Friday, July 13, 2012

Recipe #71 and the FINAL Countdown...

OHMYHECK. You cannot believe the last week I've had. It's been thoroughly positive (other than budget matters, which we won't get into because NOBODY likes to hear other people's money woes!)- I have had two separate interviews for a position with a company in Provo [that's right, I said COMPANY. I might be a teacher without a classroom for a while, but I'll keep you posted], I have been up to my eyeballs in not only correspondence with my wedding planner in Hawaii, but also my various reception planners in Washington [Friday, August 3rd is the date, I'll fill most of you in later], my favorite and I can finally *KISS* long distance goodbye as I am picking him up for the FINAL time from the airport today [yes, we realize we'll probably occasionally travel apart, but don't rain on my parade- my two years of long distance is FINALLY over!], and I've been to the gym practically everyday in my attempts to shed the pre-wedding pounds- SEE! I told you it's been primarily positive.

Checking in on the diet, I am OFFICIALLY the smallest I have been since high school [I know I keep saying that, but I keep shedding the weight!], and it feels AWESOME. I've definitely toned quite a bit, I can actually see definition in my arms and even my ABS [yes, I still have a little tummy jiggle... but it's better than it was], and I am now 131.6 POUNDS! Ahhhhh!! I haven't seen that on the scale in practically 10 years!

Weight starting my "new" leg of dieting- 135.0 pounds
Weight as of today- 131.6 pounds
Weight loss- 3.4 pounds
Days until my wedding- 11 days

NOW, for the part I know you've all actually checked in for- recipe #71. Yep, I snuck another one in. And yes, I indulged quite a bit. This recipe was actually a super interesting one- it was another Sunday that I had volunteered to bake with Momma Midge, and I had been on the hunt for something summery. I don't know if you've heard, but for the last week or so the Tri-Cities has been inundated with HEAT- like, over 100 degrees everyday kind of heat. As stupid as I was for volunteering to hang out in a hot kitchen in that kind of sweltering heat, I found a really fun, but VERY interesting cookie. Tell me what you think-

#71: Cherry Lemonade Sugar Cookies (as adapted from


1 1/2 cups unsalted butter softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup icing sugar (... powdered sugar. I had to look it up)
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 packs cherry Kool-aid ( unsweetened )
5 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

*Again, fair warning, I doubled the recipe again just because I knew we were delivering quite a few cookies that night, and wanted to be on the safe side.


1. In stand mixer combine butter and sugars. Beat until light and fluffy. Add Kool-aid and eggs. Mix well then add flour, baking powder and salt. Mix until all combined.

2. Divide dough into four 8 x 2 inch logs. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least one hour.
     - This is where this recipe got a little messy for me, so let me make it easier for YOU. What I did was I made four sections in my dough, and took one section of dough out of the bowl at a time, placing that section down on a well-floured cutting board. I put flour on my hands, and kneaded the dough into as close to a 8x2 inch log as I could. I then wrapped the dough in plastic wrap, and placed it into a baking dish. After repeating this process with the three other sections of dough, I placed the dish into the freezer, and kept it there for about four hours.

3. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line cookie sheet with parchment. Remove cookie logs from refrigerator.
Cut into 1/2 inch slices. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on cookie rack.
    - Since I had made my dough in the morning at my house, what I ended up doing was collecting my dough from my freezer, and placing it in the Baird's fridge for about an hour while we ate dinner. Afterwards, I grabbed a cookie sheet, and didn't grease it or line with parchment. Instead I just cut the dough into 1/2 inch slices, arranged about 12 cookies on a sheet, and then baked them off for 13 minutes. They didn't stick to the sheet at all!

Okay, yeah, they're kinda strange looking cookies. Slicing them off the logs I felt like I was slicing Spam...

Ingredients for frosting:

*Disclaimer- this recipe is actually called "Cherry LIMEADE Sugar Cookies," but unfortunately Albertson's didn't have any lime Kool-aid, so I had to use lemonade. If someone tries the lime, can you tell me how it turned out?

1 cup unsalted butter
5 cups icing sugar
1 pack lemonade Kool-aid
3-4 tablespoon milk
maraschino cherries with stems


1. Beat butter, icing sugar, kool-aid and milk together until frosting is fluffy. Adding more milk if needed.
     - I think I only used four cups of the powdered sugar, and a little less than a full packet of Kool-aid, since the lemonade mix was a little overwhelming. But delicious, with just enough "bite."

2. Frost cooled cookies using a piping bag or just spread frosting on top of cookies. Complete with
cherries on top of each cookie.
     - I HATE maraschino cherries, so I opted out, and instead topped the cookies with pink sprinkles. They turned out adorable!

Hello, little mouth sparklers!!

There you have it. They actually very closely resemble the strawberry cream cheese cookies I made earlier this year, but they have a very distinct flavor. They're very "bright" tasting, for lack of a better word, but very good. These would be adorable at a summer baby shower or birthday party if you ask me... TRY THEM. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

#69 and #70

I can't stay away from baking for long, and although I am on a diet, I have been GRACIOUS enough to cook/bake for the people I love around me.

... okay, I enjoyed these treats a little, too. Luckily my weight, although it bounces a little from day to day due to the usual "female-water-weight-issues," has stayed down. I feel more fit than I have in a long time! And to be even more fair to myself, I think I made these two recipes over the span of three weeks, so it definitely wasn't like I was sitting and overindulging constantly.

All right, there is my reasoning. Now enjoy these little tasties I found off of, *what else*, Pinterest. OH, and I am proud to announce, as of this week, I pinned my 1,000th pin! ... I think it might be time for an intervention. Or maybe a PINtervention! (oh, that was CLEVER!)

#69: Chicken and Spinach Pasta Bake (as found on

Stephen and I were tired of spending money going out for food. So we decided to pull on our big-kid pants, and make dinner ourselves. After sitting for an hour, debating about each of the dinner pins on my recipe board, we finally settled on this, and it did NOT disappoint. This recipe does make quite a bit of food, so be forewarned- DO NOT eat as much Italian bread as I did prior to eating this dish, because you will be too full to enjoy it. Luckily, Stephen and Amy told me it was delish, and that's all the validation I need.


8 oz uncooked rigatoni (which was like half a box)
1 T olive oil
1 c chopped onion
1 (10 oz) pack frozen spinach, thawed
3 c cubed, cooked chicken breasts
1 (14 oz) can Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (8 oz) container Philadelphia chive & onion cream cheese
½ t salt, ½ t pepper
1½ c shredded mozzarella cheese


1. Prepare rigatoni according to package directions. Spread oil on bottom of 11×7 in baking dish; add onion in a single layer.  Bake at 375 for 15 minutes or just until tender.  Transfer onion to large bowl, set aside.
     - P.S. make your future husband chop the onion like I did. Other wise, it'll sting your eyes (I guess I'm going to have to go without onion on those nights Stephen isn't home...)

2. Drain chopped spinach well, pressing between paper towels (or dish towel... like I had to. Eww)  Stir in rigatoni, spinach, chicken, & next 4 ingredients into onion in bowl.  Spoon mixture into dish & sprinkle evenly with shredded mozzarella cheese.  Bake covered at 375 for 30 minutes; uncover & bake 15 more minutes or until bubbly.
That's it! It was awesome... and of course, I DIDN'T take a picture. However, mine looked JUST like the photo from the website, so I will use her's.
Bubbly, cheesy goodness. Yum.
#70: Orange Creamsicle Cookies (as found on she is quickly becoming one of my favorites!)
Momma Midge needed cookies for the ward- I came to the rescue. With these. AND THEY ARE AWESOME. I have to admit, a big reason I agreed to help was because I am on a diet and I miss baking, A LOT. Of course I jumped at the chance to put the old apron on and stick my fingers in over 2 cups of creamy, delicious butter. 
But seriously, make these. Before the summer is over. And share them with everyone you know.
Ingredients (this is a DOUBLED recipe, since I knew I had to make A LOT of cookies, and I think it made at least 96 cookies, no fooling):
5 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups (4 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
The zest of 3 large oranges
4 cups white chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In another bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and creamy. Beat in egg and vanilla until smooth.

3. Gradually add the flour mixture until combined. Stir in the orange zest and white chocolate chips.

4. Drop rounded tablespoons of batter onto ungreased cookie sheets. Make sure to not flatten the cookies, it will make them dry! Bake 11 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. The cookies will be plump. Cool for several minutes on cookie sheets. Store in an airtight container.

And again, forgot to take a picture. So... here you go!