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Showing posts from February, 2021

Hello Dolly Bars

Hello Dolly Bars (aka 7 Layer Bars/Magic Bars) are one of those classic desserts that you no doubt probably had as a kid.  With a graham cracker crust and easy layers of chocolate chips, pecans and coconut, these bars are a classic for a reason!  A can of sweetened condensed milk is drizzled over the top, which magically binds all of the layers together into ooey gooey perfection! In short, they are incredibly scrumptious with very minimal effort. A friend recently made a special request for these bars, so I got to work!  It's been a long time since I've had these, and as lover of a good chocolate/coconut dessert, I'm glad to have these back in my life (Thanks, Del!). These bars have several variations - You can also add white chocolate chips and/or butterscotch chips.  You can also substitute the pecans with walnuts, or leave them out altogether.  In fact, you could even use chocolate graham crackers in the crust, if you want a double (or triple) dose of chocolate. The ori

My Favorite Hummus

I couldn't post my Homemade Naan Bread recipe without also sharing my favorite homemade hummus!  They go together like peanut butter and jelly, after all! I'm fairly certain our daughter could live off of hummus.  She loves it with soft pita bread, pita chips, grape tomatoes, sweet peppers and sliced cucumbers.  Really, our whole family loves it.  I've even been known to spread it on lightly toasted slices of my Homemade Naan Bread  with a  sprinkling of Everything Seasoning and sliced turkey for a quick turkey sandwich. For convenience sake, I often buy the individual snack packs of hummus at the grocery store to make snack time easy, but nothing beats making it homemade.  The lemon juice adds a terrific freshness, and this recipe reminds me of the hummus at Taziki's Mediterranean Cafe. Celeste's Favorite Hummus Ingredients: 1 (15 oz) can chick peas, drained (reserve liquid) 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice 1/4 cup tahini 1 clove garlic, minced 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive

Homemade Naan - Like at Disney's Sanaa!

Have you had the bread service at Disney World's Sanaa Restaurant at Animal Kingdom Lodge?  The stuff is legendary.  There, you can feast on fresh Naan with a big selection of assorted dipping sauces...all with a view of the savanna while zebras and giraffes meander by.  I love Animal Kingdom and Animal Kingdom Lodge...they are a must when we visit! Homemade Naan is easier than you might think.  While traditional Naan is made in a hot tandoor oven, home cooks can get a similar result with a hot cast iron skillet (or a non-stick skillet if you don't have cast iron).  The trick is making sure your skillet is nice and hot before cooking the bread.   Also, the secret ingredient is the greek yogurt, which helps gives Naan it's pillowy texture.  I love drizzling warm Naan with either a little melted butter or olive oil and a sprinkle of Everything Seasoning.  YUM!   Naan has many uses, such as flatbread, pizzas, sandwiches, or just as a side for hummus, dipping sauces or stews. E

Strawberry Brownies with Dark Chocolate Ganache

  How was your Valentine's Day, friends?  Hopefully it was filled with lots of love (and chocolate!).  We have a tradition of this homemade spaghetti on V-Day (for at least 14 years running), and I usually whip up some sort of chocolatey dessert to go with it. This year, these dark chocolate brownies with strawberries and a dark chocolate ganache made a beautifully decadent dessert.  These are basically chocolate covered strawberries in brownie form, and are rich with a perfectly dense, fudgy brownie.   Don't wait for a special occasion to make them, though.  Whether it's Valentine's Day or some random day in the middle of winter, these make an equally wonderful indulgence!   Enjoy! Strawberry Brownies with Dark Chocolate Ganache Adapted from:   Southern Living Ingredients: 2/3 cup all-purpose flour 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa 3/4 tsp kosher salt 1/2 tsp baking powder 2 large eggs 2/3 cup granulated sugar 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar 1 tsp vanilla extract

World's Best Homemade Lasagna

Looking for something delicious to make over the weekend?   This sort of dish is perfect to make on a lazy Sunday afternoon, with some Italian music gently playing in the background.  It's worth the extra work...I promise! In searching for Lasagna recipes online, I came across this gem, and with a name like "World's Best Lasagna" I knew it better deliver.  And it does! This recipe has TWO kinds of meat in the sauce.  Sweet Italian sausage and ground turkey (or beef) are both added, and the sauce simmers for a good 1.5 hours to really make the flavors sing.  I chose turkey, just so it would be a little leaner and healthier. Pull the kiddos in to help assemble the lasagna.  They will love helping with the pasta layers! Enjoy! World's Best Homemade Lasagna Adapted from: Ingredients: 1 pound sweet Italian sausage ¾ pound ground turkey OR beef ½ cup minced onion 2 cloves garlic, crushed 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes 2 (6 ounce) cans tomato pa

Mini Blueberry & Cardamom Scones

So....remember those  Strawberries & Cream Scones that I posted?  Yeah, well...they were so dang good that I made them again.   Sorry, not sorry. Only this time, I used blueberries and added some cardamom.  There's something about cardamom and blueberries.  I absolutely love them together.  I always add a dash of cardamom when I make blueberry  muffins and pancakes, too. The glaze on these also makes them special.  They are NOT your usual, run-of-the-mill scones that can be a little on the dry side.  These are filled with juicy blueberries and the glaze just pushes them over the top.  I'm not sure that I'll ever make scones without a glaze, now. The smaller size also makes them the perfect grab and go breakfast or snack.   Enjoy! Mini Blueberry & Cardamom Scones Adapted from:   Baker By Nature Ingredients: 2 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour 1/2 tsp salt 2 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp baking soda 1/3 cup granulated sugar 1 tsp ground cardamom 1 stick unsalted butter, VER

Salted Caramel Coconut Macaroons

I think my husband said it best - These macaroons taste like they've been "dipped in magic butter." LOL No really...these are like eating a coconut cloud filled with sweet and salty, caramelly goodness. Remember that Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce that I made?  Well, it's the star in this recipe and really makes these cookies special.  The original recipe calls for caramel ice cream topping (which you can totally use instead), but I couldn't help but use my homemade version. The ingredient list for these is short, and they come together in a snap.  If you have someone that loves caramel and/or coconut, surprise them with these on Valentine's Day!   You could even dip the bottoms of each cookie into melted chocolate, or drizzle the tops with it instead. Now, please excuse me while I go scarf one down! Salted Caramel Coconut Macaroons Adapted from: Ingredients : 5 ½ cups sweetened flaked coconut ⅔ cup all-purpose flour  ¼ teaspoon salt 1 (14 ou

Bourbon Pecan Chicken

This chicken recipe reminds me of something I'd be served in a high-end restaurant.  It's packed with rich flavors - hello pecans, brown sugar and bourbon! - and is actually really easy to make.  It's equally as great as a quick weeknight meal or an anniversary dinner. Chicken breasts are dredged in a quick mixture of pecans, bread crumbs and salt, and then seared for about 5 minutes to add a beautiful, brown color.  While the chicken finishes cooking in the oven, a delicious sauce made of brown sugar, Dijon, bourbon, and soy sauce is whisked up and is poured over the chicken before serving. Enjoy! Bourbon Pecan Chicken Adapted from: Ingredients : ½ cup finely chopped pecans ½ cup dry bread crumbs ¼ tsp salt 1 egg 3 Tbsp milk 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts 2 Tbsp olive oil 2 Tbsp packed, dark brown sugar 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard 4 tsp bourbon 1 Tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small cubes 1/4 cup sliced green onions

Homemade Everything Bagels

Homemade bagels aren't as difficult as you might think.  They are totally doable and so FUN to make!   I love a good Everything Bagel smothered with plain cream cheese.  I found a bottle of Everything Seasoning at Target, and I just HAD to try making them at home.  These disappeared so quickly, and my daughter has already requested that we make more.   She had a lot of fun helping me to roll these out and form them.  Any time that I make homemade dough/bread, I always call her into the kitchen to see if she wants to help.  It's always a fun time making a "mess" with flour all over the counter together.  She gets a kick out of it every single time. If you aren't a fan of Everything Seasoning, you can actually use this as a base recipe and make Cinnamon Raisin Bagels instead (or leave them plain!).  I've included notes at the bottom of the recipe on how to do this. Enjoy! Homemade Everything Bagels Adapted from:  The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook Ingredients