Wednesday, January 21, 2015

January's Cookie Trial ::. New York Cheesecake Cookies

I have to confess something... while I bake a LOT around Christmas time and bake cookies, cakes, and/or cupcakes for my daughters birthdays... I don't bake much the rest of the year. AND when I do bake, my poor husband is never allowed to have any because it is "for someone/thing else". Poor guy, right? Also, I rarely try new things... I have my go-tos and stick to them.

So I have a kind of New Years Resolution in the kitchen. I am going to try a new cookie/dessert every month... and it is ALL for the hubby (ok, he may have to fight the girls if he doesn't share the monthly treats).

January's cookie trial was a pin that I found for New York Cheesecake Cookies (open that link... don't those cookies look ah-maz-ing!?). Perfect first cookie, right?

Well after I got all of my ingredients together and started my baking process, I came to realize that the picture for the above link... is a stock photo (oh the horror, lol) and the cookies that I was in the process of baking were NOT going to look like the oh-so-pretty picture from the recipe. It still got great reviews on the flavor so I forged ahead.

Mine never really got "lightly browned" on top, but they were pretty good. Different. Mine made 14 cookies.


Here is the recipe:

New York Cheesecake Cookies (src)
Ingredients Serves 121 1⁄4 cup graham crackers, finely crushed (1 sleeve)
1 cup flour
1 1⁄2 tsp baking powder
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1⁄2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 egg, separated
3 oz cream cheese, softened
1⁄4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp lemon zest
1⁄2 tsp vanilla extract
Directions1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a large bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, flour and baking powder. In a medium bowl, beat together the butter with the brown sugar using an electric hand mixer. Add the egg white and beat until well combined. Add to the graham cracker crumbs and blend until just combined.
3. In a separate medium bowl, beat together the softened cream cheese with the granulated sugar, egg yolk, lemon zest and vanilla until well combined. Set aside.
Using a small ice cream scoop, scoop out the cookie dough and place on a nonstick or parchment lined baking sheet. (If you do not have an ice scoop, then measure out the dough into scoops of about 2 tablespoons.) Flatten slightly, pressing your thumb in the center of the ball to create a small bowl shape. Repeat with the remaining dough. Spoon the cream cheese into the indents in the cookies.
4. Bake until the filling is barely set and the cookies are lightly golden, 12 minutes. Allow to cool 5 minutes on the baking sheets before removing them and cooling completely on a wire rack.

FINAL REVIEW:
The kids ate them, no problem... but they are kids and not picky when it comes to cookies.
The hubby originally said "yes!" but as the week went on and he thought about it more, he changed it to a no. They were pretty good, a nice change... but I probably won't go through the effort on these again.
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Monday, January 19, 2015

Weekly Meal Plan

SUNDAY was...
Grilled BBQ chicken, cheesy hasselback potatoes, and broccoli

MONDAY
Grilled steak, mashed potatoes, and corn

TUESDAY
Dad's Spicy Garlic Shrimp (oldie but goodie... that I forgot about again)

WEDNESDAY
The girls start gymnastics, so crockpot night for me!
Crockpot Pesto Ranch Chicken Thighs

THURSDAY
*new* Slow Cooker BBQ Ribs

FRIDAY
Tuscan Style Sausage Soup
a favorite!

SATURDAY
Family Pizza Night?

LAST WEEK
Caprese Chicken

Pasta with Salmon (leftover), Mushroom, & Spinach

Chicken (BOGO at Publix) and Artichokes in a white wine sauce


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Sunday, January 11, 2015

Weekly Meal Plan

We are 2 for 2... 2nd week of 2015, 2nd meal plan! It's a good start.

SUNDAY
Pasta with Salmon (leftover), Mushroom, & Spinach

MONDAY
Mama's got a Junior League meeting, so the rest of the family will enjoy...
Chicken Noodle Soup (from the freezer)

TUESDAY
Chicken (BOGO at Publix) and Artichokes in a white wine sauce

WEDNESDAY
Mama is going out for a girlfriends birthday dinner... so the fam will enjoy
Ground Beef Cassarole

THURSDAY
Caprese Chicken (BOGO at Publix

FRIDAY
Lemon Garlic Shrimp and Grits

SATURDAY
Spicy Chicken (Rotisserie Chicken on sale) and Pepperjack Pizza

Recap of last weeks meals
Pork tenderloin with green bean and mac n cheese

Pancakes, bacon, and eggs

Grilled Salmon with asparagus and mashed potatoes

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Sunday, January 4, 2015

1st Weekly Meal Plan of 2015

Happy New Year! Time to get cranking on my meal plans for the year! Hope this gives you some inspiration.

SUNDAY was..
Taco Night
Or, as my daughter who has seen The Lego Movie one too many times, refers to it.. TACO TUESDAY

MONDAY
Grilled Pork Tenderloin with asparagus and mac n cheese

TUESDAY
Family dinner out

WEDNESDAY
Breakfast for dinner!
Pancakes, bacon, and eggs

THURSDAY
Homemade chicken noodle soup

FRIDAY
Movie in the park with friends -- so... something quick

SATURDAY
Parmesan Baked Chicken Nuggets (new)



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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Holiday ::. Just add greenery (repost)

Wow, it doesn't matter how prepared I think I am (ie... i pinned a LOT of stuff), the holidays just get away from me. I JUST ordered my Christmas cards... yes, there are 9 days left until Christmas and I just now ordered them. They're be New Years Eve cards!

I've been flying by the seat of my pants on meals too... I really need to figure out a meal plan one of these days. Anyway, I didn't want TOO long to go by without a post.. so I'm going to repost a tip from 2 years ago...

Just add Greenery! Go run by a place that sells trees - Home Depot, Lowes... actual tree lot if you are so lucky to live by one, and see if you can get some clippings/branches that they trim off of the trees they sell. They may charge you, but I usually get them for free.

So this was our mantle at our old house (yes, I'm strapped for time and am not going to be taking new pictures yet!). Pretty. Simple.


BUT, just add some live greenery and look what a difference it makes...


Here was our full mantle... there's not a lot of Christmas stuff up, but with the greenery it looks super festive. Plus, it smells awesome and then after the holidays you can burn the greenery in a fireplace or fire pit. Win-win. 


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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Holiday Fun ::. You've Been Snowed On



My girls had SO much fun Boo-ing our neighbors back at Halloween, so when this "You've Been Snowed On" neighbor thing from Tatertots and Jello came to my attention, I knew we had to start it on our street.

I ran to the dollar store and picked up a few things:
Red & green disco-like ball necklaces
Holiday erasers
Gummy Rudolph noses

Then I printed out the pdf from Tatertots and Jello to make it easier for the neighbors and threw in some yarn "snow balls" that I was making for my daughter's Kindergarten class, threw them in a lunch sack and we were ready to go.



The girls had an absolute ball sneaking over to our neighbors houses after it got dark and dropping off their goodies.



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Monday, December 1, 2014

Christmas Book Advent Calendar


On top of our usual Advent Calendar, which by the way I had growing up and it was my FAVORITE thing to do every morning during Christmas, I have decided to add one more fun "calendar" to our holiday season. All it took was one quick walmart trip and a night of tv watching time to prepare. I had decided to do the "Christmas Book" Advent calendar that I saw all over pinterest. To make things even better... I already had 22 Christmas books (yes... crazy!), so I only had to go buy 2 new ones to make this work, thus the quick walmart trip. Score!

My favorite Advent Calendar growing up
So I wrapped all my books and then on Thanksgiving, after the big meal and naps, we set it up. I don't know about your family,  but with my 3 girls, I can foresee a nightly fight on which book gets chosen, so I decided on a different approach to figuring out which book is read on which night.

I wrote numbers 1-24 on labels and then divided the labels between each of my 3 girls. Then the girls taped their given numbers to whichever books they wanted (they obviously didn't have a number). That way each girl feels they got a say as to which book is read on which night and I avoided the nightly fight! Score 1 for mom!

Putting day numbers on the books

 By the way, Mr. Elf Elf (until the girls decide on a better name than last years decision), arrived this morning showing the girls which book was first on the list.






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