Friday, May 30, 2014

Friday Foodie Favorites - May 30

Blueberry Swirl Cinnamon Rolls with Lemon Glaze, Lavash Bread and a sugar snap pea snack-fest are just a few of the things I'm diggin' this week.

1. Smucker's Simple Delight Salted Caramel is a new favorite in our house. I recently used it to drizzle over my Candy Bar Overload Peanut Butter Pie. It's thick, decadent and has the perfect amount of saltiness that I find essential in any caramel that I make or buy.

2. I'm not a huge beer drinker, but I do enjoy an ice-cold Corona with a lime wedge on a beautiful, warm evening every now and again as I unwind from the day. And, right now is just the time of year that I love sitting out on my deck later at night while sipping on this "unparalleled flavor of relaxation" under a moon-lit sky.

3. I make so many different sandwich-style wraps on Joseph's Flax, Oat Bran & Whole Wheat Lavash Bread. My favorite use for it, however, is in my "Veggie Confetti" Wraps. It's a soft flatbread that contains no cholesterol and is low-carb. I find it pretty easily at many major supermarkets in the deli or bakery section.

4. I open up a bag of Marketside Sugar Snap Peas from Wal-Mart and they are devoured in one sitting by my family. We love snacking on them right out of the bag! So crisp, refreshing and summer-y. They are the perfect stand-in until our snap peas that we recently planted are ready to pick.

5. This pan of Blueberry Swirl Cinnamon Rolls with Lemon Glaze disappeared in no time in the Joyously Domestic household - almost as soon as they were cool enough to dig in to. They are gooey and divine. I can't wait to bake more sweet rolls using different types of berries this summer. Berries in cinnamon rolls are my new favorite sweet treat!

6. Oh, Lori at Foxes Love Lemons ... you've done it once again! I'm salivating over this Strawberry-Ginger Lemonade and can't wait to make it for a summer party soon. I'm a sucker for both homemade lemonade and anything with ginger in it.

Blueberry Swirl Cinnamon Rolls with Lemon Glaze

My family has a love affair with cinnamon rolls. We have my Ultimate Overnight Cinnamon Rolls every Christmas morning (and admittedly many other mornings throughout the year) and we've, also, come to love my Cream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls. Using berries in cinnamon rolls is something rather new to me, but this recipe has made me a true believer in the "amazing-ness" of berries in sweet rolls.

I choose blueberries, but I'm sure that other berries would be just as divine. (I'm thinking frozen cherries next time actually.)  In doing research for this post, I read many times that using frozen blueberries is important. Fresh blueberries apparently don't give up as much of their juices during the baking process.

Blueberries and lemon are a match made in heaven in my world. So I, of course, incorporated lemon into the glaze. The result was nothing short of heavenly.

My recipe uses frozen bread dough as a shortcut. So, the prep for these rolls is rather easy. And, these can even be made the night before and baked off in the morning for a sweet breakfast with little fuss. After arranging the rolls in your baking dish, cover tightly with plastic wrap and store overnight in fridge. Allow to proof in the morning, then bake according to recipe directions.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Baked Gnocchi in Bubbly Parmesan "Cream" Sauce

This is a great meatless dinner option and comes together rather quickly. A good-quality packaged gnocchi is a real time saver in this recipe. I love that this is a stock-based Parmesan sauce. (Trust me - you'll never miss the heavy cream.) Bella Sun Luci sun-dried tomatoes from Mooney Farms lend chewiness and a subtle zip that really compliments the dish.

Served with a salad and maybe a loaf of crusty bread, this baked gnocchi makes a great weeknight dinner that the whole family is sure to enjoy.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Salted Caramel Candy Bar Overload Peanut Butter Pie

Whew! That title is a mouthful! Nevertheless, you'll be happy as all get out to have a mouthful (and then some) of this pie! It was a new creation for me that I made for my son's twelfth birthday earlier this week. We'll be having his big party this weekend, but I wanted to make him a special dessert on his actual birthday. He's not a big fan of cake, so I knew I wanted something a bit different.

Enter this over-the-top frozen peanut butter pie that I piled high with chopped Snickers and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, then drizzled with salted caramel sauce. It's not a super traditional peanut butter pie that is usually pudding-based. It's a tad bit thicker and more dense. And, the addition of cream cheese gives it a little tang and helps cut through the sweetness. I guess it could be considered a peanut butter cheesecake, but doesn't have to be baked and isn't quite as heavy.
I cheated took some help from the store by utilizing an already-made chocolate pie crust. However, you could make your own if you want by combining a package of pulsed chocolate sandwich cookies with a few tablespoons of melted butter. Just press the mixture into a pie plate. Most any type of candy bar would work here - it's purely about preference. I used something new from Smucker's in this recipe - their Simple Delight Salted Caramel. I love this stuff! You'll be tempted to gobble it up by the spoonful - it's that fabulous! It's a bit thicker than traditional store-bought caramel sauce so it works well for topping desserts.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Friday Foodie Favorites - May 23

GoGo squeeZ applesauce, PB's Asian Sesame Chicken Salad and some new varieties of KIND bars are just a few of the things I'm diggin' this week.

1. I am loving this Moroccan Mint Green Tea from the Honest Tea company. It's ultra refreshing - especially on these warmer spring days. It's very lightly sweetened with organic honey and contains only 34 calories in the whole bottle!

2. My kids adore these all-natural GoGo squeeZ applesauce pouches - especially the Gimme Five variety. It's a blend of apples, mangos, bananas, strawberries and peaches. There are lots of other flavors, too, and organic versions are offered in many of the flavor choices. They are perfect for school lunch boxes and car rides.

3. I've mentioned my love of KIND bars here on the blog before. I've discovered two new-to-me flavors recently that are just so darn amazing - their Blueberry Vanilla & Cashew and their Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate. If you haven't tried their bars, you are missing out!

4. I've always had a thing for Panera Bread. I mean, that broccoli soup and those crusty baguettes ... we get along beautifully. But, I'm hooked now on their Asian Sesame Chicken Salad. It's comprised of all-natural, antibiotic-free chicken, romaine lettuce, fresh cilantro, sliced almonds, sesame seeds and crispy wonton strips with Asian sesame vinaigrette. It is so refreshing and light ... and, I enjoy it every chance I get when I'm near a PB.

5. I've been spreading the word on social media and the blog this past week about my recent acquisition of a kitchen blow torch. My Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée has been made more than once since then and I've had to instruct the JD household that we'll be taking a break for a bit ... I think I have crème brûlée coming out of my ears. But, dang - it's just so good!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Sun-Dried Tomato Wonton Party Bites #Bella Sun Luci

It's no secret here on JD that I adore using sun-dried tomatoes in my cooking whenever I can. So, I was thrilled when Mooney Farms offered to send me a shipment of several of their fabulous Bella Sun Luci sun-dried tomato products a couple of weeks ago. (I love their products so much that I had previously featured them in one of my Friday Foodie Favorites posts.)

I've been experimenting with their different varieties in my cooking recently and hope to have more recipes to post in the near future, but I wanted to share this simple take on a previously posted JD recipe (my Fresh Veggie Pizza Wonton Cups). For this version, I utilized a similar cream cheese base recipe, but made these into mini wonton cups. I crowned the tops with chopped sun-dried tomatoes and scallions.

These mini appetizers are quite simple and uncomplicated, yet pack a major flavor punch. These are great for parties since almost all of the prep work can be done in advance (prep ahead instructions can be found at bottom of post). Guests seem to love wonton cup appetizers, so these just may be the perfect flavorful bites to serve at your next gathering.

Yields 24 bite-size cups.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Friday Foodie Favorites - May 16

Won ton wrappers, Theo chocolate bars and Brown Cow Cream Top Cherry-Vanilla yogurt are just a few of the things I'm diggin' this week.

1. I tried these Theo chocolate bars for the first time this past week. I am smitten. These fair trade-certified , non-GMO and organic bars are sinfully scrumptious - especially the salted almond and cherry almond varieties.

2. I've been using Watkins' Garlic Peppercorn Blend seasoning for well over a year now. I love it on grilled steak and oven-roasted chicken. And, it's especially fabulous on my Slow Cooker Herb Chicken with Gravy.

3. These Savory 34° Savory Crisps are the perfect wafer-thin cracker to serve at parties. I like topping the sesame ones with a thin slice of cheese and a little preserves. They come in natural, sesame, cracked pepper, rosemary and whole grain flavors. (I usually find them in the deli section alongside the artisan cheese display at the grocery store.)

4. For those who follow me here on Joyously Domestic, you're aware of my love for won ton wrapper appetizer cups. I have been working on some new recipes that I'll be sharing soon, but my favorite has always been my Fresh Veggie Pizza Won Ton Cups recipe. I just made a batch yesterday for the kids and I to snack on before my daughter's ball practice.

5. Have you tried this Brown Cow yogurt that has cream on the top? It is divine. I adore the cherry-vanilla flavor, but the peach is, also, great. It has the fruit on the bottom, the yogurt in the middle and a thin layer of sweet cream on top. Yum!

6. My family is hooked on this Kerrygold Dubliner Cheese. It has a distinctive rounded flavor and a natural hint of sweetness. Aged for twelve months, it has elements of mature cheddar, sweet nutty tones of a Swiss and the piquant bite of aged Parmesan. We're major cheese lovers and this is one of our favorites.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée

I have requested a kitchen blow torch from my hubby and kids for a good three years for my birthday and Christmas. I adore crème brûlée and always order it if a restaurant offers it while I'm out for dinner. It is seriously my absolute favorite dessert on the planet.

For Mother's Day this year, they finally got me a blow torch so that I could make crème brûlée at home. I had made it many years ago, but had to use my oven broiler to attempt to achieve that crackled sugar top. Frankly, I just always thought that a blow torch would make the process much more fun and me a more legit maker of crème brûlée. (I know - that sounds so corny.)

Crème brûlée, also, happens to be one of my kids' favorite desserts. We usually just order one and share it while we're out to eat, so you can easily conclude that I only get two or three bites. (The moms out there know what I'm talking about.) We were all looking forward to making this dessert at home so that we could each have our own! This recipe yields six individual servings.

The hardest part of the recipe is waiting for the custard to completely chill before topping it with sugar, torching the heck of it and cracking it open with a spoon.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Blogger Spotlight with Michelle from Counting Willows

Earlier this year, I introduced a new monthly feature here on Joyously Domestic - Blogger Spotlight. Last month, I featured Tux from Brooklyn Homemaker. This month, I'm thrilled to be featuring Michelle from Counting Willows. I came in contact with Michelle through our mutual guest posts on another site. She is one sweet lady and seems to share many of the same values as I do when it comes to family, home and life in general. Her blog is a beautiful blend of home organization ideas, cleaning tips, recipe ideas and DIY fun. She, also, shares stories from her busy life as a mom and wife that will inspire us all to take time to enjoy the simple, meaningful things in our often-chaotic, crazy lives.

Friday, May 09, 2014

Joyously Domestic Is Now on Instagram!

After lots of requests and a little procrastination, I've finally bit the bullet and joined Instagram. I'm just getting started, so the posts aren't numerous just yet. But, I'll be sharing some behind-the-scenes stuff, content that isn't always shared here on the blog, a peek every now and then of the family and lots more as we go along. So, come follow along and let's have some fun, friends.


Friday Foodie Favorites - May 9

A dark chocolate bar with just a kick of spice, some unique potato chips and a killer Quaker cereal are just a few of the things I'm diggin' this week.

1. Evolution's Organic Ginger Limeade is like, my new favorite get-me-in-the-mood-for-summer drink. It's a refreshing blend of fresh lime juice and fresh ginger with just the perfect balance of sweet and tart. I always regret that I don't pick up more than one bottle at a time.

2. A bar of Lindt Excellence Chili Dark Chocolate can be found stashed away in my freezer at all times. I am not a huge, overly-obsessed chocolate fanatic, but I do enjoy breaking off a square of this every now and then when the mood strikes. It offers a subtle heat with a slight bitterness that I like in dark chocolate

3. Trader Joe's Speculoos Cookie Butter is out of this world. My fifteen-year old daughter loves seeing a jar of this on our pantry shelf so she can dig into it with a spoon! It's a spread made from Speculoos cookies. Speculoos cookies are classic Belgian cookies with great crunch, and a slightly caramelized, almost-but-not-quite-gingerbread flavor.  It's fabulous spread on toast, pancakes, waffles or English muffins, but works great in many dessert recipes.

4. My kids and I have fallen head over heels for the Peach Apple Walnut Quaker Real Medleys Multigrain Cereal. It's the perfect blend of granola clusters, multigrain flakes, nuts and fruit. I'm sure it's fabulous as a bowl of actual cereal with milk, but we haven't quite gotten that far yet ... we love snacking on it right out of the box and sprinkling it on Greek yogurt.

5. I never thought I'd enjoy an almost-burnt potato chip. But, these Better Made Rainbow Old-Fashioned Dark Potato Chips have me hooked! My husband's grandmother first introduced me to these years ago when she'd go out of her way to visit a specific store just to purchase them. Now, they seem to be found easily at most grocery stores in my area. My family often fights over them when I bring a bag home.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

FREE Mother's Day Questionnaire Printable

Today I'm featuring a FREE printable that is perfect for capturing kids' thoughts about MOM this Mother's Day. Whether for at-home use, school classroom use or Sunday School use, this quick questionnaire is a simple, yet memorable way for kids to show moms everywhere just how much they love them! It is certainly something mom will cherish for years to come.

Simply right-click the printable and save to your computer. Print as a full page in high-resolution.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

DIY Luscious Citrus Sugar Scrub with Free Printable

This Luscious Citrus Sugar Scrub is super simple to whip up and makes a great gift. I was floored when I realized I could make sugar body scrub so easily and inexpensively at home.

This scrub is a super luxurious treat for dry, weathered skin. If you prefer a more-coarse scrub, you can alter the amount of sugar you use to adjust the consistency. Some may prefer it rather oily and choose to use less sugar while some may enjoy it more-coarse. It's all about your preference ... just add more sugar or oil until you reach the consistency you like.

I am providing the printable I used for my labels (see bottom of post). They can be used to tie onto the containers with raffia or ribbon. Or, you can label the tops of your jars with the circle labels if the size is right. (Just right-click the printable to save to your computer, then print as a full page in high-resolution.)

A small spoon or scoop can be attached to the container with ribbon, if desired. I would encourage use of some type of spoon or similar item so that wet fingers aren't used to scoop out the product. (Getting water into the scrub can cause bacteria growth over time.) I would, also, discourage you from storing the container directly in the shower or tub. Keep in a dry place and scoop out what you need at time of use. (It's a good idea to pass this info on to the gift recipient if gifting.)

Vitamin E Oil is used in the "recipe" to help act as a natural preservative. The addition of sea salt can help, too, if desired.

Monday, May 05, 2014

April Recap

It was a busy month here on Joyously Domestic. After struggling to post actively during March due to a crazy wave of illness that tore through our household, I had lots to get done in April. I'd love for you to join me as I take a look back on the blog happenings over the past month.

April Recipe Posts

Friday, May 02, 2014

Friday Foodie Favorites - May 2

Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter, Sonoma Chicken Salad {A Whole Foods Copycat Recipe} and Sweet & Spicy Herbal Tea are just a few of the things I'm totally diggin' this week.

1. I discovered one incredible snack when I brought home a package of Suzie's Corn, Quinoa and Sesame Thin Cakes from Whole Foods. These aren't your typical, boring rice cakes, friends. Three cakes have just 38 calories and contain only corn, quinoa, sesame seeds, oil and salt.

2. I am in love with Mariani Sesame Honey Bars. They contain no trans fat, no added colors, no preservatives and no added flavors. They are simply made with sesame seeds, peanuts, honey, raisins, almonds, sunflower kernels and pumpkin seeds. So divine. (They come in other varieties, too.)

3. I swear that angels sing when I spread this Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter on a warm slice of crusty bread. It is rich, decadent and heavenly.

4. I recently shared my experience making Sonoma Chicken Salad using the recipe straight from the Whole Foods' website. It is nothing short of amazing. I've made two batches in five days! You MUST make this and judge for yourself! I like it on toasted sourdough or marble rye with just a little butter and topped with sliced red onions and leaf lettuce.

5. My kids and hubby are totally loving my Old-Fashioned Tapioca Pudding these days. The best small pearl tapioca I have found is Bob's Red Mill brand. One bag yields several batches. Store-bought pudding cups have nothing on my easy from-scratch version.

6. I simply cannot get enough of this Sweet & Spicy Herbal Tea from Good Earth. Described as an aromatic sweet cinnamon tea with hints of orange ... this full flavored signature blend offers up a rich, spicy fragrance followed by a sweet, warming, clean taste without added sugar. The ingredient list lured me right in: organic rooibos, organic chicory root, organic cinnamon, organic rosehip, organic honeybush, natural flavor, organic lemongrass, organic chamomile, organic peppermint, organic ginger root, organic orange oil and organic orange peel.  I've been enjoying it hot, but am looking forward to serving it iced this summer with lots of lemon and orange slices. It's easily found at most supermarkets and, also, is available for the Keurig.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

14 Inspirational Summertime Recipes

It's a fact that so many of us wondered if we'd ever make it to warm temps and yards not covered in several feet of snow this year. It was quite the brutal winter! But, spring has sprung and if you're anything like me, you're craving those delicious summer recipes. While I still love those comforting slow cooker recipes year-round, I'm so ready for backyard cook-outs and eating a much lighter fare.
I've put together a round-up of some great summertime recipes from right here on Joyously Domestic to inspire you - fabulous pasta salads, fresh veggie appetizers, refreshing icebox treats and cool, creamy dips. So, whether you're inspired to try a few of these recipes to get ya in the mood now for sunshine and flip flips OR you want to bookmark (or pin) this list for the upcoming months, it is my hope that you'll find a few recipes that'll become family favorites.