Orange Creamsicle Bars

orange bars

When we moved into the new house, I was overjoyed with the bountiful fruit trees that were all over the backyard. Being in a home that we could simply step outside and pick fresh fruit off the trees and harvest fresh veggies from the large garden has always been a dream for us. To me, there is nothing more gratifying than being able to make a delicious meal with ingredients that you grew.

orange cookie bars

Currently, our trees are laden with fresh oranges and tangerines. I seriously cannot make orange juice fast enough! So we are thinking outside of he box and make orange everything! We made multiple loaves of this Cranberry Orange Pound Cake over the holidays and have added this Orange Chicken to our weekly menus.

orange cookie bars

When I first met my blogging BFF, she served us a piece of fresh bread with an Orange Compound Butter. Holy cow was it amazing! It is extremely simple to make and adds a ton of fresh flavor to pancakes, toast, and sandwiches. You simply mix a stick of softened butter with 1 tablespoon of orange zest and 1 teaspoon of honey. Use Plugrá European-Style Salted butter for an even more amazing flavor!

photo credit: food channel

photo credit: food channel

Since we love the compound butter so much, I knew that a buttery orange sugar cookie bar would be pretty delicious too. I was right! These bars are delicious. Topped with a creamy orange blossom buttercream and a candied tangerine, it is like bitting into a slightly more glamorous and sophisticated creamsicle.

Orange Bars

Yield: makes 12 large bars


  • 1 cup Plugrá butter
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 table spoon orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • Frosting
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon orange blossom water or 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • Candied Tangerines
  • 2 Tangerines
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13 inch pan with parchment paper or nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a bowl, combine butter, orange zest and juice, salt and powdered sugar. Blend on medium high until light and fluffy.
  3. Add yolks, one at a time, and beat until incorporated.
  4. Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually add flour. Mix until just combined.
  5. Pour mixer into pan and press to level.
  6. Bake sugar cookie bars for 15 minutes.
  7. Cool completely.
  8. To make the candied tangerine slices, slice tangerines 1/4 inch thick.
  9. In a large shallow pan, add water and sugar and bring to a simmer.
  10. Add tangerine slice and cook for ten minutes.
  11. Remove from pan and place on a drying rack. Cool and dry for at least 20 minutes.
  12. Once bars are cool make frosting.
  13. Combine softened butter and cream cheese, milk, and orange blossom water and mix until incorporated.
  14. Add powdered sugar and beat until thick and smooth.
  15. Frost bars and top with candied tangerine slices.

San Diego Restaurant Week


Happy Weekend everyone! Just a quick note to mention that San Diego Restaurant Week starts tomorrow! It is a great opportunity to try out restaurants without spending an arm and a leg.

slaters 2

Hubby and I have the opportunity to preview the SDRW dinner menu at Slaters 50/50. This restaurant had been on our list for quite a while, so we were extremely excited to try it. When we arrived, the staff was extremely nice and the waitress spent extra time explaining the menu to us. We actually noticed that she took this time with each and every table that she served.

slaters 6

Hubby was immediately impressed with their beer list. With 100 beers on tap (a good majority was local) he and I got to try a few beers that were on our “to drink list” as well.

slaters 8

For the appetizer we ordered the Spicy Korean Wings and the Vampire dip (regular menu). Both were delicious. So much so that we filled up and were unable to take more than a bite of our burgers!

I ended up ordering the Where’s the Smoke, There’s Fire burger off of the SDRW week menu. It was good, but had a lot going on flavor wise. I did try hubby’s burger, Traditional Slater’s 50/50 and it was better.

slaters 5

The star of the show was the freshly made and fried beignets with a chai tea sauce. They were perfectly light and almost refreshing after the heavy meal and multiple beers.

slaters 1

All in all we were happy that we finally tried Slater’s 50/50 out. Next week we will also be taking the opportunity to try out some restaurants in our new neighborhood! Hope you will too!

This meal was comped, however all of our opinions are 100% our own.


Chocolate Peppermint Brookies


Yesterday I learned multiple life lessons. One- trust your gut. Two- always keep a clean kitchen and living room. Three- baked goods make a great Thank You gift.


I was supposed to be galavanting around San Francisco right now trying fabulous new foods and hopefully connecting with new brands. Well, on Sunday night, my dear son came down with croup. We have dealt with this many times before, but I just knew that he was going to be miserable and that I would have felt guilty the  entire time, so I cancelled my trip. Then yesterday, his breathing (or lack thereof) got so bad that we actually had to call 911 and he had to be taken to the hospital. It was seriously one of the scariest days of my life. Needless to say I was/am so happy I trusted my gut and stayed home.    In hindsight however, I really wish that I hadn’t moped around yesterday and had actually gotten up to do the dishes and clean up the toys, because the fire fighters definitely gave my house the once over!


Anyway, now that Ben is back home and feeling much better, we decided to bake some treats for the fire fighters and paramedics as a thank you. We wanted something easy and delicious. We still have loads of candy canes so I thought we would use them up. Plus, chocolate and peppermint go so well together.


Baby Ben was so proud to offer a plate of these to the fire fighters. They were so kind to make a huge deal out of his gift and gave him a tour of the truck. He has been gleaming ever since!

Chocolate Peppermint Brookies


    Cookie Layer
  • 1 and 1/4 cups butter softened
  • 1 and 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped candy canes
  • Brownie Layer
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons milk or cream
  • 10-12 Oreo Cookies
  • Chocolate Ganache:
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (I like milk chocolate)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup cream or half and half


    Cookie Layer
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Generously spray a 9x13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. Begin by creaming the butter and sugar together.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time mixing well after each addition.
  5. Mix in vanilla.
  6. In a sperate bowl combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
  7. Gradually add dry mixture to wet mixture, mixing until just combined.
  8. Stir in chocolate chips and chopped candy canes.
  9. Brownie Layer
  10. Melt butter and chocolate chips in the microwave on high for 1 minute. Remove and stir together. If the choc/butter mixture is not completely melted, put back in microwave for 30 sec. Let sit for about 3 minutes to cool slightly.
  11. Add eggs and sugar into the chocolate and whisk together rapidly.
  12. Add the flour salt and milk, and whisk together to mix completely.
  13. Assembly
  14. Pour brownie batter into the baking dish.
  15. Add a layer of Oreos on top of the brownie batter.
  16. Cover Oreos with dollops of cookie batter.
  17. Bake until knife is inserted and when remove is clean, about 25 minutes.
  18. Cool completely.
  19. To make the ganache, combine chocolate chips, cream and butter in a small pot.
  20. Cook on medium temperature until melted, stirring constantly.
  21. Once done, pour over Brookies and sprinkle with chopped candy canes.



Vanilla Almond Granola Silk Dairy-Free Parfaits

vanilla almond parfait

This week we have been talking about resolutions, and since I have quite a few it may take me a few posts to get through them! At the top of my list, I resolve to eat breakfast. You see, I am the type of person that will drink coffee until noon. Only when I begin to slow down and my stomach is in knots do I realize- oh it’s time to eat. I know that this is a horrible habit, thus the resolution.


Since the first day of the New Year, I have made a conscious effort to have a balanced breakfast every morning. Let me tell you, I have been feeling great. Not only am I full for a majority of the day, I have loads of energy too! I guess you all have been right all of these years.

When Silk contacted me asking me to review this brand new Dairy- Free Yogurt Alternative, I was very excited. A couple of weeks ago I was grocery shopping with my Blogging BFF and  she was commenting on how dairy free/nut free yogurts do not exist. She is currently on a very restrictive diet due to her son’s allergies and her breastfeeding. I can’t wait until she tries Silk Dairy-Free yogurt!!!


I was pleasantly surprised with the taste, and so were my yogurt loving kids. It had a  smooth creamy texture and was absolutely delicious. Silk Dairy-Free Yogurt Alternative is made with real fruit and contains 6g plant-powered protein per serving. It is free of dairy cholesterol, carrageenan free and made without artificial flavors and colors. It is also vegetarian and low in saturated fats.

granola homemade

The flavors we tried were Black Cherry and Tropical Pineapple. I was really reluctant to try the pineapple because I usually don’t like anything but fresh pineapple but I loved it! It was fresh and light and clearly used real fruit flavors. The cherry was also delicious! Both flavors worked perfectly in the parfaits.


So if you need a wholesome breakfast that is easy to put together and will keep you full for hours, make these parfaits. And if you have a dairy allergy (or just want some added soy protein) try Silk Dairy-Free Yogurt Alternative! For more delicious recipes, follow Silk’s Pinterest and sign up for their Newsletter!

Vanilla Almond Granola Silk Dairy-Free Parfaits


  • 2 and 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 and 1/2 Tablespoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl combine all the dry ingredients.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine all of the wet ingredients.
  4. Mix the dry and wet ingredients until all of the oats a coated.
  5. Pour out the uncooked granola onto the baking sheet and spread out.
  6. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
  7. Allow to throughly cool then place in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

This conversation is sponsored by Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.

Golfish Crackers Crusted Chicken Nuggets

This post has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GoldfishMix #CollectiveBias

goldfish chicken nugget

Have you ever found yourself in the middle of a recipe, only to realize you did not have one of the key ingredients. It happens to me all the time, especially at dinner time! The last thing I want to do is drop everything and return to the store yet again. This is where you have to get creative with substitutes. Sometimes though, these substitutes actually are fantastic and you have to make note to make this change every time. I don’t know how many times I have started a meatloaf or meatballs and realized that I was out of breadcrumbs. Goldfish crackers, however, are always in abundance in our home due to school lunches and a toddler!


The pulverized Goldfish crackers make a wonderful breadcrumb replacement, and brings an extra cheesy addition to your recipe. These Goldfish cracker Chicken Nuggets are a equally enjoyed by kids and adults! Serve them for a weekly dinner or as an appetizer at your next game day shindig.

goldfish collage

I generally serve them with a mixture of ketchup and mayonnaise (seriously don’t dock it until you try it) but have also served it with a sweet chili cilantro sauce when serving to adults.

goldfish fingers

With the large 30 oz boxes of Goldfish crackers currently on Rollback at Walmart, it is time to stock up! Follow Goldfish crackers on Facebook and Twitter for more fun recipes!


So tell me, what is your favorite recipe substitution?

final chicken nugget

Golfish Crackers Crusted Chicken Nuggets


  • 1/2 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts or tenders
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk with 1 teaspoon vinegar or lemon juice mixed in)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups Goldfish crackers, crushed


  1. Combine buttermilk and spices in a large bowl and mix together.
  2. Cut chicken into 2 inch pieces and submerge into buttermilk.
  3. Once all chicken is in the buttermilk, cover with plastic wrap and allow to marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes or overnight.
  4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a large baking sheet with foil.
  5. Generously spray foil with nonstick cooking spray.
  6. One piece at a time, remove chicken from buttermilk and coat throughly with Goldfish cracker crumbs, place on cookie sheet.
  7. Continue until all pieces are coated, then bake for 20 minutes.
  8. Serve warm with dipping sauce.

Eggnog Waffles

eggnog waffles

Happy New Year everyone! I predict that 2015 will be a great one! This year, I resolve to be more organized. To start, I tackled my fridge. During the holidays I had so much going on that many things went bad. I hate that!

breakfast eggnog waffles

Fortunately though, some things still had a few days until their expiration date, such as 2 half gallons of Eggnog. I always buy a ton of that stuff at the beginning of December only to realize that my dear husband had already dissolved of all of the rum as I am ready to serve it. Needless to say, the two gallons sat patiently in my fridge waiting to be used.

eggnog waffles 3

So, in an effort to become more organized, I made about three batches of these waffles to freeze for school morning breakfasts. Once baked, the waffles only have a slight eggnog/spicy flavor but are perfectly moist and fluffy…just as they would be if I were using buttermilk. To reheat in the mornings, I simply throw them under the broiler (still frozen) and heat them up for about 3 minutes on each side. Of course the time is all dependent on your oven, so keep an eye on them!

What are your resolutions for 2015?

Eggnog Waffles

Yield: Makes 8 waffles


  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups eggnog
  • 2 egg whites
  • non-stick cooking spray


  1. Begin heating up your waffle iron.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all purpose flour, baking soda, sugar, and salt. Whisk to combine.
  3. Create a well in the middle of the flour.
  4. In the center of the well, add eggnog, egg, butter, and vanilla.
  5. Mix all ingredients in the bowl together until smooth.
  6. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff.
  7. Gently fold egg whites into batter.
  8. Spray hot waffle iron with non stick cooking spray.
  9. Carefully pour ½-3/4 cup batter into waffle iron.
  10. Cook until brown, about 4-5 minutes each, depending on your waffle iron.
  11. Serve immediately or freeze and reheat when desired.

Greek Lamb Pita Sandwiches

lamb pitas

Now that the holidays are almost over, I feel that we can start on my next favorite thing to make…man food. I love cooking for groups of men, especially while they are immersed in a football game. Even though they generally inhale the items in two bites or less, they are always so appreciative of good homemade cooking. Not that women aren’t, it’s just that *most* single men forgot what home cooking is really like.

lamb meatballs

That is why when my husband has friend’s over to watch the big game, or he tailgates before the game, I always go all out. This past weekend, I wanted to step out of the traditional tailgating food box. I needed something that was easily transportable and could be thrown together in a parking lot. These Greek Lamb Pita Sandwiches fit the bill perfectly!

Mediterranean burgers

After having won a year’s supply of Sabra Hummus at a recent food blogging conference, Mediterranean cuisine has become very popular in my kitchen. You can do so much with hummus besides just using it as a dip. As seen here, it makes a great Eyro-esque spread!

sabra hummus

I made a bunch of lamb meatballs that were full of fragrant herbs such as rosemary, thyme, and mint. Combined with Supremely Spicy Hummus and Tzatziki sauce these pitas were absolutely delicious! Thanks to Sabra, these pitas were simple to put together and perfect for assembling at the game!

tailgating food

Pair these pitas with a delicious cold brew and serve to a group of hungry men, and you will be the most liked female ever! But don’t get me wrong. These sandwiches are also great served at a backyard BBQ or party!

grilled lamb sandwiches

Game on!!!!

Greek Lamb Pita Sandwiches


    Lamb Meat Balls
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1/2 pound ground sirloin
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • For Assembly
  • Lamb Meatballs
  • 1 Package Sabra Hummus (I like the spicy but any flavor is wonderful!)
  • 1 Package Sabra Tzatziki
  • Lettuce
  • 10 pitas


  1. In a large bowl combine ground meats, herbs and spices, eggs, and breadcrumbs. Mix together until combined.
  2. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  3. Make 2 inch balls (these may be flattened to make mini sliders for your pitas)
  4. On a hot grill, grill balls until fully cooked, about 10 minutes.
  5. Open up pitas and spread with hummus and 1 lettuce leaf.
  6. Place 2-3 lamb meatballs in pita and top with Tzatziki.
  7. Serve warm.