Easy and Delicious Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Every Christmas I put together Cookie Boxes for our teachers and my coworkers. Delicious treats, wrapped in a simple box, tied with a beautiful satin ribbon. They make the sweetest gift! (See what is did there?? 😉) Plus, I love the idea of gifting something that is homemade.

This year I was looking for another cookie to add to our gift boxes and I discovered what I believe is NOW my favorite cookie. Delicious. Super simple. And so fun to make.

When I heard we had potential snow in the forecast I KNEW I would be putting on my apron, turning on Christmas music, and baking some cookies. This was the perfect opportunity to try out this new recipe before deciding if they were worthy enough to make the box.

THEY DID! AND THEY ARE!

I can’t wait to show you our beautiful boxes when we are done. Until then…….enjoy this recipe.

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

  • 1 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups of All-Purpose Flour (I use Kamut flour)
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup softened butter (I LOVE Vital Farms)
  • 1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • Powdered sugar – to roll the cookies in

Directions

1. Sift dry ingredients into a medium size bowl. This will help break up any clumps in the cocoa powder and flour.

2. Using a stand mixer or handheld, mix butter, sugar, vanilla, and eggs (one at a time) in a large bowl.

3. Combine the dry ingredients, a little at a time, to the wet ingredients and mix on low. Mix until just combined.

4. Cover and chill for 1 hour.

5. Take cookie dough out of fridge. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop about 2 tablespoons worth of dough into your hand. Roll into a ball then roll in powdered sugar. Make sure the ball is coated with the powdered sugar.

6. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10-12 minutes in a 350 degree preheated oven.

7. Cool on a wire wrack before serving.

8. Enjoy!!

They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts. – Acts 2:28

Thanksgiving 2020

We were scheduled to spend this Thanksgiving out in the country and I was so excited. It would have been the first time, in nearly 10 years, that my sweet husband would have been giving thanks with his family. Truck loaded with luggage, groceries, three kiddos, and three dogs, we headed out to spend six wonderful days with family.

Then I got sick. Not only did I get sick, I got COVID. Three days before Thanksgiving. I cried.

As sad as I was to have been exposed to this virus, I was in the perfect place to spend my isolation. A charming little farmhouse, over looking 100 acres. Every morning I met the sunrise, with a cup of coffee that I couldn’t taste, my bible and journal. I spent the first few moments giving thanks for the day in front of me and for the opportunity to rest.

The more time I spend out there, the more my soul craves that style of living.

And while my family was out and about hunting or exploring, I used my energy to bake and cook and prepare some of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes for my husband to share with his family. Putting together my momma and grandmother’s traditional dressing was a little challenging with no taste and no smell ;). But it brought back so many memories of Thanksgivings past and watching my mom and her mother work their magic in the kitchen, dressed in their new outfits, Macy’s Parade playing on the TV, and us kids greeting the aunts and uncles as they began arriving with pies and side dishes and hugs and kisses for everyone.

Although I didn’t get to cook alongside anyone or even sit at the table with my family, it was still a Thanksgiving to remember. And one that will always remind me of just how much we have to be thankful for.

The broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts. – Acts 2:48

Easy and Delicious Tortellini Soup

It’s the first week of November and I’ve already put up the Christmas Tree. It was the best decision I’ve made this year. The glow of those lights bring so much joy and warmth into our home and it was just what we needed during this season of 2020. Anyone else feel the same?

You know what else brings me warmth and makes me feel all cozy and comforted inside? Soup! (Well, it’s not the only thing, but it’s the thing I’m talking about in this post.) Maybe it’s because soup season, in our home, also means colder temps outside, snowflakes drifting to the ground (if we’re lucky), being wrapped in our favorite cozy blankets near a roaring fire, and homemade hot cocoa with all the sweet toppings. Soup season just feels magical to me. Do you have a recipe that does this for you??

This Tortellini Soup is definitely one you will want to add to your soup season collection. 😉 It’s an easy and delicious meal that you can have in bowls and on the table in under 45 minutes. Serve with shredded parmesan cheese on top and and a side of garlic cheddar biscuits. You’ll have your whole family asking for seconds. 😉

Tortellini Soup

  • 2lbs of Italian Sausage
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 – 28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes
  • 2 – 32 oz boxes of Chicken Broth
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoon chopped basil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups of baby spinach
  • 2 – 9 oz packages of cheese tortellini

Directions

  1. Heat 1-2 tablespoon of olive oil in a large Dutch oven pan. Add chopped onions and sauté till soft.
  2. Add sausage and cook till no longer pink.
  3. Add crushed tomatoes, chicken broth and seasonings. Bring to a boil then cover and let simmer for 20-30 minutes.
  4. Add tortellini and spinach and cook for another ten minutes.
  5. Serve with shredded parmesan cheese on top and a side of garlic toast or drop biscuits.

They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts. – Acts 2:48

Chocolate Pecan Pie Brownie Bars

When I think of Pecan Pie, I think of my momma. It is her specialty. And it is THE Thanksgiving dessert that our family and friends always request that she makes. Sitting here picturing her in her apron, just a couple of days before Thanksgiving, preparing these delicious and beautiful pies brings such a smile to my face and a warmth to my heart.

But here’s the thing. I am not a big fan of pecan pie. Shocking right? I don’t even think I’ve ever made a pecan pie. One, because momma always makes them and two, they aren’t my favorite. I will, however, choose pumpkin pie. Every. Single. Time.

That is until I made these brownie bars. YA’LL! I may not be a big fan of pecan pie, but I AM a fan of combining a chocolate gooey base of a brownie with the sweet and crispy top of a traditional pecan pie. This dessert completely flips the script and will now be a new addition to our Thanksgiving table.

Chocolate Pecan Pie Brownie Bars

  • 1 Box of Chocolate Brownie Mix (I use Ghirardelli)
  • 1 Cup of Sugar
  • 1 1/2 Cup of Corn Syrup
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1/4 Cup butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 2 Cups chopped pecans

Directions

  1. Mix brownie mix according to package directions.
  2. Pour brownie batter into a greased 9×13 pan and bake @350 for half the cooking time directed on the box.
  3. While brownies are baking, combine sugar, corn syrup, eggs, butter, and vanilla in a bowl or warm up in a sauce pan on the stove. Mix together thoroughly then add pecans.
  4. Remove brownies from oven after pre-baking and pour pecan pie filling over top of brownies. Spread evenly.
  5. Return brownies back to oven and baked for 25-35 minutes.
  6. Allow brownies to cool to room temperature before cutting into squares.

I’m so thankful I live in a world where there are Octobers………

I don’t ever remember a time when I didn’t look forward to October. Even as a little girl, I anticipated the season of the leaves falling and blanketing the grass, counting down the days till my birthday, and of course that one night me and my friends would dress up in handmade costumes (right out of our own closets) and spend hours out in the neighborhood collecting candy and memories.

As an adult, it’s no different. I still live for the days the air turns crisp, the colors begin to change, and for the pumpkins to make their home on our front porch. I even dress up with the kids!

2 Halloween’s ago

Though this month has been super busy, I haven’t spent much time in the kitchen creating new recipes for you all, however, it’s been the most special by far. My sweet son said, “I DO,” to his precious bride, we adopted a new family member, and I will be celebrating my 45th birthday. Even typing it out it seems so surreal.

This month has been a beautiful reminder that even in the midst of a pandemic, and the uncertainties of the unknown, there is still something lovely woven into the chaos.

Our new family member!

Tell me something lovely going on in your world right now.

Low Carb Taco-Stuffed Bell Peppers

My husband and I are in our first week of the Faster Way to Fat Loss program and it has been an eye opener for sure! We are using My Fitness Pal to track our macros and we quickly realized that we have NOT been eating ENOUGH food. Not enough of the right foods. So we had some favorite meal nights that we needed to get creative with and that is where this recipe comes in.

Our family keeps Taco Tuesday on the weekly calendar. It might actually be one of our favorite night’s of the week. Pizza night comes in a close second. With the Faster Way to Fat Loss program, the goal is to get the majority of our nutrients (if not all of them) from whole foods. And since Taco Tuesday falls on one of our low carb days, my goal was to ditch the high carb shells and find something more compatible but just as delicious.

BELL PEPPERS are a fabulous substitute!

I chose the colors that are sweeter in taste and easier on the digestive system. 😉 I cut the tops off, cut them half, and scooped out the seeds. I then placed them in a casserole dish, drizzled olive oil over them, a little salt and pepper and baked the empty peppers @350 for 5-10 minutes.

While the bells were baking, I went to work on the filling. You can do ANYTHING you want with the filling: add the protein of your choice (I used grass fed beef), a can of diced tomatoes with green chilies, and a can of pinto beans (you can use black beans too), add your seasonings and let heat through. *You can make this recipe on a regular macro day and add rice to the filling. DELICIOUS!

So here’s the thing, if my husband and I are going to change how we eat and fuel our bodies, we are going to set this example for our children too. Which means, whatever I make for dinner, I make for the whole family. Besides, who really has time to cook two different meals??

Now that you have your bells filled, cover them with foil, and return them to the oven @350 for 20 minutes. This is enough time for me to clean up my cooking mess (makes after dinner clean a breeze), or help quiz a kiddo for an upcoming test, or better yet, enjoy an afternoon cup of coffee with the hubs on our patio.

After 20 minutes of baking, covered, remove the foil and sprinkle cheese over your bells. Return to the oven for an extra 5-10 minutes, uncovered, till your cheese is melted. Garnish with a small dollop of sour cream, hot sauce for an extra kick, or guacamole.

Leave a comment if you and your family give this recipe a try. Would love to hear what you think!

Low Carb Taco-Stuffed Bell Peppers

  • 6 Bell Peppers (any color)
  • 2.5 lbs of protein (ground chicken, turkey, or beef)
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 1 can of beans (pinto or black) drained
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tbls cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Directions

  1. Wash and cut tops off bell peppers. Then cut in half.
  2. Scoop out seeds.
  3. Place in a casserole dish. Drizzle olive oil over bells then sprinkle salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Put in preheated oven @350 and bake for 5-10 minutes.
  5. While bells are cooking in oven, brown your meat. Drain grease. Add the remaining ingredients, mix till combined, then heat till bubbly.
  6. Fill bells with taco filling. Cover and return to oven to bake for 15-20 minutes.
  7. Uncover and sprinkle shredded cheese over bells. Place back in the oven (uncovered) for an extra 10 minutes till cheese is melted and peppers are tender.
  8. Garnish with your favorite toppings.

Ridiculously Delicious Oatmeal and Molasses Bread

My first born got married this past weekend! His bride was absolutely exquisite and the ceremony was perfect. It had all the right elements with some precious humor sprinkled in. I can’t wait to share more as the photos start streaming in.

For The Love Of Kamut

As much fun as we had, the excitement and anticipation and planning, left me straight up exhausted. So I took a day off from work to stay in my pajamas, nap, and recoup. Unfortunately my body wasn’t getting the memo. Maybe I was too tired to rest??

Of course, I did what I do best, BAKE! It sounds crazy, but baking and cooking relax me. Especially when it comes to making bread. This is another recipe from The Food Nanny’s Cookbook “For The Love of Kamut.” I’ve mentioned before, in previous blog posts, how much I love this flour. It’s so much easier to digest and I don’t have negative reactions regarding my thyroid like I do with other flours.

This bread reminds me of the loaf you get at Outback Steak House. Only, this one is sooooo much better. The combinations of brown sugar, cocoa powder, honey and molasses is what makes this bread a favorite around the dinner table. The aromas coming from your kitchen will have everyone standing in line for that first sample. Including your neighbors! 😉

I have never made bread before this year and now I can’t seem to make it enough. For something that was once very intimidating to me, now is one of my favorite things to make. (I think these would make yummy Christmas gifts/treats wrapped in a beautiful package. Add a jar of gourmet honey or butter and voila!) Besides there is nothing better than warm homemade bread right out of the oven.

We served this bread with cinnamon and honey butter: 1 stick of butter softened, 1 tablespoon of honey, and 1-2 tsp of cinnamon. Mix well with a spoon and spread over a warm slice of Oatmeal and Molasses Bread. Your family will thank you!

*For the bread recipe, head over to The Food Nanny’s website.

Fall Fashion Favorites

(I have no affiliates or partnerships with the links I’ve provided below. Just simply sharing my favorite things with you.)

Let me start by saying that I am in no way a Fashion Blogger. I LOVE to shop, but a stylist, I am not. I leave that to my many fashion blogger friends whom I adore and gain inspiration from. However, when you find a good thing, or several, you want to share! That’s what this post is…..a sharing post.

Over the past year and a half, I’ve been working on creating a more minimalist wardrobe. I already wear the same 10-15 outfits on a regular basis, why not remove the access and keep only the things that I love that bring me comfort and style? Over this period of downsizing my wardrobe I have slowly come to recognize what my style is. Classy. (with a few graphic tees for work)

Cool Neutrals

My color palette is very simple: black, tans, whites, and blues (denim, navy). I am drawn to these colors and feel more myself when I put an outfit together. This Fall I wanted to bring in a few more pieces to help complete my wardrobe. (I have a rule: when I buy a piece of clothing item, I remove a piece of clothing item. This helps me from having an abundance of items that don’t get worn.)

  1. Let’s start with the black blazer. I have not owned a blazer in quite some years, but knew it would be an essential piece to completing my outfits. Pair it with a denim shirt, a white blouse, a lightweight camel color sweater, dress up a graphic tee, or even go for the Johnny Cash look and dawn all black. Either one, you can’t ever go wrong with a good quality jacket.

2. The perfect Wide Leg Jean Trouser. Jeans are my LEAST favorite things to shop for, in fact, they rank right up there with swimsuit shopping. (not a fan) But when you find the perfect one for your shape, your style, and your comfort, well, it’s enough to write a blog post about. 😉 I LOVE these jeans from Ann Taylor and currently with the code BIGDEAL you can get 50% off your purchase.

Dry Goods

3. This soft knit tunic top was not an item I was on the look out for, however, when I saw it I knew it needed to be apart of my Fall Wardrobe. Wear it with your favorite leggings or jeans and a pair of ankle boots. PERFECT outfit for a trip to the Pumpkin Patch.

Target

4. Ankle Boots are a must for any Fall (even winter) outfit. Choose from any colors and comforts that best fits your style!

Cinnamon Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

If you bake it they will come. Along with their laundry, grocery list, and homework. It’s a bit strange navigating this new season of life having my first girl in college, three still at home, AND my first born getting married! WHAAATT?!! You go from holding your newborn in your arms to watching them say “I Do” in 30 seconds flat. Word of advice: don’t blink. EVER.

While big sister was home, from college, I took a day off from work and spent it with her, just the two of us. It was wonderful. We tried a new little breakfast café, window shopped, bought her groceries, window shopped some more, and ate lunch at the cutest little deli. I am truly enjoying this new season our mother/daughter relationship is in.

My heart feels so full when all my kids are home and around our table. So much so that I immediately want to bake their favorite dessert or cook their favorite dish. So of course I did that very thing this weekend. Well, technically, I made new recipes…..but they did become new favorites.

I have been wanting to find or create a recipe for a cookie that tasted like pumpkin pie. I think I found it! Recipes of Holly’s Pumpkin Cookie is where it’s at! The scents, alone, were so delicious you could taste the cookie without tasting the cookie. Know what I mean?

Cinnamon Pumpkin Cookies w/Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 2 cups of All-Purpose Flour (I used 1:1 Gluten Free Baking Flour)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground clove
  • 10 Tbsp of butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar (I used coconut sugar)
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar (packed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup pureed pumpkin

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 5 Tbls butter, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In medium bowl sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves.
  3. In a large bowl or bowl of a stand up mixer, mix together butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar.
  4. Mix in egg
  5. Add pumpkin and vanilla then mix till fully combined.
  6. Add in flour mixture and mix together.
  7. Scoop dough out onto parchment paper lined cookie sheets. I used an ice-cream scoop to drop the dough onto the cookie sheets. (These do not spread out and bake like other cookies, so I recommend pressing gently down on each cookie to create a smooth top for your icing.)
  8. Bake for 13-15 minutes. Then cool on a wire rack.

Frosting

  1. Using a hand held mixer, whip butter and cream cheese in a bowl till smooth and fluffy.
  2. Mix in powdered sugar and vanilla till combined.
  3. Spread on cookies and sprinkle extra cinnamon for decoration (optional).

Easy and Delicious Stuffed Pasta Shells

My favorite month has arrived! OCTOBER!!!! Time to bring out all the comfort foods. And pumpkins. And cardigans. And Fall scented candles. And your Fall decor if you have waited this long to do so. (My Fall decor was out the first day of school. ;))

This week for our Italian Night, I put together an easy dish of stuffed pasta shells. The combination of ricotta cheese filling, marina sauce, and melted mozzarella and parmesan cheese was just as close to perfection as you can get.

As I was assembling the shells, it dawned on me that I have NEVER made this dish for my family before! WHAT?!! When I began this blog and choosing recipes to share with you all, I have discovered so many recipes that I have not made in a long, long time. So I’m excited to re-introduce them to my family and to you guys.

The most time consuming part of this dinner is stuffing the shells, however, if you use a piping bag with a large round tip, it will cut the filling part time in half.

This month is a bit busy for my family: my son’s wedding, Homecoming, Halloween, and my birthday. So dinners that can be assembled quickly and easily are going to be key to keeping my family around the table instead of the drive-throughs.

This dinner can be on the table within 45 minutes from start to finish.

Easy and Delicious Stuffed Pasta Shells

  • 1-2 boxes large pasta shells (depending on the size of your family)
  • Large container of Ricotta Cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 32 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2-3 cups shredded mozzarella or parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Bowl pasta shells according to package directions
  3. Mix ricotta cheese with spices and 2 eggs.
  4. While the pasta shells are boiling, brown ground beef in a skillet till all pink is gone. Add crushed tomatoes, a little salt and pepper and garlic to taste.
  5. Drain and rinse the shells with cold water.
  6. Coat the bottom of a 9×13 casserole dish with a spoonful or two of the meat sauce.
  7. Fit a piping bag with a large round frosting tip, fill bag with ricotta cheese mixture and begin filling the shells.
  8. Once all the shells are filled and placed in the casserole dish, top with meat sauce and shredded cheese.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until cheese is melted.

ENJOY!