Sixth Sense Cookie Butter Brownies

Brownies

Cookie Butter Brownies

These are delicious and very easy to make. We got the recipe from Lauren’s Latest and from the moment I laid my eyes on these babies, it was like I knew they were going to be sinfully delicious.  I highly recommend the frosting.  Another use for the Trader Joe’s Speculoos Cookie Butter besides eating it with a spoon.  Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup all purpose flour

for the cookie butter frosting-
3 tablespoons softened butter
3 tablespoons cookie butter {or peanut butter}
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a glass 9×9 square pan with non stick cooking spray and set aside.
In a small pot, melt butter, chocolate chips and cocoa together over medium low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Stir in eggs, 1 at a time and vanilla. Gently stir in all dry ingredients until just incorporated. Pour into prepared pan and bake 20-30 minutes or until just set. Mine was done right at 20 minutes, but my oven is also hotter than the sun. Set aside to cool.

For the frosting, stir butter, cookie butter, vanilla and powdered sugar together until a thick paste forms. Stir in milk carefully and then mix vigorously to smooth out any lumps. Spread over brownies, cut into bars and serve.

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

Chocolate Chip Cookie

 

Look closely at this picture. Is this cookie literally winking at me? Yep, and it tuns out I am quite smitten as well…Now get inside my belly! This chocolate chip cookie may be the best we have ever come across. We make every recipe before we put it on our blog, so obviously we MUST eat everything too. It’s tough on us, but we live to serve. Try it. It’s a classic.

We got the recipe from Mom’s Who Think.

Ingredients:

2 cups + 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened to room temperature*
1 Tablespoon milk
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (9 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips**

*Melt the butter if you prefer chewier textured cookies. (We melted the butter for our cookies)

**Increase chips to 2 cups (12 ounces) if you like a lot of chips in each cookie (this will also increase the overall sweetness of the cookies)

Directions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda, set aside.

3. Using a mixer; cream together the butter, milk, brown sugar, and white sugar until thoroughly blended.

4. Add in the egg, the egg yolk, and vanilla and mix until well blended and smooth (about 1 minute).

5. Slowly blend in the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Do not over-mix.

6. Add the chocolate chips, and mix until they are evenly distributed throughout the batter (about 30 seconds).

7. Drop by rounded 2 Tablespoons (use a cookie scoop or combine 2 Tablespoons of dough into a rounded drop) onto the prepared cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart. Repeat until all dough is used.

8. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes in the preheated oven. The cookies should have golden brown edges and soft centers.

9. Remove from oven, and let cool on baking sheet for 1 minute. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely.

Memory Plates

Plates 

Wish we could say we thought this up, but it’s floating around the internet from school and crafty websites, to personal family blogs. LOVE it though. Did you know your child’s artwork can become permanent on a plain glass plate? (We even bought ours from the dollar store, to see if this DIY worked on inexpensive plates). It does. The only items you need are: Oil based or paint based permanent markers, oven-proof white plates and an oven.
The plates in the photograph were actually drawn by preschool age children, ages 2, 3, and 4 1/2. We started out with just two plates, but decided to add one more to illustrate just how much a child’s drawing changes in one short year. (That’s why the last plate says 2014).
We thought it would be such fun to have a child make a birthday plate every year, or make a plate for Santa’s cookies with their Christmas list written on the back of the plate! AHHH! I wish I had known this before my children were grown. My favorite keepsakes always involve my children’s art.
How about a birthday dinner using all the birthday child’s plates? Mother’s Day or Father’s day plates done by each child in the family? First day of school plates? Umm. Yea. There are so many possibilities, and half of them are in YOUR head. Get crackin’. Carefully though.

INSTRUCTIONS
Draw pictures on the plate with Oil based or PAINT PERMANENT PEN markers only. Place (oven-proof) glass plate in a 300 degree pre-heated oven for 30 minutes. Done.
*Hand wash only.

Quinoa Kick

Quinoa Kick

 

We were salivating by the time this salad was finished. Not only is this quinoa salad gorgeous to look at, it smells heavenly. The dressing is easy to make and has some sass and kick. Quinoa is so versatile. You can make any flavor or theme from Southwestern to Chinese. You can add nearly any veggie to it and make it a salad or a meal. “Quinoa is gluten-free, has a low glycemic index and provides all the eight essential amino acids, creating a complete protein.” truroots.com. It’s a great item for your food storage because it’s got protein up the wazoo!
We just love this recipe from Let’s Dish. We had this dish both hot and cold. Both were fantastic. Quinoa is easy to prepare and nearly impossible to ruin. It cooks up in 7-8 minutes and is as good cold as it is hot. You can whip up a big batch on Monday and eat it all week. This recipe uses chicken broth instead of water, but if you’re a vegetarian, vegetable broth is a great substitution. You won’t be disappointed. This salad is DELISH.

Emergency Heater

Emergency Stove

 

I’m kind of a worrier.  We’ve mentioned before that at the first “real” sign of Winter the nester in me starts up and I’m preparing for a calamity.  In November I filled 8 big containers with water and put them in the garage in a nesting frenzy.  In January our pipe gave out….not just any pipe, THE pipe. The one that helps you wash your hair and flush your toilets, and wash your dishes. Ugh.
Poor hubby heard water running at 4:00 in the morning.  He had to dig through 3 feet of snow in 5* temps to find the main water valve and turn it off. OFF.  We had no running water for three days.  Truthfully we’d turn it on once a night to flush and turbo shower.  We’d just let water leak into the house.  (We have some cleanliness standards).   Anyway, we used the emergency water in the garage. We boiled it and washed dishes, flushed the toilets with buckets and kept things running until we got help.  Not glamorous, but definitely a blessing.
That experience made for some emergency preparedness searching.  We found a good one here. It’s an emergency heater for your 72 hour kit in case the power goes off for a titch. Obviously it’s for a car or small space, and you need ventilation, but it’s totally easy to make and store. It took 3 minutes no lie.

WHAT YOU NEED:

New, quart-sized paint can ( Home Depot $3.50 )

  1. Unscented 70% isopropyl alcohol
  2. Large toilet paper roll
  3. One quarter and a pack of matches ( to tape to the can for easy opening )

Pull the inside tube out of the toilet paper. Pour the alcohol over the toilet paper. Seal the can with the lid. To use the heater, simply light the roll.  The end.

We are going to put an emergency tip or idea in our blog every so often.  Being prepared takes away your fear.

Grab And Go Overnight Oats

Overnight Oats

Mornings aren’t my best time of day. I know some of you rise at the crack of dawn, work out, read a bit of the paper, do a load of laundry, and then whip up a healthy breakfast. Not so over here. I’m RUNNING out the door with my arms and head full…every day. Even if I wake up earlier than usual, I’m still running. It’s quite frankly part, (o.k. MOST) of my exercise routine. If your mornings are like mine, there’s some good news for you; A breakfast that can be made the night before to “grab and go” in the morning. Steel cut oats, milk (almond and coconut are yummy too), fruit (dried, fresh or frozen), raisins, cinnamon, honey, agave, anything you like. Measure a serving size of oats ( according to package directions), and any of the ingredients you choose into a cup. Cover the oats and fruit with your choice of milk and put it into the refrigerator. They’ll be soft and ready to eat by morning. Cold or reheated “on the go” or wherever you go. You can make different combinations easily in one day to have ready for the week.  Try some of the following:

* Cinnamon, bananas, blueberries

* Peaches, cinnamon

* Strawberries, blueberries

* Blueberries, bananas, raspberries

* Raisins, brown sugar, or cinnamon, diced apples

*Apples, pecans, cinnamon

 

The added bonus of this breakfast is that you know all the ingredients.  There are no added sugars, colors or preservatives.  You can start your day off clean eating and feel satisfied.

Enjoy!

 

Party Graffiti

Christmas Graffiti Grinch

Wrap more than just presents this year… Wrap your kitchen or dining room table with paper! We just had a family get together and EVERYONE, young and “old” loved to add their artistic flair to the paper tablecloth. It was a fun way for the kiddies to keep busy as we waited for food and people to arrive. The cousins loved adding to each other’s pictures and the activity went on long after the meal was over. After dinner the clean up was a breeze. It will be a family tradition for sure. Get together and color on the furniture!

*Our paper came on a roll from Ikea, but the meat counter at your local grocer has some too.

Christmas Graffiti Santa

Ore oh’s

Plate Full

Looking for a quick and easy Christmas treat? These yummy dipped Oreos are a family favorite and an easy neighborhood gift. They look like they took all day to make and are ready in minutes. (I love to LOOK like I work harder than I do).
These little gems are DELICIOUS and beautiful. No one will know how fun and easy they are. It’ll be our little secret. Well, as secret as you can be on the internet.

Oreo Bliss

Here’s what you need:

*White chocolate chips ( I also buy premium white chocolate by the pound).
*Vanilla flavored almond bark
*Mint Oreos ( or any other cookie you enjoy)* Trader Joes peppermint Jo Joes are yummy too.
*Crushed candy canes or Andes white chocolate peppermint crunch for decoration (pictured).
*Chocolate flavored almond bark ( to dip or decorate tops).

Oreo Ingredients

Use equal parts white chocolate and white almond bark. Place in a 2-3 cup microwave safe dish and melt 30 seconds at a time. Remove bowl from microwave and stir after each 30 second interval until completely melted.
Place an Oreo in the chocolate and spoon chocolate over it until covered. Lift out the Oreo with a fork and gently tap on the edge of the bowl to discard extra chocolate. Place Oreo on wax paper or parchment. Make 3-5 cookies and then place mint pieces on top before chocolate hardens.

If you want to decorate the Oreos with any of the chocolate flavored bark, melt equal parts of chocolate bark and chocolate chips. (Dark or milk) in 30 second intervals, just as you did with the white chocolate.
Place warm chocolate in a Baggie and cut a small piece out of the corner to “draw” a design on the dried Oreos or dip half of the cookie in the chocolate.

And one last shot of these beauties! Can you believe it started with a single Oreo?

Transformation

Save Your “Dough” Artisan Bread

Artisan Bread

It’s cold. It’s winter. I want bread. Hot homemade bread. There’s something about this time of year that makes me want to bake and wear slippers and drink cocoa. Ideally, someone would bring bread to my door around dinner time. ( A little soup wouldn’t hurt either ). HOWEVER, reality is cruel.
I wanted to learn how to make artisan bread. In moments of crisis in our world, truthfully, I start nesting. Gathering food storage and panicking just a bit. I really wanted to learn how to use my food storage, and to make bread. Flour, yeast and salt are pretty much staples right? No oil or eggs needed, so in a pinch it could be done. It’s the perfect use of what you already have.

World crisis’ aside, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to the store to pick up a loaf of artisan bread and plunked down $5.00 to $6.00 for it. This artisan bread including the asiago cheese, probably costs .50 cents a loaf. It’s yummy and hearty and is simple to do. My dear friend Gaylyn taught me how to make it. Thank you, girl.

The great thing about this artisan bread recipe is that it can be doubled or halved and keeps in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. It’s so nice to pull out homemade dough when you make spaghetti or soup, and you (and your house), come out smellin’ like a rose. Spend some time one afternoon making dough and your good for a while. Another perk is that there are only four ingredients and you probably have them on hand.

ARTISAN BREAD

1 1/2 T granulated yeast ( 2 packets )
1 1/2 T kosher, sea or any corse salt
3 cups very warm but not hot water
6 1/2 cups UNBLEACHED flour
Cornmeal

1). Place the first three ingredients in a large bowl or Bosche mixer. Stir just to mix. Add 6 1/2 cups UNBLEACHED flour all at once. You can mix this by hand with a wooden spoon or in the mixer. Mix on low speed or by hand ONLY until incorporated and uniform and there are no streaks of flour or dry patches. The dough will be sticky. Do not knead.

2). Transfer dough into a large 5 quart bowl. Cover with a lid ( not airtight ). At room temperature, let the dough rise at least 2 hours. Longer rising time, up to 5 hours will not hurt the dough. It can be used from now on or put directly in the refrigerator.

3). Before baking, place a baking sheet or pizza stone that has been sprinkled with cornmeal in the oven to preheat. Place a cake pan or broiler pan with 1 1/2 to 2 inches of water under the baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Allow pan and water to preheat for 20 minutes.

4). When you are ready to bake, pull a grapefruit sized piece up and out of the dough. It will be sticky so flour up your hands. Hold the ball in your hands, add a little flour so it doesn’t stick. Stretch the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter turn as you go. Try not to handle it more than 30 seconds.

5). Flour your counter and let the dough ball rest and rise for another 40 minutes. It doesn’t need to be covered. Dust the top liberally with flour and slash a 1/4 inch deep “tic-tac-toe” pattern on the top with a serrated bread knife. Cover generously with grated asiago or parmesan cheese, or leave plain.

6). Slide bread onto the preheated stone. Bake for about 30 minutes or until bread is nicely browned and firm to the touch. Allow to cool, preferably on a wire cooling rack.

7). Herb bread. Add 1tsp. thyme ( 2tsp. fresh ) and 1 tsp. dried rosemary to water mixture. You can also add craisins or lemon zest, blueberries, roasted garlic. Whatever makes you salivate.

If you double the recipe, you’d have enough to share, and IDEALLY someone could bring homemade bread to MY door around dinner time….

Dough Rising

Dough Rising

Good Things Come In Threes

Good Things Do Come In Threes

Good Things Come In Threes. For example. Soccer socks. After soccer they are just giant, rolled up, football-sized space suckers in the sock drawer. You can’t really use them as socks. I mean you could but….anyway. We just got dumped on here in Utah. Almost 20″ of snow in one week. The kids wanted to go out and play in the snow, over and over and over. Hence, the sock shortage. We were down to the soccer socks. Out of desperation, a great idea was born!

*Soccer socks are long. NO snow between the socks and the snow pants .

*Soccer socks aren’t quitters. (They stay up), No sliding down and jammin’ into your boot
like a hot dog bun (personal experience).

*Soccer socks are thicker than regular socks.

*Soccer socks ARE snow socks.

You’re welcome.

Good Things Do Come In ThreesMaybe this is old news to all of you, but someone shared this trick with me and I didn’t know it before. When you’re making Rice Krispie squares or anything gooey that has to be pressed down, put butter on your hands. Simple trick but look at the difference between the buttered hand and the unbuttered hand. (It does leave you with less to lick off though).

Good Things Do Come In ThreesOne day I was just wondering what would happen if I put the anti-moisture packets in my spinach and lettuce. I did an experiment just for you. Totally works. When you put an anti-moisture packet in the plastic container, when you open it a week later, there isn’t even condensation on the top of the lid. None. Zero. Zilch. It would probably work in a Ziplock bag too. That little tid-bit saves me, I don’t know about you, but I’m a greens chucker because I can’t always use them fast enough. You can buy the anti moisture packets at an emergency preparedness store, or just use one from another food product. I also freeze spinach to add to soup or smoothies. Works like a charm.