Cranberry Orange Glazed Cookies

Okay all, I am in Christmas mode. I have been for a few weeks, and I will probably continue to be for several more weeks. Bare with me. I love everything about this time of year: Hallmark Christmas movies, sparkling trees, cozy fires and hot cocoa, Christmas lights, and yes even the music.

And what I really get excited about this time of year is the food! These cranberry orange cookies filled my house up with beloved Christmas smells and brought joy to my Christmas-loving self. 

These light and fluffy holiday treats are loaded with fresh cranberries and orange zest. They are finished with a light orange glaze that adds the perfect touch of sweetness. I couldn’t decide whether to call these cookies or biscuits-they are kind of in between! They are nice and soft in the inside but slightly crunchy around the edges. Whether a cookie or a biscuit, these sweet little guys go great with a cup of tea or a tall glass of milk! 

Cranberry Orange Glazed Cookies
Yields 12
These festive cookies are filled with the beloved Christmas tastes of cranberry and orange!
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups flour (I did one cup whole wheat and one all-purpose)
  2. 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  3. ½ teaspoon salt
  4. zest from 1 orange
  5. 1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
  6. 1/2 cup heavy cream
  7. 1 egg
  8. 1/2 cup sugar
  9. 1 cup frozen cranberries
Glaze
  1. powdered sugar
  2. juice of 1/2 orange
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, add all the dry ingredients and mix well.
  3. Add the cold butter into the flour mixture and mix well until crumbly.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, heavy cream, and egg.
  5. Pour into the flour mixture and mix well.
  6. Fold in the cranberries.
  7. On a lightly floured surface, roll the slightly sticky dough out.
  8. Using a cookie cutter or mason jar, cut circles out of the dough and place on parchment lined baking sheet.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
Glaze
  1. Add freshly squeezed orange juice to a bowl.
  2. Add the powdered sugar until you get a nice thick pourable consistency.
  3. Drizzle on top of your cooled cookies and enjoy!
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Sugar Plum Filled Puff Pastry

I have a wonderful puff pastry dessert for you today that is perfect for the holiday season. And honestly, this recipe couldn’t be easier. It calls for three ingredients. You guys, three ingredients! But you would never know how simple and easy this recipe is because they look absolutely gorgeous. Your friends and family will be wowed by these delicious little puff pastry desserts at your next holiday party! 

I used store bought puff pastry, because it is SO easy to work worth. I haven’t attempted to make my own pastry yet…I have to admit I am a little intimidated by homemade pastry! I’ve seen them make it on the Great British Baking Show, and it looks like no easy feat. For now I will stick with the easy and still delicious store bought puff pastry! (: 

Sugar plum jam, in case you haven’t heard of it, is a rich plum flavored jam enhanced with sweet notes of orange. It is incredible cozy and delicious in this recipe and you can also use the leftover from the jar on toast, scones, or muffins. Your holiday mornings will be made dreamy by this sugar plum jam. 

Filled with sugar plum jam and dusted with snow, I mean powdered sugar, these puff pastry squares are so festive and will bring holiday cheer to any get together this season. 

Sugar Plum Jam Filled Puff Pastry
Yields 12
This easy 3 ingredient recipe is perfectly festive, making it a charming holiday treat to satisfy all.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 puff pastry sheet (I use Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets, 17 Oz (Frozen))
  2. Sugar Plum Jam
  3. Powdered Sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Allow puff pastry sheet to thaw completely.
  3. Once thawed, cut into 12 squares and place on lined baking sheet.
  4. Mark each square with an L in each corner.
  5. Place desired amount of jam in the center. I did about 1 1/2 teaspoons.
  6. Fold in the corners so they meet in the middle.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes or until edges start to turn golden.
  8. Allow to cool and sprinkle desired amount of powdered sugar on each.
Notes
  1. When I took my puff pastries out of the oven, I added a little bit more jam to the centers because I love this sugar plum jam! You can play around with how much you add depending on your preference.
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Sriracha Beef Lettuce Boats

Lettuce wraps don’t just have to be an appetizer you get at fancy Asian restaurants! This recipe is the perfect low-carb dinner that even picky eaters will enjoy and want seconds. And thirds! Totally guilt-free…

Spicy Sriracha sauce, beef, and potatoes come together to make an absolutely mouthwatering low-carb dinner. I love love Sriracha sauce. It packs the perfect punch of spice and can be added to just about any dish to instantly add flavor and heat. This instantly became a favorite in my house. I made this dish for my dad and grandparents, somewhat picky eaters, and they could not stop raving about these lettuce boats. This recipe will definitely be in my dinner rotation!

This recipe is super easy to make and can be whipped up in no time in the kitchen for a fast dinner option. It is also budget friendly. What more could you ask for in a dinner? You will love these lettuce boats because they are healthy, light but very filling, and are packed with flavor. 

Sriracha Beef Lettuce Boats
Serves 4
An easy low-carb dinner packed with color and flavor!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 lb ground beef
  2. 6-7 small potatoes, diced
  3. 2 tablespoons Sriracha
  4. 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  5. 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  6. 1 tablespoon fresh garlic
  7. zest and juice of 1 lime
  8. handful of fresh cilantro, washed
  9. 10 romaine lettuce boats, washed
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a large pan and add potatoes.
  2. Cover with lid and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add beef, salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Once beef is cooked through, add Sriracha, soy sauce, garlic, lime and sesame oil.
  5. Cook on medium heat until potatoes are soft.
  6. Lay out lettuce boats and add a generous filling of the beef and potato mixture.
  7. Top with fresh cilantro and more Sriracha sauce.
  8. Enjoy!
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Raspberry Lemon Cake

If you love lemon as much as I do, you have got to make this lemon raspberry cake that is oh so moist and oh so perfect for summer. 

I love love lemons and all things lemony. This cake has the perfect amount of lemon and raspberry to make it a fresh summery cake for all occasions…birthdays, BBQ’s, a Sunday afternoon teatime, this cake will delight at all times. This cake is filled with a homemade raspberry jam and a delicious lemon cream cheese frosting. Using fresh raspberries and lemon slices adds so much color and flavor to this summery treat. 

I absolutely love baking with fresh fruit. It almost makes you feel like you are eating healthy right?! It can’t have calories if there is fresh fruit! Don’t worry, this lemon raspberry cake is guilt-free (; Oh so worth it…..

Don’t let summer pass you by without making this fresh and colorful cake! 

Raspberry Lemon Cake
This is a fresh summery cake loaded with lemons and raspberries perfect for all summer gatherings.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup butter, softened
  2. 1 1/2 cups sugar
  3. 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  4. 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  5. 4 eggs, at room temperature
  6. 2 1/2 cups flour
  7. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  8. 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  9. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  10. 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
  11. 1/2 cup milk
  12. 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  13. 2 and 1/2 cups fresh raspberries
Frosting
  1. 1 block cream cheese, room temperature
  2. 10 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  3. 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  4. 2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest
  5. 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  6. 2 tablespoons plain greek yogurt
Garnish
  1. handful of raspberries and lemon slices
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, add butter and sugar. Beat until fluffy.
  3. Add eggs one at a time, zest, and lemon juice. Continue to beat until combined and fluffy.
  4. In a separate bowl, add dry ingredients and mix well.
  5. Slowly add the dry mixture to the wet ingredients.
  6. Add the milk and greek yogurt.
  7. Gently fold in the raspberries using a rubber spatula.
  8. Add the batter evenly among two cake pans.
  9. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  10. Allow the cake to completely cook before frosting.
Frosting
  1. In a large bowl, add the cream cheese and butter. Beat well until fluffy.
  2. Add powdered sugar and lemon juice. Beat until mixed well and no lumps remain.
  3. Add greek yogurt and mix well. Add more powdered sugar if it's not thick enough.
Assembly
  1. Once cakes have cooled, take one out of the pan and place on cake stand.
  2. Add a layer of store bought or homemade raspberry jam.
  3. Top with a thick layer of the frosting.
  4. Place the second layer on top and generously frost the whole cake.
  5. Decorate with desired amount of raspberries and lemon slices.
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Stuffed Bell Peppers

Oh my goodness. I never knew how much I could loved stuffed bell peppers until these ones came into my life. You guys. I was really missing out on a deliciously healthy mouthwatering dinner. If you are missing out on the joys of stuffed bell peppers, you gotta hop aboard the healthy veggie train and make these to wow your family and friends.

I used red, yellow, and red peppers because they are so colorful and summery! This dinner was perfectly fresh and a delight to my whole family. Stuffed with couscous, more veggies, and topped with chicken and cheese, these peppers are sure to please carnivores and vegetarians alike (sans meat of course & stuffed with more couscous). These peppers were truly so fun to make because I felt like I could get as creative as I wanted. You can truly add anything to these peppers to make a delicious and healthy dinner. You can even stuff peppers with those leftovers you just don’t know what to do with! 

I love couscous, so I chose to be very generous and put a thick layer at the bottom. I also made chicken in the crockpot the morning of, so assembly was very easy and clean up was simply. Who doesn’t love an easy clean up?! 

Packed with tons of flavor, these versatile peppers MUST be on your menu for dinner this week! 

Stuffed Bell Peppers
Yields 6
This healthy dinner is so versatile and is sure to please the whole family.
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Ingredients
  1. 6 bell peppers
  2. 1/2 lb. chicken
  3. 1 tablespoon chili powder
  4. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  5. 1/2 c. green salsa
  6. 1 box pearl couscous
  7. 1 c. mushrooms
  8. handful of spinach
  9. salt and pepper
  10. mozzarella cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Chicken
  1. In a crockpot, add chicken, chili powder, salt, pepper, olive oil, and green salsa.
  2. Cook on low heat for 6-8 hours.
  3. Shred chicken using a for.
Couscous
  1. Add chopped mushrooms to a pan and sauté with 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  2. Mix in a handful of spinach.
  3. Next, stir in couscous and cook until couscous is golden.
  4. Add water according to box and cook until all water is absorbed. About 15 minutes.
Bell Peppers
  1. Add 1/2 cup water to the bottom of a casserole dish.
  2. Cut the tops of the peppers off and remove seeds.
  3. Place the peppers standing up in the casserole dish.
  4. Add a generous layer of couscous to the bottom of the peppers.
  5. Next, place shredded chicken to the top of the pepper.
  6. Top with desired amount of cheese, salt, and pepper.
  7. Bake for 45 minutes until cheese is golden.
Notes
  1. Substitute chicken with black beans or garbanzo beans to make this dish vegetarian!
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Peanut Butter Banana Breakfast Smoothie

This smoothie is so creamy and thick, perfect for breakfast or for a quick snack during a hot summer afternoon!

I love smoothies! Especially during the summer when it is so hot. What’s not to love about smoothies? They are delicious and nutritious! Peanut butter and banana is one of the best combinations out there. This smoothie, made with only a few simple ingredients, tastes almost like a dessert! 

This smoothie is made from one banana, almond milk, peanut butter, and ice. It’s so simple! Throw it all in the blender and voila! Breakfast is ready. I like my smoothies nice and thick, but if that’s not your style, just add a little more almond milk. 

Enjoy this simple and delicious smoothie! (: 

Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie
Serves 1
This delicious smoothie is a perfect healthy option for breakfast or an after school snack.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 banana
  2. 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  3. 1 cup almond milk (or more!)
  4. a few ice cubes
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth and creamy!
  2. Enjoy.
Notes
  1. Add a few dark chocolate chips to make this a true healthy dessert option!
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Healthy Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

These are without a question my favorite muffins. They are incredibly moist and each bite explodes with tangy lemon flavor! 

It’s still very much summer here in the hot desert sun! Which means more lemon recipes. They probably won’t stop coming till’ Fall comes. Sorry guys. It’s just gonna be a whole lot of lemon recipes until it’s time for a whole lot of pumpkin recipes. Actually who am I kidding!? I’m not sorry! Lemon is absolutely amazingly delicious this time of year. Whether it’s in a muffin, cake, bar, or drink, lemon is such a refreshing pretty lookin’ little fruit. 

These whole wheat lemon poppy seed muffins are just perfect for a Sunday brunch recipe (or anytime of the hot summer day recipe!). Made with whole wheat flour and greek yogurt, you could almost argue these little muffins are healthy for you. These muffins are super moist and tangy as they are filled with lemon juice and tons of lemon zest. I honestly love anything packed with lemon juice and zest. Not too sweet and not too tangy, these muffins are a hit in my house. The lemon drizzle adds even more of a zesty punch that you will just love (I couldn’t stop eating it off the spoon!). 

This classic lemon poppyseed recipe is sure to be a hit with your family and friends the summer! 

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins
Yields 16
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Muffins
  1. 1⅓ c. whole wheat flour
  2. ½ teaspoon baking soda
  3. ½ teaspoon salt
  4. ¼ cup butter
  5. 1 cup sugar
  6. 2 medium eggs
  7. zest of 1 large lemon
  8. 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  9. ¾ cup greek yogurt
  10. 2 tablespoons poppyseeds
Frosting
  1. 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  2. 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  3. 1-2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar.
  3. Add the eggs, lemon zest and juice, and mix until well combined.
  4. Add flour, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Mix well. Add poppyseeds.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes or until not doughy in the middle and golden on top.
  7. Allow muffins to cool completely.
Icing
  1. Mix together all ingredients and drizzle on top of cooled muffins. Enjoy!
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Watermelon Pizza

****HUSBAND APPROVED DESSERT

This watermelon pizza is not only lovely to look at, but it is absolutely refreshing and perfectly sweet. Lemon zest and fresh strawberries add beautiful summer colors to this dessert and make it bright and wonderfully light. This easy no-bake dessert can be whipped up in no time and is the best afternoon snack for a hot summer day. Finally a dessert that is satisfying, low-carb, and loaded with fresh fruits! I promise, you are going to want to make this refreshing watermelon pizza. Your kids will love this as an after school snack, and your friends will be impressed and delighted at your next barbecue get together. 

Honestly, this is one of the easiest desserts I have ever made. Slice a watermelon, whip up some whipped cream, and cut up some strawberries. Voila! Easy as pie. And almost tastes like pie with fresh strawberries and whipped cream but has half the calories and takes half the time to make. I don’t know about you, but on hot summer days I really love eating fresh fruit. Which is why this watermelon pizza is a perfect summer dessert option for those of us who have a sweet tooth but also want to look good in our new summer dresses. You definitely do not have to feel guilty after enjoying a few slices.

I have been obsessed with making homemade whipped cream. It is so much fun to make and so delicious. Confession: I ate most of the whipped cream with strawberries before I even took pictures of this recipe! Oh did I mention this whipped cream is loaded with fresh lemon juice and zest?? That’s right friends. Lemon whipped cream. How’s that for a delicious summer treat? This watermelon pizza will not disappoint! In fact, what am I still doing typing…I have 2 pieces left in the fridge (sorry honey, I will make more!)!

Watermelon Pizza with Lemon Whipped Cream
This easy summer dessert is so light and fresh!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 small watermelon
  2. juice of 1/2 lemon
  3. lemon zest
  4. fresh strawberries, sliced
  5. 1/4 c. heavy cream
  6. 1 teaspoon sugar
Instructions
  1. Add heavy cream, sugar, and lemon juice to a bowl.
  2. Mix on high speed until light and fluffy.
  3. Slice watermelon and cut circle into 4 pieces.
  4. Spread a thin (or thick) layer of whipped cream on top of watermelon slices.
  5. Place sliced strawberries on top of whipped cream.
  6. Add desired amount of lemon zest on top.
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Cookie Crust Lemon Bites

Okay, how cute are these guys? They are like little mini pies. Tiny little individual lemon pies-it can’t get much cuter than that! Why are small things always cuter? I kind of have an obsession with tiny thing and with lemon flavored anything. Although these mini lemon pies take a bit of time to make, they are so worth every bite and are sure to impress!

These little lemon dessert bites are filled with zest, sprinkled with powdered sugar, and topped with a delight of fresh whipped cream. Everything is better with whipped cream my friends. They are perfect to take to a BBQ or simply for a summer’s afternoon treat! 

Summer is almost here, which means I get to start baking and cooking with fresh fruits and vegetables! I absolutely love this time of year and all the fresh recipes that come with it. Put away the scarves and pull out the dresses! Open up the windows and let the summer’s breeze enter in! Not only is it time to have fresh flowers on the dinner table every week, it’s also time to make all the lemon inspired desserts. 

I love these little lemon bites. They have a sweet cookie crust and are filled with an easy-to-make lemon filling. Topped with homemade whipped cream, these really can’t get any yummier. 

Cookie Crust Lemon Bites
These lemon bite-size desserts are perfect for a sunny afternoon treat!
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Cookie crust
  1. ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  2. 1 ½ c. flour
  3. 1 stick butter, softened
  4. ½ cup brown sugar
  5. 1 large egg
Filling
  1. 2 eggs and 2 egg yolks
  2. ¼ c. whipping cream
  3. juice from 1 large lemon
  4. ¼ c. sugar
  5. lemon zest
  6. dash of vanilla
Whipped Cream
  1. 4 tablespoons powdered sugar
  2. ½ cup whipping cream
  3. dash of vanilla
Crust
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray mini muffin tin or grease with butter.
  2. In a large bowl, combine melted butter and sugar. Beat on medium speed until fluffy.
  3. Add egg and mix well.
  4. Add flour and sugar and mix until combined.
  5. Refrigerate dough until chilled.
  6. Divide the dough into 24 small balls and place on muffin tin.
  7. Use your fingers to gently press the dough unto and up the tin.
Filling
  1. Combine all the ingredients in large bowl and mix well.
  2. Slowly pour the filling into the cookie cups about 3/4 of the way.
  3. Bake for 10 minutes or until cookie crust is golden and lemon filling is set.
  4. Allow to cool.
Whipped cream
  1. Add the ingredients to a medium bowl, and using an electric mixer, beat on high speed until fluffy.
  2. Spread or pipe desired amount of cream on cooled lemon bites.
Notes
  1. Sprinkle cooled cookie cups with powdered sugar for an added sweetness and pretty look!
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Apple Spice Cake with a Cinnamon Frosting

This Woodland themed apple spice cake is filled with apple butter, cinnamon, and loads of sweetness! The cinnamon cream cheese frosting is just what this lovely naked cake needs. 

This was my first time ever making a naked cake, and it was so much fun! AND, this cake is probably one of my favorite cake recipes because it’s so yummy and easy to make. It’s so moist, and so beautiful! Naked cakes are the new hottest cakes on the market right now, and I totally understand why! They are honestly so easy to make, and so delicious. I was afraid their wouldn’t be enough frosting to fit my tastebud needs, however, the layers are filled with so much frosting that each bite is perfectly sweet and moist. 

What I love about the naked cake is that it’s so easy and quick to assemble. They usually look fancy and like no beginner baker could make one, but that is far from the truth! You don’t need tons of frosting (which is good because I always run out!), and they don’t have to look perfect! The naked cake is all about that rustic feel.

I was inspired by nature when I made this cake, which is why it’s topped with little forest animals and surrounded by fresh eucalyptus. Cake toppers are gorgeous, but they can often be expensive. I found these adorable animals for a few dollars each at Hobby Lobby! Sometimes when making cakes you can be on a budget, and that’s totally okay! You just need to be creative, maybe don’t get inspiration from Etsy, and hit up your local Hobby Lobby or dollar store. Fresh flowers to decorate naked cakes can also be expensive. I found this eucalyptus for a few dollars a bundle at Trader Joe’s, and it made this cake look extra woodsy and tempting! 

One last note: apple butter. Apple butter in cakes is one of the best ways to sweeten up a cake and add moisture. Whenever I make a cake with apple butter it ALWAYS comes out moist and super flavorful. You can find apple butter at any grocery store near the jellies and honey. 

Apple Spice Cake with Cinnamon Frosting
This apple spice cake is loaded with warm spices and sweet apple butter. It's perfect for a fall dessert or for a springtime baby shower!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 c. whole wheat flour
  2. 1/2 tsp baking soda
  3. 1 tsp baking powder
  4. 1/4 tsp salt
  5. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  6. 1 teaspoon cloves
  7. 1/2 stick butter, softened
  8. 1/2 c. brown sugar
  9. 1 egg
  10. 1 c. apple butter
Frosting
  1. 1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
  2. 1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
  3. 1/4 cup butter, softened
  4. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  5. 1 teaspoon vanilla
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray 2 cake pans or line with parchment paper.
  3. In a bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and cloves. Mix well.
  4. In a larger bowl, combine the softened butter and sugar. Beat using an electric mixer until creamy for about 1 minute.
  5. Add the egg, and beat with the mixer.
  6. Gently add in the apple butter.
  7. Add the flour mixture, mixing by hand until it’s well mixed.
  8. Pour the batter into the pans, using a spatula to evenly spread the mixture in the pan.
  9. Bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick or knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
  10. Completely cool cakes.
Frosting
  1. Beat the butter and cream cheese until fluffy.
  2. Add the powdered sugar and spices. Beat until well combined and fluffy.
Assembly
  1. Using a cake turntable, gently place one layer of cake in the center.
  2. Add a generous amount of frosting and spread evenly.
  3. Place the next layer on top, and evenly spread frosting on the top.
  4. Using a cake spatula, frost the sides of the cake just enough to add a thin layer to coat the cake.
  5. Press a pastry/cake scraper against the side of the cake vertically.
  6. Spin the turntable so the scraper evenly scrapes off the icing to reveal the cake.
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