Sunday, September 30, 2012

Co-Hosting with Mom's Test Kitchen Link Party

Pin It Now! Hi everyone!  This week I am proud to be a co-host at Mom's Test Kitchen for her link party.  Please feel free to head on over, link up your recipes, and show her lots of blogger luvin'!

AAAHHHHH!!!  It's October!!!  Only 3 months until Christmas!!!  Can someone please tell me where 2012 has gone??
Before I get too off track rambling about my life passing by, lets get to this week's party!!  Thank you all so much for coming back each week to link up your recipes!!  I love seeing what you've been making!  And I want to say Welcome to the new faces we're getting!  I love meeting new people & I'm so happy you've decided to come party with me!!
So now let me introduce you to this week's co-host ~ Lindsay from Mommy's Sweet Confessions!  This lady is a dessert lovers best friend!!  If you ever need a good laugh, you have to go check out her Toddler Tales!!  Every mom will appreciate the humor found there!!


Hi everyone!  First off, thank you so much to Jaime for reaching out and inviting me to be a co-host for one of her fabulous link parties, truly an honor! 
My name is Lindsay, and I am the blogger behind Mommy's Sweet Confessions.  I love to bake and cook, I am a chocoholic, and I love sweets.  I try to bake whenever my energetic three year old son and my one year old darling son decide that they are going to let me.  Believe me, they like to make it a challenge! 
This recipe for Taco Chili Mac Skillet is my absolute favorite go-to one pan meal.  It is flavorful, hearty, easy to make, satisfying, and it only takes one pan. What could be better?
This can probably be made with staples that you have in your cupboard and freezer.  You can even substitute ingredients that you do have, if you don't have some of these.  Kidney beans are great, white beans are great, any shaped pasta will work perfect.  Have no fear, substitute as needed!  This is a meal that works for you, not a meal you work for. The spices can be adjusted to your families liking, the way it is written is a bit on the spicy side.  Not drink three gallons of milk to put the fire out spicy, but wake up your taste buds spicy.  It is an incredibly adaptable recipe so play around and find what works for you.

Taco Chili Mac Skillet Recipe 

(Adapted from The Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook recipe for Chili-Pasta Skillet)

Makes approximately 8, 8 oz. servings


  • 1 to 1-1/2 lbs ground turkey (or ground chicken or ground beef)
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (4 oz) can diced green chilies
  • 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 8 oz uncooked orzo pasta
  • 1/2 cup enchilada sauce (I used Trader Joe's enchilada sauce in the bottle)
  • 2 Tbs. dried minced onions or 1/2 cup chopped fresh onion (I used dried)
  • 1 Tbs. taco seasoning
  • 1 Tbs. chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. chipotle chili powder (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic salt
  • 1/2 tsp. salt (or to taste)
  • 1-1/2 to 2 cups water

  • shredded cheese
  • cilantro
  • sour cream
  • tortilla chips

  1.  In a large skillet brown and thoroughly cook the ground turkey.  
  2. Once it is cooked, add the beans, green chilis, diced tomatoes (do not drain), orzo, enchilada sauce, dried onions, chili powder, chipotle powder, taco seasoning, garlic salt and the water.
  3. Stir well, cover, and bring to a simmer.
  4. Simmer on medium-low until the orzo is cooked through and the water has been absorbed, stirring occasionally, about 20-30 minutes.
  5. More water may need to be added as it cooks, so if it is looking dry, or the pasta is not cooked but the water is absorbed, just add more, it will simmer away and do no harm.
  6. Add salt to taste.
  7. Top with any garnishes desired.

Just wanted to say thank you again to Jaime for allowing me to be a part of the wonderful blog she has going on right here.  Hope you all enjoy the recipe!
Thank you so much Lindsay for sharing such a great dinner recipe with us!!  Now y'all be sure to head over to her page to pick out a great dessert to finish up this meal!!  I'm thinking these Chewy Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies would be a great choice!
Just the
  • Myself & Lindsay would love to have you as new friends!! Please take a
    minute to follow us both via GFC, Twitter, FB, or any other social media you
  • Please feel free to grab the button in the sidebar or add a direct link back
    to this week's party
  • And finally, go make some new friends ~ spend a few minutes checking out
    some other recipes that you might want to try out yourself & comment!
    Everyone loves comments!!
  • Please note that by linking up you are giving permission to use the
    photos along with a link back to your post in the Mom's Test Meal Mondays
    Features post & on Mom's Test Kitchen's Social Media Networks

And remember, if anyone is interested in being a co-host for Mom's
Test Meal Mondays, please email me at momstestkitchen (at) yahoo (dot) com! I'd
love to have you!

    Soft Pumpkin Molasses Cookies

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    A few days ago my dad emailed me asking if I had any goodies laying around that he could bring to a work meeting the next day.  Sadly, I didn't, but heck, that wasn't going to stop me from sending him well armed!  I made some of my pumpkin cinnamon rolls and while they were rising, I was trolling my favorite blogger's facebook posts and saw that Sweet Pea's Kitchen had just minutes before put up a recipe for pumpkin gingersnap cookies.  They looked amazing, and I had exactly the amount of pumpkin left over from the rolls, so I decided "what the heck!" I'll throw these in for good measure too if they turn out.  Well, Sweet Pea's Kitchen has yet to disappoint, they were out of this world amazing!!  I sent them to work with my dad the next day, and from what I hear, they were well received :) (As in, there were none left to bring home). Here is my take on hers, with just a few tweaks.  Hope you enjoy!

    Oh yea, they were so good, I have made three total batches this week :)

    Soft Pumpkin Molasses Cookies
    (Adapted from Sweet Pea's Kitchen's Pumpkin Gingersnap Cookies)


    1/2 cup of butter (1 stick), softened 
    1/2 cup granulated sugar
    1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
    1 large egg
    1/2 cup of pure pumpkin 

    1/4 cup of molasses
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    2-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
    2 teaspoons baking soda

    1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    2 teaspoons cinnamon
    1-1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
    1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

    1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1/2 teaspoon salt


    1 1/2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
    1/4 cup granulated sugar 


    1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg and salt; set aside. 
    2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer, cream the butter and the brown and granulated sugars at medium speed until light and fluffy.
    3. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the egg and beat at medium speed until combined, about 30 seconds.
    4. Add the pumpkin puree, molasses and vanilla and beat at medium speed until combined, about 30 seconds.
    5. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl as needed. Refrigerate the cookie dough for at least 1 hour. The dough can be chilled for 2-3 days.
    6. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
    7. Place the 1/4 cup sugar and pumpkin pie spice for rolling in a shallow bowl, mix well to combine. 
    8. Roll a heaping tablespoon of dough into a 1½-inch ball (I use a 1-1/2 tablespoon cookie dough scoop), roll the ball in the sugar mixture, and place it on the prepared baking sheet.  
    9. Repeat with the remaining dough, spacing the balls about 2 inches apart.  Using your fingers or a spoon or fork, gently flatten the dough balls to about 1/2-3/4 inch thick, as they do not spread much.  Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, until the edges are set and cookies look cracked, 10 to 12 minutes.
    10. The cookies will come out flatter and denser the warmer they get, so for the most fluffy, pretty cookies, try to keep the dough chilled between batches.
    11. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets about 3 minutes; using a wide metal spatula, transfer the cookies to a wire rack and cool to room temperature.  


    Saturday, September 29, 2012

    Sweet Confessions Sunday Link Party #9

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    Sweet Confessions Sunday Link Party #9

    Hi everyone!  This week for the Sweet Links Spotlight I let you guys determine the top post.  Well, your clicks did.  This weeks top feature was the most clicked link of the week.  Thank you to all the new party goers this week, I am tickled pink to see you all here!  Congratulations to everyone, all the links were fantastic and I can't wait to see what you have this week to share!

    Sunday's Sweet Links Spotlight

    Rustic Cuff Bracelet Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg 

    If you were featured, grab yourself a button and post it proudly :)

    Mommys Sweet Confessions

    <a href="" target="_self"><img src="

    /u427/Lindsay_Stotts/mommybutton_featured1.jpg" alt="Mommy's Sweet Confessions" width="150" height="150" /></a>

    Don't forget to spread the word, invite some friends, and have them let me know you sent them. Love to meet new friends!

    Thursday, September 27, 2012

    Pie Crust "Fries"

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    So one of the desserts I made for my son's 1st birthday party was pie crust "fries."  Essentially pie crust dough rolled out, cut in strips, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar and then baked.  I got these adorable french fry containers from the Oriental Trading Company.  They were so easy and so much fun!  Check out the other goodies here.  Because really, what is better than a bunch of pie crust dough covered in cinnamon sugar???

    Here is a blog post and pictures from King Arthur Flour, Pie "Fries"

    Pie Crust " Fries"
    Pie crust recipe adapted from KAF's All Butter Pie Crust)


    • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup (16 tablespoons, 8 ounces) unsalted butter*
    • 1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water
    • 1 tsp white vinegar or apple cider vinegar
    • *If you use salted butter, reduce the salt in the recipe to 1/2 teaspoon. 

    •  1/2 cup sugar + 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, mixed


    1) Whisk together the flour and salt.

    2) Dice the butter into small cubes, or cut it into pats. Work it into the flour until it's well-distributed, but not fully incorporated. Larger, pea-sized pieces of butter will be scattered throughout the mixture.

    3) Tossing with a fork or your fingers, drizzle in the ice water. Stop adding water when the dough starts to come together, and grab it in your hands. If it holds together easily, without crumbling, it's ready. If it has dry spots, or pieces break off easily, add a bit more water until it's totally cohesive.

    4) Gather the dough into a ball, and divide it in half. Gently pat/shape each half into a rough disk. Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes before rolling. If dough has been refrigerated longer than 30 minutes, allow it to warm at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes, until it rolls easily.  Here you can also place it in the freezer in a ziploc bag and save it for another batch if you don't need a lot.

    5)  After it has been refrigerated, roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface, to 1/4 to an 1/8 of an inch thick.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

    6)  Sprinkle liberally with the cinnamon sugar mixture, pressing in lightly.

    7) Using a pizza cutter or pastry cutter, cut the dough in to 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch wide strips, and about 3-4 inch long segments.  Using your fingers or a spatula, transfer them to a parchment lined baking sheet.

    8)  Bake for 12-15 minutes, until puffy and golden brown.  Make sure to watch them carefully, they burn easily.  Remove from oven, let cool, and enjoy!

    Saturday, September 22, 2012

    Sweet Confessions Sunday Link Party #8

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    Sweet Confessions Sunday Link Party #8

    Hi everyone!  This week for the Sweet Links Spotlight I let you guys determine the top post.  Well, your clicks did.  This weeks top feature was the most clicked link of the week.  Thank you to all the new party goers this week, I am tickled pink to see you all here!  Congratulations to everyone, all the links were fantastic and I can't wait to see what you have this week to share!
    Sunday's Sweet Links Spotlight

    This weeks most clicked link is....Everyday Insanity's Autumn Granola!

    A few of my other favorite links this week (SOOOOOO hard to choose!)....

    Here is an amazing looking  Chicken Pot Pie with Green Apples and Cheddar Biscuits from Chew, Nibble, Nosh.


    These are totally being added to my Christmas cookie list.  Maple Glazed Oatmeal Cookies from Chocolate, Chocolate and More.

    I love suprises, especially in my cupcakes!  These Caramel Surprise Cupcakes from Krumble Cakes and Sweets look delicious!


    And, what could finish off all this amazingness better than this Caramel Apple Pie Popcorn from Lady Behind the Curtain.

    Lady Behind The Curtain - Caramel Apple Pie Popcorn

    If you were featured, grab yourself a button and post it proudly :)

    Mommys Sweet Confessions

    <a href="" target="_self"><img src="

    /u427/Lindsay_Stotts/mommybutton_featured1.jpg" alt="Mommy's Sweet Confessions" width="150" height="150" /></a>

    Don't forget to spread the word, invite some friends, and have them let me know you sent them. Love to meet new friends!

    Friday, September 21, 2012

    Slow Smoked Pulled Pork

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    My husband is the master of all things revolving around outdoor cooking.  I don't barbeque, and I don't use our smoker.  That is his territory, and he rightfully belongs there, because he is the king of outdoor cooking.  His barbeque chicken is the most tender, flavorful barbeque chicken ever tasted, and the things he does with a smoker are just incredible.  One of our favorites is this slow smoked pulled pork.  It is addictive, full of phenomenal smokey, sweet, rich flavor, and it taste like bacon, taken to a whole new mind blowing level.  Our house smells so amazing when he makes this, between the smell wafting inside through the door, and when it is in the house after it is finished.  Oh if I could bottle that smell...

    Anyways, if you have a smoker, and love BBQ pulled pork, this is a must try recipe for you.  It takes a little love and TLC, and a bit of a time commitment, but the end result is so worth it.  Do it on a day your having people over, it makes a ton, or make some new friends, because I guarantee neighbors are going to be wondering what smells so dang good!
    If you need some ideas on what do with all this pulled pork, here is an idea.  These are some slow smoked pulled pork stuffed pretzel rolls I made a while back.  Took them as an appetizer to our Fourth of July family party, and they were gone before most people got there.  My favorite use for the pulled pork.  We just mixed the shredded pork with BBQ sauce, then made the pretzel roll dough that can be found here .  Pull of the amount needed to make the rolls, but flatten the dough pieces, put a heaping tablespoon of filling, and wrap the dough around it and seal it.  Proceed with the baking soda bath and baking as usual.  Incredible!!!

    This pic was before I figured out how to take decent pictures, but this is a smoked pulled pork pretzel roll.  OMG Yummy!


    • 5-7 pound pork shoulder/pork butt roast
    • Yellow mustard

    Rub (Double if you have a larger amount of pork) :
    • 3 Tbs paprika
    • 1 Tbs garlic powder
    • 1 Tbs brown sugar
    • 1 Tbs dry mustard
    • 1/2 tsp chipotle powder (optional, but tasty)
    • 1 Tbs Chili powder
    • 1 1/2 Tbs sea salt
    • Foil
    • "In-Oven" thermometers
    • Cookie sheets
    • Smoker 
    • Apple or white grape juice (100%)
    • Cherry wood or hickory wood chips for smoker

    1.  Preparing the meat:
      • Remove the meat from the package and place on a cookie sheet that has been lined with foil.
      • Squirt a generous amount of mustard (trust me, it may seem odd, but there is no mustard taste when it is done) on all sides of the roast and rub around to coat.
      • Mix all of the spice rub ingredients together until they are well incorporated.  If you have two large roasts like I did, double the spice mix.  This was about 14 pounds between the two of them (gotta love Sam's Club). 
      • Rub the spice mix over all the sides of the roast, patting into the mustard to help it stick.
      • Insert the thermometer probe into the center, making sure not to hit the bone.
      • It should resemble the set up below:
      Prepped pork roasts with mustard and spice rub applied
         2.  Get the smoker ready:
    • This will vary depending on the smoker style but for our upright smoker, this is what we do:
      • In the water portion of the smoker, place about half apple juice (or some other juice) and half water.
      • Place the wood chips in the appropriate area of the smoker.
      • Put the meat in at about 225 degrees F.
      • Make sure the thermometer read out is working and readable.
         3.  Smoking the meat:
      •  When the internal temperature of the meat reaches 100 degrees F, fill a CLEAN squirt bottle with more of the apple juice (or other juice) and squirt it down real well every hour or so.
      • When the temperature reaches 165 degrees F, pull it out and place it on a double layer of foil, wrap it most of the way up (making sure to not move the thermometer), and pour about 1/2 cup of the juice of choice in, and then finish sealing the foil around it.
      • Place back in smoker until the internal temp is anywhere from 190-210 degrees F.
      • The true test of when it is done is if the meat is able to be shred with a fork.  We usually cook ours to a temperature of 205 degrees F, but it also depends on where there thermometer has been placed, and how well it works.  If it shreds, its good to go.
      • Once it reaches the correct temperature, pull it out, take it inside and check for shred-ability.  If it is good to go, then keep it wrapped in the foil for about 1 hour, for the juices to redistribute. 
    See all that darkness?  That is FLAVOR!  In my family, there are fights over the bark, or the outside part of the roast.
      •  Shred it up, and enjoy it mixed with a BBQ sauce of your choosing, or plain with some coleslaw, or in tacos, the possibilities are endless, but it is so flavorful, I am sure you will have no problems finding some way to use them.

    Sunday, September 16, 2012

    Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Glaze

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    My next foray into pumpkin deliciousness--Pumpkin cinnamon rolls.  I am a die hard cinnamon roll fan, it is no joke, I love me some cinnamon rolls.  When I saw everyone posting pumpkin cinnamon rolls, I knew I wanted to make them eventually.  When I read my husband off a list of pumpkin goodies from my fellow bloggers, the one he was actually interested in (other than the ice cream) was these cinnamon rolls.  Go figure, this coming from my savory loving husband. 

    Since I had made King Arthur Flour's cinnamon rolls before and knew that I really liked them, I decided to give their pumpkin cinnamon rolls a try as my first pumpkin yeast bread endeavor.  Made some adjustments to the dough, filling, and glaze recipes, but it is adapted from their Cinnamon Swirl Pumpkin Rolls.  As usual, they did not dissapoint!  I like these even better than my KAF standby cinnamon roll recipe.  I am currently fighting the urge to go indulge in another one, and my three year old son has already eaten like two (well, he "shared" two and a half with his grandma, but I think he got more than his fair share), and my newly turned one year old is diligently working on his half of a cinnamon roll, and he is acting like it is the greatest thing he has ever eaten...which it vary well may be.  All in all, rave reviews! 

    I tweaked KAF's glaze recipe a bit to make it a maple glaze, and the only negative I have to say about that was that I needed to double the recipe.  So, if you want truly ooey, gooey cinnamon rolls, double the glaze.  A few modifications were made to the dough as well, because it was what I had on hand.

    Perfect with a cup of coffee, a news paper, and some wonderful fall weather.  Well, I guess here in SoCal I can get at least two out of three.
    I made the dough last night, let the dough rise, rolled them out and made the cinnamon rolls, and then I put them in the pan I was going to bake them in and covered them and put them in the fridge to do their second rise.  When I pulled them out this morning I let them sit out for about an hour on the stove top before I baked them to finish their second rise, since my fridge is realllllly cold, they didn't rise much in the fridge.  They only needed to bake about 32 minutes, so not much more than the unrefrigerated dough.

    (Adapted from King Arthur Flour's Cinnamon Swirl Pumpkin Rolls)

    Makes 12 rolls



    • 1 cup canned pumpkin
    • 2 large eggs
    • 2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup lukewarm water*
    • 1/4 cup soft butter
    • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
    • 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • 3 tablespoons brown sugar, light or dark
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
    • *Adjust the amount of water by the time of year or your climate. For summer, or in a humid environment, use the lesser amount of water. In winter, or in a dry climate, use the greater amount. It's always best to start with the lesser amount; you can


    • 1 cup brown sugar
    • 2 Tbs. ground cinnamon
    • raisins, cranberries, or nuts (optional, I omitted)


    • 1 cup glazing or confectioners' sugar
    • 1 tablespoon butter
    • 2 tablespoons real maple syrup
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    • enough milk, apple juice, water, or coffee creamer to reach desired consistency

    1) Mix and knead all of the dough ingredients together — by hand, mixer, or bread machine — until you've made a soft, fairly smooth dough. 

    2) Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover the bowl, and allow the dough to rise for 1 1/2 hours, until it's almost doubled in bulk.

    3) Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased surface. Roll it into a 14" x 22" rectangle; the dough will be thin. 

    4) Sprinkle the dough evenly with the brown sugar, and then with the cinnamon, pressing in the filling to the dough slightly. Spread a thin layer over the dough, leaving one short edge free of filling. 

    5) Sprinkle with nuts or dried fruit (or both), if desired. 

    6) Starting with the long end, roll the dough into a log. 

    7) Cut the log into 12 slices. 

    8) Place the rolls into a lightly greased 9" x 13" pan that's at least 2" deep. Set aside, covered, to rise for 1 hour, or until the rolls look puffy.

    9) Bake the rolls in a preheated 375°F oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until they're lightly browned and feel set. (If they were refrigerated the night before, bake for closer to 30-35 minutes).  Remove them from the oven, and set them on a rack. Turn them out of the pan, and allow them to cool for about 15 minutes. Towards the end of the cooling time, make the glaze.

    10) To make the glaze: Heat the butter and maple syrup together till the butter melts. Whisk in the sugar, salt, vanilla, and whatever amount of other liquid needed to get the desired consistency.

    11) Drizzle the warm rolls with the warm glaze. Sprinkle with chopped nuts, if desired.

    Saturday, September 15, 2012

    Pumpkin Pie Frozen Yogurt Sandwiches with Nutella Swirls

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    What to do with a cupboard finally stocked with pumpkin puree, and an open container of Greek yogurt that needs to be used?  Make ice cream sandwiches of course!  OK, maybe that is a far leap.  I am just dying to make pumpkin something, and searching and searching through all my fellow bloggers incredible pumpkin recipes, was not making my decision easy, or even possible.  I was asking my husband what sounded good and read him off options and he thought ice cream sounded good.  I had made frozen Greek yogurt pops before, had seen the idea of the ice cream sandwiches using graham crackers, which I saw somewhere, but I can't remember where now.  Long story short...through all my angst about not being able to decide on a recipe, I managed to make this one up.

    Pumpkin Pie Frozen Yogurt Sandwiches with Nutella Swirls

    Makes 9 servings

    • 1-1/2 cups fat free plain Greek yogurt
    • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
    • 2 Tbs. honey
    • 3 Tbs. brown sugar
    • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
    • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
    • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
    • 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
    • 1/2 cup nutella spread
    • 9 graham cracker sheets
    1. Line a 8x8" baking dish with foil and set aside.
    2. In a medium bowl combine yogurt, pumpkin, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and mix well.
    3. Break the graham cracker sheets in half, so you have 18 squares.  Place 9 squares in the bottom of the lined baking dish, doing whatever necessary to cover the bottom (I had to trip a few off, and turn a few different ways to get them to all fit).
    4. Pour the yogurt mix over the graham crackers, spreading evenly.
    5. Warm the nutella in the microwave for 10-20 seconds until it is loose enough to drizzle.  Drizzle it evenly over the yogurt mix, and using a knife, swirl it in to the yogurt mix.
    6. Top with the remaining 9 graham cracker squares and place in freezer until set, 2-3 hours.
    7. Remove the frozen sandwiches by lifting the foil out.  Using a large, sharp knife, cut along the edges of the graham crackers, making 9 squares.  Eat immediately or wrap individual sandwiches in wax paper and return to freezer.

    Sunday's Sweet Confessions Link Party #7

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    Sweet Confessions Sunday Link Party #7

    Hi everyone!  This week for the Sweet Links Spotlight I let you guys determine the top post.  Well, your clicks did.  This weeks top feature was the most clicked link of the week.  The rest of the features were determined by my husband, he just doesn't know it.  These are the ones he came up to me and said "Oooo that one looks good!" Thank you to all the new party goers this week, I am tickled pink to see you all here!  Congratulations to everyone, all the links were fantastic and I can't wait to see what you have this week to share! (P.S-I chose the featured posts this week this way because I could not decide at all they were so amazing!)

    Sunday's Sweet Links Spotlight

     This weeks most clicked link was from The Dedicated House with the post
    Another goodwill find for Annie Sloan chalk paint.  Can't wait to see the transformation!

    My hunny's #1 pick this week.....Baking with Blondie and their Sesame Noodles with Peanut Sauce.  He saw this and wanted me to make it that night for dinner.  I went out and got the ingredients, made it, and boy was it good!!!  You all have to go try it out, it packs crazy wonderful flavor!

    My hunny isn't a huge sweet eater (although he likes them more now then before he met me), but snickerdoodle cookies, those are one of his faves.  Double Cinnamon Snickerdoodle Cookies from Creations by Kara, twice the deliciousness!  These definitely peaked his interest.


    And his last pick for the week, these divine looking Apple Pie Cookies from The Farm Girl.  He knew I had some pie dough in the freezer begging to be used, so when he walked by and saw these and said "Ok, those look really good!!" I knew it wasn't an empty comment.  I am definitely putting these on my "to bake" list.


    New Button!  If you were featured, grab yourself a button and post it proudly :)

    Mommys Sweet Confessions

    <a href="" target="_self"><img src="

    /u427/Lindsay_Stotts/mommybutton_featured1.jpg" alt="Mommy's Sweet Confessions" width="150" height="150" /></a>

    Don't forget to spread the word, invite some friends, and have them let me know you sent them.  I will try to pick a featured blogger each week that brings the most people to the party.

    Friday, September 14, 2012

    Meet and Greet Social!

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     It's Time for a Meet and Greet Social! 

    Brought a few goodies to the party to share :)

    White Bean and Green Chili Grilled Cheese

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    I love grilled cheese.  My waist line does not.  I have not made any grilled cheese-type meal in so long I can not even recall how long it has been.  This was inspired by a Yahoo article I read a long while back on how to make the best grilled cheese, and they mentioned mixing in white beans to make it a more filling meal.  I took that idea, and used it to cut back on the amount of cheese needed, and in the end it yielded a hearty, flavorful, lighter version of a grilled cheese sandwich.  It was more a hint of cheese, but of course, if you can spare the calories and want ooey gooey melty cheesy goodness, by all means, double the cheese.  This likens more to a pressed sandwich than grilled cheese in some respects, but to me, it tasted like a mild, yet delightfully tasty sandwich version of a jalapeno popper--without the guilt.  I used some delicious whole wheat hoagie rolls that we had that needed to be used, and they provided a wonderful crispy crust , perfect for this.  I am sure it would be fantastic with even regular sandwich bread though too, and it will be my next one with the filling I have leftover from today.

    I really enjoyed this sandwich.  It was filling, satisfying, and did not leave me with the greasy, still hungry, feeling of a typical grilled cheese.  And it provides some extra protein and fiber as well, without all the fat!


    Makes 4-6 sandwiches, depending on how much filling is used.

    • 1 (15 oz) can white beans, rinsed and drained well
    • 2 Tbs. fat free plain greek yogurt (I like Fage)
    • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
    • 1 small (4 oz.) can diced green chilies (drained of any excess liquid)
    • 2 oz. colby jack cheese, shredded
    • 1/4-1/2 tsp salt, to taste
    • 4 to 6 (6 in.) hoagie sandwich rolls, or 8-12 sliced sandwich bread, depending on filling use
    1. In a bowl, using a fork, mash the rinsed and drained white beans into a paste.  This can also be done in a food processor.  
    2. Add in greek yogurt, cumin, chilies, cheese and salt, and mix thoroughly.
    3. Heat a saute pan on medium low heat.
    4. If using rolls, split them length-wise down the side and spread 1/4 to 1/6 of the white bean mixture inside.  Close the roll back up.
    5. If you desire, spray the pan with some olive oil spray, drizzle of olive oil, or a pat of butter and place the filled sandwich rolls in the pan.  Place a plate on top of the sandwich and top with a heavy can.  This will help press the sandwich and give it a crunchy exterior.
    6. After about 3-4 minutes, or when the bottom is browned and crisped, flip sandwich over, replace the plate and can and press for another 3-4 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the exterior is crisp.

    Thursday, September 13, 2012

    Apple Pie Mookies

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    I really liked my chocolate chip banana mookie recipe.  Mookies, in case you are not familiar with my previous post, are what I dubbed this cross between a cookie and a muffin.  These are fluffy, slightly cakey cookies, with just a phenomenal hearty texture.  When I started to think about what other kinds of "mookies" I could make, I must have had apples on the brain.  Thus, apple pie mookies were born.  With oats, hearty chunks of apples, wonderful warm apple pie spices, and butterscotch chips, these just scream cozy fall day.  And considering it is 95 degrees out, I could very much use a mental escape to a more pleasant season.  The apples are softened but juicy, and a tart contrast against the sweet butterscotch chips.  Slightly chewy oats give way to a fine, cakey crumb.  Seriously, I don't know how many ways to describe the awesomeness except to say you just have to try them.

    Let me just say, my house smells beyond amazing right now.  If I could eat the air I would.  But I guess I will settle for eating these cookies instead.  And at just around 100 calories each, I can afford to have a couple!  

    These are absolutely a must try.  Really, seriously, in the stratosphere tasty.


    Makes approximately 34-38 mookies

    • 1/2 cup salted butter, softened
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
    • 1 large egg
    • 1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 1-1/4 cups all purpose flour
    • 1/4 cup almond meal (if you don't have or don't want to use, add an extra 1/4 cup flour)
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 tsp baking soda
    • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
    • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
    • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
    • 1-1/2 cups old fashioned oats
    • 1 cup tart apples, diced and peeled (like granny smith)
    • 6 oz (1 cup) butterscotch chips

    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
    2. Whisk together flour, almond meal, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger in a small bowl and set aside.  
    3. Place butter, and sugars into a mixing bowl and beat on medium speed until they are well combined.  Depending on how soft the butter is, it may take several minutes for the mix to come together.
    4. Reduce speed to low.  Add egg, applesauce, and vanilla and mix until combined.   Beat for 1 minute on medium until well combined.
    5. Add flour and spice mix and mix on medium until well combined and fluffier.  
    6. Mix in oats, apple pieces and butterscotch chips with mixer or by hand until well incorporated. Don't fear, this dough is very moist.
    7. Using a 1 1/2-inch ice cream scoop or 2 Tbs cookie scoop, drop dough onto baking sheets spacing about 2 inches apart.  Using a fork, flatten the dough into a disk shape, they do not spread much.
    8. Bake cookies until they just start to turn golden brown and just set, about 12 to 13 minutes. The centers will be fairly firm, like a cooked muffin, when done.

    Tuesday, September 11, 2012

    Mind Blowing Brownies (GF and DF)

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    For my son's 1st birthday I made a bunch of desserts for the party (it was a dessert only party).  A few of my family members have dietary restrictions including a dairy and gluten free diet.  I asked them what sounded good and I was met with a confident "brownies!" reply.  I had made gluten and dairy free brownies from Gluten Free Goddess once before, and when I went back to make them again, the recipe had been updated.  It was the day before the party, I only had enough ingredients to make it once, but since Karina's recipes have yet to fail me, I committed 100%. 

    I love rich, fudgy brownies.  I was concerned that these would taste like they were a gluten free version of a brownies.  OH. MY. GOSH.  I was so proved wrong!  They came out and my house smelled like heaven (at least what heaven would smell like for me if I could choose).  These are the most incredible, rich, fudgy, yet just enough cakey to be not outright fudge.  I have never had a brownie this good, and I will never make a gluten laden box recipe again.  This is now my go to brownie recipe.  If you like chocolate, you have to make these. I added some instant coffee granules to enhance the chocolate flavor, but otherwise did it as written from Gluten Free Goddess.

    I can not stress how much you need to make these.  Seriously, go.  Make them.  Karina has brilliant recipes over there for gluten and dairy free needs.  Absolutely brilliant!  Someday maybe I will mess around with the recipe and make some changes, but I really don't want to mess with perfection right now.

    I will warn you though, they are not health food.  At all.  Not even close.  Don't eat the whole pan unless that is all you are going to eat for the day.  Don't say I didn't warn you.  But truly, these will blow your mind to pieces.

    *Note-If you are baking these for someone with gluten or dairy intolerance or allergies, please do your homework and make sure the ingredients you use are in fact gluten and/or dairy free.

    (Ever so slightly adapted from Gluten Free Goddess' Dark Chocolate Brownies)

    Makes 16 servings

    • 5 oz. dark or semi-sweet chocolate (I used Trader Joe's semi-sweet chocolate chips, they are gluten and dairy free)
    • 1/2 cup organic coconut oil (I used Sprout's organic refined coconut oil)
    • 1 cup brown sugar, not packed
    • 1/2 cup almond meal (Trader Joe's)
    • 1/4 cup brown rice flour (Bob's Red Mill)
    • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
    • 1/4 tsp baking soda
    • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
    • 1 Tbs. vanilla extract
    • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp instant coffee granuals or espresso powder (optional, but enhances chocolate flavor) 
    • 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional, I omitted)
    • 1-2 ounces chocolate chips for the top (optional, but looks so nice, and tastes so good!)

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line an 8x8 inch baking dish parchment paper or aluminum foil (oiled).
    2. In a microwave safe dish, melt the chocolate, coffee granules (optional), and the coconut oil in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until well combined.
    3. In a medium bowl mix the brown sugar, almond meal, brown rice flour, salt, and baking soda together.
    4. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix on low speed to combine, then drizzle in the chocolate mixture.  Mix on medium speed for two minutes, making sure everything is well incorporated.  The batter will thicken as it is beaten and will become smooth and shiny.
    5. If you are adding nuts, mix them in now, and then spread the batter out into the prepared pan.  Sprinkle the top with chocolate chips if desired.
    6. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until they are set, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean with maybe a few moist crumbs.  The top cracks like a flourless cake, so don't fret when that happens.
    7. Cool on a wireless rack.  Chill in the fridge for 1-2 hours before cutting if you want to have them cut nicely.  They can be eaten warm if you don't want to wait and don't mind them not holding together real well.  They will taste just as good.
    8. I made these the day before my event, let them cool on the counter, stored them in the fridge over night, pulled them out 30 minutes before serving.  They cut beautifully! Taste amazing.  I stored the leftovers (the few there were) in the freezer, they taste great right out of the freezer too.

    Monday, September 10, 2012

    Sunday's Sweet Confessions Featured Blog: WonkyWonderful

    Pin It Now! This weeks featured blog (first week doing this by the way), and the first ever featured blog her on Mommy's Sweet Confessions is non other than:


    Nicole over at WonkyWonderful embodies the most wonderful qualities of a foodie lovin' blogger that we all should aspire to.  She shares tons of blog lovin', helps promote others' link parties, always adds her amazing recipes to the party (last month was brain freeze month...all I can say is YUUUUM!), and always has something wonderful to say.  But hey, wonderful is in her blog name, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised, because she is wonderful!

    Nicole has some amazing recipes that if you haven't checked them out, you need to right now.  A few to check out:

     #BananaBread #Cake with Brown Butter #Frosting -

    #Watermelon #Granita -

    Homemade Frosty -

    Thanks to Nicole for promoting Sunday's Sweet Confessions Link Party on her Facebook page, bringing friends, and adding fantastic links to the party.  She is the awesomeness and I am thrilled to feature your blog as the very first featured blog from the Sunday's Sweet Confessions Link Party.

    Show her some love like she shows us and please visit and "like" her Facebook page at WonkyWonderful @Facebook

    Her beautiful blog @ WonkyWonderful

    Her  mesmerizing pinterest boards @

    And her Google+ page @ Google+ Wonky Wonderful

    Don't forget, each week I will feature the blog that brings the most friends to Sunday's Sweet Confessions Link Party.  The more friends the merrier the party.  Just have them leave a note in the comments of the party that you brought them over.  I love seeing all the amazing links every one shares, and I don't want to miss out on any.  Can't wait to see you all at the next party!!

    Our Little Guy's First Birthday Party

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    The dessert spread...strawberry with homemade pound cake, funfettie and devils food cupcakes with butter cream frosting, no bake nutella oreo cheesecakes, gluten/dairy free brownies, two kinds of macarons, monster cookie dough truffles, and on the very left, pie crust fries. 
      Well, the day finally came.  Our youngest son's 1st birthday party!  I went ALL out for our older son's thrid birthday party, which you can see here.  That was only a month ago, and I was still exhausted from that one, so I decided to scale back and just do a dessert party.  If you haven't figured it out already, I love making desserts.  I had a list a mile long of ideas.  What you see in these pictures has been pared down from a much longer list than what it started, and things I had every intention of making got cut from the menu even up to that day, once I started putting out the food, seemed like it would be too much.  I was right.  Just for kicks, I was going to have caramel popcorn, then downgraded that to buttered popcorn, then dropped it all together.  I was also going to do chocolate and caramel dipped hard pretzels, those didn't make the cut either.  It was good though, there was a ton as it was.

    The first thing I need to do is give a huge thanks to Larry Berger Photography for the incredible photos taken at the party, I am so thankful to have a photographer as a father! (As are his non photo-shy grand kids).

    Secondly, I am not in any way creative, and all the cute signs and printables were the Little Peanut the Elephant Customized Printables package from.  Fantastic product, wonderful customer service, and they have hundreds of party package designs. I couldn't find the shop on Etsy at the moment, but the link goes to their blog.

    These cute little swirly suckers I got from the Oriental Trading Company, and added some of the printable labels from the Dimpleprints pack.  Absolutely perfect for the theme.

    Labels from Dimpleprints, lollypops from Oriental Trading Company
    As with any party, the food is the biggest attraction, second to our birthday boy.  Below are some of the most insanely delicious and uber chocolatey fudgy brownies I have ever had.  Not only that, but they were gluten and dairy free!  We had several family members with dietary restrictions, and I think I can happily say, that with these, they did not feel like they were missing out on anything, because they were insanely delicious!  I will be doing a recipe post on these later, but the recipe was from Katrina over at Gluten Free Godess.  I will never make regular brownies again.

    The lovely green and orange gems pictured below are my Andes mints macarons (green) and my boysenberry jam filled macarons (orange).  The orange ones also worked great for those on a gluten or dairy restrictive diet. 

    These are my go to favorite for those that don't have much of a sweet tooth, like my husband.  Of course, I covered half of them in cinnamon sugar, but these are homemade soft buttered pretzels with either salt or cinnamon sugar topping. Went great with the circus theme too!

    In the back of the picture you can see a container on the left with little wrapped candies, those are my peppermint salt water taffy's I made as well.

    Here is a drool worthy close up of the cinnamon sugar pretzels...I won't lie, was I pretty proud of how they came out.

     Here we have a dessert for the non chocolate lovers--homemade pound cake (King Arthur Flour inspired)    with fresh strawberries and whipped cream.  I think it is one of my new favorite desserts.  Simple, light, refreshing, and just yummy.

    I love nutella, I had to have a nutella dessert, and in fact, I had several.  I worked very hard though to whittle it down to one.  I decided on this no bake nutella oreo cheesecake cup.  It was slightly adapted from My Baking Addiction's  No Bake Nutella Cheesecake recipe. If you like nutella, or cheesecake, or oreos...this is your dessert!  My husband isn't a big fan of any of those things, and he was just loving these to pieces!

    I adore King Arthur Flour's website, blog, recipes, and products.  I follow them on Facebook and was fortunate enough to see a post a few weeks ago about Pie Crust Fries.  I saw that and I immediately put those on my list of things to make for the party.  I mean really, how cute is this??  Covered in cinnamon and sugar, put in fry containers I got on the Oriental Trading Company's site, and with labels from Dimpleprints. 

    We had so much (even after cutting back and not making everything), that I got to send everyone home with to-go containers (yes, I have a pack of take out containers from Sam's just for this reason) full of goodies.  I love being able to share the foodie love.  And...I do not need to be left alone with all these goodies!  That would be so bad for the diet....

    Now, on the the highlight of the party.  Our photo booth!  I was good, I didn't plan any silly games, or much of anything at all, but the one thing I had to have was a "photo booth."  I decorated an area in our house, bought some silly mustache props and some clown noses, and made (yes, you can ask, I made them do it) everyone take a turn taking some funny pictures.  I am so glad that I did, because they are absolutely priceless!!!  I am going to be polite and only post pictures of us, but let me tell you, every photo of every guest was just fantastic and priceless!

    This is my wonderful husband, and our rambunctious but darling three year old.  He wears that clown nose and funny glasses with just a little too much ease :)

    **Note--After discussions with my husband as to whether or not our kids should be pictured on the blog, we decided we would, but I have removed any personal information from the pictures for safety reasons, so if there is an area in a picture that looks a bit funny, it is because of my poor photo shopping job, and in no way the photographer's doing.**

    This would be me and my hunny doing our photo booth photo.  Can't make everyone else do it if I refused to, right?  I am a good sport like that.  The background for the photo both is just tablecloths cut lengthwise and strung from our chandelier to the wall.  The banner is another great printable from the party pack from Dimpleprints.

    Must have one of the whole family!  The birthday boy was more interested in eating the mustache than wearing it, but what do you expect? 

    Since we did a photo shoot last week for the birthday boy, in which I made a two layer cake with butter cream frosting for him to destroy in his pictures, I decided to cheap out on it for the party.  I just took a cupcake and covered it in whipped cream.  I figured it would be an easier mess to clean up.  I think he knew that he got cheated, he wasn't very in to making any mess.  Good for me, bad for the photo ops.  Thank goodness for that photo shoot the week before!  Mess or not, he was still a very happy little guy with his cupcake.

    The hardest part of the party was trying to convey to our three year old that these presents are not for him, that he can not "help" his brother by opening them all for him, and that the gifts inside are not his, but his brother's.  This is him do his "sad walk."  In other words, he was MAJORLY pouting.  His brother was not particularly concerned about it it seems.  More interested in the hangers.  We are still trying to convince the elder one that these new toys are his brothers and not his...not going well.

    Well that was pretty much the party.  Eating, pictures, birthday cake for the birthday boy, and presents.  Short(ish), sweet, and simple (kinda).  I had a blast planning it, loved all the different desserts I got to make, and enjoyed getting to share the big milestone of the youngest having his first birthday with all of our family that came. 

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