Vanilla Pecan Pie…where pecan pie and cheesecake meet!

Standard

So, it’s hard to make everyone happy in a crowd.

I mean, everyone loves homemade dessert of course but everyone has different taste buds.

I don’t think you realize that until you start making food for people on a regular basis.

Well, we had a holiday last week (Happy late 4th!) and of course it’s my duty to bring the dessert.

Well one of my brothers likes citrus and chocolate and no strawberries.

The other brother likes peanut butter but no fruit.

I’m not big on citrus but love any kind of fruit.

Wrangler likes pecan pie.…and anything with cookie butter in it.

I have taught him well. :)

My mom will try anything and my nieces are young so they will try anything but immediently spit it out in the trash can if they don’t like it.

Example: the smallest one (3 yrs old) LOVES peanut butter but hates peanuts…this week :/

So, what I decided to do was just make sure nobody was allergic to pecans and went with this pecan/cheesecake awesomeness.

Now I must confess something.

I’ve never made a pecan pie. Ever.

Yes, I know they are Wranglers favorite but I guess I’m a mean fiancé and bake what I want.

I am the youngest child if that helps you understand my selfishness. :)

Vanilla Pecan Pie

1 refrigerated pie crust (deep dish)
1 pkg cream cheese, Softened
3 eggs, divided
3/4 cup sugar, divided
4 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
1/2 cup light corn syrup
3 Tablespoons, melted
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups pecans, pieces, toasted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare pie crust as directed on package for one layer crust.

20130710-131850.jpg

Beat cream cheese, 1 of the eggs, 1/4 cup sugar, and 2 t. of vanilla in a large bowl until smooth.

20130710-132606.jpg

Spread evenly on the bottom of your baked crust and bake for 15 minutes.

20130710-132754.jpg

20130710-133014.jpg

In a separate bowl, beat remaining 2 eggs and 1/2 cup sugar with a whisk. Add corn syrup, butter, remaining 2 teaspoons of vanilla, and salt.

20130710-133245.jpg

Sprinkle toasted pecans evenly over baked cream cheese layer.

20130710-133348.jpg

Slowly pour the corn syrup mix over the pecans.

20130710-133504.jpg

20130710-133529.jpg

Now, being inexperienced with pecan pie I decided to fill this sucker up to the brim because there was still corn syrup mix left.

Big mistake. Luckily, I had a feeling it would overflow while it baked and I had put a cookie sheet under it in the oven.

BUT…when it came time to dish out the pieces to my family…it was close to impossible because the mixture had overflowed and baked its gooeyness right onto the foil pie plate.

So, my advice would be to not fill it up the brim.

Delicious pie, everyone loved it, was told to put it on the keeper list. :)

Just don’t let it overflow. :)

20130710-134010.jpg

Hugs & Smooches!

June Foodie Penpal Reveal Day!

Standard

I know I’m a day late…I’m super sorry! Please forgive me?

Yesterday was slightly hectic…

Got up at 8 and went to Walmart to pick up some athletic shorts and eye drops, then went back to my fiance’s house (he lives 45 mins from me), jumped in the shower, ate breakfast and then went to my first ever Aqua Zumba class with a friend.

Totally loved it and got a little sun while I was out!

Look at this gorgeous pool!

20130629-102159.jpg

It is about 2 blocks from Wranglers house and I never knew it!

After I left there, I ran a few errands, went back to Wranglers house to get my stuff and make my way home. Stopped in Tulsa to run a few more errands and stopped by my moms work to visit her. Before I know it, it was 5:00 and time for her to leave.

I was on my way to Sprouts to get groceries so I asked her if she wanted to come. Then, my best friend showed up at Sprouts too to get a few things so we decided to go eat dinner as well!

After dinner, we went our separate ways and I had to go back to Sprouts because I forgot something. FINALLY headed home and got home about 9:30 last night. Put my groceries up and decided to just crash in bed.

See, I was really busy…

Will you really forgive me now? Eh? :)

I’ll love you forever! :)

You didn’t come here to give me sympathy though, you came here to see what I got in my box this month!!!

Yae for foodie penpal!!

I received from Krysty at Little Runner Girl and her story is super inspirational! You should go check her out!

I’m getting married this year so I had to ask her healthier items this go around. She did a great job!

20130629-103154.jpg

Snack bars! Yum!
I’m apparently always on the go so these are great!

20130629-103308.jpg
Almond butter (my fav!) and these healthy, energy pick me up, metabolism boosting chocolates! They were so good!

20130629-103420.jpg
Dates…as a snack with my almond butter :)

20130629-103519.jpg

And this pretty card and sparkly headband!

I love the headband and pretty much wear it everyday!

20130629-103631.jpg

It’s a no slip headband and I’m telling you what…it doesn’t go anywhere! Which is saying a lot because I can’t get anything to stay in my hair because its so slick! I love it and def recommend you visit her etsy shop here

If you wanna join foodie Penpal just click here and click on the FPP tab and get signed up! It’s super fun and I always recommend it to any foodies out there!

Hugs & Smooches!

Biscoff Cake

Standard

I’ve been less than enthusiastic about blogging lately…I apologize…

I blame the weather…heat + Oklahoma = one miserable Megan :(

Well, as miserable as I can get I suppose.

I’ve been accused of only having one emotion…happy.

:) :) :)

Anyway…some of the reason why I’m happy is because I know what Biscoff/Speculoos butter is!

I originally found about this because I won a package of multiple food items from this fantastic lady and even though the majority of the package was healthy, she also included Trader Joe’s infamous Speculoos Cookie Butter…I’ve been obsessed ever since!

I soon figured out that in our sad state of Oklahoma (seeing as that we do not have a TJ’s) that we have an off brand/American version (Speculoos is Belgium based) of said jar of wonderfulness. It is called Biscoff Spread.

I was so excited I could hardly stand it!

Well, since I’m a baker at heart I decided that I needed to put this deliciousness in something!

My grandma’s birthday luncheon was coming up and I take it upon myself to make the cakes for these birthday luncheons.

Any chance I get to make something new, right??

So I decided on making a Biscoff cake! Cake + Biscoff = one extremely happy Megan! :)

I borrowed this recipe from here but made quite a few tweaks. Especially because her recipe was for cupcakes.

If you make this and eat it all yourself, don’t say I didn’t warn you. :)

BISCOFF CAKE
Adapted from plainchicken.com

1 Box butter cake mix (I use Betty Crocker, she never let’s me down)
1 stick butter
4 eggs
1/2 cup Biscoff spread
2/3 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine Biscoff and butter and beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at time. Then add cake mix and water. Mix for 2 minutes on medium high. Grease 2-8″ cake pans and pour batter into pans. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

While the cake is baking, you can start on the buttercream. The original recipe used this as the main frosting but I tried it and it was way too sweet for me! If its too sweet for me, I know it will be too sweet for everyone else.

So, I decided to make this the filling and just frost the cake with regular buttercream.

BISCOFF FILLING

1 cup of butter
2/3 cup Biscoff spread
6 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup water

Cream butter and Biscoff spread together until creamy. Slowly add powdered sugar and water until the frosting is light and fluffy.

I let the cakes cool, cut the tops off to make them flat, then assembled them with the Biscoff filling in between them. I iced the entire cake with regular buttercream (I know everyone has their favorite BC recipe so I’ll just leave that up to you) and then decorated the tops with swirls of the Biscoff filling with half of a Biscoff cookie in between each swirl.

20130619-124111.jpg

20130619-124141.jpg

20130619-124217.jpg

20130619-124244.jpg

20130619-124358.jpg

Now, who wants a piece??

20130619-124439.jpg

Hugs & Smooches!

Foodie Penpal Reveal Day!!

Standard

Another month of foodie penpal and another month of me loving it! :)

This month, I received my box from Adrianna from Presidio, Texas.

Apparently, that is a border town to Mexico so I got a couple goodies from across the border :)

First of all I got this!

20130531-205339.jpg

Mmmmm Godiva chocolates…can never have enough chocolate :)

20130531-205446.jpg

These delightful cookies were from Mexico and are a cinnamon sugar cookie and are delicious with coffee!

I love the Spanish language and am very interested in it, so these Mexican cookies were a cool, authentic treat.

20130531-205735.jpg

Next! Cinnamon Sugar Pita Chips! So good! :)

20130531-205821.jpg

Cranberry Mango Ocean Spray. My FPP said she knew that this was a common brand but this was not a common flavor. She said in Mexico they tend to have different flavor combinations. I’m so excited that she sent it to me because I love juice and this is a super delicious blend! I think this was my favorite! :)

20130531-210358.jpg

She also sent me a couple postcards from her area, a brochure, and a nice note :)

Can’t wait until next month! This awesome stuff never gets old :)

If you would like to join this great program you can go to this blog and then click on the Foodie Penpal tab! If you love food and have the time, this program is a must! :)

Hugs & Smooches!

Brown Butter Oatmeal Cookies filled with Caramel and Peanut Butter

Standard

As usual, my inspiration to make something in the kitchen struck late at night.

At approximately 9:52 last night, I decided I was going to make these bad boys. Of course, the one ingredient I lacked was that 1 egg so I jumped in my car and drove 5 miles down the road to the nearest Dollar General.

If I had decided 5 minutes later that I was going to make these, I would have been driving 20 minutes to the nearest Walmart.

Welcome to small towns people.

I pulled up to the Dollar General and ran inside like a crazy person as the cashier yelled after my trail of dust “you have 2 minutes to shop!”

Believe me, I know that. I have had a retail job before. Nothing is worse than someone coming in right at closing and staying 20 minutes past the time.

On a little side note…I chose this recipe last night because I had a bag of caramels in my cabinet that felt lonely and asked me to find them some cookie friends and also because it didn’t look too hard to mix. My Kitchenaid is at the doctor right now and I’m very lost without it. I’ve also come to the realization that I’m very spoiled. “You want me to what??…mix that with my hands and a spatula?! You’ve got to be kidding!!”

Get well soon Kitchenaid! We all miss you!

XOXO,
Megan and her Kitchen

Well enough of my necessary drama…

:)

On to the cookies!

Brown Butter Oatmeal Cookies filled with Caramel and Peanut Butter
Adapted from http://www.bakeaholicmama.com

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 lg egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup old fashion oats
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
12 caramels
12 teaspoons peanut butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt butter on medium/low heat until golden brown and has a delicious nutty flavor to it. Remove from heat.

20130517-142540.jpg

In a separate bowl, mix together both sugars, egg, and vanilla. Once it’s combined, add in the browned butter.

20130517-142658.jpg

20130517-142722.jpg

Mix in oats, flour, salt, and baking powder until combined. Then refrigerate for 20 minutes to chill the dough.

20130517-142847.jpg

Once the 20 minutes is up, roll the dough into 12 equal sized balls and place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet 2 inches apart.

20130517-143000.jpg

Push a caramel square into the center and wrap the dough up around it a bit.

20130517-143106.jpg

On my first batch, I decided to wrap the dough all the way around the caramel but they didn’t come out so well pretty-wise. The second batch I decided to just push the walls up around the caramel and not cover the top of the caramel. I think taste and texture they came out the same but for appearance, the second batch was better.

20130517-143321.jpg

*I don’t have a picture of the pre-cooked picture of the second batch but it looks a lot like the picture above where I pushed the caramels in. I just made sure that there were no cracks in the dough on the sides and kinda made a boat for the caramel.

The final touch is to put a teaspoon of peanut butter on each cookie and then put them in the oven.

Something else that I altered is that the first batch I did a teaspoon of PB on the cookie and it seemed to kinda melt and just go everywhere on my cookie sheet. The next batch I just did 1/2 a teaspoon on the cookies and it seemed to work out better. Now if you are totally fine with peanut butter covering everything, then be my guest and do the original recipe. A little extra PB never hurt anybody :)

20130517-143934.jpg

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 15 minutes.

These are best eaten hot but if you do save them be sure to put them in an airtight container and when you do eat them again, pop them in the microwave for 10 seconds. Just be careful not to burn your mouth though since the caramel can get a little on the hot side.

20130517-144200.jpg
Brown Butter and Caramel and Peanut Butter…O My!!

Hugs & Smooches!

Trail Mix Nut Butter

Standard

I love the fact that we have so many options these days for nut butters!

I was explaining this recipe the other day to my mom and she said “I just don’t get the whole nut butter thing…I mean, is there really anything better than peanut butter?”

While I understand her logic (because who doesn’t love peanut butter??), I couldn’t quite explain the excitement of the nut butter world.

It’s just some thing new and each kind has different flavors! I feel like there is endless possibilities!

Not to mention that is is a gigantic help for those people that have peanut allergies.

In attempt to not only buy and eat this delicious spread of different butters, I decided that as a Culinary Graduate, I should probably just go ahead and whip up a batch myself!

I’m glad I did!!

Trail Mix Nut Butter
2/3 cup cashews
1/2 cup almonds
1 Tablespoon dried cherries
1 Tablespoon mini chocolate chips
1 teaspoon coconut extract

Put cashews and almonds in food processor. Turn it on and run 7-10 minutes until mixture becomes creamy and the consistency you want it. Add dried cherries, M&M’s, coconut extract, and chocolate chips and let it spin for another minute until add ins are cut up as much as you like. Put in an airtight container.

*When I got done with mine I threw just a few more pieces of the chocolate chips and M&M’S in there to give it texture and visual appeal.

20130515-232330.jpg

20130515-232352.jpg

20130515-232414.jpg

20130515-232440.jpg

Everyone that tried it loved it and said it tasted just like trail mix! I’m so excited that I finally made some!

I just crossed one more thing off my 2013 goal list! Yae me!! :)

Hugs & Smooches!

Cinnamon Papaya Smoothie

Standard

The other day I was at Whole Foods and decided to pick up a papaya. I asked the produce guy if they were in season and he pointed them out right in front of me.

I think now would be a good time to mention that I’ve never eaten a fresh papaya.

I had no idea they were so giant!

Anyway, I had this smoothie recipe in mind that I had written down some time ago from this amazing blog.

Seeing as that I had never eaten a fresh papaya, I had to YouTube it to see how it was cut.

Sounded easy enough so I jumped right on it this morning when I crawled out of bed.

Cinnamon Papaya Smoothie
1/2 large papaya
1/4 cup ice cold water
1 packet of stevia or truvia
1 Tablespoon chia seeds
2 Tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Here is my beautiful papaya!

20130514-112245.jpg

Cut the ends off…

20130514-112407.jpg

Then peel it with a vegetable peeler

20130514-112502.jpg
(Looks like the sunset!)

Then slice it down the middle

20130514-112631.jpg

And dig out all the seeds and membrane with a spoon, then turn it over and cut it into chunks

20130514-112943.jpg

20130514-113020.jpg

Put all the ingredients in the blender and purée until smooth.

I had to purée my papayas a little but before I put the rest of my ingredients in since I only have a small magic bullet blender.

20130514-113213.jpg

20130514-113246.jpg

This was an awesome experience since I’ve never dealt with papaya before but this smoothie just wasn’t quite sweet enough for me. I think it also depends on the kind of papaya you get, depends on the sweetness as well (from what I read on google).

For those people out there though that don’t have a major sweet tooth (we can be friends but I’ll never understand you) this would be a fantastic smoothie for you!

I will make it again and maybe add some extracts or more sweeteners to it. It’s a really good base recipe and you could try any fruit! This may open a whole new world (a new fantastic point of viewwwww!) for new fruits for me. :)

Hugs & Smooches!