Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Gingerbread Pumpkin Bars

Kind of like the last post on pecan pie, these gingerbread pumpkin bars are a wee bit tardy.  I realize that although there's no law stating you can't whip up a pumpkin based recipe after Thanksgiving, Christmas always takes over and most of the recipes are geared towards all things red, green and peppermint.

[Just a forewarning though...I still have some homemade pumpkin puree to post....]

But alas I couldn't let this recipe go to waste.  I saw a ton of pumpkin recipes floating around Pinterest all throughout the fall, but these bars caught my eye because they deviated just ever so slightly from your standard pumpkin pie bars....these bars have a gingerbread base and a streusel topping.  I know, it sounds kinda funny; gingerbread AND pumpkin?  Isn't gingerbread supposed to be reserved for Christmas and gingerbread boys and girls with those cute m&m buttons?

I know it sounds weird, but somehow it works.  Gingerbread is a bit spicy, pumpkin pie is a bit spicy....so together they go, right?

I only made one change from the original Land O' Lakes recipe and omitted the glaze.  These bars were sweet enough on their own and I didn't feel they needed it.

While the bars are so delicious they probably won't last that long, I will admit that these little guys did get a bit soggy by day 2.  So just a word of warning:  if you're making them ahead of time for an event I wouldn't do so really far in advance.  To combat this I might bake the bottom layer solo for a few minutes while preparing the filling the next time I make these.

And there will definitely be a next time.  Yum!

PS If you want lots of streusel you can make extra.  There was just enough, but I might try doubling the amount I use next time.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Pie Crust

Now for the follow up from Wednesday's post....the pie crust!  For me this is always the hardest part.  When I mentioned before that making pies is really an art I was referring more so to the crust than the filling.

For me, making pie crust takes practice.  And lots of it.  Just like with anything else, the more you do it the more comfortable you are and the better you become.  It's kind of like my grandmother who doesn't measure any ingredients for her biscuits, but rather claims that it just has to "feel right".  With some practice you'll be able to tell as you work if the recipe needs more flour, water, etc.

I've used a few different pie crust recipes over the years, but this one from Smitten Kitchen is my favorite.  I completely agree with her reasoning regarding mixing the dough by hand instead of with a food processor.  I know everyone from Ina Garten to Alton Brown advocates the food processor method, but I've always found that (for me) it's much harder to overwork the dough by hand than with a food processor.  The food processor always seems to leave me with tiny bits of dough down at the bottom that get overworked and larger pieces at the top that never get down to the blade.  But hey, if you're a firm fan of the food processor you can certainly use the below recipe with one.

This past Thanksgiving I used this recipe for a pecan pie and for a custard pie.  But when spring rolls around the flavor of this crust will also be a perfect pairing for fruit and meringue pies.

The recipe below makes enough for two generous pie crusts, which I loved.  So often a recipe leaves me rolling the dough super thin just to try to get it to stretch over the pie pan by the time it's divided in two.

Also, make sure to read the tips down at the bottom.  I compiled that list based on things I learned from other food bloggers and also some insight that I learned myself the hard way :)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

No Fail Pecan Pie

Oh my dear!  Where to start??  First off, let me apologize for the silence.  My beloved macbook officially bit the dust last week and I've been in the process of mourning the loss.  You know the stages:  denial (pretending that my mac would somehow come back if only I plugged it into so many different outlets), bargaining (if I buy it a new screen maybe that'll do it!) and acceptance (finally realizing that my time with my first ever macbook was done....I've officially become one of those crazy Apple converts and saying goodbye to the piece of technology that was responsible for this was tough).  I got a new Macbook Pro this weekend and finally began the process of transferring photos and getting some new posts put together.  Woohoo!

Today's post is a little late due to the aforementioned issues, but I figured it is better late than never.  Pecan pie reminds be a lot of Thanksgiving, but you can also eat it year-round, which is why I decided to still do a post on it.  I mean, I would never turn a slice down.

I don't bake a lot of pies.  I love eating them, but making them really is an art.  It's not making cookie dough, rolling it into a ball and then you're good to go.  If you're not used to making your own crust it can be quite a daunting task.  Remember this terrible awful scenario from my last year's Thanksgiving pecan pie attempt?  Yeah, I'd like to forget it too.  

Because of that terrible awful experience I did a LOT of research with regards to recipes and techniques.  I absolutely love caramel pecan pie but wanted to stick with a traditional recipe since it's the kind my hubby's grandad loves so much.  I also knew I wanted something that wouldn't leave me with that dreaded watery/wet middle which can sometimes happen.  

I ended up settling on a pie crust recipe from Smitten Kitchen (hello obsession!) and a filling recipe from King Arthurs flour which had received rave reviews.  Luckily for me (and the hubby's family), this pie turned out just as I had hoped and I was actually able to bring an edible dessert to this year's get together.  [Insert loud sigh of relief}  I loved the flavor and texture of the pie crust and thought the filling had the perfect amount of richness while still keeping with the familiar flavor that everyone loves.  I definitely found my new go-to!

Today's post will only feature the filling recipe....I tried to post both the crust and filling recipe and it was WAY too long!  Check back Friday for the crust recipe and details!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Easy Chicken and Dumplings

You have no idea how bad I wanted to title this post "Chicken and Dumplins".  I mean, I've never heard anyone below the Mason-Dixon line actually annunciate the "g" in dumplings.  And if they do they must be a relocated yankee.  It's kind of like how southerners use the working "fixin'" when they are talking about how they are about to do something.  Can I get an amen??  Anyone??

I gave in and added the "g" because I was afraid that when people searched for this recipe that it wouldn't show up otherwise.  Fine.  Just know I'll call them dumplins for the rest of the post....

Anyhow, when my hubby and I first got married I asked him what recipes he would like for me to try out and the first recipe he mentioned was chicken and dumplins.  It's now been almost ten months since our wedding day and I finally got around to making them.  This is definitely a cold weather dish and I just didn't feel right whipping a big pot of them up in August, you know?

There are a lot of great chicken and dumplin' recipes out there: some that only call for 4 ingredients, others that require 3+ hours in the kitchen so that you can make your own biscuit dough.   I'm sure I'll try the completely from scratch route at some point, but on this particular night I simply didn't have time.  I combined portions of several recipes and added a few twists of my own to come up with the recipe below.  I did take a few shortcuts, but I don't believe the flavor and quality of the dish suffered at all.

From start to finish it took me an hour and fifteen minutes.  Often I see prep+cooking time that is WAAAY shorter than what it takes me, but the time I mentioned includes pulling all of the utensils out, cooking the chicken, etc.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Oooey Gooey Red Velvet Chess Squares

Every Wednesday night growing up I would eat dinner at our church before whatever activities I had on hand.  The food was always the very best kind of down home Southern food you can imagine: fried chicken, green beans flavored with ham hocks, homemade biscuits and sweet tea. If it was something your great grandmother might have made from scratch it was there.

It's been a while and my memory is a little fuzzy, but I'm pretty sure a local restaurant called Lulu's came in and fixed everything.  Some Wednesday nights they would make this stuff called ooey gooey cake.  It was basically heaven in sugar form.

Ooey gooey cake is very similar to chess bars and pies.  They both don't completely firm up when done, resulting in a gooey texture. And seeing as how I'm that person who loves pulling cookies out of the oven when they're not quite finished baking to keep them super soft, this recipe hits the spot for me.

I've had the basic yellow cake-type and then chocolate versions of ooey gooey cake and chess squares, but had never tried a red velvet version.  Curious, I did a quick search of the internet to see if I could find a recipe, but to no avail.

Off to the mixing bowl I went armed with a few ingredients I thought might produce the result I was looking for.  And I've got to say I feel like I got exactly what I was hoping for.

The bottom layer of these ooey gooey red velvet chess squares is somewhat similar to that of a brownie.  But the top layer of butter and cream cheese is what qualifies them to carry their title.  These squares are really easy to make and would be perfect to take to a Christmas or holiday get together.  Or if you're like me and have a slight obsession with red velvet recipes then you can make them all year long!

Warning:  These bars are very rich and extremely addictive.  Eat one (or three!) and then give them away, lest you end up eating the whole pan.....

Friday, November 16, 2012

Roasted Potatoes with Parsley, Parmesan and Bacon

The potato is one of those foods that is pretty versatile.  You have baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, hash browns, potato hash; you can make them into chips or fries, or make potato salad.  The list is quite long.  And unlike some foods such as fish, potatoes are a safe bet when you're hosting since pretty much everyone will eat them.

I've made several of the aforementioned dishes and have always had pretty good results.  It's always great when you can throw a few potatoes in the oven and let them bake while you fix the rest of your meal.  I mean, can I get a shout out for baked sweet potatoes topped with brown sugar, cinnamon and butter?!  

But when about when you want to add a little more of a different flavor to potatoes?  This recipe adds parmesan cheese, bacon and parsley to roasted yukon gold potatoes to create a flavor combination that is second to none in my humble opinion.  The bacon and cheese add a wonderful richness while the parsley brightens it just a bit to keep it from getting too heavy.  

I used baby yukon gold potatoes since they would cook faster, but the regular sized ones will produce the same result.  And the original recipe called for the removing of the potato skins, but I liked the rustic look and decided to leave them.

These potatoes are just as delicious as they look and they have most definitely earned a spot on my list of go-to recipes for when I'm hosting a get together.  After all, I'm pretty sure no one would complain about anything that has bacon and cheese :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Caramel Pecan Brownies

Not gonna lie.  I like boxed brownies better.  Most of the time, that is.  I think it's just that I don't see why you should add all the fuss that comes with making brownies from scratch when the "just add eggs, oil and water" version does the trick just fine.

But after seeing these caramel pecan brownies on Pinterest one day my curiosity got the best of me.  And I must say I was pleasantly surprised.  Little things like toasting the pecans and making your caramel sauce with real cream do indeed make a noticeable difference.  While you'll dirty up a few more bowls than you normally would, it will definitely be worth it.  Plus, that gives you more batter to sample :)

Feel free to leave out the pecans if they're not your thing.  You could also substitute with walnuts or add butterscotch chips.  Or white chocolate chips.  Or mint.  Your choice!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Chocolate Pound Cake with Old Fashioned Fudge Icing

I made my first pound cake not too long ago, and after the pleasant (and delicious) experience I decided to branch out and try another flavor.  My hubby's stepmom made the most amazing chocolate pound cake with a fudge icing one night when we were over there (think icing being poured directly over the hot cake just out of the oven....) and that sealed my decision to take on this recipe from the Junior League's Perennials cookbook.

Some chocolate on chocolate cakes are too much for some people.  I may not be in that camp, but there are those out there who don't particularly care for the "death by chocolate" types of confections.  The good news is that this is a cake even those said individuals will love.  The actual cake's flavor isn't so overpowering, letting the rich fudge icing get its share of the limelight as well.

This icing is the kind that everyone's grandmother used to make.  The kind you cook.  I'm not sure what it is about cooking chocolate icing, but it makes it so much better than the frosting you simply whip in a stand mixer.  Simply put, this icing takes the cake (pun intended).

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Nutella Surprise Chocolate Chip Cookies

Last summer my sister spent six weeks in Paris and fell in love with this stuff called Nutella.  Maybe I've been living under a rock for the past 26 years, but I had never really heard that much about it until her love affair began.  Still, it took about 16 months and a special occasion for me to ever buy a jar of this chocolate hazelnut spread.  

I had stumbled upon a recipe for nutella stuffed cookies on Pinterest (surprise, surprise) a while back and figured Sarah Beth's birthday would be the perfect time to give these babies a go.  Sure, they took a bit longer to make than your average cookie, but they were so good that the extra effort was MORE than worth it.  

These cookies have brown butter, brown sugar and three (yes, three) different kinds of chocolate chips mixed into the dough.  A nice plump dollop of nutella fills the middle while a light sprinkle of sea salt on top gives these cookies an unexpected pop of flavor.

While these cookies are certainly nothing less than delicious once they cool, they taste the best just out of the oven when the dough is still incredibly soft and warm and the nutella just spills out when you bite in.....can you tell I ate several of these and know just how they taste best???  If you're not near the oven when they come out just pop them in the microwave for 10-15 seconds.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Funfetti Cake Mix Cookies

Is this funfetti overload?  I realize today's post might be a bit much since I just did a post on Funfetti Cake Batter Fudge last week.  But these cookies were so delicious that I couldn't help continuing the trend......

Apparently October is popular for birthdays in my family, as my mom, sister and grandmother all have their special day during the month.  I had already agreed to make a pound cake for our breakfast brunch, but also wanted to bring something else.  A sweet something else on the side.  I had a friend in high school who made the most amazing cake mix cookies, so I thought funfetti cake mix cookies might hit the spot.

These cookies are based on the cult favorite funfetti cake mix, so they don't take too long to make it from the bowl to the oven to your tummy.  Four ingredients, eight minutes in the oven.

I added a bit of cornstarch to these as I've found that doing so keeps cookies soft and fluffy.  You could really use any cake mix you'd like....I think next time I might try red velvet!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Funfetti Cake Batter Fudge

When I think of celebrations I usually think of something sweet; something sugary and rich and quite sinful.  While everything that falls into these categories is delicious, all those recipes often take quite a bit of time, effort and energy to prepare.  This isn't necessary a bad thing unless you're in a time crunch.  A layer cake is great, but you also have to consider that one will take you anywhere from 2 1/2 - 3 hours to make.

Insert today's funfetti cake batter fudge recipe.  You get all the sugary goodness with just 5 ingredients that literally take 5 minutes to throw together.  And funfetti just screams "celebration" in my book.

This was my first time making fudge and I must say it was much easier than I thought.  I got a little impatient waiting for the fudge to set and tried to cut it too soon....word to the wise: patience is a virtue. If you try to rush this step your fudge won't be firm enough to cleanly cut and remove from the pan.  What you end up with is a gooey mess.  Albeit, a gooey mess that I enjoyed eating before returning the pan back to the fridge, but still.

Just make sure to give this stuff away ASAP unless you're okay with devouring the entire pan :)  It's delicious!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Thai Peanut Sauce

Are you ready for the worst excuse ever for my absence these last two weeks?  Revenge.  As in all 22 episodes (and bonus features of course) from Season 1.  My mom had ordered the DVD set a while back and loaned it to me last Sunday.  I had only seen bits and pieces from an episode or two, but once I started the series I might as well have been sucked into a vortex.

My poor husband didn't really get anything all that special for dinner because I was too busy glued to the TV.  A bowl of cereal and 45 minutes of this soap opera trumped a made from scratch meal and blogging every day for the last 14 days.  Whoops.

But hopefully today you'll accept my peace offering: a quick and easy version of Thai peanut sauce that doesn't skimp on flavor in the least.  I know peanut sauce isn't exactly something you're probably itching to make at home, but it's so much better than the bottle store bought version and it makes a great addition to so many dishes.

I added some of this sauce to a meal of quinoa, chicken and veggies, but you could easily serve it on it's own as a dipping sauce.  Or you just might want to lick it off the spoon [guilty].

I adapted the below version by cutting down the amount of sugar added (the original called for 3/4 C) and might consider cutting down the salt next time.  

This sauce freezes beautifully, so don't worry if you don't polish off the entire quantity the recipe yields.  


(that's "Eat up!" in Thai)

Friday, October 5, 2012

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

I've always been a sucker for both mashed potatoes and a good sweet potato casserole.  But what about straight up mashed sweet potatoes?  When my sister and I were planning a dinner menu for my parents' 30th anniversary celebration she suggested just that.

My main concern was that they would be bland.  I can eat a sweet potato plain without any dressings, but most people like that combination of cinnamon, butter and brown sugar that's often added.  You know, the kind they give you at Longhorn?  It's kind of like making a dessert out of your dinner by the time you add all that sugar. 

The recipe below lists what I added, but to be honest it's pretty hard to mess these up.  If you taste them and find there isn't enough flavor you can definitely add additional brown sugar or cinnamon.  Or butter :)

Considering that a sweet potato casserole calls for a cup or more of sugar I thought that this was kept relatively healthy.  Therefore, that means two servings are okay, right???

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tuesday's Tips, Tricks and Tid-Bits: Evenly Cooking a Piece of Meat

It's one of the most common mistakes people make when cooking a piece of meat either on the stovetop or the grill.  In an effort to make sure that the meat is cooked evenly they turn it too often.

Ideally, a piece of meat should only be turned once: you cook it on one side and then flip to the other....no more, no less.*  Reason being that every time you flip a piece of meat back over to a side that's already been cooked the outer layer of meat gets cooked yet again before the heat ever makes it towards the center.  What results is a tough, overcooked exterior.  This is especially true if you need a good crust.

*This assumes you're cooking a two-sided piece of meat such as a burger patty.  If you're working with a larger piece that needs searing on more than two sides just make sure to cook it once on each side.

Also along those same lines it's worth noting that you should never use a spatula or tongs to press down on a piece of meat.  This is quite a common practice (prior guilty party myself) that does nothing other than squeeze out the juices that keep your meat moist and flavorful.

This is one of those situations in which patience is a virtue.  Just let the meat do it's thing...it will be well worth the wait!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Sour Cream Pound Cake

I've been baking pretty steadily for the past few years, but somehow have never managed to get around to making a pound cake.  I think I've always found them a bit intimidating and would rather just go the good old fashioned layer cake route, which is what I'm most comfortable with.  

I feel like so many things can go wrong with a pound cake...it can get too dry and then there is no icing to mask the problem (literally and figuratively)....they have a bad reputation for sticking to the pan.....they can collapse during the baking process leaving you with nothing but a big battered mess and a bad mood.  I'm pretty sure the list could go on and that a lot of you reading this have a few mishaps of your own that you could add.

I had been perusing various sites and blogs for a pound cake recipe that would be worthy of my maiden voyage with the dessert, but always came up short: the recipe instructions wouldn't be specific enough ("bake 40 minutes to 95 minutes"...what?!), there would be less than glowing reviews from frustrated bakers, maybe the picture accompanying the recipe couldn't exactly be characterized as aesthetically pleasing which would lead me to the believe that it probably didn't taste good either.

I was about to write off my search as a lost cause when I got wind of the infamous sour cream pound cake recipe that belongs to my hubby's stepmom.  Cathy has always turned out delicious meals, but apparently this recipe takes the cake (pun intended).   My husband's grandfather has even dubbed the dessert the best cake he's ever eaten.

The crust is hands down my favorite part.

And I must say that I have now seen the light and will be turning to this recipe from here on out when I need a no-fail sweet staple.  This recipe was super easy to follow and produced the most amazing cake that had both that perfect crackled crust on the outside and the moist flavorful inside that I was looking for.  

Cathy's suggestion to dust the pan with sugar also turned out to be a new favorite tip.  I used a 2-piece fluted angelfood cake pan and sprayed it with Pam for Baking (it contains flour) and then sprinkled the pan with some sugar.  The usually frustrating task of removing the cake from the pan was a breeze and I loved the extra bit of flavor the sugar dusting gave the crust.  

*Two extra tids bits and tips:
1. I will say just a teeny bit of batter seeped out of the bottom of my 2-piece pan, but it didn't affect my cake.  Next time I'll just set  a baking pan underneath the cake in the oven to eliminate any small mess.
2. I was a bit unsure of how to remove the cake from the pan since technically it wasn't made for a pound cake.  If I were to flip the pan over like I normally do it would have ruined the crust.  I ended up pulling the top portion of the pan out of the bottom by the flute and then literally used my hands to lift the entire cake off of the flute after it had cooled for about 30 minutes.  This may not be the correct way to do it, but it worked for me.

What about you?  Do you have a favorite pound cake recipe?  If not, let this be yours!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread with Brown Sugar Pecan Streusel

Geez, do you think the title is long enough?  I was trying to think of a way to pare it down, but it didn't seem fair to cut out the cream cheese part or the very descriptive streusel part.  That's what makes this pumpkin bread different from your basic, run of the mill (yet still delicious) pumpkin bread.

My mom always made pumpkin bread from, well, as long ago as I can remember.  You knew fall had officially arrived when the first batch was made.  Even when we were too young to help with the baking my sister and I would gather in the kitchen because we knew we would be given one of the beaters to lick.  And I've been obsessed with the stuff ever since.  I'll eat it for breakfast, dessert, dinner, as a snack...

She has made this pumpkin bread so many times that the cookbook she uses is permanently creased and falling apart on the recipe page....splatters of dried batter everywhere.  I love seeing those worn and stained pages almost as much as I love the recipe itself.  It conjures up all kinds of warm and fuzzy childhood memories.

But alas I didn't have that beloved recipe two nights ago when I set out to make some for myself.  So what's a girl to do?   Well, I turned to everyone's good friend Google and sought out every type of pumpkin bread recipe I could find.  I combined aspects of two recipes to come up with my final version below.

I was a little apprehensive about adding all these new things into the bread.  Sure, cream cheese and pecans are great, but did I really want them messing up a classic?

It turns out I did :)  You can definitely omit the cream cheese, pecans or the streusel if you'd like, but you'll be missing out if you do.

I know it's not officially fall yet, but since it's been in the mid-50's here in Georgia a few mornings lately I feel like it's okay to pull out the fall recipes.  Here's to fall.....leaves, football, boots, scarves and PUMPKIN RECIPES!!!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Not Your Basic Black Beans

Black beans most certainly have never been on my list of favorite foods.  It's not that I don't like them, but I'm pretty sure I've never come home, opened the pantry and thought "mmm, black beans!  Those will hit the spot!".  I've had them in my Joey Junior burrito at Moes but that's about it.

However, the other night when I needed a relevant side dish for my mango salsa topped pork chops it was the black beans that kept coming to mind.  I had been set on rice, but alas there was none in our pantry and quite frankly I was tired of having 5 cans of black beans staring me in face every time I opened the pantry door. 

But I didn't want just any black beans.  I needed something with a little bit of a kick.  Something with a bit of flair. 

After searching out several recipes online I came up with the below combo.  I know lime juice sounds like an odd ingredient to add to beans, but paired with the cilantro it does the trick.  And the cayenne pepper and chili powder really do add a kick that I liked despite the fact that I'm normally not crazy about spicy foods. 

These beans definitely have a Cuban or Mexican taste to them and would be perfect to add to those types of meals. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Mango Salsa for Meats

Mango salsa for meats?? As in, mango the fruit?  On top of protein?

I know it may sound a bit odd, but this simple blend of mango, onion, peppers and cilantro is quite the pairing for everything from mahi mahi to pork to shrimp.  You can actually keep your meat on the simple side (i.e. no crazy sauces or marinades) and just let the salsa take front and center stage.

I paired mine with some seared pork chops and then added a side of dressed up black beans (recipe coming tomorrow).  I prepared the salsa first and then let all the flavors meld together while I finished up the rest of the meal.  You could also prep it the night before and just keep it in the fridge until you're ready to use it.

I've never tried it, but I'm sure that you could jazz this stuff up and serve it with chips as well.

Words of wisdom:  Just make sure you don't use an overly-ripe mango....it will be super duper slimey and will mush together.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tuesday's Tips, Tricks and Tid-Bits: Baking with Glass, Metal andSilicone

In this day and age one has endless options when it comes to baking dishes. You've got glass pans, metal pans and even silicone ones in every size and shape you can imagine. While this convenience is wonderful in many ways, it can leave you feeling a bit lost at the same time. Or on the other hand you may not even realize that it was the lighter aluminum pan that caused your beloved brownies to bake much slower than usual. This is why you often see various baking instructions on the back of boxed cake mixes that are based on what type of pan you use.

So what's the difference? Below is a quick overview to help you understand how each type of pan will affect your dish.

Glass: Glass pans earn points for being easy to clean, a common complaint with most metal pans. Glass dishes also tend to absorb heat more readily resulting in the ability to brown your food versus burning it.
Good for: meats, casseroles, savory dishes
Not so great for: sugary treats (they tend to burn around the perimeter before they finish cooking in the middle)

Metal: Most metal pans are typically made from aluminum. There are 3 factors that will affect how fast your food cooks: the color of the pan, how shiny the metal is and whether or not it is coated. The rule of thumb is that the darker the metal, the more heat it it will absorb and the faster the food will cook.
Good for: cakes, cookies, muffins, bread

Silicone: The new kid on the block. If sticking is a concern for you, then silicone is a great option. The only thing to consider is that silicone is a poor heat conductor and your baked good will brown very little, if at all.
Good for: anything that tends to stick, anything you don't want a crust on
Not so great for: meats you're wanting to brown

Friday, September 21, 2012

Chewy Chocolate Chip Toffee Bars

I wouldn't necessarily consider myself a huge toffee fan, but when I caught a glimpse of these Chewy Chocolate Chip Toffee Bars over on Pinterest I couldn't resist giving them a go.  Reason being that I linked over to the recipe and realized just what all kinds of goodness went into these little babies....

Layer 1: Graham cracker crumbs, butter, toffee bits
Layer 2: Chocolate melted with sweetened condensed milk
Layer 3: Chocolate chip cookie dough and a few graham cracker crumbs
Layer 4: Toffee Bits sprinkled all a-top

Hhhhmm...considering that I would have eaten just the bottom layer alone I figured that these couldn't turn out too bad.  And I will have to say that they certainly didn't disappoint in the least.  I was worried that each of the layers would be too thin (my graham cracker mixture barely covered the bottom, but because all of the ingredients are pretty rich and flavorful the ratios turned out to be spot on.

I enjoyed the idea of these bars so much that I think I might experiment in the future with sugar cookie dough or mint chocolate chip bits....or maybe peanut butter...or white chocolate.  Well, you get the idea.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Lemon Poppyseed Bread with Lemon Glaze

Maybe I'm alone, but I've always wondered just why poppyseeds are so often added to any type of lemon flavored bread.  They don't really have a taste (not one that I can detect anyways) and they don't enhance the texture of the bread.  But I'm not complaining because I love the way they look and I love the little crunch you get from each of those little seeds.

I've always had a soft spot for lemon poppyseed muffins, but I've never had them in loaf form and thought it was time to concoct such a recipe.  The below recipe is quick and easy to throw together because it is based on a boxed cake mix.  The bread is also pretty sweet which means I enjoyed it for both breakfast and dessert :)  Okay, and maybe for a mid afternoon snack too.

I will say that this bread is very dense and moist.  It doesn't have that fluffy texture that you get in a sandwich bread.   But that's what I was going for so it didn't disappoint me in the least. 

*Don't worry if your loaf "collapses" after you pull it out of the oven.  Mine was really high and shrunk back down even though the bread was cooked through.  That's to be expected, so don't think you did anything wrong.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Chicken Enchiladas

Holy moly.  I'm a little embarrassed that it's been ten whole days since I've logged a post here on CCK. Yikes!  Things were a little scattered last week and I think I just needed a bit of a breather.  Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love blogging and always enjoy both the cooking and writing aspect of it, but it takes so much time.  It takes around an hour to get a post looking the way I want it to (minus the time I spend actually trying out a recipe in the kitchen) and some days I simply don't have those extra 60 minutes to spare.  But I'm back on track and can promise a post every day this week.  Swear.

Anyhoo, I figured I would feature one of my new go-to recipes in this comeback post.  These chicken enchiladas were oh so good and have definitely made their way onto my list of must-have recipes.  Not gonna lie, they took a while to make but they were absolutely worth the extra time.  It's not that the recipe is hard, but rather there are a lot of ingredients and several steps to getting them made.

But the good news is that this recipe makes 12 enchiladas, meaning that you can freeze half the batch for a later meal.  You can also make these ahead of time and store them in the fridge so that they're good to go straight in the oven when you come home each evening.

*If you're going to freeze them you have two options: 1) go ahead and assemble the entire meal, including the sauce and cheese, or 2) freeze the enchiladas, sauce and cheese separately.  If you're taking the meal to someone else you can go ahead with option one to cut down on the steps they'll have to go through the get the meal table ready.  Just make sure to freeze them right after adding the sauce/cheese so that the enchiladas don't get soggy.  If you're just freezing it for yourself you can go with option two so that you can crisp up the enchiladas before adding the sauce/cheese.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Banana Bread Brownies with Brown Butter Frosting

Bananas are unfortunately on my list of least favorite foods.  It's not that I don't like the flavor, but rather it's the texture of the them that bothers me.  They're mushy.  Mushy and gooey.  They kind of remind me of clumpy baby food to think of it.  [insert slight gag reflex]

Oddly enough I love banana flavored foods though, particularly banana flavored desserts.  I've always been a fan of banana bread, so when I came across these banana bread brownies topped with a brown butter frosting I couldn't pass up the opportunity to take them up to a family gathering at Lake Burton.

I wasn't exactly sure what the expect though....would they be super sugary and dense like your typical brownies?  Or would they still have more of a standard bread-y texture?  I was fine with either, especially since the brown butter frosting was involved!  I had never made a brown butter frosting, but was surprised at how easy it was to make.  You just have to be careful to watch it, lest your brown butter frosting become burnt butter frosting.  Yikes!

These turned out to be slightly sweeter than your average loaf of banana bread without being too dense.  I was a little worried there wouldn't be enough frosting, so I did 1 1/2 times the amount listed in the original recipe.  I was so glad I did because it turned out to be just the perfect amount.  No one wants the tease of a too thin layer of frosting after all.

And since you don't have to wait for the brownies to cool to frost them this whole dessert comes together from start to finish in under an hour.  While it's no secret I love spending hours upon hours in the kitchen, you don't always have time to stand over an oven for an entire afternoon.  Another plus is that this frosting can be made all in one bowl, no stand mixer required.....less dishes are always a good thing!

Hopefully you'll go bananas for these banana bread brownies too :)  Enjoy!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Glazed Doughnut Muffins

A few weeks ago a Dunkin Donuts opened up not too far from where the hubs and I live.  Every time I pass it I have to muster up every bit of self control I have not to pull through the drive-thru and order up a mixed dozen.  Red velvet?  Yes please.  Chocolate Frosted?  Yes again.  Plain glazed?  You bet.  I'm pretty sure I've never met a doughnut I didn't immediately make friends with.

But what about doughnut muffins?  I came across the recipe for these on one of my favorite blogs, Sweet Pea's Kitchen.  I've tried several other recipes from Christina and have always been blown away, so I figured I'd give this one a go.  I wasn't exactly sure how it would be possible for a muffin to taste like a doughnut, but I took a leap of faith based on all the rave reviews I read.

I was making these muffins for my Sunday School class, so I made them the night before to be on the safe side.  That way if they were a flop I would still have a few hours to throw something else together the next morning.  What can I say, I'm a bit of a worry wart and would always rather be safe than sorry!

These muffins turned out tasking much more like doughnuts than I had anticipated.  I loved the subtle brown sugar and cinnamon flavor they had and was pleasantly surprised that the glaze that topped them didn't make them so sickeningly sweet that they seemed like a rich dessert.

I was a little perplexed as to why my glaze never set up like the one's in Christina's photos (mine was more clear and never took on that hard/white appearance even after it had dried), but it was delicious nevertheless.

These muffins would be a great unexpected addition to any breakfast or brunch, and they are especially a new favorite of mine since they can be prepared beforehand.   Dare I say these muffins might be able to give Dunkin Donuts a run for their money?  I'll let you be the judge :)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Homemade Dog Treats

Confession:  I used to be a cat person.  And partially still am.  We always had them growing up and I was particularly attached to Peepers, the gray calico I got when I was 7.  Peepers was with our family for 19 years (yes, you read that right) before passing away last year.  You certainly get attached to pets and saying goodbye to her was heartbreaking to say the least.

I still love cats, but I finally switched over to the other side when I got Ellie Bear, a shih tzu/bichon frise mix, for my birthday during my last year of grad school.  I was living in Birmingham at the time and wanted a little companion that could travel back and forth with me when I came home.  I initially tried to adopt from a shelter because there are so many homeless pets out there in need of a home, but was turned down from shelter after shelter because I was a student who didn't own my own home.  Seriously?!  As frustrating as that was, I'm so glad that everything worked out and that Ellie was the pup that I ended up finding from a family who lived relatively close to my hometown.

I can honestly say that I love Ellie more than I do some people :-/  I know that sounds terrible, but the love and companionship that she brings is next to none.  She's always right there with you, following you from room to room, like a shadow.  Pets truly do become part of your family and you love them as such.

The day I brought Ellie home back in 2009.

Of course she had to be in a few wedding shots as well.

This past weekend my family celebrated Ellie Bear's 3rd birthday.  Her actual birthday was August 11, but this was the first chance we had to all get together.  I already knew I was going to make some banana bread brownies (coming soon!), but I also wanted to make Ellie something that she could eat.  This little fluff ball means the world to me, so I wanted something that she would enjoy but that would also be relatively healthy.

These treats were incredibly easy to throw together and I must say that they passed the taste test with flying colors!  Ellie, my husband's English bulldog Moe, and his mother's poodle Gin Gin all approved.

I used a doggie bone shaped cookie cutter for these, but you could use any shape you like.

You can cut down the baking time on these for older dogs who need 
a softer texture.

She might have had a little help blowing out the candle :)

Friday, August 31, 2012

Coconut Oil Biscuits

I have a slight problem when it comes to biscuits.  More of an addiction I guess you could say.  There isn't really anything I love more than to start my morning off with a big, fluffy biscuit.  And it doesn't hurt if that biscuit is hugging an egg and a few slices of bacon.

I've tried several biscuit recipes over the years and have featured several of them here on the blog.  You've got sweet potato biscuits, buttermilk cat head biscuits and then the mile high biscuits.  I love each of those recipes, but when I opened up my pantry doors this past weekend another idea popped into my head.  I recently purchased my first jar of coconut oil (in love) and I got to thinking that surely to goodness you could replace the butter or shortening in a batch of biscuits with this stuff.  Fat is fat after all, right?  Sure butter gives biscuits a slightly different flavor than does shortening, but I didn't think coconut oil would make that big of a difference.  Surely the biscuits wouldn't come out rivaling the coconut flavor of Captain Morgan Parrot Bay would they?

Thick and fluffy.  Just the way I like them.

Nope.  They certainly did not.  What resulted was the softest, most tender biscuit ever.  Ever.

Just make sure that your coconut oil doesn't get too warm and go all liquid on you.  When I pulled mine out of a room temperature jar it had the texture of soft shortening.  It just barely held its shape.  I'm guessing if your oil was in a pure liquid state that you would have a very hard time cutting it into the flour mixture.  If your oil is too soft just stick it in the fridge for a bit to firm up.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Ramen Coleslaw

Coleslaw is probably on my top ten list of most hated foods.  So why did I feature it you ask?  Because this coleslaw doesn't have the dreaded mayonnaise in it.  Just the thought of it makes me shudder.  Ugh.

Instead, a vinegar based dressing gives this dish plenty of flavor while still keeping it light.  The actual cabbage part of it is obviously crunchy, but the added almonds and ramen noodles give it some additional texture that I just loved.  (FYI I forgot the ramen noodles at the store which is why you don't see them in any of the pictures.  Oops)

If you're itching to shred your own cabbage that is certainly okay, but I used prepackaged shredded rainbow cabbage since I knew I was going to be short on time.  Okay, and because I liked all the colors in the bag.  Lame, I know.

Just pretend you see those ramen noodles...

Monday, August 27, 2012

Restaurant Style Hummus

On Friday I posted these homemade pita chips, and today I'm bringing you the hummus that accompanied them.  I know some people aren't so keen on hummus and I will admit that I used to be a passenger on that train of thought.  I think it's a texture thing.  That and the thought of ground up chickpeas just isn't that appealing.

But I promise if you'll just give it a chance you'll end up quite enthralled.  Swear.  What's interesting is that most people who claim not to like it haven't actually ever tried it.  I'm also a former guilty party in that arena as well.  Whoops!

I've only had it before in restaurants, but I figured it had to be pretty hard to mess up, especially since you basically throw everything in a food processor and press a button.  I served mine with pita chips, but it's also good with fresh veggies (think carrots and celery) and spread on sandwiches.

I followed Annie's recipe to a T, but next time I might throw in some roasted garlic or red pepper.  Or maybe add a jalapeno for a bit of a kick.

With football season coming up (!!!) there will be plenty of tailgates to bring this dish to.  Tailgates are usually filled with fattening and sugary (albeit delicious) foods, so this would be a welcomed healthy addition that wouldn't leave you feeling like you're missing out on all the good stuff.  Yes please!

I sprinkled a bit of cayenne pepper on top too.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Homemade Pita Chips

Pita chips are one of those foods that are so darn easy to plop into your cart at the grocery store that you have to wonder why in the world anyone would ever go to the trouble to make them on your own.  I was in that camp of thought until I came across a recipe from The Food Network that I just couldn't resist.  It received some pretty rave reviews and I needed something to pair with some hummus.

These chips were so easy to make and were so much better than store bought (in my humble opinion).  You can decrease the cooking time if you want them softer or leave them in a bit longer for a crisper/crunchier texture.  Your choice!

And since they're baked instead of fried you won't feel bad about eating a few more :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tuesday's Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits ~ Baking vs Boiling Eggs

If you've ever been on Pinterest there's a good chance you've seen one of the many pins claiming that baking eggs instead of boiling them is the way to go.  You know those over zealous pins I'm talking that state that baking eggs "is the best thing EVER!!!" and that "once it try it this way you'll NEVER go back to boiling them".

While Pinterest has a lot of good ideas, I have found that a few claims I've tested have fallen flat.  You know that pin that says that putting baking soda and a bandaid on a splinter will pull it out?  Yeah,  Pinterest lied.  I tried that and it did not work at.all.

But since I'm weird and love eating boiled eggs whites I figured I'd give this a go.  

To bake "boiled" eggs you simply place the eggs directly on the wrack of an oven heated to 325 and bake for 25-30 minutes.  Then you plunge them in a bowl of ice water for 5 minutes before peeling them.

Don't worry if your eggs end up with little brown spots.  The eggs
sweat and then the condensation browns.


While I will have to say that my eggs turned out great (they were perfectly cooked and peeled very easily), I don't think it would be worth the extra effort unless you had a lot of eggs you were wanting to cook.  For me, it seems easier to use my trusty method of putting eggs in a bowl of room temp water, gently bringing the water to a boil and then turning it off and leaving the eggs to sit in the water for 12-15 minutes before plunging them in ice water and peeling.

If you're going to bake the eggs I would suggest placing them in muffin tins because I got very small light brown marks where the eggs had been laying on the wrack.  That should take care of the problem.

Have you ever tried baking eggs instead of boiling them?  I'm interested to see how this turned out for others...

Monday, August 20, 2012

Best Ever Roasted Broccoli

I swear I'm done with the veggie streak after today.  Promise.  Not that I'm anything less than super stoked to be sharing this recipe.  Because it's simply divine, even if I do say so myself!  Plus, I tend to do a lot of sugary sweet recipes on this blog and it's always good to balance things out.

In the past I've always roasted broccoli with butter, salt and pepper.  And I might throw a few cloves of garlic in there.  But I've never used lemon on it.  I guess I've just never really thought of the two complementing each other.  I tried it for the first time with this dish and couldn't have been more pleased with the flavor.

This recipe couldn't be easier to throw together and will therefore be my new staple side dish for get-togethers.  And if you chop your broccoli before hand it literally takes a matter of minutes before it's ready for the oven.  Yes please!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Zucchini Boats

I for one have always had a soft spot for zucchini.  I still remember walking over to my great grandmother's house and helping her pick it fresh from her garden.  I've loved the stuff for as long as I can remember and will pretty much eat it any way it can be prepared: zucchini chips, zucchini cakes, zucchini bread, fried zucchini, grilled zucchini, baked zucchini....need I go on?

But I know a lot of people who aren't so chummy with this veggie.  And that's what this dish is for.  These zucchini boats are simply pieces of zucchini halved with a bit of the middle scooped out.  In that little hollow I stuffed them with tomatoes and onions.  And a bit of cheese of course.  I'm pretty sure even the most zucchini averse 4 year old might give these a try.

The good thing about this recipe is that you can adapt it pretty much any way you like.  The recipe below is a super simple version, but I would have loved to have added some turkey sausage or some bell pepper if I had had any on hand.  Go with your personal preferences and spiffy this up to suit yourself and your family.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Balsamic Roasted Carrots

Did you think I had completely abandoned the blog?  I haven't logged an entry in a full 7 days...yikes!  That's the longest lapse I've let go by in quite a while.  So sorry!

The hubs and I have spent the past few days doing a bit of traveling and vacationing and unfortunately it's not as easy to compose a post from my ipad as I thought.  I could do the text but inserting photos didn't exactly go as planned.  And thus the cyber crickets.

So I figured I'd better make my first post back a good one.  And oh a good one it is.  At least in my humble opinion.  These balsamic roasted carrots are a snap to throw together and are so big on flavor.  And in the spirit of being superficial I must say I just like the way they look so rustic.  Good thing they have the taste to back it up.

While I definitely enjoyed these veggies during these warm summer temps, I think they would also be perfect during the fall and winter.  I'm thinking right alongside the turkey late in November??

Next time I might add some other veggies in there too....if you end up doing so let me know how they turn out!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Quinoa Salad with Cucumbers, Tomatoes and Feta

I'm pretty sure I've already hit my whining capacity with regards to the heat this summer, but just in case you've missed my less than positive thoughts on Georgia's hot and humid summer I'll revisit the subject.  It's.flippin.HOT.  There are actually mornings where I debate whether or not to shower because I know the second I put a foot out the door my hair will have a meltdown, my makeup with smear due to the excessive oil and I'll get those nasty little sweat spots on my shirt because I'm literally baking alive.

On days like these I don't exactly want something heavy to eat.  Okay, let's rephrase that: if there's a slice of rich chocolate cake sitting there I'm going to eat it, but ideally I would be just as satisfied with something light and summery.

This quinoa salad hits the spot though.  Quinoa, being the superfood that it is, is packed with fiber and protein which means you'll feel fuller longer.  And because fresh produce is bountiful during the summer I'm sure you'll have no problem finding some locally grown cucumbers and tomatoes.  Top it off with some fresh parsley, feta cheese, and a lemon-olive oil dressing and you've got yourself a winner.  It's light, full of flavor, and because it's healthy you won't mind indulging in more than your fair share of it.

Mmm mmm good.

I'm not ashamed to say that I ate this stuff for breakfast, lunch AND dinner yesterday.  Yes, it was that good. [Insert sound of me tooting my own horn.]

FYI It's pronounced KEEN-wah.  I know I can't be the only one who spent all of last year pronouncing it KWEE-no-uh.....yikes!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tuesday's Tips, Tricks and Tid-Bits ~ Fun Food Facts

Happy Tuesday!  You know what that means....only 3 more days (excluding today) until the weekend, right?

I decided to take a different route with today's post after stumbling upon a few fun food facts over the past few days.  The list below is compiled from a few different sites and, quite frankly, some of them are just crazy.  I won't spoil any of them, but I'm willing to bet a few of them will come as a surprise.

1. Americans eat 900% more broccoli today than they did 20 years ago.
2. Each egg has approximately 17,000 tiny pores covering its shell.  These pores can absorb flavors and odors which is why it's best to store them in their carton.
3. There are over 500 different types of bananas in the world.  That's bananas!
4. Apples are members of the rose family.
5. Americans eat 350 slices of pizza every second.  That totals 100 acres of pizza each day.
6. The FDA allows approximately 30 insect fragments and one rodent hair per 100 grams of peanut butter.  Still craving that PB&J?
7. Refried beans are actually only fried once.  A translation error resulted in this mishap when the original name of the dish means "well fried beans".
8. Worcestershire sauce is made by completely dissolving anchovies in vinegar.  The sauce contains the entire fish, bones and all.
9. It takes 12 honeybees to produce 1 tablespoon of honey.
10. Pumpkins are actually a fruit, not a vegetable.
11. The first carrots originally brought to the US from Europe they were purple.
12. American spend more than $2 billion dollars each year on Halloween candy.
13. Forest Mars (son of Mars candy founder) and his business partner Bruce Murrie (son of Hershey founder) created M&M's.  The candy got it's name from the first letters of their last names.
14. The creamy filling in Twinkies actually isn't cream at all, but is mostly Crisco, a vegetable shortening.
15. Corn dextrin, a common thickener used in junk food, is also used as glue on postage stamps and envelopes.
16. In 1950 McDonald's largest value meal option included a hamburger, fries and coke and totaled 600 calories.  Today's same value meal clocks in at 1550 calories because of large increases in portion size.
17. There is more real lemon juice in Pledge Lemon Furniture Polish than Country Time Lemonade.
18. The powder on chewing gum is finely ground marble.
19. During your lifetime you'll eat approximately 60,000 pounds of food.  That is the weight of about 6 elephants.  Hopefully most of that food will come from recipes you found here :)

Not sure why I decided to stop one short of 20, but maybe I'll continue these fun facts in another post down the road.  Until then, make sure to watch out for that grasshopper leg in your peanut butter!


Monday, August 6, 2012

Eggs and Toast with a Twist

I'm sure you've seen eggs of all kind....scrambled, over easy, sunny side up.....but have you ever seen them cuddled up all inside their own piece of toast?

Eggs and toast have long been considered breakfast staples, but sometimes they can get a bit routine.  In an effort to switch things up a bit I decided to try nesting my egg into the toast as I cooked it.  Not only does this make for an easier prep process, but it cuts down on the time you spend standing over the stove since you cook your breakfast all at one time.   And the sooner I can get food in my belly each morning the better :)

And if you have little ones this is a breakfast you can get get them in on as well.  I used a glass to cut out the little hole in the toast, but you could certainly use different shaped cookie cutters to do so.  Stars or hearts, anyone?

It's already set up perfectly for you to dip that 
toast into the egg.

PS PLEASE for the love of Pete use butter!!  I normally use olive oil to cook my eggs, but butter just makes everything better with this dish.  It not only keeps your egg from sticking to the pan, but it flavors your toast to perfection.  If you use Pam or something similar you will be left wondering why I thought this dish was worth blogging.  Yes, butter is definitely better.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

And the Winner is....

Kristy Morrison with comment #5!!  I used Random.org's random number generator to pick a winner so that it would be, well, random :)

Congrats Kristy!  Message me your mailing address and I'll get the gift card in the mail tomorrow!!

Much love to all who entered!  There will most certainly be more giveaways in the future, so make sure to enter again.

A Milestone....and a GIVEAWAY!

Alright folks, today Confections from the Cody Kitchen hits 100,000 views.  This is of course a bit exciting in and of itself, but the part of it that excites me most is that 47,000 of those 100,000 views have come in the last 5 weeks.  A bit nutty when you think about that knowing that my blog was started way back in February 2011.   I definitely remember days when I was doing good to get 18 views.  No joke.

I've worked really hard over the past few months to step up my game and hopefully you all have been able to tell a difference.  I got serious about being more consistent with my posts, and probably the biggest difference can be seen in my photos.  Now I spend much more time setting up a shot and then editing it.  The photos from even just a few months ago are downright scary!

Lord knows I have SO far to go though.  When I see other powerhouse blogs out there getting 400K+ views a month it makes my measly view count look, well, measly.

But the whole point of this is to say thank you.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.  This blog started out as a fun way for me to share my endeavors in the kitchen and has turned into so much more.  As a lot of you have read, my relationship with food hasn't always been healthy, but this blog has brought me further than I could ever have imagined on that journey.

* If you haven't read my story, I would encourage you to do so.  I think it will give my posts a slightly different meaning.  Here are the links to Part One, Part Two and Part Three.

Thank you for reading.  Thank you for hanging in there when I miss a post.  Thank you for your encouraging comments.  And thank you for making me feel so incredibly welcome here in the blogosphere.  It warms my heart and makes me excited to hit the "publish" button each morning. 

And of course this milestone means a giveaway!  What fun would it be if there weren't something FREE??  Up for grabs is a wonderful $35.00 gift card to one of my favorite stores, Bed Bath and Beyond.  BBB is one of my go-to's for cooking and baking supplies and I'm sure you won't have a problem finding something there either.

To enter you need to do 2 things:
1. Become a fan on Facebook OR follow us on Twitter.  Or both if you're eager beaver :)
2. Leave a comment below stating what you would buy with the gift card were you to win it.

You must complete the entry requirements by tonight Tuesday, July 31 at 10PM Eastern Standard Time.  The winner will be announced at that time via random draw.

Only one entry per person.

Good luck!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Gluten Free Breakfast Cookies

You're thinking one of two things:  No way do I want to start my day off with a sugary sweet! ....or..... Cookies for breakfast?  Heck yes!

The good news is that these gluten free breakfast cookies will please you no matter your viewpoint.  These cookies have barely enough sweetness to put them into the "cookie" category, but the sweetness comes from wholesome sources such as bananas, shredded coconut, honey and cranberries that will keep your tummy happy until lunch rolls around.

I, myself am not one to crave loads of sugar in the morning (don't worry, that definitely comes a few hours later right after lunch and lasts until, oh I don't know...bedtime?).  If I eat something sugary first thing in the morning that's all I'll crave the rest of the day.  Not sure why, but it happens every time like clockwork.....I eat a cinnamon roll for breakfast and by 10:30AM I'm dreaming of chocolate.

But these cookies fit the bill when it comes to my idea of a perfect breakfast.  Good quality natural ingredients that are both tasty and filling (due to the protein and fiber content) are what separates these cookies from those that you are likely to find at the grocery store: cookies with 20+ ingredients, many of which you have no hope of being able to recognize much less pronounce.

Do you want one or all four in
that stack?

The version below is gluten free, but if you wanted to add whole wheat flour in place of flaxmeal you certainly could.  Just know that it negates the gluten free factor.

Along those same lines, you could also switch up a lot of the ingredients below......olive oil for coconut oil, raisins or dried blueberries for cranberries, pecans for almonds.....you name it, it could probably be done and turn out just as tasty.