Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Because Everyone Needs a Go To CC Cookie Recipe

I knowwwww I've been a bad blogger lately and haven't been as consistent, shame on me! This is largely due to a very fun weekend I had in Fredricksburg, TX to celebrate a bride-to-be, another post on that coming. But back to today's post, chocolate chip cookies...who doesn't love these? I made a batch to deliver to some loved ones and then even let some remain in our home, I know my husband is thrilled about this as he often asks, "Can't you ever just make "normal" cookies?" Well he got his wish!

This recipe was SO easy. I made the dough last night and then baked off the cookies early this morning. Enjoy!

Irresistible Chocolate Chip Cookies from RealSimple

20 (makes 40 cookies) Hands-On Time: 0hr 15m Total Time: 0hr 35m


  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips


  1. Heat oven to 375° F.
  2. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil. (I just sprayed them with non-stick baking spray)
  3. With an electric mixer on medium-high, beat the butter, sugars, and vanilla for 3 minutes. Add the egg and beat until combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the baking soda. Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly add the flour mixture to the egg mixture until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  4. Scoop the dough into tablespoon-size mounds and place on the prepared baking sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake until lightly browned at the edges, 12 to 15 minutes. (12 minutes seemed perfect for me)
  5. Cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks and cool completely.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Entertaining Ideas for a Happy Hour at Your House

Happy Thursday everyone! Last night I had the pleasure of hosting one of my girls groups over at my home for an evening happy hour. It was so fun. I know some people feel like entertaining in their house is stressful, expensive and time consuming but I want to share some tips and my menu with you all to prove that you CAN do it easily.

First I wanted to list my menu. This happy hour started at 6pm and while normally I would serve more heavy appetizers for this time frame I kept it light since this is what this particular girls group tends to do.

- Block of Cream Cheese with Chutney poured over, served with crackers of your choice
- Pea Pesto Crostini 
 - Chipotle Black Bean Dip with Tortilla Chips & Veggies (Recipe coming soon!)
 - Spinach Parmesan Dip with Tortilla Chips & Veggies
 - Spicy Roasted Chickpeas
 - Roasted Edamame
 - Mixed Nuts

The GREAT thing about this menu was that almost everything can be made ahead of time. I made both dips and the chickpeas the night before. I used store bought chutney for the cream cheese so that was easy. The only thing I made right before was the Roasted Edamame. I also just made one batch of everything and that was more than plenty for about 15 girls!

Also, put together your table the night before or earlier in the day of the party. Its always helpful to put sticky notes on your serving pieces so you know where everything goes and what food item is going in them. It's also a good idea to take dips out of the fridge about 30 minutes before you serve them to soften them up.

Using frozen vegetables and canned beans really kept the cost down of all my items. The most expensive ingredients I used were parmesan cheese and chipotles in adobo. A little trick I learned about chipotles in adobo, usually recipes only call for 1 or 2 teaspoons of this ingredient, but then you are leftover with the whole can of them. You can deseed all the chilies and put them and the sauce in the can into a blender or food processor and puree it. Once pureed ration out a few servings into individual baggies and freeze until you need them.

Since I was serving pretty much all finger food I only put out cocktail napkins and just let everyone dig in. More fun that way sometimes! I set up a bar in the kitchen with additional cocktail napkins with the needed glasses and drinks. Don't forget to have a pitcher of ice water out too!

Do you all have any entertaining tips? The best thing to remember is to just have fun, if you are having fun and don't seem stressed than all your guests will too!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I Think I Could Make Muffins EVERYDAY...

I love to bake as I'm sure you all have gathered and if you are new to the blog than you will learn quickly. I especially love muffins, most likely because I love any bread products, but muffins are just so easy, they are the perfect thing to eat on the go and are one of my favorite things to bake for other people. On this occasion I was making these Apple Muffins for friends of ours who just had their second baby girl. These were even better than I expected and are even relatively healthy. Since these muffins were so good I'm tempted to try more of Ellie Krieger's recipes. Do any of you have favorites from Ellie?

I made a few tweaks to the recipe, mainly upping the cinnamon, switching out pecans for walnuts and using regular whole wheat flour instead of the pastry variety. My other suggestion would be to REALLY consider waiting 5 minutes after taking the muffins out of the oven and before placing them on the wire rack to cool. I found that having the muffins stay put in the pan for a little bit helped hold their shape better.

Apple Muffins from Food Network

Apple Muffins slight adapted from Ellie Krieger from Food Network

Yields about 12 muffins (I was able to get 16 muffins)


  • Cooking spray
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup natural applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup lowfat buttermilk
  • 1 Granny Smith apple cored and cut into 1/4-inch pieces


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a 12-capacity muffin pan with cooking spray.
In a small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar, the walnuts and cinnamon.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the all-purpose and whole-wheat flour, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, whisk the remaining 3/4 cup sugar and oil until combined. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, whisking well after each addition. Whisk in the applesauce and vanilla.
Whisk in the flour mixture in 2 batches, alternating with the buttermilk. Whisk just until combined. Gently stir in the apple chunks.
Pour the batter into the prepared muffin pan and sprinkle with the pecan mixture. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to remove any air bubbles. Bake for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center of 1 of the muffins comes out clean.
Let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the muffins to loosen them and unmold. Cool completely on the rack.

Veggie Meal

I'm going to have a lot of recipes coming at you all since I've been cooking up a STORM lately! I made these Stacked Roasted Veggie Enchiladas for dinner Sunday night and LOVED them, I will warn you though, this is not one of my "husband approved" meals, but it would be perfect for a girls night dinner. The leftovers are also very good so bonus there.

I found this recipe courteous of the all time consuming Pinterest. When I make these again I'll serve some tortilla chips and hot sauce on the side. Enjoy!

Stacked Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas via Perry's Palate

Stacked Roasted Veggie Enchiladas slightly adapted from Perry's Palate


1 poblano chile, cut into matchsticks
2 red bell peppers, cut into matchsticks
1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 small sweet potato, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 medium onion, halved and slivered (I left this out as the husband hates onions, but you should add if you like!)
1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen (I used frozen)
3 T heat-safe oil like grapeseed or coconut (Loving using grapeseed oil)
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and black pepper
2 cups homemade or store bought salsa/pico de gallo (I use 1 cup salsa and 1 cup pico)
2 ounces baby spinach leaves (about 2 big handfuls)
3-4 tortillas for layering, I used a WW version that was large so 1 tortilla was enough for each layer
2 cups reduced fat Mexican blend shredded cheese


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly oil a large shallow roasting pan or rimmed cookie sheet.
Place poblanos, red bell peppers, cauliflower, sweet potato, onion, and corn kernels onto cookie sheet. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle the cumin and minced garlic over top. Add a generous pinch or two of salt and black pepper, then use your hands to mix everything together. After everything is coated well, spread the vegetables evenly in the pan. Roast for 30-40 minutes until vegetables are tender and begin to brown in spots. Stir or shake the pan every 10 minutes for even roasting. Remove pan from oven and reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
Prepare an 8x8x2 or 9x9x2-inch square baking pan with nonstick spray. Spread 1/4 cup of salsa into the bottom of the baking pan. Add a layer of tortilla pieces, to completely cover the salsa. Top with 1/3 of the vegetables, a handful of spinach, and 1/3 of the cheese. Make a second layer of tortilla, salsa, vegetables, spinach, and cheese. Top with with a layer of tortillas, salsa, vegetables, and cheese. Cover with aluminum foil.
Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 10 minutes, until cheese is melted and everything is heated through.
Let it sit for 5 minutes and cut into squares. 
Serves 4-5

Monday, February 20, 2012

Must Try Chickpea Recipe

Hiiii friends, sorry that I've been MIA lately, life has gotten in the way, but I promise to get back on the blogging bandwagon. So I've been seeing multipe recipes lately for roasted chickpeas and have wanted to try them myself and man o man am I glad I did. Chickpeas are a good source of folic acid, fiber, 
and manganese and they have a lot of protein in them too. Basically chickpeas = awesome for you.

This recipe couldn't be easier, these are great as a snack, as a topping to a salad or to put out at party which I'll be doing this Wednesday night.

Spicy Roasted Chickpeas via Our Best Bites

1 15-ounce can chickpeas
1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drain and rinse chickpeas and pat dry with paper towels. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the spices and the olive oil. Toss the chickpeas in the spice mixture and spread the seasoned chickpeas over a lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes and then remove the pan from the oven. Use a spatula to toss the chickpeas, then replace the pan and cook for another 15-20 minutes or until browned (but not burned) and crispy. Allow to cool. Snack away.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

No Words...

This is going to be short and sweet because I am almost speechless by how ah-mazing these Brian Atwood shoes are...see for yourself loves!

Brian Atwood Raffia Heel Colorblock d'Orsay Sandal via Lola's Secret Beauty Blog

Are they not SO gorgeous and SO fun...I would love to have these for a wedding in Santa Fe that I'm in...a girl can dream right? You can purchase them here if you are so lucky!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Last Minute Valentines Gift Idea...

Ok so Valentine's Day is TODAY people, I know I would LOVE LOVE LOVE (Hint, Hint!) these Burberry Brit pajamas that I came across on Net-a-Porter. I think they are the most chic pajamas I have ever seen. They look oh so comfortable and are the epitome of classic. Who wouldn't love these??

I hope you all have a wonderful Valentine's Day, any big plans? We always like to stay in and cook! Enjoy the day friends!

Burberry Brit Checked Cotton Pajama Top via Net-a-Porter
Burberry Brit Checked Cotton Pajama Pant via Net-a-Porter

Friday, February 10, 2012

Latest Collab...Two Preppy Designers Unite

HAPPY FRIDAY! I'm so glad the weekend is finally here are you all? Any big plans this weekend? I have a fun girls Valentines dinner planned for tonight where my contribution will be some yummy and delicious balsamic roasted veggies, recipe to come next week. We also have a party to celebrate two of our dear friends wedding and the dress code is red and pink, can't wait to put my outfit together!

Now onto today's post, were you all aware that oh so preppy designer Milly has collaborated with Sperry? I just realized this last night and am loving some of the options. I actually don't own a pair of Sperry's, but some of these are so fun that I might need to invest in a pair now.

Original 2-Eye Boat Shoe by Milly in Navy Patent

Cunard Wedge by Milly in Geranium Patent

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Most Delicious Granola Bar I've EVER Tasted!

Happy Thursday friends! The weekend is almost here, YAY! I have another recipe for you all today and I can't take any credit it for it. My dear fellow baker friend Lisa and I share the same passion for sweets and treats. She came across these AMAZING granola bars over at Gingerbread Bagels (If you like sweets you NEED to be reading Gingerbread Bagels, all of her blondie recipes are sooo yum!) and made a batch and so sweetly brought me some. Is that a friend or what?! So thank you Lisa!! See her slightly modified recipe below.

Chocolate Chip Almond Butter Granola Bars from Gingerbread Bagels

2/3 cup plus 2 Tablespoons creamy almond butter
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar (Dark brown sugar will work too, use whatever you have)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups quick cooking oats
1/3 cup chopped unsalted almonds (I just cut them in half)
1/4 cup each semi sweet chocolate chips and dried cranberries
In a large bowl, mix the almond butter, brown sugar, honey, melted butter and vanilla extract.
Add in the oats, chopped almonds, chocolate chips and dried cranberries. Stir.
Lightly spray an 8 by 8 inch baking pan with nonstick spray. The nonstick spray will help the parchment paper stick to the pan.
Line the baking pan with parchment paper.
Spread the granola mixture into the pan. I use my hands to press it in.
Bake the granola bars at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

Now who else thought my title was clever besides me? Tehehe...I have an EASY and delicious (And healthy!) chicken recipe for you all today, I made it Monday night for dinner and we loved it. I found this Bruschetta Chicken on the time consuming but OH so addicting website, Pinterest. Time to get cooking!

Bruschetta Chicken via The Girl Who Ate Everything

Baked Bruschetta Chicken
Source: adapted from Kraft Foods and then adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything

4 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves 
1/2 cup KRAFT Sun-Dried Tomato dressing, divided
2 tomato, finely chopped
1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or 1 tsp. dried basil leaves

Place chicken (S+P it first) in resealable plastic bag. Add 1/4 cup dressing and seal bag. Turn bag over several times to evenly coat chicken with dressing. Refrigerate 10 minutes (I marinated it from lunch time on, feel free to do as long or as short as you have time for). Remove chicken from bag; discard bag and dressing.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and place chicken into your desired baking dish and put into the oven. Meanwhile, combine remaining 1/4 dressing, tomatoes, cheese and basil. Set your timer for 25 minutes (Timing could vary depending on how big and thick your chicken breasts are) to see chickens progress, and then in the last five minutes top the chicken breasts with tomato mixture. Bake until cheese is nicely melted and then enjoy!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Kelly Wearstler Does China...Whattttt

I've got china on the brain today and most likely because I have so many lovely friends (and my SISTER!!) that are engaged and I love seeing what brides pick as their china patterns. I was reading a post by Habitually Chic on the Kelly Wearstler store in L.A., and her china patterns were mentioned. I obviously had to look those up and they are beautiful, but they do follow Kelly's taste in the sense that they aren't traditional and are a more modern look, but still gorgeous. My favorite is the Trousdale pattern which I have pictured second to last. The Trousdale pattern was inspired by the lacquered pieces of the Art Deco movement and the minimalism of Japanese Art. I love how festive it looks and that you could easily make it work for the holidays by adding a red, green or metallic charger.

Mulholland Pattern

Hillcrest Pattern
Trousdale Pattern

Pickfair Pattern

Do any of you all have a favorite china pattern? I would love to hear it if so! My personal one is Constance by Bernardaud

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Look for Less...Celine STYLE

So who hasn't lusted over the Celine Luggage Bag, I mean I know I have! (Don't worry JDB I still LOVE my Givenchy!) So I was SO excited to stumble across this new bag from none other than the fabulous JCREW...this might go on my Spring 2012 want list. I mean it's almost identical to the Celine bag and sadly the price tag on the JCREW bag isn't that bad for an everyday bag in today's world, I know my Mama is majorly shaking her head right now. I love both colors that the JCREW Tillary bag comes in, but am definitely partial to the Warm Sienna, a bag that color would be so versatile.

Celine Luggage Tote via PurseBlog
JCREW Tillary Tote