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Wednesday
Aug152012

Caramel cookie crunch brownies

Yay for a rainy day! The boys are at daycare playing with their friends until 3:00, so I have seven hours of productivity ahead of me. Ahhhh, that feels good.

We spent six nights in Iowa with family, which was nice. Really really nice. We have two nights at home before heading out for another little trip. I love this summer! I was reminiscing with a few family members over the past week about what a very bad place I was in one year ago. It makes my stomach turn thinking about it. I am grateful for where I am at and how good I feel. Last summer=no bueno.

I cannot speak of our family gathering without mentioning how much all of us love food. My gracious aunt prepares a ton of delicious food for the masses for breakfast, lunch and dinner every single day. I did my best to help out this year by providing a few edible treats. My pan of brownies didn't last long, which I took as a good sign. I found the recipe over at Jasey's Crazy Daisies, and knew I had to make it and share with my family.

Start by lining a 9x13 baking dish with parchment paper. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

In the bowl of a food processor, place a 12.8-oz. package of Simply Sandies shortbread cookies.

Pulse until fine crumbs form.

Add 6 tablespoons of melted butter and pulse until crumbs are moist.

Press the crumbs into the bottom of the prepared dish.

In a large mixing bowl, prepare a family size (9x13) box of brownie mix according to the package instructions.

Add 1/4 cup of hot fudge ice cream topping.

Stir until combined.

Pour the batter over the crust. 

Bake as directed on brownie package (adjust the oven temp, if needed). Let cool.

In a medium saucepan, add:

14-oz. bag caramals, unwrapped

2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

Cook, stirring constantly, over medium-low heat until the caramel is completely smooth.

Pour it evenly over the cooled brownies.

Place in the refrigerator until the caramel layer is firm, about 20 minutes.

In a small saucepan, add:

11.5-oz. bag milk chocolate chips

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Cook, stirring constantly, over medium-low heat until melted and creamy.

Spread evenly over cooled caramel layer. Place back in the refrigerator until the chocolate layer is cooled and firm.

Cut into squares and serve! You will love these! Thanks for the recipe, Jasey!

Caramel Cookie Crunch Brownies

Just like a candy bar that rhymes with Plix! (source: jaseyscrazydaisy.com)

Serves: 12-16

Total time: 1 hr, 20 min

Caramel Cookie Crunch Brownies


Ingredients:

  • 12.8-oz. package Simply Sandies shortbread cookies
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • One family size (9x13) box of brownie mix (plus ingredients listed on back of box)
  • 1/4 cup hot fudge ice cream topping
  • 14-oz. bag caramels
  • 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 11.5-oz. bag milk chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
Instructions:
  1. Line a 9x13 baking dish with parchment paper and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, or suggestion on back of brownie mix box.
  2. Place the cookies in a food processor and pulse until fine crumbs form. Add the 6 tablespoons of melted butter and pulse until crumbs are moist. Press into bottom of prepared dish.
  3. Prepare brownie batter as directed on back of box. Add the hot fudge and stir to combine. Pour the batter over the cookie crust and bake as directed. Let cool.
  4. Place unwrapped caramels in a saucepan along with the 2 tablespoons whipping cream. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium-low heat until caramel is completely smooth. Pour evenly over cooled brownies. Place in refrigerator until caramel layer is firm, about 20 minutes.
  5. Place the chocolate chips, 2 tablespoons of butter and ¼ cup whipping cream in a saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium-low heat until melted and creamy. Spread evenly over cooled caramel layer. Place back in the refrigerator until chocolate layer is cooled and firm. Cut into squares and serve.

 

 

Friday
Aug102012

Black bean sun-dried tomato pasta salad

The little boys and I have spent the past few days in Iowa with family. Packing bodies into my aunt and uncle's house on the lake is something we do every August. The kids and adults alike get totally exhausted, but it is a ton of fun. I love spending time my family. Dan will join us in the morning, and we are looking forward to a few more days here as a family.

I threw this easy pasta salad together to bring along to our gathering. I'll admit that I used ingredients that were already in my refrigerator and pantry. I feel like it was almost too easy to post about!

In a large bowl, combine:

12-oz. package twisted elbows, cooked to al dente

15-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed

2 tablespoons capers

8-oz. jar julienne cut sun-ripened dried tomatoes

1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

4 oz. crumbled feta cheese

Salt and pepper, to taste

Add the juice from 1/2 of a lemon.

Mix well.

Refrigerate until ready to serve. 

Sorry for the quick post. There is a bonfire burning out back and I must go sit by it!

Printable recipe: Black bean sun-dried tomato pasta salad

Sunday
Aug052012

Watermelon raspberry sangria

The only word I can think of to describe the weather right now is delicious. It is absolutely perfect outside. I want to put it in a dish and eat it. I have not been able to comfortably sit on my patio often this summer, so I have much appreciation for it right now. I am drinking it in. What else am I drinking in, you ask? Well, this light and refreshing watermelon raspberry sangria, of course! I have not made much sangria in my life and as I type this I am wondering WHY. I feel like I should pause this post to write down some other sangria ideas, but my brain is about as worthwhile as a giant ball of dough right now so I dare not stop what I have begun. 

Making this delightful drink is as easy as pie! Or, actually, it is way easier than making pie. Who came up with that saying, anyway? Maybe they meant to say, It's as easy as eating pie!? 

At any rate, this sangria is easy. It is also light and refreshing, but I think I already mentioned that. I need sleep.

Place into the bottom of a large serving pitcher:

Two 6-oz. containers fresh rinsed raspberries

1/4 of a seedless watermelon, cut into 1-inch cubes

1/4 cup raspberry liqueur 

And last but not least, add two 750ml bottles of sauvignon blanc.

Chill for a minimum of 2 hours. Serve chilled, making sure to add some of the fruit to the serving glasses.

This girl who is sitting outside in lovely weather enjoying a glass of sangria is officially shutting down her computer and her mushy brain. 

Watermelon Raspberry Sangria

The perfect drink to sip on a nice hot summer day!

Serves: 8-12

Total time: 5 min, plus chilling time

Watermelon Raspberry Sangria



Ingredients:

  • Two 6-oz. containers fresh raspberries
  • 1/4 of a seedless watermelon, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup raspberry liqueur
  • Two 750ml bottles sauvignon blanc wine
Instructions:
  1. Place the raspberries and watermelon into the bottom of a large serving pitcher. Pour the raspberry liqueur and wine over the top. Chill for a minimum of 2 hours. Serve chilled, making sure the fruit is incorporated into the glasses.

 



Wednesday
Aug012012

Tabbouleh

I kept trying to figure out why today felt like Monday and then I realized that it was our Monday. Mondays are our Saturdays and Tuesdays are our Sundays, which would make today Monday! The boys went to daycare, so I got a ton of work done in the morning. I was tired. I desperately wanted a nap. The only thing better than a nap is what I actually ended up doing which was getting a manicure and pedicure courtesy of (and with!) my friend Emily! Awesome! I have pretty toes and fingers and I got to spend time with a sweet sweet friend.

I made a batch of Tabbouleh this morning and it was a delightful and fresh little snack to munch on throughout the day. You know, in between manicures and pedicures and everything else good in life.

Pour one 5.25-oz. box of taboule mix wheat salad (minus the enclosed spice packet) into a medium bowl. This is the same thing as bulghur wheat, and it measures out to be nearly 1 cup. The brand that is easily found in most grocery stores is called Near East.

Pour 1 1/2 cups of boiling water over top of the bulghur wheat.

Add:

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Juice from 2 lemons

1 teaspoon salt

Cover and let this mixture stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

In the meantime, prepare your veggies and herbs.

Slice the white and light green parts from 1 bunch of green onions.

Peel and chop 1 English seedless cucumber.

Chop 2 medium tomatoes.

Finely chop 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves.

Finely chop 1 cup flat-leaf parsley.

When the bulghur is finished soaking, it will look something like this. It will taste delicious.

Add the prepared veggies and herbs to the bowl.

Mix well. 

Add salt and pepper, to taste.

Cover and chill until ready to serve. Serve with or without crackers. Personally, I prefer a plain ol' fork and diggin' right in.

Crumble feta cheese over the top before serving, if desired.

Happy Monday, er, Wednesday!

Printable recipe: Tabbouleh

Sunday
Jul292012

Angry Birds pizza

Another great weekend down! I know it was great because of my total exhaustion. I have been trying to come up with a word lately that describes extreme exhaustion. Some days I can feel the tiredness in my bones, in my core. I can physically feel it. Is there a word for that? I looked in my thesaurus and nothing came close. 

My boys are in bed and I have about a million things to accomplish. I am way behind with posting, so here I sit outside on my patio in the gorgeous totally yummy weather, sipping on a glass of wine and writing this post about the Angry Birds pizzas we made a week or so ago. I have been limiting Elijah's playing of Angry Birds lately because it seems to make him, well, a bit angry. But when I proposed this pizza idea to him he was one excited boy. I sketched out my idea on paper, and from that we made the real thing. It was so cute! And of course it was as delicious as pizza typically is.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

Divide 1 pound of frozen pizza dough (thawed) in half. Dust a flat surface with flour and use a rolling pin to roll out two 12-inch circles, setting aside a small handful of dough for the bird "feathers."

Divide the dough between 2 lightly-floured pizza stones.

Form/roll the extra dough into four 2x1-inch ovals. Press 2 ovals onto the top side of each circle to create the "feathers."

Use the back of a spoon to spread 1/8 cup of olive oil onto each pizza.

Spread 1/2 cup of pizza sauce over top of each pizza.

Spread 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese over each pizza, covering completely.

You will need approximately 30 pepperoni slices for each pizza. With a scissors, cut 14 (total) of them in half. With the halved pepperoni slices, form a curved line toward the bottom two-thirds of each pizza. 

Form a rectangle for the eyes with the straight edges of the pepperoni halves.

Fill in the rest of the upper portion of the pizzas with the remaining pepperoni slices.

Cut 2 large, curved triangles out of 2 slices of cheddar cheese. Cut 2 small rectangles out of a third slice.

Place a cheese triangle below the "eyes" on each pizza and a rectangle under each of those to form the bottom "beak."

Using approximately 1/4 cup of sliced black olives, place black olives in the center of the "eyes" and line the rest above the eyes to form angry eyebrows.

Bake the pizzas in the preheated oven for 17 minutes, or until the crusts are lightly browned.

Despite the theme of these pizzas, I wish you all a happy week!

Printable recipe: Angry Birds pizza