Friday, October 30, 2015

OXO and Cookies for Kids Cancer - Pumpkin Pie Cookies #sponsored #OXOGoodCookies


This post is brought to you through a sponsorship with OXO. I received free products for the purpose of this post. However, all opinions are my own, and I would never post about a product or brand I didn't believe in!

October, my favorite month that contains both my birthday and favorite holiday (Halloween, duh.) is coming to a close. But before it's totally over, there's one more thing--OXO is supporting Cookies for Kids' Cancer, and donating $100 for every blog post its blogger network publishes in October with the #OXOGoodCookies campaign!



From the OXO website:
Cookies for Kids' Cancer was founded by two OXOnians (OXO employees) who were inspired by their son Liam's battle with pediatric cancer, a disease which claims the lives of more children in the US than any other disease. Cookies for Kids' Cancer provides inspiration and support to allow anyone to easily get involved in fundraising to find a cure for pediatric cancer.

OXOnians regard each other as family. The news of Liam's diagnosis hit us hard and we have been personally involved with this worthy organization from the beginning. As a formal show of support, in 2015, OXO will donate up to $100,000* to support Cookies for Kids' Cancer.

Here's the deal: we each created an original cookie/cupcake/brownie recipe using some of OXO's awesome products. I used the Non-Stick Pro Half Sheet Pan, the Medium Cookie Scoop, and Cookie Spatula to make these amaze-balls Pumpkin Pie Cookies for the cause!




I absolutely LOVE OXO's products, and I was excited to receive these tools in the mail. I typically use a regular spoon and spatula for my cookies, but having a perfectly measured scoop and cookie-sized spatula to release the warm cookies from the sheet made the whole process so much better. And 25 cents for each specially marked product (with the green sticker below) will go towards supporting pediatric cancer research up to $100,000.



By the way, these cookies are pretty awesome. I thought they'd come out like chewy chocolate chip cookies, but instead they baked up fluffy and almost like muffins. Either way, they're bursting with pumpkin pie flavor. Definitely make them while autumn is still in the air!


Pumpkin Pie Cookies

  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used bourbon vanilla extract)
  • 1 cup pureed pumpkin
  • 3 cups white flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice (mixture of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and ground cloves)
  • 1/2 cup crushed walnuts
  • 1 bag white chocolate chips

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

-In a stand mixer, whip the butter with the sugars until fluffy. Slowly add in the eggs and pureed pumpkin and let mix until uniform in color.

-In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (except the chocolate chips and walnuts). Slowly add the dry to the wet, mixing well in between each. Fold in the walnuts and chocolate chips.

-Let the dough chill for at least one hour, then use your medium cookie scoop to scoop rounded tablespoonfuls of the dough onto the nonstick pro half sheet pan.

-Bake for 10-13 minutes, or until the edges have just begun to brown and the center doesn't look completely wet. Let stay on pan for 5 minutes, then use your cookie spatula to remove them from the sheet and to a cooling rack.

The fine print: Cookies for Kids' Cancer is a recognized 501c(3) public charity duly incorporated under the laws of the state of New Jersey. Your donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowable by law. 100% of proceeds raised by Cookies for Kids' Cancer fund pediatric cancer research. OXO will be donating $100 to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer for each blog post dedicated to this campaign in October (up to our $100,000 commitment*.) In 2015, OXO will donate up to $100,000 to Cookies for Kids' Cancer through product proceeds, bake sale matches and other fundraising efforts.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

FFFB Blogoween - RedRUM Cocktail

I used to be a reader. I like to think I still am, but the truth is I've read maybe two books this year, and I'm not even sure I've done that many. But as a kid, I was a READER.

If you haven't noticed, I love all things creepy and spooky (Halloween = FAVORITE holiday, hands-down). So it's no surprise I developed an early love of Goosebumps. I devoured them all in a matter of months, collected every book, and waited patiently for each to come out each month. Then, around age 10 or so, I made a shocking discovery.


Goosebumps were fun, but they just weren't scary. And, for whatever reason, I wanted to be scared. Me, the kid who spent the whole Girl Scout Haunted Hayride trip in my troop leader's lap. Who would get scared at the PICTURES ON THE VHS TAPES in the Horror section of Blockbuster. I wanted scary.

I complained to my Dad, and his response was to hand me The Shining. At ten years old. (I guess he was forgetting King's penchant for awkward sex scenes? yikes...)


Anyway, I DEVOURED this book. I loved it. It's one of the few books I've read multiple times. A year later, he let me rent the movie during a sleepover. I loved it, all of it. It was creepy and captivating and a true work of horror. It began my long-held love of Stephen King that continues to this day. I agree that the book and movie are very different works, and that the book is worlds better, OBVIOUSLY, but both are solid in their own right.



So when the Fuckin Fab Food Bloggers decided to do a Halloweeny post based on a horror movie, I knew exactly what I was going to pick. And under the suggestion of another FFFB member, I decided to make a RedRum cocktail.



Based on my childhood favorite, a Shirley Temple, with a spicy kick. Something dark, something innocent, it works thematically.

Check out the other FFFBs' Halloweeny Recipes!
Evil Dead Velvet Pecan Pie from NY Foodgasm
Ghost with the Most Roasted Sweet Potato Ravioli from Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen
The Power of Christ Compels Soup from Nomageddon
Reanimation Reagent Rum Jello Shots from Bread Booze Bacon



RedRUM Cocktail

  • 1 oz spiced rum
  • 1/2 oz triple sec
  • 1/2 oz grenedine
  • 1/4 oz lime juice
  • 2 cocktail cherries


-In a cocktail glass (martini preferred) pour in the grenedine and then the rum, being careful not to disturb the grenedine.

-In a cocktail shaker, shake together the remaining ingredients. Carefully pour on top of the rum.

-With a small spoon, spoon more grenedine around the edge of the glass for a bloody effect. Garnish with cherries.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Monster Mash Halloween Bark

There are two kinds of people in the world.

1. Those who get sick of the same ol' candy
2. Those who want ALL OF THE CANDY ALL OF THE TIME.

This solves both of their problems. It's basically like making candy out of candy, and it is the perfect way to eat ALL OF THE CANDY ALL OF THE TIME.


Plus, the pretzel-bark bottom ensures a bit of salt to cut all that sweet.

The recipe is really more of a series of suggestions, since it can be adjusted for anything you have on hand--or anything you steal out of your child or younger sibling's treat bag (I won't tell). You can even share the result with them!

This is also a great way to use up any leftover Halloween treats after the holiday. And it looks pretty neat, too!


Monster Mash Halloween Bark

  • About 50 pretzel thins
  • 1 12oz bag of white chocolate chips
  • 12 Halloween Oreos, broken into fourths
  • 1/2 cup candy corn
  • 1/4 cup Halloween M&Ms (extra points: pumpkin spice!)
  • 1/4 cup Reese's Pieces
  • 1/8 cup peanuts
  • 1/8 cup Halloween sprinkles


-Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and arrange the pretzel thins in a single layer so that they're touching.

-In a double boiler over low heat or in a microwave at half power, melt the chocolate chips until smooth.

-Pour half of the melted chocolate chips over the pretzel thins and use a spatula to smooth the surface.

-Drop the rest of the ingredients, minus the sprinkles, and press them lightly into the surface.

-Drizzle the rest of the melted chocolate over the top, and sprinkle the sprinkles over the top.

-Let set in the fridge for at least an hour, then break into chunks. Store in a cool, dry place in an airtight container.


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Columbia Crest Crowd Sourced Cabernet - Go Vote! #sponsored #CrowdsourcedCab

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Columbia Crest. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation. All images are from the Columbia Crest Facebook Page.

Do you have voting on the brain? I know I do. Campaigns are ramping up and candidates are everywhere--it's dizzying! I'd much rather vote on wine, wouldn't you? Wellllll...



Remember when I told you guys about Columbia Crest, and their innovative process of crowd-sourcing wine? Well, voting is still open for 2014, and the 2015 process has begun. Voting for the Columbia Crowdsourced Cabernet are continuing now that the blending process has begun. The public has already voted on how earthy the vintage should be and how much silkiness the wine should have, even the label! You can be a part of this process by going to Crowdsourcedcabernet.com and voting on the 2014 and even the 2015 vintage.

The winning label design, as chosen by voters!


In case you missed it last time--Columbia Crest is breaking the mold with its new crowd-sourced wine! What's crowd-sourced wine? It's a wine created based entirely on the public voting for how its made. Columbia Crest is the first winery to begin the process of crowdsourcing a wine from vineyard to table. Anyone (whether you're an expert sommelier or a casual drinker) can vote at CrowdsourcedCabernet.com on how the grapes were tendered, irrigated harvested and blended. Voters had access to weather stats, season-by-season data, past data and time-lapse camera shots down to the individual grape along with advice from Columbia Crest head winemaker Juan Muñoz-Oca. What results is a one-of-a-kind wine that Columbia Crest puts out for us all to enjoy!

What are you waiting for? Be a part of this innovative process now! Go to http://crowdsourcedcabernet.com/ and vote on the 2014 Crowdsourced Cabernet!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Crafty Coffee - Caffé Espresso Autumn Coffee Candles #sponsored #passionista

This post is brought to you in partnership with Lavazza. All thoughts and opinions are my own, and I would never promote a product I didn't believe in!

As a Lavazza Passionista, we're typically asked to come up with a delicious recipe centered around Lavazza's premium coffees. I've made coffee cake donuts, coffee ice cream, and coffee pudding pops. But this month, our task was just a little different: crafting! And not only that, crafting for the fall.


While I've always been a creative person, and grew up with a craft box that took over most of my room, I hadn't sat down to craft in YEARS. Recipe? No problem. Crafts with a decorative theme for fall? This was a stumper!



So I got some friends, some supplies, and a hot mug of Lavazza's Caffé Espresso and willed my creativity to spark. And spark it did!

All you need to make these lovely espresso-scented candles are a few dollar store plain candles (or any half-melted ones you have in your home), some jars or mugs, a string or wick, and some coffee.


I melted the wax by putting it in a disposable pie tin in the oven at 350 degrees F for about 20 minutes.

Then I slowly mixed in as much Caffé Espresso as I could--about a cup--and before the wax could harden I poured it into my jars (I found these for $1 each at a craft store). I also made a year-round candle in a cute coffee cup, too!




As the top of the wax was just beginning to set, I carefully placed the wick in the center. You can use a re-purposed wick from the dollar store candles (as I did) but I've found a toothpick or waxed piece or string works as well.

Then I popped it in the fridge and let it set for an hour. Ta-daaa, adorable autumn candles!

Check out ShopLavazza.com to get the Caffé Espresso and other great Lavazza coffees and products!  And see what all of the other Passionistas have this month by following @LavazzaUSA on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest!

Caffé Espresso Autumn Coffee Candles

You will need...




  • 1 dollar store unscented votive candle, or at least 1 cup of wax from repurposed candles
  • 1/2 cup fine-ground coffee like Caffé Espresso
  • 4 small jars or cups
  • 4 wicks or waxed string, cut to size
-Melt wax in an oven set to 350 degrees F for 20 minutes


-Carefully mix in the coffee.



-Pour into jars, and let set for 5 minutes.

-Slowly press the wick into the center, leaving at least a half inch above the wax.

-Chill until solid, about one hour.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Big Huge Crazy Amazing News!!!

video

I promise I'm more excited than I appear in this video ;) My nerves are all over the place, lol.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Baked Apple Cider Donuts and Autumn Nostalgia

Okay so, I'll admit it. I do kind of miss fall.



Shh, don't tell anyone. I still would much rather enjoy a mild winter in Texas than live through a Massachusetts winter, and that's all fall is, really--the prelude to winter. Ahh I'm shivering just thinking about it!



But, if I could, I would visit New England in the fall. After all, it's the prettiest place that time of year. I miss picking fresh apples off the tree, or grabbing a pumpkin right out of the patch.


And apple cider donuts. Which are NOT a thing in Texas. Really, my coworker said "these are kind of like churros..." eek!

Since I couldn't find them ANYWHERE, I must assume this is just a New England treat. So I had to make my own. Thankfully, I happen to have a donut pan. And even more thankfully, though cider donuts are not a thing here, cider itself actually is.


Baked Apple Cider Donuts
(Adapted from Foodie MisAdventures)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted

Topping
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp apple cider
  • 1/2 stick butter, melted

-Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray or butter a donut pan, or line two muffin tins with cups.

-Over high heat, reduce the apple cider to 1/2 cup*.

-In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, spices, and salt. 

-Create a well in the middle of the dry ingredients about a cup deep. Crack the eggs into this well and gently whisk them. Add in the cider reduction, milk, vanilla, and melted butter.

-Gently fold the dry into the wet ingredients until just mixed.

-Fill donut cups or muffin cups 3/4ths full. Bake for ten minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the donut comes out clean. Let cool to room temperature.

-In a bowl, mix together the sugar, cider, and cinnamon for the topping.

-Dip each donut in the butter, then roll in the cinnamon sugar until well coated.

*Alternatively, you can use a half cup of cider and skip this step, but your donuts will not be quite as apple cider-y.


Sunday, October 4, 2015

Lightened Up Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins


October is here! And while the air in Texas is still a balmy 70-80 degrees, it's still my favorite time of year. And knowing a harsh winter is unlikely this far south, I can actually enjoy it!

I do miss the pretty colors of the New England fall, though. Sigh. But I am coping by eating all the apple spice and pumpkin things I can get my hands on.


This is a recipe re-do of the pumpkin muffins my old roommate in Boston used to make. I was hankering for a batch recently and was shocked to find the original recipe required THREE CUPS of sugar. That's a flour-to-sugar ratio of ALMOST 1:1.


As my nearing-30 butt is ever-increasing (and I want to save some calories for a post-Halloween candy binge, don't judge) I figured these needed some lightening up. I added some more nutritious flours and cut the sugar down by two thirds.

The result? Not bad! My coworkers loved them, and an online calorie counter clocks them in at just 144 calories per muffin. Enjoy!




Lightened Up Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins


  • 1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 cups canned pumpkin puree
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts


-Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 24 muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners.

-In a large bowl, stir together flours, baking soda, salt and nutmeg.

-In a separate bowl, beat together pumpkin, sugar, maple syrup, eggs and water. Stir pumpkin mixture into flour mixture; beat until well blended. Fold in chocolate chips and walnuts.

-Bake for 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.

Let's Do Coffee with #myBAILEYScreamers for #NationalCoffeeDay


This post is sponsored by BAILEYS ™Coffee Creamers, for their "Let's Do Coffee" campaign and I have received compensation for this post. As always, thoughts and opinions are my own, and I would never promote a product I did not believe in or try myself.

There's a reason why we always meet up with old friends over coffee--it's the perfect way to slow down and enjoy the moment, chatting between sips. We all have friends we wish we could do this with, but we're not always able to cover the distance to make it so.


My two high school BFFs and me


BAILEYS™ Coffee Creamers knows this better than most--that's why they're giving away a chance for YOU to catch up with an old friend anywhere! Even if you're miles apart. Take a look at what they're giving away with the Let's Do Coffee contest:

Grand prize
$5,500 worth of gift cards:

  • $2,000 American Airlines gift card
  • $1,500 Hotels.com gift card and $2,000 Visa gift card.

PLUS: Weekly prizes – winners will be able to select from one of seven prize packs.

Same BFFs, years later at one's wedding!

What a great way to make some new memories with an old friend!

To enter, simply go to Lets-Do-Coffee.com and fill out the form to create your own cute friend fantasy, and you'll be entered to win!

Let's do coffee with #myBAILEYScreamers, good luck!