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Top 10 Recipes of 2012

I can’t believe it is actually 2013. I will write another post reflecting back on this past year (and share some photos from my fun New Year’s Eve), symptoms but for now, here’s a look at the top 10 most popular recipes from 2012 :) Enjoy and happy baking!

1. Mini Peanut Butter and Nutella Cheesecakes– For two years in a row these delicious mini cheesecakes have been number one! I made both a peanut butter and nutella variety, and they were both delicious. These cheesecakes are not only tasty, but they look so cute they are sure to impress anyone!

mini cheesecakes web2

2. Nutella Swirl Brownie Bites– My sister still talks about these and wants me to make them again. The recipe is incredibly simple and results in small, amazingly fudgy, and nutella-filled brownies.

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3. Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting– Usually I’m a chocolate girl, but these Vanilla cupcakes were so good! I also had a lot of fun piping on the frosting and I think they turned out so cute :)

vanilla cupcakes web2

4. Gooey, Delicious, Incredible S’mores Bars– These might actually be number one in my book! They are so gooey, sweet, buttery, and delicious. Possibly one of the best things I have ever made :)

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5. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cookies– These cookies intrigued me from the moment I saw them! I think the best part of making chocolate chip cookies is eating the raw dough, and these cookies let me eat cookies and dough all in one! Brilliant!

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6. Healthier Banana Bread– This Banana bread tastes just as good as my non-lightened-up favorite. A delicious, flavorful, and healthy banana bread is always wonderful to have around the house!

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7. Peanut Butter Chocolate Pretzel Truffles- This is a combination of all my favorite foods! Pretzel, peanut butter, and chocolate :)

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Honorable Mention: Felt Hairbow Tutorial– These were really #8, but since they aren’t a recipe, I won’t count them. They are a really fun craft project, though, and I often wear the bows I made :)

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8. Gooey Peanut Butter Reese’s Bars– These are at the top of my list of favorites, too, right up there with the s’mores bars. These are so gooey and so delicious!

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9. Swedish Meatballs– I’m so glad these made the top 10! Swedish meatballs are one of my favorite foods and I always love it when my mom makes them :)

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10. Mini Corn Dog Muffins– I have made these several times this year and my family absolutely loves them. They are so cute, tasty, and easy to make.

corn dog mm web4 copy

And, because I can’t resist, here are a few of my favorites that didn’t make the list :)

Pioneer Woman Cinnamon Rolls– These will forever be one of my favorite foods. I would eat them everyday if I could :) I would wager that you will never have a better cinnamon roll than these.

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Pumpkin Deliciousness Cake– I may or may not have stood in the kitchen, eating piece by piece of this cake straight out of the pan ;)

Pumpkin Deliciousness Cake

Gooey Nutella Bars– These, along with the s’mores and reese’s bars, are in my top 3 favorite desserts of the year. So tasty! My kitty thought they were great, too :)

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Christmas Cookie Ideas

Are you guys baking for Christmas yet? I love baking cookies around Christmas-time. Cookies are fun to make and also easy to give away! This post is filled with some of my favorite cookie (and bar) recipes that you can enjoy this holiday season!

First Up- I’ve made three different bars this year that are all quite possibly the best things that I have ever made. I am so excited to make these tasty bars again!

Gooey Nutella Bars!

I brought these to a Fourth of July Party and everyone loved them! I loved them too- they were sooo gooey and delicious.

 Gooey Peanut Butter Reece’s Bars

Another Gooey Bar! Oh it’s so good. I absolutely love Recces!

 S’mores Bars

While I know I sound like a broken record, here these bars were amazing!

I honestly cannot choose my favorite between these three bars- and blogging about them now is making me excited to go home and do some baking! I’m thinking I’m going to make at least one of these bars, surgery some zucchini or pumpkin bread, and a new cookie recipe (I already have one in mind :).

Speaking of cookies…. :) Here are a few of my favorite cookie recipes:

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I absolutely loved these cookies! They’re big, soft, and fluffy, and I love the sweet and salty combination. Make them! :)

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I will confess that I will always choose chocolate over oatmeal raisin, but maybe not with these cookies! I made these for a teacher who really likes oatmeal raisin cookies, and I couldn’t believe how much I loved these! They’re so soft and have a great texture. Love them!

There are so many recipes I could post on this post, but I didn’t want to overwhelm you too much! Check out my Recipe Page to see all my bars, cookies, cupcakes, cakes, and other desserts!

Do you have any desserts that you have to make every year around Christmas time?

 

Gooey Nutella Bars

You know it’s a good day when you have apple pie and ice cream for breakfast and then go shopping for butter, ophthalmologist eggs, viagra cake mix, decease and cream cheese ;)

Our oven has been broken for the past couple of months, which is why I’ve been making mostly no-bake recipes lately, but this week out neighbors are out of town and offered me the use of their oven. Woohoo! So yesterday I headed over there to bake these delicious gooey nutella bars in their fully-functioning oven.

The original recipe for these bars calls for Biscoff instead of Nutella. Have you had Biscoff yet? I’ve only heard great things about it but haven’t been able to find it in our store. After making these bars I found out from my parents that our Kroger keeps the Biscoff by the bread, instead of by the peanut butter and Nutella. What the heck? That does not make sense! But at least now I know where it is and can buy it next time I go to the store. But I certainly don’t regret making these bars with Nutella- they are incredible! I brought them to a 4th of July get-together and everyone was raving about them- I love it when that happens :)

These bars do require a little bit of planning- they take 40-50 minutes to bake and then need to cool completely before serving them- but it’s worth it! They’re sweet, gooey, and nutella-ey.

Penny really wanted to try them, too! She is such a trouble-maker ;)

Gooey Nutella Bars 

Ingredients

For the Cake:
1 box yellow cake mix
1 egg
1 stick butter, melted

Filling:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup Biscoff Spread OR Nutella
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 stick butter, melted
16 ounces confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting on top

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cake mix, 1 egg, and stick of butter with an electric mixer until the dough comes together. You may need to use your hand to mix it up completely. Press the dough into the bottom of a lightly greased 13×9 inch pan.
  3. To make the filling, beat the cream cheese and nutella until smooth in a large mixing bowl. Add the eggs, vanilla, and butter and beat until combined. Add the powedered sugar and continue mixing until the filling is smooth. Spread the Nutella filling over the cake layer and bake for 40-50 minutes. It’s a little hard to tell when the bars are done because you want the center to be gooey. After 40 minutes, the center of my bars wasn’t set at all, so I left it in for another 10 minutes and it was perfect.

Enjoy!

Adapted from Live Love Pasta :)

Gooey Peanut Butter Reese’s Bars

Last week at school we had a “senior shadow day” where we were supposed to spend the day learning from someone who works in a profession in which we are interested. I contacted Jen and Chris Creed, advice two wonderful and kind photographers who I have been lucky enough to get to know the past couple of months. I have to admit I was nervous about asking if I could shadow them because I didn’t want to be annoying, visit but they were so kind and enthusiastic about it. They asked me what I wanted to get out of the experience, what I wanted to improve on, and got a couple for us to shoot in Downtown Franklin. The photo session was so fun! I’m posting a couple of my favorites from the session (you can see the full session on my photography website).

I loved watching Jen and Chris shoot. They really try to push their creativity and some of my favorite shots are things I never would have taken on my own. Absolutely check out their photography! They are amazing people and super talented :)

I knew I wanted to make something for Jen and Chris as a thank you for allowing me to spend the day with them. After checking that they both like peanut butter (which they probably thought was a little strange ;) I made these Gooey Peanut Butter Reese’s Bars. Oh my goodness. These were incredible!

I had asked my dad to get the ingredients for the bars while he was at the store, and he accidentally got fat-free sweetened condensed milk! I was afraid the bars wouldn’t taste good or bake as well with the fat-free version, but I asked Jenny from Picky Palate on Twitter what she thought and she said it would be fine. And it was! So you shouldn’t feel guilty about eating these…they’re practically a health food ;)

Jen and Chris loved these, as did my family. The next day I brought in leftovers to school and my teachers and classmates loved them as well. Success all around! I will have to say that you do want to eat these at room temperature…I usually like things when they’re all warm and melty but definitely preferred these after they had cooled down the next day.

Gooey Peanut Butter Reese’s Bars

Ingredients:

1 box yellow cake mix
1 stick butter, softened
1 egg
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk (fat-free works great!)
15-20 (or however many you want) Reese’s peanut butter cups, coarsely chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13 inch baking dish with foil and spray generously with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix, butter, and egg until a dough forms. Press the dough onto the bottom of the prepared baking pan.Top the dough with chocolate chips.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together the sweetened condensed milk and peanut butter until well combined and pour over the dough. Top with the chopped Reese’s.
  4. Bake at 350 for 23-30 minutes, until the bars are golden brown and the center is set (doesn’t giggle when you move the pan). Let them cool completely before you cut them into squares.

Enjoy!

Note: The original recipe says the cook time is 23-25 minutes. I ended up cooking mine for closer to 30 because the bars wouldn’t set. When you take them out of the oven, they will be incredibly gooey. That’s ok, just let them cool completely (I know…willpower) before you eat them. It’s worth the wait!

Source: Kevin and Amanda

Gooey, Delicious, Incredible S’mores Bars

Whenever I look at other people’s food blogs, esophagitis I wonder how they stay healthy. It seems like most food bloggers that I follow are pretty much all pretty thin and healthy looking, which makes me wonder if they work out and how many of their desserts they eat. I’ve always struggled with my weight and self-esteem, and I love baking and creating food because it makes me see food as something fun and a form of art and self expression, instead of something that will make me fat. I think that one of the things young girls (and really women of all ages) struggle with most is their weight and feeling beautiful, and that’s why I decided to start workshops, called Beautiful, for middle school girls.

Beautiful strives to instill in girls that they are gorgeous and special because they are God’s creation. We had a workshop this past Saturday and it was so fun. We talked about the messages the media sends girls and how we as women get our ideas of what beauty is from the media, our friends, family, etc, but how we don’t get our idea of beauty from God. I think that when we are able to be confident that we are cared for and special in God’s eyes, other things start to become less important. After we talked about this, I gave each of the girls a deck of cards and we spent the rest of the time writing positive things about each other and about ourselves on the cards. It was fun for everyone (including me) and I’m excited to start putting my cards in places that I’ll see them daily :)

Those are some of the cards I made :)

I made this dessert for the girls and they all loved them and each ate several pieces. While I think it is very important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, it made me happy to see them eat them without worrying about weight-gain. We talked about a quote I read on Pinterest that said “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” and how that’s just a terrible statement. I understand that it’s trying to say that eating a dessert or whatever isn’t worth the calories and isn’t as satisfying as being skinny, but I think it communicates that food and eating isn’t as important as being thin. As someone who has struggled with anorexia, I know that being skinny is not as important as food and that depriving yourself of food is not healthy. Why spend your life counting every calorie and agonizing about food? Food is fuel. It is not the enemy. And you know what? The girls and I decided that these bars taste a whole lot better than skinny :)

I honestly think these S’mores Bars are one of the tastiest things I have ever made (and that’s saying something!) The bottom layer is a fudgy brownie layer then there’s a layer of graham cracker, chocolate chips, marshmallows, buttery cookie layer, and sweetened condensed milk. Mmm!!! <– You know it’s good when I use three exclamation points. It’s sweet, gooey, and all-around delicious.

This is a really simple recipe to make, too. First you mix your brownie mix (or make from scratch brownies if that’s how you roll) and pour it in a 9 by 13in pan lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil (aluminum foil is probably easier). Cover it with a layer of graham crackers. Dump a ton of chocolate chips and lots of mini marshmallows on the graham crackers. Next, mix up your yellow cake dough and gently press it on top. Drizzle on about a cup of sweetened condensed milk and bake! It’s really easy and sooo tasty. Really, make these soon. They’d be a great Valentine’s Day dessert or every day dessert- because really, who needs and excuse to tell someone you love them?

S’mores Bars

Ingredients:

1 family size box mix of brownies and the ingredients to make the brownies (probably canola oil, water, and 2 eggs)
9-ish honey graham crackers
12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips (or more!)
4 cups mini marshmallows
1 box yellow cake mix
1 egg
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup sweetened condensed milk

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 by 13in pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil that has been generously coated with cooking spray. Make sure your lining goes all the way around the pan.
  2. Mix up your brownie mix according to the box directions and pour it into the pan.
  3. Cover the brownies with the graham crackers. You want to fit as many of the graham crackers on there as you can.
  4. Pour the chocolate chips onto the graham crackers and then add the mini marshmallows.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the box of yellow cake mix, egg, and stick of softened butter. Use your hand to mix the dough all together.
  6. Top the marshmallows with the dough. I found the best way to do this is to take some in your hand, press it so it’s flat, and place it on top of the marshmallows. Repeat this until all the marshmallows are covered (it does not have to be perfect) and then drizzle on the cup of sweetened condensed milk.
  7. Bake it in the oven for 18-22 minutes. It’s hard to know when it’s done, but the top layer should be a nice golden brown. I took mine out after 18 minutes and it turned out wonderful- the brownie layer was really fudgy.
  8. It takes a long time for this to cool enough to cut. I was really impatient and tried to lift this out of the pan too early…it was a bit of a messy disaster. But if you wait for it to cool completely, you can cut nice, even squares (you can see the difference in the ones I cut right away and the ones I cut the next day).

This recipe was inspired by this and this recipe from Picky Palate <–she’s awesome!

Ok…I know I said in this post that I wouldn’t keep posting pictures of my puppy…but I can’t help myself! I think he’s just too cute :) And in desperate need of a haircut…I promise he does have eyes under there.

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