Thanksgiving Stuffed Acorn Squash

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Got a lot of turkey left over from the holiday?

Do you plan for more people that may or may not actually come to your gathering?

Maybe you love Thanksgiving so much, that you wish you had a variety of dishes to continue those glorious flavors for days after.

Well I've got the thing for you!

Make these amazing leftover Thanksgiving Stuffed Acorn Squash Bowls. They are resourceful and delicious!

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If you have guests staying with you over the holidays this will make a perfect next day breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

It's easy to serve up for a bunch of people. Just create a little "Sides Bar" with all the ingredients to stuff the acorn squash with in their own little containers/serving bowls.

You, your family, or guests can build their own thanksgiving leftover squash bowls the way they like them! :-D

I think these squash bowls are so easy!

You can fry up different kinds of breakfast meats in the morning to add to the squash.

Sausage meat, bacon bits, ground beef, pork chops, or any meats you desire! But most certainly all that wonderful leftover turkey meat! 

I think acorn squash is such a beautiful squash.

It can be sweetened or savory. Baked, diced, or sautéed. You can do a lot with an acorn squash :-)

I love baking my acorn squash in the oven. Letting it get all golden and perfectly tender on the inside.

Then make edible bowls out of them for all my leftover goodies.

I prefer to make my acorn squash Sweet AND Savory.

Roasted with brown sugar butter.

Stuffed with cornbread dressing, a warm apple & raisin compote spiced to perfection, with a mix of turkey pieces, and sausage bit's.

Layering the Roasted Acorn Squash is as easy as 1 - 2 - 3!

1- Stuffing/Dressing

2- Meats of choice (Sausage meat, pork chops, bacon bits, ground beef, or any meats you desire)

3- lastly top with the Apple Cranberry Mixture

GO! - Bake for 10 -15 minutes to serve hot and DIG IN!!

Acorn Squash Recipe

 

Ingredients-

2 Acorn Squash

4 - 6 Tablespoons of butter, softened

1/2 Cup Brown Sugar

 

Stuffing items:

Cornbread Dressing (or any dressing/stuffing leftover or fresh)

1 lb+ Turkey meat, Strips/chunks (Leftover or freshly made)

1/2 lb or more of Breakfast Meat  (Sausage meat, pork chops, bacon bits, ground beef, any meats you desire)

 

Apples and Raisins Compote:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 Red Delicious apples, peeled, cored, and sliced in 1/2-inch-thick wedges

1/4 cup cranberries

3/4 cup apple juice/cider or sparkling apple Juice/cider

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pinch of Salt

Pinch of black pepper, ground

 

Directions-

  1. Preheat Oven to 350 Degrees
  2. Mix the brown sugar and butter till creamed
  3. Cut the acorn squash in half, scoop out the seeds
  4. Add a little drizzle of olive oil in the middle and around the edges
  5. Place the squash halves open side down on a baking sheet and bake in an oven about 20 minutes
  6. While the squash is roasting in oven. Melt the butter for the apple cranberry mixture in a skillet over medium-low heat 
  7. Add the apples to the skillet to coat in the butter. Cook and stir for 8 minutes till darker in color
  8. Mix in the raisins and add the apple juice (or Sparkling apple cider), Continuously keep stirring to scrape up the brown bits
  9. Scoop in the brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and pepper
  10. Simmer for 10 minutes until the apples break down and become soft
  11. After 20min in the oven, Flip the squash over and run a fork through the middle making little lines for the Brown Sugar Butter to seep into. Caution: Squash will be hot, handle with care
  12. Add about a tablespoon of the Brown Sugar Butter into the middle of the squash and around the edges
  13. Bake for another 20-30 minutes or until the squash is tender
  14. Baste squash with excess sugar butter (if any) from the pan
  15. Layer the Roasted Acorn Squash first with the Stuffing, then your meats of choice, lastly top with the apple cranberry mixture and bake fore 10 -15 more minutes to serve hot

Tips-

  • Double this recipe to feed a bunch of people with your recipe, or even to eat these multiple times in one day!

 

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(1) You must ask permission to use my photos and (2) Content found here on Chocolate Mama Loves Vanilla may not be republished word-for-word. Please note, re-word, and source recipes if not your own development. © Chocolate Mama Loves Vanilla. All images & content are copyright protected. I ask for you to refrain from using my images without prior permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, and/or link back to this post for the recipe. Please and Thank You!

Teriyaki Jerky Marinade Without Liquid Smoke

This post was sponsored by JORD Wood Watches. As always, all opinions and recipes are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands who support CMLV!
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It is November, and it's time for hunting season to kick off and the Jerky to commence (come forth)!

If your partner is a hunter, this is the time of year that you lose him to the wilderness. Well, maybe you already have if they own a BOW of some sort. 

But, if they are waiting for gun season, VENISON Jerky may have to wait till after November 15th.

Until then, you can make Jerky with any type of meat with my special Multi-Purpose Teriyaki Marinade!

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Sometimes, the hunters in the family can lose track of time. Lost in the thrill of catching dinner to feed themselves and the ones they love.

When helping to keep a hunter full and nourished while they are gone for long periods of time, I believe jerky is a really good idea! :-D

Jerky is a light packing item to have (You don't want a picnic in the woods during this time).

Also, a fantastic way to have protein on the go. Without worrying about the meat spoiling after a certain amount of time.

My tips for easy meat selection and preparation is LEAN MEAT. Lean meat with less fat is a MUST.

The white marble-ly stuff and fat found in meat is a NO GO. The marble part makes the meat tough once dried.

Then the fat keeps the meat wet longer and doesn't dry properly. Fat also makes the meat go rancid WAY faster and may need refrigeration to be edible. 

Other meat tips:

Slice the meat when it's partially frozen or frozen. Seems crazy, but if you have never done it before, RED MEAT slices like butter when it is hard and cold.

Also, I prefer to make sure my meat is as tender as it can get from the start, before it is dried out.

The best way to a tender destination is to slice AGAINST the Grain.

I have noticed that there has been some commotion about the use of "Liquid Smoke".

The fact that it is a very processed way of getting a a smoky flavor that we love (as if it was smoked), (but it wasn't) has had some people avoiding products containing Liquid Smoke.

Instead, my jerky marinade includes "Smoked" Paprika and Chipotle Powder to give the deep dark color and smoky flavor with a little kick. So if this meat looks a little dark to you, don't worry, it's not burnt... It's deeply flavored! 

This recipe is also Smoker- Free and Oven friendly for any viewers who don't have a smoker at home. 

But by all means, whip out your smoker and set the temperature and time the same as the oven on it's lowest setting. 

This will give a bold smoke flavor thats all natural and un-processed.

I don't use a microwave, but I do own a bunch of kitchen gadgets. Including a Smoker. Everyone Doesn't have a smoker, but the majority of us have a Queen, Opps, I mean an Oven in their home.

At my house the oven is the queen. The Queen takes care of us with wholesome hot meals and protects me from that extra radiation I'm always in fear of from the microwave, lol. 

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I love it, and I love sending it out into the deep woods with my hunter for a tasty treat, nutrients, and drive to catch more jerky meat for me!

:-D

This Multi-Purpose Teriyaki Marinade recipe is friendly to most types of meat including beef, turkey, salmon, and venison!

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My hunter featured is this post is sporting/wearing an amazingly crafted and stylish wooden watch by JORD Wood Watches.

I am absolutely in LOVE with the use of wood for these watches.

I saw these watches and I thought, "This is so me!" It's so NATURALLY BEAUTIFUL! Then I thought, "This is so HIM!".

Great minds think alike! I couldn't resist giving him a perfectly crafted watch to go out into the woods with when he's hunting. I mean could you image whipping out your cell phone to check the time when deer game is approaching??

But my hunter was so impressed with the quality of this watch, he wears it all day and protects it at night. Putting it away in this amazing box that it came in with a cloth and everything! :-D

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There are so many selections of these watches for MEN. CLICK HERE FOR MEN'S WATCHES

I can't wait to purchase several different varieties for him over the years so that he can match them to anything he wears.

The watch fits so smoothly and comfortably. Unlike metal watches, JORDs unique watches do not make noise or rip out any arm hair, lol. 

There is a wonderful selection for WOMEN as well! CLICK HERE FOR WOMEN'S WATCHES
These cool watches are so unique, beautiful, and for everyone that I couldn't resist posting a GIVEAWAY HERE for my wonderful viewers (Yes, thats you! :-D)

ENTER NOW!

Contest winner gets a $75 e-gift code to the shop

All other entrants receive a $20 e-gift code

automatically emailed to them just for entering.

The contest will close 11/20 at 11:59pm.

 

 

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INGREDIENTS:

2 lbs of Lean Meat (beef, turkey, salmon, and venison)

1 Cups Soy Sauce (I use a soy sauce alternative)

1/2 Cup of Hard Cider (or your favorite beer)

1/4 Cup Blackstrap Molasses

1/4 cups Brown Sugar

1/2 - 1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar

1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder

1 Tablespoon Onion Powder

1 Tablespoon "Smoked" Paprika

1/2 - 1 teaspoon Chipotle Powder

1 teaspoon Black Pepper

1 teaspoon Salt

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Slice the meat against the grain into ¼" or more pieces (depending on preference)
  2. Cut off any visible fat or gristle.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the Soy Sauce, Hard Cider (or your favorite beer), Blackstrap Molasses, Brown Sugar, and Apple Cider Vinegar
  4. Next, combine all the seasonings: Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, "Smoked" Paprika, Chipotle Powder, Black Pepper, and Salt
  5. Place all the slices of meat into the marinade.
  6. Cover and refrigerate for 8 - 24 hours
  7. After meat has marinated. Place the marinated meat on a lined baking sheet with foil or add a sheet of foil directly onto wire rack in the oven an add meat on the foil.
  8. Bake meat on lowest oven setting at 145°F-170°F for 6 hours. NOTE: Leave oven door propped open or use a wooden spoon/utensil to keep the door open so moisture may escape.
  9. Flip meat half way through cooking time to ensure proper drying on both sides and throughout.
  10. Place the completed cooked jerky into zip lock bags for storage.

TIPS:

  • Good for 4-6 months.
  • If you have a dehydrator, you can set it to the same temperatures and same time.
  • No alcohol? No problem! Use coffee in place of the beer of choice.
  • Propping the oven open with a wooden spoon/utensil is essential for meat drying out properly.
  • Red meat slices like butter when the meat is partially frozen or frozen. 
  • Slice meat AGAINST the Grain.
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(1) You must ask permission to use my photos and (2) Content found here on Chocolate Mama Loves Vanilla may not be republished word-for-word. Please note, re-word, and source recipes if not your own development. © Chocolate Mama Loves Vanilla. All images & content are copyright protected. I ask for you to refrain from using my images without prior permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, and/or link back to this post for the recipe. Please and Thank You!

How to Create a Restaurant Quality Summer Salad

This post is sponsored by Tressemae's All Natural through Mom It Forward . As always, all opinions and recipe are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands who support CMLV!
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In the past, there had been something so different about having a salad at a restaurant.

I remember when I would go long periods of times without a salad unless it was at a restaurant. The salad either came free with the meal, or I couldn't resist a summer type of salad that would come to my table.

If salads ever did happen at home, I bought the pre mixed bags at the grocery store. The ones that had the lettuce, dressing, and other ingredients included. But, I never got the real variety of choice that my heart desired :-(

I wanted that summery salad with the really good for you leafy greens, juicy ripe fruit, large crunchy nuts, crumbly cheese, seasoned to perfection grilled meat, and a salad dressing that didn't ruin all the benefits of an amazingly healthy summer salad!

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After realizing that I couldn't live without one of those expensive summery restaurant styled salads in my life. I took note of what leafy greens, cheese, dressings, and other toppings worked best together to get the best restaurant quality salad at home for less.

My favorite QUICK and EASY summer styled salad is a "Strawberry Fields Salad". Usually it contain's greens, strawberries, onion, cranberries, feta cheese, chicken, bacon, pecans, and a vinaigrette Dressing tossed together. 

My Faster Version ditches the onions and bacon. I also swap out the chicken for shrimp because they marinade in way less time, and cook much faster!

Top it all off with a really good oil based dressing!

Like Tessemae's amazing balsamic line! There dressings are so delicious and perfectly balanced... All of them! :-D

Unlike most salad dressings on the market, Tessemae’s is as close to what you would make in your own kitchen… just already done for you! 

Tessemae's only uses real and whole sourced food ingredients! :-D

Whole30 approved, gluten free, non-gmo, vegan, and are now Certified USDA Organic!

They also contain no added sugar, thickeners, preservatives, additives, and no xantham gum…ever!

Tessemae’s All Natural is a growing natural food company from Annapolis Maryland that makes 25 different organic dressings, marinades, and condiments. The perfect enhancement for your summer salads, marinating your meats, and dipping with! 

You can find Tessemae’s All Natural Products directly online. All my viewers get a 10% discount to use with the coupon code below!

Coupon Code: TesseLove

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Easily marinade the shrimp with Tessemae's All Natural Lemon Garlic Dressing & Marinade in 10 minutes.

Then sauté or grill them within several minutes!

NOTE: Do NOT marinate shrimp for more than 30 Minutes!

Shrimp soaks up the marinade much faster than Chicken, Pork, or Beef. Marinating for too long will change the shrimps texture, and we don't want that!!

Layer and spread out your toppings...

BOOM!

A beautiful summer salad as fancy as all those restaurants out there! :-D

Strawberry Fields Shrimp Salad

Serves 2          Prep Time: 10 Min         Cook Time: 7 Min

 

Ingredients

1 Cup Shrimp, peeled and deveined

 

Pinch of Pepper

4 Cups Spinach

8 Strawberries, sliced

3/4 Cup Pecans, halved (Raw, Roasted, or Candied)

3 - 4 Tablespoons Dried Cranberries 

3 - 4 Tablespoons Feta Cheese

 

Directions

  1. Mix shrimp, pepper, and lemon garlic marinade in a small bowl. Let marinade for 10 minutes.
  2. While shrimp is marinating, pre heat a skillet on medium heat
  3. After Shrimp has finished marinating. Add mixture into pre heated skillet and cook each side for about 3 minutes.
  4. NOTE: Shrimp should be done after it has changed color from grey to a light opaque pink and white color all over
  5. Once shrimp is cooked, remove from heat
  6. Begin layering other ingredients (in a large salad bowl or two separate dinner plates):
  • Spinach
  • Pecans
  • Strawberries
  • Cranberries
  • Feta cheese
  • Balsamic Dressing
  • Shrimp

 

What is your favorite Summer Salad and/or Dressings?? 

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(1) You must ask permission to use my photos and (2) Content found here on Chocolate Mama Loves Vanilla may not be republished word-for-word. Please note, re-word, and source recipes if not your own development. © Chocolate Mama Loves Vanilla. All images & content are copyright protected. I ask for you to refrain from using my images without prior permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, and/or link back to this post for the recipe. Please and Thank You!

Meatloaf with Sweet Pepper Relish

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As much as I love watching and learning from my family all of their old secret recipes. I’m a huge fan of watching cooking shows!

One day I was doing my normal routine at home. Most likely studying for an exam with the T.V. on in the background, lol.

On my television, I see the awesome Tyler Florence putting together a series of food that came from his father. I thought “Hmmm, maybe I need a males take on meatloaf?”

I was never a fan of meatloaf when my family made it... It was always “beefy”.

It tasted so savory and meaty. I felt like it was more palatable for a serious carnivore! 

Maybe it’s because I did the whole vegetarian thing through middle school and high School. But this was a phase!

Even when I stopped my phase, I was turned off by the thought of meatloaf for dinner. 

But when I saw Tyler Florence adding all this stuff that I never saw my family do, all of a sudden I was very intrigued! I had a Not So Pregnant food craving to make that darn meatloaf!

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I have always been a firm believer of cooking meat with a mix of sautéed onions, garlic, and parsley. It’s the perfect trio to make anything taste better really.

When I saw Tyler Florence do this, I knew that his meatloaf was going to be amazing!

I have always been a person who felt that if someone else uses similar techniques with cooking, that I could happily eat over at their house and feel like I was at home.

This was no different of an experience! Except that meatloaf recipe kept shocking me with it’s secrets!

The trick to his meatloaf to make it less “beefy” was using HALF Ground Beef and HALF Ground Pork! Ding Ding Ding! We have a winner!

It just made since! Deep down in my core, I knew I was going to LOVE this meat loaf.

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Then all of a sudden, he got extra flavorful at the end and added BACON! OMG!! Talk about the way to a mans heart!

But, NOT my moms heart. My moms heart is not so good, so I had to leave off the bacon.

Honestly, leaving off the bacon kept not only the calories and fat down. It also kept the grocery bill a lot cheaper!

I altered my meatloaf for budget friendly pockets & also skipped getting too piggy with it.

By all means, here is a link to original creator “Tyler Florence” if you ever want to splurge and have a meatloaf meant for kings. Because it really is amazing with the bacon on top as well. Use that for a cheat day!

But my alterations don’t make you miss that much. Especially when you can use the extra dollars needed for Dessert! :-D

For Quick Instructions on some Damn Good Meatloaf!

Watch the Video BELOW The Recipe... :-D!

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Ingredients

1/4 cup Olive Oil

1 Onion, Diced

2 Cloves Garlic,  Minced

1 Green Bell Pepper. Diced

6 Mini Sweet Peppers, Diced (or 1-2 Red or Yellow Bell Pepper)

2 Cups Ketchup

1/2 Cup Brown Sugar (Optional, Not shown in video)

1 Pound Ground Beef

1 Pound Ground Pork

2 Eggs

3-4 slices white bread, edges removed

1/4 Cup Milk

1 Teaspoon Paprika

1 Tablespoon All Purpose Seasoning

1/3 Cup Parsley, chopped

Salt

Pepper

 

Directions

  1. Preheat Oven to 375 Degrees. Cover a cookie sheet completely with parchment paper. 
  2. On stovetop, heat a large skillet to medium heat. Heat Olive Oil in skillet
  3. Cook Onion and Garlic for 10 Minutes until Onions are translucent
  4. Add peppers and cook another 10 Min 
  5. Add Ketchup and (optional) Brown Sugar. Cook for 5 min till ketchup starts to thicken with the Vegetables. Set aside and let the relish mixture cool
  6. Tear/break apart white bread into small pieces and place into a small/medium bowl
  7. Add milk and let the milk soak into the bread
  8. In a Large Mixing bowl, add beef and pork, then season with paprika, all purpose seasoning, parsley, salt, pepper, and 2 eggs
  9. Take the milk soaked bread and squeeze out any excess milk, then add the bread to the bowl of meat.
  10. Add half of the cooled down relish mixture to the meat bowl and mix everything together until incorporated.
  11. Pour mixture onto prepared cookie sheet and mold the meat into a Loaf/Log
  12. Cover Meat with the other half of relish
  13. Bake for 45min - 1 hour
  14. Half way through Baking Squeeze/squirt Extra Ketchup in a Zig Zag on top of Meatloaf
  15. Remove cooked Meatloaf and let it rest for at least 10 min. Enjoy!!

Tips

  • I have to make certain alterations such as sugar usage and extra fat usage for my family at times. Feel free to go all the way and use the Brown Sugar in the Sweet Pepper Relish and the strips of Bacon on top of your loaf for the best meat loaf ever! :-D

 

Are you a meatloaf lover?? What's your Meatloaf traditions?? 

I would love to see how your meatloaf came out! Feel free to take a picture and show me on Instagram, Facebook, and/or Twitter at #chocolatemamalovesvanilla

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(1) You must ask permission to use my photos and (2) Content found here on Chocolate Mama Loves Vanilla may not be republished word-for-word. Please note, re-word, and source recipes if not your own development. © Chocolate Mama Loves Vanilla. All images & content are copyright protected. I ask for you to refrain from using my images without prior permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, and/or link back to this post for the recipe. Please and Thank You!

White Castle Copy-Cat Burgers

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If you have read my other posts, you may have noticed that I tend to love everything Natural or Organic.

But, long ago there was a time that I wasn't on my organic obsession. 

Some people who are not crazy like myself, about organic living tend to find it hard to understand, how I live without some of the tasty things that are floating around our wonderful country.

People even wonder about the fact that I rarely go out to restaurants and I definitely don’t par-take in fast food.

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I may sound boring, or crazy to some people out there in the world by giving up on eating such spectacular flavors out there.

But let me assure you. I HAVE NOT! I crave all those wonderful delights out there! :-D

The best thing I can do, is spend hours in the kitchen and researching. Then I can come up with some of the same flavors at the places I used to eat at as a kid and grew up enjoying

With that being said, I give you a homemade all natural/organic copy-catted version of the classic White Castle Burger!

There are so many secrets to this recipe that make this an amazing burger to have forever! 

One of the secrets to this burger I found from Favorite Family Recipes with the use of Peanut butter! Amazing right! :-)

Another Secret she used was Lipton Onion Soup Packets. But those packets are another thing of the past to me. So, I altered her recipe with my own homemade version of herbs you would typically find in one of those packets

Boy oh boy, let me tell you, The smells from all the dry and fresh herbs in the meat is absolutely irresistible! 

I absolutely love every minute of stirring this together! It’s crazy!

I have never smelled raw burger meat and thought, “Lord, keep me from eating raw meat!” until I make these delicious little burgers!

If the meat can smell that good before it’s cooked, imagine the smells as it bakes in the oven… and after it has finished cooking! ABSOLUTE… BURGER… HEAVEN!

Don’t get discouraged by the amount of herbs in this recipe. All the herbs can be used to make as many Homemade Onion Soup Packets your heart desires.

Use them in other dishes and get creative at home for yourself and family. Each of these spices are heavily used in my home in basic dishes.

These same herbs can easily stock your spice rack game up from Novice to Highly skilled!

Stick with me and I’ll make sure you use all your Herbs and Spices you acquire (plus Herbs last a very long time!)

Or even used in every burger you’ll ever make from now till eternity!

This recipe is THE SOLUTION for a crowd of hungry guests! 

It’s Amazingly Quick and Easy to create 12 burgers (in my case 24 or more) at the same time without using a grill and flipping burgers.

I put this flavorful dish in the oven, set a timer, and walk away. Check on them a couple of times, pop them back in the oven, set a timer, and do other things!

It’s the perfect dish to have when entertaining guest because you can actually do other things as these burgers cook!

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It’s the Perfect way to make burgers that are for everyone, regardless of the temperature of meat. Medium rare and Medium Well Lovers alike, will enjoy these amazingly juicy, and tender burgers that are cooked through, and seasoned to perfection.

Either way, these cheesy, baked, irresistibly onion flavored, fresh, and dry herbed seasoned White Castle Copy-Cat Burgers are worth every easy minute of cooking them. 

The only thing that isn’t easy is trying NOT to eat them all!!

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Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds ground beef

3 tablespoons dried minced onion

2- 3 teaspoons parsley, finely chopped

½ teaspoon onion powder

½ teaspoon turmeric

3/4 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon celery seeds

1/4 tsp Paprika

¼ teaspoon sugar

¼ teaspoon ground pepper

⅛ teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon peanut butter (Secret Ingredient!)

1/2 cup milk

1 onion, diced

Dinner Rolls, sliced in half (can be cooked or Ready to cook)

12 Slices American Cheese (I use Horizon Organics)

Pickles, sliced (optional)

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl combine the first 13 ingredients together (hamburger, 10 spices, peanut butter, and milk)
  3. Spread the seasoned meat mixture on the prepared cookie sheet by rolling it out with a rolling pin till smooth.    
  4. Place in oven for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees. NOTE: The meat will shrink and the pan will fill with juice from the meat, DO NOT DRAIN or DISCARD the juice!
  5. Take the partially cooked meat out of the oven and place the diced onions all around the edges and on top of the meat (most of the onions should be in the juice)
  6. Bake the meat for another 15 minutes until the onion are translucent
  7. Take the cooked meat and onions out of the oven and spoon the cooked onions from the edges on top of the meat 
  8. Then layer the meat and onions with the 12 slices of cheese and bake for an additional 8-10 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly. 
  9. Add only the tops of your rolls and place back in the oven for 5-7 more minutes (depending on if you are using partially cooked bread or not)
  10. NOTE: Cook the bottoms of your partially cooked dinner rolls on a separate tray in the oven at the same time the Tops go in.
  11. Remove from the oven and slice the meat with a knife (or pizza cutter) and pick up the whole section of top bun with the cheese, onions, and meat with a spatula and set it on the bottom bun.

 

Tips:

  • Placing the onion in the juice from the beef gives the meat the great onion flavor!
  • If you are desperate to make this burger but don’t want to buy all the spices. Find a packet that is used for onion soup and substitute all the herbs with the packet
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(1) You must ask permission to use my photos and (2) Content found here on Chocolate Mama Loves Vanilla may not be republished word-for-word. Please note, re-word, and source recipes if not your own development. © Chocolate Mama Loves Vanilla. All images & content are copyright protected. I ask for you to refrain from using my images without prior permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, and/or link back to this post for the recipe. Please and Thank You!

The Best German Chocolate Cake

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I didn’t know I had an addiction until, one day I made this German Chocolate Cake Recipe and literally didn't want to share it!

I made it for a holiday family function once. This made me realize that having one slice of this perfectly sweet, moist and chocolatey cake drives me crazy!

So, I decided to make another one for only 2 people to eat!

I thought to myself, that should be plenty for us, and if someone came by, they could have a piece as well, and all all of the cake would get eaten before it has a chance of going bad.

Boy oh boy was I delusional! I managed to eat 75% of that darn cake myself in maybe 4 days!? The 25% of that cake was eaten by someone else at the beginning of it’s existence (maybe by day 1 and 2). Day 3 and 4 was ALL ME. OMG how ashamed I was!

I felt like I needed to go to church and pray... or maybe a gym!? lol

I didn’t know what came over me but I’ve tried to limit myself to Holiday’s Only!

But when the holidays rolled around. I Made TWO and managed to be in the same position. HOW?? because I kept one whole cake at my house and it happened all over again!

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This cake isn't a devils cake but, I felt like I was sinning eating this cake so much!

A full blown 3 Layered Cake of chocolate perfection!

I knew I had to figure a way to break myself of this crazy cake attack! So I made this cake over and over and over and (well, you get the point!) OVER! lol I would make one and share half. I needed to practice separating from this cake.

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What makes this cake SO Irresistible?! 

SO MUCH IT’S CRAZY!

Let’s start with the “German” Chocolate… First it’s not german, german was the creators last name! lol but if you want to still believe it is of German decent, go ahead! 

Any who, there is COFFEE in the batter that helps bring out the chocolate flavor.

Chocolate and coffee = The Very Best Chocolate Cake Outcome!

The batter is NOT a thick batter, it is on the looser end, resulting in a very MOIST Cake, O.M.G!!

The German Chocolate Cake Frosting is the best frosting ever in my opinion. I can eat cake and cookie batter ALL day long. My odds of dying from salmonella food poisoning is high (But i’m still here!).

Usually when it comes to frostings, I just taste the frosting to make sure it’s at the sweetness level I prefer.

German chocolate frosting is an exception! I can eat ALL day… I have to make sure I stop “tasting” it while it’s cooling for the cake!

That smooth, creamy,  and caramelized concoction filled with coconuts and pecans cooked together becoming something that I’m sure the god’s blessed us with!

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To conclude on this amazingly addictive chocolate journey: In the end of my experiments, I realized I made this cake so often, that it was like I wasn’t sharing still.

I  just have to accept that this cake is the BEST CAKE I'll ever eat in my life, and if you can’t beat it…!

Let me know how this cake turns out well for you, and I’ll start a support group for German Chocolate Addicts! :-D

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Ingredients:

Cake Batter:

1 1/2 sticks Butter (3/4 cup)

1 1/4 cups Cocoa Powder

1/2 cup Brewed Coffee

2 1/2 cups Vanilla Coconut Milk (any milk can be substituted)

1 cups Brown Sugar

2 cups White Granulated Sugar

3 Eggs, beaten

2 1/4 cups All-Purpose Flour

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

3 teaspoons Baking Powder

3/4 teaspoon Salt

 

German Chocolate Frosting:

1 1/2 cup Sugar

1 1/2 cup Evaporated Milk (1 12oz. Can)

4 Eggs, beaten

3/4 cup Butter (1 1/2 stick)

2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract

3 cups Sweetened Flaked Coconut

1 1/2 cups Pecans

 

Directions:

To Prepare Cake- 

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Grease three (3) 8-inch round pans and dust them with flour and set aside 
  2. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat, add cocoa powder and cook on the stove until melted and combined to prevent lumps
  3. Pour coffee and milk into the chocolate mixture slowly while whisking to combine, then turn off heat 
  4. Add both sugars and the beaten eggs into chocolate mixture, then whisk until smooth. 
  5. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl
  6. Add dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix just until combined
  7. Divide the chocolate batter evenly between the 3 prepared pans
  8. Bake for about 40-45 minutes. Test done-ness by inserting a toothpick into the center of cake until the toothpick comes out mostly clean. (there can be little crumbles on toothpick but not wet uncooked batter!)
  9. Cool before removing from pans, and loosen cake from around the edges of the pans with a knife. Cool cakes completely before frosting

To Prepare the Frosting- 

  1. Add evaporated milk, sugar, eggs, butter, and extract in a large skillet
  2. Stir and cook over medium heat until mixture starts to thicken, then remove from heat
  3. Stir in the coconut flakes and chopped pecans. Let frosting cool until thick enough to spread over each layer of cake. **Make DOUBLE the frosting if you want to cover the whole cake in frosting.

Tips:

  • You can easily make this cake over the stove top, without a mixer! 
  • This recipe only makes enough frosting to frost each layer and the top of a three layer cake.
  • You MUST double the frosting recipe if you want to frost the outside of the cake! Plus the cake frosting is so good it might not make it on the cake! :-D
  • Many German Chocolate frostings only use beaten egg yolks. I use the whole egg for added texture (Seeing little white clumps of cooked egg whites is normal in this recipe).
  • When I divide cake batter between 3 pans, I always fill each pan halfway before I keep adding additional batter into the pans. This insures all the batter is divided equally and confirms if there is enough batter to go around all 3 pans!
The cake batter recipe was inspired by Yammie @ Yammies Noshery 

 

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(1) You must ask permission to use my photos and (2) Content found here on Chocolate Mama Loves Vanilla may not be republished word-for-word. Please note, re-word, and source recipes if not your own development. © Chocolate Mama Loves Vanilla. All images & content are copyright protected. I ask for you to refrain from using my images without prior permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, and/or link back to this post for the recipe. Please and Thank You!

Fruit and Walnut Salad

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As much as I have a hard time staying away from cupcakes and cookies. This is my FAVORITE Secret Weapon to take my mind off of choosing those so often!

As a start to 2016, I have bought a bunch of nuts, fruits, and yogurt to itch my sweet and salty cravings.

Hopefully you’ll give this a try too! Good source of dietary fiber. Low sodium. A little over 200 calories. Yes, Yes, and Yes! :-D

This is my favorite Go-To Snack. Especially during the month of January, when New Year Resolutions to be Healthier are in full effect!

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Summer seems so much easier to whip out the healthier choices then when its freezing cold out and comfort food begins to take over.

I used to LOVE going to a certain fast food chain to buy a cute little package filled with apples yogurt and walnuts! 

It was very over priced and I bought them often when I needed something sweet and creamy and crunchy all together!

Now I have a simple solution… Buy those ingredients and make as many as you want for way cheaper! Duh!

Not only do I save money, I have control over the ingredients being as natural as my little heart desires!

Bonus: Children LOVE it!! No fork Required! Finger Licking Good, and Teaches Healthy Snacking!

I keep this recipe simple by mixing up a few fruits: Apples of any kind (get creative and use sweet and tart varieties!), Blackberries… but you can easily add or subtract with a handful of halved seedless grapes.

I also like to throw in dried fruits such as raisins. But of course cranberries are just as wonderful! Even chopped prunes or dates!

Top with some 0% Vanilla Yogurt or Low-Fat Vanilla Yogurt (save as many calories as possible for dinner! :-D)

Finish with an incredibly easy, mouth watering, golden and crunchy candied walnut!

This Go-To Healthy Snack is so simple and delicious!

If you are ever feeling a not so healthy craving and want to satisfy it with HEALTHIER options. This is a chart (Pictured below) to help you Identify the cravings you have with Healthier Snacking Solutions!

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Ingredients:

Candied Walnuts-

1 teaspoon coconut oil

1 teaspoon honey

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon

1/8 salt -a pinch of salt

3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

 

Fruit Salad-

4 Apples, Cored and Sliced (Granny Smith, Honey Crisp, Golden Delicious, Gala, Etc.)

2 teaspoons Lemon Juice (keeps apples from browning)

1/3 Cup Blackberries

1/4 cup Raisins

3/4 Cup 0% Fat Vanilla Yogurt (Low-Fat, Greek, Etc.)

 

Directions:

  1. Combine coconut oil, honey, sugar, and salt in a medium skillet over medium heat.
  2. When the mixture begins to bubble, add walnuts, vanilla, and cinnamon then begin to stir constantly until the walnuts begin to caramelize
  3. Quickly turn off the heat and keep stirring so walnuts won't burn.
  4. After stirring the nuts for a couple of minutes (till a deep caramel color appears). Pour the walnuts onto a plate or glass bowl (NOT Plastic). 
  5. Toss the candied walnuts so they won't stick together as they cool and harden
  6. Immediately after slicing apples, dip the slices into lemon juice to keep from browning
  7. Once nuts are cooled serve fruit salad ingredients Blended or Separately
  8. Enjoy!

 

 

Blended-

  1. Mix sliced apples, blackberries, raisins, and yogurt together. 
  2. Top with candied walnuts

Separately-

  1. Serve sliced apples, blackberries, and raisins with a side of yogurt & candied walnuts

 

Tip:

  • Once you see a little smoking from the walnuts, this is a sure sign to turn the heat off
  • You can use all sorts of fruit : Red Seedless Grapes, bananas, blueberries, etc.
  • 1 apple should yield about 18 slices give or take.
  • You may use any flavored yogurt your prefer, options are endless!
  • For 4 separate servings: 15 slices of apple, 10 blackberries, 3 tbls. of yogurt and 3 tbls. of candied walnuts

I’m making sure to keep the healthy snacks in my possession this new years. What healthy snacks are you munching on often!?

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(1) You must ask permission to use my photos and (2) Content found here on Chocolate Mama Loves Vanilla may not be republished word-for-word. Please note, re-word, and source recipes if not your own development. © Chocolate Mama Loves Vanilla. All images & content are copyright protected. I ask for you to refrain from using my images without prior permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, and/or link back to this post for the recipe. Please and Thank You!

Coconut Cake

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I’m not the biggest fan of being in the snow, but it sure is pretty!

Some of the prettiest things in life are pretty scary when you start interacting with it!

Take a snow lion for example… Beautiful right? on a picture, but not walking for a stroll in the wild with one!

How about a swan… see those often in the water drifting along so beautifully? Ever been near one with one of it’s kids?? It will hunt… you… down! LOL

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Well thats how I feel about snow! :-D

Yes it makes all the holidays a little bit more festive

Yes it’s beautiful slowly coming down from the sky onto the trees.

BUT... it's so cold and dangerous to drive in!

Avalanches come from those beautiful little snow flakes. lol

So Instead of enjoying playing in the snow, I will happily watch the snow fall INSIDE the house near my fireplace with a cup of coffee and a nice slice of Homemade Coconut Cake!

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Coconut cake is so beautiful and snowy white. It’s such a tropical way to bring summer vibes into the winter with this light an airy Coconut Cake recipe

Cream cheese frosting is one of my favorite frostings to make. It’s so easy to cream and whip together. This frosting has a slight tang to it that pairs perfectly with the sweetness from the powdered sugar. 

From beginning to the end, each forkful of this moist vanilla batter with a creamy & flaky coconut frosting will have you savoring each and every bite of this cake till its all gone! :-D

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Ingredients:

Yellow Cake Batter

1 ¼ cup Sugar

½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened

2 eggs, room temperature

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

¾ cup coconut milk (milk can be substituted)

2 tsp Vanilla Extract

 

Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

1 Stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

1 8oz Package Cream Cheese, softened to room temperature

4 cups Powdered sugar    

1 teaspoon coconut extract (or vanilla extract)

2 -3 Cups Shredded Coconut (depending on how much coconut you can handle!)

 

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 9 inch round cake pan.

2. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar.

3. Add eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla and mix until fully incorporated.

4. Combine flour, salt, and baking powder.

5. Alternate the flour mixture and milk, starting and ending with the flour mixture and mix well.

6. Pour batter into prepared cake pan.

7. Bake 35-40 minutes. When toothpick is inserted it should come out clean. 

8. Allow to cool fully before removing from cake pan. Top with Frosting (below)

Frosting Directions:

Beat together the butter, cream cheese, and extract in a large bowl with a spoon.

Add the powdered sugar a cup at a time until smooth and creamy.

Top cake with frosting and then cover the frosting in coconut flakes all the way around until you barely see any of the cream cheese frosting

Tip:

This recipe includes the recipe to my famous one layer yellow batter cake. If you want a TWO LAYERED cake like pictured, you must double up and make two cake batters!

I don’t suggest doubling the ingredients, but instead making the batters separately for the perfect yellow battered cake every time! :-D

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(1) You must ask permission to use my photos and (2) Content found here on Chocolate Mama Loves Vanilla may not be republished word-for-word. Please note, re-word, and source recipes if not your own development. © Chocolate Mama Loves Vanilla. All images & content are copyright protected. I ask for you to refrain from using my images without prior permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, and/or link back to this post for the recipe. Please and Thank You!

Ninja Bread Cookies

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Maybe you have a lot more PEACE in your HEART to keep your cookies from fighting this year. If not, I completely suggest creating your own edible fight scene for the holidays!

I am a firm believer in exuding love and happiness, especially during the holiday seasons.

But I had to have these Ninja Bread Men kick some serious rear! Fighting through the yummy towns of Civilian Gingerbread People, while saving the lives of all that lost their minds during black friday!

Not to mention all the crazy christmas shopping, which I still haven’t finish :-( Im going to need a Ninja Bread Cookie to come along when I’m shopping to keep me and my son safe while shopping with all the crazy late christmas shoppers

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I’ve got to thank my friends for bringing this cute Ninja Bread Kit to an Ugly Sweater Christmas Party. :-D 

That night we played the White elephant game. During that years game I held on to this gift with dear life! 

But if you aren’t as lucky as I this holiday season, you can easily find this Ninja Bread Kit HERE

I make everything from scratch so that I may know every ingredient that goes into my body. Unfortunately I was unable to use the cookie mix that came with the Ninja Bread Kit. 

But, I more than happily used the cookie cutters and the candy for decorating.

I’ve got a excellent Ginger bread recipe below that you can use with any cookie cutter your heart desires. 

If you want to have fun Icing your Cookies, I have a couple of All Natural Icing References in the links in this sentence, or in the Tips Below

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I love the spices used in gingerbread cookie recipes. It gives you a completely different flavored cookie to eat. Gosh do I love VARIETY for my palette!

Besides the spices, I also use a little cocoa in my recipe. Making the cookies darker than most gingerbread cookies, but so much yummier!

This is a very easy dough to roll out. I tend to stop rolling my dough after 3 times because the more you work the dough the more the dough changes into a tougher texture.

Follow this recipe and you will end up with a soft and chewy cookie inside, with a nice and firm outer surface for decorating.

But lets go back to the action happening on screen.

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Who would have known, my son would help me make a better story line for these crazy cookies!

I guess he liked all the colors on the ninjas outfits. I’m slowly learning how far he’s starting to reach on the counters

The ninja with the broken leg may have suffered BEFORE the battle, to the hands of a toddler.

I had a moment where I was busy taking another batch of ninja bread men out the oven, to return to my cooled and iced ninja’s being ripped apart by my 18month old son!

A few of my ninjas did not have survived the toddler takeover. RIP :-(

Ingredients:

3 cups All-Purpose Flour

1 tablespoon Cocoa Powder (natural or dutch-processed is fine)

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

1/4 teaspoon Salt

3 teaspoons Ground Ginger

1/2 teaspoons Ground Allspice

2 teaspoons Ground Cinnamon

1 stick (1/2 cup) Unsalted Butter, room temperature

3/4 cup Brown Sugar

1 large Egg

1/2 cup Blackstrap Molasses

1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda, and spices together in a bowl. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until they've just come together.
  4. Add the egg and mix until blended.
  5. Next mix molasses and vanilla until incorporated to form the wet mix
  6. Slowly mix in the dry mix in 3 parts until the gingerbread cookie dough forms.
  7. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to rest and firm, about 1 hour
  8. Remove cookie dough from fridge and allow to sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes, until pliable
  9. Roll out the cookie dough on a lightly floured surface (about ¼" thickness). 
  10. Use a spatula to transfer the cookies from your rolling and cutting surface to the prepared cookie sheets.
  11. re-roll the scraps and cut your shapes using cookie cutters of your choosing
  12. Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for 8-9 minutes, until the edges just start to brown
  13. Cookies must be completely cooled before applying Royal Icing. Have fun decorating!

 

Tips:

  • If you're not immediately making the cookies, cookie dough can be wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated (or freeze) until you are ready to use it. Just bring the dough to room temperature before rolling it out! 
  • You might not be able to see the cookies form slightly brown edges at the end of cooking time, so just try to stick to the time frame: about 8 minutes (medium sized cookies) & 10 minutes (Large sized cookies) 
  • Caution: DO NOT over-bake, cookies will come out DRY.

Here to Protect All the Civilized Gingerbread People and Their Homes. I Introduce: Ninja Bread Cookies! :-D

I want to see what you've been baking this holiday season! Share all your Christmas cookie creations on Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.)

@ #Chocolatemamalovesvanilla

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(1) You must ask permission to use my photos and (2) Content found here on Chocolate Mama Loves Vanilla may not be republished word-for-word. Please note, re-word, and source recipes if not your own development. © Chocolate Mama Loves Vanilla. All images & content are copyright protected. I ask for you to refrain from using my images without prior permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, and/or link back to this post for the recipe. Please and Thank You!

Almond Melt-Away Snowball Cookies

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Boy oh boy are these little cookies delicious!

These were so perfect! Except for the fact that I could eat half of the batch in one sitting!

Thats Dangerous! :-D

These cookies literally melt in your mouth! They seem thick by the way that they look, but they are soft and melty!

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I remember thinking, how 'sweet' would these cookies be with only HALF a cup of POWDERED sugar in the actual cookie? 

Theres only so much coating that the powdered sugar can do once the cookie is already baked with a little amount of sugar.

But these were a success! It felt great to know these cookies cured my sweet tooth without having a ton of sugar!

The process is pretty much like most cookies, except you want to beat the butter and sugar till it is VERY FLUFFY!

Once you put the Wet and Dry mixes together, your going to get a stiff smooth batter that easily molds into balls.

The balls should be small enough and large enough, lol! Think Ping Pong Ball!

I wanted to make sure I posted a picture so that you would have an idea of the ideal size for these snowball cookies!

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Once the cookies are done baking, I wait a couple minutes to let them cool so that I can handle touching them.

You want to emerge the warm cookies into the powdered sugar as soon as possible for the first coating.

Let the first coating set before doing the 2nd or 3rd coating.

Then you will have yourself these beautifully round, melt in your mouth, and almond flavored snowball cookies! 

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Ingredients:

3/4 cup (1 1/2 stick) butter, softened 

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, divided 

2 teaspoon almond extract

1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

3 tablespoons vanilla flavored coconut milk (regular milk works as well)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 

1/4 cup cornstarch 

pinch of salt

 

Directions:

  1. With a stand mixer, beat butter at medium speed until creamy
  2. Add 1/2 cup powdered sugar to butter and continue to beat until light and fluffy. 
  3. Stir in Milk, Vanilla and Almond Extract until blended. Keep blending wet ingredients until it’s whipped and creamy
  4. In separate bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, and salt to create dry mixture
  5. Gradually add dry mixture to wet mixture, (1/4 cup at a time) just until blended. 
  6. Cover dough as is in a lidded container and chill for at least 1 hour.
  7. Preheat oven to 350°. 
  8. Once dough is chilled/firm, remove from fridge, unwrap, scoop dough with level spoonfuls, and roll dough into balls for ball shaped cookies. 
  9. Place cookie balls 2 inches apart onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets
  10. Bake for 12 minutes or until very very lightly golden around edges. They should almost look the same way they went in and will be soft to touch
  11. Cool on baking sheets no more than 5 minutes. (just until cookies are warm enough to handle!)
  12. In a small bowl or in a ziplock baggie, Toss about 3 warm cookies at a time in the remaining 1 cup powdered sugar

 

Tips:

  • To speed up the chilling time you can place the rolled and wrapped cookie log into the freezer for 30min
  • To make Disc shaped cookies, roll cookie batter into a 1 1/2 inch diameter log. Wrap in parchment paper

  • These cookies store very well in an air-tight container for up to a week!
  • Play around with different flavored Butter cookies by replacing the extract with any other favorite flavored extract (Lemon extract, Orange extract, Mint extract, etc.)
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(1) You must ask permission to use my photos and (2) Content found here on Chocolate Mama Loves Vanilla may not be republished word-for-word. Please note, re-word, and source recipes if not your own development. © Chocolate Mama Loves Vanilla. All images & content are copyright protected. I ask for you to refrain from using my images without prior permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, and/or link back to this post for the recipe. Please and Thank You!

Easy Herb Roasted Carrots

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There is something so soothing about carrots with the leaves still in tack! :-D

I am a huge fan of vegetables in there main form. I have always been paranoid of where baby carrots came from, lol, so I tend to stick with Whole Carrots. :-)

I try my best to buy vegetables when they are in season:

  1. Firstly, they taste so much better
  2. The nutrients are sky rocketing when veggies are at their peak! 
  3. Lastly, since in season, produce are bountiful at the time, meaning WAY cheaper prices!
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My immediate family never liked carrots if they weren't sweet or candied. (You know the ones right?? lol)

Carrot muffins seemed healthy at first, until I noticed its yet ANOTHER sweet version of eating carrots.

I also used to get away with juicing them because I would cover the flavor with fruits.

Totally noticed that my whole family NEVER ate carrots raw. Maybe thats why I have terrible eye sight. My parents skipped that veggie a lot!

I like raw carrots though! AND I'm trying to monitor my sugar usage!

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Sometimes I found myself NOT buying carrots often because I am the cook in my household.

With my little guy running around, I don’t have as much time to make every single person in my household a separate meal.

I can barely fix the Main Meal for everyone! LOL

I’ve been trying to watch my sugar intake. 

So one day I said, "F*ck it! I’m going to make Savory Carrots and they are going to eat it!" lol

With much LUCK this recipe got a bunch of Carrot HATERS, to become Carrot FANS!

NO SUGAR NECESSARY! :-D

The Best Part? It’s so crazy simple and fast!

Whats your favorite type of way to make Carrots?? :-D

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Ingredients:

2 - 3 bunches of Carrots

1 Tablespoon. Olive Oil

1 tablespoon. Parsley, rough chopped

A generous pinch of Salt

Pinch of Pepper

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425ºF. 
  2. Toss carrots in olive oil 
  3. Arrange in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet 
  4. Season with salt, pepper, and fresh parsley
  5. Loosely wrap tops of the carrots (the greenery) in foil before baking so they won't burn in the oven
  6. Bake 20 minutes or until tender.

Tips

  • You can substitute and herb for the parsley (Rosemary, thyme, etc.)
  • Add as many of your favorite herb combinations as you want
  • If you prefer to chop off the greenery, feel free! I just love the look of the greenery :-D

I’d love to see how you make your carrots on Instagram, Facebook, and/or Twitter    #chocolatemamalovesvanilla

21 Comments
(1) You must ask permission to use my photos and (2) Content found here on Chocolate Mama Loves Vanilla may not be republished word-for-word. Please note, re-word, and source recipes if not your own development. © Chocolate Mama Loves Vanilla. All images & content are copyright protected. I ask for you to refrain from using my images without prior permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, and/or link back to this post for the recipe. Please and Thank You!

The Best Cornbread Dressing EVER!

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Knock Knock!… Whose there?…Thanksgiving!…THANKSGIVING!? WTF!

That sure did sneak up on me! I could have sworn I was still waiting on sunny weather so I could go to the beach!

Well, while I sit here and wait on that sunny day for the beach. I have a amazing cornbread dressing recipe that your holidays are craving!

I can’t wait for you to try The BEST Cornbread Dressing EVER! Straight from a southerners heart! From my grandma, to my mom, to me, and now I pass it down to you! :-D

I must really like you all! I’m sharing all my family secrets with you! ;-)

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In order to make the best cornbread dressing you must first make the Cornbread! 

When deciding to make cornbread, sweet cornbread (ex. Jiffy Mix) is NOT the way to go. Leave the sweetness up to the cranberry sauce.

You want this to be the best savory corn bread on the planet. So start with using a self rising cornmeal mix, and mix ingredients as directed on the package (or however you make your cornbread).

Usually 2 eggs, a couple cups of milk, and some tablespoons of butter are part of the magic to 4 cups of self rising cornmeal.

When well blended, you should end up with a thick blob of cornmeal batter/dough.

Put that into a 9x9 inch baking pan then transfer to the oven for the main ingredient to your Best Cornbread Dressing Ever!

While your corn bread is in the oven, you must get started on the vegetables.

This is the secret! If you want The Best Cornbread you will ever have this is the step that can’t be missed!

My mom’s version had extra butter, but I can’t go to bed at night without having nightmares about the amount of butter in my moms version.

I have cut it over half the amount and it’s still her recipe, just less fat! :-) Love you mom! lol

If your curious to how it will taste my moms way, just throw another stick of butter in the pan for starters!

After the cornbread has cooled and your vegetables are brown an carmelized, your going to put them together and add all the Holiday Flavors!

Sage, Poultry Seasoning, Turkey drippings (OMG!) and Chicken stock

If you seasoned your turkey like a seasoning master, that will just add even more flavor to your dressing! 

Once everything is together, you should definitely taste it to see if it is salty enough. Then you can add the eggs. Once the eggs are in, tasting time is over! Magic making time in the oven is in session!

Once your timer dings! You will officially have a smooth centered, golden brown, and crispy edged Dressing!

You may cook this recipe in whatever oven safe dish you would like! 

This Delicious Dressing is perfect for keeping your turkey from drying out on Thanksgiving by cooking it separately… Then if you want to put it into your turkey before setting your table you can totally do so and no one would know!

It will be our little SECRET :-D

Enjoy your Best Ever Cornbread Dressing!! 

Ingredients

Cornbread

4 cups Self Rising Corn Meal or Cornmeal Mix

3 Cups Milk

4 Tablespoons butter, melted

Teaspoon of Oil for greasing the pan

 

Sautéed Veggies

1 stick (1/2 cup) butter

1 head ofCelery, Chopped Finely

3 Bell Peppers, Chopped Finely

1 Onions Chopped Finely

 

Dressing

Cornbread* (Ingredients Above, Directions Below)

Cooked Sauteed Veggies* (Ingredients Above, Directions Below)

1/2 cup Turkey Drippings* (if available) or 1/4 cup butter, melted

4 cups Chicken Broth

2 Tablespoons Poultry Seasoning

1 Tablespoon Sage

1 Tablespoon Salt

2 - 3 teaspoons Black Pepper

2 Eggs, beaten

Teaspoon of Oil for greasing the pan

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, grease preferred baking pan
  2. Make Corn meal first by mixing together the Self Rising Cornmeal (or cornmeal mix), Milk, and butter
  3. Then transfer the cornmeal dough to a baking pan and bake for 30min
  4. While the cornmeal is baking in the oven, chop up the celery, bell peppers, and onions in a food processor till all the veggies are shredded. Do not over process!
  5. In a large skillet, melt the stick of butter on medium heat, then add shredded vegetable combination to the pan. Cook these till browned, about 30 min. set aside
  6. After cornbread has finished baking let it cool, then crumble up the cornbread into a very large bowl.
  7. Add all seasonings to the cornbread crumbles, then stir
  8. After the seasonings are mixed with the cornbread crumbs, pour in the chicken stock and turkey drippings (if available) OR 1/4 melted butter 
  9. Mix in the beaten eggs till well combined.
  10. Pour dressing batter into greased pan and cook for 60-90min (oven times vary depending on type of baking pan used) till sides and top turn golden brown and the center is cooked through.

Tips

  • If you are cooking the turkey, and it is cooked enough to have turkey drippings at the bottom of the pan. It is preferred to collect these drippings and add to your dressing batter before adding the eggs and placing in the oven to cook!
  • You can serve this dressing how ever you choose. Individual little baking pans (pictured above), a large pan (pictured above), or remove dressing from baking pans and stuff your cooked and ready to serve turkey with it!
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(1) You must ask permission to use my photos and (2) Content found here on Chocolate Mama Loves Vanilla may not be republished word-for-word. Please note, re-word, and source recipes if not your own development. © Chocolate Mama Loves Vanilla. All images & content are copyright protected. I ask for you to refrain from using my images without prior permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, and/or link back to this post for the recipe. Please and Thank You!

Freezer Friendly Turkey Pot Pies

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Ok, Brace yourself! I’m from a HUGE family, so this recipe is based on feeding a crowd.

Turkey isn’t everyones fan in my family, because it tends to be dryer then chicken if not cooked right.

This is how Turkey Pot Pie became necessary opposed to chicken. The great part though, is if your not feeding a crowd, this recipe makes for great freezer meals! 

If you DRY out your turkey this thanksgiving, save it, don’t toss it! Put those dry lushes pieces into this pot pie filling and they are going to be moist and delicious! It will be almost like having a new turkey.

You will forget all about how you dried out the turkey last holiday season! 

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This can be as homemade as you want. Totally homemade would mean using fresh vegetables and making your pie dough as well.

You could buy the dough and worry only about the filling. If you choose to want the dough homemade (which I strongly suggest!) 

No matter what you choose to do (fresh here or frozen there), this will be epic! :-D

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Back to my HUGE family for a second. My mom is #6 out of 12! All but 2 of them had children, making my childhood a blast!

In this case every holiday was like a family reunion, lol. So knowing how to cook for a crowd is a MUST. Especially, in a predominately African American family!

Usually you have to prepare enough for everyone to take a plate home for leftovers! Talk about a lot of food! Phew!

This large amount of cooking is how I learned how to cook. For some that think it’s hard to learn how to double or triple up recipes. Learning how to cook for a large amount of people is difficult.

It is equally as difficult to learn how to downsize recipes. I’ve personally struggled in the past with how to make our family recipes small enough for a single family of 4!

It wasn't easy over the years downsizing as my family has become smaller from deaths, children growing up, some members move around the country and are even having families of their own.

So this post is dedicated to large families out there! This is for you to view and not have to think about doubling or tripling the recipe. Just get your grocery list out and feel confident that you could feed everyone with just one dish!

Even if you have to give a pie to a neighbor, you WANT to make this large batch to have pot pies for a while. You will be happy to have such a dish in your freezer ready to be eaten. 

As one of my uncles would say, you have the meat, starch, vegetables, and the bread; It’s all in one delicious place!

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*This recipe makes enough filling for up to 7 Pies! If you make all the pies at one time, you will need 14 Crusts for a top and bottom pot pie.

TWO Pies Serves 14 (if you're just making one pie it will just serve 6).

Ingredients:

  • Pie Crusts* (I use 1 Top & 1 Bottom Crust for each pie)
  • 1 1/2 stick of butter
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 - 4 lbs shredded turkey, cooked
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 cups diced and cooked potatoes
  • 6 carrots, diced and cooked (or 20oz frozen carrots)
  • 10oz frozen Green Beans
  • 10oz frozen corn 
  • 20oz frozen peas
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon parsley
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder (adobo seasoning works as well)
  •  1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated (Optional)
  • 1 egg plus 1 tablespoon milk, mixed together for egg wash

Directions:

  1. Cook carrots and potatoes in water about 10 minutes. drain. Set aside
  2. Melt butter in a very large pot over medium heat.
  3. Add onions and garlic then saute until they are translucent (about 8 minutes)
  4. Shred or chop the cooked turkey into bite sized pieces, add to pot and stir
  5. Add flour and stir to combine. Continue cooking about 2 more minutes
  6. Slowly add in  wine, chicken broth, heavy whipping cream, and milk. stir.
  7. Continue cooking on medium-high heat, uncovered until sauce thickens. stirring frequently
  8. Once sauce thickens, add frozen peas, carrots, and potatoes
  9. Add thyme, rosemary, garlic powder, salt, ground black pepper, Stir. Take off heat
  10. Mix in parmesan cheese and set pot aside
  11. Lay the bottom crust into you 9"x13" baking dish
  12. Pour in a portion of pie filling till there is just a pinky nail amount of room left till pan is full
  13. Roll out the top crust of the pie crust and lay it on top
  14. Press a fork down around the edges to seal the pie together
  15. Trim off any excess dough with a knife and then cut slits in the top for air to vent through
  16. Beat egg and milk together then brush top of pie with egg and milk wash
  17. Bake in a 375* oven for 30 minutes, until the top pie crust is golden browned 
  18. Remove from oven and cover with foil (to prevent the top crust from burning)
  19. Return to oven for another 20 minutes then take out of oven
  20. Let pot pie rest for 15-30 minutes to firm up

TIPS:

  • If you're using store bought pie crust or pre made frozen pie dough, make sure crusts have time to thaw (about an hour).
  • If making a Top Crust Only: Skip STEP 11 and make sure you have greased your pie pan before adding filling.
  • Place on a baking sheet in case pie bubbles and leaks!
  • Herbs may be dried or fresh

FREEZING INSTRUCTIONS:

Freezing the filling: Fill in a freezer safe container/bag

Freezing the whole pie: Assemble the whole pie, wrap in foil and freeze

TO PREPARE FROZEN POT PIE:

Thaw filling in refrigerator. Stir filling to reincorporate. Assemble as described above and bake accordingly.

OR

You may bake the whole pie from frozen.

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(1) You must ask permission to use my photos and (2) Content found here on Chocolate Mama Loves Vanilla may not be republished word-for-word. Please note, re-word, and source recipes if not your own development. © Chocolate Mama Loves Vanilla. All images & content are copyright protected. I ask for you to refrain from using my images without prior permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, and/or link back to this post for the recipe. Please and Thank You!

Caramel Cupcakes

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When life gives you caramel, make Caramel Cupcakes, from Scratch!

I love how the variety of cupcakes are endless. Even though cupcake flavors are endless, there are always the classics.

This classic's are so darn yummy! It is made with my Famous, "No Corn Syrup" Caramel Frosting.

I use this caramel for EVERYTHING that requires caramel! I'm serious, this is the only caramel you will ever need.

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I use my from Scratch caramel on Ice Cream, Brownies, Caramel Apples, Caramel Popcorn, Caramel Candies, EVERYTHING!

The consistency of the caramel can be moderated to fit your needs by playing around with the finished product. Either way, this can be used wherever a recipe calls for caramel.

It is so amazing to have a caramel that doesn't require melting down sugar till it ruins all your silverware, have to be monitored like the White House, take to long to cool down, or has an unnecessary ingredient like Corn Syrup.

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The Caramel isn't the only thing that is divine. The Yellow Cake Batter that I use for these cupcakes are Rich, Golden, Fluffy, and Moist. Everything you could ask for when you take a bite out of these decadent trophies.

What better place for caramel then on a cupcake!? The batter of the cake isn't extra sweet, but it's sweet enough. This yellow cake batter recipe pairs nicely so that the caramel can Shine!

You could pipe the frosting on the cupcake or you can spoon them. You can get the caramel on your cakes however you would like. I prefer to spoon it right on top (why wash more dishes right?) and get quickly on down to biting into these golden and scrumptious treats!

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Ingredients: 

Cupcake Batter

        1 cup Sugar

        1 stick (1/2 cup) Unsalted Butter, softened

        2 Eggs, room temperature

        1 and 3/4 cup All Purpose Flour

        1 teaspoon Baking Powder

        1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda

        1/2 teaspoon Salt

        1/2 cup Vanilla Yogurt (or plain; Lowfat or regular), room temperature        

        1/2 cup + 1 Tablespoon Sour Cream, room temperature

        2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract

 

Caramel Frosting

1 cup (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter

1 can (14 ounces) Sweetened Condensed Milk

2 cups Brown Sugar

2/3 cup Honey

1/3 cup Pure Maple Syrup

1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

 

Directions:

Cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 12-count cupcake pan.
  2.  In stand mixer/large bowl, cream together butter and sugar.
  3. Add eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla and mix until fully incorporated.
  4. Combine flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
  5. Alternate the flour mixture with the yogurt and sour cream, starting and ending with the flour mixture and mix well.
  6. Pour batter into prepared cake pan.
  7. Bake 20 minutes. When toothpick is inserted it should come out clean. 
  8. Allow to cool fully before removing from cake pan. Top with cooled Caramel Frosting

Prepare Caramel

  1. Melt butter on medium heat in a medium saucepan
  2. Combine first 6 ingredients: milk, sugar, honey, maple syrup, vanilla extract 
  3. Stir with (wooden) spoon over medium-low heat until sugar has dissolved. The mixture should come to a boil
  4. Occasionally brush down sides of pan and keep caramel lightly boiling
  5. Continue stirring the caramel on medium to medium-low (alternate to keep your caramel from burning)
  6. Once caramel reaches the desired thickness for you, remove from heat.

Tips:

  • Mini Cupcakes: Bake 8-9 minutes
  • For a 9-inch cake pan: bake for 30-34 minutes
  • Can be Stored Room temperature in airtight container OR refrigerated for 5-7 Days. And of course frozen for another day! :-D

 

I would LOVE to see your version of this recipe! Follow me on Instagram and share your pictures with the hashtag #chocolatemamalovesvanilla

8 Comments
(1) You must ask permission to use my photos and (2) Content found here on Chocolate Mama Loves Vanilla may not be republished word-for-word. Please note, re-word, and source recipes if not your own development. © Chocolate Mama Loves Vanilla. All images & content are copyright protected. I ask for you to refrain from using my images without prior permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, and/or link back to this post for the recipe. Please and Thank You!

Easy Homemade Caramel Apples

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I FALL in LOVE with APPLES every time I see one!

Bring on the Honey Crisps, the Fujis, the Galas, even some Red Delicious-ness! Many different kinds of apples it's crazy! 

Every different apple can completely change your whole recipe up!

If I wanted to eat a bazzilion apple pies this season, all I would have to do to keep from getting tired of apple pie, is to change what apples I use in the pie. Miraculously, my pallet is satisfied!

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If I could have my way, I would grow an orchard of Honey Crisp on every corner. Then, I would purchase whatever other flavor from the store. 

Honey Crisp apples are MY FAVORITE FRUIT! Grapes come in at a close second because those bad boys make wine, lol. But besides that, Honey Crisp takes me to a whole...other...level! This strand of apples are sweet and juicy with a huge crunch to the bite!

NOTE: I'm not a granny smith eater by any means, so if I ever post a recipe requiring those, then I've been kidnapped and framed! LOL

Seriously too sour for me! I am a Sugar HOLIC! Sweet Sweet Sweet!

Even though I love sweet flavors, I'm not one of those people who like crazy sweet stuff. There does have to be a balance or I'll be turned off. As long as sour isn't the main taste, I'm a happy camper! :-D

Speaking of balance... If you have been reading this post through and through. I'm going to let you in on a little secret that keeps the world in balance...

There is NOT any Corn Syrup (YUK!) in this recipe. YAY! 

This Caramel is different then a lot of other caramels out there all together. But it is THE BEST CARAMEL YOU WILL EVER HAVE IN YOUR LIFE! (I'll write another post soon to just give this caramel it's own glory, its THAT amazing!)

 

Carmel and Apple = OMG, I CAN'T STOP TYPING IN CAPS! LOL

I think it's safe to say that this is my FAVORITE combo on earth! 

The caramel just wraps itself all around the apple and hugs it like they are BFF's. Maybe even lovers, either way I approve!

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I just shove a wooden skewer into a clean and wax removed apple. Then I twirl it all around the caramel and watch the magic happen.

I continue to test my addiction while I watch the caramel set. Really though, the moment I lift the stick out the pot, I could eat them just like that!

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This combo works so well. Plain is not a problem with me.

I switch up the flavors of my apples by sprinkling them with nuts all the time. My favorite nut to use on a caramel apple is peanut. Pecans work as well.

If I want to get super fancy, I add chocolate chips and/or chocolate sandwich cookie crumbles. 

My favorite is everything on one apple! Seriously, THE BEST CARAMEL APPLES! You can add whatever "Sticks" to your hearts desire.

One day I plan to add other types of nuts to see what it taste like. I just have to stop eating all the caramel apples before I get all the toppings on them! :-D

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Ingredients:

1 cup (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter

1 can (14 ounces) Sweetened Condensed Milk

2 cups Brown Sugar

2/3 cup Honey

1/3 cup Pure Maple Syrup

1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

10 Apples (Granny smith or Honey Crisp)

10 Skewers for Dipping

 

Directions:

Preparing and/or Cleaning your Apples

  1. Bring a pot of water to the boil and quickly dunk each apple into the water.
  2. Rub the wax* off with a clean towel.
  3. Remove the stems from the apples and push in the skewers.
  4. Line 2 sheet trays with parchment or waxed paper*

Prepare Caramel

  1. Melt butter on medium heat in a medium saucepan
  2. Combine first 6 ingredients: milk, sugar, honey, maple syrup, vanilla extract (everything besides apples and skewers)
  3. Stir with (wooden) spoon over medium-low heat until sugar has dissolved. The mixture should come to a boil
  4. Occasionally brush down sides of pan and keep caramel lightly boiling
  5. Continue stirring the caramel on medium to medium-low (alternate to keep your caramel from burning)
  6. Once caramel reaches the desired thickness for you, remove from heat.

Creating Caramel Apples

  1. Once Caramel has cooled down, dip one apple into the caramel at a time, submerging all or just to the top; your choice.
  2. Lift apple out of the pot of caramel, allowing excess caramel to drip back into pot
  3. Turn the apple caramel side up and hold for about 10 seconds until caramel sets around the apple 
  4. Place caramel coated apple on your prepared and lined tray
  5. Repeat with remaining apples, just remember to allow space between each apple as caramel will pool a bit at the bottom till completely set.

Tips

  • If the apples are store bought they are required to have wax on them by law. Organic and/or conventional, doesn't matter. 
  • You may grease the parchment a little if you want to be safe but I normally do not!
  • Add many different toppings immediately after setting your apples onto your lined pan. Any nut variety, chocolate chips, chocolate sandwich cookie crumbles, drizzled white chocolate, little candy pieces, etc. 
  • Keep the caramel in the fridge and it will last for a couple months!

 

I’d love to see your caramel covered apples on Instagram, Facebook, and/or Twitter!  #chocolatemamalovesvanilla

Which flavored apple do you love and What do you like on your Caramel Apples!?

9 Comments
(1) You must ask permission to use my photos and (2) Content found here on Chocolate Mama Loves Vanilla may not be republished word-for-word. Please note, re-word, and source recipes if not your own development. © Chocolate Mama Loves Vanilla. All images & content are copyright protected. I ask for you to refrain from using my images without prior permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, and/or link back to this post for the recipe. Please and Thank You!

Sugar Cookie Cupcakes

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You might have noticed by now that I love CAKE! Any shape or form. Circle, square, or rectangle. Layered, sliced, sheet, bundt, cupcakes, whatever. 

Any flavor, I will NOT discriminate. Marie Antoinette created one of my favorite slogans: "Let Them Eat Cake!". Thank you Marie, won't mind if I do! :-D

It doesn't stop there. I'll eat any baked good that goes into the oven. Pies, Donuts, Tarts, Cookies, ANYTHING!

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What happens when you can't decide on cookies or cake??? 

SUGAR COOKIE CUPCAKES!

Today, I'm focusing on cupcakes that taste like Sugar Cookies!

Creating different kinds of flavors for different kinds of dessert is FUN.

I could have just gone traditional vanilla with vanilla frosting. BUT I really wanted something that had cake texture, with the taste from a cookie.

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These handheld treats did the trick! They are perfectly moist and flavorful. These cupcakes are no where close to a regular vanilla taste.

It has an extra flavor that leaves your tastebuds feeling like your eating a butter cookie. Then it quickly delivers a sweetness. Lastly, it immediately gives your mouth a lovely dose of sugar cookie flavors.  

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The sugar cookie flavored frosting is what brings out the feeling that you may have just ate a cookie. But really, you've just indulged in a fluffy & fulfilling cupcake treat!

The frosting starts off lumpy. Then finishes with a smooth, thick, rich, and creamy texture when thoroughly mixed.

The texture of the frosting is more resembled to sugar cookie frosting. It isn't your typical whipped and fluffy texture. This one is better off spread with the backside of a spoon, instead of pipped. Whatever way you get the frosting on the cupcake, it is delicious!   

I am usually not the biggest fan of refrigerated cakes. This one I actually LOVE cold! I don't know why this works with these cupcakes, but it does! 

Speaking of cold, these are perfect for December festivities. I love making these and having them next to actual Sugar Cookies made for Santa's Belly.

For December holiday's, I usually use red cupcake liners. These Sugar Cookie Cupcakes end up looking so Santa inspired! When you get a chance to make these, have fun dressing them in all sorts of cupcake liners!

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I absolutely love the flavor and texture of these cupcakes.

They are the perfect cupcakes Fresh out the Oven, Room Temperature, and Refrigerated! 

How ever you choose to indulge in these moist and delicious sugar cookie cupcake wonders is up too you! I hope you enjoy every last bite!

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Ingredients: 

Cupcake Batter

        1 cup Sugar

        1 stick (1/2 cup) Unsalted Butter, softened

        2 Eggs, room temperature

        1 and 3/4 cup All Purpose Flour

        1 teaspoon Baking Powder

        1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda

        1/2 teaspoon Salt

        1/2 cup Vanilla Yogurt (or plain; Lowfat or regular), room temperature        

        1/2 cup + 1 Tablespoon Sour Cream, room temperature

        2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract

 

Sugar Cookie Frosting

        1 Stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened

        1 1/2 - 2 cups Powdered Sugar

        1 teaspoons Vanilla Yogurt (or plain; Lowfat or regular)    

        1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

 

Directions:

Cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 12-count cupcake pan.
  2.  In stand mixer/large bowl, cream together butter and sugar.
  3. Add eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla and mix until fully incorporated.
  4. Combine flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
  5. Alternate the flour mixture with the yogurt and sour cream, starting and ending with the flour mixture and mix well.
  6. Pour batter into prepared cake pan.
  7. Bake 20 minutes. When toothpick is inserted it should come out clean. 
  8. Allow to cool fully before removing from cake pan. Top with Frosting

Frosting

  1. Add softened butter, powdered sugar to a medium bowl and blend together until powdered sugar starts to incorporate into butter
  2. Add yogurt & vanilla extract, then continue stirring for a couple minutes
  3. Use however much frosting you prefer on top of your cupcakes

Tips:

  • Mini Cupcakes: Bake 8-9 minutes
  • For a 9-inch cake pan: bake for 30-34 minutes
  • Add more powdered sugar if you prefer a thicker and sweeter frosting or more yogurt to thin the frosting out.
  • Add a pinch of salt if the frosting is a little too sweet
  • Can be Stored Room temperature in airtight container OR refrigerated for 5-7 Days. And of course frozen for another day! :-D

 

I would LOVE to see your version of this recipe! Follow me on Instagram and share your pictures with the hashtag #chocolatemamalovesvanilla

27 Comments
(1) You must ask permission to use my photos and (2) Content found here on Chocolate Mama Loves Vanilla may not be republished word-for-word. Please note, re-word, and source recipes if not your own development. © Chocolate Mama Loves Vanilla. All images & content are copyright protected. I ask for you to refrain from using my images without prior permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, and/or link back to this post for the recipe. Please and Thank You!

Fried Green Tomatoes

One of my favorite things to grow in the garden is tomatoes. Tomatoes are so easy to maintain and they harvest plentiful fruits of labor. There is many versions of the tomato that pair beautifully in most dishes. The uses for tomatoes are quite endless.

It does not matter what type of tomato, there is one thing that all tomatoes have in common.

They are green before they ripen!

Then the green tomatoes turn that gloriously deep red color that we have all seen in the grocery store.

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With that being said, the only way to have green tomatoes on hand, is if you grow them yourselves or receive them from someone else who is growing them.

Farmers like to send grocer's their tomato harvest at the peak of ripeness. Therefor your grocer can't help you with this recipe.

The reason above is one of the main reasons I love growing tomatoes (and will continue to as long as I have all my fingers to do so!). 

If you have grown tomatoes this year, and your lines are still producing, you should be able to try this recipe out this season. 

Save one of those mason jars you had planned for canning all your tomatoes for something else!

These green tomatoes are so simple to do! You'll want to grow tomatoes every year for these tasty treats! :-D

You just slice them up and season them with salt and pepper, then you coat them with some seasoned corn meal (Gluten Free all the way!! YES!

By the way, did I forget to mention that this is a southern treat!? Maybe you guessed it when you read that they are fried? Lol, but let me tell you that the south has some great ideas at what to cook in oil.

My recipe calls for light pan frying, not deep frying. A little oil, just to coat the skillet does the trick for each batch.

Just keep in mind that you should ALWAYS cook green tomatoes. They are not good to eat raw. This method is a perfect and safe way to cook up these yummy treats.

After frying these green babies, you should end up with a crispy outer crust, perfectly salted, and melt in you mouth in every bite, batch of delicious Fried Green Tomatoes!

These can be eaten as a Snack, Appetizer, or even a Meal. You might not be able to resist this Crunchy Texture and flavor. These will have you wanting to garden for the rest of your life! :-D

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Ingredients

5 -6 medium/large Green Tomatoes*, sliced

1 cup Corn Meal

3/4 cup Oil, Divided (1/8 cup at a time for frying)

Salt

Pepper

 

Directions

  1. Heat only 1/8 cup of oil in large skillet over med high heat.
  2. Season corn meal with about 1 teaspoon of salt and a couple teaspoons of pepper, stir well to incorporate
  3. Lay sliced green tomatoes on counter and season one side of each tomato with a sprinkle of salt and pepper to season.
  4. Place one tomato at a time into the seasoned corn meal and coat each side till fully covered. Only the sides of the tomatoes slices shouldn't be fully coated.
  5. Place several slices of coated tomatoes into the skillet with the heated oil. Place only enough tomatoes to cover the bottom of skillet. Do NOT stack tomatoes on each other. Save the remaining tomatoes for another round of frying
  6. After about 5 or 6 minutes, flip each tomato over and pour another 1/8 cup into the skillet (Only add more oil if the first side of frying soaks up most of the oil. If pan still has a lot of oil, don't add the oil)
  7. After frying the other side of the tomatoes for 5 or 6 minutes. Remove the tomatoes and place them into a dish lined with a few paper towels to soak up any excess oils
  8. Repeat steps 5 through 7 until all tomatoes are cooked! Enjoy! :-D

Tips:

  • *Tomatoes must be green (unripened) and when tomatoes are green, they MUST be cooked fully***
  • Keep an eye on the amount of oil still in pan while frying. Oil should always coat the bottom of pan for frying
  • Feeds about 2  People, Recipe can be doubled over and over, until you have the desired amount of fried green tomatoes
  • Looses crispiness when refrigerated; Best results when eaten the day of
26 Comments
(1) You must ask permission to use my photos and (2) Content found here on Chocolate Mama Loves Vanilla may not be republished word-for-word. Please note, re-word, and source recipes if not your own development. © Chocolate Mama Loves Vanilla. All images & content are copyright protected. I ask for you to refrain from using my images without prior permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, and/or link back to this post for the recipe. Please and Thank You!

Chocolate Coconut Macaroons

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I think the island life would be perfect for me. I absolutely LOVE warm weather, the beach, fun cocktails, banana’s, and everything about coconuts!

Coconut Oil, Coconut Water, Coconut Milk, etc.!

Coconut Coconuts Coconuts! :-D

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I also love Dessert before Dinner, so how about some cookies! And not just any cookies...

You guessed it! Coconut Macaroons!

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These cookies are actually easier than regular cookies! Few ingredients, Short prep/cook time, and they are a lot healthier! 

So why aren’t we eating more of these, or giving them the credit they deserve!?

I don’t know, but I am giving these moist, sweet, and chewy coconut cookies credit right here and now!

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For all those times that recipes require the yolk, and not the whites. This time its the opposite. You will not have any egg white omelettes for breakfast this time! Make pancakes and bacon for breakfast, and save the egg whites for dessert!

This recipe calls for melting one of your favorite chocolate bars. If you decided to use a decadent/rich, higher calorie chocolate bar. Make yourself feel better by adding a few nuts onto each macaroon! I prefer almonds, but you can use whatever nuts you fancy

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I definitely believe that one great way to treat yourself to chocolates, is by melting your favorite bar in a pot (I used a Dark Chocolate Toasted Coconut with Almonds flavor by BarkThins in this recipe). Then either drizzle, dip, or cover your macaroons with it! So delicious!

With most desserts I make, I do like to slip some chocolate in there! I have a lot of homemade chocolate recipes that I could have made, but I really just wanted to keep it simple and quick. 

and there you have it folks! Crazy Simple Chocolate Coconut Macaroons!

Ingredients:

4 large egg whites

1/2 cup Sugar (Coconut Sugar works beautifully also!)

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

4 and 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut (or minus 1/3 cup from a one 14-ounce package)

1/4 cup almonds, sliced/slivered/whole        

1 large bar of Chocolate, melted (I used a bag of Bark Thins Dark Chocolate Toasted Coconut with Almonds )

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites, sugar, salt, and both extracts until foamy and creamy (about 3min)
  3. Fold in the shredded coconut stirring gently until all the coconut is covered
  4. Scoop up coconut batter using a small ice cream scoop, drop the batter in mounds (around 1 tablespoons each) 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheet
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden and set. Rotating half way through to ensure even baking!
  6. Cool for about 10 minutes before serving 

Tips:

  • Can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days. A week if refrigerated.
  • Must use sweetened coconuts for optimum moist macaroons! Don't use unsweetened coconuts unless you chop them up more in a food processor. Even then you will come out with a dryer cookie!
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(1) You must ask permission to use my photos and (2) Content found here on Chocolate Mama Loves Vanilla may not be republished word-for-word. Please note, re-word, and source recipes if not your own development. © Chocolate Mama Loves Vanilla. All images & content are copyright protected. I ask for you to refrain from using my images without prior permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, and/or link back to this post for the recipe. Please and Thank You!

Cheesy Potatoes and Sausage

POTATOES are one of the things given to humans on this earth that don't give many people any allergies. For those very rare people out there who have an allergy to potatoes...

 I'm SO SORRY!! :-(

Potatoes are my WEAKNESS, and I'm sure it is for many other humans out there as well!

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The Onions... Oh man, the ONIONS... If you aren't a fan of onions,  you won't notice these in here, except for the fact that they pair with the cheese and potatoes like they have been BFF's Forever!

How about you throw a couple JALEPENO'S in the mix for a little kick! The taste of Jalepeno's are something special! Jalepeno's are more than just spicy, they are full of flavor.

Take out the seeds and you might not even get a burning sensation. But if you like to feel the burn, leave the seeds... you may even throw in any other spicy peppers. This amazing dish can handle the heat and you won't want to leave the kitchen! :-D

If the potatoes and onions aren't getting you yet, lets go ahead and apologize to all the vegetarians out there, because adding POLISH/KIELBASA SAUSAGE takes this dish to the next level.

If you don't want to buy any peppers, but still want the spice. Buy a spicy kielbasa or polish sausage and go to town! Well don't literally go to town. Stay home, lock yourself in a room, and eat to your hearts desire!

Then just when you think you can't get any closer to eating like a king/queen. Add the CHEESE! Oh My Goodness, I'm sorry to all the vegans, and anyone Lactose intolerant...

At some point I think I was lactose and tolerant, but I didn't care. Cheese was worth all the pain!

This Potatoes and Sausage recipe will have you creating a food baby ASAP! Maybe it's just me, but I don't think I breath during each forkful of this delicious one skillet meal!

Ingredients:

1/4 Cup Oil 

6 - 7 Large Potatoes, Peeled and Sliced (thin, 1/8 inch slices)

1 Onion, Sliced

2+ teaspoon Salt

1 -2 teaspoon Pepper

6-7 oz (half the package) Kielbasa/Polish Sausage, Sliced

1 cup Cheese, Shredded

1 - 2 Jalapeños (optional), sliced with seeds removed (unless you want SUPER spicy)

 

Directions:

  1. Heat Oil in large skillet on Medium heat
  2. Add Potatoes, Onions, salt, and pepper to skillet, cook both of these till potatoes starts to brown, around 10 min, then Flip them and cook till the other side starts to brown for another 10min
  3. Add sausage and jalapeños (optional), Stir everything and cook for an additional 10min
  4. Keep turning the potatoes every 5-10 min or so until potatoes are very soft
  5. Once everything is cooked till very tender and soft, turn off skillet, sprinkle the cheese evenly over potato mixture, cover and let cheese melt for several minutes.

Tips:

  • Don't slice potatoes too thin like Au Gratin. You want a good thick slice for these potatoes.
  • Make sure the potatoes get a good deep golden color before flipping them the first time.
  • It's best to cut potatoes the same size in thickness to create equal cooking time.

 

4 Comments
(1) You must ask permission to use my photos and (2) Content found here on Chocolate Mama Loves Vanilla may not be republished word-for-word. Please note, re-word, and source recipes if not your own development. © Chocolate Mama Loves Vanilla. All images & content are copyright protected. I ask for you to refrain from using my images without prior permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, and/or link back to this post for the recipe. Please and Thank You!

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake

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Summer is here! Berries are one of the best things to indulge in throughout this wonderful season.

Strawberries can make a delicious and filling snack or dessert.

Then there is chocolate. No matter what the season, CHOCOLATE is always in! When you dip a big, red. and  juicy strawberry into smooth, creamy, and decadent melted chocolate, you get a Chocolate Covered Strawberry! YUM!

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But I want CAKE too!

lol, I ALWAYS want cake! 

So why not make a Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake!?!?!?!?

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Yes Folks! This is a Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake your looking at! A strawberry battered cake, covered in a chocolate candy frosting that my grandma was famous for!

Made with REAL STRAWBERRIES! No Artificial Flavors or Colors here!

Topped with ACTUAL Chocolate Covered Strawberries to let you know this cake is the REAL DEAL!   :-D

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This cake can be used for many occasions and impress anyone you decide to give it to! You can pay an arm and a leg for a couple of chocolate covered strawberries, or you can make your own version based off of the classic!

Heck, If you really just want the Chocolate Covered Strawberries, you can just leave off the cake and make the frosting below. Cover some strawberries, or any fruit of your choice with my famous Candy Coated Chocolate Frosting which hardens almost like chocolate fondue! Wallah! 

You'll save a boatload of money making your own Chocolate Covered Strawberries, but your going to kick yourself for not going all in and making this cake! It's absolutely mouthwatering, moist, flavorful and delicious! 

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SO, get excited and make your way into the kitchen and whip up this delicious and ALL NATURAL cake. Either for yourself, your family, or surprise someone else!! 

Perfect for Valentines Day, Sweetest Day, Mothers Day, Fathers Day, Anniversaries, Everything! Especially if you make you significant other upset! Make it up with this scrumptious cake!

I can't guarantee the outcome of your relationship, but I can say this will be one very impressive TRY! :-D

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Ingredients:

Cake

1 ½ Cups Sugar

1 Stick of Butter (½ Cup), softened

2 Eggs, room temperature

2 tsp. Vanilla Extract

2 Cups All Purpose Flour

2 tsp. Baking Powder

½ Cup Vanilla Coconut Milk (also can use Milk)

1 Cup Strawberry Puree (10 oz. of  fresh or frozen Strawberries)

 

Candy Coated Chocolate Frosting

1 can evaporated milk

2 cups sugar

3/4 cup Cocoa Powder

1/2 cup Coffee (I use Decaf, Optional)

2-3 Tbsp butter, salted (or unsalted, I prefer salted)

 

Directions:

Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease cake pans
  2. Puree Strawberries in a blender if fresh or frozen
  3. Combine Strawberry Puree, Butter, and Sugar
  4. Slowly add in the Eggs and Vanilla extract
  5. Mix Dry Ingredients together
  6. Combine Dry Ingredients into Sugar Mixture
  7. Add Milk and stir gently
  8. Pour batter into Cake Pan and Bake for 40-45 Minutes or Cupcakes for 20 Minutes
  9. Let cake cool before Adding icing

 

Candy Coated Chocolate Frosting   

  1. Mix Sugar and cocoa together in medium pot
  2. Add Evaporated milk, stir, then turn heat on to medium
  3. Pour in Coffee and continue cooking and stirring 
  4. Stir continuously, alternating heat temperature to keep from boiling over
  5. Bring chocolate to a light bubbling boil
  6. Keep stirring till chocolate starts to get candied on the side of the pot
  7. Add Butter when chocolate starts to thicken
  8. Then remove fro heat
  9. Stir till the chocolate stops bubbling, and let cool till thick enough (should be very thick but smooth enough to slowly come out of pot)  to spread onto cake
Comment
(1) You must ask permission to use my photos and (2) Content found here on Chocolate Mama Loves Vanilla may not be republished word-for-word. Please note, re-word, and source recipes if not your own development. © Chocolate Mama Loves Vanilla. All images & content are copyright protected. I ask for you to refrain from using my images without prior permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, and/or link back to this post for the recipe. Please and Thank You!