Fruit Pizza Cookies

Fruit Pizza CookiesThese fruit pizza cookies have been a long time coming. And when I say a “long time,” I mean a LONG time. I actually made these beauties LAST summer and they have been waiting to be posted ever since. Mostly because by the time I got around to posting them last year I realized it was practically fall and *way* too late to post a recipe featuring fruit and berries. I’m cutting it close this time but I’m going to declare that it’s still summer and I’m not late this time! I did just make them again recently, which helped prompt me to post them. Plus, I certainly cannot let another year go by without posting these because that would be depriving you of fruit pizza goodness. And I’m not a mean person like that.

Fruit Pizza CookiesWhat is a fruit pizza cookie? Simple…you take a fruit pizza (you all know what that is, I hope) and shrink it into a cookie size. Did I seriously have to explain that? Probably not, but I like to make myself clear. Best part is that you feel like you get to eat your own entire fruit pizza without having to share. WIN! You might even feel obligated to eat a couple, or few “pizzas” once you take into account that the fruit practically makes up for the heaps of butter, making them basically healthy…in a way. I would NEVER eat more than one though. Nope. Never…The baby wanted one too though so I may have eaten one for him. It totally counts.

Fruit Pizza CookiesThese are great for parties because they can be easily picked up on the go! No cutting required! Even better, leave the cookies, frosting, and fruit out for a decoration station AT the party. First, you have less work to do to frost and decorate them and second, you just became every child’s best friend. Or mine, if I’m at the party. If you do make them ahead, I would suggest that you frost and put the fruit on not much more than a couple of hours before you serve them or else they will get a little limp. I found that they mostly will get a little soft when they have strawberries on them, which makes sense since strawberries have a lot of water in them. Also, make sure you get the fruit as dry as you can prior to decorating for this exact reason.

Fruit Pizza CookiesOnce the fruit pizza cookies are frosted and decorated, I keep them refrigerated until serving to keep the fruit pretty and the cream cheese frosting chilled. I found that if I put parchment paper between the layers of cookies, it helps keep everything from becoming a sloppy mess. If it did become a sloppy mess though I’m sure someone would still be willing to eat them. If you can’t find anyone, you can always call me and I’ll find someone to take care of eating them…yeah.

Fruit Pizza Cookies
Yields 36
Mini fruit pizzas! Delicious sugar cookies with cream cheese frosting, topped with fresh fruit and berries.
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Prep Time
40 min
Cook Time
11 min
Prep Time
40 min
Cook Time
11 min
Ingredients for the cookies
  1. 1 cup butter, room temperature
  2. 1 1/2 cups sugar
  3. 2 eggs
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  5. 3 cups flour
  6. 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  7. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  8. 1/2 teaspoon salt
Ingredients for the frosting
  1. 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  2. 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  3. 2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  5. 1/8 teaspoon salt
  6. 1 tablespoon milk
  7. Fruit and berries of your choice (I used kiwi, blueberries, and strawberries)
Directions for the cookies
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cream 1 cup butter and sugar in a large bowl using a mixer. Mix in the eggs, one at a time, and 1 teaspoon vanilla until well combined.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and combine (I used the mixer but you can do this by hand).
  5. Cover and chill the cookie dough in the refrigerator for at least 20-30 minutes.
  6. Once chilled, roll out the dough to 1/4" thickness on a well floured surface and use a cookie cutter (or a mason jar works!) to cut out circles. I made about 36 cookies using a 2.5" diameter cookie cutter and about 28 using a 3" cutter. Keep in mind they will spread, so they will end up slightly bigger than what you cut out.
  7. Place cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet with plenty of space between the cookies (I only put 5 per sheet for the 3" cookies).
  8. Bake for 8-11 minutes (smaller cookies require the low baking time and large require the longer time) or until the edges are just starting to get golden brown.
  9. Remove from the oven and let cool on tray for 1-2 minutes before moving them to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
Directions for the frosting
  1. To prepare the fruit, cut into desired sizes/shapes and place on a paper towel. Pat dry using paper towels. Let them sit on the paper towel until ready to use to make sure they are very dry.
  2. Combine cream cheese, 1/2 cup butter, confectioners sugar, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon vanilla with a mixer starting on low and moving to medium speed. Once combined, add the milk and mix on medium-high for 1-2 minutes.
To prepare the cookies
  1. Frost the cookies with the cream cheese frosting and decorate with the fruit.
Notes
  1. I use parchment paper between layers when storing the cookies to keep them separated. I would recommend frosting them and adding the fruit not much more than a couple of hours before serving for the best result, as they can become a little soft if they sit for too long.
Flavor From Scratch http://www.flavorfromscratch.com/

Sesame Ginger Green Beans

Sesame Ginger Green BeansThere’s nothing more summer-like than fresh green beans. So green and fresh and crisp. YUM! We’re growing green beans in our backyard…the rabbit that keeps popping up around our yard appears to enjoy them. There are lots of blooms on our green bean plants. The baby green beans look like they have great potential. Usually the day after I notice a couple green beans that are close to full grown we find some nice stems that were eaten clean by that very sneaky bunny.

Sesame Ginger Green BeansHowever, I have to say that I did save 1 green bean from said rabbit and it can be seen here in these pictures! Yes, one single green bean. A little sad, but still, I’m like a proud parent. I have no idea which lonely green bean is ours unfortunately, but it’s in there! The rest came from my mother-in-law, who brought them from VanScoy Farms, so I could still be assured that they would be fresh and delicious.

Sesame Ginger Green BeansThis recipe is little different from other green bean recipes with its slightly Asian inspired ingredients. I guess you could say I’m embracing the spirit of the Olympics and thinking more global. Plus they’re delicious. Let’s be honest, delicious is my main concern here. Also, slightly spicy, which adds a new and interesting flavor to the green beans. I’m so used to the typical salt and pepper take on fresh green beans, which is also delicious, I may add. This just seems like a great way to “spice” up your green bean eating experience…no pun intended. Ok, pun intended.

Sesame Ginger Green BeansSpeaking of the Olympics, have any of you been sucked into the games like I have? I’ll start by saying that I don’t know much about sports. The only sport I ever participated in was cross country. If anyone knows the rules to cross country you know there aren’t any really. Pretty much just stay on the path and run the fastest. However, I somehow legitimately feel like I’m a sports expert all of a sudden for every summer sport ever. Travis and I have no problem doling out scores on gymnastics and diving, talking about who has the best chance for swimming or cycling based on their turns and form, and watching beach volleyball like our lives depend on it. I’m pretty sure the irony only grows when you think about the fact that I’m almost 9 months pregnant, sitting on the couch, and eating ice cream while this occurs. Maybe I’m living vicariously through the athletes, remembering what it was like to touch my toes…

Sesame Ginger Green Beans
Serves 3
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 pound green beans, ends trimmed
  2. 1 tablespoon honey
  3. 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  4. 1/2 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  5. 1 clove garlic, minced
  6. 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
  7. 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  8. 1/2 teaspoon Sriracha
  9. 1/2 cup frozen peas
  10. salt and pepper, to taste
  11. 1-2 teaspoons sesame seeds
Instructions
  1. Bring large pot of water to a boil. While it is coming to a boil, prepare an ice bath by adding ice to a large bowl of water.
  2. Add the beans to the boiling water for approximately 4 minutes (a little less if they are small or more if they are large). Remove beans from the water with tongs and place directly in the ice bath. This will help stop the cooking and keep the beans bright green. Let them sit about 5 minutes in the ice water.
  3. Drain the beans and pat dry with a towel. You can refrigerate them at this point to finish later, if desired.
  4. Mix the honey, vegetable oil, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, and Sriracha in a bowl.
  5. Pour sauce mixture into a large saute pan over medium heat. Stir continuously until the sauce becomes bubbly (about 2 minutes).
  6. Add in green beans. Heat until warm. Add in peas and salt and pepper, to taste. Saute until peas are heated through. Top with sesame seeds.
Adapted from The Cafe Sucre Farine
Flavor From Scratch http://www.flavorfromscratch.com/

Watermelon Lemonade

Watermelon lemonadeWhat better way to cool off in this summer heat than ice cold lemonade? What if you could kick it up a notch and really impress yourself with a simple WATERMELON lemonade?!? I’m talking homemade, let’s have a party since I’m so cool (or maybe just drink it all myself) goodness. If the watermelon and lemons don’t have you excited, add a little mint into the simple syrup and you’re on your way to a beach somewhere to soak up some summer sun. At least you can pretend…

Watermelon lemonadeI love lemonade but unfortunately, if you’re like me, you usually get it out of a can, bottle, or maybe in the form of a strange powder that magically becomes lemonade. Every once in a while (a GREAT while), you go to the local fair or amusement park and can get that good real stuff. You know, the lemonade in the cups with the pictures lemons on the side that they shake up in front of you. You even get the extra kick of sugar at the bottom once it all settles there. Best leftover sweet ice ever! Maybe you don’t know what I’m talking about, in which case, just know that the real stuff is WAY better than the stuff out of a container.

Watermelon lemonadeNow, I’m making mine with a simple syrup, which means you won’t be eating sugar ice since the sugar all dissolves in water prior to being added into the lemonade. But, it’s ok. We all know that I don’t need that extra sugar at the bottom of the cup anyways. Plus, with the watermelon addition, you are already halfway to the perfect sweet and sour drink. 

Watermelon lemonadeThe mint was something I added since I had it in my backyard and I love the flavor of mint and watermelon. It just brightens the flavors up even more and makes summer taste even better. You can make this without the mint if you don’t have any, but definitely give it a shot if you can. Also, it’s not a super strong flavor as written in the recipe so add more mint if you want to punch up the flavor even more! Do it! I dare you! Peer pressure always works. 

As an added bonus to this sweet summer delight, check out this great article, 25 Science-Backed Health Benefits of Watermelon. It will only convince you more that you need to make this lemonade…like now.

Watermelon Lemonade
Serves 8
Lemonade with the kicked up flavor of watermelon and mint. Perfect for summer!
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup sugar
  2. 1 cup water + 4 cups water
  3. 8-10 mint leaves
  4. 6 heaping cups cubed seedless watermelon
  5. 3/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
Instructions
  1. Heat the sugar, 1 cup of water, and mint leaves (roughly torn to help infuse the flavor better) in a small pan over medium heat. Stir constantly until the sugar completely dissolves. This is your simple syrup. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.
  2. Blend the cubed watermelon and lemon juice in a blender until pureed.
  3. Strain out the mint from the simple syrup and add the syrup to the blender. Pulse the blender to blend everything together. If it tastes too sour at this point, blend in a little more watermelon. If it's too sweet, add in a little more lemon juice (keep in mind the mixture will be diluted with water).
  4. Pour mixture into a pitcher and add in 4 cups of water. Stir.
  5. Refrigerate about 30 minutes, or until chilled.
  6. Serve over ice.
Notes
  1. You can make this without the mint, though I love the additional flavor.
  2. If you want this lemonade completely smooth, you can strain the lemonade mixture prior to adding the 4 cups of water. Otherwise, it will have a slightly "pulpy" texture from the watermelon.
  3. If the flavor is too strong for your taste, add a little more water at the end.
Flavor From Scratch http://www.flavorfromscratch.com/

Rosemary Cheddar Squash Bread

rosemary cheddar squash breadLet’s start with the good stuff. I was able to make this delicious rosemary cheddar squash bread recently which was AMAZING! I’m so used to seeing zucchini or squash in sweet cakes or breads. This recipe was quite the welcome change and totally worth it! When my in-laws came to visit recently my mother-in-law brought me some gorgeous squash from VanScoy Farms in Ohio so of course I immediately started thinking of options. After eating some of it plain because, yum, I used about half of a yellow squash to make this bread. Also, yum.

rosemary cheddar squash breadThe rosemary adds that lovely earthy flavor that I adore. I am obsessed with the fact that our rosemary is finally growing in our back yard so I was super excited to put it to good use. You can certainly mix up the herbs in this recipe to fit your taste or use dried herbs if you don’t have fresh (but try the fresh if you can!). Chives seem to always be in abundance in our yard and it’s a perfect pair for this savory bread. Also, let’s at least mention how the olive oil is SPOT ON in this recipe and adds more earthy, savory flavor that can’t be replicated without it. Scrumptious!

rosemary cheddar squash breadNow to the not so good stuff of the week…the worst thing that could possibly EVER happen to a food lover happened this week. Yes, my oven broke. Dun dun duuun. I was making Travis his birthday dinner (steak and mac and cheese, of course) when all of a sudden my oven popped and sparked and then it started beeping and beeping more and beeping louder and LOUDER and then the dreaded “error” suddenly appeared on the little screen. *Sigh* Keep in mind, the beeping kept going. And of course this entire time I was panicked from the loud pop and spark and was absolutely CERTAIN the oven was about to explode. I can be a little overdramatic at times. But hey, an oven freak out is not something that happens everyday.

After I got my head a little more together, which was hard with the beeping from the oven that would not go away, I decided the best route of action was to turn off the electrical fuse. Travis was running an errand so I was pretty proud of myself to think of this…even if it’s fairly obvious. Unfortunately I couldn’t find the right fuse so I was becoming more and more panicked as everything else seemed to turn off EXCEPT the oven. And the beeping. just. would. not. go. away!! Luckily as I started to reach maximum panic, Travis showed up and took over the situation. Thank goodness for handy husbands that can read panic on their wives faces.

I am happy to say that dinner was mostly done at this point, so we were still able to eat an unfortunately somewhat average birthday dinner due to all the issues. Nonetheless, it was food and it was cooked. Also, in other good news, my handy husband was able to order a new electronic panel (which apparently is what shorted and popped and sparked) that showed up magically fast and the oven is working very nicely again. No explosions did occur in this situation despite my panic and all is well in my kitchen again. We only ended up with a few days thrown together leftover meals until the oven part came, so I really can’t complain that much. Let’s just say, I love my oven when it works. Especially to make things like this squash bread!rosemary cheddar squash bread

Rosemary Cheddar Squash Bread
Yields 1
Wonderfully savory and herb-y squash bread.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  3. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  4. 1 teaspoon salt
  5. 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  6. 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped (or 2 teaspoons dried and chopped)
  7. 2 tablespoons diced chives
  8. 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  9. 2 eggs
  10. 1/4 cup olive oil
  11. 1/2 cup milk
  12. 1 cup shredded and packed squash or zucchini
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pepper). Stir in rosemary, chives, and cheddar cheese.
  3. In a separate bowl, use a whisk to beat together the eggs, oil and milk.
  4. Place the shredded squash in a cheese cloth or kitchen tea towel and squeeze any extra moisture out. Add the squash to the liquid mixture and stir.
  5. Add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
  6. Pour batter into a greased loaf pan.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Cool on a wire rack before cutting.
Notes
  1. You can use a mix of herbs or your favorite herbs in place of the rosemary, but rosemary is a favorite of mine.
Adapted from Graceful Little Honey Bee
Flavor From Scratch http://www.flavorfromscratch.com/

Veggie Fried Rice

Veggie Fried RiceVeggie fried rice has quickly become one of my “go-to” recipes. It’s quick, healthy, and pretty darn delicious. Travis and I started eating it fairly regularly for lunches with some leftover grilled chicken or pork on it. Best. Lunch. EVER! Also, really easy to transport since it’s not liquid-y or anything. That’s a good thing since Travis tends to throw his lunch container in his work bag along with everything else important. Anyways, we also eat it as a side dish, which one may argue is probably it’s main purpose. However we do eat it for dinner…as a main dish. I eat it for 7th meal (pregnancy does that to you). We basically eat it nonstop.

Veggie Fried RiceI think the best part of this dish is that it’s so simple and so versatile. The vegetables included in this are vegetables that I almost always have and if I don’t I can leave something out or switch it up with something else. The other ingredients in here are staples in my house so I almost never have to get more than 1 or 2 things total for this recipe. And if I do have to get something, it’s easy because it has become one of those recipes that I pretty much have memorized. That’s something that happens rarely for me so it says a lot.

Veggie Fried RiceI’ve also gotten my family addicted to this recipe. I’m not sorry that I’m such a good influence on them all. I made it for my sister and brother-in-law who loved it and then they went back home to Ohio where they promptly made it for my parents. My 15-month old niece is a fan. What can I say? It’s a dish for everyone!! Note that the serving of 6 is more for a light meal or side. I heard rumor that for 4 people and a toddler my family might have doubled the recipe and eaten almost all of it for dinner. Just a rumor. I have not verified this officially.

Veggie Fried RiceIf we get down to business, there is one thing to point out. The rice needs to be refrigerated before using it in the recipe. This just ensures that the rice doesn’t get all sticky and clump together. You can try the recipe with fresh made rice if you’re short on time or a person who doesn’t read directions well. *hint, hint…read directions well first* I find it’s super easy just to make some rice when making dinner the night before I make this then refrigerate it. Also, another note…if you use vegetable broth in place of the water to cook the rice you have MEGA flavor. It’s worth a shot, but I’ve also used water for my rice many a time and it’s still scrumptious.

Veggie Fried Rice
Serves 6
Fried rice packed with vegetables and everything delcious
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 5 cups cooked and chilled brown rice*
  2. 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  3. 1 1/2 cups diced carrots
  4. 1 cup chopped onions
  5. 4 cloves minced garlic
  6. 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  7. 2 cups diced broccoli
  8. 1 cup diced bell pepper (I used a combination of orange, red, and yellow)
  9. 4 eggs
  10. 1 cup frozen peas
  11. 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  12. 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  13. 1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
Instructions
  1. Heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet or pot. Add the diced carrots, onions, garlic, and ginger. Saute about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the broccoli and bell pepper and saute an additional 3-4 minutes, or until the vegetables start to become tender.
  3. In a small bowl, scramble the eggs. Push the vegetables to 1 side of the pan and pour the eggs in to the pan. Stir the eggs until cooked and scrambled.
  4. Add in peas, corn, soy sauce, sesame oil, and brown rice and stir everything together.
  5. Cook until the rice and frozen vegetables are warmed through.
Notes
  1. *To get the right amount of brown rice I used just over 1 1/2 cups of dry brown rice with about 3 cups of water. I have used vegetable broth to replace the water for the rice and it was delicious! It works best if the rice is refrigerated overnight or at least for a couple of hours so it doesn't all stick together.
Adapted from Cooking Classy
Adapted from Cooking Classy
Flavor From Scratch http://www.flavorfromscratch.com/