October 2015 archive

Oatmeal Cookie Bars

oatmeal-cookies-barsIs it really the end of October?  I swear school just started, but I have noticed that it is bearable outside now and we are loving the change in season.  I heard something on the radio yesterday that made me laugh out loud because it is so true!  “We have four seasons in Arizona.  They are Summer, Insanely Hot Summer, Post Summer and Pre Summer.”  Can I get an “Amen!” from my fellow Arizonans?  We are now in Post Summer which means that the kids can go to the park, ride their bikes and do all of the outdoor activities that we think of as summer activities elsewhere.

This time of year makes me want to bake constantly (unfortunately for my waistline).  I love trying new recipes and when I find one that I really like, I can kind of get stuck.  Take, for instance, these oatmeal bars.  I first made them about three weeks ago and I have made them once a week ever since.  They are so easy to throw together and they are loved by everyone!  I have been raving about this recipe to my mom and sister for the last few weeks and I’ve taken this as a sign that I need to share the recipe with all of you.  It’s another one from Mel’s Kitchen Café.  I know I’ve probably done enough from her, but what can I say, I LOVE her recipes!  I have found that they are ones that I can rely on to be fabulous and isn’t fabulous what we all want in life?

AnneOpinion

These bar cookies are perfect.  They have oatmeal in them which gives a chewy texture and nutty flavor.  The perfect part is that there is not too much oatmeal so they don’t have that solid, heavy feel that comes with so many oatmeal treats.

These are so popular in these parts that I would not even dream of making them in anything smaller than a half sheet pan.  I have a hard time making them last a whole day in the large size. If things don’t disappear as quickly in your parts, feel free to make them in a 9×13 size.  Mel’s recipe is made for that size, so check it out here.

These bars can have any combination of chips in them that that you would like.  All chocolate chip, all butterscotch, peanut butter, M&M. (Boy 1 has been advocating for the all M&M)  My favorite is a combination of chocolate chips, butterscotch chips and M&M baking chips.  For me, it’s perfect and I’ll be sticking with it for a while I think.

One thing to remember.  If you want them to look pretty when you’re done (like in the picture) you’ll need to reserve some of each of the chips and not mix them in.  After the dough is pressed in the pan, sprinkle them over the top and after baking you’ll have pretty, irresistible looking bars.  If you just care how they taste, save yourself a step and just mix everything in to begin with.  I promise, either way, you will Love them!

post-closer

 

 

Oatmeal Cookie Bars
Print Recipe
Oatmeal Cookie Bars
Print Recipe
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray half size baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside. In a large bowl with a handheld electric mixer or a stand mixer, beat butter, sugars, egg and vanilla until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Add 1 3/4 cup chocolate chips, 3/4 cup butterscotch chips and 3/4 cup M&M's and mix together. Press into the prepared pan and sprinkle reserved chips and M&M's over the dough and gently press in. Bake for 18-20 minutes until light golden brown. Don't overbake! These bars are definitely better underbaked by just a few minutes rather than being overbaked so watch them carefully. Let cool completely on a wire rack before slicing into squares.
Recipe Notes

AnneOpinion from Mel's Kitchen Café (with slight adaption)

Share this Recipe
 
Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe

Pumpkin Cookies and Cake

no-bake-pumpkinI feel like there has been a backlash lately against the overload of pumpkin in the cyber and the real world and I get it.  I feel the same way about many of the things that have gotten so popular in online culture that it’s assumed that everyone loves it.  For example, from my following of my many other bloggers online and on Instagram I have learned that everything that is awesome can be purchased at Target and while shopping there, don’t forget to have your dirty Diet Coke in hand.

better-than-pumpkin-cakeSee, I get it.  Pumpkin is overdone.  Which is so sad for me because I really do LOVE pumpkin.  So if you can’t look another pumpkin recipe (or two) in the face, please return next week and I promise no pumpkin there.  But for now, I have to let you know about two recipes that I’ve seen surfacing frequently in the blogging world that I couldn’t pass up trying.  The first is a No Bake Pumpkin Cookies Recipe from Once a Month Meals and the second is a Better than…Pumpkin Cake from Something Swanky.

 

 

AnneOpinion

The no bake cookies were good. They had a nice fall taste but I didn’t feel like they had a true pumpkin flavor.  They were very sweet and I added in chocolate chips that added a nice balance to the flavor.

These are a fun no hassle treat that is super quick to make.  Perfect for an after school snack.

Better Than…Pumpkin Cake- I was not that impressed with this cake.  The batter was super thick and cake was uneven on top once baked.  The whipped cream frosting was able to cover this up so that the cake looked fine.  I found the flavors to be a little bit lackluster.  I can’t say it was bad, I mean we did eat it, but it lasted for a few days, which at my house means, don’t make it again.  In short, it was not Better Than…most pumpkin desserts I can think of. 😉

I’m including the link for the Better Than…Pumpkin Cake here so you can check out the recipe if you want.  I didn’t see any point including it since it’s not something that I would make again.

If you want to make something pumpkin that I HIGHLY recommend try my Gluten Free Pumpkin Cheesecake with Brown Sugar Whipped Cream, Pumpkin Waffles with Buttermilk syrup (to die for!), and my recent post of Pumpkin Snickerdoodles.  All are completely AnneOpinion approved!

post-closer

No Bake Pumpkin Cookies
Print Recipe
No Bake Pumpkin Cookies
Print Recipe
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Lay out wax paper on counter. This is to place the cookies on. In a saucepan, combine sugars, butter and milk. Bring to a boil. Boil 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add in the pudding mix, stirring to combine completely (it will be lumpy, but keep stirring!) Add in pumpkin pie spice, vanilla and oats. Stir to combine and let stand for 5 minutes. Add the chocolate chips. Quickly stir in and stop. (the chips will start melting and if you continue they will mix in completely. Use large cookie scoop or spoon to drop mounds of cookie onto waxed paper. Allow to cool completely before serving..
Recipe Notes

AnneOpinion adapted from Once a Month Meals

Share this Recipe
 
Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe

What to try (and not try) this Fall

Here in Arizona Autumn isn’t quite what you think that it should be.  When I think of Fall I think of cool mornings, warm days and a crisp, brisk feeling in the air.  This is the time every year that I want to move.  It’s still so hot!  Every day this week will be hovering around 100 and there is no “brisk” feeling in the air.  I start eating pumpkin a little bit earlier than I probably would somewhere else (beginning of September), because I need something to physically tell me it’s Autumn!!  There are so many seasonal products out now that I decided to give some a try to help you know what you need to try and what you don’t!

AnneOpinion

M&M’s has several Fall flavors this year.  I decided to try two of them.  The first was the Candy Corn and it is getting a big thumbs down.  It was very sicky sweet and, quite frankly, it’s the first time I’ve seen my children turn down candy.  Pecan-Pie-MMsThe second one that I tried was Pecan Pie.  You know that saying “No one can eat just one,” that’s my opinion of these M&M’s.  They were so good!  I loved them and have resisted buying another bag only because I know that I will eat the whole thing and probably not share with anyone.

image

 

My sister told me I needed to try the Archer Farms Pumpkin Cheesecake sandwich cookies that are sold at Target.  They were a good call!  I feel like they taste like they are more spice than pumpkin, so if you like fall spices (ginger, cinnamon, cloves, etc) these are a great way to get your fix of fall flavor.

noosa

 

 

 

While I was at Target I noticed that they had Pumpkin flavored Noosa Yoghurt.  I’ve been wanting to try out this brand and thought this would be a good opportunity.  Unfortunately the pumpkin was a bust.  The yogurt had a flavor that reminded me a little of pineapple and didn’t work well with the pumpkin.  I tried to pass it off to Boy 2 when he got home, but after one bite he didn’t want anymore.  Boy 3 liked it and ate rest.  So, there are some out there that would like it; I just chobani pumpkinwasn’t one of them.  If you want an Amazing Pumpkin yogurt, Chobani Flips Pumpkin Harvest Crisp is my new favorite.  I want to eat it everyday and I have been know to clear out the grocery store shelf when I find them.  It is a pumpkin flavored yogurt with pie crust pieces, pecans, and glazed pumaple bacon cookiesmpkin seeds.

When I saw that Betty Crocker had a Maple Bacon cookie mix and frosting I knew this was one that I needed to try, just because it is so different.  I will say that they are good and they are different.  I like the flavors of maple and bacon together and if that’s a combo that you like too, than you will probably like them.  They weren’t the best cookies ever, but they were all gone in one night, so they definitely not bad. caramel apple cupcake I decided that I also wanted to try Pillsbury’s Caramel Apple cupcakes and frosting.  These weren’t bad, but I don’t think that I’ll ever buy them again.  The apple flavor was faint and there was a definite artificial aftertaste with both the cupcake and the frosting.

 

extra pumpkinExtra Pumpkin Spice Gum- You won’t spit it out, but you probably won’t want to chew it for a long time.  Just don’t waste your time on it.

 

 

 

 

pumpkin milanosPepperidge Farms Pumpkin Spice Milanos.  If you love Milanos (and who doesn’t) and you love pumpkin, I think I can guarantee that you will love these.  Milano light and airy cookies with a layer of creamy chocolate and a layer of creamy pumpkin sandwiched between them.  Can’t go wrong with these!

So there’s the around up of all the things that I tried.  I had some hits (Pecan Pie M&M’s) and some misses (clearing throat sound…pumpkin gum).  I loved having an excuse to try everything.  Is there something that I missed that I need to try?

post-closer

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two Timin’ Pasta

two-timin-pastaWhat is it with my family thinking they need dinner every night.  I mean, if I made a good dinner with a great side and a salad and rolls, that should at least count for 2, maybe 3 nights right?  Alas, at the end of each day, everyone thinks that they need dinner whether last night’s was spectacular or not.

So, after putting forth a 5 star effort, it’s nice to a dinner (or two) in the line up that can be pulled together in a snap.  This Two Timin’ Pasta from Pearls, Handcuffs and Happy Hour is exactly what I need on nights like this, and I know that you do too.

AnneOpinion

How easy is this: Boil pasta; mix together two jarred sauces, add pasta and cheese, mix together, pour in pan and cook.  That’s it!  This would also be a great starter meal for older kids/teens who are learning to cook.

I thought that this would be too saucy, with two jars, but it was the perfect amount.

Everyone really liked this dinner and I liked the fact that dinner was a hit and I had extra time so I l could watch the new Goldbergs episode instead of being in the kitchen.

–And it’s Mom for the win!

post-closer

Two Timin' Pasta
Print Recipe
Two Timin' Pasta
Print Recipe
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta according to directions and drain. Mix the sauces together in a large bowl. Add 1 Cup of the mozzarella and the parmesan and stir to combine. Then pour in the penne and toss to coat. Pour pasta into 9x13 baking dish, top with the last cup of mozzarella and cook on 350 for 25 minutes or until bubbly. Top with Garlic Bread Seasoning (if desired) and Enjoy!
Recipe Notes
Share this Recipe
 
Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe