I went to college in northwest Washington where it seems like there’s a coffee shop on every corner. There was a drive-through coffee stand I went to occasionally on my way to or from school that served an Orange Creamsicle drink that I quickly became addicted to. Of course they don’t give out the recipes for their drinks, but I watched them make it enough times that I learned to recreate it at home.
The weather has finally started warming up around here, and on the first day that really felt like spring I found myself craving one of these Orange Creamsicles. Naturally the next day it started raining and stayed grey and drizzly for the rest of the week, but, rain or shine this drink is still delicious. You could easily turn this into an adult beverage by adding a shot or two of vodka- yum!
Since posting this a few people have gotten in touch with me to say they’re having a hard time finding vanilla syrup. I have had luck finding it a most chain grocery stores, you shouldn’t need to go anywhere fancy. In my experience the flavored syrups are usually in the aisle with the coffee.
Orange Creamsicle Drink
- 1 1/2 cups orange juice
- 3 tablespoons half and half
- 3 tablespoons vanilla syrup (I used the brand Torani)
- 1-2 shots vodka (optional)
- Pour orange juice, half and half, and vanilla syrup in a glass and stir to combine. Add vodka if desired. Enjoy!
Inspired by Cool Beans Coffee Stand
Occasionally I’ll try a recipe and instantly know that it’s something that I’ll be making again many, many times. This is definitely one of those recipes. I love egg salad but always cringe when thinking about all the mayo that’s mixed in to give it the creamy texture. Instead of mayo, this recipe uses plain Greek yogurt and avocado so it’s still creamy, but also much healthier. The end result is something that tastes like a combination of egg salad and guacamole, basically, it’s delicious!
I ate this with some pita chips, you could also serve as filling in a sandwich or just eat it with a spoon!
Avocado Egg Salad
- 2 avocados, peeled and pitted
- 8 eggs, hardboiled and cooled
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 1/2 medium sweet onion, diced
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Bread or pita chips to serve
- Use a fork to lightly mash the avocados in a medium-sized bowl. Peel the hardboiled eggs, coarsely chop them then add to the bowl with the avocado. Also add the celery and onion then stir until combined. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve the egg salad with bread, pita chips or crackers. Store leftovers in the fridge with a piece of plastic wrapped pressed against the surface to minimize browning of the avocado. Enjoy!
Makes: 4 to 5 servings
Mint-chocolate isn’t one of those flavor combinations that I’m in the mood for all the time, but every now and then the craving really hits. I only had one Mint Oreo Truffle before giving the rest away, and that wasn’t enough to satisfy my need for something minty and chocolatey. I’ve been dreaming up a Mint Chocolate Cupcake recipe for a while but at the last-minute I decided to switch plans and go with pie instead. The mint flavor in the crust and whipped cream is delicious with the creamy chocolate filling.
Mint Chocolate Pie
- 1 1/2 cups Grasshopper cookie crumbs
- 4 tbl. melted butter
- 1 1/4 cups white sugar
- 2 tbl. all-purpose flour
- 2 tbl. + 2 tsp. cornstarch
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 2 cups milk
- 4 egg yolks
- 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 1 tbl. butter
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 cup heavy cream, chilled
- 2 tbl. powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp. mint extract
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- Green food coloring (optional)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine the melted butter and cookie crumbs and press into a 9″ pie pan or mini pie tins. Bake for 10 minutes then set aside to cool.
- Whisk the milk and egg yolks together in a small bowl. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, flour, cornstarch and salt. Slowly add the egg and milk mixture and whisk to combine. Heat the saucepan over medium heat until the mixture thickens and comes to a full boil, stirring regularly. Boil and stir for one minute then remove from heat.
- Stir in the chocolate and butter until melted. Add the vanilla extract and stir until combined. Pour into the pie shell and place a piece of plastic wrap tightly over the filling to prevent a skin from forming. Cool the pie for several hours.
- Pour heavy cream and powdered sugar into an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and mix on medium-high until soft peaks form. Add mint and vanilla extract and green food coloring and mix until combined.
- Uncover the chilled pies and top with a dollop of whipped cream and chocolate curls or crushed chocolate mints if desired. Enjoy!
I always forget how good home-made salad dressing is. When I’m at the grocery it seems easier to just buy a bottle of dressing, but in reality dressing is easy to make and it tastes so much better when you make it at home. This mustard vinaigrette is light and flavorful and really delicious with the Parmesan and apples.
Green Salad with Parmesan Crisps and Mustard Vinaigrette
- 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 2 tsp. whole grain dijon mustard
- 2 tbl. red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp. honey
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 6 to 8 ounces salad greens (I used half lettuce, half spinach)
- 2 apples (Gala, Fuji or Honey Crisp) cored and thinly sliced
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with a silicon baking sheet or parchment paper. Combine the Parmesan and pepper in a bowl and use a tablespoon to scoop the mixture onto the baking sheet. Slightly flatten each mound of Parmesan to make a thin round. Bake for 2-3 minutes until the crisps are melted and golden brown. Let cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before removing with a metal spatula.
- To make the dressing, combine the mustard, vinegar and honey. Whisk in the olive oil until combined then add salt and pepper to taste.
- In a large bowl, toss the lettuce, apples and enough dressing to lightly coat the lettuce. Serve with the Parmesan crisps and the remaining dressing. Enjoy!
Makes: 4 servings
I think Oreos are one of those ingredients that you can put in just about any dessert and it’ll turn out delicious. I’ve used them in brownies, cookies and cheesecakes but this was my first time using Oreos in truffles.
I wanted to make something green and St. Patty’s Day themed so I used Mint Oreos for these and, as one would expect, the truffles are delicious! Bonus points that this whole recipe was ridiculously easy to throw together. I really wanted to dip these in mint chocolate chips, but I couldn’t find them anywhere. If you can find some I think that would up the mint flavor a bit and made these extra tasty.
Mint Oreo Truffles
- 3 cups Mint Oreo cookie crumbs (about 24 Oreos)
- 8 oz. softened cream cheese
- 16 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, or white chocolate
- Topping ideas- sprinkles, additional ground Oreos, crushed Andes mints, mini chocolate chips, etc
- Add the cookie crumbs and cream cheese to a mixer and beat until thoroughly combined.
- Scoop 1 tablespoon sized balls and place on a wax paper lined cookie sheet. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes.
- Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Gently drop the truffles in the chocolate and use a fork to lift them out so the excess chocolate will drip off. Place on wax paper lined cookie sheet and sprinkle with desired toppings.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve. Enjoy!
Makes: About 4 dozen
For a long time I used to buy black bean veggie burgers from the freezer section of the grocery store. They certainly weren’t amazing, but they were good enough as long as some fresh toppings were included along with them. Lately I’ve been experimenting with making veggie burgers at home, and I have to say that I wish I’d started doing this a long time ago! Black bean burgers are pretty easy to make and they taste so much better than anything you’ll find in the freezer section.
These patties aren’t served like a traditional burger with a bun, instead they come with some fresh corn relish and a refreshing avocado sauce that has a little zing from some added lime juice. This recipe makes quite a few patties; you could cut the recipe in half if you’d like, but I prefer to make the full recipe and freeze the uncooked leftover patties. In addition to eating them with the corn relish and avocado sauce, the patties are great cut up and mixed with some scrambled eggs or sprinkled over a salad.
Black Bean Patties with Corn Relish and Avocado Sauce
- 2 (15 oz.) cans black beans, drained and rinsed, divided
- 2 roasted red bell peppers, divided
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp. oregano
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 chipotle in adobo, chopped
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 1/2 – 2/3 cup cornmeal, breadcrumbs, or panko
- Salt and pepper
- Vegetable oil
- 2 tsp. vegetable oil
- 2 cups corn
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 jalapeno, minced
- 1 medium tomato, seeded and diced
- 2-3 tbl. lime juice
- Salt and pepper
- 1 avocado, pealed and pitted
- 1/2 cup light sour cream or Greek yogurt
- 1-2 tbl. lime juice
- Salt and pepper
- To make the patties, place 1 can black beans, 1 red pepper, eggs, oregano, cumin, garlic and chipotle in a food processor and pulse until fairly smooth then set aside. Lightly mash the remaining can of black beans in a medium sized bowl. Add 1 finely diced red pepper, onion and the mixture from the food processor. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the cornmeal or breadcrumbs adding a little at a time until the mixture can be formed into a loose ball. Place the mixture in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
- While the patties are chilling, you can prepare the corn relish. Start by heating a pan over medium-high heat and add the vegetable oil. Stir in the corn and saute for a few minutes until lightly browned. Add the garlic and jalapeno and cook for 30-60 seconds until fragrant. Take the corn mixture off the heat and place in a bowl. Add the tomato, lime juice, salt and pepper.
- To make the avocado sauce, place the avocado, sour cream (or Greek yogurt), and lime juice in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Salt and pepper to taste.
- To cook the patties, heat a nonstick skillet with about 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium heat. Form patties that are about 3 1/2-4 inches in diameter and place in the skillet in batches. Cook for about 2-3 minutes before flipping and cooking again on the other side. Move the cooked patties to a paper towel lined plate. Garnish with corn relish and avocado sauce. Enjoy!
Makes: 14-16 patties (7-8 servings)
Yesterday was Oreo’s 100th birthday and to celebrate they came out with a Birthday Cake flavored Oreo which tastes a bit like a regular Oreo mixed with Funfetti Cake batter- basically, it’s delicious. Of course I had to buy a package to see what they were like, but I knew it would be dangerous to have a package of opened Oreos sitting around the house, so I decided to bake them into some brownies. These dense, chocolatey brownies would be delicious with or without Oreos, but the addition of Birthday Cake Oreos makes them extra good!
If you can’t find the Birthday Cake Oreos feel free to use the regular kind, the brownies will be delicious either way!
Birthday Cake Oreo Brownies
- 1 cup dutch-process cocoa (I used Hershey’s Special Dark)
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 tbl. vanilla
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten with a fork
- 1 cup flour
- 20 Birthday Cake Oreos (or regular Oreos), coarsely chopped.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, salt and baking powder then set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Once fully melted, stir in the sugar and continue heating for 1-2 minutes until hot.
- Remove the pan from heat and stir in the cocoa mixture followed by the eggs and vanilla. Add the flour and stir until smooth, then add the chopped Oreos.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 30-35 minutes until the edges are set but the center still looks soft. Enjoy!
I know winter is almost over and soon it will be time to put hearty soups on hold until next fall. However, this soup is so good that you need to fit it into your meal planning before the weather gets too warm! This creamy soup is very filling and makes enough that you’ll have delicious leftovers for another day. If you’re a meat-eater I would highly suggest adding some bacon to this soup. It’s not often that I really miss being able to add some meat to a dish, but when I was eating this soup I couldn’t help but think how a little bacon would really take this soup over the top. Of course I had the soup without the bacon and it was still fantastic, you really can’t go wrong!
When I re-heated the soup it was a little on the thick side so I added a splash of vegetable broth. You could also add some more milk if you want to make it thinner.
Baked Potato Soup
- 4-5 medium russet potatoes
- 4 tbsp. butter
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, divided
- 6 cups milk (I used non-fat)
- 3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup green onions, chopped
- 1/3-1/2 cup light sour cream
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Prick the potatoes with a fork and bake or microwave until tender. Let the potatoes sit until they are cool enough to handle. Scoop out the inside of the potatoes and place in a food processor, pulse until the potatoes are broken into small chunks. If you don’t have a food processor, use a pastry cutter to cut the potatoes until they are in very small chunks.
- Melt the butter in a large pot. Add 1/4 of flour and whisk to combine. Continue cooking and whisking for about 2 minutes until golden brown. Slowly add the rest of the milk and flour, whisking to combine. Cook for about 8 minutes until thick and bubbling.
- Add the potato chunks, cheese, salt and pepper. Stir until the cheese is melted then remove from heat. Stir in the green onions and sour cream.
- Garnish with your choice of shredded cheese, sour cream, green onions and bacon.Enjoy!