we are back from spokane and a weekend of lots of holiday fun! not only did we get to celebrate the thanksgiving holiday with our family, i had also been secretly planning my mom's surprise 60th birthday party with my dad and siblings....and we pulled it off!
happy happy thanksgiving to you! we all have so much to be thankful for, and i love that we have this holiday to take the time to spend with our families and really give thanks.
i am so thankful for my amazing husband, my awesome (and sometimes crazy) family, and our wonderful friends. all of them add so much to our lives and i don't know where we'd be without them.
i hope each of you have a wonderful thanksgiving full of lots of good food, lots of good laughs and lots of friends and family time!
i'm leaving you with this giant chocolate turkey that i purchased at our local zupans made by moonstruck chocolate. you better believe we'll be eating that that thing later on. so if you're looking for me, i'll be in my chocolate turkey induced coma ;0)
so i know there are about a bazillion recipes out there for homemade "peanut butter cups" or peanut butter bars or peanut butter balls, but you know what? i even posted earlier this year, right here.
but this recipe trumps them all. and for two great reasons. one...it's my mom's recipe and two, the butter. i'm talking paula dean amounts of butter. like, you can really only eat these once a year (or twice like we do) because just one is guaranteed to make you gain 5 pounds. but they are so worth it.
you know why else my recipe is better ( like the first two weren't good enough. ha!) they are so easy to make. all you do is cream peanut butter, butter and powdered sugar together and dip them in chocolate and woilah! you've got melt in your mouth (and head straight to your ass!) amazingly delicious chocolate covered peanut butter balls.
they might not be the prettiest recipe on earth, but i guaranteed they're the yummiest!!!
we make a double batch of these bad boys for thanksgiving and they last us through till christmas. and yes, you need a double batch. they're that good.
Mom's Peanut Butter Balls **This recipe is doubled already
2 c creamy peanut butter
2 c butter, room temperature
5 1/2 c powdered sugar
64 oz (6 bags) milk chocolate chips (i get crazy and make white chocolate too)
cream together the butter and peanut butter. add powdered sugar, one cup at a time.
stick the mixture in the freezer for about 30 minutes to harden up. remove from freezer and scoop into balls (about 1 tbsp each). a melon baller works great for this!
stick back in the freezer.
over a double boiler, melt chocolate chips. a little tip on making the melted chocolate a little thinner for dipping...add about a tbsp of canola oil to the chocolate chips and this will make the chocolate thinner and easier for dipping.
put chocolate covered peanut butter balls back in the freezer till they've harden. Store in a sealed container in your freezer.
when ready to eat, remove from the freezer about 15-20 minutes before hand to soften up slightly.
it's officially here! the yearly week of holiday gluttony :)
don't get me wrong, i love stuffing my face full of turkey and mashed potatoes (especially mashed potatoes) just as much as the next guy (or gal for you politically correct peeps out there). because i know what's coming on thursday, i try and counteract the damage being done, by lightening things up earlier during the week.
i also try and lighten up the amount of actual cooking i have to do because of all the cooking that comes on thursday. (side note: while in years past, we've helped my mom, who does the majority of the work, i'm getting out of 'almost' all the work this year, since husband and i are driving to spokane on thursday - promoise i didn't plan that mom! hehehe).
which is where this super easy and super healthy chicken recipe comes in to save the day!! i mean what's healthier than chicken, braised in low sodium chicken broth and served with a side of kale. i feel healthier just typing that. it's also a healthy recipe that tastes good too! those kind are the best.
i have a confession to make. i'm an impulsive baker. it's true and now that i've said it and it's out in the open, i feel so much better. :)
i don't know how it happens, i'll be sitting on my couch, reading, watching tv, blogging, or doing whatever and then the urge will strike. i have to bake cookies right now! it happens more often when i'm perusing pinterest, which is where i found these amazingly delicious sugar cookie bar recipes i'm about to share with you....so really it's pinterest's fault. not mine.
anyways, i'm sure you've seen these on pinterest too. they're all over the place. those pretty pink sugar cookie bars, staring you in the face, begging you to make them. well i finally did, randomly on a wednesday night while husband was at school (see i was home alone and bored which is never good for an impulsive baking addict) and they were so delicious.
they're not as pretty as some others on the internet, but they sure did taste good!
but i started them and then i realized i didn't have all the ingredients. and there was no way i was running to safeway on a wednesday night in my pajamas. so i improvised. i was out of vanilla extract (probably from all the other random baking i've done) so i added my own secret ingredient...BOURBON! bourbon went into the cookies and bourbon went in to the frosting and it was delicious!
i also ran out of all purpose flour so i substituted one cup of whole wheat flour, which wasn't bad, but i don't recommend doing unless you run out of flour halfway through making sugar cookie bars too. that being said, i didn't include the whole wheat flour substitution into the recipe below, but you're darn right i included the bourbon substitute. vanilla schmanilla ....bourbon is where it's at ladies and gents!
ps...i bet if you had a christmas tree cookie cutter and some green food coloring, you could make some pretty cute and pretty delicious christmas tree cookies with this recipe. i may or may not have that planned for my christmas cookie baking binge i'll be starting on in the near future.
Secret Ingredient Sugar Cookie Bars
3/4 cup butter, softened to cool room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon bourbon (SECRET INGREDIENT!!)
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
In a large bowl, cream together the butter, granulated sugar and powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and bourbon and mix for 1-2 minutes. Mix in the flour, baking powder and salt.
Lightly grease a 9X13-inch baking pan. Press the mixture into the pan.
Bake for 10-13 minutes. The bars shouldn't have any color around the edges and barely be set in the middle. Let the bars cool completely before frosting.
For the frosting, cream together the butter and powdered sugar until smooth. Add in the bourbon and mix. Add the milk or cream and mix until the frosting is light and fluffy. Add food coloring, if desired.
i couldn't help myself! i went to target this weekend to do a little shopping, and well, they already had all their christmas items out (what department store doesn't?) and something inside me decided it was time to decorate our apartment too.
first of all, please let me tell you that i have always been one of those people who REFUSES to decorate for christmas until after thanksgiving. i think each holiday deserves it's own special day and i get so mad when i start seeing christmas items in the department store before halloween has even arrived, but i JUST COULDN'T HELP MYSELF.
i think i was really just missing the snow that has already arrived in spokane, so i needed a little holiday cheer to brighten my day. at least that's what i'm telling myself, because, well, this happened this weekend:
our apartment is too small for a big christmas tree this year, so i had to rethink how to use our tree decorations...
pine cone garland, courtesy of a little pinterest inspiration
here, i'm recycling both wedding decorations and christmas decorations...how thrifty am i?!?!
this cute little mini christmas tree centerpiece will serve as our christmas tree this year.
yes i took a selfie in a santa hat. and yes i forced my poor puppy into reindeer ears. he loved them. (HA!!!)
my absolute favorite soup in the whole wide world is french onion soup. there's something about the carmelized onions topped with crusty bread and heaping amounts of melted cheese that just makes me go yum!
so i was ecstatic when i was reading Lunch in Paris and found the best recipe in the whole wide world for french onion soup. the best part about it...is that if you have some time (it takes about 4 hours total to make) it's the easiest thing in the world.
all you do is slice up a bunch of onions and toss them in a dutch oven with some butter, evoo, thyme, salt, pepper and a bay leaf and let the onions carmelize on their own in the oven.
chop 'em and leave 'em. what's easier than that???
what's your favorite fall (or anytime of year) soup? Best Ever French Onion Soup
8-10 medium onions
4 tbsp butter
2 tbsp evoo (extra virgin olive oil)
a few twigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1/2 c dry sherry
8 cups chicken broth
8 slices stale baguette or sourdough bread (if you don't have any stale bread around, you can dry yours out in a warm oven in about 20 min. just set the oven to warm (about 200 degrees) and set your bread on the oven rack)
8 oz grated gruyere cheese
8 oz grated comte cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a dutch oven combine the onions, butter, olive oil, salt, thyme and bay leaf. Cook, covered in the oven for 1 hour.
Stir onions and leave the lid slightly askew and continue to let cook for an additional 1.5 hours.
Transfer the dutch oven to the stovetop and cook until all liquid is evaporated (about 20 min). Add the sherry and cook for 5 minutes. Add the broth and make sure to get all the bits of the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil, turn down and let simmer for 30 minutes.
Spoon the soup into 8 oven safe bowls and top with the baguette and a generous amounts of cheese. Pop in the oven under the broiler for 1-2 minutes or until the cheese is melted, browned slightly and nice and bubbly.