Peppermint Puppy Chow

Ingredients:
5 cups rice chex cereal
1 bag Andes mints (the red and white peppermint kind) melted
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
Festive sprinkles

Directions
Measure out rice chex cereal in large bowl.
Melt Andes mint candies until smooth and creamy.
Pour over cereal and mix to coat well.
In a large bag, add powdered sugar and sprinkles.
Add coated cereal in bag and shake to mix/ coat well.
Pour back into large bowl and enjoy!

Happy Holidays :)

xx SSG

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Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Sugar Caramel Frosting

Warning- these are amazing! You’ll be glad it makes so many! My sister likes to call these “scookies” because they are thick and moist and she says they are like a cross between a cookie and a really amazing scone. {Yields about 60 or more cookies. Don’t double unless you need more than 5 dozen!}

INGREDIENTS
2 cups sugar
2 cups shortening
2 cups pumpkin (the can should say 100% pure pumpkin…don’t accidentally buy the pumpkin pie filling! You don’t want the sweetened stuff)
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
5 cups flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp. nutmeg
¾ tsp. ground cloves

BROWN SUGAR CARAMEL FROSTING
1 stick melted butter
2 T water
¼ c half and half or whole milk
4 ½ c powdered sugar
1 c brown sugar, packed lightly
2 t vanilla

INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat oven to 350° F.
In an electric mixer, blend shortening and sugar.
Add pumpkin and mix.
Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each one.
Add vanilla extract and mix.
In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, and cloves.
Add your dry ingredients to the wet ingredients one cup at a time
Bake at 350°F for 10-12 minutes (12 seemed to be the magic number).
Meanwhile, make your frosting.
Let cool, frost and sprinkle with cinnamon. Enjoy!

BROWN SUGAR CARAMEL FROSTING
Prepare pan by spraying with Pam and rubbing down the sides. In the pan, melt the butter and then add the brown sugar and water. Cook and stir until the sugar has melted and isn’t grainy anymore.
Remove from heat and add the half and half and vanilla to cool the mixture. Let stand for 10-15 minutes to cool (don’t skip this step!)
Transfer brown sugar mixture to kitchen aid or bowl, add the powdered sugar, and beat until smooth.

Adapted from pinnedbydani.com.

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Avocado Greek Yogurt Dressing

In a food processor, blend:

Avocados
Plain Greek yogurt
Olive oil
Cilantro
Cracked pepper

No specific measurements- add as much of each to your taste or thickness preference.

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Fresh Bruschetta Penne

In season now: tomatoes! Hip hip hooray! One of my favorite foods :) soo delicious. And what’s better than making sauce with tomatoes? That’s right- marinating them. So simple, fresh and did I mention delicious??

Here’s my recipe for a light, summery dish full of tomato goodness and other fresh herbs.

Fresh Bruschetta Penne

Ingredients:
-1 lb penne pasta
– 3 pints cherry tomatoes, quartered
– 1 large clove garlic, finely minced
– ½ cup olive oil
– 1 tsp salt
– ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
– 1 cup packed basil, cut into ribbons
– 8 oz mozzarella, cut into small cubes
– flaked sea salt for seasoning

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Directions:
1. In a large bowl, gently toss together the cherry tomatoes, basil, mozzarella, olive oil, salt and pepper. Cover with and let marinate for at least 30 minutes and no more than one hour at room temperature.
2. Set a large pot to boil and cook pasta according to package instructions (I like to also use whole wheat pasta).
3. Toss the hot pasta with the marinated tomato mixture.
4. Top with a generous sprinkling of flaked sea salt. Serve hot or at room temperature.

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Perfect pairing with wine for a lovely summer dish!

xxx SSG

Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Avalanche Bark (aka Rice Krispie treats on crack)

Depending on where you live or where you have traveled to, you may be familiar with the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. Mmmmm mmmm, can’t beat it! If you have been, you may know of what I am about to talk about. If not, you’re in for a real treat! (No pun intended)

Ohhhh the delicious Avalanche Bark at RMCF….. just amazing. If you like Rice Krispie treats, chocolate, peanut butter, marshmallows, and any kind of sensible goodness, you’ll love these bars!

Anyyy whooooo, I was perusing Pinterest the other day, naturally, and I came across a recipe for these babies. Of course, I had to check it out. Within minutes, I was craving these and decided to give the recipe a try. Pretty good, but I had to tweak most of the things so I am going to give you my own recipe which, trust me on this one, tastes IDENTICAL to the bars found at RMCF!

Okay so this recipe is super easy, but you have to follow the directions step by step or they won’t come out right. Again, trust me- my mom made these without precise directions and they tasted good but were not the same.

What you’ll need:

  • 2 12oz bags of NESTLÉ Toll House white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (I used Jiff)
  • 6 cups Rice Krispies cereal
  • 4 cups mini marshmallows
  • 1 cup mini NESTLÉ Toll House milk chocolate chips
  • 2 1/2 cups mini NESTLÉ Toll House milk chocolate chips for topping

What to do:

  • On low heat, melt one bag of white chocolate chips on the stove top. Once almost completely melted, add in the second bag. Melt until creamy, stirring pretty constantly. Be careful, chocolate can burn pretty easily if you are not watching it.
  • Once melted and creamy, remove from heat and add in the 1/2 cup peanut butter. Stir together.
  • In a large mixing bowl combine the 6 cups Rice Krispies and the white chocolate and peanut butter mixture. Mix together, completely coating the Krispies with the chocolate.
  • Let this cool for about 15 minutes. Keep stirring occasionally. (Do not skip this step!)
  • Once cool, stir in the 4 cups mini marshmallows.
  • After that, stir in the 1 cup of mini chocolate chips. **If you add the mini marshmallows and chocolate chips before the krispie mixture has cooled, they will all melt together so be sure to let it cool first.
  • Once everything is mixed together, place mixture into a lightly greased pan and spread evenly. Press lightly with your spoon back but do not compact the treats because you want them to be fluffy and compacting them too much will cause them to get hard.
  • Add the remaining 2 and 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips over top, also lightly pressing them so they stick.
  • Once cooled, cut into squares and enjoy!

After testing the recipe, I took these to work with me and everyone went crazy over them! A few people began to refer to them as rice krispie treats on crack. Yep, that good. And of course, much cheaper than buying them individually from RMCF, if you have one near you.

Enjoy!

xxx SSG

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Gooey dark chocolate fudge peppermint cookies and cream deliciousness cake!

Today I’m sharing with you one of the messiest cakes I’ve ever made but one of the most delicious as well. Some call it a Christmas poke cake, but personally I like to call it gooey dark chocolate fudge peppermint cookies and cream deliciousness cake. Long name, great (rich) taste! Anyways, I’ll stop blabbing about it and just give you the recipe.

Okay so this is pretty simple really! A lot of layering and the cake is just boxed so there isn’t anything too complicated, or slimming (sorry dieters) going on here.

What you’ll need:
1 chocolate fudge cake mix (plus ingredients it calls for)
1 cup peppermint dairy creamer
14.5 oz sweetened condensed milk
1 jar Smuckers hot fudge sauce
1/4 cup peppermint dairy creamer
1 cup crushed Oreos
8 oz cool whip (not frozen)
About 1 1/2 cup Andes peppermint candies (crushed) [for topping]
About 1 cup crushed Oreos [for topping]

What to do:
First, prepare and bake cake mix according to direction in box, let cool
Second, use the opposite end of a wooden spoon to poke holes (about 1 inch apart) in cake
Third, mix together 1 cup peppermint dairy creamer and condensed milk- pour over cake, try filling up holes
Fourth, mix together hot fudge sauce and 1/4 cup peppermint dairy creamer, then also mix in 1 cup crushed Oreos- pour and spread over cake evenly
Fifth, spread cool whip over top of fudge mixture
Sixth, sprinkle crushed Andes peppermint candies and remaining crushed Oreos over cool whip layer

Refrigerate for at least 4-6 hours (the longer the better because it gives it all a chance to soak up and gel together making it nice and gooey)

Lastly, ENJOY!

This cake is really fun for the holidays. You can also nix the peppermint candies and swap the peppermint creamer for any other flavor to make just a cookies and cream cake as well.

xxx SSG

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Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies

For this past Thanksgiving, I also made these simple and semi-homemade raspberry cheesecake brownies. These brownies, look so much more complicated than they really are and are soo good! Definitely a good sweet to take if you are not hosting or if you need any type of house warming gift.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 box of your favorite brownie mix (I like to use Ghirardelli dark choclate)
  • 1 cup cheesecake recipe (see below)
  • Fresh raspberries

Cheesecake:

  • 1 block regular cream cheese
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

Create brownie batter and put into pan just as you would regular brownies. Next, take the cheesecake recipe and put a few golf ball size dollops on top. Take a knife and swirl the brownie mix and cheesecake. Bake as directed on brownie package.

For the raspberries, you can either put them on before you bake, or sprinkle on top once fresh out of the oven. You can even make them a little sweeter with a light natural syrup to drizzle on top (this is my favorite way).

For the last option:

Take berries, 1/3 cup sugar and 1-2 tsp water. Mix together and let sit in the fridge while brownies cool. Drizzle on top.

There you have it, a simple, easy, delicious and impressive looking dessert!

xxx SSG

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