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Auntie Lisa’s Whoopie Pies

 

Friday’s call for celebrations. So whoopie pie’s are perfect for the occasion. I LOVE these little pies of happiness. They are so delicious. For my bridal shower, we asked all of the guests to share one of their favorite recipes, and my mom and sister put together a little cook book for me. It was such a great idea and something I still look through, 9 years later. My husband’s aunt shared a recipe for her amazing whoopie pies. I don’t know if any ever lasted at any event she brought them to. They were these little treasures that were hidden until it was dessert time. Once they were unleashed, it was over and they were basically destroyed. I could have eaten the entire platter. Although she has a million amazing recipes, I was so happy to see this one included in the book. I was so excited to try them out. I can’t say that I make them as well as she does, but they were damn delicious. My grandmother also made a version that she would often bring to our house during the holidays,  so this dessert is particularly special because of so many fond memories. It’s a fairly easy treat to put together too. Delicious and easy, the perfect dessert to kick off the weekend!

Ingredients

For the Cookiee

For the filling

Instructions

  1. To make the cookies, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt and set aside. In a measuring cup measure out the buttermilk and add in the vanilla, set aside. In the bowl of your electric mixer, combine the egg yolks, sugar, and shortening. Add in the dry ingredients, alternating with the buttermilk. Starting and ending with the dry ingredients.
  2. Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees F. prepare a baking sheet with a Silpat, parchment paper, or cooking spray. I would encourage a Silpat or parchment paper here.
  3. Using a teaspoon for smaller cookies, or a dough scoop of larger cookies, place the dough on your prepared baking sheet, about an inch apart. They will spread. Using a spoon dipped in water. rub the top of each sough ball lightly to smooth it out a bit. Bake for 8-10 minutes.
  4. To make the frosting, whip the egg whites until they are white and thick. Add in the sugar, shortening, and vanilla until the mixture is smooth. You can either spoon the frosting between two cookies, or pipe the frosting, which is what I did.
  5. Store them in an airtight container. Because it calls for raw egg whites, I would keep refrigerated.

Notes

Adapted from Auntie Lisa!

Squash Casserole

 

While we were brunching hard over the weekend, my friend had mentioned wanting to make a squash casserole to use up some of the squash from her farm share. Wouldn’t you know I could not stop thinking about it. I’ll daydream about foods and things, and squash casserole is usually not on the top of my daydream worthy foods. But it was there. When I was checking my garden I noticed a couple of really nice zucchini and took that as a sign that I should make it. Typically this recipe uses yellow squash, which I now have, but at the time I was limited to my zucchini. So I rolled with it. It was basically amazing. So amazing, that I actually ate most of it, while it was cooling, before the rest of dinner was even ready. I could not stop. It was so good, that I knew my husband who absolutely hates zucchini simply had to try it. He was skeptical and asked me not to take offense if he spits it out. But I smiled knowing it wouldn’t even get to that. And, of course, I was right. It makes me happy when I can get him to eat something he hates and can show him it’s actually not so bad. The toddler on the other hand…. not so much. The instructions, at first, looked daunting. But it was so easy to put together. And when I saw daunting, I mean after working a really long day at the office, having picked up my son from school and being alone with him so all he wanted was to play and didn’t care about me making dinner daunting. But the crackers were a great distraction. He just popped up on the counter and sat there “helping” me by eating the crackers. I love when he gets involved and asks questions about what I’m doing in the kitchen. It also makes me happy when I give him a veggie and he asks, is this from our garden? It seems, to him, it’s more rewarding to eat something we’ve produced and I couldn’t agree more. It just tastes better somehow! This recipe is very forgiving with what type of squash you use yellow/green/a combo of both, go crazy. I might even adapt this further to make a fall casserole with my butternut squash that’s growing. Yum!

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Place squash, onion, and a small amount of water in a pan. Place on your stove top and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until the squash is softened. You want this to be fork tender, not at all mushy. Heat your oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Meanwhile, add Ritz Crackers to a Ziploc bag and crush using a rolling pin, or with your hands, or with anything you have around. Add the cheese to the bag and shake to combine.
  3. In a liquid measuring cup, measure our the milk. Add in the eggs, salt, and pepper, and stir to combine.
  4. Spray a baking dish (8x8 ish is what I used) with cooking spray. When the squash is done, drain and add to the baking dish. Mix in half of the crushed cracker/cheese mixture and stir to combine. Add in the melted butter and stir once more. Pour the egg mixture over the top and mix it up a bit so that it's all combined. Sprinkle the additional cracker mixture over the top of the casserole. Using your hands, lightly spread it around so that it's evenly distributed over the top. Place the tiny cubes of butter across the top.
  5. Place the casserole in the oven, uncovered, and bake for about 20 minutes or until the top is golden and the egg mixture is set. 20 minutes was absolutely perfect for me. Let it sit for 10 minutes before serving (if you can!). Serve warm.

Notes

Barely even adapted from All Recipes

Banana Bread Energy Bites

There is nothing worse than the afternoon doldrums. Yup. Occasionally I’ll have a cup of coffee or tea, but I try to limit my caffeine intake since my blood is 50% coffee anyway. Or so I’m convinced. But when you need that pick me up, it’s nice to have something a little sweet and very tasty on hand to help make it through. If you really wanted to make these a treatier-treat you could add some chocolate chips. Just saying! But even without them, these little bites are great. I was brainstorming on what I could do with this random ripe banana I had. When I thought of this spin-off of the classic favorite bread, I was super excited to try it out. I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised. It took a bit of working to get the texture the way I wanted it. So often I’ve made these energy bites that are like kourabiedes. If you are a fellow Greek, you know EXACTLY what I’m talking about. Tangent; those cookies are not only insanely delicious, they are insanely dry and not to be eaten in one bite. My husband made the mistake of popping one in his mouth at a friends party, while myself and her  yiayia both said “Noooooooo” basically movie style in slow motion. The coughing (and laughing) that happened afterward was a lesson learned. Other variations of these energy bites can be so dry. I wanted something soft and delicious. These are just right! It’s a simple recipe to whip up as well. I just combined everything in my food processor. Done! So here you have it. A quick, easy, tasty, perfectly textured afternoon treat.

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients to the bowl of your food processor. Combine until the mixture comes together. You want the mixture to be soft and moist so that it will come together but not so soft that it won't hold it's shape. Using a scoop, scoop out rounds of the mixture and place on a cookie sheet. Pop in the fridge until firm. Store in an air-tight container. Note, you can also add some additional cinnamon and freshly grated nutmeg to the top.

Notes

Sunday Funday Brunch

 

 

One of the things I love most, is living close to friends and hosting an impromptu brunch. What’s even better is making it a thing, and having something to look forward to each month. Brunch with fellow foodies is fun because the food selection possibilities are endless. For this brunch we opted for a frittata, breakfast potatoes, cinnamon rolls, and yogurt with granola. Mimosa’s were also a requirement. Good food bringing good people together is the best way to spend a Sunday morning. Sunday’s are so hard because it’s the end of the weekend. Usually we are cleaning and getting ready for the week ahead. Brunching made me realize how lucky I am to have such great friends and what a fantastic distraction it was to the usual routine. Good food, good company, liquor, and sun = perfect summer brunch.

What made this particularly fun is actually getting to cook food together. For me, it’s so fun to watch other people and learn from them. This delicious frittata was whipped up in my kitchen using some local produce. It was seriously delish! Though we were missing some of our other friends who couldn’t join, I’m looking forward to August brunch. In typical foodie fashion my mind is already reeling with ideas for the next one. Also, looking at these pictures makes me really excited for the next phase of our kitchen reno and not having these cabinets. Hello brighter kitchen!

 

Of course I forgot to take a picture of the breakfast potatoes. They were so darn good I just went for it. I didn’t think it was worth taking a picture of the few that were left. If you are interested, I used this recipe. You likely know by now how much I love Two Peas and Their Pod. I know, it’s not usual to test a new recipe the morning of a party, but I did and I’m so glad I did. These were super tasty. Some of the best roasted potatoes I’ve made. I also made my Easy Almond Butter Granola. I slightly adapted it to include coconut and slivered almonds. I omitted the chocolate chips this time around, but it was so good. Bonus, lots of left overs for breakfast! I also made some Cinnamon Rolls. I adapted this to not include the chai spice, just cinnamon and sugar. You can find the original recipe for those here. I simply adore Annie’s Eats. Her blog was truly my inspiration for blogging. Her recipes will not disappoint!

Brunch Frittata

Brunch Frittata

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet on the stove top. Chop the garlic scapes and add to the skillet, cooking until softened, about 2-3 minutes. Meanwhile, remove the kale from the ribs and wash thoroughly. A salad spinner works wonders for this! Add the kale to the pan with the garlic and cook until the kale wilts. Chop the breakfast sausage and toss into the pan with the veggie mixture to heat.
  2. In a medium bowl add your eggs, milk, and seasoning. Whisk together and add to the skillet. Mix the ingredients around a bit to make sure the egg mixture is evenly distributed throughout the skillet. Cook until the frittata begins to set.
  3. Meanwhile, preheat your broiler. Make sure to move your oven rack up to the top. Once you see the frittata is beginning to set, sprinkle on the feta cheese. The recipe calls for 2/3, but who am I to limit your cheese. If you want more, add more!
  4. Cook under the broiler for about 2-3 minutes or until cooked through. Let sit for about 10 minutes before cutting. Serve warm.

Notes

Summer Risotto and a VIDEO!

 

It’s Friiiiiiiiiiday! It’s always so stressful getting back to the office after vacation, so dinners this week have been not great. Or more honestly, I have barely made dinner this week. I hate weeks like that because eating out so frequently makes me feel not so great. But, I did make this risotto and I’m so happy that I did. I’ve made risotto in the past and it tastes fine, but the texture is not quite right. The thing about risotto is that you need a bit of patience. Turning up the heat to allow for quicker absorption of liquids resulting in still too crunchy rice, is not patience. Because this was an original recipe, I practiced patience. It’s something I’m trying to practice more often anyway, not just in cooking, but in general. It’s a practice, but I feel so much less anxious. Except for this morning when I was running around my house like a Tasmanian devil. So not only is this recipe delicious, it helps you practice patience (deep breath in…….now exhale). Ok, so onto the details. My goal for this recipe was to incorporate some more veggies. Considering how many zucchini and yellow squash are about to explode in my garden, I figured why not toss a few in. It turned out much better than I expected. Considering my track record with risotto, the bar was low, but I jumped over it. Even my husband who hates vegetable, zucchini and squash anyway, really liked it. At least the bite of it he had anyway. Baby steps!

Also, I wanted to share a video I did as part of a blogger challenge I was enrolled in. I created a VIDEO! I know.. it was scary, and I’m not even the feature, my son is! But we got some awesome things at Trader Joe’s and wanted to share our finds. I posted the silly video on YouTube (::breathes into a paper bag::). You can check it out here. Also, lesson learned to hold my camera the appropriate way….

 

Summer Risotto

Summer Risotto

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Heat broth in a medium saucepan. Keep warm.
  2. In a large saucepan heat olive oil. Cook onions over medium high heat until softened. Add in the rice and cook until the rice is opaque, about 3 minutes. Add in the white wine and cook until the wine is absorbed.
  3. Add in about 1/2 cup, I used a small ladle for this. And cook until the liquid is absorbed. Continue to add in warm chicken broth, one ladle full at a time. Allowing the liquid to absorb each time.
  4. Once you've added about half the liquid in, add in the corn, zucchini and yellow squash. Continue to ladle in the rest of the liquid, allowing for it to mostly absorb each time. Once you have added in all of the liquid, stir in the Parmesan cheese. Your mixture should be creamy and the rice should be cooked al dente. Season with salt and pepper. Add on some chives and parsley to garnish.

Notes