Flower Power

These cookies look straight out of the seventies.

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But their bright colors were just the pick me up needed on a drab, rainy, flood-filled day like today.

Baking these were a breeze. In the same way I made these red carpet star cookies for the Oscars Party I attended, I made windowpane cookies in a flower shape.

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It didn’t make the rain go away, but they were really good to eat. If you’re stuck inside, give these a try.

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Spaghetti Squash Stir Fry

Spaghetti squash was on sale at the store last week. I’d never had one, but in the hope of being healthy, I bought it to see what I could make with it.

I ended up deciding to make a stir fry, using the spaghetti squash “noodles” in the place of rice. Plus, I used the stir fry as an opportunity to use up all the veggies that have been sitting in my fridge.

Though this stir fry takes a while to make, the steps are really easy.

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Here’s what you need:

1 spaghetti squash

Veggies: I used an onion, green pepper, mushrooms, and even peas

1 tbsp canola oil

garlic powder, salt, pepper, to taste

1 cooked, cubed chicken breast

2 tbsp soy sauce

1/4 tsp sesame oil

1 tbsp rice vinegar

1/4 cup hoisin sauce

sriracha, to taste

Start by pre-heating the oven to 375. Slice the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Place each half cut side down on a cookie sheet.

Once the oven reaches temperature, put the squash in for about 55 minutes, checking after 45 minutes to make sure your squash doesn’t turn to mush.

I knew the squash was done when I stabbed it with a fork. You will easily be able to pull the squash into strings. It should look like this.

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Then, I just started pulling the squash into strings.

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I got a large amount – much more than I expected – from the one squash.

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When the squash has been turned into noodles, chop up the veggies and heat the oil in a skillet. Cook the veggies and add in the garlic powder, salt, pepper, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, hoisin sauce, and sriracha. Just before the veggies are fully cooked, add in the chicken.

Finally, when the chicken is warmed, add the squash noodles. Keep cooking until the noodles are heated, then, serve.

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Nutella Sea Salt Cookies

Dan’s turning the big 2-9 this week. I know, he’s old.

This past weekend, we went out with some friends to celebrate. I asked Dan what he wanted me to make for desert, and he specifically told me no cakes or cupcakes. No cakes or cupcakes? It’s a birthday party, isn’t it? What was I supposed to make?

In the end, I came up with Nutella cookies topped with sea salt, which came out perfectly.

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These could not have been easier to make. I followed this recipe, forming cookies that were a bit smaller than directed.

I wanted something bite sized, since the cookies would be eaten on the go. In hindsight, cupcakes probably would have been more difficult to eat, but I still stand by the thought that everyone needs some cake on their birthday.

As the cookies were smaller, their cooking time was 8 minutes exactly. They came out chewy and sort of brownie like in their consistency.

These are quite a treat for anyone who likes chocolate, not just Nutella-lovers. And the big grains of sea sale really add to the cookies – eating something salty makes sweets seem sweeter.

Go ahead and give these a try!

Marshmallow Bark Bars

These were another Easter treat, but you can easily make them for any occasion, or no occasion at all!
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Ingredients:

3 cups miniature marshmallows

1 tablespoon shortening

1 bag white chocolate chips

Sprinkles (optional)

To start, get your pan ready. I used a 9×13 inch baker for the job. A regular  cookie sheet will be too big, and your bars will be really flat. Use a smaller pan. Line it with parchment paper so the bars don’t stick to the pan.

Next, measure out 3 cups of the mini marshmallows. You can use the plain white kind, but the pastel- colored ones are more fun and add some great colors to the bars. I actually used the Easter bunny shaped colored marshmallows, which are a bit bigger, but worked fine. You can probably find them at the store for pretty cheap right about now.

Put the chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl, add the shortening, and melt the chips in the microwave. Remember, less is more when microwaving white chocolate chips. I would recommend starting off with a minute of heat, then take the bowl out and stir. You should only need a couple more 30 second increments at the most. Even if the chips don’t look completely melted, stir and they will become more melty. My chips only took about 1:30 until they were ready.

Now, you have to move quickly. Pour the marshmallows into the melted chocolate chips and stir thoroughly. Once combined well, spread the mixture out in the parchment paper lined pan. Add the sprinkles before the bars start getting hard, or else they won’t stick.

Put the pan in the freezer for no less than 30 minutes. The chocolate needs to fully harden before you can cut into bars. Once the mixture is set, remove the pan from the freezer and cut into bars (or use cookie cutter to make shapes, if you prefer).

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I stored them covered at room temperature until the next day.

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Beware: These bars are super sweet. Kids will probably love them, but adults might find them to be a little too much.

Coconut Lime Tart

I wish Spring would get here, pronto.

Again, in my desire to make believe that spring has finally sprung, I whipped up a truly refreshing spring-time dessert that I brought to Easter.

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Using this recipe as my base, I went ahead and made some modifications to use ingredients I either had on hand, or knew I would use again. For example, I just could not see my future need for coconut flour, so regular old bleached flour it was for me.

My substitutions:

Crust – I used whole wheat flour instead of spelt flour. Side note: What is spelt flour?

Filling – Plain bleached flour instead of coconut flour

Garnish – I added chopped pistachios right on top of the whole tart

I also didn’t have a rectangular tart pan. I didn’t have an 8 inch springform pan either. So, I used what I did have – a 9 inch springform pan. I’m not sure I’d use it again, as it made the tart filling be a really thin layer.

Finally, I have no idea what the heck the parchment paper was all about. All it seemed to do was mess up the edges of the tart. I’d go without the paper next time around.

I found this dessert to be subtle-y sweet, an not over the top. My favorite part was definitely the nut-based crust, as opposed to a standard graham cracker crust. It really gave the tart a wonderful flavor.