orange cream cookies

i don’t know about where you are but here summer is in full swing.

and it’s miserable.

don’t get me wrong. i like summer. but i can’t stand the heat that comes with it here. it’s just too damn hot. it’s only april and i’m melting. i am not looking forward to what july is going to bring.

but this is what happens when you have 1.5 seasons. in fact, i’m not even sure what a season is…. we have HOT and not as hot. so does that count as a season?

and it makes me sad because i can’t wear all the cute sweater dresses and tights long. i love tights. and i love boots. like seriously i love boots. like i might just keep wearing them no matter the 150F weather outside.

for real.

you know what else i think about when i think about summer… orange push pops. man i used to buy those things off the ice cream truck. (do kids even know what an ice cream truck is anymore?) and they had the flintstones on the wrapper. yum. well these cookies can be my make shift push pop throw back. and since they’re so super easy to make, i can make them all summer long and dream of the push pops from the totally non creepy ice cream man. seriously these cookies are simple. like remember when i said the other cake mix cookies were simple? um these have them beat by a landslide.

orange cream cookies

  • 1 box orange flavored cake mix
  • 1 8oz tub cool whip
  • 1 egg
  • powdered sugar
  1. preheat oven to 350F. line your baking sheets with parchment or a silpat.
  2. mix together cake mix, cool whip and the egg until combined. your dough will be sticky looking. use your handy cookie scoop and scoop cookie balls into the powdered sugar. roll those cookie balls in the powdered sugar and place on your baking sheet.
  3. bake 10-12 minutes. let cool completely on a cookie rack.

seriously that’s it. 4 ingredients. 3.5 steps. and some of the yummiest most popular cookies you’ll ever make.

i’m not kidding.

i actually made these because we do monthly birthday cakes in the office and well let’s just say the guys in march got the short end of the stick. so i promised them that i would make them cookies for their fishing trip and these were all the talked about when they got back. or they would text me from the trip to ask for more.

so go make some so you can be really, super popular for a week or so.

kisses.

recipe adapted from: tidy mom

strawberry jam

hello. my name is emily and i’m a picky eater.

pretty weird huh? a girl that writes a food blog and is a self-proclaimed foodie (although, to be honest, i hate that word) is a picky eater. but really… when it boils down to it. i am picky. always have been… well my mom swears i wasn’t at one point but i think i was an infant so… i’ve gotten better over the years. i’m coming around to veggies but a) they have to be fresh so b) they stay crisp when cooked. see i have texture issues. which is exacly why i don’t like fruit.

craaaaaazy i know…

i eat apples. but not cooked apples. only apples straight from the tree. well from my grocery store but they came straight from the tree. really the grocery is only acting as a middle man in this equation so he doesn’t count. i don’t like cooked apples because they’re mushy. which is how i feel about most every other fruit. i really like cherry kool-aid and orange jolly ranchers but an actual cherry or orange. nah. i like the flavor that citrus zest gives a dish but don’t actually want to eat that grapefruit. so it makes complete sense that i make strawberry jam every good friday right?

i thought so.

well i do make jam every good friday. and it’s made with pontchatoula strawberries which are the right kind of strawberries if you ask me for my non-fruit eating opinion. i mean pontchatoula has a strawberry festival every year. it’s like the only reason louisiana doesn’t ask the city to leave… ok i’m sure there are other good things but just saying.

since i don’t eat strawberry jam, i can only tell you that people are super excited on the monday after easter when i play delivery girl. so now i’m sharing with you the strawberry jam that apparently has friend’s husbands eating it straight out the jar with a spoon that also has some peanut butter.

i asked for a picture.

strawberry jam

  • 5 1/2 pints strawberries (or 7 c crushed fruit)
  • 7 c sugar
  • 1 pkg sure-jell
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tbs butter
  • mason jars, lids and rings – i usually buy a 12 pk of the 8 oz jars which will be more than you need for one recipe but a flat of strawberries usually makes 2 recipes so… oh and you can totally use jars and rings you have around the house just make sure they’re clean but you CAN’T reuse lids but you can buy just those so…
  1. sterilize your jars, lids and rings. you can do this by boiling everything but i’m not sure the method because i use a way simpler one……. preheat your oven to 175F.  place all your jars, lids and rings on a cookie sheet – make sure they’re not touching. leave in the oven for at least 25 min.
  2. while your jars are sterilizing away in your oven, cut up your strawberries and mash them so that you get 7 c of crushed fruit. put this into a 6-8 qt stock pot and stir in the lemon juice, butter and sure jell. bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. add your sugar and bring back to a rolling boil for 1 min. remove from heat.
  3. quickly laddle in your sterlized jars. if you forgot your funnel set that has the perfect canning funnel, have someone helping you and make sure they wear pot mitts because you will most likely spill some molten jam while laddling, trust me. quickly put the lids and rings on each jar and put on a kitchen towel upside down. (i don’t really know why upside down but just do it.) after 5 minutes, flip your jars and then let them set overnight. the next morning, check your seals by pressing the middle of the lid. if it springs back, you need to eat that jar first and refrigerate it.
  4. repeat the above if you decide to buy a flat of strawberries.

if your jam doesn’t set (which mine didn’t for the first time this year)… you will have to remake the jam and it’s really no big deal.

  • 1 box sure jell
  • 3/4 c cold water
  • 2 tbs per cup of unset jam
  • unset jam – up to 8 c at a time
  • clean and resterlized mason jars and rings
  • new lids, sterlized
  1. add the sure jell and water into a small saucepan. stir constantly and bring to a boil for 2 min. remove from heat.
  2. add sugar and 1 tbs per 1 c unset jam of the sure jell / water mixture to the unset jam in a 6-8 qt stock pot. boil mixture for 30 sec. follow step 3 above.

if it doesn’t set after the second time (mine did), give it to friends as an ice cream topping and tell them it has to be put in the fridge.

see. it’s pretty simple even if a little time consuming. i say you make this a yearly tradition in your house too.

oh and one more random fact for you…. me… i like grape jelly and grape jelly only. but i don’t like grapes or grape flavoring unless you count wine. just saying.

oh but i do plan to make some more jam recipes to try things out. why if i only like grape jelly? well i have found a recipe that i feel like would be like the vanilla apricot from la provence that i had at one of their monthly tasting dinners which i figure will pair well with cheese. and my wine.

kisses.

recipe adapted from: the sure jell recipe insert

sno-ball cupcakes

wow i’ve been on a blogging roll recently. i guess there’s several reasons for that…

1) when i get in a blogging lull it’s not because i’m not cooking / baking. it’s because i get lazy and want to do something else. like nap. i like napping.

2) when i get lazy, i build up a stockpile of things to blog about so i can get on a roll when i start again.

so now i’m not being super lazy and i have a stockpile and i’m distracting myself. i, like most other cooks/bakers, am a person that shows emotion through food. i bake and cook and give people food to show my love. having a bad day? let me make you some soup. having a bad week? here’s a cake. when i’m having a moment – good, bad or otherwise i drown myself in food. whether it’s in the kitchen or now through this blog. and i’m having a moment. not good or bad… just a moment that i need to distract myself from so i’m catching up on my stockpile of things to blog about.

anyways….

remember how i very briefly mentioned that i have a friend that makes amazing cupcakes? well here’s another fun fact about her… she shares my love of sno-balls. and i’m jealous because she lives in new orleans, the only place you can really get a good sno-ball. and when i say sno-ball, i’m not talking about this chunky sno-cones / shaved ice business. i’m talking about ice that’s been through a snowizard that comes out fine as freshly fallen snow (have i ever really encountered freshly fallen snow? well that’s just not the point…) and that then has what is essentially flavored simple syrup poured on top. it’s a glorious thing. and she and i love them. so much so that we went and got one before a friend’s recent wedding. yes people gave us weird looks but they just don’t understand… see.

why am i telling you this fun little story? well only because her birthday was recently and i had to bring her the most perfect cupcakes for it. but i say that with this disclaimer… this post really isn’t about the recipe for the cupcakes. it’s about the decoration. you could really use whatever your favorite cupcake mix / recipe is but you do need to use white (whether it’s vanilla, coconut or whatever flavor) icing. you really can’t use something like chocolate for this. you need the light color of the buttercream / icing.

so here’s the procedure.

make your favorite cupcake. try to use white cupcake liners / nut cups. no big worry if you can’t but regular, fluted cupcake liners don’t do anything for authenticity. i made a vanilla sour cream cupcake but i think the recipe needs some tweaks so that’ll be another time.

after your cupcakes are cool, frost them with the icing / buttercream of your choice. i used a vanilla buttercream… in fact half of this one. and then you decorate with colored sanding sugar. you want to use the smaller grain (i don’t know if that’s the right terminology but you don’t want coarse sugar). you can use any colors you’d like but i recommend going with a trio of red, yellow and blue to make every kid’s favorite sno-ball flavor… rainbow. once you’ve got all the sugar sprinkled appropriately cut some straws and stick them in the cupcake. you can also use some plastic spoons to lend even more authenticity but i was out. when you’re done you’ll have something that looks like this:

yay!! fun times.

make them for the sno-ball lover in your family / friends.

kisses.

lemon layer cake with vanilla bean buttercream

excuse me while i go on a bit of a rant here… you might want to just scroll down a bit.

apparently the other day lady gaga felt it was appropriate to tweet something to the affect of eating a salad instead of a burger because “popstars don’t eat”. since i’m seeing a lot of articles on it… i had to rant about it because SERIOUSLY??!? i’m all for eating healthy and eating in moderation. and yes. there are some days i eat a salad instead of a burger but SERIOUSLY??!? who really cares what i have to say?? i’m not an internationally known popstar who released a song called “born this way” that is all about accepting yourself as you were born. don’t get me wrong.. i’m not saying that if there is something about someone that truly bothers them that they shouldn’t do something about it… if a boob job or new nose is GENIUNELY going to make you feel better, go for it. but a boob job or new nose isn’t starving yourself. that’s like the images i see all the time on pinterest that say “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”. bullcrap. i SLIGHTLY agree with the updated version that goes like “nothing tastes as good as skinny healthy feels.” personally i’m a foodie so arguing with me that nothing tastes as good as… is a completely wasted argument. but we should be focusing on health and not being rail thin. some of us in this world were not made to be bean poles and that’s ok. heck… it’s ok to be a bean pole if that’s how you naturally are as long as you’re healthy.

sorry.

rant over.

i was really pumped about sharing this cake with you… i’m sure i had some really witty banter to share that was lighthearted but then lady gaga and her horns took over. but for those that say nothing tastes as good as… haven’t had this cake. it’s everything that says springtime lemon in cake form. it packs a lemon punch in the cake itself as well as a lemon marscapone filling.  then that all gets sealed in with a light vanilla bean buttercream. i pinned this recipe a while back and have been waiting for the perfect time for a lemon cake. i mean let’s be honest… lemon cake in december isn’t really seasonal. although i guess i did make some lemon cookies and bundt cakes with lemon out of season. but then again… south louisiana doesn’t have the season typically known as spring so is lemon ever really out of season here? i’m gonna go with a no on that one.

lemon layer cake with vanilla bean buttercream

  • 3 c cake flour
  • 1 tbs baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 c (2 sticks) + 2 1/2 tbs + 1 1/2 c & 2 tbs (3 sticks & 2 tbs) softened, unsalted butter
  • zest of 1 lemon, divided
  • 2 c sugar
  • 5 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 c buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 tbs + 2 tsp lemon extract
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract, divided
  • 4 oz mascarpone cheese, cold
  •  1 1/4 + 3 c powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 c + 2tbs heavy cream, chilled – or if you’re really lazy, you could use 2 c REALLY GOOD whipped cream instead of the 1 c but it has to be REALLY GOOD whipped cream, none of this cool whip stuff in this recipe.
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped
  1. preheat the oven to 350F.  Bbutter and flour (spray with baker’s joy) the edges of 3 round cake pans and shake out the excess.
  2. combine the cake flour and baking powder in a bowl, set aside. combine the buttermilk, 1 tbs lemon extract and 1 tsp vanilla extract, set aside.
  3. beat 1 c butter, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 the lemon zest until light and fluffy and creamy in color. scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  4. add the sugar to the butter mixture, a little at a time, beating well between each addition.  add the eggs one at a time, mixing each until it is throughly incorporated. scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  5. alternatively add the dry ingredients and wet ingredients to the mixer; begin and end with the dry. scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed and mix 15 sec passed being just incorporated.
  6. divide the batter between the 3 cake pans. bake 20-22 mins or until the cakes are golden and a toothpick comes out of the center clean. let cool in the pans 10 mins before inverting to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  7. make your filling while your cakes are cooling. combine the mascarpone and 2 1/2 tbs butter until smooth and well combined. beat in the powdered sugar until incorporated. beat in the remaining lemon extract and zest. increase the mixer speed and beat until the filling is light and fluffy. transfer to a bowl.
  8. wipe out the mixer and use a whisk attachment to whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. or use your REALLY GOOD whipped cream. gently fold in half of the whipped cream (homemade or REALLY GOOD) into the lemon mascarpone mixture. put in the fridge until ready to use.
  9. now make you frosting… put the remaining butter in the bowl of your mixer with a whisk attachment and whip on medium-high until smooth. add the powdered sugar and mix on medium-low until just blended. add the vanilla bean seeds, vanilla extract, heavy cream and pinch of salt.  increase the mixer to high and whip until light and fluffy, scraping down the bowl as needed.
  10. now it’s time to assemble your cake. divide the filling into two and spread between the layers. frost with your vanilla bean buttercream.

you can decorate and make your cake really pretty if you want to. i didn’t but because 1) i was feeling lazy and 2) i made this cake for easter dinner at my mom’s house and didn’t feel like bringing my piping bags and tips.

you should go make this cake now so you can prove that it tastes as better than skinny feels.

kisses.

recipe from: annie’s eats

chocolate mint whoopie pies

chocolate + mint = pure deliciousness.

don’t agree?

too bad. because you’re straight up wrong.

i mean this is a classic flavor combination that is one for the history books. don’t get me wrong… i love all kinds of flavor combinations (chocolate + peanut butter, peanut butter + honey, bacon + anything) but the chocolate / mint thing is classic. i mean just think about it… when you have chocolate and peanut butter combination i bet you think of reese’s cups. anything else? probably not. peanuts and honey… well i think of a sandwich or justin’s honey nut butter. but when it comes to chocolate and mint, well there’s york peppermint patties, junior mints, thin mints, mint chocolate chip ice cream… i mean the list goes on and i’m about to add something to it to blow your mind.

chocolate mint whoopie pies.

yep that’s right.

what is a whoopie pie you ask because you’re like me and from the south. well the best way i can describe it is a soft, cake cookie filled with delicious buttercream. yep. that about sums it up.

see growing up we didn’t have whoopie pies. they’ve only recently been introduced to my stomach. we had moon pies. which in case you’re unfamiliar with those they are like graham cookies sandwiching marshamallow all dipped in chocolate. and i loved me some moon pies. but these whoopie pies may have stolen the crown. i mean they are soft little pillowy cookie goodness with buttercream. what could be wrong with that? um absolutely nothing.

now since they’re all new to me i don’t know who came up with these suckers. i just know that there’s some huge debate about it. all kinds of states in the northeast claim they invented them. know what i think? WHO FRIGGIN CARES. just eat them and be happy. for real.

chocolate mint whoopie pies

  • 2 c flour
  • 1/2 c cocoa
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 c buttermilk
  • 1 tsp + 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c (1/2 stick) + 1/2 c (1 stick) softened, room temperature butter
  • 1/4 c crisco
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 1 beaten egg, room temperature
  • 3 c powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp peppermint extract
  • green food coloring, optional
  1. preheat oven to 425F. line 2 baking sheets with parchment or a silpat.
  2. combine flour, cocoa and baking soda in bowl; set aside. combine buttermilk and vanilla; set aside at room temp.
  3. cream the butter and shortening together until completely mixed and fluffy. scrape down the sides of the bowl. add the brown sugar and continue mixing on high speed until the mixture is light in color and fluffy. add the egg and mix. scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  4. with the mixer on low, alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with the flour.
  5. using your handy dandy cookie scoop, scoop out the batter on the prepared cookie sheets and place about 2 in apart. bake one sheet at a time for 8 min, or until the cakes are puffed. remove to a cookie rack and let cool completely.
  6. make your buttercream – whip the butter until it’s light and fluffy. scrape down the sides and add the powdered sugar, heavy cream, peppermint extract and food coloring, if using. mix on low until the powdered sugar is throughly incorporated. whip 1-2 min more.
  7. assemble your whoopie pies – using your handy dandy buttercream scoop (yes i mean your cookie scoop), scoop a glob of buttercream on the flat side of one whoopie cake and then top it with another whoopie cake.
  8. now go pour yourself a glass of milk and enjoy the mint chocolate goodness.

these whoopie pis are fantastic. like you should be on the way to the store to purchase the items you don’t have in your kitchen already.

kisses.

recipe from: so sweet! by sur la table

cake mix chocolate chip cookies

so i started slacking again…

i’ve been meaning to complete this post but then i get lazy and just don’t. i don’t have a good excuse other than i’ve been trying to become a gym rat and it’s not exactly going as planned. let me explain…

i go to the gym after work. i would love to be that person that goes before going to the office to start my day off right but there is a snowball’s chance in hell that i wake up at 430a to go workout. oh but i usually try and have the best intentions for that but the alarm goes off and i’m just not getting out of bed. i can hear you now saying… “why 430a?? surely you would have some time before work…” um negative ghostrider. see i would have to be at the gym for when they open at 5a to get an hour run and/or weights in to get home for 615a to take a shower. so back to the point of me going after work… going after work means bringing a gym bag (which is all cute and purple and gold) with all my clothes and water bottle. well in the past couple of weeks have resulted in me leaving various articles of necessary clothing at home: shoes, socks, shirt and sports bras. oh and a water bottle. so now i have an emergency gym bag stashed in my car. oh and to continue on this not quite working out for me trend, i broke the elliptical a few weeks ago. it wasn’t a permanent break but still… i think it was a sign.

but now i’m back into gym rat mode and so far so good.

also so good?

cake mix cookies. see after screwing up becoming a gym rat, what you need is something easy in your life and cake mix cookies are just that. i’ve been craving chocolate chip cookies lately (actually i still am) and these satisfied that for the moment. they’re super easy, which between screwing up the gym rat thing and making mint chocolate whoopie pies the same day, makes my life a little less hectic. i found this recipe a couple years ago in the food section of the paper and now i’m sharing them with you. i have to be honest and say that to me these cookies don’t replace homemade, from scratch chocolate chip cookies but they feed the craving. oh and if you happen to have a friend that’s pregnant, the cookies make them (and their significant other) a very happy person.

cake mix chocolate chip cookies

  • 1 box cake mix – i usually use a yellow or white cake mix but i’ve been wanting to try chocolate
  • 1/2 c vegetable oil
  • 2 tbs water
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c chocolate chips – i usually use semi-sweet but you could use whatever floats your fancy that day… when i try the chocolate cake mix, i’ll use white chocolate chips
  1. preheat oven to 350F. line two baking sheets with parchment paper or use a silpat if you have one.
  2. pour dry cake mix into a mixing bowl and whisk to break up the chunks. add oil, water and eggs. stir to blend well. stir in the chocolate chips. (if you wanted to add 1/2 c of nuts to the recipe, add it now. i don’t because i’m not a huge fan of nuts in baked goods.)
  3. use your handy cookie scoop and drop the cookie dough on the cookie sheets about an inch apart.
  4. bake 10-12 min or until lightly browned. let sit on the cookie sheet while you put the second sheet in the oven then remove to cool on a cookie rack.

see super easy. i feel like i say that a lot but i like simple. i like labor intensive too but i like simple. this doesn’t even require a mixer (hand held or stand)… just a bowl and a spoon.

kisses.