Pumpkin Spice Kiss Cookies

I haven’t wanted to be anywhere near food prep since June when I found out I was pregnant, but last weekend I got the urge to bake. What did I make? Cookies, of course! I still don’t want to cook meat (sorry Adam) but sweets, I can handle.  I usually only see the blossom cookies at Christmastime but I like breaking the rules. Have you seen these pumpkin spice kisses in your local store?

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I’ll confess that I didn’t love them on their own..but paired with a simple pumpkin spice cookie made them perfect. This recipe is extremely easy and makes about 36 cookies total.

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Pumpkin Spice Kiss Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated organic sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 4 tablespoons almond milk
  • 1 package Hershey’s Pumpkin Spice Kisses
  • 1/3 cup granulated organic sugar, for rolling cookies in

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Unwrap pumpkin spice Kisses and place them in a small bowl in the freezer until ready to use. Place 1/2 cup granulated sugar in a bowl for rolling cookies in; set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Add vanilla and eggs and beat until light and fluffy.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Gradually add in small batches to the butter mixture, mixing until just combined. If dough is crumbly and not coming together, add 1 tablespoon of milk at a time until dough forms.
  • Scoop dough into 1 tablespoon-sized balls, roll in sugar, and place on baking sheet. Bake for 7-8 minutes, or until done.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool three minutes.
  • Gently push a frozen pumpkin spice kiss into the center.
  • Let cool completely
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Peppermint Blossoms

Did I mention that while I was on a baking spree last weekend I was SUGAR FREE? Do you know how hard it is to make cookie/brownie batter and not test it out? It’s basically torture and I don’t suggest you try it unless you have to. The third batch of cookies were Peppermint Blossoms and Adam said these were his second favorite cookie of the day (Sugar cookies #1). I trust my cookie testers judgement so here is the recipe!

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Peppermint Blossoms

Ingredients

  • 48 Hershey’s Candy Cane Kisses
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • Red and green sprinkles ( can use sugar crystals too)

Directions

  • Heat oven to 350°F. Remove wrappers from candies.
  • Beat butter, granulated sugar, egg and vanilla in large bowl until well blended. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; add alternately with milk to butter mixture, beating until well blended.
  • Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in red sugar, granulated sugar, powdered sugar or a combination of any of the sugars. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.
  • Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned and cookie is set. Remove from oven; cool 2 to 3 minutes. Press a candy piece into center of each cookie. (If they start to melt transfer them to the freezer immediately) Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. Makes about 48 cookies.

“Crack”ers (Cookie Style)

I received these “crack”ers a few years ago through a blogger Holiday Sweet Swap and could not get over how amazingly addictive something was for how simple it was to make. I’m pretty sure I ate the entire tin to myself that day and I’ve thought about making them ever since. Since we were slowly moving back into our apartment last December I skipped my usual baking spree. But this year, it.was.on. These would be perfect for a holiday party, they only take 10 minutes!

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“Crack”ers (Cookie Style)

Ingredients:

  • 1 box Club Crackers ( I only used about a sleeve and a half)
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 12 oz package MINI chocolate chips (<— must use mini)

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Line an 11 x 15 cookie pan that has a lip with foil.
  • Cover foil with one layer of crackers, breaking to fit bottom as necessary.
  • Heat sugar and butter together in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly for about 3 minutes.
  • Then pour and spread mixture over crackers while hot.  It will seep in and around the crackers and that is okay.
  • Bake for 5 minutes in 400 degree oven.
  • Remove from oven and sprinkle mini chocolate chips all over.  As chips melt, spread evenly with a spatula.
  • Place in refrigerator to cool.
  • When very cold break apart in large pieces peeling away the foil.  Then break into smaller serving size pieces and store in covered container in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Note:  the unevenness of the pieces makes these cookies attractive.  Do not expect to break them into the shape of the crackers.  Also, you must use MINI chips.  Regular sized chips do not melt appropriately.

Grandma’s Sugar Cookies

The recipe I’m posting today brings back warm memories of my childhood. When we were younger, we would head up to Maryland from Florida to spend Christmas with my moms side of the family and every year I would help my Grandma make her infamous Sugar Cookies. We start eating these during Christmas Eve Brunch and continue eating them until they’re gone (Christmas Dinner). I think we usually make 2 batches? It makes A LOT of cookies but they are in high-demand with our family. The dough, which has to chill for a few hours before rolling out, is so yummy too and you know we sneak many a bites during the whole process.

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Sugar Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 lb margarine (4 sticks); softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 6 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 rolling-pin
  • 3 cans of frosting (We use Betty Crockers Vanilla <—we cheat!)
  • Sprinkles

Directions

  • Pre heat your oven to 375 degrees
  • Mix the margarine, sugar, eggs, vanilla, flour, salt & baking soda together and then chill, covered for a few hours.
  • When you remove from fridge, leave it for an hour or so before you start to work with it.  The first batch always seems to be a challenge…so be patient as you roll it out.
  • Sprinkle flour on your surface before you start with the dough, and rub flour on the rolling-pin frequently.
  • Roll out to about 1/4 inch thick, and use cookie cutters.
  • Lift gently and place on ungreased cooking sheet.  Bake for 5 to 7 minutes at 375 degrees.  (If not quite done another minute or two.)
  • Frost and sprinkle.

 

Caution:  they are addictive! The consensus is that they are best once the icing sets into the cookies and makes them very soft so I suggest making these a day (or two) in advance of when you will need them.

Wedding Recap – Welcome Bags

I thought I was done with the wedding posts, I really did. But when my MIL gave me an extra “Wedding Welcome Bag” that she had saved, I figured I could show you what we did.

During the 7 months I planned our wedding, I never felt overwhelmed…until it came to the welcome bags. I don’t know why something so small (and something that had nothing to do with the actual day) stressed me out so much. I didn’t cry when the Bridal store had ordered my dress a size too small, but I cried when someone in our welcome bag assembly line put two shuttle times in one bag (seriously!?). Clearly, I needed some sleep.

Bag.

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Our invitations (and colors) were grey with pink lace so we decided to replicate that look onto the bags. I originally had bought kraft bags but my moms friend Rene searched for these above! We ordered the lace from the same woman who made our invitations and the stickers from My Own Labels.

Custom Door Hanger.

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I also ordered these on Etsy. Etsy really was my best friend while wedding planning!

Custom Cups.

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My Grandma ordered these cups from a store that specializes in monogrammed items. We were thankful that she thought of this and that they were able to get them to us on time!

Water Bottles.

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Not the clearest picture… We had two of these in each bag because who wants to pay $5 for a hotel bottled water?

DIY Crab Mallet.

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Oh you know… Just another way to stress myself out! Painted 50 of these (with help!) 2 nights before our wedding. On one side we had the date, the other side was our last name initial (K). We wrapped them with a ribbon that said happily ever after.

Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies.

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My Aunt Kathy makes THE best chocolate chip cookies so I, of course, asked her to make some for the bags. We tied them shut with a lace ribbon and I can’t tell you how glad I was to have these in my hotel room at midnight.

Crab Chips.

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You aren’t in Maryland unless you have a taste of Old Bay. These are one of my favorite chips… Yum! Side Note: I heard they don’t sell these anywhere but Maryland. Is this true!?

Homemade Bride & Groom Pretzels.

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Also not a clear picture… My MOH, friend Crystal and myself spent the Monday before the wedding making these. I think it took us 6 hours to make 120 of them but they were worth it! I love that I have creative friends to help me out. It would have taken me a lot longer to do it alone.

Advil.

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To cure your hangover the next morning…obviously.

Shuttle Information, What to do in Baltimore, Post Wedding Brunch Invitation and Welcome Letter.

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We bought actual wedding invitations to go in the bag because I loved the print! We used the invitations for the welcome letter and the “response cards” for the Post Wedding Brunch Invitation. Card stock was used for the shuttle times and “Things to do” insert. I found the chevron print online and used that as a watermark.

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If you aren’t OCD about planning, let someone else take over the welcome bags – it really is the easiest task of all and shouldn’t put pressure on you!

If you made welcome bags for your wedding, what did you include?

 

 

Quinoa Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

I saw these Quinoa cookies last week and thought “Hmmm, that sounds intriguing”. I’m a big fan of quinoa but have never tried it in a sweet dish. (PS: this Bud Light commercial cracks me up every single time) I decided I was going to give these a go but that they were missing a certain ingredient. A cookie isn’t a cookie without something sweet!

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Quinoa Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients: 

  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup raw quinoa
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup organic sugar
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seed
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup pureed pumpkin
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (or whatever you have on hand)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (vegan or regular)

Directions:

  • Add quinoa to a fine mesh stainer and rinse well before using in this recipe.
  • Add water and quinoa to a saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes. Once complete, remove from the stove, remove lid and allow to cool for a couple of minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat. Set aside.
  • Add flour, sugar, ground flax, pumpkin pie spice and salt to a large bowl. Then, measure 1½ cups of the cooked quinoa and add to the dry ingredients. Stir to coat, until all quinoa granules are covered in the mixture. Set aside.
  • Add pumpkin, oil, vanilla, egg white and honey to a small bowl and stir well.
  • Pour the wet mixture in with the dry mixture and stir to combine.
  • Fold in chocolate chips.
  • One tablespoon at a time, scoop mixture onto prepared baking sheet, leaving a small space between each cookie. They will not spread out, so you can keep the cookies close. Lightly form each cookie, as you’d like them to come out. I flattened them slightly with a spoon.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, until cooked through and golden.
  • Remove from the oven, let cool on the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack and allowing them to cool for a couple of hours. Because cooked quinoa was used in this recipe, the longer you leave it to cool, the firmer your cookies will become. Leave them be and they will transform!
  • Cookies can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. (Will make about 30 cookies)

Enjoy!

 

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday everyone! Right now Adam and I are on our way to the beach… Hope this weather clears up! Here are some of my favorite finds from around the blogosphere.

Favorite Gift to Send: Peanut Butter Cup Stuffed Triple Chocolate Cookies

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Favorite Fun Item: Neon Matches

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Favorite Grilled Item: Romaine Lettuce for a fresh caesar salad

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Favorite DIY: Turning drab folding chairs into fab

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Favorite Summer Hair Style: Double Braid

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Favorite Healthy Dinner: Creamy Corn Soup

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Favorite Living Room Inspiration: Crisp & Clean

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Favorite Melt Your Heart: Baby Mermaid (I love the Little Mermaid!)

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Favorite Dream House: Opening Your Kitchen up into the Patio

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Favorite Summer Outfit: Seahorse Shorts

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Favorite Sunday baking idea: Marshmallow Stuffed S’mores Cookies

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Have a good weekend!

Shabby Chic Bridal Shower

This past weekend I headed to Maryland to celebrate the beautiful bride-to-be, Jenn!

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As bridesmaids, we were up late the night before and early the next morning to set up for the event so excuse the bags under our eyes 😉

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Each bridesmaid made two or more dishes to create a huge spread for the guests to snack on during the day.

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The dessert table was OF COURSE, my favorite.

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Cake!

Cake!

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Cutest Cookies

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Jenn’s wedding colors are mint & coral so we used the same theme for her shower with thoughts that she could use everything for the wedding too.

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The drink station included something blue lemonade, iced tea, sangria and custom water bottles (wrapped with lace and an engagement sticker)

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Flowers were placed in mason jars and pictures of the couple surrounded the room

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We set up a table near the entrance with homemade (by Jenn’s mom) favors of sugar scrub and an advice station for the almost newlyweds.

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We also had a banner that said Getting Hitched hanging over the couch that was hand made by our friend Crystal. Jessica painted the birdcage, cross and bird feeders that were placed around the sign.

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We played one game, which was called “the almost newlywed game”. We asked Jenn’s fiance, Andrew, 18 questions ahead of time and asked Jenn the same questions. Every time she got an answer wrong we had her stick half of a jumbo marshmallow in her cheeks.

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Jenn needs to quiz Andrew more often.

Next, came gifts and Jenn got a lot of great things for their new house! Our friend Danielle gave her a personalized hanger that goes perfectly with her theme to hang her dress on during her wedding day.

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I can’t wait for June 8th to celebrate Jenn’s big day! I know it’s going to be beautiful – Just like her!

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100 Calorie Clean Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Every night after dinner I HAVE to have dessert. 3 weeks ago it was Trader Joe’s Powerberries, 2 weeks ago it was Vita Tops and last week it was Peanut Butter Crunch Toast.

This.Must.Stop.

Not the dessert every night, of course. But the eating preservative filled desserts before bed time.

This week I was determined to be prepared so I made a batch of cookies (that should last for 2 weeks!). These cookies are a little under 100 calories a piece, clean and have the perfect crunch.

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Clean Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp divided Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • 3/4 cup Vegan Chocolate Chips (Whole Foods)
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/3 organic brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • In a bowl stir together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt
  • Mix coconut oil and brown sugar until creamy in a separate bowl
  • Add soymilk, 2 tbsp whole wheat pastry flour and vanilla to oil and sugar.
  • Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients
  • Combine oats and vegan chocolate chips
  • Scoop tablespoons of dough onto baking sheets
  • Bake 14 minutes until light golden brown
  • Remove from oven and let cool

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Sunday Stuff 1/27

Peanut Butter S'mores Banana Bread - It was delicious but I put it in a pan that was too small so it overflowed and didn't look pretty.

Peanut Butter S’mores Banana Bread – It was delicious but I put it in a pan that was too small so it overflowed and didn’t look pretty. 

 

Who will buy me a $700 pair of sunglasses?

Who will buy me a $700 pair of sunglasses?

Rainbow Chard, Walnuts, & Pear Salad

Rainbow Chard, Walnuts, & Pear Salad at Whole Foods

 

OOTD

OOTD

Salmon Mango and Avocado Sushi Roll

Salmon Mango and Avocado Sushi Roll 

Trader Joe's

Trader Joe’s 

 

Vegan Broccoli "Cheese" Soup and Cheese Quesadilla

Vegan Broccoli “Cheese” Soup and Cheese Quesadilla

 

Clean Eating Cookies with Almond Milk

Clean Eating Cookies with Almond Milk

Hope your Sunday was as nice as mine!