Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Bite-Sized Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookies

You know Paradise Bakery's chipper cookies? Of course you know the ones. Those little bite-sized morsels of heaven that you buy a bag of at the mall food court in hopes of snacking on them throughout your movie, but then end up eating them all while in line for popcorn. I put my kitchen to the test to make my own at-home version with lots of molasses-rich brown sugar, a crunchy exterior, and a perfectly doughy interior. These are the perfect cookies for anytime of the day or for any event as a dessert or even a party favor. However, this batch never made it out of the house. All fingers are pointing to my fiance. 

Bite-Sized Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and the sugar together until no sugar lumps remain. Add in the egg and mix well until combined. Scrape down the sides while mixing as needed. Add in the vanilla and mix again for 1 minute.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, soda, cinnamon, cornstarch, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, 1/3 at a time mixing well between each addition. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Scoop 1 tbsp. of dough at a time onto 2 non-stick cookie sheets. Bake for 6-7 minutes, just until golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack before storing in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Weekend Recap: Planes, Trains and Automobiles

This past holiday weekend I had the pleasure of standing by my sorority sister's side as she married the love of her life. Only she lives in Vermont, and we live in Arizona, which meant lots and lots of travel on our part. We flew to JFK, trained to Connecticut, picked up a car,  and then drove up to Vermont. See, planes, trains,  and automobiles! We had an amazing weekend enjoying the weather, the mountainous views,  and love! PS. can you believe it's July already?!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

HDFB Heads East for the 4th

I'm taking my talents back east for the weekend, to celebrate the wedding of my lovely sorority sister and the man of her dreams. If you need me you can find me on a mountain somewhere in Vermont, soaking in the scenery, some fresh cocktails and hoards and hoards of fresh seafood. In the meantime, I leave you with some of my favorite 4th of July treats! Cheers!

DIY American Flag Shorts
Ditalini Macaroni Salad
Everything Pigs in a Blanket
Elderflower Soda
Red, White & Blue Rice Krispie Treats
Cooking the Perfect Hot Dog
Slow Cooker Ribs with Pineapple Sriracha BBQ Sauce
BBQ Chicken Tacos

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Make Your Own Apple Pie Lara Bars at Home

I've developed a new obsession with Lara Bars. After trying out their cashew cookie and apple pie flavored bars, I looked at the ingredient list, and knew that this was something that I could easily make at home, and for a fraction of the cost. The minimal ingredients and the short time to it takes make these leaves little room for excuses why you shouldn't try them yourself. I have made 2 batches in the past week, making it a great snack for us to bring on the plane to JFK tomorrow, as well as on our drive to Vermont this weekend for my sorority sister's wedding! So long vending machine snacks and processed junk! Hello homemade health food that actually tastes good! Better yet, these bars are vegan, gluten-free, dairy free, and soy free!

Apple Pie Lara Bars

  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1/4 cup organic raisins
  • 3/4 cup dried apple slices
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. ground ginger
  • pinch of sea salt
  • water (if needed)
Add the dates, raisins, and apple slices to your food processor and pulse until the ingredients turn into a sticky ball. Add in the almonds, walnuts, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt. Pulse until the the nuts are finely chopped and the mixture is sticky when you press your finger to it. If needed, add water 1 tsp. at a time, until you reach the consistency you need.

Add the mixture to a parchment paper lined baking dish and press down firmly with your fingers. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Lift the parchment paper out of the dish and cut into 6 evenly sized bars. Wrap each one individually in cling wrap.

Keep at room temperature for up to 5 days, or in the fridge for up to 3 weeks. 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Baked Vegetable Frittata

The local Farmer's Markets here in AZ are really creating a healthy habit here in my kitchen. I just can't seem to get enough veggies in my diet as of late. And surprisingly my fiance hasn't been asking for meat either. We are by NO means vegetarians. We are quite carnivorous, but with the fresh summertime produce, we are getting our fill of them since we are basically forced to go from our air conditioned house, to our air conditioned cars, to our air conditioned offices, and back again, so going outside to turn the grill on is a major task right now. I have a feeling that 4th of July will put us in the mood to grill, so for now we are just hiding out indoors. For this recipe I sautéed all of those yummy local veggies and baked them into a crustless frittata, perfect for that bikini bod that we are all striving for right now, am I right?

Baked Vegetable Frittata

  • 2 tbsp. avocado oil (or other high-heat oil)
  • 1 cup broccoli, chopped
  • 1 small yellow squash, sliced
  • 1 small zucchini, sliced
  •  1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1 garlic clove, mined
  • 1/4 cup fresh pesto
  • 8 eggs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a pie or quiche dish with non-stick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, salt, and pepper. Set aside.

In a large skillet or cast-iron, preheat oil over medium-high heat. Add in the broccoli, squash, zucchini, bell peppers, onion, and garlic. Cook, tossing until softened, about 8-10 minutes. Add the sauteed veggies to the whisked eggs and toss to mix.

Pour the eggs and veggies into the prepared baking dish and drizzle the pesto over the top. Bake in the oven until the eggs are set, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle freshly grated parmesan on top before serving.

Monday, June 29, 2015

HDFB Weekend Recap in Photos

For once we had a weekend where we weren't traveling or working or had really much on our agenda other than a relaxing weekend at home. Andrew's best friend and his fiance came up from Tucson for a night and we grilled out, played Cards Against Humanity and even made a midnight run for ice cream. No complaints here. We finished out the weekend with a late Father's Day celebration at my parent's house, where we dined on blackened mahi mahi and a nice glass of Lagavulin. Cheers!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Red Wine Risotto with Caramelized Mushrooms

I've basically gone insane. Like, who stands over a hot stove for 30+ minutes to make risotto (a typically fall/winter comfort food) in the dead heat of summer. Obviously the answer is me, but still, who does that? I was craving something hearty, maybe to pretend that it's not 114 degrees for the second week in a row. I love to ignore reality, clearly. So, in the middle of summer I in fact stood over my stove to make this incredibly rich risotto for you. And you know, what? It worked. We curled up on the couch to finish watching Season 3 OITNB (what kind of ending was that anyway?) and just vegged out. Now, I don't expect you to do the same until the temperatures drop at least below 70 degrees, but if you are feeling adventurous, or delusional like me, I promise it's worth it.

Red Wine Risotto with Caramelized Mushrooms 

  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup button mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 1/4 cup arborio rice
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 3-4 cups vegetable stock
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
In a medium skillet, heath 1 tbsp. of butter over medium heat and add in the sliced mushrooms, cook, stirring occasionally for 15 minutes until caramelized. remove from the heat once they are soft and fragrant.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1tbsp. butter and olive oil together in a medium to large pot over medium heat. Once they are melted together, add in the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add in the rice and stir, coating the rice in the butter and oil, stirring and toasting for 3-4 minutes. 

Add in the wine and stir every minute or so, if not constantly, until the wine has been absorbed into the rice. Once the wine is absorbed, add in the broth, 1 cup at a time, stirring until absorbed before adding more. After 3 cups have been added and absorbed, try a bite of rice to check the texture. If you would like them softer, add the remaining cup of broth.The entire process took me about 25 minutes until all of the broth was absorbed and the rice was tender.

After the rice has absorbed all of the liquid, add in the parmesan cheese and a pinch of salt. Stir, combining the cheese and serve hot, topped with the caramelized mushrooms.


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