Steak Butter

As you may have read, my husband and I had a mini-vacation last weekend filled with tons of foodie treats. One of our stops was an awesome international market/grocery store. While we were there, we got some Wagyu Kobe-style beef.

I was so excited to try the beef out, my husband makes the best steaks! He's read a lot from amazing chefs about how to cook a steak, I'll have to share his process sometime on the blog. While his steaks are always so flavorful, I wanted to add an extra special touch. I recently watched the episode of Pioneer Woman where she made Cowboy butter. I knew I had to try that for the steaks! If you are keeping track, yes I know I am basically sharing her recipes every week... But, I have yet to be disappointed by anything of hers! 

This steak butter is simple to make, and a perfect compliment to steak! I think I was a tad heavy handed on the lemon (I used a pretty large one). Overall, though, the butter had a fresh and slightly spicy kick that amped up the steak flavor. Next time I would probably pull back a tad on the lemon, and add extra red pepper flakes. I've tweaked the recipe just slightly.

Steak Butter ingredients:
  • 2 sticks salted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup finely minced parsley
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Pinch of ground black pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Zest of small lemon (or 1/2 of large lemon)
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
Steak Butter instructions:
  • Soften butter
  • Whip until light and fluffy

  • Mix in red pepper flakes, pepper, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, and parsley
  • Beat until completely mixed

  • Dump butter onto plastic wrap
  • Roll into a log and wrap up
  • Place in refrigerator for at least 1 hour
  • When steaks are hot, slice off a pat and place on steak

Foodie Weekend Recap

My husband and I love to travel, it's one of our favorite things to do. Even if it's just a weekend away, it's just fun to get out of the norm and experience something new. When we travel, it's all about the food. We love trying out local hot spots. For our honeymoon we went to NYC. Now of course NYC is known for its amazing culture, history, and arts scene. We loved seeing a broadway show, visiting all the classic sites, and taking various tours. But, some of our favorite moments involved food - eating at Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill (seriously awesome food), a food tour of local joints missed by tourists, and of course - Sprinkles cupcakes! We also enjoyed a delicious local pizza joint and Justin Timberlake's restaurant Southern Hospitality, which had legit Memphis style ribs!

This weekend we packed in a foodie trip to one of our favorite spots a little closer to home - Cincinnati, Oh. We love the area and all the treasures it has to offer. Here's a recap of our weekend with the food themed highlights:

Art Party: Part Two

Last weekend we celebrated my niece's sixth birthday! She is quite the budding artist, so my sister planned for an art themed party. It was such a fun theme, and perfect for Alexis! We actually put together two different parties over the weekend. One was for her friends, and one was for family. Earlier this week, I shared the art supply birthday cake I made for Alexis for her family party. Today, I'm sharing the treats I made for her friend party.

Art Party: Part One

This past weekend we celebrated my niece Alexis' six birthday! I can't believe she turning SIX, it seems like she should still be a toddler! Alexis loves art, so my sister decided to have an art theme for her birthday. It was such a creative and cute idea for a birthday party! Alexis and her friends had a blast at an art studio where they got to paint and decorate tote bags for her friend party. She also had a family party over the weekend.

My sister is so creative and does an awesome job with decorating. I was excited to help with the edible treats, though! Today I'm kicking off a two part series with all the snacks I made. I'll also be showing them some of the decor from the party. First up, I will be sharing the tiered art theme cake I made for the family party. Check back later this week for the treats we made for the kid's party.

Last Minute Valentine's Day GIfts

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day! Anyone still need to get a gift for their sweetie? My husband is pretty difficult to shop for. Not because he's picky, he would love anything I got him, but just because I never know what to get. If you are in this predicament, I have a few suggestions. These will even save you from having to go to the store today!

Gift music, movies, or TV shows through iTunes
You can gift a cd, movie, song, or TV show to someone through iTunes. You simply select it as a gift and print out the code it gives you. The recipient will use the code to redeem their gift on their iTunes account. You can also just gift store credit.

Gift a popular app
There are some cool apps out there, but sometimes people tend to just use the free ones. App prices can add up quickly, so I try to usually get free versions of apps. Since these can seem like more of a splurge, why not gift someone an app they will love? I'm not as familiar with the Android App Store, but the Apple one is easy to navigate. You can browse lists of top paid apps by category. My wish list? The full version of the Martha Stewart Craft Studio.

Gift a magazine subscription
Magazines can be another splurge item. They aren't always something people will do for themselves. So why not go online and purchase a magazine subscription that suits your family member/friend's taste? Whether it's Sports Illustrated, Food Network, Vogue, or something else - it's sure to be a hit!

Plan a special outing
The best gift you can give is your time. Why not plan a special outing as a gift? Some ideas include a concert, trip to a museum, spa outing, bowling, movies, day at the zoo, comedy club, or a shopping trip. The outing and memories will be a gift that lasts a long time!

Make something
Last year for Valentine's Day I gave my husband a scrapbook filled with calendar pages. I filled each month up with date ideas. The pages were decorated with details of the ideas I came up with. He loved the gift and it was fun to plan out fun things for us to do together throughout the year.

Hope you got some inspiration to surprise your sweetie with something special!

Valentine's Day Treats for Kids

It's day 4 of Sweets for Your Sweetie, my week long Valentine's Day party! So far I've shared:
Today I'm sharing a round-up of Valentine's Day sweets for you to share with your kids! Not only are these treats delicious, they are all simple enough for your kids to help you make. I should also note that these are great for kids at heart, as well. My husband and I don't have kids and we enjoyed all these snacks!

I made these adorable treats a couple years ago for Valentine's Day, and then again last year for my niece's birthday. They couldn't be easier to make, you just use waffle pretzels, Valentine's Day M&M's, and Hershey's Hugs. This snack is perfect to make with your kids, and they will love to enjoy snacking on them. These would be great to send with your kids to a party, as well.

These cookies are an experiment I tried last month. They are perfect for kids, because of the festive M&M surprise! The treats are made up of three layers of cookies and then filled with candy. You can also add your own creativity by decorating the top with royal icing.

If your kids enjoy decorating the cupcakes as much as eating them, then this next treat is for you! These cupcake toppers are simple to make, your kids will have a blast decorating them. These would be great for your kids to make treats for grandparents, aunts/uncles, etc. You can even make your own marshmallow fondant, if you want to make it even more delicious.

Check by tomorrow for some last minute gift ideas for your sweetie!

Valentine's Day Calzones

It's Day 3 of my week long Valentine's Day party. If you missed it, I shared a round-up of my favorite chocolate recipes on Sunday. Yesterday, I shared an adorable (and sweet) scone recipe for Valentine's Day. Today, I'm switching gears and sharing a savory dish, but it is still perfect for the holiday.

They say the way to a guy's heart is through his stomach. Well, in our house my husband actually cooks more than me! I bake a lot, but my husband loves cooking savory dishes. Our favorite thing, though, is to cook together. I decided it would be fun to celebrate Valentine's Day early by making a festive new dish. I wanted to make something heart shaped, and decided calzones would be perfect. My husband loves pizza, so much that he even has his own small pizza oven. I figured calzones would be right up his alley. You may recall we recently made another pizza themed dish, Pizza Potato Skins.

I Heart Scones

It's Day 2 of my Valentine's Day week long blog party. Today I have a special treat, perfect for breakfast, or dessert, with a loved one! 

I absolutely love scones. It's practically impossible for me to order a drink at Starbucks, or Panera, without grabbing a scone as well. My flavor of choice? Cinnamon chip! I love the cinnamon spice and delicious flavors packed in the tasty treat. For some reason, though, I've never attempted to make scones before. Something about it always intimidated me. This weekend I ended up deciding to try the Pioneer Woman's scone recipe (I know what a surprise). Usually I try to experiment and change up recipes, but I actually followed the recipe exactly since I've never made them before. I had thought about adding a glaze to the top, but once I tried it I realized they were perfect the way they were!

As if these delicious scones weren't sweet enough, I added a cute Valentine's Day touch. Scones are typically triangle shaped, but I decided to break tradition and made them heart shaped! They were easy to make with a cookie cutter, even though the one I had wasn't very thick. If I do say so myself, I think these scones are adorable! They are as sweet to look at as they are to eat!

The scones were simple to make, but it does take a while to work the dough. It's really crumbly and we didn't think there was any way they would stick together. But, we just keep working the dough, it held up well after a while. The only other issue we had was finding the cinnamon chips! I'd never even noticed them before, but they were supposed to be in the baking aisle. We checked and there were none to be found. Thankfully, just as we were about to leave, we noticed a Hershey's display that had some there. I was beginning to think we weren't going to be able to make them! I've never used cinnamon chips before, but they were delicious.

 Cinnamon Chip Scone ingredients:
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 5 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cinnamon chips
  • Topping:
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1 1/2 tsp heavy cream
Cinnamon Chip Scone directions:
  • Preheat oven to 350F
  • Mix together dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, ground cinnamon)
  • Cut cold butter into small pats
  • Incorporate butter into flour mixture using pastry cutter, mix until it appears like course crumbs
  • Mix wet ingredients (heavy cream, egg, vanilla)
  •  Stir cinnamon chips in with flour mixture
  •  Gently stir in liquid mixture into flour mixture with fork
  • Carefully dump ingredients onto floured surface (it will be very crumbly)
  • Pack it together with hands, forming a circular shape (keep packing it and working it until it is holding together and not crumbling apart)
  • Roll down to 1/2 in thick
  • Mix topping ingredients together
  • Press topping onto top of the scone dough
  • Cut out scones with cookie cutters and place on parchment covered cookie sheet
  • Bake 20-25 mins

Below is the recipe card for the cinnamon chip scones. Make sure and check back all week for more ideas for Valentine's Day! Tomorrow I have a savory dish, perfect for kids and adults.

Sweets for Your Sweetie

This Friday is Valentine's Day! Do you and your loved ones have any special tradition for the day? My husband and I go out to eat somewhere each year, and he usually gets me my absolute favorite treat - white chocolate covered strawberries! Yum!! This year we are actually going to be heading back home for my niece's birthday party the next day, so we will probably just celebrate the following weekend.

I've been getting in the Valentine's Day spirit, though, with some projects I've been working on. All the adorable holiday crafts and delicious recipes I've been finding from other bloggers has been so inspiring. I decided it would be fun to share a week long party full of ideas I've worked on, along with creative ideas I've found online. Here's my schedule for the party this week, make sure and check back each day for new ideas:

I'm particularly excited about the next couple days, I've tried out some new recipes that I can't wait to share! Today, though, I have a round-up of some yummy treats sure to make your Valentine smile. Besides roses, what is one of the first things that comes to mind for Valentine's Day? Chocolate!! Whether you are spending Valentine's Day with friends, someone special, family, or alone, chocolate is always a great way to celebrate the day!

I've created a round-up of my 10 favorite chocolate treats I have experimented with over the past couple years. There's everything from decadent cupcakes to super simple brownies; there's sure to be something for the chocolate lover in your life. Click on the links to find their original post and get the recipes.

  1. Chocolate chip cannoli cupcakes - vanilla cupcakes with delicious chocolate chip cannoli cream filling and whipped topping
  2. Red Velvet White Chocolate Chip cookies - Red Velvet cake mix cookies with white chocolate chips
  3. Andes Mint chip cookies - cookies  filled with chopped up Andes Mints
  4. Mocha and Coffee Cream cupcakes - mocha cupcakes with coffee cream buttercream
  5. Chocolate Pecan Pie cupcakes - butter pecan chocolate chip cupcakes with pecan pie filling and whipped topping
  6. Andes Mint brownies - super simple brownies with Andes Mints melted on top
  7. Take5 trifle - trifle with the flavors of Take5 candy bar - chocolate pudding, peanut butter whipped topping, caramel sauce, and crushed peanuts/pretzels
  8. Andes Mint cupcakes - chocolate cupcakes with mint filling and Andes mint buttercream
  9. Mocha brownies - brownies topped with a mocha icing
  10. Chocolate cupcakes - my absolute favorite chocolate cake recipe

I'm getting hungry just thinking about those treats. The desserts are simple to make, and sure to please your loved ones. Make sure and check back tomorrow as I share a delicious (and adorable) scone that is perfect for Valentine's Day!

Pizza Potato Skins

When I was younger, I was obsessed with barbecue sauce. I basically wanted to put it on everything I ate, it was my condiment of choice. One of the things I got teased about from my family was barbecue sauce on my baked potatoes. Now, maybe that sounds weird to you...but I promise it's actually good! In fact, now you can find recipes for and restaurants that serve that exact combination. Maybe I wasn't so crazy after all! 

Today I'm sharing a potato dish with another unusual sauce. Earlier this week, we made a treat that was a combination of my husband's two favorite foods - potatoes and pizza! We were looking through my favorite cookbook, The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays. My husband was drooling just looking at the pizza potato skins. He could not wait to try this recipe out.

I love potato skins, but I've only had traditional ones. The combination of the potato with the pizza flavors, though, was delicious! This dish can be customized to your favorite pizza flavors. My husband typically eats traditional pepperoni pizza, but my go to flavor is bacon and onion. Both were easily replicated in potato skin form, and tasted amazing. 

Here's how I made them -

Pizza Potato Skin ingredients:
  • Canola oil
  • Potatoes
  • Cheese
  • Pizza sauce
  • Toppings - red pepper flakes, bacon bits, chopped pepperoni, onion, etc
Pizza Potato Skins:
  • Preheat oven to 400F
  • Cover potatoes in canola oil and Kosher salt
  • Bake potatoes 45 mins
  • Once the've cooled to touch, cut the potato in half

  • Scoop out most of the potato - just leave a bit in the skin 

  • Brush inside of potato with butter - bake 4 mins
  • Flip over and brush butter on outside - bake an additional 4 mins
  • Brush on a small amount of pizza sauce on the potato
  • Sprinkle on mozzarella cheese

  • Top with your favorite pizza toppings - pepperoni, bacon, red pepper flakes, sausage, etc

Pudding Pie with Cookie Crust

My husband and I were pretty low key for the Super Bowl this year, we decided just to watch it at home. We made some delicious snacks including pizza potato skins - yum! Make sure and check back soon for that recipe! We also made chorizo queso dip and chicken noodle soup using my homemade noodles. With all the work on the savory dishes, I wanted to throw something quick and easy together for a sweet dish.

While grocery shopping, I had an idea of a possible quick and easy pie recipe. I had made pies before using instant pudding mix, but I had always used a ready made graham cracker crust. I got to thinking, maybe it would taste delicious with a crust made of cookie dough. It was inspired by the Pumpkin Cream Cheese Snickerdoodle cookie cups I made last fall.

The great thing about this pie is that it can be customized to whatever flavors you like best! I decided to do butterscotch pie filling with Snickerdoodle cookies. I love butterscotch (check out my Oatmeal Butterscotch cookies), and thought it would go well with the cookies. There are a lot of other flavors that would be great - chocolate with peanut butter cookie crust, lemon with sugar cookies, oreo with chocolate chip cookie, the possibilities are endless!

Homemade Egg Noodles

Most everyone seems to have a dish that is their definition of comfort food. Maybe it's mashed potatoes, chicken pot pie, mac and cheese; whatever makes you feel nostalgic and sentimental when eating it. For me, it is chicken noodle soup. Specifically chicken noodle soup with my Grandma's homemade noodles.

My Grandma lived several hours away and we didn't get to see her real often, but each year we got to to spend time with her at Thanksgiving. She was always a very good cook, but my most memorable dish of hers was definitely her homemade noodles. We would gladly take back bags of frozen noodles that would last us until our next visit. The egg noodles were the perfect size and texture, and full of delicious flavor. I can't tell you how many noodles of hers I have eaten, but I never got tired of them!

My Grandma passed away a few years ago. Since I have gotten more involved in cooking, I've been wanting to try my hand at continuing the noodle making. I didn't have her exact recipe, but I found one that looked and sounded similar. In the absence of her noodles, we had been using a type of frozen noodles. They are close, but not quite the same. This recipe specifically called out the brand of frozen noodles, so I knew I was on the right track.