Cookie's crumbles, morsels and tidbits

Chocolate Volcano Cookies (Gluten Free)

I pulled this recipe out of Good Housekeeping magazine this month.  We do not follow a gluten free diet at our house, but one of our favorite babysitters does.  I thought I better try these out and make them the next time she comes over.  They also only have six ingredients, which makes throwing them together so easy.  And to top it off, each cookie only has 135 calories and 4 grams of fat.  Not bad, as far as sweets and cookies are concerned.  But nothing prepared me for how good these would be!  If you love dark chocolate, or any chocolate at all for that matter, you will love these.  They are almost like chocolate meringue.  Light and fluffy, but rich and decadent.  You have to try them, they will not disappoint.  Enjoy!

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Chocolate Volcano Cookies:

1 lb confectioners’ sugar

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

1/2 t. salt

4 large egg whites

1 T. vanilla

1 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Lightly spray paper with nonstick spray.  In a large bowl, stir powdered sugar, cocoa and salt.  Add egg whites and vanilla.  Stir with a wooden spoon until smooth.  Add chocolate chips.  Stir well.  Set aside for 5 minutes.  Drop by rounded spoonfuls, about a dozen per cookie sheet.  Bake 13-15 minutes, until set and cracked.  Let cool on cookie sheet about 5 minutes.  Carefully transfer to wire rack to cool.

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Super Yummy Carrot Cake

After being gone all week for work, I really had no motivation today to do anything.  But I got the laundry done and decided I needed to cook a little to relax.  There were actually carrots in the refrigerator and I have been craving a carrot cake for weeks.  Today was the day.  As the cakes cooked in the oven, I went to pull the ingredients for the cream cheese frosting… and realized I had no cream cheese.  Luckily, I had two cans of pre-made frosting in the cupboard.  So while I can take credit for the cake, I had to improvise on the frosting.  Enjoy!

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Carrot Cake:

1 1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

6 eggs

1 T. vanilla

3 1/4 cup flour

1 T. cinnamon

2 t. baking soda

2 t. salt

1 t. baking powder

dash of ground nutmeg

dash of ground cloves

1 pound fine grated carrots

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray two 9″ pans or three 8″ pans.  Mix oil, sugars, eggs and vanilla.  Add all remaining dry ingredients except carrots.  Stir in dry ingredients until just mixed.  Add carrots, stirring until just mixed.  Pour into the prepared pans.  Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool.  Once completely cool, frost with your favorite cream cheese frosting.  Enjoy!

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Giant Cinnamon Roll

I found this recipe on Pinterest this week and thought today would be the perfect day to give it a try.  You can find the original post here.  I did not change anything, other than using just a plain powdered sugar/milk frosting.  This was much easier to make than I expected and the dough actually rose, sometimes I have a problem with that.  And yes, I did eat this for dinner tonight, don’t judge.  Enjoy!

Giant Cinnamon Roll:

2 1/4 cup flour

3 T. sugar

1 t. salt

1 package instant yeast

In a large bowl, mix evenly.  Set aside.

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup milk

3 T. butter

1 egg

Melt water, milk and butter over medium heat until melted and it reaches a temperature of 115 degrees.  Pour this liquid mixture into the flour mix and stir.  Add 1 egg.  Stir to make a soft dough.  Dough is ready when it pulls away from the sides of the bowl and is somewhat elastic.  On a slightly floured surface, knead dough for about 3 minutes.  Form into a ball and place in a bowl.  Cover tightly and let rest for 30 minutes.  The dough will rise slightly.  After 30 minutes, roll out the dough into a 15×12 inch rectangle.

3 T. butter, melted

1/4 cup sugar

2 T. cinnamon

Spread melted butter over dough.  Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on top.  Using a pizza cutter or knife, cut into even strips.  Spray a 9″ pan with non-stick spray.  Take one strip and roll into a traditional cinnamon roll shape.  Place in the middle of the pan.  Continue adding the strips on in one big circle.  Loosely cover with foil and place into an oven that has been preheated to 200 degrees and then turned off.  Let rise for 60-90 minutes.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake for 20-30 minutes.  Cover at 15 minutes with foil to keep from browning too fast.  Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes.  Drizzle with your favorite cinnamon roll frosting.  I used just plain powdered sugar and milk.  Enjoy!

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Simple Baklava

We have a family friend that makes the BEST baklava I’ve ever had.  EVER.  I know it’s an old family recipe and hopefully some day she’ll teach me her secret ways of making it.  Until then, I found this simple recipe on Pinterest and thought I’d give it a try today.  Make sure you have enough time to sit and do all the steps that this takes, because it is a very time consuming recipe.  But not difficult, so try it out!  I’m still waiting for mine to cool before I can actually try a bite, but it looks delicious!  Enjoy!

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Simple Baklava

16 oz walnuts

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 roll (8 oz) phyllo dough

12 Tablespoons melted butter

Using a food processor, pulse walnuts, sugar and cinnamon just enough to chop down, do not make into a fine powder.  Keep in a bowl and set to the side.  Make sure your phyllo dough is thawed.  Unroll and leave on the wax paper it comes in.  Take a damp clean cloth and lay over top to keep the phyllo from drying out.  Using a pastry brush, brush a thin layer of the melted butter onto the bottom of a 9×13 pan.  Peel up one layer of the phyllo.  This is the hardest part for me.  Lay into pan.  Brush another thin layer of butter over phyllo.  Repeat using 5 layers of phyllo dough.  Sprinkle 1/3 of the walnut mix on top.  Now repeat again with the phyllo dough and butter, using 5 more sheets of phyllo.  This takes a steady hand, as that first layer of phyllo on the walnuts wants to slide around.  Just try to hold it steady as you are brushing on the butter.  Sprinkle another 1/3 of the walnut mix on top.  Repeat again with the phyllo dough and butter, using 5 more sheets of phyllo.  Sprinkle the remaining 1/3 of the walnut mix on top.  Repeat again with the phyllo dough and butter, using up what you have left of the dough.  I wondered if I’d have enough butter, but I had exactly enough.  Using a very sharp knife, cut the baklava into diaganel squares.  This was also somewhat difficult, as the phyllo wants to pull off.  Bake in a preheated oven set at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  Flip pan around and bake another 20 minutes.

3/4 cup water

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup honey

Once you’ve flipped the pan around for the final 20 minutes, start this sauce.  In a small saucepan, mix water, sugar and honey and bring to a slow boil over medium to high heat.  Boil for 10 minutes.   When the pan comes out of the oven, cut again to make sure the layers are cut through.  Again, somewhat difficult, just try to keep everything in place.  Then pour the sauce over the entire pan evenly, making sure to get all the pieces covered.  Cool completely and then keep covered for up to 5 days.  Enjoy!

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Creamy Tortellini Artichoke Soup in the Crock Pot

Let’s start this cold, new year off with a soup for your crock pot.  I found this recipe on Pinterest and decided today would be a great day to try it.  This is a very easy, yummy soup.  The original recipe called for ground sausage, but I did not use any meat.  I almost threw in a can of chicken, but did not have one in the house.  Next time I would also throw in a can of mushrooms.  But enough talk, here it is, enjoy!

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Creamy Tortellini Artichoke Soup

8 oz. cream cheese, cut into cubes

1 package of cheese tortellini (I find these in the shredded cheese and egg isle)

32 oz. chicken stock

1 can artichoke hearts

1 can diced tomato with green chilis (I use a can of Rotel)

1/2 onion diced very small

Lowrey’s salt to taste

Mix all in your large crock pot.  Cook on low for 4-5 hours.  The green chilis in the Rotel give this just a hint of a kick, so good on a cold winter day.  Enjoy!

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Christmas Goodie Plates

Today I spent the afternoon with a wonderful friend and we got all our Christmas goodie plates done.  We were much smarter this year and only made 4 things.  Now, don’t these look yummy?  Almond cookies, chocolate fudge, pretzel kisses and white chocolate peppermint bark.  Mmmmm…

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Apple Pie

I had a peck of Honeycrisp apples that needed to get used up today.  So after church and lunch at mom’s, I came home to make a pie.  This recipe is from a neighbor that lived down the street from my parents many years ago.  I used to babysit for her kids and one Saturday she invited my mom and I over to make apple pie.  This recipe card is in her handwriting, it has the pie crust recipe on one side and the apple filling on the other.  And now, 20 years later, I still pull this recipe out any time I make an apple pie.  Very easy and very good on a cold, November day.  My recipe below is for the filling, I am assuming most know how to make a double pie crust.  Enjoy!

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Apple Pie:

9 apples peeled and sliced (I like to use Honeycrisp or Granny Smith)

1 1/2 cups white sugar

1 t. cinnamon

dash of allspice

dash of nutmeg

dash of cloves

3 large T. flour

Mix all together.  Layer apples into bottom crust.  Continue until pie pan is full.  Place your second crust on top and finish off as you normally would.  Bake the pie at 375 degrees for 1 hour or until crust is nice and brown.  Enjoy!

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Fall Cookie Decorating

Every fall the boys and I decorate cookies in the shape of leaves.  This year we had a very special friend come and help us.  I used to work with Miss Marie and she is like a second mom to me.  I love her dearly, and my kids love her dearly.  I’ve taken senior pics of both of her kids, I’ve taken wedding pics at her daughter’s wedding, and most recently family pics with her daughter.  I love her more than she will ever know and I’m so glad she was here today to make special memories.  Here are some of the fun shots from the day.

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Apple Brownies

This was a post I found on Pinterest months ago.  Finally decided to try it this weekend.  It states it is similar to blond brownies with apple chunks.  Hmmm…not quite.  These tasted really good, but were definitely not a “brownie.”  More of an apple cinnamon cake.  It tasted great with my morning coffee and my husband finished it off last night after I went to bed.  Try it out, let me know what you think.

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Apple Brownies:

  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3 medium apples – peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 9×9 inch baking dish (I actually used an 8×8.)
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the melted butter, sugar, and egg until fluffy. Fold in the apples.  In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Stir the flour mixture into the wet mixture until just blended. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared baking dish.
  3. Bake 35 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

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Woodland Wedding Stylized Photography

This was my little project for the fall.  I’ve been wanting to do a stylized wedding shoot for a few years, and finally this year I was able to pull it all together.  My stunning cousin Johanna was my model, she brought along her boyfriend Jake.  I borrowed a friend’s fall-tastic backyard, mom and I styled the shoot, and my very talented sister did hair and makeup.  Dress is from The Bridal Gallery on 44th Street.  Jake’s suit is from Banana Republic.  I made the bouquet and boutonniere.  The day started with a steady drizzle, I thought we would have to scrap the whole thing.  But the rain stopped and off we went.  Everything turned out beautiful!  Thanks to everyone for all their help!

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