Strawberry Cloud Cookies

If you are a strawberry lover (and who isn’t?), these cookies will buh-low your taste buds out of the water. Shelton says that these cookies are his favorite, and truth be told, I should really make them more often. They’re incredibly easy to whip up and are just dangerously delicious. It’s impossible to eat just one.

Strawberry Cloud Cookies | sweetandsavorylife.com

Strawberry Cloud Cookies with Lemon Glaze

Recipe adapted from The Church Cook

You’ll need:

For the cookies…

  • 2 cups All-purpose Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 stick Unsalted Butter, Softened
  • 1 cups Granulated Sugar
  • 1 whole Egg
  • 1 cup Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cups pureed strawberries (about 10 regular sized strawberries)
  • 4 – 6 drops pink food coloring (optional – gel works best)

For the glaze…

  • 1-½ cup Powdered Sugar (I sift mine, but you don’t have to)
  • 3 Tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon Zest (more if you’re feelin’ extra zesty)

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • In your large bowl, combine the butter and the sugar. Mix the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg, beating until incorporated. Add the ricotta cheese and strawberries. Stir to combine. Add the remaining dry ingredients. Add food coloring.
  • Using a cookie scoop (or two spoons), drop the batter on a baking sheet. These cookies are crazy dense, so they won’t puff up or spread out, but make sure to give each ball of dough a little wiggle room.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, until slightly golden at the edges. Remove from the oven and let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for 20 minutes.
  • Glaze: Combine the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a small bowl and stir until smooth. Spoon about 1/2-teaspoon onto each cooled cookie and use the back of the spoon to gently spread the glaze. Glaze will hardened almost immediately!

Very important: Let the cookies sit out overnight – do not immediately store in a sealed container even if the glaze has dried! Along with being very dense, these cookies are also very moist. Which means if you stick them in a Ziploc or plastic container they’ll get oddly wet and sticky. This won’t deter you from eating them… it’s just mostly unpleasant. You have been warned.

Strawberry Cloud Cookies | sweetandsavorylife.com

And there you have it. These little gems get many a moan wherever you take them. The best way to eat them is to pop one in your mouth upside down! Try it. You’ll see.

-Sarah

Valentine’s Day DIY: Mood Wheels! {FREE Printable}

This project is an oldie-but-a-goodie, posted way back in February 2011 on my old blog. It’s super cute, easy and got rave reviews , so I am happy to share again.

I’m shamed to admit that members of my family (and close friends) will be receiving their Valentine’s Day cards/gifts late this year. I finally got them all mailed off this morning, and still have one more to mail tomorrow. I know, terrible, right?

What can I say? I’m just one girl.

Maybe you’re feeling a bit like me–time is going by fast and you’ve got nothing to show for it. I’m here to help though! I have two last minute Valentine’s Day crafts that you can throw together tomorrow and still impress everyone with come the big day. They’ll cost you virtually nothing (if you have a craft stash) and will certainly make all the Valentines in your life feel special.

Without further adieu, I give you…The Mood Wheel.

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You’ll need:

  • Template I created printed on colorful cardstock (Free download here!)
  • Doilies (optional) (And yes, I realize that I spelled “doillies” wrong in the picture.)
  • Double-sided tape (or any kind of thin adhesive)
  • Toothpick
  • Scissors
  • Hole Punch
  • Brads (cutesy ones, or old school gold ones)
  • Magnetic strips (with adhesive, if you can find some)

You’ll like to know that this is a project that you can make as intricate or as simple as you like. Don’t want to use doilies? Don’t! Don’t want to buy magnets? Clean off your fridge and use the promotional magnets that businesses hand out! Make it your own, don’t make it perfect.

First, you’ll want to cut out the arrow and wheel from the template. I mixed it up by never using the same color on one wheel, but do it however you like!

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Punch a hole in the arrow.

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Poke a hole in the wheel.

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Attach the double-sided tape (or whichever adhesive your little crafty heart desires) on the back of the wheel.

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Attach wheel to the doily, press firmly and puncture all the way through.

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Stick the brad through the arrow’s hole and through the hole, placing the magnet over the back of the brad. Turn over and again press down on the top of the wheel to ensure the doily adheres to the magnet.

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Ta-da! The finished products.

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I realized that the mood wheel I had was a bit…edgy, I suppose. Perfect for the college kids I worked with at the time, but not for a household with children. I can see it now:

“Mom, why are you feeling ‘bitchy’ today?”

“Teacher, what does ‘tipsy’ mean?”

Not kosher. So I made another one, a PG version, if you will. It’s available here.

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I want all of the projects I post to have versatility. So, whether you have a six-year-old who needs Valentines for Monday or you work in an office of cynics, there’s a mood wheel for you.

Easy peasy lemon squeezy,

Sarah

Out with the old…

…in with the new!

Things are about to start changing here on our lil’ blog – get excited!

I am so happy finally have the time (and vision) to up the ante on sweetsavoryblog.wordpress.com

What does that mean exactly? Well, for starters, a registered domain name, big-girl hosting and a whole new look!

I will be working very hard over the next week or so to roll out our new blog. My hope is that it’s cleaner, easier to navigate, more beneficial for you – the reader! – and of course, more inspiring and fun.

I will certainly keep you posted as we move forward – that way you can follow along as we continue our journey :)

Have a lovely Sunday,

Cheddar Chicken (with a side of Change, please)

When I first started to really cook – this was the first recipe that I attempted: Real Simple’s Cheddar Chicken.

I liked it because it sounded simple (a tribute to the magazine, obviously), there were no vegetables involved and the picture looked delicious. Those were different times, back then. I shied away from slicing onions, adding tomatoes, experimenting with flavors outside of my comfort zone.

Now I have a different appreciation for ingredients in general and I try to honor a recipe by not instantly taking out the things I “know” I don’t like. I think I am driven more these days to create dishes the traditional way, so that I can taste all the components the way they are supposed to be combined. And it’s okay when I don’t like something as much as I thought – it’s all about the experience. Each time I make dinner, I feel like I’m getting better at being a home cook and enjoy knowing what all dishes I can add to my own personal “menu.”

I look forward to all the dinners I’ll create in the future – for people I love, for people I am entertaining. There is just so much I won’t know if I stick to just a handful of recipes. Also, by knowing how something is “supposed” to taste, I can better gauge how I can adjust the recipe the next time I prepare it.

And, when I want to just make something simple and delicious, I always have this recipe – my first real attempt at dinner, where it all began. (All things aside, this is a wonderful dish that I highly recommend.)

Do you remember the first dish you prepared that made you feel like a legit cook? How has the way you cook changed since then? How do you keep things interesting in the kitchen?

I really wanna know.

 

DSLR: The First 24 Hours

Quick photo post for you! Needless to say, I am LOVING this new camera!

Cilantro Lime Tilapia Tacos… more about these later…

The Potato.

Glamour shot!

Spuds is not feelings this shake.

Good morning!

Our block!

And it looks like autumn is on it’s way to NC…

Our Backyard

Our apartment complex (and also where Shelton works) is massive.

Like, third largest student housing complex on the east coast massive.

I’ve had some pretty interesting back yards in my lifetime. They’ve ranged from sheep farms to football fields – but this backyard is currently my favorite.

There is so much space.

The complex holds 1700 people – larger than some towns I’ve lived in. Each “block” consists of 6-8 buildings, and acts as it’s own community, really. The lawns are just expansive.

Next to the complex, East Carolina University built an outdoor recreation park, with a legit beach. You can play sand volleyball here, kayak, workout, play horseshoes, or…

Feed the ducks!

And if all that gets lame, there is always the ropes course.

Not too shabby.

WHOA. WTF just happened?

I got a new camera.

Sh*t. Just. Got. REAL.

I was just cooking dinner – nothing weird about that – when Shelton walks in and says, “Turn off the stove.”

But why, I thought? Then faster, Sarah don’t ask questions.

And then three beautiful words fell out of Shelton’s mouth… “Close your eyes.”

So, I did.

When I opened them this is what I saw: a brand new, completely legit, Nikon D5100.

{ Happy early birthday to me. }

I have a real camera, ladies and gentlemen.

And I just had to share with you, because it’s about to get real photography-happy up in here!

Obviously, I have no idea how to use this thing, but I assume it’ll make me coffee in the morning?

Do you have any guidance for me? Tips? Anything?

Please share your knowledge with me!

Your shutterbug,

Chicken Parmesan with Legit Marinara Sauce

Maybe in another life I was an Italian grandmother.

I think things like this whenever I cook Italian dishes – because I feel so connected to the food when cooking Italian. I love the flavors and the passion that is put into the dishes – it just resonates a lot with me.

Week before last I made that very incredible chicken alfredo, and this past week I decided to kick it up a notch with a chicken parm dish. I always get nervous before cooking these dishes, because normally you have to do everything at once: a sauce, the pasta, the meat component, etc. It can seem overwhelming, but for some reason it is easier for me to prioritize a recipe than any other tasks I face in my day-to-day life. I become somewhat of a machine and then I look up 30 or 40 minutes later and this is staring back at me.

Well, hello there, you delicious pile of awesome, you.

Now that I am making all these restaurant-style meals from scratch, it’s hard for me to warrant going out to eat when I can create something like this right in my own kitchen. I have never made a marinara sauce of my own before – but it was amazingly easy and I can’t even begin to describe how flavorful it was.

If you have been adverse to trying something like this on your own, I seriously encourage you to completely ignore those tendencies and just go for it. In the time you could spend waiting on a table at any restaurant, you could have a perfect meal in front of you that you made yourself!

{ — Recipes used: Chicken Parmesan & Marinara — }

Stay delicious,

P.S. Eleven years ago today I woke up, nervous that it was was picture day at school and excited for a concert I was going to attend that evening as an early birthday present. I left my first period class to awkwardly get my eighth grade picture taken and came back in time to see the second tower struck. Our world has changed so much since that day – for some more than others. I still shudder when I think of 9/11, and no matter how many years pass I will never forget.

Shelton’s Stuffed French Toast

This past Saturday morning I woke up to the glorious smell of coffee, and the sound of cracking eggs. Upon pulling myself out of bed (a feat on the weekends) I saw Shelton carefully sliding pieces of bread, doused in an egg-y mixture, in the frying pan.

Ah, french toast. Did the French even invent it? Who knows.

When it comes to sweet breakfasts, this one is definitely one of my favorites. I noticed there was another smaller frying pan that was covered with foil. “Don’t look under there,” Shelton warned.

I sat at the table, and patiently waited.

Shelton is a french toast master – he does little things to make it even more delicious, like adding orange extract to the egg mixture before dunking the bread. I know this might sound like a crazy addition, but you have to try it. It gives the toast a citrus-y undertone that is really refreshing in the morning.

There seems to be something peeking out of my french toast – what could it be?

A banana filling!

I’m thinking that I should really sleep in more often… right?

How to make Shelton’s Stuffed French Toast

For the french toast:

  • 4 slices of bread
  • 3 eggs
  • splash of milk
  • tsp. orange extract
  • tsp. vanilla extract

For the banana filling:

  • 1 banana, sliced
  • splash of bourbon
  • splash of vanilla extract
  • tsp. of butter
  • tsp. of sugar

(Shelton hardly measures anything while cooking – hence all the “splashes.”)

Take the sliced bananas and  other filling ingredients and place in a small skillet on simmer. You don’t want to overcook the bananas  - just warm up enough so that all the components make friends, as Shelton says. Check on your bananas often to make sure they are completely breaking down.

While the filling is doing it’s thing, heat a large skillet on medium. Mix the eggs, milk, extracts in a small bowl and whip it all together. Transfer to a small plate and let the bread soak, flipping every few minutes. Spray the skillet with cooking oil and turn down the heat a bit. Place the soaked bread slices in the pan, flipping as they cook.

When plating, be awesome with it. Shelton just added that. But in all seriousness… be awesome with it. Pour a layer of syrup on the bottom of the plate, because who likes a dry piece of french toast on the bottom? Not me. Oui, oui!

(Shelton stole the computer from me. Now he is playing Modern Warfare 3, probably cussing out some 12-year-old.)

So, yes. Pour a layer of syrup before constructing your sandwich, and then of course seal with another layer of syrup.

And then, eat it! Preferably with someone you love.

Mystery of the Mallo Cup

North Carolina has all kinds of new things.

Fancy gas stations, watermelon smoothies, cooler weather…

And something called Mallo Cups.

I have been seeing them at said fancy gas stations, and in an effort to literally feed our curiosity, Shelton and I were so bold to buy a packet the other evening.

Will I like it? Will I hate it? What is it?

It’s… delicious. That’s what it is.

Just look at it! Fluffy, creamy, wonderful.

What else do we have to discover in NC? Hopefully many more treasures like this one.

P.S. I swear we are going to start Insanity soon… Life is just so delicious.

Do or Donut?

That is the question.

Answer: Do.

(Duh.)

Homemade Chicken Alfredo ~ Simple & Scrumptious

Since Shelton and I have moved in together, my new favorite thing to do is cooking dinner for us each night.

(Well, four weekdays out of five isn’t bad, right?)

If you have never made your own chicken alfredo… My friend we have some things to discuss.

Homemade alfredo sauce is single-handedly one of the most comforting and divine combination of flavors. It fills you up, makes you feel better about everything, and solves the world’s problems.

(I mean, come on, you’ve ordered it so you know all this.)

Did I mention it’s also incredibly easy to make?

Sarah’s Chicken Alfredo ~ A New Alves/Williamson House Special

You’ll need:

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 clove garlic – minced
  • Italian seasoning to taste
  • enough fettuccini pasta for 2
  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 1 c. heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 c. shredded parmesan cheese

(Double the ingredients if necessary!)

While preparing the chicken/sauce, go ahead and start some water boiling for the pasta.

For the chicken:

Melt 2 tbsp. butter in a skillet. Add the minced garlic and a good sprinkling of Italian seasoning. Let the garlic toast – it will smell glorious. While the garlic is warming up, slice each chicken breast into strips. Salt/Pepper and add to pan, increasing the heat. Cook chicken thoroughly, and leave in pan on low heat.

(Add pasta to boiling water.)

For the sauce:

Melt 1/4 c. butter in a sauce pan. Simply add the heavy cream (let it warm up in the pan) and also throw in a loose tsp. of garlic and Italian seasonings from the skillet with your chicken. Then add the cheese and stir continuously until it is a beautiful and creamy. Add salt/pepper. Reduce heat to low or set aside.

After you have drained your pasta, divvy up into two bowls and graciously add the alfredo sauce, which should still be hot, and then top with chicken. I realize this dinner is somewhat of  a juggling act… I believe in you! Just stay focused on the stove top – that’s where all the action is!

While eating, Shelton couldn’t get over how good the dish was… he kept asking “What did you do?” When I said that I’d made the sauce from scratch (no packet), he lost it. And then looked really sad when his bowl was empty.

Eat your heart out, Olive Garden. I got chicken alfredo on lock down!

What I love about Greenville, NC

Today marks my three week anniversary in NC!

What a life-changing whirlwind my life has been since I decided to move out here on August 7. Now that I am here, I can’t imagine being back in TX (though there are things I miss). Shelton and I have had some time – in between his busy work schedule – to do some exploring around Greenville, and here is a short list of things that I just plain love about this place…

1. The city definitely lives up to it’s name – everything is so green and lovely. I grew up in the country, but have never experienced such lushness from trees, bushes, manicured lawns and flora in general.

2. SHEETZ! Oh my gah – when I ventured to West Virginia I noticed Sheetz being promoted on highway signs, but had NO idea what it was… turns out they have them in NC as well and they are the most bad ass gas stations I have ever had the privilege of walking into! Calling it a gas station almost seems like an insult. They make sandwiches and burgers fresh to order and you can completely customize your order on touch screens. Oh, and they sell gas, too.

3. The AAAARGH-friendly atmosphere! East Carolina University is situated in Greenville and – you guessed it – their mascot is Pee Dee the pirate! If I had the choice to be a pirate or a ninja for the rest of my life, you bet your swashbuckling booty that I would be a pirate. And by the looks of the town, so would everyone else. EVERYTHING is pirate-themed and I love it. It shows pride for the school and adds a playful nature to even the most mundane errands.

4. Uptown District – Greenville’s downtown area is so picturesque and cute, like out of a movie. Trees like the streets, and unlike Denton where everything surrounds the Square, there are lots of side streets where hidden treasures are just waiting to be discovered! (See what I did there?)

5. All the rain, and the weather in general. In Texas you are either blessed with a summer shower or are subjected to weeks upon weeks of rain. The former only happens maybe once a summer, and the latter is just plain scary. There is no middle ground and in the mean time everything seems to suffer due to the lack of moisture. Not in Greenville – it rains off and on, constantly. I am still getting used to it, but it is a nice break from the unwavering Texas heat.

6. Bojangles ain’t just a little mouse on The Green Mile – it’s a rampant, yet delicious, fast food chain in North Carolina. Best chicken strips ever! And I have eaten a lot of chicken strips. This makes me an expert, so I know a good strip when I bite into one…

7. All the things we haven’t discovered yet! Greenville is such a great place – and we are still super new and have many new places to go, people to meet and adventures to embark upon! There will definitely be a “part two” to this post… and hopefully many more after that.

Check out more pictures in the slideshow!

Unwrapping my new Erin Condren Life Planner

I don’t know are aware of this or not… but I love to plan.

Earlier this year a former supervisor of mine named Tiffany (whom I adore) came to a staff meeting  with the fanciest planner I had ever seen…

It was all downhill from there. Or uphill, if you’re an optimist like me!

Tiffany introduced me to the colorful, organized world of Erin Condren – and I decided that I had to have one of her Life Planners.

The price was a little steep ($50), but I made myself wait months and months before deciding that, yep, I still wanted one really bad. Then I made a little pinky promise to myself that I would use it all year long.

I’m doing pretty good so far! It’s helping me stay super organized and on top of my life. Before, I had to-do lists that were a mile long, but now it’s easier to space tasks out throughout the week.

It’s official. I’m in love with a planner.

If you love to plan, this is the planner for you. I highly recommend it! It would also make a lovely gift.

Tip: Production & shipping can take a while… it took almost a month to get my planner and I ordered it on August 1! I wish I would have specified my planner to span from September 2012 – September 2013 (instead of August 2012 – August 2013). Be mindful of that if you order for yourself or a loved one!

Happy planning (and Happy Labor Day!),

Pecan Scones with Maple Vanilla Icing

So… guess what I did the other day?

I got all inspired and decided to make scones.

Shelton said – and I quote – “I don’t really like scones…”

Our conversation went like this:

Me: What kind of scones have you had?

Him: Uh…

Me: (interjecting) Scones from like a cafe?

Him: Yeah.

Me: Okay. I’m making real scones.

They were literally perfect.

Shelton now counts scones as one of his all time favorite foods.

{ — Recipe courtesy of my idol — }

I encourage you to make a batch of scones from scratch.

Take your time – cut the butter into 1/4″ cubes like you’re supposed to.

Pretend you are in culinary school and that you are the star pupil.

Revel in your own pastry genius when you inspect the perfect, golden bottoms of your scones.

It’s the little things in life, I swear. The little, sweet, scrumptious things.

Go ahead and indulge.

Save a few (can we say luxury breakfast on the go?) – take the rest to work.

Or class.

Or to a skinny friend.

Or… just keep them all to yourself.

I won’t tell.