Ashley and Whitney’s Popcorn and Pretzel Sweet Snack Mix

Salty & sweet combine to create this snack mix you will not be able to stop eating.

As if popcorn on its own isn’t addictive enough.  Let’s mix it up with pretzels, almonds…now pour some white chocolate over it.  I dare you to try to stop eating this.

I had the best of intentions when I made this batch of Ashley & Whitney’s Popcorn & Pretzel Sweet Snack Mix.  I’d planned to bag it up and take it to work, safe from my cravings.  Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.  This perfect mix of salty and sweet didn’t make it past my recliner.  Make some – it’s really easy, made even easier with Reynolds parchment.  The white chocolate doesn’t stick to anything and you can just throw away any spillover.

So, again, I’m saying make this one.  It’s quick, it’s easy.  But be warned, you can’t stop eating it.

Get the recipe at AllRecipes.com

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Johnsonville Sausage 6 ingredient recipe makeover

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Another six ingredient makeover recipe starring Johnsonville Sausage.  How can you go wrong with sausage, egg and cheese?  This recipe originally featured ham, but I substituted it for sausage I had left over from another recipe in this quick and delicious breakfast.  You just heat the sausage first then add eggs, and sprinkle in cheese just before you pull them out of the pan.  Sausage is a perfect stand in for this easy breakfast.

Get the recipe here

Have you entered the Johnsonville 6 ingredients or less sweepstakes?  20 random winners will receive a Simply Calphalon 12-inch covered stainless steel skillet and two free coupons for Johnsonville Italian Sausage!  Get all the details here and get to pinning and making simple and delicious meals with Johnsonville!

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Candice’s Lasagna Omelet

lasagna-omelet-blogThis is a great way to use up lasagna leftovers, or make something that reminds you of a lasagna without all the work.  Candice’s Lasagna Omelet is a quick and easy recipe (6 ingredients!) packed with flavor.  I made this one with Johnsonville mild Italian sausage.  It lends a great flavor and it was super easy to make.  This would be a great brunch or even dinner combo.

Get the recipe for Candice’s Lasagna Omelet at AllRecipes.

Have you entered the Johnsonville 6 ingredients or less sweepstakes?  20 random winners will receive a Simply Calphalon 12-inch covered stainless steel skillet and two free coupons for Johnsonville Italian Sausage!  Get all the details here and get to pinning and making simple and delicious meals with Johnsonville!

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Not so deviled eggs

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I’ve never molded chocolates before. I’m not sure I ever will again.  It takes a certain amount of patience I seem to lack.  But this recipe doesn’t require molds – you can just dip the eggs in chocolate which I did for most of these.  And it’s definitely worth the trouble – these are delicious!

The pretty molded ones (that I could get out of the molds!) are in front, and the more…rustic…versions are cleverly out of focus in the back.  The recipe is great – it makes many, many 2″ eggs.  I split the filling in half and added 1 cup of peanut butter to half of it, and they came out like some name-brand chocolate-covered peanut butter eggs I love so much this time of year. The vanilla half of the filling really tastes like butter cream.  I used dark chocolate on the outside and it gives these a nice balance.

Get the recipe for Butter Cream Easter Egg Candies at AllRecipes.com

The presentation is on the Flutes & Pearls Egg Tray from WiltonArmetale, which I received as a gift to review.  The tray is not only beautiful but very functional.  You can go from fridge, freezer or oven to the table and it retains the cold or heat to keep your food at the right temperature.  It’s not dishwasher safe, but cleanup is pretty easy.  I think this plate is as beautiful as it is function – I know I’ll get a lot of use from it.

Easter Prize Package

WiltonArmetale is giving away a huge prize package for Easter!  Enter to win over $400 in prizes including this awesome egg tray!

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My Reynolds Ah-ha! moment – homemade slice & bake cookies

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I started out this post thinking I was going to make these beautiful little cutout cookies, meticulously detailed with royal icing.  The best laid plans…

I have never been the best at cutouts – it all seems a bit hit or miss to me.  Getting the dough to the right texture has always been a tough thing for me to master.

As part of an AllRecipes AllStar activity, we were asked to make Karen’s Rolled Sugar Cookies.  I received a roll of parchment and some parchment sheets for my participation.

I mixed up the dough, and it seemed a little sticky but I wasn’t sure.  I chilled it, took it out…yes, sticky.

But I pressed on, rolling some flour into it and hoping for the best.  I cut a square fluted cookie…totally stuck to the cutter.  Tried again and again; no luck.

I did manage to get one square cookie out of the mess, so I decided to bake it on Reynolds parchment along with a few others that I sort of shaped from the wreckage.  Total fail.  Though they didn’t stick to the pan, and cleanup was very easy, it baked completely misshapen.  My dreams of beautiful cookies fading away.

So I sat deflated, thinking about how to salvage the project.  In my grumbling I thought I would have been better off buying a log of dough and slicing them off.  But I have dough I could slice…aha!

I took the remaining dough, and rolled it into a log inside a sheet of Reynolds parchment paper.  Then twisted the ends so that it was like a big cookie dough sausage, put it in a zip top bag and back into the refrigerator to let it firm up that way.

The next day I sliced the cookies off, formed them into egg shapes and off I went.  They baked up great!  I made a batch of royal icing (my first ever attempt) and mixed in several colors.

Again I had a few really bad looking cookies, but practice makes perfect.  By the end I had a few that I was really happy with.  I decorated on sheets of parchment to avoid getting food coloring and mess all over my kitchen table.

Reynolds really saved this project!  Discover and find more tips and timesavers when cooking with Reynolds Kitchens products here or in the footnotes of their recipes on Allrecipes.com.

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Pork Carnitas with Cilantro Tomatillo Sauce

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I was excited to try out this month’s AllRecipes sponsor, Mazola® Corn Oil, and the recipes they chose for us to make.

Did you know? Corn Oil is the Cholesterol lowering Champ?! Corn oil lowered LDL cholesterol by 10.9 percent compared to extra virgin olive oil’s 3.5 percent reduction, making corn oil more effective.

I often cook with Mazola® and didn’t realize that corn oil had such heart-healthy benefits.  Check out the details and the study here.

But on to the yummy stuff.  I’ll be honest; I am a spice wimp and a very picky eater.  I heard from a few of my fellow AllStars that this recipe packed quite a punch of heat, so I steered clear of the tomatillos in my version of this dish and filled in with lettuce instead.  I also lost a few of the ingredients that I don’t personally enjoy, though any normal person would.

The dry rub is really packed with flavor, the pork was tender and delicious and the dish is pretty easy to make.  I made mine in the pressure cooker along with some new potatoes, which came out so moist they didn’t even need butter (another heart-healthy plus).  Give it a try!

Get the Mazola® Corn Oil recipe at AllRecipes here

 

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Shortbread Wheels

shortbread2blogTonight I just wanted to make cookies, but I couldn’t decide what I wanted to do.  So I went with cookies meet craft project.  Enter Shortbread Wheels.  This recipe makes 14 cookies if you have the right sized cookie cutters.  So it’s not an overwhelming amount of dough to deal with but it’s enough to enjoy.

It’s just concentric circles of shortbread and chocolate shortbread.  It came together really quickly and the dough was a good texture.  The chocolate dough was a bit more delicate than the plain butter but they were easy to repair.  Anyway, just a fun little diversion on a cold, snowy Saturday night.

Get the recipe at AllRecipes.com

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Chocolate Chip Banana Cookies

blogbananachipOn the face, these seem a little strange.  And to be honest, when I tried the batter, I was a little scared.  Peanut butter, banana, oatmeal, chocolate chips…so good!  These are a dense, moist little cookie packed with flavor.

A few notes on this recipe.  It says to bake for only 6 minutes, but mine went for 11 and they were just barely brown.  They don’t spread much, so don’t worry about putting a bunch on the cookie sheet.  I used the version where you sub 1/2 cup of butter with peanut butter, and used milk chocolate chips, pecans, and subbed wheat pastry flour because I was out of regular wheat flour.  The only thing I might do differently next time is add a little cinnamon. Get the recipe and make some today!

Chocolate Chip Banana Cookies at AllRecipes

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Peanut Brittle & a belated Christmas gift!

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It’s not Christmas without a few things:  family, Blue Ribbon Sugar Cookies, and mom’s peanut brittle.  Mom’s peanut brittle is one of everyone’s favorite Christmas treats, and something I am hopeless at making it.  I’ve become the baker in our immediate family, but she is definitely the candy maker.  My peanut brittle is always over or underdone, and ends up sticky or charred.  Luckily, my mother has become the peanut brittle expert in the family.  She definitely has the touch, and has had the patience of trial and error to get it right.  I believe her recipe mainly involves consistency – careful measure, the same equipment every time, and the same method.  It’s more science than art, as all baking and candy making is.

My mom churns out about a dozen batches each Christmas, and it’s become one of the most anticipated treats of the holiday. The whole family looks forward to a big bag of this stuff, and I personally both love and dread the bag I get because I cannot stop eating it until it’s gone.

It’s the most delicious game of chicken ever – can I stop eating before I crack a tooth? Can I stop eating before I get sick? But it’s 100% worth the risk.

Have you tried your hand at this delicious stuff?  Here’s a great Peanut Brittle recipe from AllRecipes.com – let me know if you have the touch in the comments below!

More Good Stuff – Win $300 at Amazon from King of Christmas!

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Thank you King of Christmas for this awesome giveaway!  There are 57 ways to win every single day – first like King of Christmas on Facebook for your chance to win, then get more chances by visiting and liking all of the other awesome blogs joining the fun here.  The giveaway runs through midnight MST and everyone everywhere is eligible!

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Blue Ribbon Sugar Cookies

blueribbonblogThis is another “don’t come home without it” recipe.  I make them every year, and we made them every year when I was a kid for as long as I can remember.  It’s a recipe that my grandma gave to my mother, though I never remember grandma making them.

There were years when it didn’t quite come out right.  The one batch that tasted soooo bad and we never figured out why.  The batches where the bottoms got a little char-grilled.  The time it took to make the dough by hand, the frosting with a hand mixer (no Kitchenaid in sight).

But my favorite memory of these cookies is the people who enjoyed them.  We all love them with frosting, but my grandpa liked them without.  So every year we’d frost almost all of them, and leave a dozen unfrosted just for him.  He’s no longer here to enjoy them, but I still make some unfrosted for him.

I passed these along via AllRecipes way back in the day (2004 – that is “in the day” for the internet), and they’ve gotten 4.5 stars over the years.  Here are a few things you should know about them to consider them 5 star:

  • These are drop cookies.  If you try to roll them, you will swear.
  • These are very lemony.  Many have said they use all vanilla and like them better.  I’ve never tried it, but I wouldn’t dare mess with a family tradition.
  • They can get oily. Make sure the butter/margarine isn’t too soft when you start.  Mix the butter and sugar well before you add in the powdered sugar and oil, then whip those with the eggs very well.
  • They can go quite flat and get very delicate.  Again be sure your butter isn’t too soft and don’t over-flatten them.  They’re still good if they get very flat – they’ll just be more crunchy and prone to breakage.

I use a buttercream frosting with a little lemon in it – it compliments the lemony flavor of the cookies.  But feel free to mix it up, and I hope you have a merry Christmas!

Get the recipe at AllRecipes.com

 

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