martha’s lemon squares

so remember back in the day when i would get on a really good blogging roll? yeah me neither. and it seems like it’s not happening anytime soon. i am trying to be really good about posting but then i get really distracted and well… nothing.

i mean things like an 18 wheeler rear-ending a tanker truck and shutting down the interstate for over 24 hours and causing mass chaotic traffic happens. yes. that would have been last night. and yes they did have to create a gigantic fireball on the interstate to clear the isobutene off of the road.

and to be honest… i totally baked these lemon squares waaaaaaay back in may for mother’s day lunch. so why am i waiting to just post these? well since when i first started martha’s cookie madness, i scheduled out what i would bake each week and may was back in the chocolate chip cookie phase so these just got postponed. but now they’re here for you to totally enjoy. because they are super yummy.

lemon squares

  • 3/4 c (1 1/2 sticks) butter, frozen
  • 1 3/4 c + 3 tbs flour
  • 3/4 c powdered sugar + more for sprinkling
  • 3/4 tsp + 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/3 c granulated sugar
  • 3/4 c fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 c whole milk
  1. preheat oven to 350F. butter / spray a 9×13 glass baking dish.
  2. make the crust: grate butter on a grater with large holes; set aside. whisk together the 1 3/4 c flour, 3/4 c powdered sugar and 3/4 tsp salt in a large bowl; stir in butter until combined and mixture is crumbly. transfer to the prepared glass pan and press evenly onto the bottom. freeze 15 min; bake until slightly golden, about 15-20 min. remove from oven but leave it on.
  3. make the filling: whisk together the eggs, granulated sugar, 3 tbs flour and remaining salt in a bowl until smooth. stir in the lemon juice and milk. pour over the hot crust.
  4. reduce the oven to 325F and bake until filling is set and edges are slightly golden brown, about 18 min. let cool completely before dusting with powdered sugar.

p.s. i think i use too many silly adjectives. but i totally use them in real life too. it’s sad.


recipe from: martha stewart’s cookie cookbook


martha’s maple pecan shortbread

what up friday?!

where have you been??

i wish you would come around more often.

and what a better way to celebrate friday than with another batch of martha’s cookie madness!

these are probably some of my favorites so far in this little adventure. i love me some maple and i’m a fan of pecans so i’ve been looking forward to these cookies since i decided i was going to do this challenge and planned out my weeks. and these cookies didn’t disappoint. they were deliciousness that wasn’t overly sweet, exactly what i think a shortbread cookie should be.

maple pecan shortbread

  • 2 1/4 c flour
  • 1/2 c cake flour (not self rising)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c pecan halves, finely chopped + 24 pecan halves for decorating
  • 1 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 1/4 c pure maple syrup
  • 1 large egg yolk, room temp
  • 1/4 tsp pure maple extract
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • turbinado sugar for sprinkling
  1. in a medium bowl, sift together the flours and salt. whisk in the finely chopped pecans.
  2. beat together the butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy. add the maple syrup, egg yolk and maple extract; beat until well combined. on low, gradually add the flour mixture and beat until just combined. flatten dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. chill until firm; 2 hours or overnight.
  3. preheat oven to 350F. line your baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat.
  4. on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough disk to 1/4 in thick. cut out rounds with a 2 in cookie cutter. place the rounds 1 in apart on the prepared baking sheet and brush the tops with the beaten egg; sprinkle the entire surface with the turbinado sugar. place a pecan half in the middle of each cookie.
  5. bake cookies until golden brown around the edges, 10 – 12 min. let cool completely on a wire cookie rack.

i do have to make a confession… while i did enjoy these, i like the brown sugar cookies with maple glaze better.


recipe from: martha stewart’s cookie cookbook

my favorite shrimp and grits recipe

so here’s the deal… there are certain locations that bring to mind certain culinary styles or dishes. for example when i think of new england, i think of clam chowder. not that i’ve a) eaten clam chowder and b) been to new england but they’re known for it. and the southwest? well tex/mex of course. i expect to have spicy foods with a flair toward mexican cooking. california? i’m gonna go with spa like cuisine. i’m not from those areas but that’s the type of stuff i imagine that is their culinary bread and butter. so needless to say, i’m sure there are many people out there with assumptions of the food they’re going to eat on their trip down to south louisiana. and i have to say that as long as they stay away from the extremely touristy places and chains, they’re right. but i also have to add that when someone posts a recipe with the words “new orleans style” or “cajun” in the title, they sure better bring it. just saying.

all that goes to these points… a) i am aware that shrimp and grits is traditionally a south carolina low country dish but b) in this area of the country we do a barbeque shrimp version and it just happens to be one of my favorite dishes ever.

i would also like to point out that i’m not certifying these as authentic in anyway whatsoever. just saying this is my favorite version to make at home.

oh and please excuse the picture…. i mean to throw some green onions up on there to make it pretty but i was ravenous and they were gone before i could remember the pretty greenery.

shrimp and grits

  • 2 lemons, cut into wedges
  • 1 c (2 sticks) butter, melted
  • 1 c ketchup
  • 1/2 c worcestershire sauce
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tbs old bay
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 lbs peeled, deveined shrimp – you could use shrimp that still has the shell on (4 lbs) but seriously make life easier.
  • french bread
  • smoked gouda grits, recipe below
  1. preheat oven to 400F.
  2. stir together first 9 ingredients (everything except the shrimp)
  3. place the shrimp in a 9×13 pan and pour the sauce mixture over the shrimp. bake for 15-25 min or until the shrimp just turn pink, stirring occasionally.
  4. serve on top a pile of smoked gouda grits, with lemon wedges and french bread.

smoked gouda grits

  • 3 c low sodium chicken stock or water
  • 1 c milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 c quick cooking grits (also called 5 min grits)
  • 1 c shredded smoked gouda
  • 3 tbs unsalted butter
  1. bring the stock, milk, salt and pepper to a boil. whisk in the grits. cover and reduce the heat to a simmer, stirring occasionally, 5 min or until thickened.
  2. remove from the heat and add the cheese and butter. stir until melted.

here’s a tip… if you want to make ahead, you can put the sauce together a couple days in advance and refrigerate.

here’s another tip… if this makes too much for you to eat all of it in one sitting, don’t store the shrimp in the sauce. put the sauce and the shrimp in different containers and reintroduce them to each other when you heat them up. trust me.


recipe adapted from: southern living magazine

martha’s coconut cream cheese pinwheels

sooooo i totally meant to post this latest version of martha’s cookie madness last week and then before i knew it, it was this week.


see here’s the thing i’ve noticed. the older i get the more time flies. for serious. i used to HATE it when people would say time flies. but for reals it totally does. i feel like now when i go to bed, i wake up a week later. like seriously… how is it august already?!? i’m totally boggled by this fact.


these cookies. well honestly, i don’t have much to say about them because i don’t eat half of what’s in them therefore i don’t eat the final product. i also didn’t have too much feedback from the coworkers about them. they did disappear in about a day but there was only like 15 or so of them. martha says the recipe makes several dozen but clearly she wasn’t quite sure how to count. also, mine didn’t turn out quite so pretty. look she said to use a fancy square cookie cutter and fluted pastry wheel so i had to wing it. i will say that the dough was pretty tasty.

coconut cream cheese pinwheels

  • 2 c flour, plus some to roll the dough out
  • 2/3 c + 3 tbs sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp
  • 6 oz room temp cream cheese, divided
  • 2 large eggs – 1 room temp, 1 lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 c unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 c white chocolate chips
  • raspberry or strawberry jam
  • sanding sugar
  1. whisk together flour, 2/3 c sugar, and baking powder in a bowl; set aside. beat together butter and 3 oz room temp cream cheese until fluffy. mix in room temp egg and vanilla. reduce speed and add in the flour mixture until just combined. divide dough in half and shape into disks. wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate until fire.
  2. preheat oven to 350F. line baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat.
  3. beat together remaining cream cheese and sugar together until fluffy. fold in coconut and white chocolate chips.
  4. remove one dough disk from the fridge and roll 1/8″ thick on a lightly floured surface. using a fluted cookie cutter, cut into 2 1/2″ squares. transfer to prepared baking sheets spacing 1 1/2″ apart. refrigerate 15 min. repeat with other disk.
  5. place 1 tsp filling in the center of each square and use a fluted pastry wheel  to cut 1″ slits diagonally from each corner. fold every other corner toward the filling to form the pinwheel. press lightly to seal. use your finger to make a well in the top of the center.
  6. use a pastry brush to lightly brush the tops of the pinwheels with beaten egg. sprinkle with sanding sugar. bake 6 min. remove and use the handle of a wooden spoon or your finger to make the well a little deeper. fill each well with about 1/2 tsp jam. return to the oven and bake until edges are golden and cookies are slightly puffed, about 6 more min. transfer to a wire rack and let cookies cool 5 min on the pan. transfer cookies to the wire rack and let cool completely.

i imagine that if you like coconut and cream cheese, you’ll like these. i don’t happen to like either. i know. i’m weird. this is nothing new to me. the only real comment i heard about these were that they were good but he expected them to be a little sweeter. and there’s probably a reason for that. my store didn’t have unsweetened coconut so i only used about 1 1/2 tbs of sugar in the filling. i’m not sure if it would have made that huge of a difference.

if you try these, you’ll have to let me know your thoughts….


recipe from: martha stewart’s cookie cookbook

jello poke cake

have you been watching the olympics? silly question… OF COURSE you’ve been watching the olympics! it’s all the rage right now. the bigger question is have you been watching the events live? i have. well i have been watching swimming and women’s gymnastics live. mainly because those are my events and after having the results of the men’s 400im ruined, i realized, i can’t stand the spoilers. and after the women’s team all-around final, i don’t know how you could have avoided the spoilers. thank goodness.

and speaking of the women’s team all-around…. can i just say WOW WOW WOW. those girls are like for reals. while their routines in the qualifying round had me slightly nervous, they were flawless when they needed it most. and jordyn wieber. she is the biggest class act and i wish i was her. i mean she was ROYALLY screwed and she helped pull that team to gold.

i love the summer olympics. and what makes the summer olympics even better is food. i’ll eat my cake while these athletes burn the extra calories for me.

and speaking of cake here’s one for you…

i’m sure you’ve seen it before. it’s been around FOR. EVER. and it’s one of the easiest cakes ever. it’s also one of the most delicious. to me, it is just about the most perfect summertime dessert. it’s as refreshing as ice cream and it’s light. plus you can make it whatever flavor floats your boat. and since i happen to love cherry flavor, it is a patriotic dessert to salute team usa with!

cherry jello poke cake

  • 1 box (2 layer size) your favorite white cake mix
  • the oil, eggs and water to make the cake mix
  • 1 3 oz box your favorite jello flavor – i perfer the cherry but i’ve seen a lot of people use strawberry too
  • 1 c boiling water
  • 1/2 c cold water
  • 1 8 oz tub cool whip
  1. prepare cake mix as directed on the package and bake as directed for a 9×13 in pan. cool cake in the pan for 15 min and then poke holes with a fork at 1/2 in intervals.
  2. add the boiling water to jello mix and stir until completely dissolved; about 2 min. stir in the cold water and pour evenly over the cake. refrigerate 3 hours.
  3. frost cake with cool whip. refrigerate 1 hour before serving.

seriously the easiest cake ever. you could also be really fancy and make this in 2 layers… or you could be super homemade and whip up some whipping cream for fresh whipped cream instead of the cool whip. and while i agree that there is no comparison between the tub and the fresh stuff, why make this any more complicated? enjoy your simple and refreshing cake and cheer on team usa!!