Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Make-Ahead Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix

Make-Ahead Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix

Just like the store-bought version, but homemade :) Yes, they taste better!
prep time: 10 MINUTES
cook time: 0 MINUTES
total time: 10 MINUTES


1/2 cup granulated sugar {100 grams}
1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar {110 grams}
1/4 teaspoon dried and ground vanilla beans*
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour {192 grams}**
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup semi sweet or milk chocolate chips


Stir all ingredients together until combined. Store in airtight container for up to 3 months.
To make a bath of cookies, preheat oven to 375 degrees. {I realize the photo above says 350...I wrote it wrong. I do things wrong a lot. Take a breath and be glad you read the directions :)}
Empty cookie mix into a large bowl. Stir in:
>1/2 cup softened, room temperature butter {1 stick}
>1 large egg
Stir 1-2 minutes in a stand mixer on low until cookie dough forms and no dry mix ingredients are at the bottom of the bowl. By hand, stir for 4 minutes or until all ingredients come together and forms a cohesive dough. Keep will happen!
Using a 1 1/2 tablespoon cookie scoop, scoop 12 cookies onto parchment paper lined baking sheets. Silicone baking mats are a.o.k too. So are gently greased light colored baking sheets. Bake 8-9 minutes or until the edges are lightly golden and the centers look almost done but not quite. Remove from oven and cool 5 minutes on the hot pan to finish baking. Then remove to a cooling rack.
Devour warm. With milk.
*if you don't want to use vanilla beans/can't find them, simply add in 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract with the butter and egg when you mix your batch of cookies.
**generally, people have most trouble with chocolate chip cookies because there was not enough/too much flour. Too much flour, the cookie doesn't spread. Not enough flour, the cookie spreads like ca-razy. For this recipe, I have weighed all my items to ensure a consistent cookie. The best way to measure flour is to first fluff it up, then spoon into measuring cup, leveling the top with a butter knife. This will help you get perfect cookies every time.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Apple Pie Egg Rolls |

Apple Pie Egg Rolls
  • 3 cups diced and peeled apples (I used gala)
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 4 tsp flour
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 12 egg roll wrappers
  • Cinnamon Sugar:
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • For serving:
  • Caramel apple dip or caramel sauce
  • vanilla ice cream
  1. Heat a pot of vegetable oil to cook the egg rolls in. You want the oil at 350 degrees.
  2. In a bowl, combine the apples, 3 Tbsp sugar, 1 Tbsp brown sugar, flour, ¼ tsp cinnamon, and lemon juice.
  3. Place 2 Tbsp of the filling in the center of each wonton wrapper. Fold 1 corner to the center tucking in the filling followed by 2 sides. Use a dab of water to wipe around the edges of the last corner and roll up. Make sure the wrapper is well secured so none of the filling will leak out.
  4. In another bowl, mix together the ingredients for the cinnamon sugar. Set aside.
  5. Fry egg rolls in oil for 4-5 minutes until brown and crisp.
  6. Place on a plate lined with paper towels to drain for a minute. Then roll in the cinnamon sugar mixture.
  7. Top with caramel apple dip and serve with ice cream. Serves 6.
This is my idea of comfort food!! Smooth and cheesy, creamy and delicious :)
Printable recipe below. Have a great day, friends!

Stovetop Mac n' Cheese with Turkey Sausage

yield: 6 SERVINGS
prep time: 10 MINUTES
cook time: 20 MINUTES
total time: 30 MINUTES


1 lb. macaroni pasta
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
pinch of nutmeg
salt & pepper, to taste
4 cups grated medium cheddar cheese
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 package Butterball turkey sausage, diced


Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
Replace pot back to medium heat. Melt butter, then whisk in flour. Cook 1 minute. Whisk in milk slowly to prevent lumps from forming. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste. Cook 5 minutes over medium low heat to thicken sauce without curdling the milk. Sprinkle cheese in bit by bit until it's all incorporated into one smooth cheesy sauce. Stir in cooked pasta and Butterball turkey sausage. Warm it all through 2-3 minutes before serving. Serve hot.

Apple Dumplings

Easy Apple Dumplings
2 (8 ounce) cans crescent rolls
2 sticks butter
1½ cups brown sugar
1 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 ½ cup 7 Up (or other lemon soda)
2 Apples
Butter a 13 x 9 inch baking dish.
Preheat the oven at 350 F.
Peel and core apples, than cut each apple into 8 slices
Roll each apple slice in a crescent roll and place in a buttered dish.
Melt butter, stir in sugar, vanilla and cinnamon, and when it’s thickened, remove from heat and pour over the dumplings.
Pour the soda in the middle and along the edges of a pan(not over the rolls)
Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until they become golden brown.
Serve warm.
NOTE* 2 Apples to makes 16 dumplings

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Banana Oat Muffin

banana oat muffins

Banana Oat Muffins

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 extra-large eggs
3/4 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 bananas)
1 cup medium-diced ripe bananas (1 banana)
1 cup diced pecans
1 1/2 cups granola
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Line 18 large muffin cups with paper liners. Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl.  Add melted butter and blend. Combine eggs, milk, vanilla, and mashed bananas, and add them to the flour-and-butter mixture. Scrape the bowl and blend well. Don’t overmix.
Fold the diced bananas, pecans and granola into the batter. Spoon the batter into paper liners, filling each 1 to the top. Top each muffin granola, if desired. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool slightly, remove from the pan, and serve.
recipe adapted from Ina Garten

Best frosting ever

BEST FROSTING EVER!!! Combine 1 cup of milk and small box of instant vanilla pudding, set aside. Whip together 8 oz of cream cheese and 12 oz carton of Cool Whip. Whip in pudding. Refrigerate while cake cools. Ice and enjoy this lovely light icing ☆ Thank you all for passing my things around and sharing ☆

Fried Apple Rings

Alway "SHARE" with friends and family...LET'S EAT! 
4 large apples (I used gala) 
1 cup flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup buttermilk
vegetable oil for frying
for the cinnamon sugar topping
⅓ cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon. Set aside. In a small bowl combine the egg and buttermilk. In a third dish, make your cinnamon-sugar topping by combining the ⅓ cup sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon. Set that aside too. Next, slice the apples into ¼-inch thick slices, and use circle biscuit cutters in graduated sizes to make rings out of each slice. Discard the center circles containing the apple core. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat to 350°F. Combine the contents of the first and second dishes as the oil warms up. This will be your batter. Dip the apple rings in and out of the batter one at a time, removing any dripping excess by tapping the rings against the side of the bowl. Fry the rings in small batches, turning them to ensure browning on both sides. Once the rings are golden and crispy, transfer them to a plate lined with paper towel for a few seconds. Quickly transfer the apple rings, one by one, into the cinnamon-sugar mixture and coat evenly. Transfer to a wire rack and serve warm. Notes Apples can go a long way in the recipe, so if you don't get to all 4 apples, don't worry. Make as much or as little as you like.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Autum Apple Cake

Oh My!!!! How easy is this???
Autumn Apple Cake!! Don't let this one get away!
5-7 apples
1 (9 ounce) package yellow cake mix
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 stick real butter
Preheat oven to 350°F
Fill your 9x12 pan 1/2 full with apples which you've peeled, cored and sliced thin
Sprinkle the apples with dry cake mix
Combine sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over the cake mix
Melt butter and drizzle over
Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown
Can be served with ice cream, if desired...
You can also use other fruits for this cake... yummmmy
Thank you all for passing my things around and sharing ☆
☻/ღ˚ •。* ˚ ˚✰˚ ˛★* 。 ღ˛° 。* ° ˚ • ★ *˚ .ღ 。☻/ღ˚ •。* ˚ ˚✰˚ ˛★* 。 ღ˛° 。* ° ˚ • ★ *˚
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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Insiders Guide to San Francisco


Angela PetersonDid you know that our thruway bus service can deliver you into the heart of San Francisco fromEmeryville or Oakland, stops on the Coast Starlight,California ZephyrSan Joaquin and Capitol Corridorroutes? Although we’ve got your transportation needs covered, we wanted to leave the tourism tips to a local. We caught up with Angela Petersen, avid traveler, writer and Texan calling San Francisco home for insider tips on what not to miss on your next trip to The City by the Bay.
Amtrak: We can all buy a guide book, but it’s harder to explore a new city like a local. What are the five best insider attractions of The City by the Bay?
Angela: 1) First, I’d send you to 24th Street in The Mission, especially the section between Folsom and Bryant Streets. It’s one of the neighborhoods most first time visitors to San Francisco don’t seem to know. Much of the surrounding area is rapidly gentrifying, but 24th Street will still give you a feel for the Latin American heart of the Mission. It’s filled with taquerias, bakeries, local markets, and colorful street murals. Don't miss Balmy Alley.
2) Next, I'd recommend seeing San Francisco from atop Twin Peaks, one of the highest spots in the city. Anytime is beautiful, but the best time is a little before sunset. It’s also a great way to watch the light change and maybe see San Francisco’s infamous fog roll in almost at eye level.
3) Most visitors already know about San Francisco's Chinatown. It's one of the oldest and the largest outside of Asia. But they don't know to visit Clement Street in the Inner Richmond just north of Photo via @OnlyinSFGolden Gate Park. It's often called the new Chinatown, and it's typically where locals go for all types of great Asian food within blocks of each other. There aren't the same picturesque pagodas, but it has it's own unique charm. Don't forget to bring a jacket. It really does get colder the closer you get to the ocean!
4) While you’re out there, Lands End is on the far western edge of San Francisco, right along the Pacific Ocean. You can’t come to Northern California without seeing our rocky, beautiful coastline. Near the Visitors’ Center you can see Ocean Beach and the ruins of Sutro Baths, a once extensive, privately-owned bathhouse. Most people stop here, but you should pick up the Coastal Trail on the north side of the Visitor’s Center. It’s a short hike filled with beautiful views of the Golden Gate Bridge. You can either follow the short loop back towards where you started, or you can continue along the trail all the way to the Presidio and Baker Beach.
5) Finally, you shouldn’t miss the Ferry Building during the Saturday morning Farmers’ Market. Locals are regulars here too. The Saturday market is special for lots of reasons. The fruits and vegetables for sale truly showcase the seasons and abundance of California's Central Valley, but it's also the only time that Primavera sets up shop at the market with their sought after Mexican breakfasts, including chilaquiles, tamales, aquas frescas, and much more.
Photo via San Francisco Park and RecAmtrak: There is a lot of ground to cover in San Francisco. How do locals get around the city? Any tips for visitors besides wear comfortable shoes?
Angela: Most locals get around the city using some combination of public transportation, Uber, and walking.
Public transportation is easy to navigate and routes can be found in Google Maps. To make it even easier, buy yourself a Clipper card at any Walgreens, and load it up with cash. Then just you can swipe it and go. It's good on both BART and Muni (buses). Just know that if you're riding the bus and trying to exit from the back door, you have to step down on the step before the doors will open. Locals will helpfully shout, “Step Down!” at you if you happen to forget, but knowing will make you look like a local.
San Franciscans also tend to rely pretty heavily on apps like Uber and Lyft, as you might expect in a city known for tech innovation. Taxis can be hard to find especially if there's a Giants game, a street festival, or even just a little rain.
My preferred method of getting around, is walking. It's the best way to see San Francisco in all it’s unique detail. Locals usually have a good memory of which streets are especially steep, and we often plan our routes around them. If you find yourself staring up a particularly steep hill, it’s entirely possible that walking a block or two in either direction will mean a less grueling climb, but you can’t beat the rewarding views from the top of San Francisco’s hills.
Amtrak: With so many food options in San Francisco where should a rookie head for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but most importantly dessert?
bpatisserie via InstagramAngela: For breakfast, I’d send you to Blue Bottle Coffee at Mission and Fourth Street in Mint Plaza. It’s some of the best coffee in the city, and this is their only cafe with a full food program. Their breakfast is legitimately good, especially their pastries. Another favorite I can’t resist mentioning is B Patisserie in Pacific Heights at California and Divisadero. It’s more of a trek from the parts of town where visitors typically stay, but if you do go, you’ll be richly rewarded with Parisian quality croissants and gorgeous views of the neighborhood’s stately Victorians.
For lunch, I'd suggest going for Italian in North Beach. Molinari's Delicatessen, right off Columbus Street, can't be beat. It’s been in the area since 1896 and will give you a feel for what North Beach was like during it's hay day. It was a favorite of Joe DiMaggio when he lived in the area. Their sandwiches are as big as they are good.
For dinner, Zuni Cafe is a quintessentially San Francisco experience. They're known for made-to-order Caesar salads and their whole roasted chicken, which takes an hour to prepare in the brick oven situated in the middle of the restaurant. It’s simple, delicious California cuisine.
And (most importantly!) for dessert, I'd recommend Absinthe Brasserie & Bar in Hayes Valley, where you can linger here over one of their many desserts with a glass of wine or a cocktail. Their chocolate pot de creme, made with Valrhona chocolate, is creamy and intensely chocolaty. Or, if you want something more casual, head over to brave the line at Bi-Rite Creamery. Most people love the salted caramel flavor, but my favorite is brown sugar with ginger caramel swirl.
What are your favorite insider spots in SF? Let us know in the comments section below!