Reese’s Cookie Dough Dip

photo 3It’s a rainy, gloomy day here in NJ and all I want to do is eat and watch movies. There’s no better treat than this dip to satisfy that desire and really make me feel productive in life.

As I’ve mentioned in prior posts, I am obsessed with Pinterest. I feel like I have gained so much knowledge and insight by browsing through the different categories. Not to mention, my creative juices have been on super mode. Today’s recipe is a rendition of a post that I saw that I am soo happy I found. It’s absolutely delicious and can be eaten with a variety of sides.

You’ll need:

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  • 8oz cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup Reese’s PB Cups, chopped
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

Steps:

1. In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Once melted, whisk in brown sugar until completely dissolved. Remove from heat right away and add the vanilla. Set it aside and let it cool completely.

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2. In an electric mixer (or big bowl with hand mixer), beat cream cheese, peanut butter, and powdered sugar until creamy. It shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes.

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3. While you’re waiting for the butter/sugar mixture to cool, you can chop your Reese’s. You can also choose to buy the mini cups and save yourself from this step. You still have to wait until the newly formed caramel cools, though!

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4. Once it’s ready, add the caramel mixture to the bowl and mix on low speed until combined.

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5. Fold in the chocolate chips and Reese’s cups.

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You can eat it immediately if you want it as a dip, or chill if you want to eat it alone.

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photo 2Dip pretzels, graham crackers, vanilla wafers, teddy grahams, animal crackers, etc, or just use a spoon like I did.

photo 4I can’t guarantee that yours will come out as good as mine since I had help from my wonderful little cousins, but you can try. While you’re at it, gimme some oven lovin’.

Trip Recap

Hello friends. I am back from the cruise and have some pictures to share with you. I love exploring new places so I had a great trip. I ate more this time than I did last year, but I won’t lie; I forgot to take pictures of soo many meals. It’s okay! I did photograph food that we never had before (alligator fritters and frog legs, AHH!), so you’ll be able to get a small glimpse of what our week was like.

Warning: the quality of these pictures isn’t the best because of all of the crazy lighting. Womp womp.

Breakfast:

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A croissant and bacon every morning with a beautiful view. Doesn’t get better.

Appetizers:

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Delicious bread with every meal.

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Shrimp, seared ahi tuna, and salmon tartare. YUM.

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Steak quesadilla with black beans, cheese, corn, sour cream and guacamole.

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ALLIGATOR FRITTERS!!!

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French onion soup.

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Frogs’ legs. UGHHH not a fan.

Entrees:

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Panko fried jumbo shrimp with curly fries.

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Pasta carbonara with chicken.

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Jerk chicken and fried rice.

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My favorite meal of the whole trip: bacon mac and cheese with chicken.

Desserts:

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Chocolate lava melting cake with vanilla ice cream.

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Baked apples and cream on puff pastry with caramel sauce.

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Cheesecake with strawberry topping.

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Fruit plate.

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Creme brulee; the best!

And now some pictures of me being silly during one of our days.

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I told you I had fun. Gimme some oven lovin’.

Breakfast Parfait

I have to give my mom credit for this new breakfast obsession of mine. It is super delicious and SO easy to make. It reminds me very much of a parfait without the fanciness and technicality. It’s also healthy!! You can substitute with your favorite flavors and stay super full until lunch.

To be honest, you don’t even need pictures and steps. But since I like to think that I spoil you, I have provided them.

You’ll need:

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  • 3 tbsp Greek yogurt
  • 2-3 walnuts, chopped
  • 1 cup cereal
  • 1 handful blueberries

Steps:

1. Combine.

Ha ha. It really is that simple! Mix the yogurt, cereal, and walnuts until blended, then sprinkle with blueberries and gently fold them in.

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TA DAAAAAAAAAAA!

As I said, you can use whichever cereal you like. My recommendation is something with honey so you have that extra hint of sweetness without adding any extra calories. I use Honey Nut Cheerios and it’s delicious.

You can also use a different fruit. Strawberries, blackberries, or really any kind of berry would work. Mmm.

Happy eatings! Gimme some oven lovin’.

Cinnamon Sugar Muffins

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If you have an Auntie Anne’s near you and you haven’t tried their cinnamon sugar pretzels, you are MISSING OUT. They are my favorite kind of pretzels and today’s inspiration for these muffins.

It’s no surprise I like cinnamon, but the combination of it with sugar is just so heavenly that it’s hard to not enjoy. These treats are light yet filling and are great at any time of the day.

You’ll need:

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  • 1 3/4 cups AP flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

For the topping:

  • 1 tbsp margarine
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup white sugar

Steps:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin tray with liners.

2. In a large bowl, add flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Give it little mixing and set aside.

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3. In another bowl, whisk together the egg, sugar, milk, and oil.

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4. Combine into the large bowl of dry ingredients until everything is blended.

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5. Evenly divide batter into the muffin liners. It should be about 3/4 full.

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6. Bake for about 21-24 minutes, or until the muffins are golden and moist.

7. While they are baking, you can get started on the topping. Combine the cinnamon and sugar in a bowl that is big enough to dip the muffins into.

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When they are done baking, allow a couple of minutes to cool, but not too long because you want them warm for the next step!

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8. Spread some margarine onto the top of the muffins untl it melts, then immediately roll the muffin into the cinnamon sugar mixture. Repeat until all of the muffins are coated.

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9. You should still have some topping left over. Spoon a little onto the top of each muffin and spread with the back of the spoon so it sticks to the rest. Repeat again until you no longer have any of the mixture left.

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You can eat them like this or insert a filling. I totally recommend Nutella, but they are also good with jelly or marmelade. Depending on how you serve them, they are great breakfast or dessert goodiess.

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Gimme some oven lovin’.

Buttery Lemon Shrimp

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I have to start off this post with wishing my favorite brother in law a very happy birthday. I hope your 29th year is anything and everything you could possibly want. Here’s to many more birthday celebrations, you silly fadidi. :)

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Moving on, today’s recipe is a juicy cuisine that can be eaten alone or paired with some of your favorite dishes. This buttery lemon shrimp does not require many ingredients and will have your belly full in just minutes.

You’ll need:

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  • 1.5 lbs of cooked, frozen shrimp
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • seasoning of your choice (lemon zest, italian, etc)

Steps:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie tray with aluminum foil.

2. Cut your butter into pieces and spread on tray. Place in the oven for about 2-3 minutes, or until butter is melted.

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3. Slice your lemon into two. Peel one half, then slice both halves into 1/4in slices. I think peeling half ensures that your shrimp doesn’t become too bitter. It’s a good mix. Spread your slices over the butter that is on the tray.

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4. Place shrimp over the lemon slices in one layer.

5. Top with your seasoning. I used about 1tbsp of lemon zest seasoning. Use whatever and however much you like.

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6. Bake for 12-15 minutes.

7. Using a spoon, mix the shrimp around in the tray to get them completely covered in the butter/lemon/seasoning mixture, then serve!

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As I said, you can eat alone or use as an add on. It’s great on top of pasta, rice, or salad. Get creative and gimme some oven lovin’.

Mushroom Onion Tart Shells

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If you’ve been following me for some time, you know that I like small, bite size foods. Desserts, appetizers, meals, whatever. My family and friends make fun of me constantly for cutting my food into tiny pieces. Even mini options like grapes and m&ms get at least 3 bites each from me. I don’t know why I do this. I guess it makes me think I have more food. My brain is special.

Anyway, I’ve used these fillo shells a few times in past recipes. They’re just so cute and delicious and make appetizers super easy to create. Today’s filling is similar to this mushroom cream sauce, though there are a couple of differences. I think either mixture can be put into the shells to make something quick and easy for your next gathering.

You’ll need:

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  • 1 package of mini fillo shells, thawed
  • 1 can of mushroom pieces
  • 1 tbsp ricotta cheese
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small-medium onion
  • salt/pepper/spices for seasoning

Steps:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover a cookie sheet with foil and space out your fillo shells.

2. Cut your onion into thin slices, about 1/4in. Then cut the rounds vertically so they create little pieces, again about 1/4in.

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3. In a skillet, combine olive oil and onions over medium-low heat (4 out of 10 setting on mine).

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4. Once the onions start browning, drain your mushroom can and add the pieces to the skillet. Season with salt, pepper, or any other spices you enjoy. Cinnamon. MMMM.

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5. When the combination is soft and golden, remove from heat and transfer the filing into a bowl. Take a heaping tbsp of ricotta cheese and mix it in the bowl so everything is coated evenly.

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6. Fill the fillo shells with the filling. Bake for 6-8 minutes.

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Remove when the shells are golden and flaky.

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Feel free to sprinkle with additional cheese. I had feta crumbles that really created a great taste when combined with the other flavors. Other yummy options are grated Parmesan or Asiago.

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Gimme some oven lovin’.

Monsters’ Inc Cake

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My little brother is not so little anymore. We celebrated his 19th birthday this past weekend with family, presents, and of course, food. What did you get him, Christa? Great question, made up reader, but I didn’t get him anything; I MADE him a surprise birthday cake.

Let’s face it; it doesn’t matter how old you are, Monsters’ Inc is a fantastic movie. One of my brother’s favorites, in fact, which is why I made him a Mike Wazowski cake. I had never done a cake boss-style dessert before, and it took soo much longer than I was expecting. It’s nowhere near perfect, but everyone, especially my brother, loved it. I was super relieved!

The cake itself was funfetti with Nutella buttercream frosting (and a secret layer of Nutella by itself, mmm), while the legs and arms were made from fondant. Boy, that fondant was exhausting to mix. My forearms were burning for hours. And for the record, my sister was the best taste tester I could have asked for, so thank you for your help, Elena!

I took some pictures throughout the process. I’ve already gotten requests for other cakes and I look forward to practicing and getting better with each one!

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Happy birthday, Yianni!

Gimme some oven lovin’.

Mini choc-oat-balls

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I’m a teacher. Yes, that means I have summers off. What better way to spend a few days of this long vacation than to visit my sister? I got to play with their puppy, laugh with my brother in law, and cook with my best friend. She was really excited to make her debut on here so today’s recipe is a tribute to her.

Elena first found this treat through another blogger, who called them “energy bites”. I’m so glad she introduced me to these because they were DELICIOUS. I literally went straight into the kitchen when I came home and made them so I had breakfast ready for the next morning. They are very easy and quick to make, and they’re one of the healthiest recipes I’ve posted. A+ all around.

You’ll need:

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  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2/3 cup coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup toffee bits
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/3 cup honey

Steps:

1. Combine all of the ingredients until everything is coated evenly. Pop it in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

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2. Once the mix has hardened a bit, take a small chunk and mold it into a ball. The amount varies based on how big or small you want them. We made ours mini and yielded about 45.

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That’s all! They’re super yummy when chilled so I suggest putting them back in the fridge and eating one or two or five whenever you’re craving a bit of sweet goodness.

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Gimme some oven lovin’.

Double Oreo Peanut Butter Brownies

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I love Pinterest. So much. I find myself spending hours pinning all kinds of food, clothes, and teaching resources.. among other categories. Today’s recipe is one of the lucky pins I saw a picture of and thought: “YUP. GOTTA DO IT.”

For the record, I’m still waiting on getting sponsored by Oreo. I told you I cook with these babies often. OREO, IF YOU’RE READING THIS, HELP A SISTA OUT!

Anyway.

You’ll need:

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  • 24 Oreos
  • 1 box of brownie mix (and the ingredients it calls for)
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • Cupcake liners

Steps:

1. Follow the directions that the brownie box has. Mine said to mix 1/2 cup of oil, 1/4 cup of water, and 2 eggs with the brownie mix. Set aside.

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2. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, then line your cupcake tray with the liners.

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3. Take about half a tsp of peanut butter and smear it on one side of an Oreo. Place another cookie on top of that and put more PB on the top of the set. Place in the liner.

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4. Pour 2 tbsp of brownie batter onto each Oreo clump. Allow the batter to drizzle down the sides and fill the cup. Do not use more than 2 tbsp or they will spill over while they are baking!

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5. You should have a good amount of batter left over. You can either bake it as one big sheet in a pan, or pour into mini cupcake trays for individual cups. Top with any flavor chips or even make these if you haven’t already!

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6. Bake for about 15-18 minutes.

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The Oreos will get soft and the combination of the cookie, peanut butter, and brownie is heavenly.

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Gimme some oven lovin’.

Toffee Wafer Dessert

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Well, the heat wave finally broke. Yet I still find myself finding ways to try and keep cool. Today was no exception.

This cake dessert thingy reminds me very much of the candy bar Butterfinger. Maybe it’s the toffee bits? Maybe it’s the orange tint of the sugar wafers? Whatever it is, the taste is a lighter, cooler version of that crunchy, chocolaty goodness. It’s gooey-er than actual cake, firmer than pudding, and as delicious as… something that’s super delicious.

You’ll need:

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  • 3 cups of vanilla sugar wafers, crushed (9oz package)
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 1 container Cool Whip (8oz), thawed
  • 1/2 cup Heath toffee bits
  • 1/2 cup pecans, crushed
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Steps:

1. Crush your vanilla sugar wafers. Spread about 1 1/2 cups along the bottom of a 13×9 pan. Put the rest in a medium size bowl. If you wish to top the cake with some as I did, save about 1/4 cup and set aside.

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2. In the medium bowl that now has the wafers, add the sugar, vanilla, cocoa powder, melted butter, salt, and eggs. Be sure to beat the eggs in a separate bowl very well before adding them to the rest of the ingredients. Whisk everything together until a pudding-like substance forms.

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3. Crush your pecans. You can choose to toast them before adding if you’d like (bake for about 30 minutes in 1 tbsp of butter at 250 degrees). Or you can just drop them in, as is, as I did.

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4. Using a spoon, plop the mixture onto the wafer coated bottom. Then, using the back of the spoon, spread it out evenly.

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5. Repeat the previous step with the Cool Whip.

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6. If you saved some sugar wafers earlier, sprinkle them onto the top of the dessert at this time. Add the toffee bits also, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

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Gimme some oven lovin’.