The BEST Desserts to Make Today!

One thing that I kind of hate about my townhouse is the oven. (Good thing I’m moving in a couple of days- hah!) It is just… terrible. It NEVER heats up all the way and is wildly inconsistent, even when using an oven thermometer! It’s just gotten worse and worse over the last year, but since “it still heats” the property management company wouldn’t replace it. Which yes, technically makes sense, but also I ruined not one but TWO attempted desserts over the last few months because the oven temp was just so out of whack, so I really just decided I should stop baking until I move.

So naturally since I “can’t” bake at the moment, THAT IS ALL I WANT TO DO! I was going through some recipes that I’ve made trying to decide what one I wanted to make as soon as I move into the house, and I thought that I should share them with you all! These are seriously some of the most delicious things ever and I highly recommend making them!

Ginger Molasses Cookies

These bad boys are SO DELICIOUS. I have no idea why but I was seriously craving some of these a few months ago, so I decided to find the ultimate recipe to become my go-to. This was the second recipe that I tried and I just decided to stop with this one because it’s so good! They’re super hard to mess up and they come out so chewy and delicious!

Extra Gooey Rice Krispies Treats

These are a CROWD PLEASER! I usually add a little bit less rice krispies cereal when I’m making normal rice krispies treats because I like them to be gooier, but this recipe takes care of that for you. The extra marshmallows you use just give it the best texture and the best taste and yes I know that you don’t need to bake these in the oven and therefore I could make them now but also if I made them now I would just eat them all, so…

Black and White Cookies

Oh man. These are time consuming but they are worth the effort! I would say that they’re not for a beginning baker, but I still think you should all try to make them, anyway! My favorite part is the white icing – it reminds me of these cookies we used to get at the local bakery in the town I grew up in… I miss those bear cookies… but anyway, when you do make these, be sure to put the icing on the flat bottom part of the cookie! That’s what makes them seem authentic!

Sugar Cookie Bars

This, sadly, was one of the recipes that got RUINED by my oven. I’ve made these very successfully a few times before, but this time they just got burned to a crisp. Like, I couldn’t even get them out of the pan they were so solid! The frosting is definitely the best part (that’s always true tho for me) and I always like to put fun food coloring in the frosting! These are easy to share since they’re in bar form… I might have to make these my test recipe and then bring the results to work!

Peanut Butter Cookies

This has been my go-to peanut butter cookie recipe for YEARS! They come out of the oven so chewy and soft and amazing! At first it seemed weird to not do the fork imprints on a peanut butter cookie because everyone knows that’s what you’re supposed to do on a peanut butter cookie but nope these are LEGIT the best. Ok I’ve changed my mind, THESE might have to be the things I bake first!

Sprinkled Sugar Cookies

The perfect recipe when you have sprinkles to use up! These are so festive and fun and make the perfect amount to share with a few friends. They’re so soft but the sprinkles add the perfect crunch – it’s just a really lovely cookie!

Now that I’ve shared some of mine, I want to hear some of yours! What’s your favorite baked good, your ride or die treat, your most trusted recipe?

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Whole30 Products I Can’t Live Without!

You guys, sometimes cooking is hard. And sometimes cooking ends up in disaster. Like this one time during my first Whole30 where I tried to make my own sugar-free BBQ sauce. It was hard. It was a disaster. 0/10 – would not recommend. So during my most recent Whole30, I decided to save myself a little bit of time and effort and buy certain products and it seriously saved my sanity!

While I was cooking up a storm, there were a few key products that to me were worth a little extra money since they would be saving me so much time and generally making my food that much more delicious. (And honestly, delicious food is a MUST when you can only have like 5 things. I joke. Mostly.) I wanted to share some of the best things I bought and used – let me know if you have any must-have items that you buy when you’re trying to eat healthy!!

Primal Kitchen Mayo

While mayo is extremely easy to make (and I’ve made it numerous times), sometimes it’s just nice to *not* make something. This mayo tastes SO GOOD and is worth it if you’re short on time or don’t have any eggs at home. I bought their chipotle mayo for a specific recipe and it was delicious, and I doubt that I could have mixed in the spices as well as they did!

Waterloo Sparkling Water

When you can’t have soda or alcohol and you’re used to having lots of soda or alcohol, normal still water just won’t cut it. I’ve had La Croix for years and years and it’s great and all, but then I tried Waterloo. Specifically the Watermelon flavor. WHOA it’s a game changer! It’s definitely a splurge but it might be my new favorite beverage of all time.

Tessamae’s Salad Dressing

Salad dressing is another thing that I tried to make during previous rounds. I did… ok. Honestly, I didn’t really try that hard… but I don’t really eat a lot of salads, so it was ok! But for some reason this round I made a lot of recipes that used salad dressing, so this was the perfect option. My Whole Foods had a TON of their flavors and I highly recommend the Avocado Ranch!

Tessamae’s BBQ Sauce

How many times do you need to hear me say that I FAILED at making my own sugar-free BBQ sauce? One more? Ok. It was terrible and did not taste good and I still ate it because #budget and it was just miserable. This was the best money I spent during the entire Whole30.

Tessamae’s Ketchup

Same with the BBQ sauce above, buying sugar-free ketchup is the way to go for me. I don’t think I even tried to make this because I just knew that it would be a failure and not worth my time. Just go to Whole Foods and get you some. It’s worth it!

Applegate Bacon

This is a no-brainer. You have to have bacon!! Or at least, I do! My mouth is watering just thinking about this savory, delicious bacon right now. I really tried to only have the bacon when I made scrambled eggs for breakfast because it is definitely on the more expensive side, but it made my breakfast meals so much yummier!

Snap Kitchen

Ok so this really isn’t a food staple that I buy and keep on hand during my Whole30, but knowing that I can go there and grab a Whole30-compliant meal on the go is SO AMAZING. You can eat them there, but it’s more common to take it with you and eat at home or at work. It’s expensive, but it’s SO convenient! Sometimes a recipe doesn’t turn out or you just need something fast, and I’m so glad that I have this healthy eatery so close to me!

My Favorite Whole30 Recipes (and a few I only tolerated)

One thing that I wanted to do during my most recent Whole30 was cook a lot, and cook GOOD food. In previous rounds I ate pretty ok food… but it was never anything that I LOVED and honestly it felt very boring. My food was very boring. And I did NOT want to do that again. So I told myself that I could only make new-to-me recipes this go-round and it turned out so well!! I ended up eating SUCH GOOD FOOD for the most part and I feel like I really expanded my skills in the kitchen, too!

I kept a detailed list of all the food I made during the Whole30 process (and included my own notes along the way!) and I wanted to share the ones I really loved, ones I liked and would still make again, and the ones that I’m glad I tried but just kind of tolerated. It can be so daunting to plan for a Whole30 and try to think about what you’re going to make and eat, and hopefully this list can help inspire you to do some more cooking during your next round!

Chicken Alfredo Bake

This was the first meal I made and it was… not my favorite. I don’t know if it was because it was my first few days doing Whole30 or because I’m not the biggest fan of zoodles or because I was wanting a creamy alfredo sauce and instead made “alfredo” sauce out of cauliflower… whatever the reason, I chose not to repeat this recipe. If I do try to make it again, I’ll definitely wait till I’m toward the end of the 30 days and my taste buds are more used to healthier flavors.

Sweet Potato Chicken Poppers

These were so good! I loved eating them with some homemade guacamole. Mine weren’t all consistent in size and I used ground turkey instead of ground chicken because that’s what my grocery store had, but they still tasted great.

Chicken Salad

I love love LOVE a good chicken salad, and I’m so glad I still got to eat it while doing Whole30. I actually made this twice, one time using store-bought compliant mayo, and another time having made my own… and both tasted great! I love taking a big scoop of chicken salad and eating it on a bed of lettuce – so good!

Turkey Taco Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

This was really good, BUT it says that it’s a 20-minute meal and I swear I was cooking mine for at least 45 minutes. I also maimed the sweet potato shells and ruined those, so I ended up just mixing up the sweet potato innards with the filling and it was very good!

Spice Crusted Steak

This was so delicious. It was what I made for a “yay I’m halfway done!” meal and I wish I had made 20 servings instead of just 4!

Orange Chicken

Ok. This orange chicken. It ended up being a lot more effort than I originally expected (you know, more effort than picking up the phone and ordering orange chicken from down the street, lol) but it was REALLY delicious! The directions on the website seemed to lack a few details, but I made this a second time and it went a lot faster and smoother after having made it before.

Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Peppers

Very spicy but very delicious! I only bought two peppers but used the entire filling recipe, and so I had 4 very large servings. I cut up the peppers before re-heating to eat and made them bite size chunks… and realistically I probably could have split into 6 servings and still been really satisfied.

Waldorf Tuna Salad

This was way better than I thought! The fact that it used tuna kind of weirded me out at first for some reason, but I’m really glad I made it and tried it. It made 3 really large servings, and next time I’ll probably split it up into 4.

Beef with Broccoli

This recipe was just ok to me. I feel like most people would like it, though! I don’t think I was in the mood for eating beef and so I didn’t really enjoy it. I might try to make it again during my next Whole30 and see if I like it any better.

Turkey Taco Meatballs

I didn’t make any notes about these, so I guess that means they were just fine! They’d be great for a party if you needed to make little bites to share. I bought the chipotle mayo from Whole Foods and those flavors went really well together!

BBQ Burgers

This recipe calls for bison, but I used regular ol’ ground beef and they tasted really good. I also couldn’t find the Tessamae’s brand bbq sauce at the store, so I bought a different Whole30 compliant bbq sauce. Just full disclosure. Also just go ahead and buy the bbq sauce. I’ve tried to make my own in the past and it did NOT turn out well! Not good!

Oven-Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Everybody loves a good sweet potato fry! These always take longer to bake than I anticipate… and part of that might be because my oven is kind of slowly dying and the heat is never consistent… but… that’s ok! They still came out delicious and made my lunches so much better!

The ONLY Sugar Cookie Recipe You Need

Just trust me on this one – this is the BEST sugar cookie recipe I’ve tried, and I’ve tried a LOT of them! It makes a ton, it tastes delicious (both baked and raw because you know I eat at least 2 cookies-worth of dough and so do you), and it HOLDS ITS SHAPE while baking which if you’ve ever made cut-out sugar cookies, you know that is the dream right there!

I went to a bachelorette weekend over the long Memorial Day weekend and decided to bring some cookies along with me. I used this tried and true recipe and y’all… they turned out AWESOME! Yes the icing is the best part, but the cookie just tastes so good, too. There were even some “professional” decorated sugar cookies at the bridal shower that weekend, and I dare say that mine tasted WAY better. (The other girls said the same thing, so just trust me and make this recipe ASAP!)

Big Batch Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:
2 cups butter, room-temperature
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. salt
3 tsp. baking powder
6 cups flour

Instructions:
Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.
Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy.
Add eggs and vanilla and mix together.
Mix dry ingredients and add to the butter mixture, mix well.
Chill for 1 hour.
Roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thickness and cut with cookie cutters.
Bake for 8-10 minutes.
Cool 2 minutes on the baking sheet before removing to cool completely on wire racks.

Some notes on the recipe!!

I usually end up baking them for about 8 minutes and 30 seconds. You don’t want then to bake for too long or they’ll get to crunchy. When you take them out of the oven, they might look like they still need some cooking time but trust me, they’ll be perfect once they cool.

Make sure you chill the dough for at least the full hour! It makes the dough easier to roll out and helps the dough keep its shape while baking.

Try REALLY hard to get the dough rolled out evenly and to the right height. Too thin and the cookie will be too crispy, too thick and it will be too soft.

Bake the cookies on parchment paper! I just find it to be helpful.

Each time I make these cookies it seems to be a little different, but add the last cup of flour VERY SLOWLY. Sometimes I need the full 6 cups, sometimes the dough seems perfect at 5 3/4 cups. Just keep mixing until all the dough is incorporated and there aren’t any dry bits at the bottom.

Because you chilled the dough FOR THE FULL HOUR, the cookies won’t really spread when baking, so you don’t need to spread them out too far on the baking sheet.

I’ve actually shared this recipe before, but it’s just so good that it demanded to be shared AGAIN!!! The previous post also had a recipe for glaze, but don’t use that one because I’ve updated how I make it and how I use it and I plan on making another, more detailed post about that in the next few weeks or so.

 

Mom’s Cinna-mini’s

I’m not a huge breakfast person. I know that it’s so important and you’re never supposed to skip it and blah blah blah, but sometimes I just forget and most times I’m just running late, so breakfast often goes out the window. Lately I’ve been trying intermittent fasting (where you don’t eat from 7pm to 11am) so it’s almost “ok” to skip breakfast, but I’m getting away from my point. My point is that while I don’t always love to eat breakfast, I do ALWAYS love to eat a deliciously sweet breakfast!

I have a very specific memory of my mom making mini cinnamon rolls once when I had a friend spend the night. It was such a simple treat, but it felt SO special. Every time she made them was just the BEST morning, and when she taught me how to make them (they’re SO easy, it’s ridiculous) I was so excited. I still make them for myself from time to time, and it always gives me a nice, nostalgic feeling.

I made them this past weekend because I wanted a little breakfast treat, and I just love how easy these are to make! All you need is a tube of crescent rolls, butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract.

Step 1 || Unroll crescent roll dough and divide into 4 sections. Press the diagonal perforations together on both sides.

Step 2 || Brush softened or melted butter on one side of the crescent roll dough.

Step 3 || Spread brown sugar and cinnamon on the 4 dough rectangles. (Don’t use too much, but make sure you get it completely covered!)

Step 4 || Roll the dough along the long edge and cut into 6 or 8 even sections.

Step 5 || Place the cut cinna-minis into a small baking pan and bake according to the crescent roll directions. (I ended up baking mine for 4 minutes longer – just watch them and make sure you don’t burn them!)

Step 6 || Make the icing! You can make this as thick or as thin as you want, but I used 8 tablespoons powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon milk, and a few drops of vanilla extract.

Step 7 || Drizzle the icing over warm rolls and EAT!!!!