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Reese’s Peanut Butter Bars

These bars may change your life.

No, really. They’re the best thing ever.

reeses peanut butter bars finished

This recipe has been in my family for as long as I can remember. It’s the perfect chocolate-peanut butter-graham cracker combo. The only way you wouldn’t like them is if you don’t like peanut butter, and then I just don’t know what to do for you. Because peanut butter is the best.

On a complete tangent, I was doing some research for work on Cinnamon Toast Crunch—CTC in my world. I seriously lived on CTC and other crazy, terrible things my freshman year of college, though it’s been years since I’ve let myself buy that kind of cereal. But in the course of my research today I learned that they have PEANUT BUTTER Cinnamon Toast Crunch. It was all I could do not to run across the street to Kroger and buy it immediately. [Read more…]

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Healthy Lemon Cornstarch Pudding

Oh man, guys, it has been one heck of a week! Last Wednesday we closed on my first home, started painting our faces off, moved, and it’s been a whirlwind ever since. I haven’t had much time for cooking, but I am excited to get started again. I just might have to change my blog heading, because “adventures in a tiny kitchen” doesn’t really fit anymore—my kitchen is so much bigger and nicer! Can’t wait to put it through its paces.

I made this a few weeks ago, and absolutely loved it. As I mentioned a long time ago, chocolate cornstarch pudding is one of my family’s secret recipes, a summer go-to for me when I’m craving something cold and a little sweet.  I particularly love that recipe because it doesn’t require any kind of gelatin or anything like that, just simple cornstarch. But a while back I got to thinking about it and how, in theory, that recipe could be adapted a million different ways.

lemon cornstarch pudding finished2

I’m sure it’s no surprise that lemon was the first flavor that came to mind. Adapting it was incredibly simple, just leaving out the cocoa powder and adding fresh lemon zest, juice, and a little lemon extract to make it extra…lemon-y.

lemon cornstarch pudding lemons

The resulting flavor was so fresh and sweet and tart, I wanted to make gallons of it. As it was, I devoured it in a few sittings! Now I want to try orange, lime, all the flavors! [Read more…]

Unleavened Treats: Cottage Cheese Rolls

Since I was such a tease with the leavened cake the other day, here’s a real unleavened treat. Though we’re close to the end of the Days of Unleavened Bread, there are still a couple days left to make this DOUB classic. I know some people already use this recipe (because I’ve seen them talk about it on Facebook), but if you haven’t then you must immediately!

cottage cheese rolls finished

This was my mom’s go-to recipe during this season. I never could understand why people would want to eat matzo, because it’s like eating cardboard. These, on the other hand, are moist and buttery and chewy and flavorful and FULL OF AWESOME.

cottage cheese rolls dough ready to bake

This recipe is really versatile. You can make it as-is, substitute whole wheat flour for part, add savory or sweet flavors, make rolls or roll out flat. I mixed it up a lot this week, using some rosemary, some cinnamon-sugar, and some whole wheat flour.
[Read more…]

Family’s absolute go-to recipe (Mexican Meat & Beans)

This is the #1 recipe in my family. Forever. Always.

In some families, if you say “we’re having Mexican”, they might mean tacos one day, enchiladas another, and quesadillas another. But in my family, we only mean one thing—meat and beans.

meat & beans finished closeup

This is the easiest meal ever, quite healthy, full of protein, fiber, and antioxidants. And it makes great leftovers that can be used in a myriad of ways.

meat & beans finished taco salad

meat & beans finished omelette

meat & beans finished nachos

Taco salad. Chili-cheese omelette. Nachos. These are just a few ways you can use the meat and beans. They’re delicious, and keep at least a week in the fridge. [Read more…]

Mom’s Famous Homemade Doughnuts

My mom’s doughnuts are one of those fleeting, kind of mythical things that only comes around once in a blue moon. I’m pretty sure they are my mom’s favorite thing to make, and she only does so like once a year. I love that they’re not insanely sweet (*coughKrispyKremecough*) and actually aren’t horrible for you either. I mean, they’re not zucchini, but they could be worse.

The secret? It isn’t a doughnut recipe at all. It’s a recipe from the Joy of Cooking cookbook from eight million years ago, for panettone (an Italian Christmas treat), and the glaze is made up.

mom donuts donuts glazed2

mom donuts donuts glazed closeup

Is it “donut” or “doughnut”? I’ve literally wondered this since I was a kid.

mom donuts donuts bite

Here’s the other really important thing—you have to eat these right away. Yes, you could eat them as leftovers, but it has been scientifically proven that homemade fried doughnuts are 927% better if eaten within the first 24 hours, and are absolutely best within the first few hours. So consider that permission to devour. [Read more…]

Best chicken salad in the world (Aunt Tina’s Chicken Salad)

I’m pretty sure I didn’t even know chicken salad existed when I was growing up (now, TUNA salad I was familiar with…). But when I moved to Atlanta and began having catered rep lunches, I fell in love with it. The best part is how many variations there are. There’s regular, Southern-style, with mustard, with curry, Waldorf, just about anything really.

We were in Texas visiting family four or five years ago, and my Aunt Tina (who has other amazing talents, like cake baking/decorating) made this chicken salad. It’s in the (Blair) Waldorf family, and is the best chicken salad I have EVER had in my life. The combination of cider vinegar, honey, and white pepper in the dressing is the secret, I think.

It’s like crack. Sweet, tangy, mayo-covered crack.

Aunt Tina's chicken salad...the absolute best in the worldMy mom and I both begged the recipe off of her, and have made it a few times—including about 8 gallons of it (no, seriously) for my sister’s wedding reception dinner. It’s really easy, though kind of time consuming and makes quite a bit. Great for big groups, like picnics and family get-togethers.

[Read more…]

Mom’s favorite brunch staple (No-Fuss Belgian Buttermilk Waffles)

Waffles are my mom’s favorite thing for brunch, no contest. While I like to mix it up with pancakes, biscuits, scones, and french toast, she will ALWAYS want waffles. Problem was, when I was a kid our waffle recipe was kind of a pain in the rear to make because it required you to beat egg whites into a stiff meringue of sorts before gently folding them into the waffle batter. And seriously, who wants to sit there for several minutes trying to get your egg whites to stiffen when you aren’t even properly caffeinated?!

Golden, fluffy, crispy, delicious breakfast!

Enter this recipe—the easiest, awesomest waffles I’ve ever made! I think we found it in a Joy of Cooking cookbook or something (updated: my mom informs me that my grandma’s been making this for eons, she has no idea where it came from, & my grandma was the first to stop using beaten egg whites), and have adapted it over the years to make it even better and healthier. It’s practically dummy-proof, and yields golden, crispy, fast waffles every time.

[Read more…]

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