Category Archives: Recipes

recipe || carmelitas

chocolate. caramel. butter. brown sugar. heavy cream. okay! I made these for the first time last year and sent them to my hubby’s office. J brought home a clean plate and a satisfying report that day so I figured it was a recipe to keep close at hand.

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— Carmelitas — 

Ingredients

32 caramel squares, unwrapped

1/2 cup heavy cream

3/4 cup butter, melted

3/4 cup brown sugar, packed

1 cup flour

1 cup rolled oats

1 teaspoon baking soda

6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

Combine caramels and cream in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until completely smooth; set aside. In a separate bowl, combine melted butter, brown sugar, flour, oats and baking soda. Pat half of the oatmeal mixture in to the bottom of an 8by8″ pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
Remove pan from over and sprinkle chocolate chips over crust. Pour caramel mixture over chocolate chips. Crumble remaining oatmeal mixture over caramel. Return to oven and bake an additional 15-20 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool completely before cutting.

This recipe is easily doubled and made in a 9by13″ pan. Also, be sure to really let them cool before cutting into them. The caramel takes a good while to cool off.

Recipe via Pinterest

Curl up with your hot beverage of choice, a blanket, and one of these delicio-so bars on a wintry evening this week and you will be in full contentment mode. Enjoy, my friends!

recipe || broiled halibut (or cod) with béchamel sauce

I watched Giada make this recipe on Food Network the other day and it went right onto my menu plan. I must say, it was especially due to the béchamel sauce. Butter, flour, milk, and cheese is one of the best culinary combinations. The whole recipe was simple and delicious. J was a fan, and so was I. Success.

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 Broiled Halibut with Béchamel Sauce

Béchamel Sauce

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/4 cup flour

2 cups whole milk, warmed

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Pinch ground nutmeg

Halibut

1 (750ml) bottle white wine, such as pinot grigio

2 cups water

4 (6-ounce) center-cut halibut fillets, about 1-inch thick (see Cook’s Note)

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

2 tablespoon unsalted butter, diced into 1/4-inch pieces

Directions

Cook’s Note: The halibut can be substituted with 24 ounces of sole fillets. Reduce the cooking time in the wine mixture to 3 to 4 minutes.

Spray a 7 by 11-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.

For the béchamel sauce: In a 2-quart saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until smooth, about 2 minutes. Gradually add the warm milk, whisking constantly, until the sauce is thick and smooth, about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cheese, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

For the halibut: In a large saucepan, bring the wine and water to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and add the halibut. Cover the pan and cook until the flesh is opaque, 8 to 10 minutes. Using a fish spatula, carefully remove the fish and arrange in a single layer in the prepared baking dish. Season with salt and pepper.

Preheat a broiler. Spoon the béchamel sauce over the fish and top with the Parmesan. Dot with butter and broil until golden, 2 to 4 minutes.

*Trader Joes didn’t have halibut, so I went with some Alaskan Cod Fillets. I followed the cooks note on the recipe for the cooking time for the cod, as they were thinner fillets than the halibut. 

Recipe via Food Network

Enjoy, friends!

dark chocolate salted caramel pie

My hubby is a big fan of the salted caramel craze that took over coffee shops and chocolate companies a couple years ago.  It was only appropriate, then, to make something with “salted caramel” in the title for his celebration dinner this past week. And it did not disappoint.

Tip: Don’t forget to sneak a couple Oreos as a little baking gift to yourself as you are preparing this treat. You’re working hard, after all.

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Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Pie

1 package (about 36) whole Oreos

1 cup (16 tablespoons) butter, divided

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream, divided

1 (12 oz) bag dark chocolate chips

Directions

Finely crush the Oreos with a food processor or blender. Stir crumbs together with 8 tablespoons melted butter until well combined. Press into the bottom and sides of a pie pan. Freeze crust for 10 minutes until set.

Combine remaining 8 tablespoons butter and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture begins to bubble. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Slowly whisk in 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream until smooth. Cool caramel about 15 minutes.  Pour the caramel over the Oreo crust, then return to freezer for about 30-45 minutes until just chilled and set. (You don’t want the caramel to fully freeze.)

Place chocolate chips in a glass bowl. In a saucepan, bring 1 cup heavy whipping cream to a simmer over medium-high heat. Pour the cream over the chocolate chips and let sit for 5 minutes, then whisk until completely smooth. Pour the chocolate over the caramel and freeze for a final 30 minutes, until just chilled and set. OR refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve. Before serving, sprinkle the top with a flaky sea salt like kosher salt or Fleur De Sel.

Enjoy, my friends!

Recipe via Pinterest 

angel food cupcakes

My sweet parents were in town this past weekend, bringing my little sis back to school, and our first evening together we had much to celebrate. Meg’s return to school and this season of her life, my 27th birthday, and my hardworking hubby’s new job!! I will share more on that later, but for now…..we are so grateful for the Lord’s kind, unexpected, and abundant provision. And I am so proud of and excited for my J!

To celebrate we dined at a favorite Irish restaurant in town, filling ourselves with that hearty, warm-you-to-your-toes cuisine and chatting away in the cozy, pub-like atmosphere. We followed that up with dessert at home and I tried my hand at my first homemade angel food cake batter and made these cupcakes. Oh, they were good. Light, fluffy, and the frosting added just the right amount of richness and density. It was like eating little clouds.

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Angel Food Cupcakes

3/4 cups + 2 Tbsp granulated sugar

1/2 cup cake flour

1/4 tsp salt

6 egg whites, at room temperature (I forgot to leave my eggs out, but it still turned out great)

2.5 Tbsp warm water

1/2 tsp vanilla, coconut, almond or orange extract (I used vanilla)

3/4 tsp cream of tartar

Cream Cheese Whipped Cream Topping

1.5 cups heavy whipping cream

6 oz. cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup powdered sugar

fresh strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, pulse sugar until super fine, about 2 minutes (if you don’t have a food processor caster sugar should also work). In a mixing bowl, sift together half of the sugar, the cake flour and the salt.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together egg whites, water, extract of choice and cream of tartar until well combined, about 2 minutes. Switch to a hand mixer (I just stuck with my kitchen aid) and whip mixture on medium speed while slowly adding remaining sugar to mixture, until medium peaks form. Sift just enough of the flour mixture in to evenly dust the top of the egg white mixture and, using a spatula, gently fold flour layer into egg white mixture and continue this process until all of the flour mixture has been incorporated.

Divide batter among paper lined muffins cups, filling each cup nearly full. Bake in preheated oven 18-20 minutes until golden and a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Whipped Cream Topping: In a mixing bowl, whip heavy cream until soft peaks form. In a separate mixing bowl, whip cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add cream cheese to whipped cream along with powdered sugar and whip until stiff peaks form. Store in refrigerator.

Recipe via Pinterest 

Ya’ll enjoy, lovelies! And might I say, these cupcakes are excellent with a cup of coffee.

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pork loin milanese with arugula salad

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In Melissa d’Arabian’s cookbook Ten Dollar Dinners she shares this recipe. It became a favorite rather instantly in our household. I love to serve it with pasta that has been tossed, generously I might add, with butter and parmesan. After all, any dish is better where butter and cheese are involved.

I hope you lovelies enjoy! Oh, and my hubby says to tell you all that he gives it 2 thumbs up. 🙂 He’s the sweetest.

Pork Loin Milanese with Arugula Salad

1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs

1 pound pork loin, sliced into 4 pieces (or four 4-ounce boneless pork loin chops)*

1/4 cup olive oil

2 garlic cloves, finely minced or pressed through a garlic press

1/2 teaspoon plus a pinch of kosher salt

1 large egg

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 lemon, half juiced, other half sliced into 4 wedges

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

3 cups arugula or other baby greens

Parmesan curls or freshly grated Parmesan for serving

*I use the Pork Loin Cutlets from Trader Joes. No pounding required

Directions:

1. Place the bread crumbs in a shallow dish and set aside. Set a piece of pork on top of a sheet of wax paper or plastic wrap, cover with another sheet, and using a meat mallet, pound the pork until it is about 1/4 inch thick. Set aside and repeat with the remaining pieces.

2. Pour 2 tablespoons of the olive oil into a gallon-sized resealable bag. Add the garlic and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, then seal and shake to combine. Add the pounded pork cutlets, seal the bag, and massage to coat. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

3. Whisk the egg in a medium bowl. Remove the pork from the refrigerator, take a piece out of the bag, and dip both sides in the egg. Place the pork in the bread crumbs, lightly press down on the pork, and then turn it over to coat the other side. Set the breaded cutlet on a plate and repeat with the remaining pieces of pork.

4. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pork cutlets to the pan and brown on each side, about 6 minutes total. Use a spatula to transfer the pork to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.

5. Whisk the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil with the lemon juice, a pinch of salt, and the pepper in a salad bowl. Add the arugula and toss to combine. Divide the salad and pork between 4 plates and serve with Parmesan and a lemon wedge.

Happy Cooking!

andes mint chocolate chip fudge

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The kitchen is my favorite place most any day of the week, but especially at the holidays. And especially for the Christmas treats. There’s no getting around it, I have a gigantic sweet tooth, and holiday treats can easily become my downfall if I don’t practice restraint. The thing I love about fudge is a little goes a long way. My mom makes the best homemade fudge and it’s so delightfully rich, so just a small slice of it curbs my craving and lasts me for a decently long while. 😉 It makes me feel better about my sweet intake that day.

My hubby and I both like a good mint & chocolate combination so there was no option but to make this andes mint chocolate chip fudge when I came across the recipe. And it was super simple to put together so, bonus!

Andes Mint Chocolate Chip Fudge

2.5 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided

1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk, divided

1.5 cups white chocolate chips

1 teaspoon peppermint extract (or more, go by your taste preference)

2 drops green food coloring

1 teaspoon shortening

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips and/or andes creme de menthe baking chips

Directions:

1. Line an 8 by 8 baking pan with parchment paper. Spray paper with non-stick spray and set aside. (I didn’t have parchment paper on hand so I just sprayed the pan and was good to go).

2. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt 1.5 cups chocolate chips with 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk, stirring occasionally. Spread melted chocolate mixture into pan and chill for 5-10 minutes.

3. In another saucepan, melt white baking chips and remaining condensed milk, stirring until completely smooth. Remove from the heat and add peppermint extract and food coloring. Spread mint layer over chilled chocolate layer. Chill for 5-10 minutes as you make the final layer.

4. Melt remaining 1 cup of chocolate chips with a 1 tsp shortening in the microwave in 30 second increments. Stir until completely smooth. Spread over chilled mint layer. Top with mini chocolate chips and/or Andes baking chips. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or until fudge is completely set (could take up to 4 hours).

5. Cut into squares. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to two weeks. Fudge will freeze and thaw well.

*original source from Pinterest

Happy fudge eating, friends!

baked pumpkin donuts

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One of the reasons I thrill when autumn comes along is the amount of pumpkin-flavored goodness there is to please our palettes. We discovered pumpkin donuts last autumn and our lives were forever changed. This year, I was determined to try my hand at a homemade recipe. I came across this recipe on Pinterest and it was so simple! I whipped it up this past Saturday morning accompanied by my two favorite sous chefs in the kitchen and we were thoroughly satisfied with the result. We added some chocolate chips to a few of the donuts, too, and the melty chocolate chips in the middle of the warm pumpkin donut were just perfection.

And, you guys, donut pans are super cheap on Amazon! I was thrilled when I came across this one for $6.79. And I was super pleased with the result it gave. I see many more homemade donuts in our future. Soon.

Baked Pumpkin Donuts

1/2 cup vegetable oil

3 large eggs

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (canned pumpkin)

1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, or 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon plus a heaping 1/4 teaspoon each ground nutmeg and ground ginger (I would use the individual spices, personally.)

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 3/4 cups + 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease donut pans. Place all ingredients, except flour, into a mixing blow and beat together until smooth. Add flour in and stir just until smooth. Fill the wells of the doughnut pans about 3/4 full. Bake the doughnuts for 15 to 18 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of one comes out clean.

Remove the doughnuts from the oven, and after about 5 minutes, loosen their edges, and transfer them to a rack to cool. While the doughnuts are still warm (but no longer fragile), gently shake them in a bag with cinnamon-sugar.

Here is the original source of the recipe. In it you’ll also find instructions to make it into muffins, if you’d like it. Also, here’s another pin I came across for pumpkin donuts and this one has instructions for a caramel glaze, my friends. Yum.

I hope your homemade donut mornings are cozy and delicious, lovelies!