Snickerdoodles and Nov SRC Reveal

I couldn’t think of a better way to get back into my blogging routine than an amazing Secret Recipe Club Reveal!  The Secret Recipe Club is a really cool group I joined last winter.  Every month, we are assigned a new blogger.  This month, I was paired up a blog called The Life and Loves of Grumpy’s Honeybunch.  We get to pick ANY recipe that blogger has written about and cook it up ourselves.  We can make adjustments according to our tastes too.  All of the bloggers post their results on the same day and we all get to see who had who and more importantly, what delicious dishes were made!

Secret Recipe Club

You’re probably going to laugh at me when I tell you that until today, I have never made Snickerdoodles!  Aren’t they one of the most basic cookies out there?  I was so excited when I saw the recipe for these perfect-for-fall classic cinnamon cookies on Honey B’s blog.  I made the cookies on Friday night and let me tell you, we only have THREE left!  They were a huge hit, YUM!

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Snickerdoodles

Makes:  18 large cookies or 30 small cookies

Ingredients:

3/4 cup White Sugar
2/3 cup Light Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Unsalted Butter, softened (1 stick)
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 large Egg
1 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour (about 6.75 ounces) <– weigh your flour to make sure you have the correct amount!
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/3 cup White Sugar
1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
Cooking spray

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°.

Combine 3/4 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, and butter in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla and egg.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and salt, stirring well with a whisk. Add flour mixture to butter mixture; beat just until combined. Shape dough into 30 balls.

Combine 1/3 cup granulated sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon in a small shallow dish. Roll balls in sugar mixture, and place 2 inches apart on baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 8 minutes or until tops crack. Cool on pans 1 minute. Remove from pans; cool on a wire rack.

Recipe slightly adapted from:  Grumpy’s Honeybunch

Still in love with my purple faux-silpat!

Still in love with my purple faux-silpat!

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So… if you haven’t noticed… I really don’t bake a lot.  So i wasn’t surprised when I thought I completely botched this recipe.  I started whipping up these cookies and when I went to roll them… they were SO wet.  They were sticky and were not cooperating at all.  I might have messed it up, but when it was all said and done, the cookies came out PERFECT.  If this happens to you, don’t panic!  Just do the best you can with the balls and cook them anyway, they will probably turn out fine… I mean really… what could be bad?!

These cookies are awesome and have already been requested again!

Before you head into your own kitchen to try out the Snickerdoodles, check out all of the other recipes that have been revealed today!  I can’t wait to read them all 🙂

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie and October’s SRC Reveal

THANK GOD it’s October!  I am so super ready for Philly’s amazing falltime weather with low humidity, crunchy leaves on the ground, and of course lots and lots of PUMPKIN recipes!!  I’ve already had it in cookies, in my coffee, even pumpkin pie martinis.  Loving it!  I was super excited to have found this new Pumpkin Pie SMOOTHIE recipe on my Secret Recipe partner’s website this month.  How good does that sound?  and more importantly, why haven’t I thought this up yet?!

Secret Recipe Club

The Secret Recipe Club is a really cool group I joined last winter.  Every month, we are assigned a new blogger.  This month, I was paired up with Chris & Rachel’s blog called “The Keenan Cookbook“.  We get to pick ANY recipe that blogger has written about and cook it up ourselves.  We can make adjustments according to our tastes too.  All of the bloggers post their results on the same day and we all get to see who had who and more importantly, what delicious dishes were made!

It was seriously so difficult to choose just one recipe for this month.  Chris and Rachel’s recipes are all so amazing!  They have the cutest family and I also loved reading all of their stories.  I ended up absolutely having to pick the pumpkin recipe since it’s October and all… and because it just sounded SO GOOD!

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

Makes 2 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Pure Pumpkin Puree
  • 1 Banana, sliced
  • 1/2 cup Skim Milk
  • a dash of cinnamon to taste
  • 1 teaspoon of honey or a packet of Truvia/Splenda

Directions:

Put all ingredients into a small blender and blend until smooth.  Add a tablespoon at a time of skim milk if it is too thick.

Recipe adapted from The Keenan Cookbook

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So- this recipe tastes amazing.  I mean what could be bad?!  Honestly, I ended up making it every single day last week for breakfast.  Tee Hee Hee!  The only thing I would do for the next time I make it is to maybe try to do it with some Greek Yogurt or Vanilla Protein Powder? This recipe is definitely missing some protein if you’re trying to eat it for breakfast.  If you want it as dessert (what a great idea!!) you should probably keep it as is.  YUM!

Check out these other amazing recipes from this month’s SRC Reveal!

Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala & Chilled Strawberry Soup: SRC September

This month, for my Secret Recipe Club assignment… I ended up making two of her recipes!  There were just so many to choose from, I couldn’t decide on one.

For those of you who are new to this or just not paying attention- the Secret Recipe Club is a really cool group I joined last winter.  Every month, we are assigned a new blogger.  This month, I was paired up with Lisa from “Cook Lisa Cook“.  We get to pick ANY recipe that blogger has written about and cook it up ourselves.  We can make adjustments according to our tastes too.  All of the bloggers post their results on the same day and we all get to see who had who and more importantly, what delicious dishes were made!

I decided to make Lisa’s Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala and serve the spicy dish with a side of her Strawberry Soup.  Using the slow cooker isn’t something i typically do in the summer, but it worked out to be a lifesaver!  I got it all ready and let it cook during the day, and by the time that Dave was home from work and I was home from a late appointment… dinner was READY for us, no more work for me!  Love this concept 🙂

Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1.5 TBS. fresh grated ginger
  • 1 – 29 oz. can tomato puree
  • 3/4 cup Fat Free Plain Greek yogurt 
  • 1 TBS. olive oil 
  • 1 TBS. Garam masala 
  • 1/2 TBS. cumin 
  • 1/2 TBS. paprika 
  • 1 tsp. sea salt, or to taste
  • 2, 3-inch pieces whole cinnamon sticks 
  • 1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper 
  • 1 TBS. cayenne pepper, more or less depending on your heat preference
  • 2 bay leaves 
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (or use light cream)
  • 1/2 TBS. cornstarch 
  • cilantro, for topping

Directions:

1.  Place everything up to and including the bay leaves into the slow cooker.  Stir to combine everything and make sure the chicken is coated well.  Refrigerate overnight or use immediately.  When ready to cook, place the crock into the slow cooker, cover and cook for 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high.

2.  When done, in a medium bowl, whisk together the heavy cream and corn starch, then pour the mixture into the crockpot and gently stir. Let cook an additional 20 minutes to thicken up.

3.  Serve hot over a bed of rice and garnish with cilantro.

Recipe adapted from Cook Lisa Cook

 

Want more Slow Cooker Recipes?  Check these out!

Do you just love spicy food?  Here are more spicy recipes!

 

Chilled Strawberry Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1lb Frozen Strawberries (no sugar added)
  • 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/2 cup Skim Milk
  • 1 heaping Tablespoon Fat Free Sour Cream
  • 1 Heaping Tablespoon Fat Free Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • Mint or Fresh Strawberries for Garnish

Directions:

1.  Mix everything except the garnish in a blender until smooth.  I had to stir it around a few times to help it get going and add a little bit of skim milk to make it a little less thick.  Using a blender mix together the strawberries, heavy cream, sour cream & yogurt until smooth.

2.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  Stir or shake will before serving.  Add a dollop of sour cream, fresh strawberries, and mint leaves for garnish.

Recipe from:  Cook Lisa Cook

Everything ready to hang all day in the crock!

Everything ready to hang all day in the crock!

Ready to eat!  Had to add a little extra black pepper :)

Ready to eat! Had to add a little extra black pepper 🙂

Pretty strawberry soup!

Pretty strawberry soup!

The perfect dinner!

The perfect dinner!

The Strawberry Soup was the perfect complement to the spicy chicken dish.  I would even love to add a drizzle of balsamic vinegar or a balsamic reduction to add more depth of flavor next time.  The Chicken Tikka Masala itself had so many complex flavors with the curry, the cinnamon and of course the garam masala.  I was super excited to use the garam masala… I’ve had it for a few months and never had a chance to use it!  This was the perfect amount of creamy and spicy for us.  MMM!

Okay everyone, now time to check out the other amazing recipes revealed today! ENJOY!

Roast Beef & Cheddar Panini and July’s SRC Reveal

Hi friends!  As promised, here is my very first post using my new camera!  I am so excited that my boyfriend Dave bought me a “real” camera for my birthday.  You’ll have to forgive me since I’m not used to it yet, or good at it… but I’m learning!

Today’s recipe is for the Secret Recipe Club July Reveal.  In case you’re new to my blog, I can give you the rundown… it’s a pretty awesome club to be in!

Secret Recipe Club

The Secret Recipe Club (secretly) pairs bloggers up with each other every month.  We can pick ANY recipe that our assigned blogger has ever made, take it and try to make it ourselves.  Everyone reveals their partner and the recipe on the same day so we can all see what has been made!  This is now the fifth month I’ve participated and I love it.  It’s a great way to meet new bloggers, try new recipes, and get others to try yours too!

This month, I was paired with the  Cookaholic Wife.  This lovely blogger has been blogging for the same amount of time that I have and boy, does she make some amazing recipes!  I was sad when I couldn’t find an “about” page to learn more about her personally, but her recipes just all sounded so delicious!  It was so hard to pick.

It’s been a while since we’ve taken out our Panini Press so this recipe seemed like a good chance to change things up a bit.  It was so yummy… Dave and I devoured these sandwiches without even saying a word to each other!  I just couldn’t stop eating them!

I was worried about the bread, but it was sweet and soft and crisped up really nicely on the Panini Press.  I also do have to tell you that I used the House-Roasted Garlic/Rosemary Roast Beef from Whole Foods, which made the sandwiches even more amazing.  Next time, I’d love to add even more sauce!  YUM!

Roast Beef & Cheddar Panini

Makes 4 Sandwiches

Ingredients:

8 slices bread (I used Whole Foods’ Brioche… delish)

1 Onion, thinly sliced

1.5 Tablespoons of Butter

3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil Mayo

1 Tablespoon of Sriracha (or more!)

1/4 lb Roast Beef (I used Whole Foods’ Garlic/Rosemary)

4 slices Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Directions:
1. Combine onions and butter in a small skillet over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until onions have caramelized.  Mine took about 40 minutes.  Remove the onions and keep warm.
2. Meanwhile, combine the mayo and sriracha, stir with a whisk, tatse, and adjust accordingly.
3. Preheat a panini press or griddle.
4. Spread the Sriracha mayo on both sides of the bread. Top with roast beef, cheddar cheese and caramelized onions. Spray one side of each slice of bread with cooking spray.  Assemble the sandwich and grill for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown.  ENJOY!

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I mean, who doesn’t love to smother melty, cheesy, roast beef sandwiches with Sriracha Mayo?!!?  Genius!!!!

Take a second to check out some of these other amazing recipes revealed today with the Secret Recipe Club ladies!!



Tzatziki Chicken Salad & June SRC Reveal

The Secret Recipe Club (secretly) pairs bloggers up with each other every month.  We can pick ANY recipe that our assigned blogger has ever made, take it and try to make it ourselves.  Everyone reveals their partner and the recipe on the same day so we can all see what has been made!  This is now the fifth month I’ve participated and I love it.  It’s a great way to meet new bloggers, try new recipes, and get others to try yours too!
Secret Recipe Club
This month, I was given the assignment to try a recipe from Christy who is the beautiful and amazing woman behind the blog Life of a Modern Housewife.  Christy started her blog after moving to South Carolina all the way from Texas when she went from a full time job to becoming a housewife.  I loved looking through Christy’s recipes, “Motivational Mondays”, and stories about her princess pup Sadie Mae (not to be confused with my very own princess pup Stella May!).

After searching through so many fun recipes, I decided to go with Christy’s  Tzatziki Chicken Salad because I thought it was so creative.  I never would have thought to make a Chicken Salad this way, but I’m so glad I did.  It’s delicious.  Instead of eating the chicken salad with pita chips, I wanted to put together a nice sandwich with lettuce, tomato, and a slice of Havarti Cheese on a toasted Wheat Bun.  Dave and I devoured this chicken salad sandy for dinner and even for lunch over salad the next day.  YUM!

Tzatziki Chicken Salad Sandwiches

Ingredients:

1 (6oz) container Fat Free Plain Greek Yogurt

Fresh Lemon Juice from 1/2 a lemon

1 tsp dried Dill (or use 2 tsp fresh!)

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 Cucumber, seeded and shredded with a grater

1 Garlic Clove, minced

1/2 Jalapeno, seeded and finely diced (optional)

4 Chicken Breasts- cooked then shredded (I boiled mine first)

Instructions:

Combine all ingredients into a bowl (except the chicken) and stir with a whisk.  Add chicken, toss to coat.  Serve on a whole wheat bun, in a wrap, over salad, with pita chips, or whatever you’d like! 

Recipe slightly adapted from:  Life of a Modern Housewife

I thought the grated cucumber looked so pretty

I thought the grated cucumber looked so pretty

All sauced up and ready to go.

All sauced up and ready to go.

In goes the chicken

In goes the chicken

This recipe was obviously very easy, but it was such a refreshing spin on your normal boring old chicken salad.  I left the onions out because I’m not a huge fan of raw onions (especially for lunch at work!) and also used more chicken so it wasn’t too creamy/saucy.  I was excited too, since this was a healthy recipe that Christy found from Cooking Light.

... and onto a delicious sandwich!

… and onto a delicious sandwich!

Take a minute or two to check out some of these drool-worthy recipes from today’s big reveal!  Some of them sound so yummy…



Asian Peanut Veggie Dip & May SRC Reveal

Hi friends!  I’m so excited to share this new recipe with you.  It’s fast, easy, and of course so delicious.  This Asian Peanut Dip tastes amazing on slices of cucumber, baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, and even pita bread.  It’s a great alternative to your typical French Onion or Veggie Soup Mix Dip.

Secret Recipe Club

Before I share the simple directions for the dip, I have to tell you about where I got the recipe!  This awesome recipe is a product of the Secret Recipe Club (the SRC).  For those of you who haven’t had a chance to read my other posts about the SRC, here’s the rundown:

The SRC is an amazing group of bloggers who are paired up with a secret blogging partner every month.  That month, we scour our partner’s blog for new recipes and can pick any single recipe to replicate.  I always have such a hard time deciding on what to make!  We’re even allowed to modify the original recipe according to our dietary restrictions, tastes, and what ingredients we have on hand.  Everyone in the group will make a blog post about the recipe and reveal it to one another on the same day.  So- SURPRISE!  Here we are with May’s reveal.

This month, I had the pleasure of being assigned to blog about Sarah from The Pajama Chef.  Hi Sarah!  I’ve already been following Sarah’s blog for a while and I just love it.  I share her love of peanut butter (I had to choose a recipe with some of that in there!) and now also apparently running… this past Sunday, I ran my very first race- the Broad Street 10 Miler in Philly.  I should maybe correct myself and say I probably don’t love running as much as Sarah, but I’m certainly giving it a whirl for a bit.

Anyway, after taking forever to decide which one of Sarah’s amazing recipes to try… I wanted to give this tasty sounding dip a shot.  (I think I’m making your Fried Chickpeas next week!)

Asian Peanut Veggie Dip

Ingredients:  

1/4 cup Asian Sesame Dressing (I used our fav, Ken’s Light)

1/4 cup Peanut Butter

1/4 cup Honey (I used a little less)

Crushed Red Pepper to taste (I think I did 1t or maybe a bit more)

Directions:

Mix first three ingredients with a whisk until well combined.  Add crushed red pepper and serve with sliced veggies.

Original Recipe from:  The Pajama Chef

4 Simple Ingredients

4 Simple Ingredients

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Like I said, this dip is clearly so easy to make.  I loved the consistency; it’s not too watery but not too thick and just the right amount of gloopy from the honey.  MMM!

Keep your eyes open for a post about our Seattle & Vancouver vacation and also about our run weekend!  For now, here’s the latest adorable Stella pic for you .

Appropriate Caption:  "Thanks for letting me finish the rest of your Cherry water ice, Mom!"  ... we had to bathe her after!

Appropriate Caption: “Thanks for letting me finish the rest of your Cherry water ice, Mom!” … we had to bathe her after!

Check out all these other SRC Reveal Recipes… they all look so good!



Spinach-Artichoke Lasagna & April SRC Reveal

I am so excited to share this recipe with you for this month’s Secret Recipe Club Reveal day.  This is the FIRST Lasagna I’ve ever made!  I was really nervous but it turned out to be perfectly creamy, cheesy, and delicious.

The Secret Recipe Club (secretly) pairs bloggers up with each other every month.  We can pick ANY recipe that our assigned blogger has ever made, take it and try to make it ourselves.  Everyone reveals their partner and the recipe on the same day so we can all see what has been made!  This is the third month I’ve participated and I love it.  It’s a great way to meet new bloggers, try new recipes, and get others to try yours too!

This month, I was given the assignment to try a recipe from Holly who is the amazing woman behind the blog PheMOMenon (adorable).  Holly has three kids and the cutest Bulldog puppy, I don’t know how she does it all!  I enjoyed reading her story including how she met her husband-  he was her instructor on her very first skydive… love it!

After browsing so many recipes, I finally had to pick The Spinach Artichoke Crab Dip inspired Lasagna.  While her original recipe sounds so outrageously tasty, I couldn’t cough up enough dough on this week’s shopping trip to buy good crabmeat… so I left that out.  I also didn’t make the full size since I was only feeding three for dinner.  What I ended up with was an amazingly cheesy, creamy, absolutely fabulous lasagna recipe that I am going to make again VERY soon.  WOW!

I do have to thank Holly not only for the recipe but for the boost of confidence she gave me when her post warned me not to be discouraged by the “béchamel” I’d be making.  It was so easy.  Also, I loved her diagram of the lasagna… so cute.

Spinach-Artichoke Lasagna

Recipe slightly adapted from:  PheMOMenon

Ingredients**:

For the béchamel:

3 cups 2% Milk
6 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
1 Shallot, chopped very fine
4 cloves Garlic, minced or chopped very fine
1/4 cup AP Flour
1 teaspoon Sea Salt
1 teaspoon freshly Ground Black Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper
1 12oz package shredded Cheese- Italian/Pizza mix or Mozzarella, divided (about 2 cups for the sauce and another cup for the topping) 

For the Filling:
1 lb package Frozen Chopped Spinach, thawed and drained/squeezed dry (I used fresh spinach, cooked it, and then drained and chopped)
1 12-oz jar Marinated Artichoke, drained and chopped into small pieces 

For the Lasagna:

1 box Barilla Oven Ready Lasagne Noodles 

Directions:

1.  Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a 9x13x3 inch pan with Cooking Spray and set aside.  

2.  Place a dutch oven or large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the butter and melt completely. Add shallots and garlic to the butter and cook for 3 minutes until softened.

3.  (Make the Bechemel! Key here is whisking) Add the flour to the pan and cook while whisking for 3 minutes. Slowly add the milk while continuing to whisk. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 5-7 minutes or until a little bubbly and slightly thickened (the cheese will make it a lot thicker, it will be more of a gravy-like consistency at this point). Whisk in the salt, pepper and red pepper if using.

4.  Remove the pan from the heat and add all but about 1 cup of the shredded cheese.  Stir until the cheese is melted and the sauce is thick and smooth.  (You’re going to want to go swimming in this stuff at this point.  OMG)  Stir in the drained/dried chopped spinach, chopped artichokes and stir to combine.

5.  I had 15 sheets of Lasagna in my box.  I did mine with 4 layers of sauce, 3 layers of noodles (slightly overlapping), and 1 layer of cheese.  

Order:  Sauce – Noodle – Sauce – Noodle – Sauce – Noodle – Sauce – CHEESE!

6.  Cover the baking dish with foil.  Bake for 50 minutes, then remove the foil and let bake for another 10-15 min to brown the top a bit, depending on how you like it.  Remove the pan and let it rest for 5 minutes or so before serving.  

**Pay attention!**  The original recipe was for two lasagnas which would be way too much for us.  I split the recipe in half.  I totally did not have enough filling.  SO, learn from my mistake (not fatal, but should be corrected) and double the bechemel/filling and use a smaller baking dish in order to have a more perfect lasagna.  Like I mentioned, this is also the first time I’ve ever made one, so there has to be some learning curve, right?!  (I should have listened and just made the whole batch and eaten the rest as dip or with a spoon!!!)

Chop chop

Chop chop

Couldn't you just eat the entire pot just like this?

Couldn’t you just eat the entire pot just like this?

Oven-Ready Sheets are easy to use!

Oven-Ready Sheets are easy to use!

Here's what it looks like coming together...

Here’s what it looks like coming together…

Layers are ready for the oven

Layers are ready for the oven

I made this for Myself, Dave, and our friend Diana and the three of us devoured it.  It is seriously so good.  Like I mentioned above, I didn’t have enough sauce to completely cover the bottom of the dish which made the first layer crispy.  Of course this made it taste freakin’ amazing… but in terms of lasagna, it certainly wasn’t supposed to happen!

I could have eaten this entire sheet...

I could have eaten this entire sheet…

What an amazing dish!

What an amazing dish!

I am a loser and actually googled what to serve on the side of Lasagna... we had a delicious baguette with some seasoned EVOO!

I am a loser and actually googled what to serve on the side of Lasagna… we had a delicious baguette with some seasoned EVOO!

Thanks Holly for such an awesome recipe!!!  I can’t wait to read more of your blog 🙂

Click below to see so many other creative/delicious recipes from today’s SRC Reveal: