Friday, September 28, 2012

Smore's Muddy Buddies

What does it say about me if I have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to S'mores?

Don't answer that.

All I know is a year or two ago, I just became obsessed with all things s'mores. 
I decided that chocolate and marshmallows and grahams were the best combination ever. 

And I'm never going back.

I guess y'all like S'mores too since my most popular recipe is my homemade Baked S'mores
Make those too, you won't regret it. 
But if you are looking for a faster recipe with less work this one is for you!

Just make sure you get a bite before you take these to a gathering 
because the bowl will be emptied in minutes!

S'mores Muddy Buddies
Recipe courtesy Sally's Baking Addiction

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1.5-2 cups marshmallows
6 cups Golden Grahams cereal (about 1 box)
1.5 cups powdered  sugar


Measure powdered sugar in a gallon size Ziploc bag and set aside.

Melt chocolate chips and peanut butter on the stove over low heat, stirring constantly. Stir until melted and smooth and then add half of the marshmallows (about 1 cup). Stir marshmallows so they melt slightly but not all the way (if possible). Then stir in cereal and additional marshmallows.

Finally, add chocolatey cereal mixture to Ziploc bag and gently shake until cereal is covered. Add additional powdered sugar if desired.

Let cool and then enjoy!!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Crock Pot Lentil Soup

My favorite Sunday meals are in the crock pot. Here are a few reasons why:

1. I can throw all the ingredients in before church and come back to a finished (or almost finished meal).  Plus it makes my house smell yummy!

2. Even though the point of slow cookers is that you don't have to watch them, sometimes they still make me nervous. Plus, when I can be gone for up to 10 hours at work (and my husband too) even the crock pot turning to "warm" can ruin a 6 hour roast if I come home 3 hours after that. So I prefer to slow cook at night or on the weekends. Or the rare weekday that I know I am guaranteed home at a specific time I will do crock pot as well. Sundays allow me to check on the progress at 3 (ish) hours and stir, add more water or seasonings as necessary.

3. Since I usually am only cooking for 2 and most slow cooker recipes serve at least 6, it is the perfect way to start the week off: with leftovers for lunches. That means less thinking and less work for me each morning!

So if that hasn't convinced you that you need to slow cook on Sundays, I don't know what will!


On to this specific slow cooker recipe. Let me tell you what I know about lentils....absolutely nothing. I think I saw them in the bulk food section one day and thought, "I could make those one day." Then I forgot about them until I was perusing crock pot recipes on Weight Watchers yesterday. This soup recipe intrigued me because it had very few ingredients and I happened to have all of them on Sunday night (miracle of miracles!).

This comes together quickly and is such a comforting fall recipe. It has just the slightest hint of smokiness and it is surprisingly rich and satisfying for not having a single fattening thing in it. You can, if you are prepared, add ham or bacon to the recipe but I didn't have any and surprisingly, neither my husband nor I missed it. I do think it would give it even more depth of flavor so if you have it, go ahead and use it!

Crock Pot Lentil Soup
recipe adapted from

Serves 8, 1.5 cup servings, 5 points plus each


Friday, September 21, 2012

Blonde Brownies

Today I bring you an amazing blonde brownies recipe! 
And that is saying something coming from me.
 Let me explain.

I am a purist in many things. For example, to me, brownies are brown and filled with cocoa and chocolate. So this idea of blonde brownies (I have only recently discovered them) was foreign and undesirable to me. That was, until one of my best friends, Erin made these for our friend Jessica's baby shower.

I figured I would try it, to be nice, of course. WOW. I was converted! I think it is the combination of both chocolate chips and white chocolate chips.

Not to mention she is an amazing cook and baker. Definitely check out her food blog, Two Kitchen Promenade, with our other best friend, Jessica. Together, they create beautiful food. 

Blonde Brownies
recipe courtesy Two Kitchen Promenade aka my good friend Erin!


  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Cream the butter and sugar together in a stand mixer (or hand mixer).  Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until light and fluffy. Add the dry ingredients and blend until incorporated.

Stir in the chips and pour out into a greased 9x13 pan.

Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes until golden.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Best Guacamole Recipe

I don't think I say very this recipe is sooo good that I came up with. This guacamole recipe is the exception. It is 100% mine and it is one of my most requested recipes from friends and family I share it with. I have made it many different ways but this seems to be the winning recipe. The secret? Lime juice and garlic salt. My biggest complaint of basically all guacamole in the whole world is the lack of salt thus leaving it lack luster.

I only recently gained an appreciation for guacamole and though it may be blasphemous to say, I still don't like avocados. I don't love the texture and taste (or lack thereof in my opinion) of an avocado.

However, combine that avocado with cilantro, tomato, lime, garlic salt and some tortilla chips and then I love avocados. But only in this one situation.

I hope you like them in this situation too. On a chip. In your mouth. Mmmmm. Make this guacamole for football season and you will make some instant friends. Or sit on your couch with your hubby and consume inhale it while watching Transformers with a bottle of Jarritos. To each his own.

The Best Guacamole Recipe
recipe by The Apron Gal

Serves 4

2 large ripe avocados
2 roma tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup scant chopped onion
2 teaspoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt


Finely chop cilantro and onions and add to medium sized bowl along with freshly squeezed lime juice and garlic salt. Add roughly chopped tomatoes and stir gently.

Cut avocados in half. On the side without the pit, make lines up and down and across (this is called scoring) the avocado meat. Using a spoon, scoop out the avocado and drop in the aforementioned bowl. For the sides with the pit, carefully using a knife, stick the pit with the knife and pull it out. Repeat scoring the rest of the avocados and add to the bowl.

Gently stir together until desired consistency/chunkiness is reached. I like mine chunky, but not too chunky (because of my dislike of straight avocado).

If you are like me, just add a hint more lime juice and a hint more garlic salt when your husband isn't looking. 

Serve with tortilla chips or on tacos and enjoy!

Friday, September 14, 2012

San Antonio Eats

Did I mention my husband and I took a recent anniversary trip to San Antonio? We went for 3 nights and 4 days and it was just the getaway we needed! Did I mention that our whole trip centered around food? Yep, that was the exact kind of vacation we wanted!

We drove out of town and of course, got food within 5 minutes! We had kolaches from the famous Lone Star Kolaches in Austin. Yes, they were good but I don't know if they changed my life or anything! I grew up on kolaches so they are all delicious to me-bread and sausage = good.

Then we worked up an appetite shopping at the San Marcos outlet mall before you guessed it, getting lunch! We went to the famous Centerpoint Station across from the outlet malls. We had delicious burgers and a basket of "frings" (half fries and half onion rings).

Then we continued on to San Antonio! We checked in and rested for awhile before heading to the Riverwalk! Even though we heard the food wasn't great right on the Riverwalk we wanted to give it a try just for the experience. We loved walking up and down the Riverwalk, trying not to fall right in as we looked at all our dinner options!

We finally settled on Casa Rio, the oldest restaurant on the Riverwalk. They had good Mexican food, very satisfying but not spectaular. It was reasonably priced, so overall we were pleased.

The next day we headed to the Alamo and then to a restaurant recommended by some friends- Rosario's. Rosario's is just barely outside the main tourist area in downtown San Antonio. It didn't look like much from the outside but inside it was just the right mix of classy and trendy. We felt like we were walking into this swanky place that we weren't cool enough for. Even the mayor of San Antonio was there eating lunch. (That's how you know you are in the right place!)

Anyways, the food was amazing! By far the best place we ate on our trip. And it wasn't expensive either! The service was great and we loved it!

 The queso flamedo with chorizo and queso asadero...very unique and delicious!
 Fish and shrimp tacos! Delish!
Cool salsa and chips. 

Then we headed off to the suburbs to worship at the San Antonio LDS temple.  Just feet from there is Heart of Texas Barbeque. The smoked chicken is amazing. Mouthwatering, juicy, and smoky. The ribs are good too but nothing compared to the smoked chicken! 

 The best smoked chicken, or any chicken really. The BEST! 

 Ribs with beans and creamed corn. 

Love me some Texas BBQ!

The next day we went venturing for the famous Big Lou's pizza. This place is crazy!! Not only is the building huge but there is normally a long wait as people come from all over to try the 42 inch pizzas!! That's almost 4 feet across!

 Really yummy cheese bread. 
Our yummy little pizza-their crust is delicious!

 Not sure if this is the 37 inch or the 42 but it was huge! A table let me sneak a photo!


We had a great trip and we were totally stuffed by the end of it! We can't wait to go back again and try more delicious food! Even though we have tons of awesome food here in Austin too.
I guess it is a win win! 

Do you have any great restaurants for us to try in San Antonio next time we go?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Sweet Corn Soup

I don't know about where you live, but here in Central Texas, corn is abundant and cheap at the grocery store right now: 6 ears for $.99!

We love corn on the cob as a side for dinner and I also love making fresh soups from it. Not only are soups cheap and filling but I love that I usually have the ingredients to throw one together. And they are so forgiving, you can almost always add or omit vegetables and soups can handle it!

This is an adapted Weight Watchers recipe but I hope that doesn't discourage you. This is a great soup for the transition time between summer and fall. It isn't as heavy as a winter soup but it still has enough texture and creaminess to be comforting.

Sweet Corn Soup
adapted from the Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook

Makes 6 cups/bowls of soup 

**The original recipe calls for grilled corn, which although adding a nice subtle grill flavor still creates a lot of extra steps and not everyone, including me, has a grill! Nevertheless, I have included both versions below, the grilled and non grilled corn version-each will offer a slightly different flavor profile.

4 ears of corn (around 2 cups of corn if using frozen)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 Yukon Gold potato or 2 small red potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
3 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt (I used more but start with this)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup half and half
1 bay leaf

Directions (no grilling)

Boil a large pot of water and add ears of corn, boil for around 8 minutes or until corn is able to be sliced off the cob.  Drain and allow to cool for a few minutes before cutting off kernels with a serrated knife. Keep corn cobs.

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about five minutes. Add corn cobs and all remaining ingredients except the half and half, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered until potato is tender around 15 minutes. Remove and discard cobs and bay leaf. Taste to see if additional salt and pepper are desired.

Remove saucepan from heat and using an immersion blender, puree until desired consistency is reached. I left mine with a lot of texture but you can decide what consistency you like best. (You can also puree soup in a blender or food processor. )

Add half and half to pureed soup and reheat over medium heat until hot.


3 Weight Watchers Points Plus per 1 cup serving

Directions (grilled corn)

To prepare corn for grilling, pull back husks and remove silk. Place husks back over corn. Put corn in large bowl and add enough water to cover. Let stand 20 minutes, drain.

Spray grill with nonstick spray. Preheat grill to medium or prepare medium fire using direct method.

Place corn on grill rack and grill, turning, until corn is tender and husks are lightly charred, about 20 minutes.  when cool enough to handle, remove husks. With long serrated knife, cut off corn kernels. Reserve cobs. 

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about five minutes. Add corn cobs and all remaining ingredients except the half and half, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered until potato is tender around 15 minutes. Remove and discard cobs and bay leaf. Taste to see if additional salt and pepper are desired.

Remove saucepan from heat and using an immersion blender, puree until desired consistency is reached. I left mine with a lot of texture but you can decide what consistency you like best. (You can also puree soup in a blender or food processor. )

Add half and half to pureed soup and reheat over medium heat until hot.


Friday, September 7, 2012

Easy Potato Casserole

This recipe would be great for fall but I made it over Labor Day weekend for a barbeque. There is something just so comforting about barbeque and potatoes and corn and fried okra and beans and get the idea!

You know me, I love recipes where you aren't tied down to the ingredients. You can add more cheese to this, omit the ham, add more green onion...etc. etc. Let's be honest, potatoes made with cheese, butter, cheese and Ritz crackers are bound to be good!

And yes I made these the day I started WW but I brought it to a potluck and I only ate a few points worth. That is a healthy eating secret....feel free to make whatever you want but be sure you have somewhere to take it or someone other than you to eat it!

Shameless I thought this was too cute! I had to have it :)

Easy Potato Casserole
Recipe by The Apron Gal
Serves 8

2 pound bag of frozen diced potatoes (or hash brown style)
1/4 cup butter
1 cup sour cream (I use light or fat free to save a few calories!)
1 cup (ish) shredded cheese, any variety (Colby Jack, Cheddar etc.)
1/2 cup sliced green onions
3/4 cup sliced ham (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 cup crushed Ritz crackers or potato chips or corn flakes (something crunchy!)


Cook your potatoes as desired: my preferred method is to steam the potatoes in the microwave (or steamer) until fork tender but not falling apart, around 10 minutes (or check for instructions on the potatoes bag). 

Crush Ritz crackers by smashing package with a rolling pin or skillet, or of course, a food processor. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 by 13 or round casserole dish. 

Once steamed, place potatoes with butter and green onions in a large skillet over medium high heat for two minutes. Add sour cream, ham, and cheese and stir until combined and melted, add more cheese if desired. Place potato mixture in greased pan. Sprinkle top with crushed Ritz crackers (there may be extra depending on which baking dish you use). Bake for 20-25 minutes or until heated through and mixture is bubbly. Sprinkle with additional raw green onions if desired.


Do you love potatoes with barbeque? Or do you prefer potato casseroles for breakfast? Brunch?

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