks too dry, add a tablespoon of water. Pour into the baking dish.
3. Combine all the topping ingredients in an electric mixer with the paddle attachment. Mix on low until it is crumbly and the butter is the size of peas. Scatter topping over apples.
4. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour. Serve warm with ice cream.
Source: Ina Garten

Breakfast Energy Yogurt

Not every recipe requires sauteing, baking, mixing, and transforming. This is more of an ‘assembly’ recipe but I promise you this will become your go-to breakfast. It’s so fresh and healthy it will really kick-start your morning in the right direction. Feel free to swap put the berries for whatever you want, I just prefer the strawberry/blackberry combo.

– 8oz plain Greek yogurt
– 4-5 strawberries, diced
– 4-5 blackberries, diced
– 1 teaspoon honey
– 2 tablespoons chopped pecans

1. Pour the yogurt in a bowl and drizzle with 1/2 teaspoon of the honey. Layer the diced strawberries, blackberries, and pecans and then drizzle with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of honey.

2. EAT!