The Weekender: Happy Easter, Cat Beds, & Sweet Potatoes

 

Winter 20126Happy Easter to all you little bunnies and chicks! Did the Easter Bunny pay you a visit? I sure hope he brought a plethora of Cadbury Crème Eggs, jelly beans, or whatever Easter confection tickles your fancy. But if you’re still hungry even after all the treats the Bunny bestowed upon you, then get a gander at this week’s mouth-watering Smart Cookie recipes. Perhaps these will satisfy your hunger.

Let’s review, shall we?

  1. Baked Pepper Jack Cheese SticksDSC_2557
  2. 20 Easter Bunny-Approved Recipeseasterrecipes-2
  3. Fluffy Vanilla Cupcakes w/ Salted Dulce de Leche-Cinnamon ButtercreamDSC_3693-2
  4. Sweet Potato & Squash Brown Rice MedleyDSC_3109
  5. Monster Granola BarsDSC_4118

It’s not too late to consult my Easter recipe round-up for last minute ideas to firm up your holiday menu. I’ll be enjoying a heaping helping of veggie lasagna (recipe coming soon), a generous slab of tiramisu (recipe also coming soon), and some of these adorable Spring Lemon Cookies my father sent me as an early Easter present. They’re almost too cute to eat, right? Good thing I’m merciless in the face of food.DSC_4134

Perhaps I should take it easy on the sweets though. I mean, isn’t it a bad sign when your butt is big enough for your cat to utilize as a bed?photo(18)

At least I can make some healthy swaps like with that Powdered Peanut Butter I raved about in last week’s Weekender. If that stuff wasn’t awesome enough to begin with, guess what else I discovered this week? They make a Chocolate-Peanut Butter variation, and it’s DELICIOUS!

Mother Cookie made a solo trip to Wegmans this week, so I had her stock up on the stuff. She also picked up some adorable Easter treats including my all-time favorite sugar cookie shaped like an Easter egg and a chipper chick cupcake. I ate both, and I have no regrets. Yum!DSC_4037 DSC_4022

I’ll just balance out the sugarfest with the world’s most supremely-stuffed sweet potato, because this hearty behemoth is loaded with nutrients. Stop by next week to get the recipe.DSC_3862

Tell me about your Easter feast. Do you have any traditional dishes? Are you trying something new this year?

See you on Monday!


20 Easter Bunny-Approved Recipes

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In less than a week, the world’s most beloved bunny will be hopping down that bunny trail to your home and mine, baring whimsical eggs and glorious tooth-rotting confections. Side note: does anybody else find it odd that the Easter Bunny gives out chocolate versions of himself for us to merciless decapitate with our bare teeth?

Easter definitely crept up on us this year, and it falls earlier than usual, so don’t feel bad if you aren’t quite prepared. In fact, I’ve got you covered with a round-up of my 20 best Easter recipes, all Easter Bunny-approved of course. Would I cook you something that the Head Bunny himself didn’t love? Of course not.

From fresh lemon mousse shaped like little spring chicks to a cake shaped like a chocolate bunny to the perfect Easter dinner mac and cheese, there’s a little bit of everything in this line-up. You’ll want to shake your cottontail straight to the kitchen to get cooking after you chick it out.2012-11-221-2

Note: The numbers on the list correlate with the numbers on the photos.

  1. Party Bread
  2. Ma’s Baked Corn Pudding
  3. Chocolate Bunny Cake
  4. Bunny Butt Pretzel Bites
  5. Mini Strawberry Mousse Pies
  6. Bunny Rabbit Cauliflower Pancakes
  7. Nutter Butter Truffle Eggs
  8. David’s Ultimate Mac & Cheese
  9. Peter Cottontail’s Carrot Cake Bars
  10. Coconut Macaroon Easter Egg Nests
  11. From-Scratch Cheddar Green Bean Casserole
  12. Babci’s Carrot Cake
  13. Baby Chick Lemon Mousse Cookie Cups
  14. Bunny Butt Triple Chocolate Trifle
  15. Brussels Sprout Gratin
  16. Strawberry Coconut Poke Cake
  17. Brown Butter Blueberry Cookies w/ Vanilla Glaze
  18. No-Bake Twice-Baked Potato Mash
  19.  Banana Peanut Butter Cookie Pudding
  20. Extra Creamy Stovetop Mac & Cheese

And if these aren’t enough Easter eats for you, hop on over to my Easter recipe page for my complete collection.

 

What’s on your Easter menu this year?

 

 


The Weekender: Easter Week, Furry Friends, & Peanut Butter

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It’s Sunday, which means Easter Week at Smart Cookie has drawn to a close. I hope you all had as much fun as I did! We had enough delicious and festive recipes to make the ol’ Easter Bunny proud. Next week, he’ll be hopping to our homes bearing baskets of Easter sweets. Are you ready for his arrival? If you’re not, never fear. My Easter Week recipes are a great jumpstart, plus I’ll be bringing you an Easter recipe round-up next week, as is customary here at Smart Cookie. But until then…

Let’s review, shall we?

  1. Baby Chick Lemon Mousse Cookie CupsDSC_3479
  2. Peter Cottontail’s Carrot Cake BarsDSC_3531
  3. Bunny Rabbit Cauliflower PancakesDSC_3361
  4. Coconut Macaroon Easter Egg NestsDSC_3178

I took a little poll on Facebook to see what the favorite from Easter Week was, and the winner was unanimously the Baby Chick Lemon Mousse Cookie Cups. Not only are they beyond cute, but they’re easy to make and absolutely heavenly. That mousse filling is velvety smooth and tastes like lemon heaven. See just how effortless those little guys are to make in my newest video.

Let’s talk about food news now. Last week, I wrote about the edible wonders I encountered on my last trip to Wegmans. One awesome product I discovered was powdered peanut butter. DSC_2981-2It sounds odd if you’ve never tried it; I was skeptical myself. But this stuff is life-changing. Add just a little water, and you get instant thick and rich peanut butter. But get this: two tablespoons of regular peanut butter has an unsettling 200 calories and around 16 grams of fat; powered PB, on the other hand, has just 45 calories and about 2 grams of fat. That’s crazy talk! I am obsessed with this stuff; sometimes I use it twice a day. It’s not just awesome for making straight up PB; I also mix it into stuff like sugar-free pudding or a little bit of Cool Whip. Yum!

Speaking of non-traditional food items, how about this Mina burrito, eh?DSC_3852

My cats are just so darn good-looking that I can’t ignore them. One minute I’m trying to photograph food; the next, they’re getting all of my camera’s attention. Such was the case when I was baking cupcakes the other day. The Cast of Characters took a back seat to my babies.DSC_3685DSC_3679DSC_3681

Do you have a furry friend who’s always by your side?

I’ve got a co-worker with a…less traditional furry friend. She has a moose named Trax that she dresses up for every holiday you can imagine. So, when her birthday rolled around on Friday, I knew the perfect cake to make her.DSC_3826

He’s almost too cute to eat, right? I’m still not sure anyone ever cut into it…but there were delicious cupcakes to go along with him, which were devoured quickly. That recipe is coming at you next week, along with some healthy delights, and the Easter recipe round-up you don’t want to miss!DSC_3701

The best way to ensure you catch every new bite on Smart Cookie is to subscribe. You’ll get my new posts emailed to you every morning! Just enter your email in the top right of the page. Also stay in touch with Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

See you on Monday!


Bacon Guacamole and 9 More Green Recipes for St. Paddy’s Day

DSC_3248-2To my meat eaters out there, this Bacon Guacamole is for you. Being a vegetarian makes it harder for me to take care of you guys, so I apologize if you’ve been feeling neglected. I’m hoping this bacon-studded guac will make it up to you.

This is the creamiest guac you’ll never eat, and the secret is white beans. Not only do they make this guac heartier and add protein, but they also make it nice and velvety smooth. As a bonus, this guac’s vibrant green color makes it perfect for St. Paddy’s Day. What Leprechaun wouldn’t get down with some of this?

I may be a vegetarian now, but I had my share of bacon back in the day, and I’d be a fool if I said it wasn’t the meat equivalent of crack. Avocado and bacon were made for each other, and they create the most glorious Guacamole you’ll ever eat.

(And if you were curious, I ate a ton of this creamy stuff before adding the bacon, but not afterwards)

If this Bacon Guacamole isn’t green enough for you, here are 10 Leprechaun-approved St. Paddy’s Day eats:

  1. Shamrock Spinach Pesto PizzaDSC_1585-2
  2. Pot o’ Gold Ice CreamDSC_1776
  3. Easy Pesto Garlic Knots

    Easy Pesto Garlic Knots

  4. Tortellini Dippers w/ Pesto_DSC8275
  5. Andes Mint Fudge Brownie Ice CreamDSC_0472
  6. Personal Spinach-Bean Pesto Pizza

    Personal Spinach-Bean Pesto Pizza

  7. Spinach Artichoke Veggie BurgersDSC_0328
  8. Spinach-Nut Pesto w/ Roasted Tomatoes & Rotini

    Spinach-Nut Pesto w/ Roasted Tomatoes

  9. Classic Kale Greens

    Classic Kale Greens

  10. Bacon Guacamole (see below!)DSC_3289

A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:

  1. If you don’t like the taste of lemon, it’s totally optional. It’s just there to keep the avocado from turning brown.
  2. Leave out the bacon for some classic guacamole!
  3. Diced tomatoes would be a delicious addition.
  4. If you don’t have a food processor, you can use a blender or chop the garlic and shallot very finely then mash everything together by hand. You could even use a hand beater.
  5. Leave this a bit chunkier if you prefer; just process it less. DSC_3173

Bacon Guacamole
By The Smart Cookie Cook

Ingredients:

  • ½ a shallot
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1 cup white beans, drained & rinshed
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • ¼ tsp. lemon juice (to prevent browning)
  • 3 strips of bacon cooked bacon, on the crispier side (I used turkey bacon)

Directions:

  1. Place the shallot, garlic, and beans in a food process and puree until smooth.
  2. Slice the avocado in half. Stab the pit with a knife and pull it free from the avocado. Scoop the innards from the skin and into the food processor. Add oil, salt, pepper, and lemon and puree just until smooth.
  3. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl and fold in the bacon. Serve with chips, veggies, or pita bread. Store in fridge in an air-tight container.DSC_3283

The Weekender: My 1st Giveaway, Wegmans, & Cat Antics

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This week, we had a Smart Cookie first: a giveaway! In honor of Extra Gum’s Simple Swaps campaign, they provided me with a tote bag full of their assorted gum flavors, a notebook for keeping track of your simple swaps, and a $40 giftcard to Whole Foods. If you missed that boat, never fear. The giveaway is still going on. You have until Friday, March 15 to enter, so get on it! The winner will be announced in next week’s Weekender.

Along with my first ever giveaway, there was also a slew of mouthwatering recipes on Smart Cookie this week. You might have missed a bite or two, but that’s okay; I’ve got you covered.

Let’s review, shall we?

  1. Bunny Butt Peanut Butter Pretzel BitesDSC_2323
  2. Spinach-Artichoke CalzoneDSC_1155-2
  3. Super-Sized Sausage & Pepper CalzoneDSC_1224
  4. Stuffed Mediterranean Eggplant + a GIVEAWAYDSC_2751
  5. Fluffernutter Oatmeal BallsDSC_2650

Which recipe of the week was your favorite? I think I have to go with those Bunny Butt Pretzel Bites. They’re just too cute! Not to mention, they’re super easy to make. You can catch a step-by-step tutorial in this week’s brand new video!

Now, what’s on the plate for next week? I’ve got some special treats for you! Monday will bring the most delicious twist on a mozzarella stick you’ve ever seen. And on Tuesday, we’re taking a trip to Wegmans to see all the goodies I found this month. Spoiler alert: there’s brownie pops, chocolate, yoga socks, and more!DSC_2545

You guys might recall a few Weekenders ago I exposed the cat conspiracy going on behind the scenes while I’m trying to photograph. This week, while I was trying to take pictures of my smorgasbord of Wegmans finds, Mr. Poe was an especially annoying pain in the butt.DSC_2977DSC_2981

But he’s just so darn cute!

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And in other news, I got my hair dyed: subtle red & violet lowlights. Do you ever experiment with hair color?DSC_2853

The Weekender is great for catching up, but you don’t have to ever miss a bite during the week. Just like me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter to stay up-to-date! You can also follow me on Pinterest and subscribe to my Youtube channel. That should be enough to satisfy your Smart Cookie craving!

Tell me about the good stuff you ate this week. What was your favorite meal?

See you on Monday!