From the category archives:


choco choco mint cookies

by @according2kelly on March 6, 2014


science has practically proven that fresh baked cookies & a cold glass of milk are the answer to MOST of life’s problems.

especially these choco choco mint cookies.

pretty sure they are the solution to world peace, & a whole lot more.

choco choco mint cookies

2 sticks of room temperature butter
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
2 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 10-oz bag andes creme de menthe baking chips
1 12-oz bag white chocolate chips
1 cup of each: milk chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, & dark chocolate chips

1. cream butter & sugars
2. mix in eggs, vanilla, baking soda
3. slowly add flour, salt, baking powder & chocolate chips

bake at 350 degrees for 12-14 minutes or until slightly browned on the edges

* there’s alot of chocolate chips involved in this recipe (hence the name choco choco mint cookies) – the exact amounts don’t really matter, i just think they taste best with a little variety.

* i always bake these cookies on a silpat or parchment paper & you want to take them out of the oven when they are just barely browned on the edges & still soft.

* just like any other cookie, keep these in an air-tight container. because of all the sugar, they seem to harden up a wee bit faster than other cookies – but no worries, they usually don’t last long enough for anyone to notice.

choco choco mint cookies are best served with an ice cold glass of milk (or chocolate milk, if you want to live on the wild side). be careful though, they are addicting – just giving you fair warning. i don’t want to hear any complaints when you can’t stop eating them.




making whoopie.

by @according2kelly on February 10, 2014

red-velvet-whoopie-piesit’s become a bit of a valentine’s tradition, but i made whoopie last night.

red velvet whoopie pies that is.


protein fight club: good days start with milk

by @according2kelly on October 19, 2013


it doesn’t matter what “form” your milk takes (cup, bowl, plate, or glass) – as long as you are starting your day with milk.

long before becoming an official milk ambassador, the kids & i began each & every day with milk.

milk is literally a breakfast powerhouse – packed with 9 essential nutrients, including 8 grams of high-quality protein in every 8-oz glass, which helps fuel successful days.

too many of us skip breakfast because we (think we) just don’t have enough time. but that doesn’t have to be the case.

smoothies are my absolute “fast food” & the protein-packed berry burst is my typical go-to.


protein-packed berry burst smoothie recipe

1 packet – plain instant oatmeal
½ cup – fat free or lowfat milk
½ cup – strawberries, hulled, chopped
1 tablespoon – honey
1/8 teaspoon – ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon – walnuts, chopped

* generally i add an assortment of berries & other fruits, & omit the cinnamon

combine first five ingredients in the carafe of a blender. Cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, blend the mixture until smooth. Top with chopped walnuts.

cinnamon-oatmeal pancakesalthough, on those mornings when i have a little more time to whip something up on the “griddle,” these cinnamon-oatmeal pancakes are a new favorite.

cinnamon-oatmeal pancakes

2 cups – prepared pancake mix (regular or whole-grain)
½ cup – old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats (not instant)
2 tablespoons – brown sugar
1 teaspoon – ground cinnamon
1¼ cups – fat free or lowfat milk
2 – eggs
2 tablespoons – butter
2 cups – granny smith apple, chopped
1 cup – maple syrup
1 teaspoon – vanilla extract

heat a griddle to 350°F. in a bowl, stir the pancake mix, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, milk, and eggs together until blended (a few lumps are okay). lightly coat griddle with nonstick spray, then pour 1/3 cup batter per pancake onto griddle. when the pancakes appear dry on the edges and bubbles appear on the surface, turn over with a spatula and continue to cook until done. serve warm with apple-maple syrup.

apple-maple syrup

in a large skillet melt the butter over medium heat. add the apple and sauté, stirring often, until apples are soft but not mushy, about 3 minutes. add the maple syrup, bring to a simmer, and remove from heat. stir in the vanilla and keep warm until ready to serve the pancakes.

just remember, it’s not breakfast without milk.

for more information, including quick & nutritious breakfast ideas for your family, visit or

disclaimer: i am proud to be a milk mustache ambassador. while i am compensated for this campaign by MILKPEP– our days really & truly are fueled by milk. at any given time you will find at least 4 gallons of “white” milk & 1 gallon of “chocolate” milk in our refrigerator. we always “got milk!”

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cinnamon roll bread pudding

by @according2kelly on October 15, 2013


cinnamon roll bread pudding. it might not look like much, but trust me. it’s amazingly delicious.

cinnamon rolls (just like mom used to make), baked together in a warm pudding.

served warm and drizzled with, or in my case drenched with, ooey gooey vanilla frosting icing.

cinnamon roll bread pudding & ooey gooey vanilla frosting icing

pudding ingredients:
4 cups cubed cinnamon rolls (i used the mini cinnamon rolls from costco)
2 cups milk
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

ooey gooey vanilla frosting icing:
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-4 tablespoons milk or cream

heat oven to 350°F. place cinnamon roll cubes in a large bowl. combine milk and 1/4 cup butter in 1-quart saucepan. cook over medium heat until butter is melted (4 to 7 minutes). pour milk mixture over bread; let stand 10 minutes.

stir in all remaining pudding ingredients. pour into greased 1 1/2-quart casserole. bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until set in center.

combine all sauce ingredients in a bowl. then stir in enough milk or cream to reach a thick, hardly-able to stir consistency..

to serve, spoon warm pudding into individual dessert dishes; serve with sauce. store refrigerated.

pretty sure that cinnamon roll bread pudding is my new favorite breakfast, dessert & everything in between.


very berry salad {recipe}

by @according2kelly on August 16, 2013

very berry salad, it’s one of my favorite summer go-to’s…

fresh berries (including strawberries, raspberries, blackberries & blueberries), a poppy seed dressing & cinnamon roasted almonds – it’s practically a dessert.

very berry salad recipevery berry salad recipe

fresh strawberries (or thawed, frozen)
fresh raspberries (or thawed, frozen)
fresh blackberries (or thawed, frozen)
fresh blueberries (or thawed, frozen)
cinnamon-roasted almonds (store bought or make your own)
brianna’s poppy seed salad dressing

toss all of the ingredients together, & enjoy the deliciousness.

& if you haven’t figured it out already… this is the quickest, tastiest, not to mention prettiest salad ever.

i promise, you’ll want to lick the bowl clean.



pretty sure i use running as an excuse reason to carbo-load on cookies.

& these peanut butter, oatmeal, butterscotch, chocolate chip cookies are no exception.

not only are they absolutely perfect for carboloading – but because they have both peanut butter AND oatmeal, they’re practically healthy.

peanut butter, oatmeal, butterscotch,
chocolate chip cookie recipe

1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup oats (quick or old fashioned)
1 1/2 cups (or an entire bag) milk chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups (or an entire bag) butterscotch chips

1. preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. in a mixing bowl, combine butter and sugars.
3. stir in peanut butter, vanilla and egg until well combined.
4. add flour, baking soda and salt.
5. using a spoon, fold in oats and chocolate chips and mix until combined.
6. roll into 1″ balls and place on a lightly greased baking sheet.
7. bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown.

best enjoyed warm, with a TALL glass of ice cold milk.


pineapple upside down cake

by @according2kelly on May 28, 2013

pineapple upside down cake – it’s the ultimate bbq dessert.

practically as american as apple pie, just with a slightly more tropical twist. (i think a virgin piña colada is calling my name.)


it’s quick, it’s easy, plus the ooey-gooey caramel sauce will have everyone asking for a second (& even third) slice.

and have i mentioned that there isn’t any frosting? i’m the type of girl that usually requires frosting – but this pineapple upside down cake is perfect all by itself, not to mention it’s one less thing you have to make.

pineapple upside down cake

1 box yellow cake mix (i prefer the kind with pudding)
1 can of pineapple slices or crushed pineapple (the slices definitely look prettier & work well in a 9×13 pan or a round cake pan, although i prefer crushed pineapple because then you get a bit of pineapple in every single bite)
1 stick of butter
1 cup of brown sugar

melt butter in a saucepan. add brown sugar and simmer over moderate heat, stirring for approximately four minutes, then remove from heat.

pour brown sugar into pan (i like to use a bundt cake pan because i think it’s pretty, but any cake pan will do). if you are using pineapple slices, arrange pineapple on top of brown sugar mixture, overlapping pieces slightly. if you are using crushed pineapple, simply spread a think layer on top of the brown sugar mixture. either way, make sure to save the pineapple juice – it’s practically liquid gold.

prepare cake mix as directed on package, substituting pineapple juice for some (if not ALL) of the water called for.  slowly pour cake mix over pineapple.

bake at 350 for 45 minutes, or until toothpick insterted in cake comes out clean.
* for a moister cake, cover (with a glass cake dome, or plastic wrap) before it has cooled completely.


paradise salsa

by @according2kelly on April 11, 2013


last summer we spent 10 incredible days in paradise… we swam, played in the surf, discovered the local ruins, “xplored” underground caves filled with stalactites and stalagmites, ziplined our way across the jungle & ate way more chips, salsa & guacamole than i’d care to admit.

while i’ve definitely missed paradise itself, lately i’ve been dreaming & craving the homemade salsa we practically lived on.

let’s face it – salsa from a “jar” just isn’t the same as homemade.

luckily, the hotel chef, shared his salsa recipe with me, as long as i promised not to share it with anyone (other than my close friends).

good thing we are all close, personal friends…

salsa-to-die-forparadise salsa

3 tomatoes, roasted in the oven
2 serrano peppers, roasted in the oven
1/4 of an onion, roasted in the oven
2 cloves of garlic, roasted in the oven
fresh cilantro leaves, to taste
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste

mix everything together in a blender, making sure to leave some big chunks.



chocolate banana bread pudding

by @according2kelly on April 1, 2013

chocolate banana bread pudding – it’s the ultimate comfort dessert.


banana bread (just like mom used to make – with a hint of coconut), combined with the ooey goodnes of melted chocolate, baked together in a warm pudding.

served warm with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream & topped with an ooey gooey carmel sauce, or… if you’re feeling decadent – homemade hot fudge.

chocolate banana bread pudding

(recipe adapted from zoe bakes)

2 cups heavy cream
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
2 cups half and half
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
2 loaves of your favorite banana bread, (my favorite banana bread recipe includes additional chocolate chips & a sprinkling of coconut), cut into 1/2-inch cubes


preheat oven to 300°F. fill a large oven-safe bowl with the bread banana bread cubes & set aside.

in a medium sized sauce pan bring the cream to a simmer. remove fro heat & add the chocolate. swirl the pot so the chocolate is completely covered by the cream, cover the pot and let sit for 3 minutes.

whisk the cream and chocolate together until smooth. add the half and half, brown sugar,and vanilla.

in a separate bowl whisk together the eggs and yolks. add the eggs to the chocolate mixture and mix until combined.

pour milk mixture over the bread; let stand 10 minutes.

bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until set in center.

remove from the oven and allow to sit for 15 minutes before serving.

best served warm (although it’s pretty tasty cold too) with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

feel free to top with ooey gooey caramel sauce, or homemade hot fudge if you’d prefer something a wee bit more decadent.

ooey goeey caramel sauce

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon vanilla

combine all sauce ingredients except vanilla in 1-quart saucepan. cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens and comes to a full boil (5 to 8 minutes). stir in vanilla.


taste the rainbow

by @according2kelly on March 16, 2013


i don’t know about you, but these chocolate covered cookies are almost too pretty to eat.

but here’s my warning… they are absolutely delicious – once you start nibbling, it’s pretty hard to stop.

not to mention, they just look fancy – people will “ohhhh!” & “ahhhh!” when they realize YOU made them.

& trust me, you CAN make these. they are super duper easy….

chocolate-covered-cookie-supplies.chocolate covered cookies

chocolate covered cookie supplies:

* cookie mold (available at craft stores, i’ve always bought mine at michael’s)
* colored chocolate or candy wafers (i usually use wilton candy melts also available at michael’s)
* oreo cookies (i think the single stuff works best)

chocolate covered cookie directions:

Candy-chocolate-melts copy

step one: place candy melts, candy wafers or coarsely chopped chocolate into a microwave safe bowl (i prefer a glass bowl – i feel it melts more evenly).

Melt-chocolate copy

step two: microwave at 50% power for 1 minute, then stir well. continue to microwave for 30 second intervals, stirring well after each interval, until smooth

fill-cookie-moldsstep three: spoon the melted chocolate into the mold cavities, approximately 1/3 full. tap the mold onto the table to settle the chocolate, and remove any trapped air.


step four: press the oreo cookie into the chocolate mold. make sure to center it in the mold cavity, horizontally and vertically. as you press the oreo into the mold, the chocolate will rise up around the sides, embedding the cookie, and leaving only the top uncovered.


step five: spoon melted chocolate over the embedded oreo, filling the mold and completely covering the cookie. gently tap mold on counter to settle the chocolate. if necessary, level the chocolate by scraping away the excess with a silicone spatula or a knife.

step six: allow the chocolate to harden, (i usually all the molds to chill in the freezer for approximately 10 minutes. then turn the mold upside down and press on the back center of the cavity to release the chocolate covered oreos.


the best part about chocolate covered cookies? the possibilities are endless..

try different flavors of oreo cookies (or, during the holidays use the trader joe’s candy cane jojo’s). play with different colored chocolate combinations. display them prettily on a cookie or cake platter. or, give them away tucked inside a cellophane bag or mason jars.

really & truly, chocolate covered cookies are definitely a trick you want to have up your sleeve!