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Nutella Stuffed Sea Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have been searching and searching for a good cookie recipe. A simple chocolate chip cookie is always a good choice to help satisfy a sugar craving, but it’s also nice to have a charmer on hand for when you’re really trying to impress people.

Everyone loves chocolate chip cookies. Everyone loves nutella. Throw in some sea salt to mix with the sweetness, and you have yourself something interesting and praise worthy. The two times I’ve baked these cookies I had people gushing over how good they are, and I am most certainly in love with them myself!

 

Ingredients
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbl plain greek yogurt
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1 jar Nutella (refrigerated until chilled)
Coarse sea salt

Directions:
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.

Melt butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, it will begin to foam. Eventually the bottom of the butter will begin to turn brown. Once it starts turning brown, immediately pour it into a large bowl.

Add sugars to the butter mix, and beat together. Beat in egg, yolk, vanilla, and greek yogurt. On a low setting, begin to beat in the dry ingredients that you set aside. Once everything is mixed, fold in the chocolate chips.

Chill the dough in the freezer for 30 minutes. When finished, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Roll the dough into small balls (if I were to guess, I would say a little over a tablespoon’s worth, though it’s easier to just use your judgment). Flatten the balls, and spoon a bit of Nutella into the center (maybe about a teaspoon). Fold the dough over the Nutella, roll into a ball again, and flatten the top of the ball slightly. Line the cookies along a cookie sheet.

Bake for ten minutes. When you take them out of the oven, leave them on the cookie sheet to cool (leaving them on the cookie sheet will help cook the middle just a little bit more, leaving them cooked but still gooey in the middle). Sprinkle a little sea salt over the top, and then place them on a wire rack to finish cooling.

Golden Mushroom Soup

Sometimes I am in need of comfort food. This can happen on crisp fall days, in the middle of a snow storm, or maybe it’s just a simple Wednesday night in the middle of an otherwise ordinary week.

Soup is  always a wonderful go-to recipe when you’re looking for something both simple and comforting. Lucky for me, I have this golden mushroom soup recipe that I adore. Throw in some dinner rolls or a grilled cheese sandwich, and you have yourself a fantastic midweek dinner.

Ingredients:
4 tbs butter
2 cups chopped onion
1 pound fresh mushrooms (sliced)
2 cups chicken broth
3 tbs flour
pepper
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 tsp dill weed
1 tbs soy sauce
1 cup milk
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup sour cream

Directions
1) Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Saute onions in butter for 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and saute for another 5 minutes. Stir in dill weed, paprika, soy sauce, and broth. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes.

2) In a separate bowl, whisk milk and flour together. Pour into soup and stir to blend. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3) Stir in salt, pepper, lemon juice, parsley, and sour cream. Mix together and allow o heat through over low heat (about 3-5 minutes). Do not boil.

Apple Pie Cookies

For those of us who really love to cook and bake, presentation tends to play a super important role in the way we prepare our food. Normally on an average week night it doesn’t matter, but for those special occasions or even semi special occasions I would rather go the extra mile and do something that’s nice to look at as well as to eat (bonus points if people struggle to take the first bite out of a desire to preserve the art!).

Apple pie cookies are as delicious as they are cute, and they are the perfect go-to recipe for pot luck events and parties. Picnics, birthday parties, gatherings with friends, dinner parties. They can fit in anywhere, and the best part is that they’re not all that difficult to make! 

Ingredients
2  (9 in.) pie crust
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 tbs flour
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
8 granny smith apples (peeled, cored, and chopped)
1 jar of dulce de leche
1 egg
2 tbs cinnamon
1 tbs all spice
Round cookie cutter

Directions
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour, water, and sugars. Bring to a boil, and reduce temperature. Let simmer for a minute or two. Add mixture to a bowl with chopped apples (make sure the apples are finely chopped! Since these are cookies and not a pie, you’re going to want it to be less chunky!). Stir together until well combined.

2) Lay out one layer of pie crust. Spread on enough dulce de leche to cover the surface. Cover dulce de leche spread with the apple pie mix. Careful not to add too much!

3) Lay out the second layer of pie crust on a separate surface and cut out strips of dough. Lay the strips over the apple pie mix in a lattice pattern.

4) Dip a round cookie cutter into egg wash and cut out rounded cookies.

5) Mix cinnamon and all spice together in a bowl. Brush each cookie with egg wash and sprinkle with cinnamon and all spice.

6) Lay cookies on a baking sheet and bake for 23-24 minutes!

Curry Pineapple Chicken

Our family loves curry. By the standards of most people we probably use way too much in our cooking, but our general rule of thumb is that you drown everything in curry.

This recipe was a huge hit, particularly with my most critical and honest taste tester (my husband). Of course I dumped in  significantly more curry than this recipe calls for, but I would say the 3 tablespoons is a good starting point for those who are more cautious with the spice.

It’s fairly easy to make, which makes it a great midweek dinner. Definitely something that will appear at our table again, and again, and again.

Ingredients
3 tablespoons curry powder
4 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 (8-9 oz) can crushed pineapple (undrained)
3 chicken breasts (cut up and cooked)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Cooked basmati rice

Directions
1) Throw butter and curry in a large skillet, and stir for about 2 minutes. Add onions and cook until onions are soft.
2) Blend in flour and ginger, then add chicken broth and pineapple. Bring to a boil and simmer (uncovered) for about 5 minutes.
3) Add chicken, and simmer covered for about 10 minutes. Stir in lemon.
4) Serve over rice

Rice Box

Sensory play is one of the easiest ways to keep children entertained, while also encouraging them to explore and experiment. While it may be a hassle to clean up at times, I think parents can enjoy sensory activities as well. Personally, I love making various sensory boxes for my kid. I love playing with color and texture to make something interesting, and it’s especially rewarding to think that if it’s interesting for me to make, how much more interesting will it be for my child to play with?

Today’s sensory activity ended up being colored rice. It’s ridiculously easy to make, and the effect is colorful and incredibly appealing. I loved looking at the finished product, and the kiddo dove right in without hesitation.

What You Need:
– Rice
– White Vinegar
– Food Coloring
– A container
– Spoons, cups, and other objects to play with in the rice

How To:
– Mix 1 cup of rice with 1 tablespoon of vinegar. Stir in food coloring. Lay the rice out in a pan until it’s dried (I’ve seen recipes that suggest over night, but after an hour it was perfect). Put the rice together in a container, and let them have at it!

Flour Fun

I was yet again in need of a simple activity that would distract my son while I cooked dinner. Something that was easy to throw together, not necessarily a breeze to clean up (I just wanted to distract him while I cooked), and not something I had to hover over.

Well, we were in the kitchen weren’t we? Surely there was something I could dig up. A bag of flour ended up being  just what I needed. I sprinkled some onto the table of his high chair, added a bit of water for texture, and then turned back to making dinner. The room was filled with laughter, and I was satisfied with being able to get through the task at hand. Sure, the mess in the end wasn’t the easiest to clean up, but I personally thought it was worth it. Sometimes these things in life are all about surviving the moment. In that moment I needed to get dinner done and my son needed some stimulation. Eventually there was another moment where I needed to clean up the flour, but that was after I was able to sit down to my much needed dinner.

Note:
You may want to wait on this activity until you know for sure how your child reacts to wheat!

Water Painting

I love children who know how to make a good mess. I really do. Even if I’m the one cleaning up after them. It’s evidence of a child who loves to explore, who loves to experiment, and who has no boundaries or limits distracting him/her from a raw learning experience. A child-made mess is a beautiful thing in my eyes.

But sometimes it’s impracticable. Like when I’m cooking dinner, or prepping for guests to come over, or when I’m already on hands and knees scrubbing after another mess. I’m not going to pretend I’m 100% of the time chipper about letting “kids be kids”. There is a limit to my sanity.

The other day, baby boy managed to reach that limit pretty quickly. I was trying to cook dinner, and nothing seemed to entertain him. Should I let him down so he could completely destroy my kitchen? Normally I would, but I was about to have a breakdown  from an overwhelming sense of exhaustion.

Well, water is easy enough to clean up right? With that thought in mind, I began collecting little plastic cups to fill with water, when I suddenly had a new idea. Construction paper is not only bright and fun to look at, but when put into contact with water there is a color difference.

In a matter of moments I had a ridiculously easy-to-clean art project. I gave him some brushes of various textures (the sponge brushes work the best), a piece of construction paper, and a plastic cup filled with water. No paint needed. He simply brushed the water onto the paper.

One of the best parts? When the water dries it’s as if nothing happened to the paper (maybe it’s a bit wrinkled depending on how harshly baby treated it). Therefor, your materials are reusable!