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Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies

September 23, 2014 12:21 pm · Posted by Lauren G

Mmmmm more chocolate chip cookies because you could you go wrong with such a classic. I love trying new versions of the old favorite like last week's mock DoubleTree cookies and this week's salted concoction. These were actually inspired by a restaurant in Santa Monica called The Misfit Bar. After your meal, they give you these amazing cookies, and while you're there, I highly recommend the crispy lobster nik niks. I'm still trying to figure out the exact cookie recipe, but these are pretty darn good in the meantime. 

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoons sea salt + more for sprinkling on top of each cookie dough ball
  • 2 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, granulated sugar, and dark brown sugar together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy in texture, about 2 minutes.
  2. Reduce the speed to medium-low and add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each egg is added. Add the vanilla and mix to incorporate.
  3. Next, add in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt and mix just until all the dry ingredients are fully incorporated. Do not over-mix.
  4. Add in the chocolate chips and mix them in by hand using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Transfer the cookie dough to a bowl and cover tightly.
  5. Refrigerate the cookie dough overnight. Do not skip this step! If you're dough is room temperature, it will spread too thin in the oven and end up looking like this...

6. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.
7. Use a cookie scoop to portion out the cookie dough onto the baking sheets, spacing them 2 inches apart. Sprinkle each cookie dough ball with a small amount of sea salt.
8. Bake the cookies for 15 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through the baking time to ensure even browning.
9. Remove the cookies from the oven when they are a light golden brown around the edges and allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for about 2 minutes before transferring them to a baking rack to cool completely. Store in a covered container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

(Inspired by Mom It Forward)

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DoubleTree Chocolate Chip Cookies

September 16, 2014 12:53 pm · Posted by Lauren G

I can't believe I haven't posted anything for two months! Where have I been? I've been so busy with life that I haven't even had time to bake anything! Back in June, my family and I traveled to Chicago for my brother's graduation from business school. It was such a happy occasion and a wonderful time spent with family and friends, but the crazy baker in me couldn't stop thinking about the amazing cookies at the Double Tree Hotel. They keep them warm behind the counter and hand them to you when you check in, but if you're nice, they'll give you extra. This recipe is from the DoubleTree website, so you know they're authentic!

Makes Approximately 20 Cookies

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups semi-sweet, chocolate chips
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped walnuts

  1. Grind oats in a food processor or blender until fine. Combine the ground oats with the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl.
  2. Cream together the butter, sugars, vanilla, and lemon juice in another medium bowl with an electric mixer. Add the eggs and mix until smooth. Stir the dry mixture into the wet mixture and blend well. Add the chocolate chips and nuts to the dough and mix by hand until ingredients are well blended.
  3. For the best results, chill the dough overnight in the refrigerator before baking the cookies.
  4. Spoon rounded 1/4 cup portions onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Place the scoops about 2 inches apart. Bake in a 350°F oven for 16-18 minutes or until cookies are light brown and soft in the middle. Store in a sealed container when cool to keep soft.

(Inspired by DoubleTree Modesto)

Filed under: Yum, dessert, recipe Tagged with: doubletree, chocolate chip, cookies
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Lemon Crinkle Cookies

June 24, 2014 1:59 pm · Posted by Lauren G

It's summer and my lemon tree is going crazy! I'm not a huge fan of lemonade so let's bake something. I've already done two versions of lemon cupcakes so I thought I'd try a cookie this time. I love these, but I wish they had a stronger lemon flavor. It's very subtle. If you're really looking for lemon flavor, try some lemon extract. 

I used a very small dish and made a mess. A larger dish would have been a better idea.

  • ½ cups Butter, Softened
  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar
  • ½ teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 1 whole Egg
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon Zest
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Lemon Juice
  • ¼ teaspoons Salt
  • ¼ teaspoons Baking Powder
  • ⅛ teaspoons Baking Soda
  • 1-½ cup All-purpose Flour
  • ½ cups Powdered Sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease light colored baking sheets with non stick cooking spray or prepare with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Whip in vanilla, egg, lemon zest and juice. Scrape sides and mix again.
  3. Whisk together all dry ingredients except the powdered sugar, and stir in slowly until just combined.
  4. Pour powdered sugar onto a large plate. Roll a heaping teaspoon of dough into a ball and roll in powdered sugar. Place on baking sheet and repeat with remaining dough.
  5. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until bottoms begin to barely brown and cookies look matte {not melty or shiny}. Remove from oven and cool cookies about 3 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

*If using a non stick darker baking tray, reduce baking time by about 2 minutes.

(Inspired by Lauren's Latest)

Filed under: Yum, recipe Tagged with: lemon crinkle, dessert, lemon, cookies
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S'mores Cheesecake Bites

April 22, 2014 12:20 pm · Posted by Lauren G

S'mores? Yes. Cheesecake? Yes. Combine the two? Obviously! I think cheesecake brownies are so so delicoius. That combination of cheesecake and chocolate is irresistable to me. I've also mentioned multiple times that s'mores are one of my favorite things in life. Seriously, I had a bonfire for my birthday just so I could eat s'mores. There was no question in my mind that s'mores cheesecake would be a good idea. I do have a springform pan, but things are always better in cupcake form :). You could also make this in a 8x8 pan to make cheesecake bars.

For the crust:

  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted


For the cheesecake:

  • 4 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup marshmallow cream
  • 2 tsp. cocoa powder
  • ¾ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs


For the topping:

18 marshmallows

To make the crust: 

  1. To make the crust, preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line 1 (12-cup) muffin pan with paper cupcake liners.
  2. Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter in a small bowl.  Stir together with a fork until well combined.  
  3. Press the mixture in an even layer into the bottom of the muffin tin. Start by spreading one tablespoon in each cup and then do your best to divide the rest of the crumb mixture evenly.  
  4. Bake 10 minutes; transfer to a wire rack while you prepare the filling.  Reduce the oven temperature to 325˚ F.

To make the filling:

  1. Place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water.  Heat until melted and smooth, stirring occasionally.  Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.  
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese, sour cream (or greek yogurt) and marshmallow cream.  Beat on medium-high speed until smooth and well combined, 1-2 minutes.  
  3. Blend in the cocoa powder, vanilla extract and eggs until incorporated.  Stir in the melted chocolate until well blended.  
  4. Pour the filling over the graham cracker crust and smooth the top with a spatula. Each cup will get about three tablespoons. Bake about 20 minutes, or until the center is just set (does not jiggle when shaken gently.)  Remove from the oven, and set oven to broil.
  5. Cut each marshmallow in half and top each cup with three marshmallow halves.  Return to the oven for 1 minute or just long enough so the marshmallows begin to brown. Keep an eye on them! Once it starts to happen, they'll burn fast. You could also use a kitchen torch.
  6. Transfer to a wire cooling rack. Once the cheesecake has cooled to room temperature, transfer to the refrigerator and chill 2-3 hours before serving.

(Inspired by Annie's Eats)

Filed under: Yum, dessert, recipe Tagged with: s'mores, cheesecake, marshmallows, chocolate
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Carrot Pizza Crust

April 17, 2014 12:36 pm · Posted by Lauren G

If you thought cauliflower was weird, you're going to think I'm crazy today. But seriously, why the heck not? Carrots naturally have a lot of sugar, so I actually liked this crust over the cauliflower one because it had a hint of sweetness. (If you ever had any doubt about my sweet tooth, I even like sweet pizza!) This recipe is even easier to make because you don't have to cook the carrots before forming the crust. Just remember to squeeze out all the carrot juice you can! And maybe save it and drink it because carrot juice is stupid expensive when you buy it from Trader Joe's.

  • 3 medium carrots
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 egg

  1. Preheat oven to 400. Line a pizza pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a food processor, blend carrots until very finely chopped.
  3. Take the processed carrot and, using a cheesecloth or clean piece of material (like an old shirt or tea towel), strain as much water (carrot juice) out of the carrots as you can.
    4. Place the strained carrots into a bowl - you should have about 1 cup of carrot.
    5. Stir in garlic, cheese, and egg until well blended.
    6. Using a spatula, spread out carrot mixture onto prepared cookie sheet to about an 8 inch circle.
    7. Bake at 400 for 10 - 12 minutes, until just starting to brown around the outside and top appears dry.
    8. Top as desired.

    (Inspired by Jo and Sue)

Filed under: Yum, recipe, Food Tagged with: pizza crust, gluten free, carrot, healthy, pizza
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Cauliflower Pizza Crust

April 15, 2014 12:10 pm · Posted by Lauren G

Pizza crust made out of vegetables? Yup! I know it sounds a little outrageous, but this is a really great option for those who are gluten free or just trying to cut carbs. Cauliflower is one of the most common veggies used, but it's possible to use other ones as well. (Hint: check back on Thursday for a different vegeteble pizza crust that I actually liked better than this caulflower one). I was a little skeptical when making this, but the cauliflower actually bakes to a crust-like consistency. Just remembver to squeeze out as much moisure as possible. I forgot to do that here so my second veggie crust turned out better.

  • Nonstick spray
  • 2 1/2 cups cauliflower, grated (about 1/2 a large head)
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper

  1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, and preheat oven to 425ºF.
  2. Grate the cauliflower using a box grater or use a food processor until you have two cups of cauliflower crumbles. Cook until soft. I cooked mine on the stove, but this can also be done in the microwave. Place in a large bowl and microwave for seven to eight minutes.
  3. Using a cheesecloth, squeeze out as much moisture from the cauliflower as you can.
  4. Mix in the egg, one cup mozzarella, parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper. Once combined, pat into a 10-inch round on the prepared pizza pan. Spray lightly with nonstick spray and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden.
  5. Top your crust with sauce and your favorite toppings and enjoy!

(Inspired by Fitsugar)

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Oven Fried Chicken

April 8, 2014 12:25 pm · Posted by Lauren G

Fried chicken is the last dish of my southern meal. Of course, I'm eating "healthy," which means no fried foods. (More like occasional fried foods). The skin on the chicken crisped up nicely and the chicken was so juicy. In my opinion, this was better than fried chicken!

I was too hungry to take more pictures!

  • 1/2 cup nonfat buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (I didn't have any so I used regular yellow mustard...oops)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 2 1/2-3 pounds whole chicken legs, trimmed and cut into thighs and drumsticks. Or you can downsize and only make 3 drum sticks and 1 breast)
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Olive oil cooking spray

  1. Whisk buttermilk, mustard, garlic and hot sauce in a shallow glass dish until well blended. Add chicken and turn to coat. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or for up to 8 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Set a wire rack on the baking sheet and coat it with cooking spray.
  3. Whisk flour, paprika, thyme, baking powder, salt and pepper in a small bowl. I also threw in some cornmeal because I had some from the cornbread).
  4. Place the flour mixture in a paper bag or large sealable plastic bag. Shaking off excess marinade, place one or two pieces of chicken at a time in the bag and shake to coat. Shake off excess flour and place the chicken on the prepared rack. (Discard any leftover flour mixture and marinade.)
  5. Spray the chicken pieces with cooking spray.
  6. Bake the chicken until golden brown and no longer pink in the center, 40 to 50 minutes.

(Inspired by Eating Well)

Filed under: Yum, recipe Tagged with: oven fried, baked chicken, fried chicken, Chicken
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Fancy Kraft Mac and Cheese

April 1, 2014 12:11 pm · Posted by Lauren G

Got the "blue box" blues? Mac and cheese is always a classic, but sometimes you get tired of what comes in the box. I like to keep a couple boxes on hand because sometimes I just have a craving, but how can we make it a little more grown up? Well first of all, add some booze. Second of all, add more cheese and lots of it. 

  • 1 (14 ounce) package Kraft macaroni and cheese (dinner, blue box)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or greek yogurt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper or 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 butter flavored crackers, crushed (like Ritz)
  • 1 tablespoon butter or 1 tablespoon margarine, melted

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Prepare Mac n Cheese dinner as directed on package. Instead of using milk, try white wine.
  3. Stir in 1/2 cup of the Cheddar cheese, the sour cream and pepper.
  4. Spoon into greased 1-1/2 quart baking dish; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup Cheddar cheese. Maybe throw on some extra for good measure ;)
  5. Combine the melted butter and cracker crumbs and sprinkle over the top.
  6. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Filed under: Yum, recipe Tagged with: blue box, mac and cheese, kraft, dinner
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Mock Marie Callendar's Cornbread

March 25, 2014 12:04 pm · Posted by Lauren G

I love sweet cornbread! Maybe it's because I'm from the south, but I think it's just so yummy. In my opinion Marie Callendar's has some of the best corbread around. I know you can buy a box mix, but everything is so much better when it's made from scratch, right? They're easy enough and taste just like the stuff you'll get from the restaurant. It was all part of a southern meal I made, so stay tuned for some mac and cheese and oven fried chicken.

Why the heck are my liners folding up like that?

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter or 2 margarine, melted
  • 3 cups Bisquick
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Whisk together all dry ingredients.
  3. Combine remaining ingredients and add dry ingredients gradually until mixed well.
  4. Pour into a lined muffin tin or greased 9x13 pan.
  5. Bake 25 minutes for muffins or 35 minutes for a 9x13 pan or until a toothpick comes out clean.

(Inspired by Food.com)

Filed under: Yum, recipe Tagged with: marie callendar's, cornbread, Side Dish, appetizer
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Cookie Dough Greek Yogurt

March 18, 2014 12:16 pm · Posted by Lauren G

Uhhh what? Greek yogurt that tastes just like cookie dough?! I wish! It's not exactly decadent, but it definitely satisfies my sweet tooth. I added a few extra chocolate chips. Shhh...don't tell anyone.

1 tbsp peanut butter, 
1 tbsp sugar, (or any sweetener. I like to use honey) 
1 tbsp chocolate chips
1/4 tsp vanilla 
1 cup Greek yogurt

Combine all ingredients and enjoy :)
Add berries for an extra sweet and healthy treat.

(Inspired by MyFridgeFood)

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