The Perfect Sugar Cookies {+A Very Merry Christmas}

Merry Christmas friends!  I hope that everyone spent the day with loved ones.   My mom and dad are in town for the week visiting from Jersey.   Unfortunately, they both have terrible colds <insert emoji wearing facemask>.  We are making the best of it and they are getting plenty of r&r.

Check out this great shirt my mom stumbled upon a couple of weeks ago at TJ Max.  I have been sporting it all day.   I wonder if I can wear this all year long.  Hmmm…

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This year for Christmas we each bought one gift per person and it was perfect!  My parents got me a gift card for Stitch Fix, eeeee!! Have any of you ever used Stitch Fix?  I am so freaking excited.  My first delivery is to arrive on January 5th and I cannot wait.  I also got a new laptop from Husband and it is perfection.  Love love love.   My old laptop was dying and this could not have come at a better time since I will start studying for my pediatric dental board exam soon, whomp whomp. I am truly thankful for this holiday season.

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I have a fantastic sugar cookie recipe to share with you.  Last weekend my friend Kait and I made these and they turned out fantastic.  I like this recipe for several reasons:
1. The dough does not require a long chill time.
2. They don’t expand and flatten in the oven.
3.  They hold their shape.
4.  The recipe is simple.

This will absolutely be my new go to sugar cookie recipe! Enjoy.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1¼ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups of flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Instructions: 

1. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add in egg and vanilla extract, mix until combined.

2.In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until completely combined.

3. Chill dough for about 20-30 minutes.

4. Roll out dough to about 1/4 inch thickness.   Use flour on table and rolling pin to help eliminate stickiness of dough.

5. Cut dough into shapes with cookie cutters and transfer to a baking sheet.

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6. Bake at 350 degrees for 7-12 minutes. Cool on baking sheet 5 minutes, then transfer to a baking rack to cool completely.

7. Decorate as desired!  We decorated ours with a simple buttercream frosting and sprinkles.   They even tasted great without icing.

8. Store in an airtight container. One batch makes about 30-40cookies.

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Current Obsessions Wednesday {#2}

Happy hump day friends! Who’s ready for the weekend?   Lets be honest, I have been ready for the weekend since Monday morning rolled around.  I swear I am a child.  The closer Christmas gets, the more trouble I have focusing at work.  All day I make sure I ask every single child what they want for Christmas and I get some of the best answers.  Today a little boy answered, “A colorful rock.  Because I love colors and I love rocks.”  Duh.  I freaking love Christmas.  Favorite holiday, hands down, period, the end.

Well, a few weeks ago I started Current Obsessions Wednesday. Here are few things that I am loving.  I hope that this will inspire you try something new! Enjoy.

Plenti Plentiful Greek Yogurt

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Dare I say this, I am not a yogurt lover.  I have tried over and over again to enjoy yogurt but there’s something about the sour milk taste that usually grosses me out.  I have recently discovered Yoplaits plentiful greek yogurt and it is awesome!  This yogurt is pre-mixed with whole grain oats, flax seed, and pumpkin seed.  I’ve been adding sliced banana to it for breakfast and it is on point.

Boom Chicka Pop

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The name and packaging alone got my attention.  I bought this giant bag from SAMs club last month and I have been hooked! It’s a great low cal snack (35 cal per cup, what?!) and I like that it is lightly sweetened.

Sweet Dreams Herbal Tea

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We love getting fresh tea leaves from Teavana, but I am yet to find a calming night time tea that I love from there.  I do enjoy a mug of this Sweet Dreams tea, which is a blend of chamomile and mint.  I’m not sure if my dreams are sweeter after a mug of this, but I definitely feel more relaxed.

No. 1 Vanilla Spice Chardonnay Candle

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I love burning candles, especially around this time of year.  I picked this candle up on a random Home Goods run.  That store gets me in trouble sometimes, okay most times. Does anyone else have this problem?  Regardless, this was a great last minute purchase! I love the scent of this candle–it has a little spice and a little sweetness to it.

 

 

What are you currently obsessed with?

 

Crockpot Bourbon Chicken {+Quality Girl Time}

I spent the afternoon/early evening with some friends from work.  My face hurts and my side aches from laughing so hard! Today I was reminded of the importance of having quality time with girlfriends.   Since moving to Cincinnati I feel like I have not found a solid group of girlfriends.  Why is it so much harder to find close friends as an adult?! These ladies are pretty fantastic and every time we get together outside of work it’s a great time! We literally laughed so hard til we cried… or snorted. FullSizeRender 3

We spent the afternoon drinking wine and baking some delicious lemon cupcakes for a work event tomorrow.  After multiple bottles of wine we found ourselves watching/ dancing/singing to music videos.  Have you seen the new Gwen Stefani music video?  #weird.   I am now curled up on the couch in pjs watching the Michigan State vs Iowa football game with Husband.

Tonight I am sharing a recipe for Crockpot Bourbon Chicken.  I have made this several times and it is always a big hit, not to mention so easy! If you have followed my blog, you know that I LOVE crockpot recipes. I rely on crockpot recipes to help me get through extra busy weeks.

This recipe called for 1/4 cup of bourbon.  I used Bulleit bourbon because that’s what we had, but feel free to use any kind you have on hand! You really can taste the bourbon flavor in this recipe.

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Add this recipe to your menu this week on a day when you know you will get home late.  Enjoy!

Ingredients: 

  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
  • ½ teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup Bourbon
  • ¼ cup water
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • ⅓ cup apple cider (*or apple juice)
  • ½ teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch

Instructions: 

1. Mix all sauce ingredients, except for chicken and cornstarch,  in a small bowl.

2. Place chicken in slow cooker, pour sauce over top. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours or on high for 3 hours.

3. Remove chicken and chop into bite sized pieces. Strain liquid and place over medium high heat in a small pot. Combine 3 tablespoons water with 3 tablespoons cornstarch. Whisk into boiling sauce along with 1 clove minced garlic. Stir until thickened.

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4. Pour over chicken pieces in the slow cooker and stir. Serve over rice.

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Recipe adjusted from Spending with Pennies
Check out some of my other crockpot chicken recipes:

Apple Fritter Cake {+ Friendsgiving}

Another friendsgiving has come and gone.  During the five years we lived in Columbus we hosted a Friendsgiving at our house annually and it was one of my favorite gatherings to host.  By the end of the night I remember always feeling that my heart was full with happiness and my belly was full with delicious food.  This year the feeling was no different.  Tonight we were fortunate enough to attend Friendsgiving at our friend Kait’s house (Thanks Kait!).  I’m not going to lie, it’s been a few hours sine we ate and it still kind of hurts to breathe #worthit.  It was potluck style and we had some fantastic dishes.  I brought green beans with garlic roasted almonds and an Oreo cheesecake for dessert.  Stay tuned for those recipes!

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In honor of Thanksgiving being just a few days away, I am sharing a great recipe for Apple Fritter Cake. This sweet cake with a cup of hot coffee will make the perfect Thanksgiving day breakfast treat, trust me on this one.  Not to mention the old-fashioned creme glaze that is so good you’ll be spooning it out of the bowl and in to your mouth.   Make this for your family and friends, it will be a huge hit!

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Ingredients for the cake: 

  • 1/3 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (or reg milk)
  • 2 apples peeled and chopped, mixed with 2 teaspoons sugar, 2 teaspoons brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Ingredients for the old-fashioned crème glaze: 

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 – 3 tablespoons milk (adjust depending on desired thickness)

Instructions: 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Use an 8×8  pan and spray with non-stick spray (or use a 9×5-inch loaf pan).

2. Mix brown sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl. Set aside.

3. In another medium-sized bowl, beat white sugar and butter together using an electric mixer until smooth and creamy.

4. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, until blended in; add in vanilla extract.

5. Combine & whisk flour and baking powder together in another bowl and add into creamed butter mixture and stir until blended.

6. Mix milk into batter until smooth.

7. Pour half the batter into the prepared pan; add half the apple mixture, then half the brown sugar/cinnamon mixture.

8 Lightly pat apple mixture into batter.

9. Pour the remaining batter over apple layer and top with remaining apple mixture, then the remaining brown sugar/cinnamon mixture.

10. Lightly pat apples into batter; swirl brown sugar mixture through apples using knife or spoon.

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11. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean, approximately 50-60 minutes.

12. To make glaze, mix powdered sugar and milk or cream together until well mixed.

13. Let cool for about 15 minutes before drizzling with glaze.

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Here are some other great Thanksgiving desserts for you to check out:

Current Obsessions Wednesday {#1}

 

Happy Wednesday, friends!  I haven’t posted in a couple of weeks; since returning from Orlando time has whizzed by me. I can’t believe Thanksgiving is NEXT WEEK! I still haven’t finalized my menu, but I am looking forward to a low-key thanksgiving day with Husband.  He has to work on Friday so we are staying in Cincinnati for the holiday.  I plan on eating and lounging all day long.  

I decided to take this opportunity to share some of my current favorite things with you.  Some of the things I will share will be food related and others will just be life related.  I think it’s so easy to get in to a food rut so whenever I go to the grocery store, I make an effort to branch out and try something new, sometimes these become obsessions and other times not so much.  Hopefully this post will inspire you to branch out and try something new! 

POM POMS

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One of my favorite fall/winter fruits is pomegranate.  There’s only one problem with this fruit… peeling out all of those tiny little seeds! They fly everywhere and leave me frustrated with red fingertips. This is genius, why didn’t I think of this? These little Pom Poms are the perfect serving size.

Sargento Balanced Breaks

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I found these Sargento Balanced Breaks in the cheese section at the grocery store a few weesk ago. They have these in different cheese-nut combinations, but so far my favorite has been the pepper jack cheese with honey roasted peanuts and raisins.  When you open this package for the first time, expect a little sadness. Holy portion control!  I will admit, I am always left satisfied; it’s just alarming initially when I see how little I get to snack on.

Happy Feat 

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The name says it all… Happy Feet – “The original big sneaker slipper.”  Husband and I treated ourselves to some new house slipper and they are AMAZING! I’m not going to lie, it took me awhile to commit to one, there are so many great options.  Mine are Ohio State polka-dot ones and husbands are black bears.  I tried to make husband walk around making bear-like growling noises, but it didn’t work.  These slippers are so soft and squishy and make my feet so happy. I think these would be a great gift for loved ones for Christmas!

Sweet Kale Chopped Salad 

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I take salads to work most days for lunch and usually top the salads with protein left overs from the night before.  I am loving this sweet kale mix, it has broccoli, kale, brussel sprouts, cabbage, and radicchio.  This mix is a nice change from a traditional spring mix.

Fresh Flowers 

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Fresh flowers are seriously my favorite thing right now.  Having fresh flowers on the kitchen table just brings a smile to my face.  Our local grocery store sells small boquets for about $6.00 and they last about two weeks.   Six bucks for two weeks worth of happiness, sold!

What are some of your current obsessions?

Eggplant Rolled Chicken Parm {+Orlando Fun}

My co-residents and I spent this past weekend in Orlando at the AAPD Sedation Conference and it was wonderful! I am so thankful for the opportunity to attend this course; it was a great reminder of how fantastic my residency program is and just how much I really am learning! Even though we are still in recovery mode and a bit worn out, it was such a nice change of pace and it was great quality time with my co-resi’s.

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If you are heading to Orlando I recommend going to Fulton’s Crab House in Downtown Disney.  All of our meals were on point, seriously so good! I ordered the fried catfish/scallops/shrimp platter and to attempt to make this a little “healthier,” I chose asparagus for my side.   Oh my, look at all of that fried goodness. Don’t judge me, I ate all of it.  

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My little seester recently moved to Treasure Coast, Florida, so I also got the opportunity to hang with her for a few hours one evening.   We walked around Downtown Disney and grabbed dinner at the Smokehouse, yum in my tum.    I tried to convince her to kidnap me so I could stay in sunny Florida forever, but no such luck.  Here I am, back to life… back to reality.

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Tonight I’m sharing this recipe with you that I created with ingredients I already had in my pantry/fridge.   Do you prefer chicken parm or eggplant parm?  Tough question, I know.  Stress no more… you can have a taste of both with this recipe.  I think this turned out fantastic and I hope that you will give it a try!

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Ingredients: 

  • 1/2 Eggplant, sliced (think long, thick french fries)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 4 Chicken breast
  • 1 Minced garlic clove
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning
  • 1 Teaspoon oregano
  • 1 Teaspoon basil
  • 1 Teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups of your favorite pasta sauce
  • 1 cup of Italian flavored Panko crumb
  • 2 cups shredded parmesan cheese

Instructions: 

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

2. Slice eggplant in to thick wedges.  Lightly coat with olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper.

FullSizeRender (2)3. Pound chicken with a meat mallet to 1/4 inch thickness.  I recommend placing the chicken in a ziploc bag while doing this, it will prevent, well… chicken splatter from going everywhere.  

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4. Season chicken with garlic, Italian seasoning, oregano, basil, and pepper.

5.  Roll with 3-4 eggplant wedges and about 2 tablespoons of shredded cheese in to center of chicken breast.

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6. Place rolled chicken breast in baking dish. Cover each piece of rolled chicken with pasta sauce, panko breadcrumb, and more shredded cheese.

7. Bake in uncovered in oven for 25 – 30 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked.

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Pumpkin Cupcakes with a Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting

Brace yourselves for a dramatic moment.  

I have some sad news to report, something near and dear to my heart is no longer with me…

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This was one of those moments where everything was happening in slow mo and I couldn’t seem to move quick enough to save my precious cupcake carrier.    Ugh, seriously I’m still upset about this. My cupcake carrier has been through so much with me, it’s been used and abused that’s fo sho.  I sent Husband a text immediately after the event and this was his response, verbatim:  “We will go buy you an even better set right now.  I promise.  We will leave as soon as you get home.  I know how much you loved that thing.”  Umm, talk about true love, right?

We ventured off to Bed Bath and Beyond right when I got home.  To say I was dissapointed with the selection s an understatement!  I really just wanted the same carrier I have now, but no. Does anyone other have this cupcake carrier?

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I don’t know, I hesitated with this one. I was messing with it at the store and every time I took the lid off, the entire tray came with the lid.  This could be problematic.  I’m thinking that may be once the tray is filled with cupcakes the weight will prevent it from being lifted?  Maybe.  I mean, do I really want to take that chance though?  I think not. The hunt continues, for now.  Let me know if you have one that you recommend.

So in loving memory of my beloved cupcake carrier, I’m sharing this fantastic recipe for Pumpkin Cupcakes #basic. Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.  Everyone is out of control with this hashtag basic business. Anyways, I converted non-pumpkin lovers with these, so trust me they are worth it.   I paired the cupcake with a cinnamon buttercream frosting, perfection!

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Cupcake Ingredients: 

  • 3/4 cup softened butter
  • 1 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin
  • 2 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup milk + 2 tablespoons of lemon juice*

*Note:  The use of 1 cup of milk + 2 tablespoons of lemon juice was in substitution for buttermilk.  For every one cup of buttermilk, substitute for one cup of milk plus 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, mix together and allow to sit for 5 minutes before mixing with other ingredients.  This little trick has worked for me like a charm! 

Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting Ingredients: 

  • 1/2 cup of butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup of butter flavored shortening
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla
  • 4 cups of powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup of water*

Instructions: 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, cream butter and granulated sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add pumpkin.

3. Combine flour, pie spice, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, ginger and nutmeg.

4. Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture, alternating with milk+lemon (or buttermilk) and beating well after each addition.

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5. Fill paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

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6.  While cupcakes are cooling, mix butter, shortening, vanilla, powdered sugar, cinnamon, and water in an electric mixer.   Add more water to make consistency thinner for easier decorating.

7.  Once completely cooled, frost cupcakes and enjoy.

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Check out some of my other favorite pumpkin recipes: