Mint Chip Brownie Ice Cream “Cake”

Phototastic-4_10_2015_7c9089d4-123e-45a9-9768-e145bc42fb12

My daughter just turned 9! This birthday celebration-worthy dessert was super sweet and decadent – my daughter called it “amazing”! ;) Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Brownie Layer – adapted from Handle the Heat

  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (*next time I think I’ll use bittersweet chocolate*)
  • 1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup (94 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

Directions –

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8×8-inch or a 13×9-inch baking pan with parchment paper. (*I didn’t do this, but it makes for easier pan removal and slicing later on*)

WP_20150409_003

Melt the chocolate and butter over a double boiler. Stir to combine and take off the heat and set aside to cool slightly.

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the eggs and sugar on medium-high speed until light and thick, about 3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla extract. Stir in the cooled chocolate mixture with a rubber spatula. Add the flour and salt, folding gently until combined.

WP_20150409_006 1

Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake until a tester comes out with moist crumbs still attached, 35 to 40 for the 8×8 pan, or 20-25 minutes for the 13×9 pan. Do not overbake. Let cool to room temperature. Once cooled, place it in the freezer for at least 4 hours or overnight in preparation for the ice cream layer.

For the Mint Chip “Cake” – adapted from Glorious Treats

Ice Cream Layer- 

  • 1 carton (1.5 quarts) Mint Chip Ice Cream

Chocolate Layer-

  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Whipped Cream Layer-

    • 1- 8oz tub of Whipped Topping (*I used Truwhip*)

Garnish/Toppings-

  • Chopped Andes Mints, and/or mini chocolate chips

Directions –

Ice Cream Layer

WP_20150410_001
Allow a carton of ice cream to sit out at room temperature about 20 minutes, until soft enough to spread over the cooled brownies. Once the ice cream has been evenly spread, place the entire pan in the freezer to allow the ice cream to re-freeze.

Chocolate Layer

WP_20150410_008 1Heat the cream in the microwave for 1-2 minutes until hot (watch it so it does not boil). Add chocolate chips to the hot cream and set aside (undisturbed) about 3 minutes to allow the chocolate to melt. After 3 minutes, stir the chocolate until the cream and chocolate are fully combined. Set aside and allow to cool to about room temperature. Once cool, pour the chocolate over the ice cream layer, and spread evenly. Return pan to freezer.

Whipped Cream Layer

WP_20150410_010

Spread the whipped topping over the chocolate layer, then garnish with toppings of your choice. Return pan to freezer and FREEZE AT LEAST 3 HOURS before serving. The entire dessert can be made ahead, and kept in the freezer (covered) up to 3 days in advance.

Homemade Crunchy Taco Hamburger Helper

WP_20150324_005

I have made it at least three times but I wasn’t able to take decent pictures of it to post. It’s not the prettiest meal I have ever made, but it is a new favorite in my house. Thanks for reading, enjoy! :)

Homemade Taco Hamburger Helper – adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 large shallot or 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 1 – 2 TBSP homemade taco seasoning
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1-3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup long grain white rice
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • Toppings: crushed tortilla chips, salsa, sliced avocado, chopped green onions

Directions –

Brown ground beef with shallot in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Drain then return to the skillet. Add taco seasoning, salsa, and chicken broth then bring to a boil. Add rice then place a lid on top and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until rice is tender then remove from heat and stir in cheddar cheese until melted. Place lid back on the skillet then let sit for 5 minutes before serving with toppings.

The “I want Chocolate Cake” Cake

My son turned 12! Good grief, where did the time go? PicMonkey Collage
The “I Want Chocolate Cake” Cake – adapted from Smitten Kitchen 

Cake

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg 1 large egg yolk
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup Dutch cocoa powder
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon table or fine sea salt

Frosting

  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • melted and cooled
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Pinch of fine sea salt (optional)
  • 1 tablespoons cream or whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions –

Make the cake: Heat oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of an 8-inch square cake pan with parchment paper, and either butter the parchment and exposed sides of the pan, or spray the interior with a nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, use a hand or stand mixer to beat the butter and sugars until fluffy; scrape down bowl. Add the egg, yolk and vanilla and beat until combined, then the buttermilk and mix again. Scrape the bowl down well and don’t worry if the batter looks uneven. Place your flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a sifter (I find this step necessary because my cocoa is very lumpy) and shake it over the batter bowl. Stir on low until just combined; scrape down bowl a final time. Scoop batter into prepared pan and smooth flat.

Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes in cake pan on cooling rack, then flip out onto rack or serving plate to completely finish cooling before frosting.

Make the frosting: Place frosting ingredients in a food processor and run machine to to mix. Scrape down bowl then process for another 1 to 2 minutes, until smooth and somewhat fluffed. Scoop the frosting onto the cooled chocolate cake and swirl it around. Cake keeps at room temperature for a day or two, or in the fridge up to a week,.

Spaghetti Squash Bake

WP_20140409_19_03_02_Pro (2)

This recipe makes a huge batch and gets better over time. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Spaghetti Squash Bake – Mom-Makes original 

  • 1 large spaghetti squash, baked and shredded
  • 3-4 cups roasted veggies – I used zucchini, broccoli, bell pepper and mushrooms
  • 3-4 cups marinara sauce – I used this recipe
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella
  • Parmesan cheese

WP_20140416_17_17_18_Pro (1)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spread out the spaghetti squash into the bottom of a 13×9 inch baking dish. Combine the marinara sauce and the roasted veggies in a pot to warm slightly, then pour the mixture over the top of the squash. Top generously with the cheeses. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

Glowing Green Smoothie

WP_20150201_013

The easiest way for me to make sure I’m getting more fruits and veggies into my diet is blending lots of them all together. This blend seems popular among the green smoothie believers; and it does taste better than it looks thanks to the banana and all the other fruit. You can add some coconut oil to the mix or chia seeds if you’d like. I keep mine pretty simple :) Thanks for reading, enjoy!

WP_20150201_005

Glowing Green Smoothie – adapted from Kimberly Snyder

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 a lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 head romaine lettuce, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup baby spinach
  • 2 celery stalks, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 apple, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 pear, cut into chunks
  • 1 small banana
  • ice
  • chia seeds (optional)
  • coconut oil (optional)

Directions –

Liquids first, followed by the softest/lighter produce and top with ice. Blend until it’s perfectly smooth – about 30 seconds.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pancakes

pump

These are so yummy and you wont miss the gluten :)

Healthy Pumpkin Pancakes – adapted from Paleo Grubs

  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3 tbsp coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted, plus additional for pan
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
Directions –
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients – the coconut flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and baking soda. Then in a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients – the pumpkin puree, almond milk, honey, eggs, oil, and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Stir together until just combined.
  2. Heat a griddle or non-stick skillet to medium heat. Coat pan with coconut oil. Pour about 1/4 cup of batter onto the skillet. Cook for 2-4 minutes until the bottom is cooked through, and then flip. Cook for another 2-4 minutes until lightly browned. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve warm and enjoy!

No Bean Turkey Chili

WP_20150218_011

Pinterest has saved the day several times in my kitchen. I had some produce that was passed its prime in my fridge, along with ground turkey that had to be used; and I even had a can of fire roasted tomatoes that I didn’t know why I purchased in the first place. I love how forgotten ingredients can become something so satisfying! Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Paleo Turkey Chili – adapted from Turtlewoman

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 – 28 ounce can of fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 TBSP DIY taco seasoning (*recipe below*)
  • 1/2 cup water or stock
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Avocado for topping

Directions –

  1. Add ghee or cooking fat of your choice to a 5 quart soup pot over medium/high heat. Saute the onions for about 3-5 minutes, then add the bell peppers and cook for another 3 minutes. Then add the minced garlic and chopped zucchini. Continue cooking for about 3 more minutes. Set the cooked veggies aside.

WP_20150218_005

2. Add more fat to the pan and brown the turkey over medium heat, stirring to break up. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Once the meat is cooked through, add the veggies back into the pot and pour the tomatoes, water and seasoning over all. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to a simmer and cook for about 30 more minutes.

3. Stir periodically while it is simmering. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Serve with chili toppings of your choice – I added diced avocado!

WP_20150218_004

DIY Taco Seasoning – adapted from Against All Grain

  • 2 1/2 TBSP chili powder
  • 1 1/2 TBSP sea salt
  • 1 1/2 TBSP ground cumin
  • 1 TBSP dried Mexican oregano
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1-3 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Directions –

Mix all ingredients together thoroughly blended. Makes 1/2 cup.

Chili Con Carne

WP_20150218_021 1

Chilly nights are perfect for enjoying comfort foods that warm you from the inside out! This was flavorful and has the perfect amount of spiciness. We enjoyed it with this corn bread, aged cheddar cheese, cilantro and some sour cream. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Chili Con Carne – adapted from Simply Recipes

  • 2 Tbsp red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ancho chile powder
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground Mexican oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • One – 2 pound chuck roast, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • Salt and pepper to taste – season lightly
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 jalapeño chili peppers, stems removed, seeded, ribs removed, minced
  • 1 28-oz can whole tomatoes
  • 2 cups water
  • juice of 1/2 of a lime
  • 1 14-oz can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • Salt to taste
  • Grated cheddar cheese, cilantro and lime wedges for serving

Directions –

1.  In a small bowl mix the chili powder, chipotle chili powder, ground cumin, oregano, and ground coriander. Set aside.

2. Heat a Dutch oven over medium high heat, add back in 1 tablespoon of bacon fat. Working in batches so that you don’t crowd the beef (crowding will steam cook the meat instead of browning it), brown the beef cubes on all sides. Remove beef from pan, set aside.

3.  Add another Tablespoon of bacon fat to the pan. Add the chopped onions and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and jalapeño, cook until fragrant, 1 minute more. Add the chili paste and cook for 2-3 more minutes.

4. Put onion chili mixture, beef, tomatoes, water, lime juice. Heat the chili on medium high heat until it comes to a simmer. Then reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 1 1/2 hours. Then uncover and cook for another half hour, keeping the temperature at a place where you can maintain a simmer.

5. Gently mix in the kidney beans. Add salt to taste. Adjust seasonings. Sprinkle with grated cheddar cheese, cilantro and sour cream if desired. Serve with cornbread.

Grandmother’s Buttermilk Cornbread – adapted from Allrecipes

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter a 8×8 baking dish or a 9 inch cake pan.

2. Melt butter in large skillet (I put it in the microwave for about 45 seconds). Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Quickly add eggs and beat until well blended. Combine buttermilk with baking soda and stir into mixture in pan. Stir in cornmeal, flour, and salt until well blended and few lumps remain. Fold in the cheese and pour into your prepared pan.

3. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.(*mine took 30 minutes with convection)

Polish Sausage, Potato and Kale Soup

WP_20150128_021

Whenever it’s even a little cooler here, I like to take advantage. This winter has been so mild that it feels more like spring/early summer. Sometimes I wish for cooler air, but then I see the pictures of what Northerners are dealing with. I’m a lightweight when it comes to temperatures below 75!

This is a dairy-free, “creamy” soup but you can substitute unsweetened coconut milk with heavy cream or half and half. In my experience, the coconut milk doesn’t make the food taste “coconutty”. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Sausage, Potato and Kale Soup – adapted from The Candid Appetite

  • 1 pound Polish sausage
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
  • 2 large bunches of kale, stemmed and chopped
  • 1 pound red potatoes, sliced
  • 8 cups homemade chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk or heavy cream

Directions –

1. Heat a large heavy-duty pot over medium-high heat. Once the pot has heated through, add the sausage, which you removed from the casing. Using a wooden spoon, begin to break up the sausage and allow it to cook, stirring occasionally, until it has fully browned. Remove the crisped sausage from the pot and transfer it to a plate or bowl. Set aside.

2. Lower the heat to medium, add the butter or oil and throw in the onions and garlic. Stir, scraping down the bottom of the pot picking up the browned bits of sausage with the back of a wooden spoon, and cook until soft and translucent about 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes, if using. Continue to sauté until the onions have caramelized. Add the chopped kale in batches, allowing it to wilt down as it cooks.Cook the kale for another 3 minutes until it has turned bright green and completely wilted down. Throw in the sliced potatoes and cooked sausage.

3. Pour in the chicken stock or broth and bring it up to a boil. Lower the heat and allow the soup to simmer until the potatoes are cooked tender and soft. Taste the soup for seasoning, at this point you may add more salt, pepper or red pepper flakes, if desired. Once the potatoes are fully cooked, stir in the heavy cream. Serve right away with some bread on the side. Enjoy!

Brownie in a Mug

WP_20150209_030 1

Sometimes, you just have to have chocolate, it has to be warm and vanilla ice cream is a must! Good quality cocoa powder is so important, and I used my stash of Valhrona :) Yes, it is worth the $1 + an ounce price! This brownie is rich, moist, and more cakey than fudgy and hits all the right buttons. I’m kind of mad at myself for making this! ;) Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Brownie in a Mug – adapted from Simply Recipes

  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 – 4 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa
  • Pinch of salt
  • Tiny pinch of cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 to 2 drops vanilla extract
  • ice cream

Directions –

Place flour, sugar, cocoa, salt, and cinnamon in a microwave safe ceramic mug. Stir with a fork or spoon to mix well and break up any clumps.

Add the butter, water, and vanilla to the cup and stir until the mixture is smooth and there are no lumps.

Place in microwave and heat on high until the mixture is cooked through, about a 1 minute and 20 seconds. If you don’t know the power level on your microwave, start with 60 seconds and increase until the brownie is done. It should still be moist when cooked through, not dry.

Let cool for a minute and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.