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Summer of Pies Roundup

I hate to say it but the time has arrived! Summer is officially coming to a close and people are getting excited about pumpkin flavored everything. Before I start talking pumpkin, I had to recap the awesome Summer of Pies series!

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For those of you who missed it, my mom (who’s a baker) and I got together and made a bunch of delicious pies throughout the summer. While a few of the pies feature summer fruits, others can definitely be enjoyed all year round. Thanks so much for hanging out with us during the series and I certainly hope you all enjoyed it! Be sure to pin your favorite pie and share it with your friends!

Fresh Strawberry Pie

Classic Lemon Meringue Pie

Morello Cherry Hand Pies

Fresh Blueberry Tart

Bumbleberry Pie 

And to take us into fall, here are some more of my pie recipes from years past:

My mom's luscious sweet potato pie recipe!

Mom’s Sweet Potato Pie

Mini Caramel Apple Pies

Sweet Potato Pie with Pecan Crust

Classic Pumpkin Pie

Sugar Crusted Apple Pie

 

*Thanks for your patience and support during the series. Doing so many collaborative posts proved to be quite the challenge! Because I’ve been so busy with job searching and my mom is back in school full-time, we weren’t able to extend the series as long as we originally intended. But we’re really proud of the five pies that we shared with you and hope you try them and love them! Also I WILL still be doing an “Ask the Baker” Q&A at some point so keep your eyes open for that!

-Lauren

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Soft and chewy peanut butter cookies with loads of milk chocolate chips baked inside!

Chocolate chip cookies are my go-to treat for pretty much any occasion. Cold outside? Bake some cookies. Nervous about something the next day? Bake some cookies. Headache? Bake some cookies. Bored? Craving chocolate? Have a heartbeat? Bake those cookies, man.

Soft and chewy peanut butter cookies with loads of milk chocolate chips baked inside!

The base for these is my favorite Secret Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, but this time I added peanut butter to the batter and used milk chocolate chips instead of semisweet. Milk chocolate and peanut butter are such an incredible combo and it takes the classic cookie to a whole other level of awesome.  Jason said, and I quote “Wow! These are much better than usual!”, which I’m going to interpret as his gentlemanly way of saying they are EVEN BETTER than the original recipe. And I happen to agree.

Soft and chewy peanut butter cookies with loads of milk chocolate chips baked inside!

Peanut Butter Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies
 
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Author:
Serves: 2 dozen
Ingredients
  • ¾ c. packed light brown sugar
  • ½ c. salted butter, at room temp
  • 1 egg, at room temp
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • 1⅓ c. all-purpose flour (whole wheat pastry flour works too)
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • ½ c. creamy peanut butter
  • 1 c. milk chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream the brown sugar and butter together in the bowl of a mixer.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla extract and continue to beat until it’s fluffy and smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  4. Add the flour, baking soda, and peanut butter and mix on low just until the ingredients are incorporated.
  5. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  6. Drop the dough onto a lined cookie sheet by the tablespoon a couple inches apart.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes, or until the cookies are golden and start to brown around the edges.
  8. Remove from the oven and LET COOL for 5 minutes on the pan before removing them to a cooling rack with a spatula (these are soft cookies so they will break if you try to move them straight out of the oven).
  9. Enjoy!

Like every good chocolate chip recipe, these are super easy and you can have them in your mouth 20 minutes after you decide to make them. I cannot promise how long they will last though! I am personally responsible for the disappearance of 10 4 cookies so far today…

Soft and chewy peanut butter cookies with loads of milk chocolate chips baked inside!

I’m off to start cooking dinner! I’m so excited because I picked up some delicata squash at the farmers market and I’m using it to make this amazing salad that Heidi Swanson says is one of her favorite recipes! I can’t waaaiiiiiit! And then cookies for dessert. Duh.

-Lauren

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Our Weekend in Snapshots

I hope you guys had a great weekend! We woke up at a relatively decent hour on Saturday to visit the farmers market. Typically I go on my own because Jason hates being out in the heat, but this time I managed to convince him that we should make it a family outing! We could easily bring Cynewulf because we were going to the market that’s inside of a huge park (the Piedmont Green Market).

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I do like this market but I have to be honest…the markets in Atlanta are TINY! I don’t know why! I can’t imagine that there aren’t enough vendors, and I know the demand is there…so I really don’t get it. The ones I’ve been to in other parts of the country are easily double or triple the size, even in small towns! This one is right in the heart of the city and I think I counted 3 produce vendors? Crazy! But the ones that they do have are good so I can’t complain too much. :)

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There were lots of apple varieties to choose from but I am not. ready. for. fall. And therefore I refuse to buy any apples. But I did cave and buy some apple cider, which was delicious. We also picked up some tomatoes, a baguette, some peppers (Jason’s purchase of course), and MUSCADINES! Easily my favorite fruit.

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There were a few food vendors so we got breakfast while we were shopping. I got a croissant and a fruit smoothie and Jas got a breakfast bratwurst and iced coffee.

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The walk to our car and back was probably a couple miles and it was TOASTY outside so we were pooped when we got home. After chilling in the AC for a while we headed out again for early dinner and a movie!

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We went to a Fork & Screen, which is one of those dine-in movie theaters that are popping up a lot lately. The food was lackluster but the movie was good.

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My personal opinion is that it was good but a little too hokey for my taste. I know the rest of the world thinks this is the best Marvel movie so far, but I’d still vote for Iron Man any day of the week! Jason, on the other hand, said it’s his new favorite movie ever (excluding LOTR of course, but that’s implied!).

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The baguette I bought at the farmers market made for some delicious french toast the next morning! And yes, I burned that one in the back. Food bloggers are people too.

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After breakfast on Sunday we made a Target run from some boring things and then went to a pet boutique for a special new item!

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HAHA, I know. You don’t have to tell me. It looks ridiculous. I was laughing for like 10 straight minutes when we put it on him. Either neckties are just a bad idea for dogs or Cynewulf is too small to pull it off. But it’s pretty clear that he’s a bow tie man. So we’ll be returning this one and looking for a new bow tie! At the moment he’s going tie-less, which simply won’t do.

I’ve got a job interview tomorrow so send me good vibes!

-Lauren

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This summery pasta with tomatoes and eggplant is a great 30 minute meatless meal!

I don’t know about you…but I blinked and then I guess September came? And then just when I started to get emotional about the end of summer, I visited the farmers market and realized that it’s still tomato season! Which immediately makes everything better. That means there’s still time for delicious summer pastas!

This summery pasta with tomatoes and eggplant is a great 30 minute meatless meal!

While I was at the farmers market relishing over tomatoes, a vegetable called sorrel caught my eye. It’s a leafy green that cooks down a lot like spinach and is a great source of vitamins A and C. This was my first time using it and we loved the lemony flavor it gave to this easy pasta dinner.

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Spaghetti with Sorrel, Eggplant, and Tomato
 
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Author:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 1 small eggplant, peeled and cut into small spears
  • ½ lb. whole grain spaghetti
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 c. sorrel leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • ½ t. crushed red pepper
  • 2 T. fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast, optional
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat.
  2. While the water comes to a boil, heat a large skillet over medium heat and coat the bottom with olive oil.
  3. When the oil is hot, add the eggplant and sauté until the pieces soften and begin to brown (about 15 mins). Remove from the heat and set aside.
  4. When the water comes to a boil, cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  5. In the large skillet you cooked the eggplant in, heat about a teaspoon of olive oil over medium heat.
  6. Add the garlic to the hot oil and sauté for a minute to toast the garlic.
  7. Add in the sorrel leaves and stir just until the leaves soften. Turn the heat down to low.
  8. Add the drained pasta, cooked eggplant, cherry tomatoes, basil, and red pepper. Toss until everything is well heated through.
  9. Salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.
  10. Top with cheese or nutritional yeast if desired.

Things have been busy over here! Our trip to New Jersey last weekend was great, and we’re headed up again for another wedding in a couple weeks! Things have also been a little crazy with Jason’s job  (he worked during most of the holiday weekend, poor guy) and my plate is more than full with volunteering, taking care of the house, and job searching (the search is amping up! fingers crossed!). That’s where fast weekday meals like this really come in handy!

This summery pasta with tomatoes and eggplant is a great 30 minute meatless meal!

 

This is a vegan meal aside from the parmesan cheese, which can easily be omitted or replaced with nutritional yeast or a vegan parmesan cheese. I can’t wait for leftovers of this as my lunch tomorrow!

This summery pasta with tomatoes and eggplant is a great 30 minute meatless meal!

-Lauren

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Creamy mashed potatoes loaded with melty cheddar, grilled onions, tomatoes, and chives!

As you’re reading this I’m actually in a plane on the way to New Jersey! Jason’s brother is getting married and we’re up here a few days for the wedding. I had to share this easy recipe with you before I left though. As if anyone needed an excuse to eat more mashed potatoes?

Creamy mashed potatoes loaded with melty cheddar, grilled onions, tomatoes, and chives!

You might remember back in the day when I posted a recipe for Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes. Those are delicious and definitely a perfect traditional version, but I found a new method that I like even more! Instead of buttermilk I use greek yogurt, and it gives that same delicious tang and creaminess. The greek yogurt has such a rich flavor that I don’t feel the need to add the extra unhealthy ingredients like cream cheese or a ton of butter. WIN-WIN.

Loaded Greek Yogurt Mashed Potatoes
 
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Author:
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs. yukon gold potatoes
  • 2 T. butter
  • 1 c. milk
  • ⅔ c. plain greek yogurt
  • salt and pepper
  • ½ c. onion, diced
  • ½ c. shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 T. chives, chopped
  • 1 T. green onions, chopped
  • ¼ c. tomatoes, diced
Instructions
  1. Peel and cube the potatoes and boil in a large pot of water until fork tender, about 30 minutes.
  2. While the potatoes are boiling, sautee the diced onion in a small pan with a little olive oil or butter until they turn deep brown. Set aside.
  3. Drain the potatoes then place them in a large bowl.
  4. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  5. Add the butter and and mash everything together with a potato masher. Mash the potatoes until it’s as smooth as you can get them.
  6. Using a hand or stand electric mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the potatoes while adding the greek yogurt. You can add more milk if the potatoes are too thick for your liking Whip until the potatoes are very smooth, then salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Smooth the mashed potatoes into a casserole dish.
  8. Top evenly with the browned onions, cheese, green onions, and tomatoes.
  9. Cover and bake in the preheated oven until the cheese melts, about 10 minutes.
  10. Top with chives and serve!

 

Creamy mashed potatoes loaded with melty cheddar, grilled onions, tomatoes, and chives!

Get these on your dinner table, pronto!

Creamy mashed potatoes loaded with melty cheddar, grilled onions, tomatoes, and chives!

And since we’re on the subject of greek yogurt awesomeness, here are some other recipes of mine featuring this amazing ingredient:

Greek Yogurt Macaroni & Cheese (my most popular recipe!)

This Greek Yogurt Macaroni and Cheese is a lighter alternative to a comfort food favorite!

Greek Yogurt Green Goddess Dressing

A delicious creamy dressing made with greek yogurt and fresh herbs!

Greek Yogurt Cornbread

Greek Yogurt Pancakes

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Have a fantastic weekend!

-Lauren

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These vlogs sure do allow me to use more creative post titles! I’m glad that some of you are enjoying them and I really appreciate the positive feedback. Video is such a fun way to document life and I know I’ll be so happy to look back on these memories down the road. And I love that you guys can be part of those memories too. You don’t want to miss this video, there are some priceless Ashley moments in this one. :)

 

-Lauren

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A bright summer salad made with chargrilled corn, cherry tomatoes, and sweet Vidalia onions!

If you’ve never had the pleasure of tasting a Vidalia onion, you are missing out on quite the experience. Normally I use yellow onions for cooking, but I have strong feelings against using raw onion in anything. If a recipe calls for raw onion, I either skip it altogether or substitute for lightly sautéed onion. But I make an exception for Vidalias. If you get your hands on a real one (and there are a ton of fake ones out there, even here in Georgia where they grow), you will find an onion that is pure sweet perfection without the burn or zip (only very technical culinary terms allowed here). They are PERFECT for light summer salads like this one.

A bright summer salad made with chargrilled corn, cherry tomatoes, and sweet Vidalia onions!

Grilled Corn and Vidalia Onion Salad
 
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Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 5 ears of corn, grilled until kernels start to brown (should yield 2 c. corn kernels)
  • ⅔ c. Vidalia onion, diced (substitute with sautéed onion if not available)
  • ⅔ c. cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 t. lime juice
  • 1 t. apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ t. salt
  • 1 T. cilantro (optional)
Instructions
  1. Use a sharp knife to cut the corn kernels from the cobs.
  2. Toss together the corn kernels, onions, tomatoes, olive oil, lime juice, vinegar, and salt. Add more salt and lime juice to taste.
  3. Top with cilantro if desired and enjoy!

Corn salad is my JAM over the summer. I discovered it last year when I needed a dish to bring to a potluck picnic. Everyone at the picnic raved about the salad and asked me what was in it, and that’s when I knew it was a winner! I’ve tried it several ways (using raw corn, steamed corn, etc.), but to me nothing matches the incredible flavor of this salad with the grilled corn.

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All of these ingredients are in season in the US right now (including the appropriately coveted Vidalia onion!) so go run and grab what you need to make this incredible salad! I bet it will become a summer favorite of yours, too.

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-Lauren

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Holy HFCS!

It’s that time of year already! Ashley starts school next week along with my mom (she went back to school last year to pursue a business degree), and then next weekend David heads back up to college. We’re trying to fit in as much fun stuff as possible before all that happens. Visiting the World of Coca-Cola here in Atlanta has been on Ashley’s list for a long time, so we finally made that happen yesterday! And I’ve got another VLOG about our awesome day! Hope you enjoy!

 
 

Yes, I know. You’re inspired by my healthy habits. ;)

-Lauren

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I don’t want summer to end! I can’t get enough of the produce and feeling like I can grill anything I want! The first part of tonight’s dinner was a charred eggplant salad that caught my eye in the latest issue of Food Network Magazine:

Charred Eggplant Salad from Food Network Magazine

I also quartered a pineapple, sprinkled it with some organic sugar, and threw it on the grill while I was charring the eggplant. Adding the sugar helps the outside of the pineapple caramelize quickly on the grill and keeps the pineapple SO juicy and delicious!

Grilled Pineapple

Then I made Indoor BBQ Chicken for Jason and made myself the same thing but with a Quor’n meatless cutlet.

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On the menu for the next few days:

Tuesday: loaded mashed potatoes, roasted chicken for Jason and roasted portabella for me, garlic green beans

Wednesday: fajitas with grilled peppers, grilled steak for Jason and grilled Quor’n cutlet for me, grilled onions, guacamole, mexican corn on the cob

Thursday: Breakfast for dinner! biscuits, fruit salad, meatless breakfast links for me and smoked sausage for Jason, poached eggs

See you soon!

-Lauren

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I’ve been doing a lot of cooking but just haven’t been in the mood to set up a photo shoot and write recipes and all that. I love doing those things, but sometimes I just get tapped out. Luckily for me this is a hobby! So instead of a recipe post I filmed another vlog! Tons of fun stuff happens in this one, I think you guys will really enjoy it!

And don’t worry, I FULLY intend on continuing to food blog. I just need a little break and I really enjoy the vlogging! Mom and I are working on a pie post that I will shoot in the next few days. See you then!

-Lauren

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