amped up drunken blondies

oh my gosh y’all.

i’ve been totally holding out.

but but but not purposefully!!

i’ve been meaning to share these for like 2 weeks now but things have been crazy and then i had a viral infection last week so the crazy was even crazier!

so since i’ve been holding out i’m not going to blab on and on about something…. we’ll get straight to the food.

i couple weeks ago i was in the mood to make something but i wasn’t really sure what. well that’s kinda a lie. i really wanted to make brownies but while i was browsing pinterest for an idea, i saw these cookies over at heather’s site. {yes i’m totally aware that cookies and brownies aren’t the same thing.} then i turned to one of my new favorite cookbooks and saw a recipe for drunken blondies and it was like everything righted itself in the world and i got to work.

and of course me being me, i couldn’t leave things alone. but let’s be real…. melted butter is really just screaming to be brown butter. {which if you are looking for a fabulous tutorial on, see darla’s here!} and i mean bourbon really loves maple and bacon so why not make sure the bffs are together? it’s only right.

so if you’re looking for a dessert to bring to your tailgate this upcoming weekend or something different for your thanksgiving dessert buffet, give these a try!

amped up drunken blondiesamped up drunken blondies

  • 2 c flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 c {8-10 slices} bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
  • 1 c {2 sticks} brown butter
  • 2 tbs bacon grease
  • 1 c dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 c light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs, room temp
  • 2 tbs bourbon
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp maple extract
  • 1/2 c chopped pecans
  • 1/2 c dark chocolate chips
  1. preheat oven to 350F. line a 9×13 baking pan with aluminum foil, allowing the ends to hang over the edges of the pan; grease with baking spray.
  2. whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.
  3. in a large mixing bowl, stir together the butter, bacon grease, and brown sugars until smooth and well combined. add in the eggs, bourbon, vanilla extract and maple extract; mix until thoroughly combined. stir in the dry ingredients followed by the bacon bits, pecans and chocolate chips.
  4. pour into the prepared pan and spread evenly. bake 20-25 min or until the top is golden brown. remove the pan from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack. cut into bars and keep in an airtight container.

seriously good bars and no fancy mixer required!

kisses.

recipe adapted from: the back in the day bakery cookbook

candy corn magic bars

not one to shy away from controversial topics i have to weigh in on one….

and this one i can actually weigh in on….

i’m sure by now you may have heard of the “fit mom” that caused all kinds of controversy by posting a picture of herself with her 3 young sons with the words “what’s your excuse?”

well all kinds of people are giving their opinion on the matter and because i happened to read a few articles about it and this is my teeny, tiny corner to say something, here’s mine….

i don’t think what she did is “fat shaming” as some are calling it. you know what i have to say to her… good for you. for everyone out there saying all kinds of negative things, you are exactly who she is talking to. she’s not saying that everyone needs to have her washboard abs and be all kinds of ripped. she’s just asking what someone’s excuse it.

i mean look…. i go to the gym 5-7 days a week. i make it a priority. it matters to me whether i make it to gym or not. BUUUUUT there are definitely some days i have an “excuse”. i’m tired or i have a headache. and i know when i boil it down, it’s an excuse. and i’m OK with that. but there have also been days where i had to work late so i left, went to my spin class and came back to the office and worked into the night. for me, it is something i enjoy and that i have begun to make it more of a priority and stopped making so many excuses. that’s all this chick is saying.

or maybe you fall more in line with this lady… to which i totally give her a high five {and you too!}

when it comes to something like this, i think it’s to each, their own.

but i know if i don’t make it to the gym, i can’t eat like an entire pan of these bars because let’s be real, i have no will power towards something like these.

i mean for real.

since halloween is coming, i totally let this idea give me the perfect excuse to buy a bag of candy corn.

which some people love or hate. personally…. i happen to love the stuff.

then m&m’s came out with some white chocolate candy corn m&m’s AND oreos had some limited edition candy corn golden oreos.

{side note…. those freaking oreos go fast so they didn’t make it to this recipe but NEXT YEAR my friends.}

so with all the signs coming from the universe i knew all these candy corn things must be combined to make some magic bars. and then i threw some peanuts in there because apparently it’s a thing.

{second side note….. BEST.COMBO.EVER.}

but back to these bars.

make.them.

candy corn magic bars from pink tiger in the kitchen

candy corn magic bars

  • 1 (17.5 oz) package sugar cookie mix
  • 1/2 c (1 stick) brown butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1 c chopped golden oreos
  • 1 c candy corn m&m’s {or white chocolate chunks}
  • 1 c lightly salted peanuts
  • 1 c candy corn
  • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  1. preheat the oven to 350F. grease a 11×17″ or 9×13″ pyrex dish, depending on thick you’d like your bars.
  2. stir together the cookie mix, brown butter, egg, vanilla extract and almond extract together. press evenly in your  pyrex dish. sprinkle the oreos pieces evenly over the dough followed by m&m’s {or white chocolate chunks}, peanuts and candy corn. evenly pour the condensed milk over the top.
  3. bake 23-30 min until the crust and top are golden. cool completely before slicing.

so let’s all make some of these bars and meet at the gym and eat them.

{oh and last side note….. i totally brought these to my gym for the awesome people at the front desk. true story.}

kisses.

greek couscous salad

can we chat a bit on current events?

i’m sure you’ll be shocked to know that i’m a pretty opinionated person but i rarely talk about any type of controversial events {such as paula deen, trayvon martin, etc} because goodness knows the fire that’s out there… and i’m not going to talk about those events but there are some i just have to talk about….

first…. this kid who lost on jeopardy because he misspelled the word emancipation {he added an extra “t” – emaciptation}. dude…. for real his parents should be teaching him to be a gracious second place contestant. you were on JEOPARDY for goodness sake. it’s not like you were on some random game show that it doesn’t matter about correct spelling. this is jeopardy…. PLUS he even if he hadn’t misspelled it, he still would have been in second place!!! bow out gracefully and enjoy the experience. but in a society where everyone gets a medal for participating, this kid makes national news because he feels he was “cheated” out of the correct answer because he can’t spell and is a sore loswer. seriously kid, life’s not fair. plus there’s always spell check.

secondly… a-rod. or as i saw on a sign, a-roid. here’s my beef with it….. he flat out cheated and now he’s pissed because he got caught. seriously. when asked, he’s not saying “i’m appealing because the mlb is wrong, i didn’t use peds and i’m not in any way associated with biogenesis”. no he’s appealing because he feels like he got the short end of the stick when it comes to being suspended for 211 games. i’m sorry but with the way kids look up to professional athletes, shouldn’t we punish those caught cheating? shouldn’t he be man enough to admit he screwed up {for at least a second time}? shouldn’t we as fans be able to expect that the game is “clean”? i mean i’m just saying

anyways…. rant over.

so here’s a savory recipe for you!! i figure with labor day and football season coming up, you might need a good recipe to bring along to some cookouts / tailgates. and friends is this good! i saw it over on maria’s site and decided it had to be added to our 4th of july menu and i’ve totally been holding out on y’all…

sorry.

back to the couscous salad…. this is such a great alternative to traditional pasta salad; although couscous is a pasta, it’s just not a shape {bowtie, penne, elbow} you would traditionally think of when it comes to pasta salads. but this is fantastic. i kept it pretty close to maria’s original recipe but i did make a couple little changes… first off, i don’t like olives so they had to go. i replaced them {and their saltiness} with some crumbled feta cheese because everything needs some cheese in there. also, i used dried herbs instead of fresh for a couple reasons… i have a black thumb and can’t seem to keep anything alive. also, dried herbs are more accessible to me and i figure to you too. finally i used a smaller package of couscous because it’s what the store had. since there is no mayo in the dish, it’s perfect for a cook out or tailgate!!

greek couscous salad

greek couscous salad

  • 1 (4 oz) package pearl couscous {also called israeli couscous}
  • 1 c grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 (13.75 oz) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1-1/2 c crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 c olive oil
  • juice of 2 large lemons
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  1. prepare couscous according the package directions; transfer cooked couscous to a large bowl. fluff with a fork and add tomatoes, artichoke hearts and feta cheese.
  2. prepare the dressing: in a small bowl or jar, add the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, dried oregano, dried basil, salt and pepper. whisk / shake together; pour over the couscous mixture and stir until everything is well combined. add more salt & pepper if desired. serve.

easy peasy lemon squeezy!

kisses.

recipe adapted from: two peas and their pod

this post is linked up to these fun link parties: what’s cookin wednesday and what’s in your kitchen wednesday

root beer cookie sandwiches

there is definitely something about the heat of summer that makes you feel lazier than normal. or is that just me?

i mean with it being so dang hot, i don’t want to do anything. because doing something means i have to move and moving usually means getting hot and all sweaty. and who wants to be all hot and sweaty when it’s 9000 degrees outside?

and that just makes me mad when it’s a pretty day because i feel lazy for not going outside but i don’t want to melt. i mean it’s well established that me and heat are not friends.

but ya know what is good in the heat?

root beer floats….

but these are cookies. which means you have to turn on your oven…. i know i know… i make no sense.

but these cookies.

oh these cookies.

they really are just wonderful. i love root beer. if i’m going to have a coke, it’s probably going to be a root beer.

{side note: i’m from the south and EVERY soft drink is a coke. that’s just the way it is.}

so these are cookies that use root beer concentrate to flavor them instead of the traditional vanilla. and man are they good. plus they get turned into a cookie sandwich with root beer buttercream. i mean hello! could they be any more exciting?! i mean only unless you take a suggestion from shelly and skip the buttercream and use vanilla ice cream to make a root beer float sandwich cookie.

root beer cookiesroot beer sandwich cookies

  • 1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 c brown sugar, packed
  • 1 egg, room temp
  • 2 tsp root beer concentrate
  • 1-3/4 c flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • root beer buttercream, recipe follows
  1. preheat oven to 375F. line your cookie sheets with parchment or a silicone baking sheet.
  2. in a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. add the egg and root beer concentrate; mix well. add the flour, salt and baking soda and mix until the batter is just combined.
  3. using a cookie scoop, drop dough scoops about 2 in apart on your prepared cookie sheets. (if you don’t have a cookie scoop, just make sure to make your dough balls about 1 tbs / 1 in in diameter.)
  4. bake the cookies for 6-8 min until the edges start to set. transfer to a cookie sheet to let cool completely. when the cookies are cooled make the sandwiches by adding the root beer buttercream or vanilla ice cream to the center and top with a second cookie.

root beer buttercream

  • 1/4 c (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temp
  • 2 c powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp milk
  • 2 tsp root beer concentrate
  1. add all the ingredients to a bowl and beat together until light and fluffy, about 2 min.

i can tell you that these cookies were like gold when i brought them to work. they disappeared extremely fast.

kisses.

recipe from: cookies & cups

this post is linked up to these fun link parties: what’s cookin’ wednesday and what’s in your kitchen wednesday

birthday cake magic bars

so since it’s hot and i don’t like the heat it makes total since for me to be sharing something yummy that you have to bake right??

i know…

i’m terrible.

but let’s be honest…

even though it’s not evident here, i’ve been on a bit of a magic bar kick. true i’ve only shared one version with you but i’ve definitely made them at least 4 other times. i’ve been trying to dream up new combinations. (although those are taking a back seat to ice cream at the moment…)

some people like dorothy seem to have no problems dreaming up endless variations. but me? i seem to get stuck for some reason.

until i was recently trying to think of something that i could use the golden oreos with birthday cake filling…. see i needed to use most of the cookies in SOMETHING because i have NO self control when it comes to oreos in my house. i almost guarantee that if there is a package, it’s going to be gone within a couple days. like the rest of this package was gone in 3 days. i may or may not have had them for breakfast, pre-dinner snack and dessert.

but these magic bars are so so so good. i paired them up with the same brown butter sugar cookie crust from my dark chocolate almond magic bars. to that i added some slivered almonds and white chocolate chips. and then because what would these “birthday cake” magic bars be without some festiveness, i threw some colorful sprinkles on top! and although they require me to heat the oven, they are a total win in my book!

birthday cake magic barbirthday cake magic bars

  • 1 (17.5 oz) package sugar cookie mix
  • 1/2 c (1 stick) brown butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1 c chopped golden birthday cake oreos
  • 1 c white chocolate chips
  • 1 c silvered almonds, slightly toasted
  • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • sprinkles
  1. preheat the oven to 350F. grease a 11×17″ or 9×13″ pyrex dish, depending on thick you’d like your bars.
  2. stir together the cookie mix, brown butter, egg, vanilla extract and almond extract together. press evenly in your  pyrex dish. sprinkle the oreos pieces evenly over the dough followed by white chocolate chips and toasted almonds. evenly pour the condensed milk over the top. add sprinkles.
  3. bake 23-30 min until the crust and top are golden. cool completely before slicing.

and now i’m drooling and realizing how i’m in desperate need of some more golden birthday cake oreos….

kisses.

this post is linked up to these fun link parties: what’s cookin’ wednesdays and what’s in your kitchen wednesdays

crunchburger

so you know what’s a genius idea??

deciding to join a pass the cookbook club and then taking a blogcation.

because nothing makes more sense than deciding to commit yourself to cooking something and sharing it when you’re simultaneously deciding to take time off from doing that.

genius here.

well needless to say, i didn’t participate in the may recipe share but i decided to get on the ball for june. and it could not have been more perfect timing… june meant burgers and i am on a completely burger kick at the moment! as in they are part of my meal plan every week. i’m not sure how long this kick is going to last but i’m good with.

but back to the cookbook club…. kita decided that june’s recipes would come bobby flay’s burgers, fries and shakes cookbook. i took the rather boring route and went for the crunchburger (aka signature burger). honestly it was more because the other choices (a greek burger and a tuna burger) didn’t strike my fancy than anything else. a good old fashioned burger i can totally get behind. the twist on this is the potato chips.

yup.

you heard me right.

potato chips on top of the burger. just like you’d do with lettuce and tomato.

and let’s all be honest with ourselves. any sandwich is made better by adding some potato chips.

(p.s. if you never did that, you’re totally missing out.)

but the truth is…. i could do without the chips.

i also felt the horseradish mayo was slightly over hyped.

BUT….

this burger was still fantastic. and i really attribute that to having quality meat. the burger itself is simply ground meat patties seasoned with some salt and pepper. that’s it. it was almost revolutionary to me. it was ground beef heaven. no lie.

and let’s be honest…. burgers and july 4th are totally meant to be.

a couple things:

  1. bobby specifies american cheese. while i will agree that it is the meltiest and makes the best grilled cheese (assuming we’re not counting pimento cheese in the argument), i prefer other cheese on my burgers. i like to mix it up and my local whole foods has had this cheese out for sampling and it is like BUTTAH so that’s what i went with. use your preference.
  2. i happen to really like horseradish and the heat from something like creole mustard. needless to say, i upped the horseradish in my spread and used a whole grain dijon. next time, i will up the horseradish more and use true creole mustard. if you are not a fan, use less horseradish and traditional dijon.
  3. i tend to keep the fat at a minimal when i use ground beef. that being said, if you want to make juicy, delicious burgers you need some fat. i went with 50% ground sirloin (95/5 lean/fat ration) and 50% ground chuck (85/15 lean/fat ration).
  4. i also like my beef medium rare, including ground beef. this freaks some people out. i like to live dangerously what can i say?

crunchburgercrunchburger (aka signature burger)

  • 3/4 lb ground sirloin (95/5 lean/fat ratio)
  • 3/4 lb ground chuck (85/15 lean/fat ratio)
  • garlic salt and pepper
  • 8 slices cheese, each 1/4″ thick – mine was more like 12 slices but that’s because the block of cheese was about 1″ wide there were 3 slices per burger
  • 4 buns, split and toasted
  • Horseradish Mustard Mayo, recipe below
  • 4 handfuls potato chips – i used bbq, but use whatever you have / prefer
  • additional toppings (lettuce, tomato, onion) as desired
  1. gently mix together your meat; divide  into 4 equal portions. gently form each portion into a patty approximately 3/4″ thick; press a deep indention into the center of the patty to help prevent the patty from shrinking too much. season both sides with garlic salt and pepper; set aside to heat a cast iron skillet (or another heavy bottom skillet).
  2. heat the cast iron skillet over medium heat with a small amount of canola oil in it. cook the burgers 3 min per side (for medium rare), topping with cheese the last min or so of cooking.
  3. spread horseradish mayo on both sides of the buns; place burgers on the buns and top with toppings as desired. pile the potato chips on the burgers and top with bun. serve with some fries and a cold beer.

horseradish mayo

  • 1/4 c mayo
  • 1 tbs Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbs whole grain Dijon mustard
  • 3 tbs drained prepared horseradish
  • salt and pepper
  1. mix together the mayo, mustards and horseradish. season with salt and pepper to taste. let mixture sit in the fridge for at least 30 min for the flavors to meld together.

check out what some other fantastic people made:

kisses.

recipe adapted from: bobby flay’s burgers, fries and shakes cookbook

this post is linked up to these fun link parties: what’s cookin’ wednesdays and what’s in your kitchen wednesdays

brownie cookies

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y’all.

can i be serious for a moment? i mean like a real quick moment because i need to celebrate…

(i know you’re sitting there saying um serious and celebration in the same sentence? that normally isn’t the mood of celebrations….)

but for reals.

i’ve been dealing with some health issues (nothing serious) and have been going to the doctor AT LEAST once a month since march 1. i can’t even begin to tell y’all how tired i am of seeing the inside of a doctor’s office. truth. but when i went last week, he said i don’t have to come back for THREE WHOLE MONTHS!! can i even tell y’all how exciting that is?!?

so needless to say i’m celebrating.

and i’m bringing cookies to the celebration. not just any cookies. chocolately melty deliciousness cookies.

when i first saw these cookies on averie’s site, i knew they needed to be made. i mean they combine two of my favorite things ever…. brownies and cookies. averie describes them as having “the taste and texture of perfect brownies” but they were so much more than that. when it comes to brownies, i tend to lean toward the thick, fudgy kind. these cookies weren’t thick but they were definitely chocolately and melty. the centers stayed like melted chocolate for days and the edges had that bit of chewiness you come to expect from brownie edges. they are definitely among the best chocolate cookies, i’ve ever had in my life. and i deeply mean that.

brownie cookiesbrownie cookies

  • 12 oz dark chocolate, divided into 7 oz and 5 oz, chopped
  • 3 tbs unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs, room temp
  • 2/3 c sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 c flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  1. in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, melt together the 7 oz of chocolate and butter until smooth. set aside to cool briefly.
  2. beat together the eggs, sugar and vanilla until pale and creamy, approximately 5 – 8 min. add the flour, melted chocolate mixture and remaining 5 oz of chocolate; mix until just combined, about 1 min. cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temp until the batter firms up, any where from 10 min – 1 hr; you want the dough to be firm enough to scoop from and hold it’s shape.
  3. line your cookie sheets with a silpat or parchment paper. once your dough is firm enough to hold its shape when scooped, use a cookie scoop to scoop out your dough to your lined cookie sheets. let the dough rest for another hour to firm up so it doesn’t spread too much.
  4. preheat your oven to 350F. bake cookies 8-10 min until the tops are puffy and cracked. allow to cool on the cookie sheet while the next tray is baking (8-10 min) before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely. store in an airtight container.

one hint… i used chocolate bars (hershey’s special dark and cadbury dark chocolate) found on the candy aisle in my grocery store instead of “baking chocolate”. this allowed me to buy a couple of dark chocolate bars in the perfect amount of oz without spending more money on the baking chocolate.

kisses.

recipe from: averie cooks

this post is linked up to these fun link parties: what’s cookin’ wednesdays and what’s in your kitchen wednesdays