White Chocolate Pudding Cookies


Here is an easy cookie recipe that the chocolate lovers in your life (aka you and anyone you choose to share with) would love to receive, just in time for Valentine’s Day.  We have made two batches of these in the last week, and my taste-testers have told me that I can make them anytime I want.  Which meant, please don’t let these run out mama.

This cookie really gets it’s rich flavor from the addition of one box of pudding mix.  The sugar is reduced because of this, and I love the way these turn out.

Let’s bake y’all…

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Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins + muffin facts you need in your life

Did you know that the blueberry muffin is the official state muffin of Minnesota?

I lived there for two years, and did not know that.

It appears that our love affair with the small cake aka muffin as we know it, is first recorded in 1703

spelled Moofin (“I would like a MOOFIN with my Venti iced chai”, yeah, I am sure that is how they were

saying it) probably tracing back to Muffe (German small cake) plural:Muffen.

Now we’re getting closer.

Before you are amazed by my bazinga-like fondness of nerdy muffin facts, I will reassure you that I

am no History major.  But I do like to know the origin of things, and words.  And I can look stuff up on

Wikipedia like nobody’s business.

Did you know that the corn muffin is the official state muffin of Massachusetts? Who knew?

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Peanut Butter + Chocolate Chunk Brownies

Some days are chocolate days.
I personally find that I function at a much higher level with enough coffee and chocolate
to fuel a small army.
We have two options each day, happy mommy or not as happy as she could be mommy.
That’s right, you know the one I always choose.

Since chocolate and peanut butter go together to beautifully, and taste so very good,
today’s brownie is the perfect balance of both.
If for some reason the baking dish has been washed and put away before the kids are
home from school, I won’t tell anyone.
To save time keep a few disposable pans on hand.
Just for those days, not every time you make brownies.
We have to share sometimes.
Maybe next time.

[Read more…]

Favorite Recipes 2013

Wishing you a wonderful, blessed & abundant year in 2014 friends!
I had so much fun putting together the Best DIY roundup for 2013 and
seeing how far we have come around our house.
And I couldn’t forget about what we whipped up in the kitchen so here
is a group of my favorite things that we made in the kitchen this year.
(every recipe has a gluten free option as well too)

[Read more…]

10 Minute Peppermint Hot Cocoa Mix In A Jar + A grocery cart race too

I’m sure you finished your shopping weeks ago.
And your aren’t frazzled.
Your gifts are probably all wrapped.
And you may even have a turkey thawing already in your refrigerator.  
You probably have your Christmas dinner menu all planned out.
You’re so organized like that, I really am aspiring to have my stuff together
one of these years…but in the meantime…
You and I might see each other on Christmas Eve with grocery carts full,
squealing around the corners of each aisle like the grand prize depends
on how fast we get to the checkout.  

Our cars are full of half filled out cards, empty Starbucks cups, and enough bows

and tape to last a lifetime.  
And the drive home involves a little (ok A LOT) of talking to yourself and singing loudly
to your favorite Christmas songs, knowing they won’t be playing on the radio much longer.
Because Christmas friends, is just about here.
And I LOVE every hectic, late night, sugar and flour covered kitchen moment of it!
So, just in case you need a few last minute gifts, or something for that special hostess
this is what we whip up every year.  Don’t forget to make a couple jars for yourself
Peppermint Hot Cocoa Mix
makes 3 quart size mason jars

3 cups of powdered milk
3 cups of granulated sugar
3 cups of unsweetened baking cocoa
dash of salt
3 cups of mini marshmallows
12-16 can canes 
1 cup of chocolate chips
I used three wide mouth mason jars for this project, and the recipe fit perfectly.  Begin 
by combining the powdered milk, sugar, baking cocoa and salt in a large bowl and using 
a small measuring cup or funnel to distribute the mixture evenly between the three jars.
Wipe the insides of the jars carefully to remove the cocoa mix from the sides, this will 
keep your layers looking good from the outside.  Next add a 1/2 cup of mini marshmallows 
to each jar.  Follow with a layer of chocolate chips (1/3 cup each jar) then 1/3 of the crushed
candy canes per jar, and top of with remaining marshmallows.

We had a small gift exchange recently and I shared a few of these with family, they were a
hit.  I use a fine tip sharpie to write the instructions on the bottom of each jar, and decorate
with a bit of ribbon or twine around the neck of the jar.  To make one cup of hot cocoa mix
add 1/4 to 1/3 dry mix to a cup of hot water.  Stir and enjoy!!


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Chewy Gingersnap Cookies

I have to admit, I would love to be a roll-the-gingerbread-dough-out kind of baker.
But, I am more of a just-hurry-up-and-make-the-cookies-as-fast-as-you-can-because-they
taste-so-good kind of person.
Sure, there is a time and place for a more time consuming recipe.  But when there are 
stockings to fill, gifts to still wrap, and care packages to be delivered  I need to stop,
drop and bake (ok, that is a shameless pun on words but you know what I mean!)
Homemade food, from scratch does not have to take all day to make. 
And it doesn’t have to dirty every bowl and pan in the house to taste good.
There, I said it.
I like a good shortcut, or like 11 of them.
So, here is a super easy cookie that gives you all the sweet, chewy gingersnap goodness
you need in your life.
Chewy Gingersnap Cookies
makes approximately 2 1/2 dozen 
adapted from this recipe  

1 cup plus 2 T. of granulated sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
1/4 cup dark molasses
2 1/4 cups flour or gluten free flour 
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
dash of salt 
1/2 cup of granulated sugar for rolling
decorative sugar for garnish

Preheat oven to 350*
In a mixing bowl combine the sugar and butter until well blended.  Add the egg and 
molasses and blend.  In a second bowl combine flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon,
cloves and salt.  Mix well and add to butter mixture.  
Use a rounded teaspoonful of dough, roll gently into a ball and roll in extra sugar.
-Place about 2 1/2 to 3 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet and bake for about
7 to 9 minutes depending on your oven.  Sprinkle decorative sugar over the cookies
and allow them to cool for a few minutes before moving to waxed paper to complete 
cooling.  Store in an airtight container for up to a week.
But they don’t usually last that long!



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Cinnamon Roll Quick Bread

Cinnamon Roll Bread has become one of my favorite quick bread recipes around casa
twelveOeight.  It makes a great bread to serve for a coffee play-date with friends, as 
well as a wonderful addition to our Christmas morning breakfast.
I think I may whip up a few extra batches this year to wrap up and keep on hand for 
last minute gift giving (and to feed weary elves) too. 
Getting the fluffy, sweet taste of a cinnamon roll without using yeast is the best part
of making a quick bread.  Well, the icing may be the best part.  Not waiting for dough
to rise is the runner up.
Apparently, cinnamon is a thermogenic as well as it speeds up your metabolism.
Bring on the cinnamon!
See, you feel better about the icing don’t you? 
Me too 🙂

Cinnamon Roll Quick Bread Recipe

makes one regular size loaf or three mini loaves
adapted from this recipe 
2 cups of flour or gluten free flour blend
1 T. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup of milk or milk substitute
1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
3 t. cinnamon
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
2 T. milk or milk substitute
Preheat oven to 350*
Grease baking pan(s).  In a mixing bowl combine first four ingredients and set aside. 
In a second bowl, combine the egg, milk and sour cream, and add to the flour mixture.
Blend well and even distribute the swirl mixture in a lengthwise line across the top of 
each loaf.  Using a knife or fork, swirl the mixture into the dough a few times to create
a pattern without over-stirring.  You want to keep the swirly effect.
Bake one loaf for approximately 40 minutes, or three mini loaves for about 25 until 
they are turning golden on top and a toothpick comes out clean when tested.
Remove from oven, and cool on a baking rack.  Once loaves are cool, you may leave
them in their baking pans, or remove and drizzle with icing mixture.

Click HERE for our Eggnog Bread recipe

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Halloween Monster Munch Recipe | Donna from A Little While


If I were to make a treat for all of the cute little Trick-or-Treaters out there, 
this would be it. 

Monster Munch…

It’s so festive!  
I love how the white chocolate kinda looks like mummy wrappings. 
It’s also yum-tastic!  Perfect for this year’s Halloween Party, don’t you think?  

Here is my recipe for…

Monster Munch 
(slightly adapted from Farmgirl’s Dabbles)

8 oz. bittersweet chocolate chips (or 16 oz. bittersweet chocolate, omitting the semi-sweet)
8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
6 oz. Butterfinger candy bars, cut into irregular bite-size pieces
4 oz. Heath or Skor toffee candy bars, cut into irregular bite-size pieces
4 oz. Reese’s peanut butter cups, cut into irregular bite-size pieces
6 Halloween Oreos, quartered
1/4 c. honey-roasted peanuts
4 oz. white chocolate chips
1/4 c. Reese’s Pieces yellow and orange candies

Line baking sheet with aluminum foil.  In microwave safe bowl, heat bittersweet and semisweet chips on 50% heat in 1 minute increments, stirring after each minute, until chips are mostly melted. Pour chocolate onto foil and spread to 1/4″ thickness (about 12″ x 10″ rectangle). Sprinkle with Butterfinger candy, toffee, peanut butter cups, Oreos, and nuts, making sure all pieces touch melted chocolate so they’ll stick.
Melt white chocolate in microwave at 50% power at 30 second increments, stirring between. This will only take a minute or so. Dip spoon into chocolate and wave from side to side over bark, creating zigzag lines.  Scatter Reese’s Pieces over, making sure candy touches melted chocolate. You can also pour the white chocolate into a Ziploc bag, snip a corner and pipe the chocolate on.
Chill bark until firm, about 45 minutes.  Slide foil with candy onto work surface and peel off foil.  Cut bark into irregular pieces.



 Be back soon!

thanks for reading & until next time,

Apple Cider Donut Recipe

You are going to love me…
Actually, you will love Donna, who is a fan-freaking-tastic cook
and continues to blow me away with her talent.  
So you can love her, and thank me, perfect!

Check out how Donna makes Apple Cider Donuts, just like the
ones she remembers from California ranch country.  
Thank you SO much for being here today Donna!
And by the way, this girl can COOK, you will want to follow her
on Pinterest, Google + (links below!)
Apple Cider Donuts and California Ranch Country

Fall.  Say it again!  Falllllllllll.
It’s almost upon us and I can hardly wait!
It’s almost time for cider and cookies and pumpkins and scarves!

My husband and I moved to the Pacific Northwest from Northern California 6 years ago.  Besides our friends and family, what we miss the most is a wonderful place called Apple Hill.  My husband practically grew up there and I went there often growing up. When we started dating, I loved that he loved Apple Hill as much as I did.  We spent many fall and winter Saturdays visiting a few of the 50 or so ranches there.

High Hill Ranch is our favorite stop.  All kinds of apple treats abound.  Apple pie, apple dumplings, apple fritters, apple wine, apple butter, apple this and apple that!  But the real treasure, to my husband anyway, are the Cider Donuts. It’s funny, growing up, my mom loved High Hill Ranch and so we went there a lot, often spending the entire day at that one ranch.  My husband, all teenager-y and young, worked in the cider mill there.  We always wonder if we ever saw each other.  I like to think we did.

Back to the donuts.
Last week, my husband went on a trip to visit family and he went to Apple Hill.
He called me to brag about the donuts.
I gave him a hard time.
I bought a donut pan.
I made Cider Donuts.  Two can play this game!
These little cuties are not too sweet, but the glaze adds just the right amount of sweetness.
They’re perfect when warmed.  Just zap ’em in the microwave for about 10 seconds.
Delicious with coffee and cream or just plain milk!

I found the recipe at Shugarysweets.com.  I made a couple of tiny tweaks, I hardly used any Nutmeg or Allspice; they aren’t my favorite.  I’m all about Cinnamon, so I increased the amount in the recipe.

Apple Cider Donuts
2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup apple cider
1/4 cup applesauce
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla

For the Glaze:

2T apple cider
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/4 cup sugar
1T cinnamon

Preheat 325.

In a large mixing bowl, add flour, sugar, baking powder, soda, salt, nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon.  Mix until blended.  Add in the apple cider, applesauce, eggs, and vanilla.  Beat for about 2 minutes until smooth and creamy.
Lightly grease donut pan.  Spoon batter into donut molds about 1/2-2/3 full. Bake for 10 minutes, until donuts spring back when touched.  Cool slightly before removing from pan.
To make glaze, whisk together apple cider, powdered sugar and allspice until smooth. In a separate bowl combine the cinnamon and sugar.  Dip each donut into glaze and then into the cinnamon and sugar mix.  The glaze will drip down the sides and coat nearly the whole donut.  Allow to dry on a cooling rack.

thanks for reading & until next time,
 Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful recipe Donna!
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Pioneer Woman’s Sweet Watermelon Salsa

Last week my hubby came across this Pioneer Woman recipe, and we
have made and subsequently devoured three batches of it now.

Watermelon, peppers, red onion, cilantro, lime juice…
As we worked on it together, it struck me that getting
a minimum of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day
can be incorporated into our diets this easily.

We served this with gluten free corn chips and it was amazing.
When it’s time for a snack I try to grab a light yogurt, a handful
or unsalted nuts, or some fruit.  But that does get a bit routine
after a while, and it’s nice to try something new!

I hope you enjoy this as much as we have, we have adjusted
it a bit to suite our tastes, but here it is exactly how she makes it.
Link to source here

Sweet Watermelon Salsa (PW Watermelon Pico de Gallo)
Makes about 12 servings

In a large mixing bowl combine the following:

1/2 of a seedless watermelon diced into small pieces
1/2 of a red onion, finely diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 jalapenos seeded and finely diced
1 whole bunch of cilantro, finely chopped
Juice of two limes
pinch of salt

This keeps well in a sealed container in your refrigerator for up to a few days
(depending on how ripe the watermelon is.)  We like to serve this over
grilled chicken, or chop the watermelon in larger chunks for a great salad.

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Thank you so much for reading, and as always, may your heart and home be full of everything you love! xo, Tanya         linking up to: http://www.savvysouthernstyle.net/ And these awesome parties: http://www.twelveoeightblog.com/awesome-link-parties