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Soft Brown Sugar Ginger Molasses Cookies

  I'm a big fan of fall - the crisp air, beautiful falling leaves in brown, red, orange and yellow, jeans and hoodies, cozy fires, hot chocolate, trips to the pumpkin patch, trick or treaters, being thankful, and especially aaaaaaalllllllllll the fall flavors.  When it starts to get just a little cool outside I'm ready to bust out the soups, squash, pumpkin, apples, and fall spices!   It got a little cool for just a quick minute this past week, (then it got hot again), but in that moment, these Brown Sugar Ginger Molasses Cookies were reborn - crinkly on the top with a beautiful soft, chewy texture, not too thin and not too thick, and packed with flavor.  They are the kind of cookies that just melt in your mouth - and according to my fam, the kind of cookies dreams are made of! A lot of people make their Ginger Molasses cookies with white sugar - I tried batches with different measurements of brown, white and a combination of both, and our favorite were the ones with just brown
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Easy Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits

Have you ever made homemade buttermilk biscuits completely from scratch? For the longest time I was under the VERY false impression that biscuits were a time consuming, long, drawn out process that required my full attention for at least a couple of hours.  What I have come to find is that they aren't too complicated at all!  In fact, they have just a handful of pantry ingredients and are actually quite quick and easy to throw together.  These homemade buttermilk biscuits are beautifully buttery and bake up tall, soft and fluffy with a golden crispy top.   These delicious, tender, flakey morsels are perfect smothered in  sausage gravy , as part of a stacked breakfast sandwich with egg, cheese and bacon or sausage, or just on their own with butter or jam.  Trust me, this is a fabulous recipe to have up your sleeve, and the more you make them, the quicker and easier they become!  I have quite a lot of tips for this recipe to help you be your best biscuit making self ever: Grating fro

Zesty Italian Seasoning (Copycat Good Seasons Packets)

This quick and easy recipe will stop you from having to buy the dry Good Seasons Zesty Italian Dressing & Recipe seasoning packets!  Did you know that making your own seasoning mixes saves you quite a bit over buying the individual packets.  (Plus you know exactly what is in it.)  The ingredients for this seasoning mix are pretty common herbs and spices so you most likely have most of them in your pantry already! There is no need to pay extra for someone to mix and portion it out for you.   I keep mason jars of premade homemade beefy onion soup mix , ranch dressing mix, hamburger seasoning , blackened seasoning and this Zesty Italian Seasoning mix, (a copycat for Good Seasons), premade in my spice cabinet so I have it on hand whenever I need it!  They can be used to make dressings or dips, as well as season meat, veggies and potatoes.  Once you have a few basic spice blends in your cabinet, it makes it easy to change up flavors and season dishes in different ways. A couple of notes

Shortcut Brazilian Cheese Bread (Pão de Queijo)

  One of my favorite side items when we hit any Brazilian steak house are the little round cheesy bread balls that they bring to the table.  Brazilian Cheese Bread, also known as Pão de Queijo, is made from tapioca flour, olive oil, milk, egg, salt and shredded cheese.  They actually remind me of little mini cheesy popovers - a little crispy on the outside but deliciously soft and chewy on the inside, thanks to that tapioca flour.  These savory treats are the most perfect little bites of heaven - they disappear as fast as they hit the table!   You won't believe how easy it is to make this shortcut cheat version of these little Brazilian cheese breads at home.  This may not be the most traditional way of making them, but my goodness it's the easiest.  In fact, the hardest part of this whole process was finding the tapioca flour! (I found mine at Smiths and I always pick up two when I see them now.)  This quick and easy short cut recipe let's you throw the batter together in

No Bake Peppermint Slice Bars

I'm sharing a beloved recipe from my childhood today, No Bake Peppermint Slice Bars.  My Mum would make a huge tray of these delicious bars each year at Christmas time - it's a delicious no bake treat with three lovely layers.  A chocolaty graham cracker and coconut base, a creamy, buttery, peppermint frosting layer and then a coating of chocolate ganache over the top.   Here's the thing - you don't need to wait for Christmas to make these - they are scrumptious ANY time of the year and they are honestly perfect for the summer because they are no bake which means NO OVEN!  I actually have some in my freezer right now!  (I like to keep them nice and cold in there.)  If you are a mint and chocolate fan like I am, you are going to love these! A couple of tips for this recipe: I like to pulse the coconut lightly with the graham crackers and other base ingredients so its chopped finer.  I've had this with bigger pieces of coconut, and it's still yummy- you can do eit

Crack Corn Pasta Salad

I'm kind of in love with this new Crack Corn Pasta Salad.  It has all my favorite things - pasta, corn, bacon, cheese, jalapeno pepper, onion and a beautiful lemony ranch dressing which makes it absolutely crack to me because I literally can't stop eating it! Most of the work for this salad is prep - cooking the pasta and bacon so they have time to cool, then chopping up a couple of veggies.  Once that is done you are literally just mixing all the ingredients together - it makes it a simple but delicious and a flavorful side dish for any barbecue or picnic.  Sometimes I just make a batch of this to keep in the refrigerator to have for lunch!   A couple of tips for this salad: Ditalini pasta is pretty easy to find and really just looks like pieces of elbow macaroni that have been chopped up.  (Some actually call it a very short macaroni.)  I like this kind of pasta for this salad because the pieces are about the same size as the corn and they just work together well texture wise

Cheddar & Herb Savory Quick Bread (Irish Soda Bread)

I don't always have time to make fresh yeasty bread or rolls to go with dinner, so the thought of a quick cheesy, herby loaf that could be thrown together in a few minutes and baked just prior to dinner time seemed like a winner to me.  I made Irish Soda Bread for St. Patrick's Day and knew that with a few added ingredients, I could make a loaf that would taste delicious and be perfect alongside soup, salad or a main dish.  This Cheddar and Herb Quick Bread, (a take off of Irish Soda bread), has taken a while to get just right - but it is exactly what I was looking for! Let me first say that I am in love with white sharp cheddar cheese.  The creaminess, the sharpness, the tang - it's the PERFECT addition to this bread and with the chives, dill and fresh parsley - it's just so yummy!  This bread is in no way dry or tasteless - this is a moist, tender, beautiful quick bread loaded with cheese and herbs which literally melts in your mouth and calls to you from the kitchen

Restaurant Style Bread Dipping Oil

I am so excited to have an herb garden this year!!  Shout out to the hubby for putting together a small raised garden to make it super easy for me to take care of - I have parsley, basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, sage and mint coming out of my ears, but I absolutely LOVE fresh herbs and have been looking for ways to use them in my recipes as much as possible.  One of my favorite things to do with herbs is throw them together to make this easy restaurant style bread dipping oil, just like you find at many of your favorite Italian restaurants.  Rich, flavorful extra virgin olive oil and slightly sweet, dark balsamic vinegar are poured over a ton of herbs and garlic.  The simplicity of dipping hot crusty bread in this herbaceous mixture is both satisfying and comforting. If you don't have fresh herbs on hand you can absolutely use dried herbs - I've included measurements for both below.  Depending on what you have on hand you can also do a combination - part fresh, part dried - i

Patriotic Saltine Cracker Toffee

  Just in time for your July 4th Celebration I'm sharing a festive red white & blue version of my Saltine Cracker Toffee.  Did you know that English toffee is even better when you add a layer of salty crackers!  This quick and easy treat is a family favorite during ALL the holidays.  It is so easy to make and soooooooo delicious that you will want to make it for all of the celebrations and get togethers throughout the year.  I always issue a warning with this stuff - don't sit with a plate of this in front of the TV.  The salty and sweet combination makes it extremely addictive and that plate will be gone before you realize it!   A couple of tips: Use real butter for this recipe - sometimes it's ok to substitute margarine in recipes, but this is not one of those times- you need real butter to get that delicious toffee perfection. Feel free to switch up the chocolate chips - I have done white chocolate chips, semi-sweet chocolate chips and my favorite, dark chocolate chi

Cheese Tortellini with Sun-dried Tomato & Spinach Alfredo

Wondering what to cook for dinner tonight?  It's Meatless Monday and I'm sharing a fast, easy comforting dinner that will work for Mondays or ANY weeknight you are short on time.  This cheese tortellini with sun-dried tomatoes and chopped spinach Alfredo is creamy, tangy and incredibly delicious.  I used a variation on my classic Alfredo recipe for this sauce, (because it's utter perfection), but then added in some extra flavor by boosting the garlic and throwing in sun-dried tomatoes and spinach - I like to cut up the sun-dried tomatoes and spinach super small for fussy palates at this house, but if you like it more chunky, feel free to chop them a little larger.   If you ARE wanting some meat with this dish, try adding in 2 cups chopped rotisserie chicken when you add in the the sun-dried tomatoes and spinach - we love it with this addition too and using a rotisserie chicken means not only is it inexpensive, but all the work is already done for you!  Serve this dish up w

Copycat Cheesecake Factory Brown Bread

I am addicted to bread.  Any kind of bread - especially when it is fresh out of the oven warm bread slathered with butter.  It's the ultimate comfort food and quite possibly my love language.  One of my favorite things to eat at Cheesecake Factory is the brown bread that they bring to your table while you are waiting for your meal.  Honestly, I could just sit and eat the bread and then go home, it's that good.  It reminds me of squaw bread that I had growing up - has kind of a molassesy, malty flavor - so delicious.  (They have a similar bread at Outback too.) Well now I can eat a very close replica of that fabulous bread any time I want here in the comfort of my own home with this copycat brown bread recipe and guess what?  So can you!  Slightly sweet, with a hint of molasses flavor, and sprinkled with oats, this is my new favorite bread to make.  This recipe makes 4 small loaves, but you could shape it in to rolls instead if you wanted.  (If you do that reduce the baking time

No Bake Quick & Easy Key Lime (or Lemon) Pie

  Is there anything better than a citrusy no-bake creamy dessert to beat the heat of the summer?  This no bake quick and easy key lime, (or lemon), pie has been my hubbies VERY favorite dessert ever since we got married!  (I feel like I say that a lot - he does love his desserts.)  But this one is so much so his favorite, that he requested it again for Fathers Day today and when I pulled it up out of the deep archives of this blog - well let's just say I definitely knew it needed and deserved a refresh with some new pictures. This pie is fantastic with lime OR lemon.  You can easily replace the lime juice and lime zest with lemon juice and lemon zest for a different flavor!  You can also use graham cracker instead of ginger snaps for the crust - we love the spice of the gingersnaps with the citrusy creamy filling, but again - pick your preference.  You really can't go wrong. You will notice that I list  key lime juice in the recipe- if you can't find fresh key limes, you c

Sausage & Potato Breakfast Hash

I am a savory breakfast lover.  Give me the choice between a sweet pastry and bacon and eggs and I'm always going to take the savory, salty option.  One of our families favorite savory breakfast/brunches for weekend mornings is this super simple breakfast hash!  It's simple because it uses a shortcut bag of southern style hashbrowns found in the freezer section, so there is no peeling or chopping potatoes - don't you love recipes like that?!?!  You cut down on the work, but not on the taste!   This hash has sausage, potatoes and cheese - you could totally scramble some eggs and throw it in right at the end, but my favorite way to serve this is with a poached or fried egg with a runny yolk on the top.  That way when you cut in to that egg, you get all that goodness running through the hash.  It's pure heaven.  I like to use the cubed hashbrowns for this recipe, but you could substitute shredded in a pinch. Ingredients: 1lb Jimmy dean sausage, (We like the maple) 1/2 cup

Quick French Bread Pizzas

The quickest, easiest dinner you can throw together on a night that you are short on time or energy are these fantastic French Bread Pizzas!  You know what I love about pizza night?  Everyone can make their own creation exactly how they want it and it's FUN to do it together.  You know what I like especially about French Bread pizza?  You don't even have to make the dough and you get a perfect crust that is crisp and golden on the outside and soft on the inside - literally perfection with no effort!   My favorite bread to use for these are the $1 French loaves out of Walmart.  They fresh bake them every day - you can get them plain, with sesame seeds, with herbs or with everything bagel and ONE DOLLAR PER LOAF!  I use these all the time to make garlic bread or serve with any meal.  You can throw them in the oven for 5-7 minutes at 350 and they will taste like you just baked them yourself!  Seriously - my best-loved, most inexpensive time saver.  The most important part of this

Quick & Easy Spicy Black Beans

My hubby is a huge bean fan.  When our favorite Mexican restaurant asks if he wants black or pinto beans his answer is always "both please," so I have spent a lot of time over the years trying to replicate some restaurant quality tasting black beans here at home for him.  This is our favorite black bean recipe.  It is super easy because it starts with canned beans, so there is no long wait or fuss as they soak.  The combination of quite a few spices in these beans is what makes them so yummy.  If you don't have mushroom powder, don't fret - you can still make them - the mushroom powder, (I use Umami seasoning from Trader Joes), just adds an extra earthiness but they are still fantastic without it. I love to make these on fajita night with my easy sheet pan chipotle chicken fajitas and some rice, tortillas and all the toppings.  It's an easy, flavorful meal that everyone in the family loves because they can customize their plates with what they want!  Give these a

Sheet Pan Chipotle Chicken Fajitas

Need a meal that comes together lightening fast but still tastes amazing?  Look no further than these easy sheet pan chipotle chicken fajitas!  After just a little chopping prep you can have chicken and fajita veggies in to the oven and cooked to perfection in just about 20 minutes!  Serve these babies up simply with some flour tortillas - or add rice and beans to take it to the next level.  With sour cream, cheese, salsa and some fresh limes on the table, your family is going to love fajita night!   Ingredients:  2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast or tenders, sliced thinly Red, yellow and orange peppers, sliced 1 large onion, sliced 3 Tbsp olive oil 1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder 1 tsp oregano 1 tsp dried cilantro 1 tsp ground cumin 1/2 tsp smoked paprika 1 tsp salt 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper Instructions: Preheat the oven to 425.  Spray a large baking sheet with non-stick spray. Slice your chicken, peppers and onions into thin strips and scatter them on your baking sheet.  Dri

30 Minute Rise English Muffin Bread

If the thought of using yeast has been scary to you in the past, this is the perfect bread recipe to start with!!  30 minute rise English Muffin Bread is practically no fail.   I'm a big fan of crusty bread and loooooove toasted English muffins with all their nooks and crannies to catch the melting butter.  What I don't love is all the fuss of making them in to individual little rounds!  So the thought of just throwing the bubbly dough in to loaf pans and making bread that could be sliced and toasted really appealed to me.   This bread takes just a few minutes to throw together and then rises nice and fast, (just one 30 minute rise), so there isn't a huge wait before getting it in the oven.  The hardest part of making this bread is waiting for it to cool before eating it - but the longer you wait the better it will be.  This is beautiful bread for grilled cheese, or panini's because it crisps up beautifully on a griddle.  However, let's not forget how much we love t