These bars are so incredibly delicious (and simple)! Whenever I make them, the whole tray usually disappears within a day. You wouldn’t expect them to be so addicting — but at least you’ve been warned!
Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cup oats
1 1/2 sticks butter
Jar of apricot jam (I buy apricot/pineapple)
Directions:
Mix dry ingredients together, then add melted butter and mix with hands.  Spread about a 1/2” thick layer into a 13” x 9” pan — you won’t be using all of the mix just yet. Then spread a thin layer of jam (about a cup) over the base. I melt mine down for a bit to make it spread easier. And don’t worry if you don’t perfectly cover every inch, it will melt in the oven and spread on its own. Lastly, top it off with the remaining mix.
Bake for around 30-35 minutes at 350º. Enjoy!

These bars are so incredibly delicious (and simple)! Whenever I make them, the whole tray usually disappears within a day. You wouldn’t expect them to be so addicting — but at least you’ve been warned!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 cup oats

1 1/2 sticks butter

Jar of apricot jam (I buy apricot/pineapple)

Directions:

Mix dry ingredients together, then add melted butter and mix with hands.  Spread about a 1/2” thick layer into a 13” x 9” pan — you won’t be using all of the mix just yet. Then spread a thin layer of jam (about a cup) over the base. I melt mine down for a bit to make it spread easier. And don’t worry if you don’t perfectly cover every inch, it will melt in the oven and spread on its own. Lastly, top it off with the remaining mix.

Bake for around 30-35 minutes at 350º. Enjoy!

If you are anything like me, you are too impatient for cooking and baking. If that’s you, then you’re going to love this method of making cinnamon rolls. 
All you have to do is grab a waffle maker, a tube of pre-made cinnamon rolls and cooking spray. Once your waffle maker is heated up, spray it liberally with the cooking spray so the rolls don’t stick. Then place four cinnamon rolls in each of the four areas. Close the waffle maker all the way and let them cook for about three minutes. 
Boom! You’ve got yourself a quick and tasty treat that is sure to impress your guests. 

If you are anything like me, you are too impatient for cooking and baking. If that’s you, then you’re going to love this method of making cinnamon rolls. 

All you have to do is grab a waffle maker, a tube of pre-made cinnamon rolls and cooking spray. Once your waffle maker is heated up, spray it liberally with the cooking spray so the rolls don’t stick. Then place four cinnamon rolls in each of the four areas. Close the waffle maker all the way and let them cook for about three minutes. 

Boom! You’ve got yourself a quick and tasty treat that is sure to impress your guests. 

This popsicle set is one of the best impulse buys I’ve made. Seriously. I have a lot of fun trying to create delicious concoctions from whatever we have around the house…some aren’t so successful. But these however are on the success list! They are super easy to make and fuel my coconut obsession.  
Coconut Nutella Popsicles
1 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup nutella
3+ tablespoons shredded coconut
Honey Coconut Popsicles
2 cups coconut milk
3 tablespoons honey
3+ tablespoons shredded coconut
Instructions:
Mix the various ingredients in a small mixing bowl and pour into your molds (each recipe makes 3-4). After about an hour in the freezer, insert your popsicle stick and return to freezer until ready to serve. At this point, I also added more shredded coconut to the bottoms of each popsicle because it looks even tastier.
If you need molds, these are pretty cool and I’ve heard wonders about the Zoku Popsicle molds. I also found some at World Market and Bed Bath & Beyond. 

This popsicle set is one of the best impulse buys I’ve made. Seriously. I have a lot of fun trying to create delicious concoctions from whatever we have around the house…some aren’t so successful. But these however are on the success list! They are super easy to make and fuel my coconut obsession.  

Coconut Nutella Popsicles

1 cup coconut milk

1/3 cup nutella

3+ tablespoons shredded coconut

Honey Coconut Popsicles

2 cups coconut milk

3 tablespoons honey

3+ tablespoons shredded coconut

Instructions:

Mix the various ingredients in a small mixing bowl and pour into your molds (each recipe makes 3-4). After about an hour in the freezer, insert your popsicle stick and return to freezer until ready to serve. At this point, I also added more shredded coconut to the bottoms of each popsicle because it looks even tastier.

If you need molds, these are pretty cool and I’ve heard wonders about the Zoku Popsicle molds. I also found some at World Market and Bed Bath & Beyond. 

It’s beginning to feel a lot like summer here in California and I’m lucky enough to have a Meyer lemon tree in the backyard of my work space. So the other day  I went and picked a bunch of lemons to see if I could come up with a tasty lemonade. Here’s the results…
Simple Syrup Recipe
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 vanilla bean (cut in half lengthwise, seeds removed, pod reserved)
8-10 cut strawberries
Instructions
Place the strawberries and vanilla in a pot along with the water and sugar.  Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer until the strawberries break down, the sugar dissolves and the sauce thickens slightly (about 5 minutes). Place syrup in the refrigerator to cool. You can choose whether or not you want to strain out the strawberry chunks. 
Squeeze your lemons till you get about 2-3 cups of juice (strained).  I used about 8-10 lemons. Now here’s where you get to experiment. I started with 2 cups of lemon juice, 3 cups of water and 1 cup of simple syrup.  I then added more of each to taste. Depending on how you like your lemonade (and how tart your lemons are), you can add additional juice, water, vanilla, or simple syrup to your liking. Stick in the refrigerator to cool and enjoy over ice!
(Note: I noticed that after cooling and setting in my refrigerator, my lemons were slightly tarter so I added a bit of water to it before serving. Oh and the bottles are from Ikea or online here.)

It’s beginning to feel a lot like summer here in California and I’m lucky enough to have a Meyer lemon tree in the backyard of my work space. So the other day  I went and picked a bunch of lemons to see if I could come up with a tasty lemonade. Here’s the results…

Simple Syrup Recipe

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

1 vanilla bean (cut in half lengthwise, seeds removed, pod reserved)

8-10 cut strawberries

Instructions

Place the strawberries and vanilla in a pot along with the water and sugar.  Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer until the strawberries break down, the sugar dissolves and the sauce thickens slightly (about 5 minutes). Place syrup in the refrigerator to cool. You can choose whether or not you want to strain out the strawberry chunks. 

Squeeze your lemons till you get about 2-3 cups of juice (strained).  I used about 8-10 lemons. Now here’s where you get to experiment. I started with 2 cups of lemon juice, 3 cups of water and 1 cup of simple syrup.  I then added more of each to taste. Depending on how you like your lemonade (and how tart your lemons are), you can add additional juice, water, vanilla, or simple syrup to your liking. Stick in the refrigerator to cool and enjoy over ice!

(Note: I noticed that after cooling and setting in my refrigerator, my lemons were slightly tarter so I added a bit of water to it before serving. Oh and the bottles are from Ikea or online here.)

My Mom’s Apple Pie

The other day I was stressed (I bake when I’m stressed) and craving my mom’s apple pie. It was so tasty that I thought I’d share the goodness with you!
Ingredients
enough pastry for a double crust 9 inch pie. (You can use pre-made pie crust or make your own. I used this recipe to make mine from scratch.)
6 tart apples, peeled (Green or Granny Smith variety)
1/2-3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2-4 tbsp flour
2-4 tbsp butter
Directions
Line pie pan with pastry crust; prick crust bottom with a fork all over and then trim off excess crust edges.
Peel your apples and remove the core. I like chunkier apples in my pie so I cut the chunks into about 1-1.5” pieces.
Prepare your apples by combining together sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and flour into a pot*.  Add your sliced apples to the pot on medium heat, gently stirring to combine. Remove from heat when  your apples are just slightly soft (they’ll finish cooking in the oven so you don’t want them too soft).
Pour your apple filling into pastry-lined pan; dot filling with chunks of butter.
Cover with top crust; I did a basket weave on the pie and cut off the excess.  Press firmly together to seal the bottom and top crust layers. I also like to brush a little milk on top of the crust because it gives it a nice golden brown color. 
Bake in preheated 400-425 F oven for 40-45 minutes.
*If sweeter apples are used, you can add lemon juice when prepping the apples to desired tartness. I used about 2 tablespoons.

My Mom’s Apple Pie

The other day I was stressed (I bake when I’m stressed) and craving my mom’s apple pie. It was so tasty that I thought I’d share the goodness with you!

Ingredients

enough pastry for a double crust 9 inch pie. (You can use pre-made pie crust or make your own. I used this recipe to make mine from scratch.)

6 tart apples, peeled (Green or Granny Smith variety)

1/2-3/4 cup sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

2-4 tbsp flour

2-4 tbsp butter

Directions

Line pie pan with pastry crust; prick crust bottom with a fork all over and then trim off excess crust edges.

Peel your apples and remove the core. I like chunkier apples in my pie so I cut the chunks into about 1-1.5” pieces.

Prepare your apples by combining together sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and flour into a pot*.  Add your sliced apples to the pot on medium heat, gently stirring to combine. Remove from heat when  your apples are just slightly soft (they’ll finish cooking in the oven so you don’t want them too soft).

Pour your apple filling into pastry-lined pan; dot filling with chunks of butter.

Cover with top crust; I did a basket weave on the pie and cut off the excess.  Press firmly together to seal the bottom and top crust layers. I also like to brush a little milk on top of the crust because it gives it a nice golden brown color. 

Bake in preheated 400-425 F oven for 40-45 minutes.

*If sweeter apples are used, you can add lemon juice when prepping the apples to desired tartnessI used about 2 tablespoons.

So my goal for 2012 is to learn to cook. (Probably something I should have learned by now.) Considering I used to eat that microwavable Easy Mac and considered any other macaroni to be “hard mac” I figured this was a good recipe to start off with. It’s definitely a tasty treat and perfect for Super Bowl Sunday snacking. 
Mini Mac and Cheese Pies (makes 8)
Ingredients
1 1/2 cups Ritz crackers, crushed (I threw mine in a food processor)
2 cups white cheddar cheese, grated and divided
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
4 1/2 cups cooked elbow macaroni (about 8 ounces uncooked)
One 5.2-ounce container of Boursin Garlic and Herb cheese
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
Parsley, for garnish, optional
Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously spray 8 cups of your muffin pan with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, combine the crushed Ritz crackers, 1 cup of the shredded white cheddar cheese, and the melted butter, mixing well until the mixture holds together and resembles coarse sand. Divide the mixture among the 8 muffin cups and, using your fingers or the back of a spoon, firmly press the crust into the bottoms and up the sides of each muffin cup.
In another large bowl, combine the cooked (and still hot!) macaroni with 1/2 cup of the shredded white cheddar, the Boursin cheese, and the butter, mixing well.
In a small bowl, combine the eggs, milk, sour cream, salt, and red pepper flakes, mixing well.  Add the egg/milk mixture to the cooked macaroni, mixing until all the ingredients are melted and smooth.
Place about 2-3 tablespoons of the macaroni mixture into each muffin cup (you will probably have a little leftover macaroni). Top each muffin cup with the remaining white cheddar.  Bake the mac and cheese pies until lightly golden on top, about 20-25 minutes.
Let cool slightly before removing from the muffin pan, garnish with parsley, and serve immediately.

So my goal for 2012 is to learn to cook. (Probably something I should have learned by now.) Considering I used to eat that microwavable Easy Mac and considered any other macaroni to be “hard mac” I figured this was a good recipe to start off with. It’s definitely a tasty treat and perfect for Super Bowl Sunday snacking. 

Mini Mac and Cheese Pies (makes 8)

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups Ritz crackers, crushed (I threw mine in a food processor)

2 cups white cheddar cheese, grated and divided

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

4 1/2 cups cooked elbow macaroni (about 8 ounces uncooked)

One 5.2-ounce container of Boursin Garlic and Herb cheese

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold

2 large eggs

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup sour cream

1/4 teaspoon salt

Parsley, for garnish, optional

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously spray 8 cups of your muffin pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine the crushed Ritz crackers, 1 cup of the shredded white cheddar cheese, and the melted butter, mixing well until the mixture holds together and resembles coarse sand. Divide the mixture among the 8 muffin cups and, using your fingers or the back of a spoon, firmly press the crust into the bottoms and up the sides of each muffin cup.

In another large bowl, combine the cooked (and still hot!) macaroni with 1/2 cup of the shredded white cheddar, the Boursin cheese, and the butter, mixing well.

In a small bowl, combine the eggs, milk, sour cream, salt, and red pepper flakes, mixing well.  Add the egg/milk mixture to the cooked macaroni, mixing until all the ingredients are melted and smooth.

Place about 2-3 tablespoons of the macaroni mixture into each muffin cup (you will probably have a little leftover macaroni). Top each muffin cup with the remaining white cheddar.  Bake the mac and cheese pies until lightly golden on top, about 20-25 minutes.

Let cool slightly before removing from the muffin pan, garnish with parsley, and serve immediately.

This is supposedly one of the best chocolate chip cookie recipes out there. I’ll vouch for that claim. They are SO GOOD. 
A few notes: Don’t skip the two different kinds of flour — it won’t be the same. If you can hold out, let the dough sit in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Also, the original recipe calls for bittersweet chocolate which I tried and liked, but semi-sweet tastes just as good and is my preference. Lastly, this makes a ton of cookies so get ready!
Jacques Torres’ (not so) Secret Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
 Makes twenty-six 5-inch cookies or 8 1/2 dozen 1 1/4-inch cookies
Ingredients  1 pound unsalted butter 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar 2 1/4 cups packed light-brown sugar 4 large eggs 3 cups plus 2 tablespoons pastry flour 3 cups bread flour 1 tablespoon salt 2 teaspoons baking powder 2 teaspoons baking soda 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract 2 pounds chocolate, coarsely chopped
Directions Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats; set aside.
In the bowl, cream together butter and sugars.  Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Reduce speed to low and add both flours, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla, and chocolate; mix until well combined.
Using a 4-ounce scoop for larger cookies or a 1-ounce scoop for smaller cookies, scoop cookie dough onto prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart.
Bake until lightly browned, but still soft, about 20 minutes for larger cookies and about 15 minutes for smaller cookies.  Cool slightly on baking sheets before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

This is supposedly one of the best chocolate chip cookie recipes out there. I’ll vouch for that claim. They are SO GOOD. 

A few notes: Don’t skip the two different kinds of flour — it won’t be the same. If you can hold out, let the dough sit in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Also, the original recipe calls for bittersweet chocolate which I tried and liked, but semi-sweet tastes just as good and is my preference. Lastly, this makes a ton of cookies so get ready!

Jacques Torres’ (not so) Secret Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Makes twenty-six 5-inch cookies or 8 1/2 dozen 1 1/4-inch cookies

Ingredients
1 pound unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 1/4 cups packed light-brown sugar
4 large eggs
3 cups plus 2 tablespoons pastry flour
3 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 pounds chocolate, coarsely chopped

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats; set aside.

In the bowl, cream together butter and sugars.  Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Reduce speed to low and add both flours, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla, and chocolate; mix until well combined.

Using a 4-ounce scoop for larger cookies or a 1-ounce scoop for smaller cookies, scoop cookie dough onto prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart.

Bake until lightly browned, but still soft, about 20 minutes for larger cookies and about 15 minutes for smaller cookies.  Cool slightly on baking sheets before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.