as GOLD as it gets

Life's adventures should be fully accessorized!


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the BEST cookies (again!)

I shared my favorite cookie recipe here before, but I took some new pictures of them and they are literally just as good as they were before. They are commonly known as Monster cookies with mini M&M’s and chocolate chips, but there is nothing scary about these cookies. They are simple and a huge crowd-pleaser (they’ve even been equated to crack).

the best m+m and chocolate chip cookies


cookies on baking sheet

This time I used 1 Tbs scooper but usually use a 2 Tbs scoop for even sizes.
cookies fresh out of the ovenDon’t these make you just salivate looking at them fresh out of the oven?

You’ll want to use both mini m&m’s and mini chocolate chips but the dough has so much flavor they don’t even need a ton of “stuff” in them.

The recipe is here and also here from Picky Palate .


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simple + fresh strawberry cake

I like to think of this cake as a serving a fruit – it’s packed with fresh strawberries – that works, right? It’s not the prettiest cake but it is DE-LISH.

basket of strawberries

It’s easy, fresh and doesn’t take too long to make. A literal – dump all the ingredients, beat and bake- sort of cake.

simple and fresh strawberry cake
simple + fresh strawberry cake Continue reading


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glazed donut muffins

I have such a great recipe suggestion today. It’s versatile and delicious. It could be dessert or breakfast… Muffins that taste like glazed donuts (+ they are baked!)
glazed donut muffin

Does anyone else accumulate this much mess while they cook? #whatadrag
kitchen mess
donut batter
just out of ovenThese rise perfectly everytime. They have a vibrant aroma of nutmeg and cinnamon – and taste amazing.
donut glaze

glazed donut muffins

These muffins really do taste just like a glazed donut and are so easy!
To get the full recipe check out Sweet Pea’s Kitchen.


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crock pot balsamic pork

Is anyone else scared of big slabs of uncooked meat? It’s incredibly daunting to ensure that you cook it where it doesn’t give someone e.coli (or worse) + is appetizing. I was really nervous about this because pork can be a little pricey to screw up…and I know this from experience.

balsamic pork crock potI added a few things to Skinnytaste’s recipe but I don’t think it would really challenge the “skinny” aspect of the recipe.

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black bean burgers

I have a confession – I like really LOVE Skinnytaste’s recipes and I really love black bean burgers. I like to make her recipes when people come over or when I want to try something new because I can always count on the reliability of her recipes. I’ve made these black bean burgers a few times before, although I can’t speak to the chipotle mayonnaise because someone in our house has an aversion to everything mayo or milk-based…

black bean burgers

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spinach tortellini tomato soup

spinach tortellini tomato soup

I’ve mentioned that I’m not really a pasta person…but this soup is DELISH! When I first moved to Philly my roommate and worked + lived together and pretty much hung out constantly in our spare time. She use to make fun of me because, I for some reason, bought tortellini and had it in the freezer… I don’t even think I ever planned to eat it and really don’t know why I even bought it. Every time I would mutter the words “I wonder what I should make for dinner…” Andrea’s first words were always “YOU HAVE THAT TORTELLINI IN THE FREEZER!” Like that was suppose to make it appetizing…there’s a reason its been in the freezer so long! But thinking about that makes me smile to this day.

So get your frozen tortellini out of the fridge and make this soup. (If you don’t…I’m sure Andrea will find you and tell you too!).

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homemade marshmallows – butter’s famous recipe

I’m not a huge fan of marshmallows but I’ve been curious about making homemade ones as I’ve heard they are really impressive. I’ve stopped making things myself that are cheap to purchase unless they are dramatic differences because once you purchase all the ingredients, cook/bake it, its sometimes astronomically more time-consuming and expensive than just picking something up at the store. But these marshmallows are worth it!

homemademarshmallow

I searched the interwebs for the best recipe I could find and settled on Butter’s Famous Marshmallows. My few criteria were as follows : limited stove-top time, no candy thermometer needed and (mostly) simple ingredients that I already had at home. And this recipe fits the bill.

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I was excited when I came across this recipie for Chicken & Veggie Handpies from Rachel Schultz, you can find her post here.

Boy was she right. These are delicious! I decided to stuff a lot more veggies to mine, but the general idea is the same!

I started out making my own piecrust, from none other than Smitten Kitchen. I had never made it before, but let me tell you it was divine! She had such a good explanation for every step that I never felt confused. You could also use a boxed pie crust, but what is the fun in that? (I mean, probably a lot of fun as in, doing fun things by saving a lot of time…but I just love saying “I made it from scratch!”)

I replaced one potato with a bag of Green Giant, Backyard Potatoes- I had them on hand and they are delicious and easy.

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I also added some frozen spinach and corn that I had on hand. Excuse the iphone photos on my non-glam counter.

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1 bag green giant backyard potatoes
1 cup of corn
1 cup of spinach
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
2 carrots, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
14 ounces chicken stock
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 egg
Salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Microwave Backyard Potatoes for time on bag, usually 5-8 minutes. Meanwhile, cook onion, celery, carrots, corn and olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Cook for about 10-12 minutes, until onions are tender. Add in spinach for a minute or two- you don’t want soggy spinach. Season with salt & pepper. Add butter, cooked chicken, and broth to skillet and allow to simmer for a few minutes.

Add flour and mix well, forming a thick pie filling. Slice pie crust into large squares, make sure they are the same size so they can easily have a partner. Arrange 4 pie squares on a lined baking sheet. Spoon chicken filling onto squares, leaving plenty of room to seal the dough. Place the matching square on top and seal. Place two incisions in the top of the dough with a sharp knife.

Whisk together egg and 1 tablespoon of water. Brush over tops of pastries and bake in oven for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.

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These got the JPS stamp of approval- we ate these for days! Thanks for the great recipe Rachel!


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Pesto Ranch Slow Cooker Chicken

I’ve been hitting some wins in the kitchen!

I recently found this pin which is a recipe from picky palate. Which I’ve just been trying to find a day that would work to try it out. It took me all of 5 minutes to dump the ingredients into the crockpot and I was merrily on my way to work. Now I think if you can make anything at 630am thats an accomplishment. But this really was because it tasted (and smelled) amazing.

I used less chicken (4 pieces), less pesto (half a jar) and more broth (around 1.5 cups) and changed the ranch packet to be the spicy ranch packet (actually that was JPS- it gave it a little kick!)

The chicken was so tender and the pesto and ranch combined were a great pair- it definitely didn’t have too much of a ranch flavor but I think a smoother ending than leaving you with a mouthful of basil. The only thing I didn’t like about the recipe- which is so vain- is it didnt look good. It floats in the mixture all day- and then you definitely want that flavor- so you want to keep pesto on the chicken- but it looks like mushy spinach or something. Do not be dismayed- however ugly it is. It makes up tenfold in taste! We paired it with a broccoli/carrot/pepper veggie mix and grilled potatoes. It would be perfect for a summer dinner outside!

photoI could never figure out why everyone raves about crockpots, until I got my own. I wish I planned meals out enough to throw all of our meals in them and run out the door. But I’m not that planned out yet. ONE DAY.


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Recipe: Lemon Thyme and Blackberry Glaze Donuts!

Who knew there was such a thing as lemon thyme? The original recipe I found from here on Heather Cristo’s blog, but I couldn’t find any lemon balm- even at whole foods so I opted to replace it with lemon thyme- close enough right? I bought some lemon just in case I felt like I needed to up the anty of the lemon flavor…thats what I was after, after all. Once I started cutting the thyme it was definitely lemon fragrant, so I didn’t feel like I needed to put anymore in. I basically otherwise followed the recipe, instead baking at 350 for 15 min as my oven needed that extra heat and time. I also didn’t have any cream, so I used a little half and half in the glaze instead- it was fine.

I was excited to use my new donut pan that I bought at Crate and Barrel yesterday and having these pinned for forever, I knew they would be the first thing I made. I am eagerly waiting JPS’ return to see if he likes them as well! They seem to be a hit on instagram so far!

Starting off my blogging career. First batch of baked donuts