everyday food made simple

IMG_6908 copy

I don’t know about you, but my summer is flying by right before my eyes. It didn’t seem all that long ago the sun rose and painted the sky a pretty mixture of pinks, purples, and oranges at 5 a.m., it was still bright out at 9 p.m., we grilled burgers and steaks and pork chops every night, and Starbuck’s iced coconut mocha macchiato became my summer jam.

Every year around this time I always look back at my summer bucket list, and every year I realize there are so many things I wanted to do but didn’t accomplish – I wish I went to the farmer’s market more, baked a little more, blogged a little more, spent more days out in the sun, checked off more books off of my list, went to more fairs, and ate more ice cream.

What I did do, however, was make this cake. This amazingly simple, no-oven-required-because-we-all-know-how-hot-it-already-is, cake.

IMG_6807 copy IMG_6840 copy

IMG_6929 copy   

S’mores icebox cake, to be exact. Layers of creamy marshmallow cream on top of sweet chocolate ganache on top of graham crackers, topped off with mini marshmallows that’s broiled to toasty perfection. So so good to where you will want to eat it straight out of the pan when your husband isn’t home.

IMG_6903 copy

IMG_6909 copy

So before summer is over, before the weather starts to cool down, before your kids go back to school, please make this as a last hurrah to summer – I promise you won’t regret it.

s'mores icebox cake
Print
Ingredients
  1. 2 and 3/4 cups heavy cream, divided
  2. 7 oz marshmallow fluff
  3. 1 and 1/2 cups mini marshmallows, divided
  4. 11 oz semisweet chocolate chips
  5. 1 box graham crackers (you probably won't use the entire box)
Make the marshmallow cream
  1. Using a stand or hand mixer, beat 2 cups heavy cream on medium-high for 5 minutes or until stiff peaks form. Add in the marshmallow fluff and continue beating on medium-high speed for another 3 minutes. Gently stir in 1 cup mini marshmallows, set aside.
Make the chocolate ganache
  1. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, heat the remaining heavy cream until simmering. Remove from heat and pour over chocolate chips in a heat-proof bowl. Let mixture sit for 5 minutes, then stir until combined and smooth.
  2. In a 9x9" baking dish, spread a thin layer of the marshmallow cream on the bottom. Top with a layer of graham crackers. Break the crackers into pieces to make sure all the marshmallow cream is covered. Top with another layer of marshmallow cream, then generously drizzle/spread the ganache over the top. Repeat layers once more, leaving about 1/4" from the top of the pan.
  3. Garnish the top with remaining mini marshmallows, crushed graham cracker pieces, and extra chocolate chips, if desired. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  4. Right before serving, turn on your broiler and broil the cake for 1 minute or until marshmallows are brown and toasty. Remove immediately and freeze for 10 minutes to let set and serve. Cake can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
  5. Makes one 9x9" pan
Adapted from Delish.com
Adapted from Delish.com
Simple Everyday Food http://www.simpleeverydayfood.com/
The beautiful thing about this recipe is that you can change up the layers based on what you like more. Want more chocolate? Then add in a few more layers of chocolate ganache. Love graham crackers? Then put it another layer of graham crackers. Whatever you decide to do, it’ll be delicious either way.

IMG_6920 copy

Recipe adapted from Delish

© Simple Everyday Food. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use any of my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, and kindly link back to this post for the recipe.

 

Sharing is caring! Email this to someonePrint this pagePin on PinterestShare on YummlyShare on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on Twitter

If you are ever in need of a quick, easy cookie recipe that’s going to make you the most popular person at a potluck (or if you want to bribe your coworkers to like you – which is what I do all the time), you totally need to add this recipe to your list.

mississippi mud cookies

These cookies may be the easiest cookies I’ve made in a long time. How easy, you may ask? Well let me tell you the two main things that make up this cookie.

Hold on to the edge of your seats, my friends. Ready?

  1. Cake mix.
  2. Marshmallows.

And that chocolate drizzle that goes on top? You bring butter and milk to a boil, throw all the other ingredients in the pot, whisk, and drizzle away.

See? Told you it was easy. There’s barely any prep work that goes into it. No waiting around for things to chill in the fridge or 12 different steps to follow just to make some cookies.

mississippi mud cookies

mississippi mud cookies

mississippi mud cookies

Although these are extremely simple to make, your coworkers or friends would never guess that the actual cookie was made out of a box of cake mix. Talk about a cookie tasting like it came from a gourmet bakery without all the effort and the price that goes into making or buying a gourmet cookie.

mississippi mud cookies

The cookie is soft and chewy. The marshmallows are sweet and gooey. The chocolate sauce? It’s there for a whole lotta fancy and a titch of sweetness.

mississippi mud cookies

mississippi mud cookies

They look and smell so good that even your dog will be willing to stand guard for these cookies – you know, in case some crazy eagle swoops in through your window and snatches the entire pan with its long talons and flies away with it to a nearby tree…

Unless your dog is like my dog and likes to take naps while on guard duty.

mississippi mud cookies   mississippi mud cookies  mississippi mud cookies   mississippi mud cookies

….Well, then you’re on your own to defend that eagle…. :)

mississippi mud cookies
Print
For the cookies
  1. 1 box Devil's Food Cake mix, dry, not prepared (I used a 15.25 oz box of Betty Crocker)
  2. 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  3. 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  4. 3 cups mini marshmallows
For the chocolate drizzle
  1. 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  2. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  3. 2 cups powdered sugar
  4. 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  5. 3 tablespoons skim milk
  6. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  2. In a large bowl, beat cake mix, butter and eggs until well combined. Drop about 1.5 tablespoons worth of dough on the prepared baking sheets, leaving at least 1-2" of space in between each dough ball.
  3. Bake for exactly 8 minutes. Remove cookies from oven (do not remove from cookie sheet) and top each cookie generously with mini marshmallows - press them down a bit if they keep rolling off the cookie. Return cookies back to oven and bake for an additional 2-3 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely
  4. While the cookies are cooling, make the chocolate drizzle: In a medium bowl, combine the cocoa powder, salt, and powdered sugar and set aside.
  5. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the butter and milk to a boil. Add in the vanilla extract and the powdered sugar mixture. Whisk vigorously until mixture is smooth. Drizzle over cookies*. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
  6. Makes 18-20 cookies
Notes
  1. * If your chocolate drizzle starts to harden, pop it in the microwave and heat in 15 second intervals until runny again.
Adapted from Chef In Training
Adapted from Chef In Training
Simple Everyday Food http://www.simpleeverydayfood.com/
Recipe adapted from Chef In Training

© Simple Everyday Food. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use any of my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or kindly link back to this post for the recipe.
Sharing is caring! Email this to someonePrint this pagePin on PinterestShare on YummlyShare on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on Twitter

I wanted to title today’s post as “Because there are already 184,750,172,902 mint chocolate cupcakes out there on the Internet, so why not add another recipe to the mix”, but that title seemed a little too lengthy, plus I figured people would have a hard time remembering the name of it when I tell them about this wonderfully delicious and moist chocolate cupcake topped with some mint Oreo buttercream frosting.

IMG_3276 copy

So I settled with a concise, to-the-point title of “Mint Oreo Cupcakes”. Short and sweet, just like these cupcakes.

IMG_3275 copy

IMG_3303 copy

I’m typically not a fan of St. Patrick’s Day, because I’m not a fan of beer drinking, I’m not particularly fond of corned beef and cabbage, and I really don’t look good in green attire.

However, green = mint, which gives me an excuse to make all things mint chocolate. Like this mint chocolate fudge.

IMG_3012 copy

And these mint chocolate chip meringue cookies.

IMG_3411 copy

Oh, and have I mentioned my addiction to McDonald’s Shamrock Shakes? I don’t care what people say about them and how many calories and how many grams of sugar those things have, it’s the only thing I look forward to when St. Patrick’s Day starts rolling around the corner.

In celebration of the upcoming holiday, today I made you mint Oreo cupcakes – a light and fluffy chocolate cake studded with mint Oreo bits in every bite, topped with a mint Oreo buttercream with swirls of green for a festive look. It really is a mint-chocolate-lover’s perfect cupcake!

IMG_3321 copy

IMG_3292 copy

IMG_3288 copy

Now if you could excuse me, I’m going to go get myself a Shamrock Shake…

Shake in one hand, cupcake in the other, because that’s how everyone should celebrate St. Patty’s Day.

mint oreo cupcakes
Print
For the cupcakes
  1. 1 box Devil's Food cake mix
  2. 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  3. 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  4. 1 cup buttermilk
  5. 1/2 cup sour cream
  6. 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  7. 20-24 mint Oreos, coarsely chopped
For the frosting
  1. 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  2. 8 oz cream cheese
  3. 1 and 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  4. 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
  5. 3-4 cup powdered sugar
  6. Green food coloring
  7. 6-7 mint Oreo cookies, finely crushed and sifted to get rid of any large chunks
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tins with liners and set aside.
  2. Sift the cake mix over a medium bowl and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, oil, buttermilk, sour cream, and vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth. Stir in the cake mix and mix until just combined. Gently fold in the chopped Oreos.
  4. Fill the cupcake liners ~3/4 fill and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before transferring them onto a wired cooling rack to cool completely.
  5. While the cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting: beat the butter and cream cheese over medium speed until smooth and fluffy. Add in the peppermint extract and heavy whipping cream. Slowly add in 3 cups of powdered sugar and beat until smooth. If the frosting is still too loose, add in 1/2 cup of powdered sugar until you reach your desired consistency. Add in the green food coloring, one drop at a time, until the color is to your liking. Gently fold in your crushed Oreos* and pipe over cooled cupcakes with your favorite piping tip.
Notes
  1. *Make sure not to overmix the crushed Oreos, otherwise your frosting will turn into a sickly, unappetizing (yet still delicious) shade of gray.
Adapted from Your Cup of Cake
Adapted from Your Cup of Cake
Simple Everyday Food http://www.simpleeverydayfood.com/
Recipe adapted from Your Cup of Cake

© Simple Everyday Food. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use any of my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or kindly link back to this post for the recipe.

Sharing is caring! Email this to someonePrint this pagePin on PinterestShare on YummlyShare on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on Twitter

Just a few weeks ago, we finally decided to re-join a gym. I figured with all the cupcakes, cookies, and bars that come out of my kitchen, it would be a matter of time until my pants start to get tighter and the number of the scale to go upwards… okay okay, I lied. All that was actually starting to happen and I was horrified one day when I put on my jeans and realized they were getting slightly snug around the hip and waist and thigh area.

So with the new year and multiple gyms offering “New Year Resolution” rates, the mister and I joined a local gym for only $1 each and made a pack that we would go at least 3 times a week, Monday-Friday, alternating between cardio and lifting. I’m happy to say that a few weeks into it, we’ve been staying strong and going almost everyday after work and I definitely feel better about myself afterwards.

Since Valentine’s Day is just around the corner (errr, I mean, tomorrow) and with us trying to live a healthier lifestyle, today I bring to you an easy, quick, cheap, relatively-healthier Valentine’s Day recipe that will satisfy your sweet n’ salty tooth but not break the bank at the same time.

IMG_5504 copy

IMG_5448 copy

If you just realized that tomorrow is Valentine’s Day and have started to panic about what to get your significant other, you should totally make these pretzel rods because even though they’re easy and cheap to make, they look beautiful and your honey will think you spent a good fortune on them at the store.

IMG_5426 copy

IMG_5509 copy

IMG_5493 copy

Plus, you can always customize them to however you want them – dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate… chocolate drizzle, sprinkles (always say yes to sprinkles), crushed candy/nuts, or just plain (but that’s soooo boring!). Add a few drops of gel-based food coloring into the melted white chocolate for special occasions. The combinations really are endless and it can always be a fun little project for you and the little ones (if you have little ones) on a snowy day.

IMG_5423 copy   IMG_5418 copy

IMG_5478 copy

IMG_5440 copy

The trick to dipping these is to pour the melted candy melt/almond bark into a tall skinny glass for easy dipping. Swirl the pretzel rods in it, leaving a few inches on the end to hold on to, then let the excess drip back into the glass and place the pretzel rod on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. If your candy melt starts to harden again, scrape it back into the saucepan and reheat until melted. See? Suuuuuuper simple. Sprinkle your garnishes on right away before the chocolate coating hardens, otherwise you’re left with plain old boring chocolate-covered pretzels. And why have plain pretzel rods when you can have ones with sprinkles?!

IMG_5495 copy

chocolate covered pretzel rods
Print
Ingredients
  1. 20 pretzel rods
  2. 16 oz vanilla-flavored candy coating
  3. Assorted sprinkles for decorating
  4. Gel food coloring, optional
Instructions
  1. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, melt the candy coating over low heat, stirring occasionally until melted (you can also use a double boiler if you have one).* Transfer the melted candy coating into a tall, narrow glass or container for easy dipping. Carefully dip pretzel rods into the candy coating, leaving a few inches at the end uncoated. Gently tap off the excess and sprinkle the sprinkles over the coated pretzel rods, if desired. Place on baking sheets and let the candy coating harden completely. Pretzel rods can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.
Notes
  1. * Squeeze a few drops of gel food coloring into the completely melted candy coating until you reach the desired color.
Simple Everyday Food http://www.simpleeverydayfood.com/
© Simple Everyday Food. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use any of my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or kindly link back to this post for the recipe.

Sharing is caring! Email this to someonePrint this pagePin on PinterestShare on YummlyShare on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on Twitter

If you haven’t heard, I was offered a brand spankin’ new full time job about a month ago and just started it this week ! I’m super ecstatic about it, as I wasn’t really expecting to be able to find a job (at a place I really wanted to work at) this fast, just a few weeks after graduation. Of course, I wasn’t able to do it without the help of some wonderful people I listed as my references. As far as I know, a few of them were contacted by this employer, and they must’ve wrote a bunch of nice things about me, and I’m forever grateful about it :)

This will be my first ever full-time big girl job, and I took the entire process very seriously (more than usual) – from the initial submission of my resume and cover letter, to the actual interview, and the thank you letters thereafter – I applied everything I have learned in my career capstone class and meticulously read and reread everything prior to hitting the “submit” button. I’m glad a little bit of networking and hard work pays off… I love it so far!

This whole journey really made me realize that no matter where you go in life and what big milestones you have achieved, you really can’t get there without the help of people along the way – whether they are friends, family, coworkers, or even strangers… many people played a part in this job hunting process, and even now, I feel just as grateful as I did the day I was offered the position.

Ever since I was little, my mom had ingrained in my brain that it is important to express your gratitude towards those that have helped you in life. And that’s why the day after I got this new job, I decided to make some sweets for those people who took time out of their busy schedules to write recommendation letters for me. I figured if they were kind enough to take time to write nice things about me, the least I can do is take time out of my day to make a little something to show them how much I appreciate their efforts.

IMG_3006 copy

IMG_3012 copy

I would’ve made cookies, but one of my references happened to be gluten free, which is why I decided to make fudge instead. I’ve never made fudge in my entire life before, but since it’s a new year, and new years are all about trying new things, I decided to give it a whirl. And since I’m still on this mint chocolate craze, mint chocolate fudge it was (it’s only my favorite chocolate combination, if you haven’t figured that out already).

IMG_3009 copy

These little fudge squares are just like giant Andes mints and they’re so easy to make! The bottom layer consists of sweet chocolate chips with condensed milk, followed by another fudgey layer of white chocolate chips, a little bit more condensed milk, peppermint extract, and a few drops of food coloring. The thin top chocolate layer has a nice little crunch, which contrasts nicely with the bottom two smooth velvety fudgey layers. Heaven, I tell ya.

IMG_3027 copy

IMG_3028 copy

I have never had luck with melting chocolate in the microwave or directly over a heat source. It just somehow never works for me, so for all chocolate-melting recipes, I always always always melt my chocolates using a makeshift double boiler over low heat – it heats the chocolate up a lot slower, but it also gives me less anxiety. I take it as a fair trade off.

If you’ve never made fudge (like me) before, I just want to warn you that when you melt the chocolate chips with the condensed milk, the mixture is going to be thick. I was expecting the mixture to be nice and smooth and runny like melted chocolate, but nooooo… it was thick. So thick that the only good utensil to stir it with is with a sturdy wooden spoon.. and that if you stir it constantly, your arm is going to get tired. I initially thought my chocolate had seized up on me, and I started to get very frustrated. Mind you this was at 9:30 a.m. and I’m pretty sure Brian decided to stay the heck away from the kitchen for the rest of the morning.

Moral of the story: chocolate chips + condensed milk = thick mixture (read: don’t freak out).

IMG_3025 copy

mint chocolate fudge
Print
Ingredients
  1. 2.5 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
  2. One 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk, divided
  3. 1.5 cups white chocolate chips
  4. 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  5. 2-3 drops green food coloring
  6. 1 teaspoon shortening
  7. 1/2 cups Andes Creme de Menthe Baking Chips
Instructions
  1. Line an 8x8" baking pan with aluminum foil and spray generously with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Using a double boiler, melt 1.5 cups of the semi-sweet chocolate chips with 3/4 cups of the sweetened condensed milk over low heat. Stir occasionally until smooth, then pour mixture into the baking pan. Spread mixture evenly (I used an offset spatula), and place in the fridge to chill.
  3. While the chocolate mixture is chilling in the fridge, melt the white chocolate chips with the remaining sweetened condensed milk over a double boiler over low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and add in the peppermint extract and green food coloring. Stir until the mixture is even in color, then pour mint layer evenly over chilled chocolate layer and place back into the refrigerator.
  4. Melt the remaining 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips and the shortening over a double boiler. Stir until smooth. Pour evenly over the mint layer, top generously with Andes Creme de Menthe baking chips, and chill in fridge for at least 3-4 hours until set.
  5. Cut into small squares before serving and store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
  6. Makes about 36 small squares
Adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction
Simple Everyday Food http://www.simpleeverydayfood.com/
Even though I’m not a big fudge fanatic, everyone who were able to get their hands on a little piece of this decadent minty goodness all said it was phenomenal!

Recipe adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

© Simple Everyday Food. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use any of my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or kindly link back to this post for the recipe.

Sharing is caring! Email this to someonePrint this pagePin on PinterestShare on YummlyShare on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on Twitter