Southwest Crockpot Chicken

Brian loves taking crockpot pulled chicken for his lunches at work. This southwest inspired version is great with rice or alone. We love making this because it is super easy and has a great variety of ingredients that mix well with each other.

southwest crockpot chicken

 

Ingredients:

1 can black beans, rinsed
1 can pinto beans, rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes
1 bag frozen corn (12 oz)
1 jar chunky salsa
4 chicken breasts
2-4 fresh jalapeños, chopped and to taste

southwest crockpot chicken

Place chicken on bottom of crockpot. Pour beans, tomatoes, salsa and corn over chicken. Add fresh chopped jalapeños or other fresh peppers to taste. Cook on high 4-6 hours until chicken is cooked. Remove and place chicken on a cutting board. Shred with two forks and return to crockpot. Stir to combine. Best served over rice.

southwest crockpot chicken

Do you have any go-to recipes for lunches that are quick and easy? What are your tricks for making lunches simple and flavorful?

Sumbitch Cookies – HIMYM

Yes, that’s right – “Sumbitches.” Why are they called that? As How I Met Your Mother fans know, in the final season, ‘the Mother’ meets a stressed out Lily on the train and calms her down with these chocolate and caramel cookies they named “sumbitches.”

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But no joke, these are the best cookies I’ve ever made from scratch! I’ve made them as the original recipe dictates as well as by substituting chocolate chips in place of the Rolos. You could even add chocolate chips and chopped Rolos for even more chocolatey caramel deliciousness! The original recipe says to put one whole Rolo in the middle of the cookie, but I’ve found that to be more time consuming. Much quicker to throw in some chocolate chips rather than shape the dough around each Rolo.

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“Sumbitch” Cookies from HIMYM

Ingredients:

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
36 Rolos (about), chopped
1 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

Beat the butter, sugar, brown sugar and peanut butter at medium speed until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla, beat until blended. Stir in the baking soda, salt, and flour to butter mixture, beating until blended. Fold in chocolate chips and chopped Rolos. Cover and chill for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 F. Using a small cookie scoop, form the dough into balls and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake 13-15 minutes until lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes. Transfer to wire racks.

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Something I’ve noticed while making these cookies is that when they come out of the oven, they are still kind of soft, so be careful not to burn them because they don’t look done enough.

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What variation are you most excited to try? Rolos and chocolate chips? Just chocolate chips? Just Rolos? I’ve even made them with cinnamon chips… and they were pretty dang good!

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Why yes, that IS an oven mitt with a cat on it! My friend Emily who is also cat-obsessed gave that to me for my birthday this summer! Best thing ever…

Summery Watermelon Paletas

Part of my summer bucket list was to make some refreshing homemade popsicles, so I was hunting around for some popsicle molds. I found these cute ones at Kohl’s, on sale of course… They are perfect for making these summery watermelon paletas! The best part is that this recipe is so simple and still healthy!

Watermelon Paletas

 

Watermelon Paletas

4 cups cubed seedless watermelon
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
pinch of kosher salt
1/3 cup (or more) sugar
1 Tbsp (or more) fresh lime juice

Puree watermelon, yogurt, salt, sugar, and lime juice in a blender until smooth. Add more sugar and lime juice if desired.  Divide the puree among ice pop molds (or disposable cups if you don’t have molds). Freeze until solid, at least 4 hours. Dip molds briefly into hot water to release the paletas.

Pomegranate Sunrise… Ole!

In celebration of it being Cinco de Mayo today, I was inspired to create my own version of the classic Tequila Sunrise. It reminds me of summer and vacation and just relaxing… I modeled my drink after this sweet, fruity summer cantina staple… I call it the Pomegranate Sunrise.

 

 

What I love about mixology is that you don’t have to use exactly what is called for and you can easily substitute things you don’t care for or don’t have on hand for something that you do. I don’t keep tequila on hand, mostly because I don’t make a ton of margaritas, but as Ted Mosby would say, kids.. don’t drink tequila.

I don’t have tequila, but boy do I have coconut rum… Usually I keep orange juice on hand, but Brian wanted to try the tangerine Cuties juice and it is a nice substitute. It adds more of a sweet, smooth flavor with no pulp.

 

 

Start by adding ice to your cocktail shaker. Then add one measure (about 1.5 fl. oz) of the coconut rum and 3/4 cup of tangerine or orange juice and shake away!

 

 

 

 

 

Have a tall glass with ice ready to pour the mixture into. Now is the fun part… in the classic recipe, tequila sunrises call for grenadine syrup. But once again, I don’t have that and it’s not my taste. But I do have pomegranate syrup…

 

 

This next step needs to be done slowly and carefully to be effective. Slowly pour about half a measure of the pomegranate syrup into the bottom of the glass and allow it to settle. The goal is to get the fun color variation that the sunrise is known for.

 

 

 

After it settles, garnish to your liking. Some suggestions are an orange slice or a cherry. I had some drink umbrellas, so I thought those were very fitting and reflective of vacation and summer. Don’t forget to use a straw so the color variation doesn’t mix together as you drink it.

 

 

Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake!

Hope everyone had a wonderful Easter this weekend! I spent my day with my dad’s side of the family.

I offered to make the dessert and my grandparents requested a cheesecake of some variety. Even my grandpa who is not a big fan of chocolate said it was okay to have some chocolate in there. So I made a chocolate cherry cheesecake. It was a big hit and everyone was asking for seconds!

 

 

I adapted this recipe from The Ultimate Turtle Cheesecake from the Philadelphia Cream Cheese Cookbook. I did make the Turtle Cheesecake for Christmas this past year and that is a great one too. Here are my tweaks to the recipe:

Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake

24 Oreo Cookies, finely crushed
6 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted
3 pkg. Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla
3 eggs
1 can cherry pie filling
Chocolate syrup, to drizzle

1. Heat oven to 325 degrees F.
2. Mix cookie crumbs and butter; press onto bottom and two inches up sides of greased 9-inch springform pan.
3. Drizzle chocolate syrup over crust. Set aside. 
4. Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with mixer until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Pour over crust.
5. Bake 1 hour 5 min. to 1 hour 10 min. or until center is almost set. Run knife around rim of pan to loosen cake; cool before removing rim. Refrigerate four hours.
6. When ready to serve, drizzle chocolate syrup over top. Add cherries on top of each slice before serving. If desired, drizzle more chocolate on top of cherries.

 


Aren’t my grandma’s dishes just adorable?

This is a pretty simple and buildable cheesecake to make. I like that it’s not a ton of different ingredients like some cheesecakes and it is very adaptable. You can add whatever toppings you want or can add in different ingredients to the cheesecake part.

Also, a couple notes: I added the cherries on top of the entire cheesecake before cutting into it, which is very messy… so next time I would slice the cheesecake first and then add the cherries. For the Oreo crust I used the ones with the mint filling simply because that is what we had and I was not about to buy more Oreos just to make this… but it turned out really great because my family said that it was good with the mint. Don’t you love when things just work out?

I’m looking forward to using this basic recipe again for other variations. What kind of adaptations would you like to try or see me make for another time?

Pink Velvet Moscato Cupcakes

Yes, you read that correctly. PINK velvet… so good. I found this recipe on Pinterest and I’ve wanted to try it for a while. The Mary Kay Spring Product Preview was coming up and I thought pink cupcakes would be so fitting!

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Pink Velvet Cupcakes:

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/8 tsp pink paste food coloring
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk

 

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Directions:

In a large bowl, cream the butter, sugar and food coloring until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating well after each addition.

 

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Fill paper-lined muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake at 350 degrees for 23-27 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans.

 

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I made a delicious moscato frosting to go with the pink velvet. I suggest Barefoot Moscato as a reasonably priced and quality selection.

 

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Moscato Frosting:

1 cup butter
5 tbsp moscato
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups confectioner’s sugar

*I used more moscato and more vanilla than the original called for. If you prefer less, by all means, add what fits your taste!

 

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In a large bowl, cream the butter until it’s smooth and fluffy. Add moscato and vanilla. Continue to mix until combined. Add confectioner’s sugar 1/2 cup at a time, mixing until smooth and light.

 

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Salted Caramel Cupcake Heaven….

I apologize for the lack of posts… the holidays have been so insanely busy and stressful. I enjoyed spending time with my family, but I’m relieved that it’s over.

I was working crazy hours at the grocery store because of the holidays and had extra hours. One day I had to work at the office 7 -3:30 and then work at the store 4 to midnight… never want to do that again!

My wonderful fiancee gave me a KitchenAid stand mixer for Christmas, so I’ve been baking up a storm! We were actually looking at the mixers at Kohl’s and he brought up the point that it’s just going to sit in the basement until we move out in six months and together we decided he wouldn’t get it for me, but he likes to surprise me, so he got it anyway. When we were at Kohl’s again to get his sister some perfume, he told me he had some Kohl’s cash and after he told me it was $75 in Kohl’s cash, I knew something was up and that he got me the stand mixer.

My parents also gave me lots of baking things like a cupcake tin/carrier with a stand, a cupcake filler, and a cupcake kit with liners… I was very busy on Wednesday!

I made two different cupcakes: Salted Caramel cupcakes and Rose-Scented Geranium cupcakes…

The Salted Caramel ones were quite the hit! The Rose-Scented Geranium ones were actually adapted from a recipe for raspberry cupcakes using raspberry jelly and I just substituted the rose-scented geranium jelly that my mom makes from her herb garden. I must say there is much work to be done to make that recipe jive… the jelly is really sweet on it’s own and using the same amount as the recipe called for was not the right call… and the cake part was less than satifying, more like dry and gross mess. But less about the failed experiment and more about awesome salted caramel heaven!

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Yes, you want to make these… like everyday!! Just don’t think about the calories because there is so much butter in them!

I was so excited to use my new stand mixer that I forgot to take more photos while I was making them! They are pretty easy to make, but they do take a good bit of time… they are so worth it though! I keep thinking about how delicious they were and I just want to make batches upon batches of them! I’m thinking for New Year’s Eve I will make a double batch!

I’m hanging out with my college friends Emily and Ashley on Monday, and Emily also just got a KitchenAid mixer! So we are going to have to make these together on Monday! I was planning on making these to take to Brian’s friend’s get-together, so a double batch would be very necessary!

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Brown Sugar Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 stick of unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk

Preheat oven to 325 °F. Line muffin tin with paper or foil liners. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each until fully incorporated. Mix in vanilla extract. Add flour mixture to wet ingredients in 3 batches, alternating with 1/2 of the buttermilk, stirring after each until everything is combined. Pour batter into prepared muffin tin until each liner is 3/4 full. Bake for around 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

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This caramel sauce is just to die for… I can’t even stress this enough! I can’t believe how amazing this cupcake is, all three parts together and alone!

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Salted Caramel Filling

1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons salted butter, cubed
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoons heavy cream, at room temperature

In a medium saucepan, cook the sugar over medium heat, whisking as it melts. When it turns a deep amber color, add the butter and stir until it is melted. Add the heavy cream and whisk until the caramel is smooth. Remove from heat and let cool. Using a large pastry tip or a paring knife, cut a small round piece out of the top of each cupcake. Pour in around 1-2 teaspoons of caramel.

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I think the frosting was the best part… mostly because of all the butter. So unhealthy, but you have to indulge sometimes!

And the pink frosting? That’s the Rose-Scented Geranium frosting on a salted caramel cupcake… I ran out of frosting for the salted caramel ones! oops! I think I loaded the other ones up a bit though!

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Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting

1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 stick salted butter
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
Fleur de sel for sprinkling (optional)

In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and water and cook over medium-high heat. Boil without stirring until it turns a deep amber color. Remove from heat and slowly pour in cream and vanilla, whisking until it is very smooth. Let cool for around 20 minutes, until it’s just barely warm and still pourable. Meanwhile, beat butter and salt together until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar and beat until thoroughly combined. Pour in the cooled caramel and beat on medium-high speed until light and airy (around 2 minutes). Spread or pipe onto filled cupcakes (if frosting is too runny, the caramel was too warm when added – refrigerate for around 15-20 minutes until frosting is stiffer). Sprinkle each cupcake with a small pinch of fleur de sel.

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My dad had to “inspect” things… I think he just wanted a cupcake….

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I took them to my Mary Kay meeting and they were a hit! All of the Salted Caramel ones were gone by the end of the night! Not the case with the rose-scented geranium ones, but hey, I learned…

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