Saturday, August 22, 2015

Maple Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

Who doesn't love bacon? I've been wanting to try a chocolate chip bacon combo for a while. This recipe with the addition of maple to the bacon caught my eye. Candied bacon is easy to make in the oven. It does take some time but the end result is so good. The combination of these sweet chocolate chip cookies with the maple bacon flavor is delicious. You can't just eat one!!

These taste better than this picture would appear.  I made these for Tim to take on a guys golf trip and we were snapping a picture in the predawn hours before he left.  They were a hit with the golfers and will be added to my regular cookie rotation!

Milk Chocolate Chip Maple Syrup Glazed Bacon Cookies
Recipe Courtesy of Nadia G
  • 12 bacon slices, minced
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup


Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
For the bacon: In a medium frying pan, saute the bacon until the fat has rendered and the bacon is crisp. Drain the fat from the pan, add the maple syrup and stir to blend. Saute until the maple syrup becomes thick, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer immediately to a small bowl and let cool.
For the batter: With a standing or handheld mixer, blend the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the egg and beat until well blended, 1 minute. Add the vanilla and beat for 30 seconds more. Stir in the flour and baking soda with a wooden spoon. Add the bacon and chocolate and stir to combine. Scoop heaping teaspoons of dough onto the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake until golden around the edges, 9 to 10 minutes.
Let the cookies cool for 1 minute, and then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Cheese and Salsa Dip

Can you believe it's August already?  Does anyone know where 2015 has gone?  Crazy how fast time seems to fly.  I'm up for any ideas to slow it down!!

The third Monday in August brings us Secret Recipe Club.  Not familiar with this fun group, you can find out everything here!  I was assigned Kirstin of Loving Life.  What a great blog name.  She says, "My hubby and I live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, in Southwest Washington, with our two amazing daughters, Kaitlynn (19) and Kristianna (16). We have been married 23 years. We have always homeschooled our girls, though both our girls are now ending that journey. Our oldest started a Running Start program her junior year and our youngest will start the same program this fall. Our oldest will also be getting married this fall.  We spend A LOT of time with working, watching soccer...and working around our house and property when we find time."  No wonder she's "Loving Life."

Kirstin had so many great recipes to choose from, it was hard to decide on one.  We were having a neighborhood picnic and I needed something to take for a side.  The veggies a plentiful in my garden, so this delicious Cheese and Salsa Dip seemed like the perfect choice. 


2 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese softened
1 12oz. jar salsa (I like thick and chunky)
2 c. shredded cheese

Combine cream cheese and shredded cheese in bowl of mixer. Begin mixing to break up cream cheese. Slowly add salsa until you get a good dipping consistency. Not too runny though, think of guacamole consistency. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with tortilla chips!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Key Lime Bars

  These bars use animal crackers for the crust, how delicious is that?  This would make a great cheesecake crust, too.  These bars remind me of cheesecake, only in bar form.  Key lime makes the perfect summer dessert.  I must admit to using bottled key lime juice, which I love, instead of juicing limes.  I did zest a regular lime for the zest.  Topped with toasted coconut these make a beautiful dessert for a summer picnic or barbeque.

Key Lime Bars
Recipe Courtesy of Mel's Kitchen
Yield: Makes 16 bars
  • 5 ounces animal crackers (about 2 1/2 cups animal crackers)
  • 3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Filling:
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1 tbsp grated fresh lime zest (from about 2 limes)
  • 1 can (14-ounce) sweetened condensed milk
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice (from about 3-4 regular limes or 20 Key limes)
  • Garnish
  • 3/4 cup shredded coconut, toasted (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F, adjusting an oven rack to the middle position. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, letting two opposing edges hang over at least an inch or so. Grease the foil with cooking spray.
  2. For the crust, process the animal crackers, sugar and salt together to fine crumbs in a blender or food processor. Drizzle the melted butter over the crumbs and pulse to incorporate (or stir together in a bowl with a fork). Sprinkle the mixture into the prepared pan and press the crumbs into an even layer. Bake the crust until fragrant and golden, about 15-18 minutes.
  3. For the filling, while crust bakes, in a medium bowl, stir the cream cheese, lime zest and salt together until combined. Whisk in the sweetened condensed milk until smooth (you can use a handheld electric mixer, if you want). Whisk in the egg yolk and lime juice until combined.
  4. Pour the filling evenly over the crust. Bake the bars until the filling is set and the edges just slightly begin to pull away from the sides of the pan, 15-17 minutes.
  5. Let the bars cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack, about 2 hours. Then cover the pan with foil and refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours. Remove the bars from the pan using the foil overhang and cut into squares. Sprinkle with toasted coconut if desired.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Spicy Buffalo Butter

August 2nd? Where has the summer gone? Besides the weather and fun, the thing I will miss the most about summer is the fresh veggies!! Sweet corn is one of my favorites. Herb butters are perfect to enhance the flavor of the corn.  Tim couldn't get enough of this the first time we had it for dinner. 

Spicy Buffalo Butter

1/2 cup butter (1 stick), at room temperature
2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon Frank's Red Hot Sauce or other vinegar based hot sauce
1 tablespoon chopped chives

Mix the ingredients in a small bowl until well combined. Lay out a large piece of plastic wrap on a clean counter. Spoon the butter mixture onto the bottom third of plastic wrap, then roll into a log. Refrigerate for one hour, or until firm.

  • Room temperature butter is key to making flavored butters. Use unsalted butter so you can control your salty flavor.
  • Softened butter makes it easy to fold your flavoring ingredients into the butter. To make the butter logs, simply spoon the butter mixture onto the bottom third of a piece of plastic wrap, then shaped into rolls, twisting the ends of the plastic wrap as you roll.
  • Chill each log for at least 1 hour or freeze for 20-30 minutes for the logs to take shape.
  • Flavored butters taste amazing on anything from vegetables to pasta, chicken, beef and fish. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Spider Cookies with Chocolate Chips

Spider Cookies in July? One of Tim's coworkers was celebrating her birthday and she loves Halloween.  Kind of fun to look for Halloween ideas in July.  These were fun and easy to make.

Spider Cookies with Chocolate Chips

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup, plus 24 chocolate chips
1 teaspoon canola oil


  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
  2. Beat the butter and sugars in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.  Beat in the egg, then the vanilla, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture, mixing until just combined. Fold in ¾ cup of the chocolate chips.
  3. Drop mounds of the dough (about 1 ½  tablespoon each) 2 inches apart onto the baking sheets. Press one chocolate chip, pointed-side down, into the top of each cookie. Bake, rotating the sheets halfway though, until golden brown around the edges, 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool slightly on the baking sheets, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. Place the remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips and oil in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until melted. Dip a toothpick in the melted chocolate and draw legs around the exposed chip.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Bailey's Cupcakes - Secret Recipe Club

The third Monday of the month brings us to the July edition of Secret Recipe Club.  To find out more about Secret Recipe Club, visit the site here!

This month, I had the pleasure of being assigned The Painted Apron.  Jenna says "I am a little creative crazy, jumping from one project to the next.  Boundaries tend to get in my way so for this blog, “the Painted Apron”, I want to include my favorite creative areas, cooking, party planning, styling, gifts, & painting, and will try not to get side tracked!  It is my sincere wish to inspire creativity in you, give you some jumping off points, and help you enjoy some new creations of your own."  If you're looking for great recipes, party ideas or tablescapes, check out Jenna's blog, you won't be disappointed.

Boozy cupcakes are so fun and make a delicious treat.  These Bailey's cupcakes were no exception.
In Jenna's original recipe, she makes mini cupcakes and frosts with a Bailey's frosting.  I made regular size cupcakes (the recipe made 24) and used a traditional buttercream frosting.

Recipe Courtesy of  The Painted Apron
1 box White Cake Mix
1 box instant Vanilla pudding mix
1 cup Bailey’s Irish cream
1/3 cup  either half and half or  buttermilk
4 eggs
1/3 cup melted butter
Mix dry ingredients together.  Beat eggs and add other wet ingredients and combine with dry.  Mix on medium speed for 2-3 minutes or until thoroughly combined, batter will be thick.  Scoop into paper lined cupcake or mini muffin pans.  Bake according to cake mix directions, and check before time is up, 2-5 minutes, testing for doneness with a toothpick. Do not overbake or they will be dry. 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Pineapple Glazed Baby Back Ribs

Today was one of those days where you don't want to use the stove or the oven.  Temperatures were in the upper 90's, add in the humidity and it felt like 105.  Hello, Summer!!!

We decided to use the smoker without smoke as an outdoor oven to make these ribs.  It worked perfectly.  In addition, I used the crock pot for Corn on the Cob.  Add in sliced summer tomatoes for a Caprese Salad and we had a perfect summertime meal. 

These ribs are easy and the flavors are delicious.  The rub and glaze give these ribs a nice combination of sweetness and tartness.  Perfect for a summer dinner party, barbeque or a Sunday night dinner!!! 

Pineapple Glazed Baby Back Ribs

Recipe Courtesy of Andrew Zimmern

Ingredient List

  • 3 racks of trimmed baby back ribs
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 whole bunch cilantro
  • 1 handful fresh mint
  • 1 fresh Serrano chile

Pineapple Glaze

  • 1 quart pineapple juice, fresh squeezed is amazing and if you have a juicer, use it for this.
  • 1 teaspoon red chile flakes
  • 2 cups sake
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup mirin

Marinate the Ribs

Combine herbs, spices, liquids and seasonings by pulsing in a blender. Rub mixture into ribs, let stand overnight in fridge.

Start the Grill

Prepare a charcoal grill to cook the ribs over indirect low heat, keeping charcoal to one side. When the temperature reaches 275-300 degrees, add the ribs.You will want to keep adding charcoal every 40 minutes or so to maintain a medium low heat of roughly 275 degrees. Grill over indirect heat for 2.5 to 3 hours or until ribs have shrunk back from the rib tips, meat is roasty toasty and fork tender.
Baste with pineapple glaze during last 5 minutes of cooking. Before serving, char ribs for 2 to 3 minutes if you like over high direct heat.

Make the Pineapple Glaze

While you’re grilling the ribs, combine the pineapple juice, red chile flakes, sake, brown sugar, rice wine vinegar and mirin in a small sauce pan. Bring to a simmer and reduce until glaze-y, about 1 hour. Season with sea salt and fresh squeezed lemon juice. Use to glaze the ribs before serving.