Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Chocolate Chip Salted Caramel Cookie Bars

I saw this recipe on and became obsessed with trying it.  I couldn't stop thinking about the sweet of the caramel mixed with the salt of the...salt.  And they were delicious.  They were thick. They were gooey.  They were sweet, and yes, they were a little salty.  And now that I am finally posting this, I may be feeling another obsession coming on.  Mmmmm.

Chocolate Chip Salted Caramel Cookie Bars
adapted from:

2 1/8 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 c. butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
1 c. brown sugar 
1/2 c. sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 tsp. vanilla
1 c. chocolate chips
8-9 ounces caramel candy squares, unwrapped
3 Tbsp. heavy whipping cream
Sea Salt, for sprinkling over caramel bars

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.  Spray a 2-quart baking pan (11X7-mine was Pyrex) with cooking spray and set it aside.  In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking soda and set it aside, too.  In another bowl, mix the melted butter and sugars together.  Add the egg, egg yolk and vanilla and mix it until it is smooth.  Slowly add the dry ingredients and stir until it is just combined.  Then stir in the chocolate chips.  Divide the cookie dough in half.  Press half of the cookie dough evenly into the baking dish.  In a large microwave safe bowl, combine the caramels and the heavy cream and melt them, stirring every twenty seconds.  Pour the hot caramel over the cookie dough in the pan and then sprinkle it with the Sea Salt.  This is where I may have gone slightly wrong.  I really had no idea how much salt to put in and I salted it a wee bit too much.  Here is my tip for you: put a little salt in your hand (I'm talking maybe a 1/4 teaspoon or less) and sprinkle that over your caramel.  Then drop spoonfuls of cookie dough over the caramel and spread it until the caramel is covered.  The original recipe says to sprinkle the top with salt, and again, I would say not much, maybe 1/8-1/4 teaspoon at this point.  Bake the cookie bars for 30 minutes or until the top is light golden brown and the edges start to pull away from the pan.  Cool the bars on a wire rack to room temperature before cutting them.  And make sure you serve them with a glass of milk.:)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Slow Cooker Taco Soup

This is a great version of taco soup.  I found it on and switched it up a bit, based on some of the comments I read, and personal preference.  The original recipe called for lemon, but I switched it to lime because I love the flavor that lime adds to Mexican food.  I also turned it into a slow cooker recipe, because for some reason, even if it still takes a lot of preparation, if I prepare it at 10 AM instead of 5 PM, I feel so good about my dinner!  This turned out to be a really delicious soup.  I even got a thumbs up from Jen, who has her own great taco soup recipe.  Not bad!

Slow Cooker Taco Soup
adapted from:

2 chicken breasts
1/2 tsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
2 (14.5) cans chicken broth
1 c. chopped onion
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. lime juice (or a little more if you love lime, like I do. I juiced one whole lime)
1 c. chunky salsa
1 can black beans
1 c. frozen corn kernels
corn tortilla chips
shredded cheddar cheese 
sour cream

In your slow cooker, combine the olive oil, garlic, cumin, chicken broth, onion, chili powder, lime juice, salsa and beans and stir it well.  Add the chicken breasts and cook it on low for 6-8 hours.  When the chicken is cooked through, remove it from the slow cooker, shred it, and add it back to the soup.  Add the frozen corn and let it cook for about 7 minutes before serving.  Serve it with corn tortilla chips (I used Frito chips), sour cream and cheese.  Enjoy!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Birthday Cake Waffles

Lynnette told me one day that the best french toast she had ever eaten were dipped in cake batter.  I had never heard of this, but thought it would be fun to try it with waffles (of course I did!).  As you can imagine, the kids loved them.  They affectionately named them Birthday Cake Waffles.  The only thing that could have made them better would have been a candle on top to blow out!

Birthday Cake Waffles
by: Carolyn 
1 white cake mix
1 3/4 c. white flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. milk
1/4 c. oil
2 eggs

In a mixing bowl, mix the cake mix according to the package directions and then set it aside.  In another large bowl combine all the other ingredients and mix it well.  Bake the waffles in your waffle iron and then set them aside.  Spray a griddle with cooking spray.  Now, take a waffle and dip it in the cake batter and cook it on the griddle (like you would french toast).  
The cake batter gets pretty thick on the waffle, and this is OK.  The more batter the merrier.  It just makes it more cake-y. 
Serve these with syrup, powdered sugar or whipped cream.  And preferably sprinkles and a candle.  Happy Birthday!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Quick and Easy Beef Stir Fry

Lynnette gave me this recipe the other night, when I was feeling lazy and didn't have any dinner plans.  This is a quick, super easy way to make a yummy stir fry.  Somehow, I had never heard to do stir fry this way.  Maybe everyone else is already in on the secret, but if you aren't, you will be glad that I am telling you.  All this takes is beef, veggies and soy sauce.  And a pinch of sugar if you like a little sweet with your salty (like I do).  And that is it!  It took about 15 minutes to prepare!

Quick and Easy Beef Stir Fry

1 steak, sliced into thin strips
sliced vegetables (anything works-broccoli, peppers, celery, onions, etc.)
soy sauce-to taste
pinch of sugar

In a frying pan, cook your steak in a little soy sauce.  I didn't measure, I just dumped some in.  I would do a little at first and add a little more later if you feel like you need it.  Add a pinch of sugar if you want.  Cook it until your steak is done as much as you like.  Remove the steak strips and set them aside.  Put the sliced veggies in the pan and cook them until crisp-tender.  Add the steak back in and let it all cook for a couple of minutes.  Serve it over rice.