Tuesday, November 30, 2010

M: Banana Cinnamon Chip Cookies

It looks like everyone had some awesome Thanksgiving holidays =) What could be better than spending time with your fam and eating? I had a pretty good one myself. Although I have really missed blogging while I’ve been out of town the last two weeks! Of course, the wonderful miss Erica has been holding down the fort all by herself! I've had a lot going on back at home in Virginia so we have been back twice…count em…twice, in the last two weeks! Whew! That’s a lot of traveling!

But man, did I miss my mama’s cooking! I think everyone has their own little special dishes they make with Thanksgiving dinners; my mom’s is broccoli coleslaw, pea salad, and usually some kind of fruit jello salad – this year it was blueberry. And lastly, of course, about 3 different desserts. I tell ya, I get it honest.

My Granny, who is 92 (FYI, she is the coolest chick I know…and where I think all the women in my family got their cooking skills from!)

Bryan’s SECOND plate

Me scarfing down on some stuffing

And just because I feel like sharing, a very cool billboard we saw on the way into town (note: I did go to VA Tech, and also got married on campus, so I have mad love for my alma mater =))

Gotta love Thanksgiving! And speaking of super awesome food, I also must share with you this amazing banana cookie recipe I got from my sis.

When we were home last week, my sis had a huge batch of these made up and we could not stop eating them. They are SO tasty, light and cake like, moist, and packed with lots of banana goodness.

I wanted to make mine a little different and added cinnamon chips. Let me tell you, this addition was PERFECT. The whole cinnamon and banana combo is so good. Granted, I can eat anything with cinnamon in it though! LOL

I think these would be perfect to bring to a holiday party or for a group of little ones…they seem to be a real crowd pleaser, and as long as you like bananas, you’ll like this babies!

Banana Cinnamon Chip Cookies

2 ¾ cup all purpose flour, (sifted if you want a lighter crumb)

1 tsp baking soda

¼ tsp salt

1 cup butter, softened

1 ¼ cup sugar, divided

¼ cup brown sugar

1 egg

¾ cup bananas, mashed

½ tsp cinnamon

1 cup cinnamon chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix the butter, 1 cup sugar, and brown sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg and mix until combined.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt.

Mix the dry mixture into the wet until just combined. Add the cinnamon chips and mix well. Let the dough chill for about an hour so it can be easily shaped. This dough is pretty gooey!

In a small bowl, mix the remaining sugar and cinnamon. Form the dough into 1 inch balls and lightly roll in the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Place onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 9-10 minutes.

P.S. how cute are the pups in front of the Christmas tree? Also, the black lab may be a little like Where’s Waldo…he sort of disappears into the chocolate blanket he’s laying on LOL

Happy Holidays!!

Monday, November 29, 2010

E: Tate’s Bake Shop Cookbook & Chocolate Chip Cookies

I hope the rest of your Thanksgiving weekend was wonderful! Ours was excellent & busy, busy. We went to brunch with friends, worked out, went to a football party, started to decorate for Christmas, ran lots of errands , baked & cooked, and cleaned up the house. What did you do?

To me, Christmas time means cookie time! So, I was super excited to receive a copy of Tate’s Bake Shop’s cookbook, written by Tate's founder Kathleen King, with a forward by Ina Garten (disclaimer: I received this cookbook for free).

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According to Kathleen, “All the recipes in this book should take less time to make than it would to go to a store to buy a commercially prepared baked good,” so they're perfect for the busy holiday season when baked goodies are in high demand.

The cookbook is filled with amazing recipes for muffins, cookies, breads and so much more! There is even a section with healthier baked goods. A few of the recipes I can’t wait to make:

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But first, I had to try Kathleen’s traditional chocolate chip cookies recipe. I am always making up batches of my big oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and never seem to return to the good ole’ original.

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I followed the recipe exactly, except I used chocolate chunks instead of chips. The dough:

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And the thin and buttery, delicious outcome:

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These are FANTASTIC. The Tate’s cookbook would make a great Christmas present, as would so many of their other goodies. Like what you see? Make sure you come back on Wednesday for a Tate’s Bake Shop AWESOME giveaway.

Other items of note:

1. Congrats to Holly of the Healthy Everythingtarian for winning our I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Giveaway!!! Holly- send us an email at itzyskitchen at gmail dot come so we can get your winnings to you!!

2. A big congrats to Heather of Mile 26 and More for making it into the pages of this months Women’s Health!!

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3. And another big congrats to Miss Sarah on the birth of her BEAUTIFUL baby girl!!

4.  Does anyone have any good ideas for a side dish that is easily transportable? Maybe a crock pot recipe? Something you made for Thanksgiving! Links welcomed!!

Hope you have a good Monday!!

Friday, November 26, 2010

E: Apple Tart & Thanksgiving Day

Hey All! I hope that you had a fantastic Thanksgiving. Is anyone doing black Friday today? I’m doing a little shopping with my Mom & Aunt, but nothing major.

We had a great Thanksgiving at my parents. Last minute, I switched up my dessert and made two apple tarts. I used the dough from my apple strudel and a recipe for the apples from Southern Living. The outcome:

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When we got to my parents house, we started with a few appetizers. The nice people from Food Buzz and Hickory Farms sent us a gift pack that I thought would be PERFECT for pre-thanksgiving eats (meats, cheeses, mustards, crackers and candies, disclaimer: I received these goodies for free):

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This was a GREAT gift pack. I’m considering ordering from Hickory Farms for Christmas. They have lots of great gift packs for around $30.  My Mom also put out shrimp and cocktail sauce:

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The main cooks, my Mom & Dad:

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And now for some of the eats! My FAVORITE part of the meal, the cranberry sauce! We do not cook ours. We grind up the berries in an old school grinder with apples, oranges, walnuts and then add sugar. Amazing:

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My butternut squash dish. It may not be pretty, but it is super tasty. And with all the black beans and nuts, its a great vegetarian dish.

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The turkey:

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And the professional carver in his pink apron:

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There was also green bean casserole (made by my Aunt), mashed potatoes, dressing, creamed onions & gravy. Everyone enjoyed their meals.

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We took my parents dog, Tedy, for a walk after:

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and then sat down for my Mom’s Pumpkin pie and my apple tarts:

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After lots of great conversation, Josh and I were exhausted:

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I’m so thankful for the time with my family and delicious food. Off to shopping!!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

M: Un-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving Day Recipe


Seeing as how today most people will be busy scarfing down turkey and gravy and stuffing (as am I), I thought I might post something completely un-Thanksgiving. Why? ...Why not? Plus, let’s be honest, I won’t have any fun Thanksgiving pics until tomorrow.

And, who wouldn’t want to know about my mother-in-law’s fantastic baked spaghetti recipe? I know I would if I were you. I mean, this stuff is good…It’s real good. This dish is super easy, a little time consuming, but SO worth it in the end. It makes a lot, so if you’re cooking for a group or for a family, this is a perfect one dish meal that everyone will love. Or, if you’re us, you just eat it for dinner all week or take the leftovers for lunch at work!

This lovely thing comes out of the oven bubbly and all sorts of smelling good. There is a bottle of chili sauce in the recipe, so it gives it such a nice kick with a little sweetness. I make this with ground turkey since I’m allergic to beef, but please feel free to use ground beef! And if you’re not a mushroom person, simply leave them out! I just can’t even tell you how awesome this dish is. I usually serve it with some garlic bread or a salad or both if I’m feeling frisky.

Here goes my un-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving Day recipe…

Baked Spaghetti

1 large green pepper, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes

1 bottle chili sauce

1 large can/jar sliced mushrooms, drained

3 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated

2 lbs. ground turkey (or beef)

1 (8 oz.) package thin spaghetti

Worcestershire sauce to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook spaghetti and drain Рset aside. Chop onion and pepper (I like big chunks of veggies in my casserole so I cut mine up into larger pieces) and saut̩ in olive oil until tender.

Add ground turkey, cook about 20 minutes, or until meat is no longer pink. Add tomatoes, chili sauce, mushrooms, Worcestershire sauce, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook on low about 1 hour.

Remove from stove and stir in half of the cheese. Mix with spaghetti and put into a 9 x 13 dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Bake for about 45 minutes or until hot and bubbly.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

E: Oatmeal Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars

I cannot believe Thanksgiving is tomorrow! What about you? What are you doing for the big day? We are going to my Mom and Dad’s and I can’t wait. As I mentioned previously, I am making a side dish and a dessert. I made a last minute switch on the dessert I’m making and hope to post it up on Friday.

Some days I feel like being more creative in the kitchen. While following a recipe is fun, throwing together your own (when its successful ;)) can be even more fun. I had a jar of jelly that felt like it had been lingering in the fridge for a little too long.

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I decided to use the rest of it up and make up Oatmeal Peanut Butter (flour) & Jelly bars. I really want to try this next with almond flour.


  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup butter or margarine (1 stick), melted
  • 2 eggs or egg substitute
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2  cups old fashion rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup peanut flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½- 3/4 cup cup jelly


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream together brown sugar and butter. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until well combine.

In a separate bowl, combine oats, all purpose and peanut flours and baking powder.

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until just combined.

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Spray a pyrex dish with non stick spray. Press approximately 2/3 of the mixture into the bottom of the dish using the back of a spatula/spoonula.

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Spread a thin layer of jelly on top of the oatmeal/peanut butter mixture (it doesn’t have to be perfect- have fun with it!).

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Place the remainder of the oatmeal/peanut butter mixture on top of the jelly. Again- it doesn’t have to be perfect- plop it on there and spread it out as you can.

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Bake for ~38-40 minutes until browned on top.

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Let bars cool COMPLETELY before cutting. Enjoy! I keep mine in the fridge to help them stay nice and stuck together :)

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Have a FABULOUS Thanksgiving! And two more side notes:

1. Don’t forget to enter our I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Giveaway! You have until Thursday (tomorrow), November 25 at noon. 

2. A big thank you to the fabulous Lea who did a granola exchange with me.  She sent me some of the TASTIEST granola with a great chew. Nom nom.

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