Cranberry Orange Fluff

Cranberries, oranges, pineapple and pecans are the perfect combination in this easy make and go Cranberry Orange Fluff.

Cranberries, oranges, pineapple and pecans are the perfect combination in this easy make and go Cranberry Orange Fluff.

This is the kind of holiday side dish that makes me nostalgic for childhood. My grandmother always made marshmallow fruit salads – but being the picky kid that I was, I wouldn’t eat them. Now just hand me a spoon and the serving bowl and I’m good to go.

And with the holidays just right around the corner and a million obligations jotted down on my calendar, I love having a go-to super easy dessert that I can make and take.  The best part about this dessert (side dish?  appetizer?  We don’t discriminate at my family functions!) is that it takes only about 5 minutes to whip up, and just a little bit of refrigeration time.

Cranberries, oranges, pineapple and pecans are the perfect combination in this easy make and go Cranberry Orange Fluff.

This Cranberry Orange Fluff is the perfect sweet treat to make during the holiday season – the tartness of the cranberries combined with citrusy oranges are offset just perfectly with whipped cream.  And of course, lots and lots of marshmallows.

Another great thing about this easy dump and go dessert is that it makes a ton – so it’s perfect for family gatherings, pot-lucks, or just around your own home.  We love leftovers around my house, and Doodle LOVED having a little bowl of this in the evenings with his dinner.  Hey, it does have fruit in it, so I didn’t feel too bad letting him eat it. 😉

Cranberries, oranges, pineapple and pecans are the perfect combination in this easy make and go Cranberry Orange Fluff.

 

Cranberry Orange Fluff
 
Ingredients
  • 1 (8-ounce) container whipped topping (I used Cool-Whip lite)
  • 1 (20-ounce) container crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 (11-ounce) mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) whole cranberry sauce
  • 2 cups mini-marshmallows
  • ½ cup pecans, optional
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, combined whipped topping, drained pineapple and oranges, and cranberry sauce.
  2. Fold in marshmallows and pecans (if using).
  3. Refrigerate for 1 hour prior to serving.

 

XO, Ashley

 

 

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Favorite Ice Cream Maker Giveaway

Ohmygosh. I’ve been looking forward to today for weeks. Wanna know why? Because I’m giving one of YOU one of THESE:

ice cream giveaway

Since we’re heading into the holiday season, I wanted to take a minute to say a heart-felt thank you to you guys: my invisible internet friends.  I never dreamed three years ago when I started this little ol’ blog that it would become anything more than just a storage spot for recipes to share with my family.  But it has.  It’s given me great opportunities to travel, make friends all over the globe, and follow my passion for cooking and writing.

And none of that would have been possible if readers like you hadn’t clicked on my blog links, or followed me on Pinterest or Facebook or Instagram.  So thank you, thank you, thank you.

Anyhoo, since it’s the gift-giving season, I thought I’d give one of you one of my favorite ice cream makers.  Sort of a weird gift when the temperature here is in the 30’s at best, but we eat ice cream year-round so I figured maybe some of you did, too. 😉  One of our favorite wedding gifts we received (over 10 years ago now) was a Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker and we seriously use it all the time.  Best.Ice Cream.Ever.  No joke.

ice cream collage

And it’s so easy to use.  Just dump in your ingredients, let it do it’s thing for half an hour, and presto!  Homemade ice cream to rival anything you can buy.  The model I’m giving away is a newer version than the one I have, but I promise – you’ll love it!

Pssst….and check it out.  Some of my best blogging friends are also giving away some of their favorite things today, too.  So be sure to check them all out – I have my eye on the Keurig and the Griddler. :-)

favorite things

 

Wine & Glue | Crazy for Crust | Very Culinary | A Spicy Perspective | Lemons for Lulu | Recipe Girl | Aggie’s Kitchen | Barefeet in the Kitchen | Something Swanky | Kitchen Meets Girl | Heather’s French Press | Mom On Timeout | Glorious Treats | Foodie Crush | The Reluctant Entertainer

Giveaway specifics: please enter using the promosimple form below. Please be patient, sometimes the form takes a moment to load. Open to U.S. residents only, must be 18 years or older to enter. Please see full and complete rules in the promosimple form.

Good luck!

XO, Ashley

 

 

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Cheesy Garlic Biscuits

With just a few ingredients, five minutes to stir things together and get them on the baking sheet, and 10 minutes of baking time, you can have these Cheesy Garlic Biscuits on the table and ready to serve. Reminiscent of those cheddar biscuits from your favorite seafood restaurant, these are a million times better and super easy to make.

With just a few ingredients, five minutes to stir things together and get them on the baking sheet, and 10 minutes of baking time, you can have these Cheesy Garlic Biscuits on the table and ready to serve.

Can you believe the holiday season is just around the corner?  I have to admit, I’m already starting to get a little bit stressed about putting together holiday meals and juggling all of the tasks on my list while still keeping my sanity.  It’s my goal this year to do things 100% the easy way, and not worry so much about making sure everything is “perfect.”

When it comes down to it, Doodle doesn’t want me in the kitchen all day making elaborate holiday meals. He’d rather I spend that time with him in front of the fireplace, playing games of Battleship or searching for Edward the Elf and swiping frosting out of a jar onto sugar cookies for Santa.  And quite frankly, I want those same things.  These moments pass by so quickly that I’m trying to soak up every minute I can.

So during this busy holiday season, I’m trying to focus more on easy meals my family will actually eat {and when one of those family members is a 7-year old kid who could exist solely on macaroni and cheese, this is not an easy task}.  No matter what main course I make, these Cheesy Garlic Biscuits fit the bill. I’ve yet to meet a person who doesn’t like them, or who can eat just one.

With just a few ingredients, five minutes to stir things together and get them on the baking sheet, and 10 minutes of baking time, you can have these Cheesy Garlic Biscuits on the table and ready to serve.

As a accompaniment to an easy roast in the slow cooker or a pasta dish, these Cheesy Garlic Biscuits are always a hit.  The recipe makes nine biscuits, and my family of three usually polishes off the entire batch in one meal.  What can I say, we love our bread. 😉

The great thing about these easy little biscuits is that they take just three main ingredients: Bisquick mix, milk, and cheese (sharp cheddar is our favorite, but any cheddar will do).  Stir everything together and drop by spoonfuls onto your baking sheet – just bake ’em up for 8 to 10 minutes.

While your oven is working its magic, melt together 2 tablespoons of butter, some garlic powder, and a bit of fresh parsley.  When those cheesy biscuits finish baking, swipe the tops with the garlic butter and take a whiff of that buttery, garlicky goodness.  It’s pretty much bread heaven.

With just a few ingredients, five minutes to stir things together and get them on the baking sheet, and 10 minutes of baking time, you can have these Cheesy Garlic Biscuits on the table and ready to serve.

What I love most about these little Cheesy Garlic Biscuits is that they’re impossible to mess up – even if you’re not an accomplished bread-maker {believe me, I’m not!}, your family will gobble these up in no time.  Using Bisquick makes things super easy and you can spend your time where it really matters: with your family and friends, and not slaving away in the kitchen!

Cheesy Garlic Biscuits
 
Serves: makes 9 bicuits
Ingredients
  • 2 cups Original Bisquick Baking mix
  • ⅔ cups milk (I used 2%)
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Stir Bisquick mix, milk and cheese until a soft dough forms. Drop dough by 9 spoonfuls onto an ungreased baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. While the biscuits are baking, melt 2 tablespoons butter and stir in garlic powder and chopped parsley. When biscuits come out of the oven, brush lightly with garlic butter.
Notes
recipe from Betty Crocker

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Look here for more Bisquick make ahead meals to make your holiday planning easier: www.Bisquick.com/MakeAhead

 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Betty Crocker via Burst Media. The opinions and text are all mine.

XO, Ashley

 

 

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One Pot Chicken Alfredo

This easy and creamy One Pot Chicken Alfredo is ready in about 30 minutes – and tastes just as good as a dish that you’d order at your favorite Italian restaurant.  Even better?  Everything – including the pasta – is cooked in just one pot!

This easy and creamy One Pot Chicken Alfredo is ready in about 30 minutes - and tastes just as good as a dish that you'd order at your favorite Italian restaurant.  Even better?  Everything - including the pasta - is cooked in just one pot!

Holy moly, this is our new favorite weeknight pasta dish.  I’m constantly trying new recipes and every time I find one I like I have a tendency to say “this is our new favorite,” but in this case it’s true.  I found this one pot dish at Number 2 Pencil, and if you haven’t checked out Melissa’s site, you need to get on that, pronto.  She has soooo many good recipes over there, like these Cake Mix Orange Sweet Rolls and this perfectly gorgeous Tortellini Soup.

Anyway, the Tall Boy slurped this dinner up like nobody’s business, and I had a hard time resisting seconds (watching the waist-line and all that).  Paired with a nice salad and some garlic bread, this is such an easy dinner and is definitely family friendly.  Plus, you can have it on your table in less time that it would take you to pick up take out and drive home, AND you only have to wash one dish when you’re done cooking!

Winner winner, chicken dinner.

This easy and creamy One Pot Chicken Alfredo is ready in about 30 minutes - and tastes just as good as a dish that you'd order at your favorite Italian restaurant.  Even better?  Everything - including the pasta - is cooked in just one pot!

I attempted to make this a little more calorie-friendly by using a low-carb noodle, fat-free half-and-half, and turkey bacon crumbles, but if you feel like living dangerously, I highly recommend going whole hog.  But even with the fat-free half-and-half, this dinner was a.ma.zing.

I guess technically this isn’t a one-pot meal if you fry up your own bacon, but I happened to have some turkey bacon crumbles in the fridge and so I added those as an after-thought.  You certainly don’t have to add bacon; this one-pot chicken alfredo will be just a great without it.  Buuuuuuut, everything is better with bacon, right? 😉

This easy and creamy One Pot Chicken Alfredo is ready in about 30 minutes - and tastes just as good as a dish that you'd order at your favorite Italian restaurant.  Even better?  Everything - including the pasta - is cooked in just one pot!

If you’re looking for an easy weeknight dinner, you’ll definitely want to give this one a try.

One Pot Chicken Alfredo
 
Serves: serves 4
Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1¼ pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • salt, pepper, and garlic powder, to taste
  • 1 (14 ounce) can chicken broth
  • 1 cup half and half (I used fat-free) or heavy cream
  • ½ pound spaghetti or fettuccine noodles, uncooked
  • 2 cups Parmesan cheese, grated (fresh is best)
  • for garnish: parsley and/or bacon crumbles
Instructions
  1. Warm olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet or pot. Season chicken pieces with salt, pepper, and a sprinkling of garlic powder, and add to warmed oil to brown, about 6 minutes.
  2. Add garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Add pasta, chicken broth and half-and-half. Bring the mixture to a boil; then cover pan and allow the mixture to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the pasta is tender. If the mixture is too thick, add more half-and-half as needed until desired consistency is reached.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle with parsley and bacon crumbles, if desired.

 

XO, Ashley

 

 

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Easy Orange Coffee Cake

This Easy Orange Coffee Cake takes just 10 minutes of prep time and 20 minutes to bake – it’s perfect for a quick and easy breakfast treat, and special enough to serve when entertaining.

This Easy Orange Coffee Cake takes just 10 minutes of prep time and 20 minutes to bake - it's perfect for a quick and easy breakfast treat, and special enough to serve when entertaining.

I’m not sure if this is technically a coffee cake, but it is a fabulously easy sweet bread to serve in the mornings alongside a cup of coffee…so to me, that’s a coffee cake. 😉

It’s such an easy “recipe” that I debated about even sharing it, but I made it as a quick and easy last minute breakfast last weekend and it was so super good that I decided I’d be doing you a disservice by not sharing.  And since the holidays (and maybe last weekend weekend guests) are just around the corner, I figured that it couldn’t hurt to give you another breakfast idea to have in your repertoire.

This Easy Orange Coffee Cake takes just 10 minutes of prep time and 20 minutes to bake - it's perfect for a quick and easy breakfast treat, and special enough to serve when entertaining.

You just need a few ingredients: a can of biscuits (I used Pillsbury Grands), some sugar, an orange, powdered sugar, and a bit of cream cheese.  If you live with people who will actually eat nuts in their baked goods (I don’t), some pecans or walnuts would be great here, too.

This Easy Orange Coffee Cake takes just 10 minutes of prep time and 20 minutes to bake - it's perfect for a quick and easy breakfast treat, and special enough to serve when entertaining.

The method here couldn’t be easier.  You’ll place one of the 8 biscuits in the middle of a 9-inch round cake pan or pie plate, and cut the remaining biscuits in half.  Then arrange the remaining biscuit halves around the center biscuit, making sure that the cut sides face the same direction.  Brush ’em with butter, top with sugar, orange zest and nuts, and bake!  Then drizzle with cream cheese icing when the cake comes out of the oven.

This Easy Orange Coffee Cake takes just 10 minutes of prep time and 20 minutes to bake - it's perfect for a quick and easy breakfast treat, and special enough to serve when entertaining.

And as you can see, I’m a pretty heavy-handed “drizzler.”  My philosophy is the more cream cheese icing that you can fit on anything at anytime, the better.

This Easy Orange Coffee Cake takes just 10 minutes of prep time and 20 minutes to bake - it's perfect for a quick and easy breakfast treat, and special enough to serve when entertaining.

This recipe came straight from Paula Deen, and no matter your opinion of her, she does make some pretty darn good stuff. And when you can make a company-worthy quick breakfast in just a few minutes, I’m all for it.  I’m already thinking of some really great variations on this for the holidays…maybe a cranberry cake with an egg nog frosting?

What are your favorite quick breakfasts for entertaining?

Easy Orange Coffee Cake
 
Serves: serves 8
Ingredients
  • 1 can (16.3 ounces) biscuits (I used Pillsbury Grands)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • ¼ cup chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)
for the frosting:
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch round cake pan or pie plate with nonstick spray.
  2. Open the can of biscuits and place one biscuit in the center of the pan. Cut the remaining 7 biscuits in half, and arrange the 14 pieces around the center biscuit, making sure the cut pieces are facing the same direction. Brush the tops of the biscuits with the melted butter.
  3. Combine sugar, orange zest and nuts (if using) in a small bowl and sprinkle over the buttered biscuits. Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until the tops of the biscuits are golden brown.
for the frosting:
  1. In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, powdered sugar and orange juice together until smooth. If the frosting is too thick, add a bit more orange juice. Drizzle frosting over the cake and serve.

XO, Ashley

 

 

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Smoked Gouda Mashed Potato Casserole

This Smoked Gouda Mashed Potato Casserole takes comfort food to the next level!  This easy potato dish is perfect for your holiday table – or any day of the week!

 This Smoked Gouda and Prosciutto Mashed Potato Casserole takes comfort food to the next level!  This easy potato dish is perfect for your holiday table - or any day of the week!

So, it’s that time of the year around my house when my mashed potato loving husband starts casually offering up hints about potatoes.  Specifically mashed potatoes.  No kidding, this guy could probably eat a slow cooker full of mashed potatoes all on his own – in one serving.

I don’t make mashed potatoes that often, because they’re not typically on my “trying to eat healthy” diet plan, but when the Tall Boy starts coming home from the grocery store with boxes of instant flakes (gross), I know it’s time to be a good wife and make him the real thing.

And last week, I tried a little experiment…

This Smoked Gouda and Prosciutto Mashed Potato Casserole takes comfort food to the next level!  This easy potato dish is perfect for your holiday table - or any day of the week!

Yep, I replaced the whole milk in this Smoked Gouda Mashed Potato Casserole with Silk Soy Milk.  And guess what?  No one knew the difference. 

The Tall Boy is usually a mashed potato purist (box flakes notwithstanding) and prefers whole milk and loads of butter in his taters – really, who doesn’t?  But since I’m always looking for ways to up the protein and nutritional content in dishes that my 7-year old will actually eat, I decided to try adding a bit of Silk Soy Milk this time.  Silk has six grams of heart-healthy protein per serving, and 50% more calcium than regular dairy milk.  That’s definitely a win for this mom.

This Smoked Gouda and Prosciutto Mashed Potato Casserole takes comfort food to the next level!  This easy potato dish is perfect for your holiday table - or any day of the week!

For this recipe, you’ll boil and mash your potatoes, and then add in a bunch of other yummy stuff: like an entire block of cream cheese.  Go big or go home, that’s my motto when it comes to mashed potatoes.

And now you know why I don’t make them very often. 😉

This Smoked Gouda and Prosciutto Mashed Potato Casserole takes comfort food to the next level!  This easy potato dish is perfect for your holiday table - or any day of the week!

Spread the potatoes into a 9 x 13 casserole dish, and top ’em with shredded smoked Gouda cheese (my favorite!)  and some sliced prosciutto.  I get my prosciutto near the deli meats at my local grocery store.  You’ll bake the casserole for about 30 minutes, or until the cheese melts and gets bubbly and gooey.  Garnish with sliced scallions when serving, for some extra color.  I guarantee, this fun twist on the standard old mashed potatoes will be a hit at your table!

Smoked Gouda and Prosciutto Mashed Potato Casserole
 
Serves: serves 12
Ingredients
  • 6-7 large red potatoes
  • ½ cup Silk Soy Milk
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • salt and pepper, to tast
  • 1 cup shredded smoked Gouda cheese
  • 3 ounces sliced Proscuitto
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with nonstick spray and set aside.
  2. Peel, quarter, and boil the potatoes for 15-20 minutes or until soft. Drain the potatoes and beat them with a mixer until smooth. Add milk, cream cheese, sour cream, parsley, and garlic salt. Beat at a medium-high speed until the potatoes are creamy and fluffy. Add salt and pepper, to taste
  3. Spoon potatoes into prepared casserole dish. Top the potatoes with cheese and prosciutto. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until cheese melts.

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XO, Ashley

 

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

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Pistachio and Raspberry Financiers

Pistachio and Raspberry Financiers are the perfect little sweet to serve when you want a fun pick me up.  Made with a base of pistachio and topped with one tart Driscoll’s raspberry, these elegant but easy treats are the perfect accompaniment to coffee or tea.

Pistachio and Raspberry Financiers are the perfect little sweet to serve when you want a fun pick me up.  Made with a base of pistachio and topped with one tart raspberry, these elegant but easy treats are the perfect accompaniment to coffee or tea.

If you haven’t heard of or made financiers before, today is your opportunity to change that.  Oh, and you simply must.  These petite little sweets are perfect alongside tea or coffee, or just a perfect little treat to grab and go.  In fact, that’s how the name “financier” originated: a French pastry chef created these cakes near the end of the nineteenth century for stockbrokers’ afternoon pick-me-up.

That’s just one of the fun little tidbits of French history you’ll find tucked between the pages of Dorie Greenspan’s new book, Baking Chez Moi: Recipes from My Paris Home to Your Home Anywhere.  Now, I’ll be honest with you here: baking is not my forte, and the idea of attempting French creations sort of scares me to bits.  But that’s the great thing about Dorie’s new book; her collection of uncomplicated French desserts accompanied by delightfully easy written instructions ensures that even the newbie baker has success with every recipe.

From Apple Weekend Cake to Bubble Eclairs to Cranberry Crackle Tart, you’ll soon find that elegant desserts don’t have to be difficult.  Trust me, if I can make these dangerously addictive Pistachio and Raspberry Financiers, anyone can!

Pistachio and Raspberry Financiers are the perfect little sweet to serve when you want a fun pick me up.  Made with a base of pistachio and topped with one tart raspberry, these elegant but easy treats are the perfect accompaniment to coffee or tea.

The process is really very simple, and the ingredient list is short (usually one of my main requirements when deciding whether or not I want to make a baked good).  These do take a little bit of pre-planning: you’ll want your batter to chill overnight.  Otherwise, you need just 7 ingredients, and most of them you probably already have in your kitchen.

The base of financiers is traditionally almonds or hazelnuts.  However, this version uses pistachios, and lots of butter! But it’s the butter that makes these little cakes super moist and luscious, and since we’re going to bake them in a mini-muffin tin, you don’t have to feel super guilty about eating them. 😉

You’ll plunk just one raspberry on top, but it’s just the right amount in this bite-sized treat.

Pistachio and Raspberry Financiers are the perfect little sweet to serve when you want a fun pick me up.  Made with a base of pistachio and topped with one tart raspberry, these elegant but easy treats are the perfect accompaniment to coffee or tea.

Pistachio and Raspberry Financiers
 
Serves: makes 36 mini cakes
Ingredients
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup shelled pistachios, raw and unsalted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
  • pinch of fine sea salt
  • ½ pint (1 cup) fresh raspberries
Instructions
  1. Put the butter in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until it melts and only just begins to take on a pale golden color. Pour the butter into a measuring cup with a spout and set aside.
  2. Use a fork to stir the egg whites in a small bowl just enough to break them up; set aside.
  3. Put the pistachios and the sugar in a food processor and pulse until the nuts are ground (it's okay if you have some chunks here and there). Add the flour and salt; pulse again to blend, and then transfer the mixture to a medium bowl.
  4. Pour the egg whites into the bowl and using a whisk or spatula, stir gently until they are blended into the nut mixture. Gradually add the butter to the mixture. It will seem like a LOT of butter, but keep stirring lightly and soon you'll have a thick, shiny batter. Perfection!
  5. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the batter and chill for at least 8 hours (up to 2 days).
  6. Center a rack in the over and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray the molds of a mini-muffin tin with nonstick spray and place the pan on a baking sheet.
  7. Fill each mold half full with the chilled batter. Place 1 raspberry in the center of each cup.
  8. Bake the financiers for 24 to 28 minutes, rotating halfway through. The tops will be springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean when the cookies are done. Run a table knife around the edges of the muffins to detach them from the pan then cookies onto a rack. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Want your own copy of Dorie’s book (you do! you do!)?  Just enter using the Rafflecopter form below.  Pssst…be patient.  Sometimes the Rafflecopter entry form takes a few moments to load.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

XO, Ashley

 

 

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Brown Sugar Pound Cake and $350 MightyNest Giveaway

This Brown Sugar Pound cake is dense and moist, and the combination of brown sugar and maple flavoring makes it an instant hit.  The brown sugar icing alone is out of this world!

This Brown Sugar Pound cake is dense and moist, and the combination of brown sugar and maple flavoring makes it an instant hit.  The brown sugar icing alone is out of this world!

There’s not a whole lot that I love more than a really awesome pound cake.  Mostly because they’re super easy to make, and when you drench them with a to-die-for brown sugar fabulous glaze…well, let’s just say that I ate more of this cake on my own than I should admit.

I have to tell you, I am sometimes weary of bundt-cake baking because I’ve had occasions when my cake didn’t come out of the pan perfectly.  Even when I spray/flour/cross my fingers and hold my nose just right…sometimes my cakes just don’t want to cooperate.  Needless to say, I’m always looking for that no-fail, make my life easy bundt pan.  So when MightyNest contacted me about participating in their Bake Your Bundts Off Giveaway, well…I couldn’t resist.  The Simax bundt pan they sent me was baking perfection – my cake slid RIGHT out of the pan, no problem.

The super-awesome, way cool thing about MightyNest is that everything from this e-company is natural, organic, and non-toxic.  Plus, anytime you order from them, they give 15% back to the school of your choice.  As a parent, I can’t tell you how much that means to our kids and our local schools.  AND everything is seriously cute and fun.  Check out what was in the box they sent me:

 

MightyNest Giveaway

  1. Simax Glass Bundt Pan.  Ohmygosh.  This pan is seriously fantastic.  I’ve always used teflon pans in the past, and they’re always super heavy and bulky.  This pan was sooooo lightweight – and I love, love, love that I could see the entire cake as it was baking.  Plus, it can handle temps in excess of 500 degrees F.
  2. Wooden Cake Box and Leather Strap.  You guys.  This Cake Box was my very favorite thing EVER.  I often have to take cupcakes for functions at my kiddo’s school, and it always causes me all sorts of anxiety because I’ve never found a great way to transport that stuff without fear of destroying the frosting/toppers/decorations.  No more!  It has two slide out trays so you can use it to transport cupcakes; or you can remove the trays and use it for a 9-inch layer cake instead.  Pure brilliance.
  3. Organic Tea Towel.  I’m a sucker for cute towels.  This one is made from 100% organic cotton and is handmade by a couple in Oregon.
  4. Glass Measuring Cups.  This set of three Anchor-Hocking glass cups comes in 1-cup, 2-cup and 4-cup sizes.  With an open handle and pour spout, these measuring cups are a must for the kitchen.  I’m sort of addicted to using the 1-cup size.  It’s perfect for all sorts of things, and I’m wondering why I never had one of these before.
  5. Chemex coffeemaker and filters.  I haven’t had a chance to try this coffeemaker yet, but it really looks like a super fun find for coffee connoisseurs. Designed by a chemist decades ago, this coffeemaker is LOVED by coffee purists for brewing coffee without any bitterness. Delicious!   If you’re not a coffee fanatic like I am, you can brew tea in it as well.
  6. Stainless measuring spoons.  These stainless steel measuring spoons are made from heavy gauge 18/8 stainless steel and are dishwasher safe.
  7. Set of 4 glass mugs.  With the holiday season fast-approaching, these 12-ounce mugs are perfect for entertaining.
  8. Set of 3 Stainless mixing bowls.  So I have to admit – I’ve never had stainless steel mixing bowls before.  And now I can’t imagine using anything else.  I’ve been using the heck out of these things; they’re sturdy and just the right size – especially if you have little helpers in the kitchen.

And here’s the super great news: MightyNest is going to give one of you a box of goodies just like I received – PLUS, they’ll donate $100 to the school of your choice!  Just click below to enter – believe me, you don’t want to miss out on this giveaway valued at $350!

So, back to this brown sugar pound cake…I needed a break from everything pumpkin for a few days, and this cake had just the right amount of  fall flavors with the combination of brown sugar and maple.  Yum!

This Brown Sugar Pound cake is dense and moist, and the combination of brown sugar and maple flavoring makes it an instant hit.  The brown sugar icing alone is out of this world!

Brown Sugar Pound Cake
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups light brown sugar
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons maple extract
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts, optional
for the frosting:
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon maple extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch bundt pan with nonstick spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add the remaining ingredients, and beat at low speed until mixed, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Increase the mixing speed to medium and beat for 4 minutes. Fold in walnuts, if using.
  3. Spoon batter into prepared pan and bake at 350 for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  4. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, the remove from the pan and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
for the frosting:
  1. Heat brown sugar, butter and milk in a 1-quart saucepan until the mixture boils and the sugar dissolves, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.
  2. In a small bowl at high speed, beat powdered sugar, maple extract and brown sugar mixture until smooth. Spoon over the top of your cooled cake.

 

XO, Ashley

 

 

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5-Minute Pizza Crust

With just a few minutes and two ingredients, you can have this 5-Minute Pizza Crust on the pizza pan and ready for baking! This is the perfect way to make weeknights extra special – and stress free!

With just a few minutes and two ingredients, you can have this 5-Minute Pizza Crust on the pizza pan and ready for baking!

Let’s face it: weeknights are busy, amIright?  Even if you don’t have kids, chances are you have a million things going at any one time.  And if you do have kids…well, if you’re like me, you haven’t had a free moment since the minute they were born.

But there’s no reason you can’t have {semi-} homemade pizza on a weeknight.  I’ll be honest: this whole wheat pizza crust is still my all-time favorite, but there is absolutely no way I can make it during the workweek.  And sometimes a weeknight just calls for a pizza-pie, you know what I’m saying?  And not one that comes from a take-out joint.

With Original Bisquick Baking Mix, all you need to put together a quick and easy 5-minute pizza are just two ingredients, twenty stirs of a spoon, a few seconds to press the dough out on your baking pan – and you’re ready for toppings.  Easy-peasy!  Here I’ve just used a bit of my favorite simple tomato sauce, some Italian sausage, roasted red peppers, freshly shaved Parmesan cheese, and a bit of freshly chopped oregano.

With just a few minutes and two ingredients, you can have this 5-Minute Pizza Crust on the pizza pan and ready for baking!

Pop it in the oven for about 10 minutes – and voilà!  Dinner is served!

With just a few minutes and two ingredients, you can have this 5-Minute Pizza Crust on the pizza pan and ready for baking!

Any toppings will work fine on this crust – load it up with whatever your family loves.  And the great thing about this dough is that because it is so easy to make, it is no problem making individual pizzas for everyone.  That way everyone can have what they like – and moms like me don’t have to hear about how a pepper accidentally got on a slice of pepperoni.

With just a few minutes and two ingredients, you can have this 5-Minute Pizza Crust on the pizza pan and ready for baking!

Make your next pizza night a snap with this 5-minute pizza crust!

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5-Minute Pizza Crust
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups Original Bisquick Baking Mix
  • ⅓ cup hot water
  • ⅔ cup simple tomato sauce (or store-bought pizza sauce)
  • salt and pepper, optional
  • ½ pound ground Italian sausage (turkey or pork)
  • ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup roasted red peppers, diced
  • ¾ cup freshly shaved Parmesan cheese
  • fresh oregano, optional
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 and spray a pizza pan with non-stick spray.
  2. Precook your sausage - in a medium skillet, combine sausage, Italian seasoning, oregano and garlic, and cook until meat is no longer pink. Drain; set aside until you are ready to top your pizza.
  3. In a large bowl, combine Original Bisquick Baking Mix and ⅓ cup very hot water. Stir 20 times with a large spoon - do not overstir or your dough will come out tough. Turn dough out onto a pizza pan sprayed with non-stick spray, and press dough to form a 9" circle. Season your dough lightly with salt and pepper, if desired.
  4. Spread sauce over dough. Spoon sausage evenly over the dough, leaving a ½-inch border uncovered. Scatter with roasted red bell peppers and top with shredded Parmesan.
  5. Bake at 450 F until golden brown, about 9-10 minutes.

 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Betty Crocker via Burst Media. The opinions and text are all mine.

XO, Ashley

 

 

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Cake Batter Blondie Bars

These Cake Batter Blondie Bars are filled with cake batter flavor, without the use of a cake mix.  And you can’t go wrong with any dessert that is packed with sprinkles!

These Cake Batter Blondie Bars are filled with cake batter flavor, without the use of a cake mix.  And you can't go wrong with any dessert that is packed with sprinkles!

You guys.  These bars are the best things ever.  Ever.

They are straight out of my bloggy BFF Dorothy’s cookbook, Dessert Mash-Ups.  You read Dorothy’s blog, Crazy For Crust, right?  Hers was one of the first blogs I started reading on a regular basis when I started my own blog, and Dorothy was one of the first blogger friends I made.  Seems weird, right?  That you can make these invisible internet friends who sometimes know you better than the friends you have in real life.

Except I’ve met Dorothy in real life a few times and she’s just as sweet and awesome as she is on her blog.  And now she’s a famous cookbook author and it makes me feel super cool to say I know a cookbook author in real life. 😉

These Cake Batter Blondie Bars are filled with cake batter flavor, without the use of a cake mix.  And you can't go wrong with any dessert that is packed with sprinkles!

Dessert Mash-Ups is super cool because it’s packed with two-fers.  Desserts like Cinnamon Roll Cookies and Snickers Cake Rolls and Death By Chocolate Brownie Cake (OMG!!), and breakfasts (but better!) like Overnight Pumpkin Cheesecake French Toast and Carrot Cake Coffee Cake and Chocolate Chip Monkey Bread Muffins.

Believe me, you’re going to want to make everything in this drool-worthy cookbook.  Starting with these Cake Batter Blondie Bars.

These Cake Batter Blondie Bars are filled with cake batter flavor, without the use of a cake mix.  And you can't go wrong with any dessert that is packed with sprinkles!

These bad boys are super soft, taste just like cake batter (without the use of a cake mix!), and are packed full of sprinkles – pretty much a dessert requirement, if you ask me.

Doodle ate one of these bars just after my photo shoot (actually, he started mid-shoot, see photo above), and immediately asked for a second.  For a kid who usually eats just frosting, polishing off an entire blondie is super high praise.  Make sure you go buy Dorothy’s book – you won’t be sorry!

Cake Batter Blondie Bars
 
Ingredients
For the blondies:
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon butter extract
  • ½ cup sprinkles
For the frosting:
  • ½ cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1½ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon whole milk
  • sprinkles, for topping
Instructions
To make the blondies:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray. You may also line the pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together baking powder, salt and flour. Set aside.
  3. Using an electric mixer, cream together the granulated sugar, brown sugar and butter. Add the eggs, vanilla and butter extract and beat to combine. Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Stir in the sprinkles.
  4. Press the dough into your prepared pan. It's going to be very sticky, and that's just what you want! Spray your hands with cooking spray so the dough won't stick to your hands.
  5. Bake the blondies for 22 to 24 minutes. They'll be slightly golden but just a little jiggly in the middle. They will set as they cool. Allow the blondies to cool completely before frosting.
To make the frosting:
  1. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar and mix until crumbly. Add in the vanilla and milk and mix until smooth. Frost the blondies. Top with additional sprinkles.
  2. Store covered at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

XO, Ashley

 

 

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