Eggnog Snickerdoodles

I am joining in on the Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies with Lisa. Today’s theme is traditional cookies.

If you love eggnog and you love cookies (which is pretty traditional), or you just love desserts in general, these cookies are for you!

I got this recipe from my friend Melissa a few years back. They are now my go to holiday cookie. I have never heard a complaint!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 2 cups plus 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp rum extract
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup refrigerated French vanilla non-dairy creamer
  • 5 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

In a large bowl, cream the butter, shortening, and 2 cups of sugar until light and fluffy.

Beat in egg and rum extract.

Combine milk and creamer. Set aside

Combine the flour, salt, and baking soda.

Gradually add to creamed mixture, alternately with the milk mixture, beating well after each addition

In small bowl, combine nutmeg and remaining sugar.

Shape dough into small bowls and roll in nutmeg mixture.

Place 2 in apart on on un-greased baking sheets.

Flatten slightly with a glass.

Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until lightly brown.

Cool for minutes before removing from pans.

Note:  One batch goes a long way.

It’s an easy recipe and will become your go to snickerdoodle! So yummy!

Sweet Potato Brownies

Yes you read that correctly. There are sweet potatoes in these brownies!

I saw this recipe on Pinterest a couple weeks ago, and combined with my craving for chocolate baked goods, I knew this would have to be on the docket to try out.

And as luck would have it, I had some sweet potatoes that were getting borderline too old too eat. (Have I mentioned before that sometimes my eyes are bigger than my appetite at the grocery store?)

Anyway, I thought this would be a great endeavor to fill a craving and not waste some of our produce. I used the same instructions this woman provided, but added my own thoughts to each piece.

Sweet Potato Brownies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup flour**
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • dash salt {1/8 t.}
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 4 T. oil {coconut, vegetable or canola}
  • 2 T. pure maple syrup or honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • **Decrease flour to ¾ cup if you prefer more fudge-like brownies.

**I doubled this original recipe since I don’t have a small brownie pan, and I also wanted to use a full sweet potato. I also used coconut oil and honey, but you can choose your poison on these areas.

Instructions

  1. Peel and chop 1 cup of raw sweet potatoes. Since they will not lay evenly in the cup, you want a lot more than what appears to be a cup. I just cut a whole potato and it was just perfect as I eyeballed 2 cups worth.
  2. Boil, microwave or bake the potatoes until soft. I microwaved them in a bowl of water for 15 minutes. You want to be able to put a fork in them easily.
  3. In a mixer bowl, combine ½ cup sugar, egg, 1 tsp. vanilla, 4 T of oil {coconut, vegetable or canola} and 2 T. maple syrup or honey.
  4. Beat on high for 30 minutes with your whisk attachment until frothy. (I am not sure that 30 minutes is really needed for this. It never got frothy for me. It just got creamy.)
  5. Meanwhile, combine the flour, ½ cup cocoa powder, 1 tsp. baking powder and dash of salt into a large bowl. Whisk them together to prevent lumps. Keep separate from wet ingredients for now.
  6. Add the hot, cooked potatoes right into the mixing bowl with the wet ingredients.
  7. Beat on high for 1 minute until the batter turns a lovely orange and there are just little bits of sweet potato. There were a lot of lumps in mine which I tried smashing with a spatula, but not all of them would go away. It will be fine once you bake it.
  8. Now, with the mixer on slow, add your dry ingredients and beat on high another minute until thick and creamy.
  9. Spread the batter into a greased pan and put in a preheated 350 degree oven.
  10. Brownies are done when toothpick or cake tester comes out with bits of moist brownie on it. {Check at 15 min, mine took about 25 minutes total.}
  11. Allow them to cool before cutting. Best if stored in the refrigerator.

This recipe took me about an hour to complete. And only about 5 minutes to eat two slices…

Sweet Potato Brownies

All of the ingredients

Sweet Potato Brownies

Finished Product

Here is my opinion of this recipe.

It’s the bomb.com!

Both Tom and I were a bit apprehensive about this since our last adventure of brownies were gluten free and tasted like chalk. (Luckily or unluckily, the dogs took care of them for us and ate the whole pan while we weren’t looking.)

So doing another “health craze” recipe was risky. Usually my baking is full of butter and not healthy things…

However, these did not disappoint. They are delicious. They are fairly thick, unlike normal recipes for brownies. They taste great though and don’t have a potatoey taste. (Which is good because most things potato taste like dirt to me right now…)

I will say that I like them better warm than after they have been refrigerated. Once they are cold, they resemble the thickness and taste of fudge more than a brownie. They are still good though this way, but it is definitely a different texture and I wasn’t able to eat a whole slice unlike the night before where I ate two warm slices…

We will definitely be making these again! Even better that they are healthier than most brownie recipes. Win!

Have you tried any good recipes lately? Would you have thought to put sweet potatoes in brownies?

 

 

 

Autumn On My Mind-Fall Food Must

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“A Fall Food Must”

  • Do you have a favorite food that you associate with fall? This is the time to highlight those yummy fall goodies!
Rules of the Link-up:
1. Do one entry or all! It’s up to you!
2. Add your entry’s link below, and be sure to put the button in your post!
3. If you do link up, check out a couple fellow bloggers to see something new.
4. Your hosts (Elizabeth and Stephanie) would love a following on Bloglovin, but it is not required! We are just glad you stopped by for “Autumn on My Mind!”
We had a rough day yesterday. Years of training in housing came in handy when our washer decided to flood our upstairs while we were out. Luckily we came back when we did, for we only had a slight bubble in the downstairs ceiling, and nothing of great value was damaged. Come to find out the hose had slipped out of the machine…whoops.
Anywho, this mess along with the non-stop talk about grinding up deer meat and hunting season (we went bow shopping and shooting yesterday), I was glad to do some fall baking this morning.
I love baking. For me, it is a stress relief. I have not done much here, because I don’t really have anyone to give it to as I did back in Iowa. You see, I like baking it, but I can’t eat all of it fast enough. And I hate wasting food.
I figured, if Tom and I couldn’t polish this off, he could take it into work for those ever hungry Army men.
And who doesn’t associate fall with pumpkins? The pumpkin lattes, pumpkin seeds, and pumpkin pie.
I decided to brush up on my baking by putting a twist on the traditional pumpkin pie.
So enter cinnamon cheesecake with pumpkin pie frosting!
I got this recipe from here.
I did adapt it a little bit. I don’t believe in “bathing” my baked goods….
I also didn’t make individual cups or the crust. I just bought a pre-made pie crust and made one full pie.

Ingredients

Pumpkin Pie “Frosting”:

  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Cheesecake:

  • 2 bars of cream cheese (8 oz each), room temperature
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon

Did you know that they made pumpkin pie spice? We sure didn’t. You can find it in the spice isle. They also make apple pie spice!

Baking and Making Part

To Make Pumpkin Pie Frosting:

Do this first since the cooling time will overlap the cheesecake prep time.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a mixing bowl, whisk together all ingredients until well blended. This will be very soupy, so don’t freak out. It will thicken up. Pour into a greased 9-inch pie pan and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the pie comes out clean. Remove and let cool, then refrigerate.

To Make Cinnamon Cheesecakes:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese and sugar, then mix on medium-speed until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream, vanilla and cinnamon, and mix until smooth. Do not overmix. Pour batter into each crust-prepared baking cup until 3/4 full.

Then place the cheesecake pan in the oven, and bake for about 25 minutes, or until the edges appear to be set and the center still has a slight jiggle to it. Turn off the oven and open the oven door slightly for 5 minutes. Then remove the pan and place on a cooling rack until completely cooled.

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The pumpkin pie frosting is on the left and the cheesecake on the right. They can both stand alone, but definitely make each other better together.

When ready to “frost” the cheesecakes, remove the pumpkin pie and spoon the filling into a piping bag. We don’t have a piping bag so we just used a ziplock bag. Use as you would regular frosting.

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Tom’s much better at frosting then I am so I had him do that part. We did end up just smoothing it out though because the color and the way it laid out it looked like something that came out of the dogs’ butts. I assure you, it is delicious despite the looks. The look of baking, I have not yet perfected…

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And there you have it! This is super delicious. We just might eat it all…Tom is obsessed with it.

This dessert screams fall, and it may make an appearance again this season!

Thanks to Gimme Some Oven for the recipe!

Now it’s time for you to share your fall recipe!

Link up below by clicking the little smiley face dude! The link will stay open until October sometime.

Be sure to come back on Thursday for the next Link Up! The theme is “An Autumn Creation.” You can see the full schedule here.

Check out my partner!

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NOtivation

Since moving to Ft. Campbell, I have been on and off with my commitment to working out. I am suffering from NOtivation.

 I could line up the excuses:

  • Work from 8-4:30
  • Desire to hang out with hubster
  • Getting up at 5 am to exercise worked for 2 weeks and slowly went down hill. Not happening. My workouts just suffered, and I got cranky.
  • Need to clean up/set up house
  • Still recouping from moving and figuring out my life
  • No gym membership so I wasn’t feeling guilty about not using that access that I had paid for

I started feeling gross and sluggish. Is there such a thing as couch sores? If so, I was getting them. So last week I did a workout with Tom since he was cleared from con-leave after surgery. I thought I was going to throw up afterwards. Looking at my running history, this hill routine should have been easier than it was for me. I put on my running shoes again last night for my first official run since moving to KY. Let’s be honest, you could barely call it a run. No actually you can’t. Grace and I walked half of the 3 miles that I logged. I only ran when I saw a car coming because I was embarrassed/ashamed that I was walking along the barracks route. I kept making excuses for myself that it was hot, too much hill, and trying to keep Grace from running after a deer. Um that huffing and puffing means that you are out of shape dear and need to start small again. At least I got off the couch for once though right?

So I have made a new plan and have it displayed on our fridge. This way I can cross each day off once complete. The achiever in me likes to cross things off lists! Yes accomplishment!

Also to spark that motivation, I decided to do this link up today. It is a fitness survey thanks to Mallory here. I am hoping that it gets my head in the game and will get me jazzed again about being fit.

1. What did you eat for breakfast? greek yogurt and granola

2. How much water do you drink a day? 3-5 bottles of water

3. What is your current favorite workout? walking Grace. She has gotten really good on the leash, and she accompanies me on most of my runs.

We love having family walks exploring outside.

I mean seriously who wouldn’t want to hang out with this sweet gal?

 4. How many calories do you eat a day? I have no clue. I am not really keen on keeping track of this stuff. It stresses me out.

5. What are your favorite healthy snacks? fruit (apples, peaches and strawberries are my favs)

6. What do you usually eat for lunch? Since I pack my lunch every day, I rotate between a deli turkey sandwich or a salad to stave off any food boredom. For sides, I usually have  cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and a peach. Really it is a grab bag of whatever fruits and veggies we have in the fridge that week. Then, I typically have a funsize treat like a snickers bar or a Ferrer Roche.

7. What is your favorite body part to strength train? Arms. These workouts make me feel powerful, even though I have chicken arms, and in reality absolutely no strength.

8. What is your least favorite body part to strength train? Back. I inadvertently ignore it. It’s behind me…haha (not funny?)

9. What are your “bad” food cravings? Thin mints, french onion dip and chips, peach-o rings, pretty much anything chocolate that has nuts in it

10. Do you take vitamins or supplements? I take a women’s multi vitamin daily.

11. How often do you eat out? We eat out once a week for our date night.

12. Do you eat fast food? Occasionally, and it usually coincides with date night. Or it is that day before we grocery shop. I guess McDonald’s french fries can be added to a bad craving. Sometimes I just need that salty potato goodness.

13. Who is your biggest supporter? Tom. He keeps me in check and in touch with reality when I am having a down on myself kind of day. He is also really committed to his own fitness which helps boil over to me as we create a healthy family lifestyle.

14. Do you have a gym membership? Not right now. We are trying to cut back on some spending, and that was something that was cut from the budget. I am going to really try to do this workout from home thing for the next few months to see if I can just motivate myself and save some cash along the way. If anyone has some helpful hints here, I would love to hear them. Like I said, I printed out a workout schedule with goals and what not. I have also been scouring Pinterest for at-home workouts to spice things up. I just brought home some newly purchased resistance bands to get me excited about strength training again without having to worry about the bulkiness of weights and bars. It is also forcing me to be creative with my time, such as doing my strength training while watching TV with Tom. Double whammy.

15. How many hours of sleep do you get a night? 6-8 depending on the day

16. Do you have a “cheat” day? I don’t know if I would call it a cheat day, or if it is just a day to relax and indulge a bit. This usually will coincide with date night. This way I can focus on Tom and I’s relationship and strengthening that instead of feeling like I am ignoring a needed workout. And we all need a day to rejuvenate and rest our mind and body.

17. Do you drink alcohol? Occasionally. Wine and apple beer are my weaknesses.

18. Do you have a workout buddy? As of right now, no. I have considered joining a running club here in town, but we’ll see how that goes. I am a little intimidated by the idea of it to be honest. Maybe once I become more consistent with my running again. Tom occasionally is my buddy, but that’s only if I really need to be pushed, or don’t want to walk the next day. He doesn’t give me any slack, even when I remind him that I am not in the Army. Then he usually tells me that my body can do more than I think it can, and he’s right. Grrrr.

19. What is the best thing that has changed about your life since committing to a healthy lifestyle? My first 5k I ran/yogged at a 15minute pace. I never dreamed that I would be able to run a half marathon let alone three of them. I always thought I didn’t have the strength mentally or physically to run that far. Crossing that finish line after my first half was one of the most exhilarating experiences. It showed me that I can do more than I thought possible if I just put enough oomph and will power into it. That feeling was addicting and is what keeps me lacing up the running shoes and hitting the pavement again and again. It’s given me a reason to push myself to be healthy and try new things. Exercising has also become an outlet to help me in some really stressful times with Tom being gone for various Army things.

Half Marathon #1 (St. Louis, 10/2011)

Half Marathon # 2 (Kansas City, 4/2012)

Half Marathon #3 (Orlando, 2/2013)

20. What was the last healthy thing you did? My run/walk last night and renewing my commitment to being fit

I think everyone can make little changes in their life to finding a healthier you. You just have to figure out what works best for you and not worry about what the next person is doing. It’s your body not mine. I have to tell myself this a lot to not get discouraged. And then Tom has to tell me that to not get discouraged, because I usually do not listen to my own pep talks. I have really tried focusing on just doing better than I did yesterday and jumping that next hurdle to a PR or fitness challenge. I am working on my exercise baggage and this honestly helped perk up a little competitiveness inside me to show myself what I can do.

And hey maybe half marathon #4 will show those results…

I have a recipe to share today for the crafty side.

I am not able to eat large portions otherwise I get sick from over-eating. So very rarely do I eat a dish that is bigger than the size of my hand. Sounds great right? Well in theory yes, except I get hungry every couple of hours and that can make me light-headed and very sick. So in order to ward off dizziness and nauseousness  from not eating and the bloated feeling and nauseousness from over eating, I am always prepared with snacks. I have a snack drawer at work, and I have snacks in my bag at all times. I am the snack lady.

But I want to make sure that these snacks are healthy and easy.

So I searched for a an easy recipe for a muffin, bar, cookie that I could have for a mid morning snack using bananas that Tom and I can’t seem to eat fast enough. (Tom and I both like bananas with a hint of green in them. So inevitably, they go bad before we can eat them all. I do love making banana bread with these left overs, but that can get time-consuming to do each week.)

I wasn’t able to find anything that I particularly liked or thought was easy. I wanted a recipe that had things that we would always have stocked in our panty. We do not always have almond milk, agave, and cashews. So I made up a recipe that can be flexible depending on what you have. It’s all about trial and error.

  • bananas
  • about a cup of oats-These are to thicken the batter up, so you can use more or less depending on how much pb and bananas you put in there.
  • several spoonfuls of peanut butter-I used chocolate peanut butter to test it out, I have a weakness for chocolate and the nutritional value was pretty similar when I looked at both labels if not better in some areas. So I imagine you could use regular peanut butter, or Nutella instead. I also just kept throwing in spoonfuls until it looked like everything was held together nicely. Really, there was no science to this recipe.
  • half a cup of dark chocolate chips-this step could be skipped or adjusted to nuts, raisins, or other mix-ins you so choose. Did I mention that I love chocolate though?

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Mix this all up and add whatever you feel necessary to make the consistency like a pasty dough. Like I said it is not really a science, you just want it to be thick enough that you can make balls out of them without it being all over your hands.

Once you have it all mixed, make a spoonful worth into a ball and put it onto a baking sheet. They don’t need to be neat by any means. Heat the oven to 350 and then bake for 15 minutes.

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I will admit the chocolate makes them seem like treats, but they are much healthier than other things I could be eating. Next time I will try the plain peanut butter to see how that goes over. They are a good source of protein and a perfect little pick-me up mid-morning or mid afternoon. Two or three of them have been perfect to hold me over to the next real meal.

They look like no bake cookies, and are very similar. They are a bit spongy, so if you are texture person, just be aware of this. I think it is a good thing myself.

I believe they are delicious and will be definitely something I make again! Tom isn’t the biggest fan, so they may not be everyone’s cup of tea. I wonder if he is just saying that though so I will turn back to making banana bread with the left over bananas. I do make a mean loaf of banana bread…

Thanks for joining me on my link-up today!

Mal Smiles